A Cheerful Gang Turns the Earth (2006)(Japan)

Another heist comedy from Japan, this one based on a novel, circling on a cunning foursome that likes to rob banks. Though it’s not really made clear what drove them there, they all share the same passion. The youngest is Kuon, who is a master pickpocket with a desire to go off to Mexico. Naruse is a soft-spoken figure who can detect if people are telling a truth or a lie. Kyono is a philosopher of sorts who likes to marinate the bank captives with entertaining speeches while the rest take care of the cash. Their driver is played by the stunning Kyoko Suzuki, who’s character has a precise biological clock inside her, in other words she’s a time nut.

After successfully stealing enough load to possibly retire, they themselves become victims of a robbery, but other motives soon come to light. The film starts out at a fast pace and what the characters say doesn’t quite disappoint, however the middle becomes inevitably duller as the story tries to aimlessly bide time before the finale, which unintentionally resembles a poor man’s spoof of Usual Suspects with even poorer villain in place of Keyser Soze.

Cast: Arata Furuta // Ryo Iwamatsu \ Rosa Kato // Houka Kinoshita
Directed – Tetsu Maeda
Genre – Comedy / Crime
Run Time – 92 min
Country – Japan
Audio – Japanese
Subtitles – English [hardsubbed]
IMDB Links – http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0496905/

I’m Sorry, I Love You (Korean) 2004 TV


Cha Moo Hyuk (So Ji Sup) was adopted by an Australian family, but was abused and left homeless at an early age. Growing up on the streets, he meets all sorts of people until one day he comes across Song Eun Chae (Im Su Jung). Eun Chae is the coordinator for Choi Yune (Jung Kyung Ho), a famous singer in Korea, whom she is secretly in love with. Her fateful encounter with Moo Hyuk ends up affecting not only her life but that of her precious Yune’s as well. A series of events happen that lead Moo Hyuk back to Korea in search for his biological mother. The discoveries he made changes his heart from longing to revenge. The anger of betrayal he feels toward life and his mother lead him into doing some regrettable actions. Though all this darkness surrounding him he find an unexpected source of happiness with someone he didn’t expect to love. Although he purposely creates suffering on the lives of those around him, he wishes with all his heart someone would stop him, change him.

AKA – MiSa, Sorry But I Love You, I’m Sorry, I Love You
Broadcasted – 09-Nov-2004 to 28-Dec-2004
Directed – Lee Hyung Min
Writers – Lee Kyung Hee
Country – South Korea
Audio – Korean
Quality -Low
Subtitles – English
Episode Run Time – 1Hour 5 Minutes
Total Episodes – 16
Status – Incompleted [6/16]
Links – wiki.d-addicts.com

So Ji Sup as Cha Moo-hyuk
Im Su Jung as Song Eun-chae
Jung Kyung Ho as Choi Yune
Suh Ji Young as Kang Min-joo
Choi Yeo Jin as Moon Ji-young
Lee Hye Young as Oh Deul-hee (Yune’s mother)
Jun Hye Jin as Yoon Seo-kyung
Kim Hye Ok as Jang Hye-sook (Eun-chae’s mother)
Shin Goo as Min Hyun-suk
Ok Ji Young as Song Sook-chae (Eun-chae’s older sister)
Jung Hwa Young as Song Min-chae (Eun-chae’s younger sister)
Park Gun Tae as Kim Kal-chi (Seo-kyung’s son)

대장금/Jewel in the Palace (2003)(Korean)

About 500 years ago during the time of Chosun Dynasty, Korea boasted a rigidly hierarchical and male dominated social structure. Set in this period, “Jewel in the Palace” is based on a true story about a legendary girl (Jang-Geum) who became the first woman to be the supreme royal physician of her times. Despite her poor condition as a low class girl in the male dominated society, Jang-Geum overcame a series of social discrimination and landed herself as a royal cook, later becoming the royal physician, then ultimately the physician in charge of the king. She was even given by the king the title “The Great Jang-Geum”. The story of her checkered life on her success and breakdown as well as her love story beautifully unfold. “Jewel in the Palace” is sure to touch your heart.

AKA – Jewel in the Palace / Great Jang Geum
Broadcasted – 15-Sep-2003 to 23-Mar-2004
Genre – Historical
Producer – Lee Byung Hoon
Writer – Kim Young Hyun
Country – South Korea
Audio – Korean
Quality -High
Subtitles – English [.srt]
Episode Run Time – 1 Hour 5 Minutes
Total Episodes – 54
Status – Completed [54/54]
Links – wiki.d-addicts.com

Lee Young Ae as Suh Jang Geum
Ji Jin Hee as Min Jung Ho
Hong Ri Na as Choi Keum Young
Yang Mi Kyung as Han Baek-young
Yeo Woon Kye as Jeong Mal-geum
Han Ji Min as Shin-bi
Lee Se Eun as Yeol-lee
Yim Hyun Sik as Kang Deok-Gu
Park Jung Soo as Park Yong-shin
Jo Kyung Hwan as Oh Gyeom-ho
Park Eun Hye as Lee Yeon-saeng
Jo Jung Eun as Young Suh Jang Geum
Choi Ja Hye as Chang-ee

Il Mare (2000) (Korea)

In 1999 Eun-joo moves out of her house “Il Mare” leaving behind a Christmas card for the eventual new owner. In it she asks for her mail to be forwarded to her new address.

