films seen
average score
Alive and kicking
more info



2002 / 133m - South Korea
Drama, Romance
Oasis poster


2018 / 148m - South Korea
Mystery, Drama
Burning poster

What could've been a decent mystery, is dragged down by its somewhat plain and unimaginative arthouse execution. The plot is interesting enough, but Lee drags out every scene to its breaking point. When it works the result is magical, more often it fails and the film becomes unbearable.

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Jong-su, an aspiring writer working as a delivery guy, runs into Hae-mi, an old friend. The two hit it off, and he promises her to take care of her cat while she's away on holiday. When she returns she introduces him to Ben, a well off, confident guy who seems to share a special bond with Hae-mi. When Hae-mi suddenly disappears again, Jong-su suspects Ben.

There's an uneasy atmosphere that lingers from the very start. It's pretty clear that something is off, but it's hard to tell what it is exactly. The film itself is also sparse with information and the ending leaves plenty of loose ends. While that's all nice and interesting, the pacing is just too slow and neither the mystery nor the audiovisual qualities are strong enough to cover it up. A bit disappointing.

Secret Sunshine

2007 / 142m - South Korea
Secret Sunshine poster

A weird and somewhat unfocused drama. While it starts off promising enough, the film ventures off in a different direction about 1 hour in and never finds its footing after that. A severe lack of subtlety and some baseless venting doesn't really help Secret Sunshine's case either.

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After the death of her husband, Shin-ae leaves with her son to go live in Milyang, the city where her husband grew up. The welcome isn't too friendly though and when disaster strikes again, Shin-ae desperately tries to look for comfort. When she can't find it, she starts lashing out.

Performances are somewhat decent, but the lack of subtlety really didn't work for me. The digs at religion were also pretty uncomfortable (even though I'm not religious myself), the film lacks focus and the solid pacing found in the first hour is set aside for a barrage of random drama. Not that great.