Tag Archives: film

Frenemies Forever: Kim Ki-duk vs. Jang Hun

Filmmaker Jang Hun discusses the tension between him and his mentor, Korean auteur Kim Ki Duk.

By Eugene Yi

Korean auteur Kim Ki-duk recently emerged from a self-induced exile in the Korean mountains with the film Arirang, which premiered to a standing ovation at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival. It’s essentially a 100-minute video blog, wrenching and profane, that explains his absence from filmmaking.

He first ascribed it to an actress’s near-death during the shooting of a suicide scene in his 2008 film Dream. But then, Kim went on to explain how his ability to trust had been shattered by The Frontline director Jang Hun.

Jang had long worked with Kim, starting in the production department and eventually becoming one of the assistant directors. But during the pre-production phase for a Kim film, Jang and a producer left to work on Secret Reunion, the young director’s sophomore film.

“They left like cowards,” Kim said in Arirang. He called Jang an opportunist, and the film ends with Kim [spoiler alert] assembling a gun, shouting “I’m coming to kill you!” and “Traitors!” as he drives into the city. [The film then veers abruptly into fiction, with Kim entering a series of buildings, each of which rings out with a single shot. The revenge fantasy ends with his own suicide.]

“It was the worst thing that happened to me. Not Arirang, but whatever happened before that, and the situation with [Kim], everything from that time,” said Jang haltingly, as a bossanova cover of No Doubt’s “Don’t Speak” played over the speakers at the cafe where we met before a November 2011 screening of The Frontline, Jang’s Korean War epic, in Los Angeles. Continue reading

December Issue: The Making of an Oscar Contender

Photo by John Park

Only two Asian films have won the best foreign language Academy Award in the entire history of the prize. Korean director Jang Hun’s The Front Line is South Korea’s entry for the 2012 award. Does it stand a chance?

by Eugene Yi

It’s been a rite for half a century. As the days shorten, the Korean Film Council will choose a film as its selection for the Academy Awards’ Best Foreign Language category. The Academy will announce its nominations in January. The South Korean film will not be on the list.

So this year, on an early November evening in Los Angeles, the ever-optimistic Korean Film Council (KOFIC) hosted a screening of its latest selection: Jang Hun’s The Front Line. Such screenings are an opportunity for Academy members to view the film on the big screen. Such attendees, if they were there, were not of the celebrity variety, so were difficult to spot.

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Jang, however, was very visible.  Only 37, all three of the director’s films have been hits, and all three were shown at the CGV theater that day in a “retrospective” of his work. A bit generous, perhaps, for a still-young filmmaker, but in that spirit, I asked him whether he thought he’d hit upon a style to call his own, and he described himself thusly:

1) His films are all action films.

2) He focuses on the relationships between male frenemies, to the point that he is sometimes chided by the South Korean press for seeming to dislike actresses.

True to form, The Front Line explores the disillusionment among the rank-and-file during the last days of the Korean War. Ragged units of the North and South fight over a hill called Aero K, which has changed hands so many times that the soldiers have lost count.  (Read the name of the hill backwards to find its allegorical meaning.) Jang had reservations about making a war film, thinking it’d be too physically grueling, but “within two hours of reading the script, I decided to make the film,” he said. Continue reading

Friday's Link Attack: Tiger JK, Sandra Oh, Margaret Cho

Asian Rapper Set to Roar Across L.A.
L.A. Times

Now, there’s no denying his talent. As MC Tiger JK (he declines to confirm his given name or age, though most fan sites refer to him as Seo Jung-Kwon), he’s perhaps the most popular Korean rapper in America, Asia and the world. By reinterpreting the brash appeal of L.A. gangsta rap for Korean audiences, he and his Drunken Tiger crew have alternately scandalized and intrigued their audience for nearly two decades.

Drunken Tiger’s Friday show at the Wiltern, “The Jungle Concert in L.A.” (featuring an extended bill of Korean hip-hop peers including his wife, Korean American R&B artist Yoon Mi Rae, rap acts Lee Ssang, Bizzy and vocalist Jung In), might codify a scene that thrives at a difficult flashpoint between many different cultures. They want to represent Korea and their genre without pandering to stereotypes about Asian pop, and they want to be taken seriously as rappers in America without relying on their outsider status.

