Archive for June, 2010

h1

K-Pop Korner: Masa’s Mash

June 30, 2010

Damn, it’s been a lazy few weeks of summer and there’s been nothing much to throw up here. Things have been so quiet that I almost missed the monthly trip down to the Korner. Truth be told, there isn’t much in the K-Pop world that has piqued my interest of late, barely anything I can wring a quip out of, let alone spin into a lighthearted passage of commentary on Korean pop music. Hell, if I didn’t have a throwaway K-Pop measure just sitting there for emergencies during days precisely like this then I may just have failed completely to provide a post this month.

Masa is a 21-year-old guy from Brazil who started mashing up Korean pop songs a few years ago. His mixes appear to have become fairly popular amongst K-Pop fans and a variety of his mash-up songs can be found on Youtube and his own site, Masa Mixes. I stumbled across one of his videos a few months ago and used it in the classroom as a little treat for my students. It’s a mix of ten hit songs from Korean girl bands in 2009 that he compiled as a tribute to the K-Pop of that year. Tragically, I was able to recognize most of the performers and songs when I first watched it (a frightening 7 out of 10), so it is quite an apt measurement of where this initially ironic exploration of K-Pop has taken me.

K-Pop Girl Power

Read the rest of this entry ?

h1

Talking with Gods (trailer)

June 25, 2010

I still describe myself as a huge Grant Morrison fan but if I ever needed more concrete proof that I have been neglecting my interest in the man’s work these past few years then I need look no further than the fact that only yesterday did I hear about the documentary that has been made about him. Talking with Gods is directed by one Patrick Meaney and was shot mostly at the 2009 San Diego Comic Convention and at Morrison’s Los Angeles home. They are looking to release the film next month at the 2010 Comic Con.

Read the rest of this entry ?

h1

Sweet Tooth

June 22, 2010

I’ll try to keep this short. There isn’t a whole lot to say other than to throw out a glowing recommendation.

Vertigo Comics put out fabulous fucking comic books. Bottom line. I’ve been reading titles from that imprint since I was 14-years-old and it is a joy to see their quality output continue with new creators delivering new ideas. Recently word came to me, as it does*, about a new creator-owned title from Vertigo called Sweet Tooth. I accepted the advice, never doubting the source for a second, and the word was good.

Sweet Tooth is written and drawn by Canadian Jeff Lemire, a relative newcomer to comics, having started in 2008 with the trilogy of graphic novels Tales From The Farm, Ghost Stories and The Country Nurse (known collectively as The Essex County Trilogy) which were published by Top Shelf Productions and received nominations for Eisner and Harvey awards. The first issue of the monthly title Sweet Tooth was published in September 2009 and the collected trade paperback of the first five issues was released in May this year.

Read the rest of this entry ?

h1

World Cup

June 21, 2010

I can’t even pretend to be able to offer any kind of sincere commentary on the World Cup currently underway. Sure, I’m watching it and I’m supporting Korea for the sake of my students and because Scotland didn’t qualify, but I don’t care enough about football to devote an afternoon to saying anything about it. The carnival atmosphere in downtown Seoul during a Korean game is very fun and I hope they get through to the next stage in order to enjoy a couple more of those street parties but my emotional investment ends there. However, I’m no killjoy. I found something pertinent on the tournament to post here.

South Korean football fan, prior to Korea vs. Argentina game

Read the rest of this entry ?

h1

The Good, The Bad, The Weird (좋은 놈, 나쁜 놈, 이상한 놈)

June 21, 2010

I’m putting this here as a companion piece to Nick’s post below. Mild spoilers abound.

Released in Korea in the summer of 2008, The Good, The Bad, The Weird (좋은 놈, 나쁜 놈, 이상한 놈) was directed by Kim Ji-woon, internationally known for his previously successful films A Tale of Two Sisters (장화, 홍련) and the brilliant A Bittersweet Life (달콤한 인생). Although the title suggests otherwise, the film is not a mere Korean remake of Sergio Leone’s The Good, the Bad and the Ugly. Certainly, it pays homage to Leone’s spaghetti westerns throughout, and lifts the character dynamic of its namesake directly, but there is more to this eastern gem than is immediately obvious from the name alone. The historical setting of Japanese-occupied Manchuria in the 1930s is a particular masterstroke and a refreshing departure for Korean cinema overall. Director Kim’s Oriental Western also manages to deliver in the action and screen violence departments, despite having the look and comedic approach of a “family” film.

Read the rest of this entry ?

h1

Between the Lines: The Island

June 15, 2010

The Island

Taken at face value, The Island is a complete mess of a movie. This 2005 sci-fi flick directed by Michael Bay failed to convince the viewing public, performed poorly at the domestic U.S. box office and generated mixed reviews. It plays as a derivative hodgepodge of sci-fi clichés thrown together to be viewed through the delirious, idiosyncratic lens of Hollywood’s chief ad man/madman and intended for an audience composed of baboons wired on Benzedrine. Key plot details make no sense, action set-pieces are hyper-edited into abject incoherence, and the overall film is pretentious in the very proper sense of the word. That said, The Island is not entirely without merit. It’s beautifully photographed, boasts a decent cast and, most importantly, becomes rather enjoyable when viewed as an allegory for humanity emancipating itself from organised religion.

Read the rest of this entry ?

h1

Zomblogalypse

June 10, 2010

I’m going to fill something of a blog gap with a (well-deserved) plug. I could have merely forwarded links to this on popular social networking sites or via the old-school method of e-mail but things have been quiet around here lately and I need to get my arse in gear.


A little over one year ago a recently acquired friend of mine here in Korea informed me that she was involved in a film project with some of her friends from university back home (home being York in the UK). The project was Zomblogalypse , an ongoing zom-com* web series fashioned in the finest traditions of guerrilla filmmaking. Thanks in no small part to the dedication of its creators; the series appears to becoming increasingly successful with a third season currently underway and an expanding cult of fans. It may sound biased for me to lavish praise on this series, given that I’m personally acquainted with one of the major players, but I don’t give a shit. Zomblogalypse has plenty of moments of pitch-perfect fanboy comedy and an abundance of gruesome charm. It’s the kind of thing that makes you want to take a cheese grater to your own face and stumble around afterwards in the hope that you get discovered to play a zombie in one of the episodes. They have a new character that’s a partial homage to Tank Girl, fer chrissakes! That’s automatically cool as fuck.

Read the rest of this entry ?