November 18, 2011 |
Every week, Kim Ou-joon does what was once unthinkable in South Korea: He gleefully lampoons the president. At the start of a recent installment of Kim's wildly popular political podcast, "Naneun Ggomsuda," or "I'm a Weasel," the narrator intoned with mock-solemnity: "Wall Street is occupied by protesters while Korea is peaceful and quiet. That's natural because Korea is heaven on earth! "Our president can cross the river on a bridge of fallen autumn leaves. " Next, listeners heard the name of President Lee Myung-bak repeated in a series of goofy vocal stylings that alternately imitated Alvin the Chipmunk, whining children and, finally, Bela Lugosi.
August 21, 2011 |
With a shudder, Kim Deuk-uy recalls the gloominess of the 1998 Asian financial crisis. Back then, Kim worked for a securities company that was shedding employees like a snake sheds skin. Kim could see it: The nation's rocky finances would lead to a change in the dynamic between workers and executives in South Korea. "It became a good excuse to fire the full-time employees for no good reason, hire them back at two-thirds of the payment as a part-time employee, though they were doing exactly the same job," he recalled.
April 1, 2012 |
A perplexing flubbed tap-in putt on the 18th hole from I.K. Kim jumbled the emotions of players and fans alike Sunday at the Kraft Nabisco Championship at Mission Hills Country Club in Rancho Mirage. Instead of having a triumphant day, Kim's miss on the 72nd hole of play put her into a playoff with fellow South Korean Sun Young Yoo. And it was the 25-year-old Yoo, who came from behind most of the day, who knocked in an 18-foot birdie putt on the first playoff hole, the par-five 18th, to win her first major.
June 20, 2010 |
More than 100 oils, watercolors, traditional Korean ink paintings and posters from the Korean Art Gallery in Pyongyang have been drawing a blurry line here between art and propaganda. Does the show at Vienna's MAK: Austrian Museum for Applied Arts/Contemporary Art offer a rare glimpse into an isolated and largely unknown North Korean art scene, or is it merely a stage for a regime that uses art not only as a messenger of its political ideology but also as a source of international funding?
January 15, 2012 |
On his first day of freedom, North Korean defector Kim Yong-chul sat crossed-legged on the floor of a small apartment without a stick of furniture. He ate fried chicken and pork belly, washed down with celebratory shots of soju from a paper cup, toasting the stranger he says saved his life. Krys Lee is no stranger now. The Korean American writer is more like a fussy parent, worrying that the fortysomething refugee was drinking too much and might fall prey to other addictions in South Korea's culture of plenty.
April 12, 2012
First-time feature director Kat Coiro gives an oft-tread story a snappy new spin in the hip and enjoyable comedy "Life Happens. " After underdog Kim (an endearing Krysten Ritter) loses out for the last nearby condom to brasher roommate Deena (Kate Bosworth, also fine) during the BFF's simultaneous one-night stands, Kim ends up a devoted but ill-prepared mother of a baby boy. With the child's me-first, surf star dad (Rhys Coiro, Kat's husband) decidedly absent, Kim must navigate the demands of single motherhood, her thankless job assisting a hellish canine patron (Kristen Johnston)
October 4, 2012 |
The original "Taken" may have earned an impressive $224 million-plus in worldwide box office receipts, but it apparently went unseen in one remote corner of Albania. That would be the home base of a group of men who, not knowing any better, feel compelled to menace Bryan Mills and his family one more time in "Taken 2. " Talk about slow learners. Led by taciturn Murad (grizzled veteran Rade Sherbedgia), these men are the blood relatives of the folks master of mayhem Bryan killed back in the day while rescuing his daughter Kim from the clutches of nefarious white slavers in Paris.
October 21, 2011 |
It's hard to underestimate the power of an ingénue you enjoy rooting for, and U.K. up-and-comer Felicity Jones is the kind of fresh-faced heroine — equal parts clear-eyed sass and waif-y optimism — who helps make the British romantic comedy "Chalet Girl" more enjoyable than it should be. Jones plays a cash-starved ex-skateboarder named Kim who ditches burger flipping for a winter catering gig at a wealthy family's Swiss chalet. The powdery Alpine terrain is no match in fluffiness, though, for the flag-marked route Tom Williams' screenplay takes, as Kim finds friendship, a renewed sense of achievement and class-mixing romance (cue the bedroom glare of Ed Westwick as the much nicer version of his "Gossip Girl" rich boy, Chuck Bass)
August 14, 2011 |
Pity the Chinese food delivery guy on Haeundae Beach as he wanders the mile-long maze of sun umbrellas with haiku-like instructions: "Lifeguard tower 8; third row; three parasols from end; noodles. " Covered end-to-end with multihued parasols that turned the beige sand into a sea of blue, red, white and pink, South Korea's popular summer playground is a beach where people studiously avoid the sun. American businessman Greg Conklin shook his head at the sight: This isn't a public beach; it's another planet.
August 23, 2012 |
At any other time, the storyline of a film like "R2B: Return to Base" - a reckless young fighter pilot (Korean superstar Rain) is taken down a few pegs by a more experienced and disciplined rival (Yu Jun-sang) and learns the value of teamwork - would likely earn references to "Top Gun. " With the film by chance seeing release so closely after the recent death of "Top Gun" director Tony Scott, one almost feels sorry for "R2B" director Kim Dong-won for how inescapable the comparisons will be. They are not unfounded, of course, as Kim's film looks to get premium mileage from the thrill of a slo-mo formation walk across a tarmac or the whooshing rush of the horizon line slipping by the cockpit.