Sandra Oh on North Korean Refugee Adoption Act
Channel APA

The North Korean Refugee Adoption Act, if passed, would allow Americans to adopt refugee orphans who have fled the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) to neighboring countries such as Mongolia, Thailand and other Southeast Asian countries. These children are struggling in harsh circumstances, and run the risk of being sent back to DPRK. According to the World Food Program, DPRK faces regular food shortages, and one in three North Korean children under five are chronically malnourished.

David Chang, the Rock Star of Ramen, Goes Global
USA Today

And now, only seven years after opening that first noodle bar in a former chicken wing joint the size of a one-car garage, Chang is going global.

He opened Momofuku Seiobo, his first eatery outside New York, late last month — going all the way to Sydney, Australia to do it. Next year, a Toronto outpost opens — it will be his sixth, not counting the four Momofuku Milk Bar bakeries run by his protege, Christina Tosi. The second edition of his admired food quarterly, Lucky Peach (that’s English for the Japanese “momofuku”), has just come out. He’s still tinkering with the iPad app.

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S. Korea HIV patients battle AIDS, and bias
CBS News

On Monday, UNAIDS appointed Hong Myung-bo, one of South Korea’s most famous soccer players, as an International Goodwill Ambassador to raise awareness on HIV/AIDS in Korea and the rest of Asia.

His appointment is promising news because people living with the disease in Korea are fighting an uphill battle against intangible forces that cannot be conquered with medicine and money alone.

As of December 2010, about 7,200 people in Korea were known to be living with the human immunodeficiency virus that causes AIDS, according to the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In a country with a population of almost 49 million that means just 0.015% of South Koreans are living with HIV.

However, experts estimate that the actual number of people who live with the virus may be five to ten times greater than the official count.

Widespread misconceptions, stigma, and discrimination surrounding the illness have pushed HIV patients to the fringes of Korean society, say experts and activists. The fear of being exposed and ostracized is strong.

300 Homeless Men in Cleveland Enjoy Korean American Association Hospitality and Goodwill Gesture
Cleveland Plain Dealer

It’s the second year the Korean American Association has served dinner and provided clothing to Northeast Ohio’s homeless men. The idea was a brainstorm of association president Sam Kim.
“We did this last year and provided blankets for these men,” Kim said. “It was a joy for us to see how happy these men were then, and we knew we had to do this again. But we couldn’t do this alone . . . we had 10 Korean churches who helped support this event.”

Margaret Cho On Writing Comedic Music and Her New Cho Dependent DVD
OC Weekly

Margaret Cho might be known best from the laughs she’s provided over the years, but her talents extend beyond being funny. She has the passion to inspire and leaves you knowing that you have the right to do and laugh at what you want. From Dancing with the Stars to Drop Dead Diva and her new DVD Cho Dependent, Cho has blossomed into the total package.

From rags to riches, South Korea hosts forum on international aid
Los Angeles Times

For South Korea, the fact that the southern port city of Busan played host Tuesday to the start of a three-day forum on global aid strategies is no less than a “rags to riches” story.

In 1963, still reeling from a war that a decade earlier had ravaged the Korean peninsula, South Korea, with a per capita income of just $89, was a major recipient of global aid, making it one of the world’s least-developed countries.

That was then; this is now.

Today, Busan is the world’s fifth-largest commercial port and the nation’s economy is the world’s 13th largest.

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Friday's Link Attack: Pyongyang University, John Cho, Sung Kim


The Man With the Golden Shoes (Photo)
WSJ

Young Jun wears a vintage leopard jacket over Givenchy’s snarling Rottweiler t-shirt. New Yorkers seem particularly fond of the image’s “step back” message; Rottweiler tees are prowling the streets. Both Young Jun’s baggy pants and his golden wingtip shoes are by Comme des Garçons. The bag slung over his shoulder is made by the Korean design duo, Steve J & Yoni P.

New university is opening doors in North Korea
Houston Chronicle

The meeting was recently held in the new Pyongyang University of Science and Technology (PUST). What I came to learn was that the very existence of this institution represents nothing short of a miracle and a unique opportunity for change.