In 1997, Sung-hyun, is moving into “Il Mare” and finds in his mailbox the Christmas card from Eun-joo. Thinking it’s a joke, Sung-hyun leaves her a letter reminding her that its 1997 not 1999.

Recently remade by Hollywood as “The Lake House” starring Sandra Bullock and Keanu Reeves, this is the Korean original. Stunning cinematography, a great jazzy soundtrack and an unusual twist to the love story genre make “Il Mare” a unique cinema experience.

Cast: Jung-Jae Lee, Gianna Jun, Mu-saeng Kim, Seung-Yeon Jo, Yun-jae Min
Directed: Hyun-seung Lee
Genre: Romance / Fantasy
Runtime: 1:36:05
Also Known As: Siworae, Si Wall Ae
Country: Korea
Language: Korean
Subtitles: English
IMDB: www.imdb.com/title/tt0282599/

Maundy Thursday (2006) (Korea)

University lecturer Yu Jung (Lee Na Young) does not trust her surroundings and does not believe in love. Troubled by a traumatic past, she has attempted suicide many times. At her aunt’s urging, she reluctantly enters therapy and meets convicted murderer and death row prisoner Yun Su (Kang Dong Won). Drawn to each other, two people with no will to live find a new motivation for life: a meeting every Thursday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Impending death is often the impetus for romance in Korean films, but MaundyThursday is a bit different from the rest. Based on Kong Ji Young’s famous novel, Maundy Thursday the film is both a tender love story and a sensitive look at the capital punishment system. The title refers to Holy Thursday, or the feast day before Easter commemorating the Last Supper, and the film makes use of the stolen time between uncertain life and certain death to present an unlikely romance about a suicidal young woman and a death row prisoner. Director Song Hae Sung (Failan) and actors Kang Dong Won (Duelist) and Lee Na Young (Who are You?) paint a delicate portrait with compelling characters, subtle political undertones, and commentary on the value of life.

Cast: Hyeong-seong Jang, Yeong-suk Jeong, In-gi Jung, Dong-won Kang, Shin-il Kang, Bu-seon Kim, Jin-hyeok Kim, Ji-yeong Kim, Jae-gu Lee, Na-yeong Lee
Directed: Hae-sung Song
Genre: Romance / Drama
Runtime: 120 Minutes
Also Known As: Urideul-ui haengbok-han shigan
Country: Korea
Language: Korean
Subtitles: English
IMDB: www.imdb.com/title/tt0870967/

The Sword of Alexander (2007) (Japan)

Brace yourself for a hilarious action-filled ride with The Sword of Alexander! Based on a serial story by Yumemakura Baku, The Sword of Alexander (a.k.a. Taitei no Ken) is a rollicking period fantasy adventure, complete with ninjas, warriors, magical weapons, and a couple of aliens. With a host of colorful characters, impressive CG visuals, and genres colliding left and right, the film provides a sensory overload of comedy, action, and fun. Director Tsutsumi Yukihiko, last seen quietly inducing tears with Memories of Tomorrow, teams up again with Abe Hiroshi, the star of his Trick films, and puts the actor’s natural comic presence to good use. Hasegawa Kyoko (Ai no Rukeichi) plays the film’s precocious princess, alongside a supporting cast that includes Kudo Kankuro (Thirteen Steps), Endo Kenichi (The Sinking of Japan), and Kuroki Meisa (Under the Same Moon).

Free-spirited wandering swordsman Yorozu Genkuro (Abe Hiroshi) easily towers over everyone with his tall, lanky stature and all-mighty “Sword of Alexander”. His larger-than-life sword is one of three sacred objects carved from orichalcum, an otherworldly metal that brings its owner superhuman powers. He who possess all three objects will rule the world, and Genkuro is on a quest to find the other two items – a cross and a dagger – and a man worthy of wielding such powers. On the road, he rescues and befriends the lovely Princess Mai (Hasegawa Kyoko), who is on the run from the Tokugawa, and her scrappy ninja bodyguard (Kudo Kankuro). This turns out to be the beginning of a myriad of troubles for Genkuro as there are a plenitude of Tokugawa assassins and warriors, not to mention an alien-possessed bear hunter, out to get the princess.

Cast: Hiroshi Abe, Kenichi Endo, Masakatsu Funaki, Kyoko Hasegawa, Hirotaro Honda, Kankurô Kudô, Naomasa Musaka, Koji Ookura, Takashi Taniguchi
Directed: Yukihiko Tsutsumi
Genre: Action / Fantasy
Also Known As: Taitei no ken
Country: Japan
Language: Japanese
Subtitles: English Hardcoded
IMDB: www.imdb.com/title/tt0499261/