The brainchild of James Kim, a Korean-American businessman who survived imprisonment and a death sentence in Pyongyang in 1998, the university is a place where hundreds of North Korean students are receiving a first-class education taught in English by a multinational, primarily Western faculty. The students who live and study here are among their nation’s brightest and best, and most importantly, represent the leaders of tomorrow.

In South Korea, Plastic Surgery Comes Out of the Closet
New York Times

Cosmetic surgery has long been widespread in South Korea. But until recently, it was something to keep quiet about. No longer.

And as society has become more open about the practice, surgeries have become increasingly extreme. Double-jaw surgery — which was originally developed to repair facial deformities, and involves cutting and rearranging the upper and lower jaws — has become a favorite procedure for South Korean women who are no longer satisfied with mere nose jobs or with paring down cheekbones to achieve a smoother facial line.

A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas: Film Review
The Hollywood Reporter

Nothing has changed. After being waylaid by the lame Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay in 2008, Harold and Kumar, looking well past 30 — the actors always played much younger than they were — return for another nocturnal ramble that will increasingly move into surreal fantasy. But the situation, for all the 3D claptrap, remains essentially the same: Two reasonably authentic characters tumble into a Wonderland of sheer nonsense.


To Anyone: The Rise of Korean Wave
Pitchfork

South Korean pop culture (often referred to as “Hallyu”, which means “Korean Wave”) is a fresh-faced phenomenon. The record companies that currently dominate the country’s music industry date back only to 1995, which means that K-Pop, as a genre and a business, is probably younger than you are. It certainly sounds young– even if you ignore the fact that most K-Pop groups are made up of teenagers, there’s a wild, enthusiastic spirit evident in the way their producers gobble up and spit out sounds like Britney/Gaga Eurotrance, Auto-Tune, rapid-fire rap, swooning Final Fantasy strings, breakbeats, and industrial-strength synths. This music can be flat, derivative, and sometimes really, really annoying. It can also deliver the kind of senses-shattering, hands-in-the-air euphoria that’s a defining marker of great pop.

Blunted in the Walk-In: Eddie and Prodigy Eat Korean at Jung Sik
Complex

Jung Sik wants to be the “first high-end, thoroughly modern Korean restaurant in New York.” If “modern” means a Korean Francophile’s expensive and long-winded tasting menu, then they’re undoubtedly modern in every sense of the word. But if modern means something more like Roy Choi, who serves a modern, personal, Korean-American story through $2 tacos, then NY is still waiting for its first thoroughly modern Korean restaurant or, better yet, a Kogi Truck on dub-deuces. Cause if I had a food truck, it’d be sittin’ on 22-inch Daytons with Uncle Murda yelling “Ohhh, I’m gettin’ paper.”

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The True Origins of Pizza: Irony, the Internet and East Asian Nationalisms
Japan Focus

On September 30, 2011, an outfit named GumshoePictures uploaded on YouTube a video entitled “The True Origins of Pizza,” which, in the format of a brief documentary (3:44), reminiscent of those seen on such stations as the Discovery Channel, investigates an apparent historical puzzle: a series of speakers, from academics to a blogger and a representative of the “Korean Culinary Center,” are interviewed and advance evidence that pizza originated in Korea and had been “stolen” by Marco Polo, much as he had reputedly brought back noodles from China to Italy as spaghetti.

The co-star of Harold & Kumar comes clean about his addiction to Angry Birds and his epiphany after reading The New York Times in print.
AdWeek

Give us the skinny on your favorite app.
My favorite app right now is Angry Birds. It’s like a disease. And Netflix, although it’s weird in terms of what’s available lately. I think iBooks is insanely convenient.

What’s your biggest digital indulgence?
An iPad is not particularly necessary, but I got one. But it hasn’t taken over my life.

Look how far South Korea has come
The Globe and Mail

The Kia Optima may be the winning car of this group, but overall at this year’s TestFest, the South Korean currency was the big winner. Every category in which a South Korean product was entered, a South Korean car scored a victory, with one exception: the Hyundai Genesis R-Spec, which was optimistically entered into the Performance Above $50,000 group of track stars, instead of the Luxury car group, where it more naturally fit.

Jung Gon Kim charged with sexually abusing boys
ABC 7

An Ellicott City barber is facing charges that he sexually abused a 13-year-old boy.

Police charged the barber, Jung Gon Kim, 54, with sexual abuse of a minor, second- and third degree sex offense, sodomy and second degree assault.

The victim was a client of the Scissors Sound Hair Salon in Ellicott City.

Sung Kim sworn in as U.S. ambassador to S. Korea
Yonhap News Agency

“The new ambassador, Sung Kim, is expected to go to Seoul around Nov. 10 and he will immediately present credentials (to President Lee Myung-bak) to begin his work,” the source said, requesting anonymity since the State Department has yet to announce a related schedule.

Kim, a career diplomat with expertise on the North Korean nuclear issue, will become the first Korean-born U.S. ambassador to Korea since the two sides forged diplomatic relations 129 years ago.

Kim Jong-il reveals fondness for dolphins and fancy dogs
The Telegraph

North Korea’s ailing leader Kim Jong-il has long been known to have a taste for the finer things in life – from Uzbek Caviar to fine French Cognac – but a new list of luxury imports now also reveals a penchant for Chinese dolphins, French poodles, and African aphrodisiacs.

박재범 Jay Park ‘Girlfriend’ [Official Music Video]
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Three Korean Films To Screen At AFI Film Festival

Stanislav Tyan stars in Hanaan, a modern-day crime tale set amid a backdrop of the USSR’s forced relocation of Koreans.

Los Angeles’ longest running international film festival is back, and this year features a diverse offering from South Korean cinema, including a gritty crime drama about a fourth-generation Korean-Uzbek police detective and an intimate documentary from a famous filmmaker who decides to turn the camera on himself.

Running Nov. 3 through Nov. 10, the AFI Fest will screen 110 films, including 70 features and 40 shorts that were selected from more than 3,000 submissions across 36 countries. Among those selections are three Korean feature films and one short.

“AFI Fest has always had an eye on South Korean cinema, not just because the quality of those films are always much higher than the normal output of other locales, but also because we know we have a strong Korean audience here in Los Angeles that has been attending the festival for years,” said Lane Kneedler, associate director of programming for the festival.

“South Korea obviously has some of the best film schools and film studios in the world,” Kneedler said. “Their level of sophistication has elevated film as an art form ever higher.” Continue reading

Tuesday's Link Attack: Harold and Kumar, Yoon Mirae, SNSD

The Harold & Kumar worldview
Philadelphia Inquirer

[Kal] Penn points to shows like Modern Family and Community as evidence that the viewing culture has shifted. [John] Cho says he’s been getting different questions from journalists this time around.

For the first two movies, he says, the characters’ race “was all we talked about. I learned that’s what people clock first, the color of a person. This time, we’re not necessarily talking about the politics of race in America – I’m not sure actors are the best people to talk about that – and when we are, the questions don’t overwhelm the discussion.”

At 39, Cho is also substantially older than his Harold & Kumar character. But perhaps because of how the franchise’s audience skews, both actors feel like they’ve gained insight into the way younger people see the world, an experience that’s left them with surprisingly optimistic worldviews.

The success of the movies, Cho says, “speaks to a different tone in the country. For the first movie, it was months and months of justifying why there was a Korean guy and an Indian guy in a theatrical motion picture. There’s no need anymore. It’s been done.”

Redistricting offers Asian-Americans a political opportunity to gain fair representation
New York Daily News

Redistricting — the redrawing of political district lines — takes place every 10 years, after new Census data are released.

Elected officials and political insiders pay close attention to this arcane process of map-drawing, because they understand well that new district lines could result in major shifts of political power.

As civil rights advocates, we see redistricting as the once-in-a-decade chance for communities of color to secure political influence that is commensurate with their numbers.

New York City’s changing demographics, fueled by rising immigration, will now provide Asian-Americans a real opportunity to gain fair representation through redistricting.

Get It In by Tasha Reid (aka Yoon Mirae)
channel APA

Coming out of Korea is Tasha Reid’s (aka Yoon Mirae) homage to Quentin Tarantino’s Kill Bill with the music video for her single “Get It In.” Opening up into an unparalleled world of music and virtual mayhem, it features action packed bloody scenes with swordplay as she take on multiple enemies. She’s showing that she’s a true woman warrior.

Tasha, as the protagonist and heroine, controls the confines of her existence with the swing of her sword, kicking ass and fighting off tuxedo suited villains. Once she passes the underlings, Tasha faces the big boss Tiger JK of Drunken Tiger (who is her real life husband). He makes his defiantly late entrance, proceeding into a storm-struck battle of the-hip hop beaux. Complete with wire work and special effects, this is one high value big production.

With Park Gone, Korea Loses Its Trailblazer
Wall Street Journal

The search for three missing South Korean mountain climbers at Annapurna, one of the highest peaks in the Himalayas, ended Saturday after 12 days without success.

Park Young-seok, one of the country’s most renowned summiteers, and two fellow climbers went missing on October 18. His last message via satellite phone said his team had a hard time climbing down due to heavy avalanche.

Since the last contact, the Korean Alpine Federation and local Sherpas launched a risky search operation, believing that they might have been trapped in a crevasse, to no avail. The search team only found a rope and climbing nail buried under snow, both believed to belong to the missing climbers.

On Sunday, a memorial service was held at the Annapurna base camp at an altitude of 4,200 meters. It was attended by the search team and family members who flew in from Korea.

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Korea’s Diabetes Death Rate is Highest in OECD
Chosun Ilbo

Korea’s rate of diabetes-related deaths is the highest of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development nations.

Diabetes-related deaths per 100,000 persons were 35.5 in South Korea, more than twice the 13.7 average of OECD nations. Japan’s rate is 5.9 and England’s is 7.5. Korea’s rate is almost twice that of Germany’s 16.6 and significantly higher than the U.S.’ 20.9 even though both of those nations have high numbers of diabetes-related deaths.

Defector uses balloons to send socks to North Korea
Los Angeles Times

The oblong helium balloon rose into an ink-colored sky Saturday, released by a dozen hands just south of one of the world’s most fortified borders, its precious cargo bound for North Korea.

Yet unlike countless balloon launches that shower the north with pamphlets and political screeds criticizing Kim Jong-il’s secretive regime, this one carried a different kind of payload: socks.

In all, hundreds of pairs of foot coverings were lifted heavenward by 10 balloons: little pink baby footies and large black and blue ones for growing children and adults -– all headed for impoverished residents facing another winter.

The socks also carried a message: Hang on for dear life.

How to rock Ajumma style
Korea.net

Are you an ajumma (아줌마)? Ajumma is the familiar term for “married woman”, but also the general moniker in calling an older woman, regardless of marital status. It’s not just a name, though. It’s much more than that; it’s a title, a state of mind, a complete lifestyle. All Korean women seem to be born with the ajumma gene which surfaces naturally after 3 months of becoming one, and whose traits become stronger and stronger as time goes by.

Ajummas have their own distinctive style, something that also seems to be automatically released upon marriage, but if you’re an ajumma who just isn’t fitting in, or in need of some extra oomph, here are a few tips to make your outer (and inner) ajumma shine!

What does the United States think of Girls’ Generation?
CNNGo

With the girls’ U.S. album being released today, we asked a selection of Americans across the country what they make of all the K-Pop fierceness.

Winner of Taiwanese “Emmy”: “I’d like to thank my iPhone”
via Yahoo News

During the recent Golden Bell Television Awards last month in Taipei — Taiwan’s equivalent of the Emmy awards — Huang Ming-chan, who won one of the top prizes in the director categories, gingerly walked up to the stage and snapped a cellphone photo of himself (over the shoulder) while approaching the podium.

The 40-something director then took another cell phone from his other jacket pocket and started reading congratulatory email messages and smiling to himself, totally ignoring the audience before finally addressing the 5,000 people in the auditorium — and on national TV — by reading his acceptance speech from the screen of his iPhone.

Fort Lee man pleads guilty for role in Palisades Park-based fraud ring
Bergen County Record

This is the case that never ends. That’s what happens when 53 people are involved in an identity theft ring.

A Fort Lee man was among four people who pleaded guilty Tuesday in connection with an identity theft and bank-fraud ring that was the target of a federal investigation last year, authorities said.

Byung Jang, 47, pleaded guilty in federal court in Newark to conspiracy to commit credit card fraud and aggravated identity theft, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman said in a statement.

Asian Americans now country’s fastest growing racial group
Los Angeles Times

Increased immigration from South Asia helped fuel the rapid growth in the number of Asian Americans over the last decade as well as an influx of Asians to states such as Nevada, Arizona, North Carolina and Georgia, according to an analysis of U.S. Census data released Wednesday.

Monday's Link Attack: Amb. Sung Kim, Harold and Kumar, Will Demps

For new U.S. ambassador, a mixed reception for a native son
Yonhap

Ambassador Sung Y. Kim, a Korean-American who immigrated to the United States at 13, speaks the Korean language fluently. But others think that his deep ties to Korea and his ethnicity could also pose challenges.

“A lot of Koreans will receive him as a returning son,” said a former Korean diplomat who asked to remain unnamed. “But such a sentiment of Koreans can work negatively on Kim’s ambassadorial performance.”

He said the incoming ambassador, like other Americans, is expected to pursue American values and interests in his post, which may disappoint Koreans. Moreover, he said, Koreans tend to be kinder to foreigners than to those with an ethnically Korean background.

“I am afraid that Koreans may not pay due respect to Amb. Kim,” said the former diplomat, who served in a top post in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

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Becoming an Iron Chef: Judy Joo
Columbia Engineering

In a wry 2009 Wall Street Journal essay, Columbia Engineering graduate Judy Joo described her life as the lowest of chefs in a London three-star Michelin restaurant. It was a male-dominated world of commanding profanities, testosterone-fueled temper tantrums, and confrontations that sometimes ended with shattered plates and trays.

Fortunately, Joo was used to it. She had worked on Wall Street.

Today, she is one of the four resident chefs on “Iron Chef UK” and executive chef of London’s swanky Playboy Club. It has been a surprising journey for the self-described “geeky” daughter of Korean immigrants who grew up in New Jersey wanting to be the next Madame Curie.

Rhee sets up shop downtown
Sacramento Bee

StudentsFirst, the group founded last year by Michelle Rhee, recently signed a lease for the second floor of the historic Hale’s building at Ninth and K and will move staff there in February following the completion of tenant improvements costing about $1 million.

The group has been operating out of temporary facilities in the Oak Park neighborhood and currently has about 30 staffers, many of them former colleagues of Rhee’s from Washington, D.C., where she was the district’s schools chancellor.

She moved here in June and married Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson in September.

‘The Walking Dead’ star Steven Yeun scares up South Florida fans
Accidental Sexiness

Yeun, who plays the role of Glenn on the hit AMC zombie drama, sat down with us for a special one-on-one interview where he told us a bit of what we can expect from his character during this exciting second season. So far we are starting to learn little bits and pieces about him and we’ve even met his soon-to-be love interest Maggie Greene (played by Lauren Cohan).

Korean-Americans hope to reunite with NK relatives
Korea Times

[Lee Cha-Hee] is one of an estimated 100,000 first-generation Korean-Americans who remain separated from their family members in the North, many of whom still yearn to see their parents, siblings or children living in the Stalinist state. With no official channels to contact them, they have long called on Washington to act on the issue and in some cases resorted to dodgy informal methods.

Their plight is gaining traction on the back of grassroots efforts as well as a forthcoming documentary, “Divided Families,” recently screened on Capitol Hill. The increased attention comes at an opportune time as Washington and Pyongyang discuss the possibility of holding some form of reunions.

Former NFL Player Will Demps
Asiance

Will Demps is undoubtedly one of the most handsome former football players of the NFL. A former San Diego State Aztec, Demps was signed by the Baltimore Ravens as an undrafted free agent in 2002, playing for the New York Giants in 2006 and eventually as a Houston Texan until 2009.

Born to a Korean mother and an African-American father, Will Demps is quite well-known. During his childhood, his family relocated to California where he would soon realize his dream of becoming an NFL football player.

An entrepreneur at heart, Will is involved with numerous businesses. Demps is the owner of a Wet Willie’s chain bar in San Diego, California, the first on the West Coast and features dishes influenced by his mother’s home cooking such as Seoul tacos. He’s also in the middle of developing a social network for celebrities.

Harold & Kumar are still wreaking silly havoc in their new 3D comedy
Detroit Free Press

And this is probably the first movie to have its 3D cake and eat it, too, by making fun of the cinematic gimmick while utilizing it in over-the-top, oh-no-they-didn’t ways.

Cho sounds philosophical about the raunchier aspects of the comedy. “When you sign up for a Harold and Kumar movie, you’ve got to prepare for the consequences,” he says. “I didn’t go in innocent.”

But no matter how gross the laughs may get, there’s something about Harold and Kumar’s likability and their enduring friendship that has made them pop-culture icons for the 40-and-under crowd.

Cho isn’t sure about the icon title. “I don’t necessarily think of Harold in those terms,” he says. “I just have a lot of affection for him. He’s like people I know. They wrote that script afraid that the studio would change the race of those characters. In the first draft, they wrote in scenes that would indicate that these guys cannot be played by anyone other than an Indian actor and a Korean actor, so there were all these scenes about them talking about their family background and their culture. Partly because of that, I just developed an affinity for Harold, because he seemed like friends I knew. He mirrored some of my background.”

Christmas movie trivia with Kal Penn and John Cho
Washington Post

The Washington Post’s Jen Chaney quizzes Kal Penn and John Cho, stars of the upcoming “A Very Harold and Kumar 3D Christmas,” on their knowledge of Christmas movies.

Bobby Lee on Wedding Palace
YouTube

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Friday's Link Attack: John Cho, Joy Osmanski, Yuna Kim

Kal Penn and John Cho on Tonight Show with Jay Leno
channel APA

Actors John Cho & Kal Penn landed on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno to promote their upcoming film “A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas“. They start off chatting about their connections with President Obama from working at the White House to being invited there. The duo also talk about their very first press tour and the similarities to their Harold & Kumar characters. Watch a special clip from their movie.

Glendale man arrested on suspicion of stealing Korean Americans’ IDs
Los Angeles Times

A 49-year-old Glendale man has been arrested on suspicion of stealing the personal information, including Social Security numbers, of more than 90 Korean-Americans, police said.

Dong Ho Han, who is being held in lieu of $4.6-million bail, was arrested early Wednesday on suspicion of identity theft, possessing a forged driver’s license or identification card and possessing pills without a prescription, according to Glendale police reports.

“There is no indication of what he was going to do with them,” Financial Crimes Sgt. Harley Wing told the Glendale News-Press.

Police stopped Han about 2:30 a.m. at Los Olivos Lane and Moore Street for a traffic equipment violation when they discovered he was on probation for forgery in Santa Barbara County, Wing said.

During a search of Han’s car, police found dates of birth and Social Security numbers for more than 90 Koreans, he said.

Police also found prescription pills, including Oxycontin and Methadone, three or four signed blank checks and four passports in his name, but with different dates of birth, Wing said. Han also had $3,200 in cash, Wing added.

Illinois Fugitive Hyungkyu Choi
Chicago Tribune

On Sept. 28, 2011, a father told Naperville police that his 13-year-old daughter had been sexually abused by her martial arts instructor, Hyungkyu Choi.

Five days earlier, about 2 a.m., the girl told her dad, Choi drove her to one of the YK Martial Arts Studio locations in Naperville, and sexually abused her there.

A doctor interviewed and examined the minor that day, and the minor disclosed to him that she had a relationship with Choi over several months and they had sexual contact twice between July and September.

Choi was 26, twice the alleged victim’s age.

After meeting with police on Oct. 1, Choi fled the country for South Korea on Oct. 6.

joy osmanski’s in the new animated fox show allen gregory
angryasianman

Heads up. Our friend, actress Joy Osmanski, stars in the next FOX animated series Allen Gregory, which premieres this Sunday, October 30 as part of the network’s animation block (right after The Simpsons). Joy supplies the voice of Julie DeLongpre, Allen Gregory’s sister.

SKorea: Singer, judge discuss race prejudice
Asian Correspondent

A top star and a judge, both middle-aged, have joined hands in Korea and America to overcome the difficulties of being mixed-race. They have spent over 50 years of life in different places but when they meet their faces seem both similar and different. 54-year-old singer In Soon-yi, the child of a Korean mother and a black American father who was serving in the Korean war, and 56-year old Judy Draper, a Korean-American judge, met at a restaurant in Bangbae-dong, Seoul, on the 20th. Their meeting was arranged after the Ministry of Foreign affairs and Trade (외교통상부) brought Draper to Korea on the 17th after she became a well-known Korean-American after being made a circuit judge in St. Louis, Missouri. Judge Draper, who brought her multicultural son with her, came to know In Soon-yi when she learned were both doing similar work at the Pearl S. Buck Foundation Korea (한국펄벅재단) and requested that the Ministry arrange a meeting.

A spokesperson for In Soon-yi said that “as soon as in Soon-yi met Judge Draper they embraced… As mixed-race Koreans they each overcame discrimination and never gave up, working to be treated fairly, and each was touched by that.”

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Seoul, US cautiously move on 6-party talks
Korea Times

South Korean officials Wednesday remained mum on high-level talks between North Korea and the United States on how to resume nuclear disarmament negotiations but said the communist state had shown seriousness in a recent flurry of diplomacy.

A Seoul official said the government was waiting for a full briefing from Washington before making any comment. But he added on condition of anonymity that in two rounds of contact between the Koreas, running in conjunction with the U.S.-North talks, Pyongyang had been “quite serious.”

The cautious approach echoed that of U.S officials, who after the two-day session in Geneva earlier this week, said talks had been positive, while stamping down hope for an imminent breakthrough. Stephen Bosworth said the sides had narrowed differences on resuming six-party talks but did not elaborate on areas of progress.

Korean Skating Champ Yuna Kim Collaborates on Ceramics Line
ABC News

Figure skater and Olympic champion Yuna Kim is launching her own ceramic collection, “YUNA,” in collaboration with a Korean ceramic company.

“I wanted to do something with my career that could spread awareness of Korean culture,” said Kim at the YUNA showcase at Shinsegae department store on Thursday. “And I chose the most Korean brand.”

She referred to the porcelain manufacturer Kwangjuyo. The upscale, traditional, handmade pottery-maker is known for its drive to develop and introduce Korean food globally.

Faculty Spotlight: Born in Korea, Educated in America, Now Teaching In Singapore
Tisch Arts blog

SHINHO LEE
Assistant Arts Professor at Dramatic Writing Department
New York University Tisch School of the Arts Asia

Raised in: Born and raised in Seoul, South Korea

Courses I teach: Grad Screenwriting I, Thesis Screenwriting I & II, Screenwriting Lab, Collaborative Film for 2nd Year Writing Students & 3rd Year Film Students, Feature Writing for 3rd Year Film Students.

Educated in: New York (BFA NYU Tisch Film & Television 2000; MFA NYU Tisch Dramatic Writing Department 2002), Los Angeles (MFA American Film Institute Screenwriting 2003)

Proudest Professional Moment: The Red Snow, a screenplay that I wrote while at Tisch Dramatic Writing Department, won 2003 Hartley-Merrill Award that was announced at Cannes Film Festival; The Chaser, a Korean film, that I co-wrote became a hit in South Korea in 2008 and is expected to be remade by Warner Bros., starring Leonardo DiCaprio; Sayonara Itsuka, a Japanese language film, that I wrote became the highest grossing Korean film in Japan in 2010.

I’m Now Working On: A love story set in New York City to be produced by Terence Chang (Tisch alum; producer of Face/Off, Red Cliff, Hard Boiled); A US-Korea co-production project that deals with the rumored to be true story about a Korean soldier who had a fling with Marilyn Monroe in 1954; A suspense thriller set in Singapore to be produced in 2012; An action blockbuster film set in four Asian countries to be produced in 2012-2013.

’21 and Over’ begins shooting in China
Variety

The young adult comedy co-starring Justin Chon began filming in China.

Miles Teller (“Footloose”), Justin Chon (“The Twilight Saga”), Skylar Astin (“Taking Woodstock”) and Sarah Wright (“The House Bunny”) star in the pic, which follows two childhood friends who drag their straight-arrow buddy out to celebrate his 21st birthday the night before an important medical school interview, in an evening of debauchery that spirals out of control. But when one beer leads to another, the evening spirals into a wild misadventure of debauchery that none of them will ever forget.

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