I finally got out of South Korea for at least two of these movies. That’s something. Too bad none of them were very good. Let’s begin.
Shadows in the Distance (2015, dir. Orlando Bosch) –
I wrote a longer review here if you want to read it.
Oh, “Lust At First Glance”. That sounds interesting. Let’s look at the trailer.
At least the trailer is honest. Somewhat. What it doesn’t tell you is that the movie is really director Orlando Bosch throwing every art film cliche he can think of at the screen. It really doesn’t work. The movie even shows a clip of Breathless (1960) in it. The film is supposed to be about a couple who notice each other in a movie theater then pursue each other, kind of, sort of, not really. That shot at the end of the trailer that looks like a ridiculous art exhibit scene is an example of the kind of art house cliches I’m referring to.
Look familiar? Sure reminded me of something.
Yep, the “documentary” on black people having sex called Black Love (1971).
I particularly love the scene where they both go into a telephone booth to get out of the rain. Who does that? The rain could go on all night. Are you going to sleep there? You are better off making your way home and taking a shower.
I hope director Orlando Bosch really tries to forget this movie and move on from that third stage of cinephilia where you become obsessed with the world canon. Please drop the art film cliches. I was sick of these a long time ago. It was already really old when Leos Carax broke them out and filtered them through the MTV version of the French New Wave to make the lousy The Lovers on the Bridge (1991). But I remember Carax using them sparingly and knowing when to use them even if I didn’t like the movie. It really feels like Bosch just tried everything he had ever seen show up in a foreign film.
Spare yourself this movie. The least I can say is that it should be labeled as a comedy on IMDb. I kept laughing throughout the film every time something I had seen in another foreign film showed up for no apparent reason.
Love Affair (2014, dir. Jung Hwan Kim) – Yes, South Korea again. At least that poster is close to being accurate. This was an un-IMDbed movie that I had to add. It actually took two attempts and a lengthy explanation to prove to them this actually exists. It doesn’t help that on Amazon Prime it’s listed with the title Intimacy and uses the poster from the 1966 movie with that title. I think what sealed the deal was that Intimacy is in English, but their link to it on Amazon Prime clearly shows that it has English subtitles. I would love to show you the trailer, but I can’t find it.
I get two strong impressions about this movie. First, I really think the version on Amazon Prime is dubbed into Mandarin. The reason is that I lived with a guy from China for 2 years in college and they sure sounded just like when he would be talking on the phone. Oddly, this film has another tie to that roommate from college. The second thing is that I think this was a film adaptation of a Korean drama. I even get the feeling that it was just the original drama edited down to about a 90 minute film. I know that at least Korea adapting their Dramas into regular films is a thing. I did watch My Sassy Girl (2001) back in college at the encouragement of my roommate.
The movie is the title. An older married guy who runs a bookstore has an affair with another married woman. There really isn’t anything else plot wise. The only thing in that area is that there are two friends of the bookstore owner. I think they are his brothers. Either that or they really like the whole “Hey, Bro” thing. His Bro that fancies himself a bit of a ladies man really reminded me of my college roommate Rocky. Rocky could have played this guy even though he wasn’t a ladies man type.
It’s reasonably good. It certainly is the best of the three films here. I liked the leads. I especially like the actor they chose for the bookstore owner. He has a great older, but still very handsome, kind, and beautiful face. I think he was perfectly cast in the role. It has some problems and some weird editing at times, but this is the one to check out of the films here. If it’s still up when you get here, then there it is. Otherwise, it should be easy to find.
Virgin Theory: 7 Steps to Get on the Top (2014, dir. Ahn Cheol-ho) – That is the poster they show on Amazon Prime. Any reasonable person would look at that poster and think they are going to watch erotica. It’s like the trailer for My Baby Is Black! (1961) that was made to look like an exploitation film for the American market.
Here is a realistic poster for this movie.
Oh, and you’re probably wondering what exactly has the girl on the left who is shocked and the girl on the right who is bored. They are looking at porn. No joke. They are looking at porn. That’s the movie in a gist. The girl on the left is a virgin and wants to get laid. The girl on right is certainly not a virgin and wants to be taken seriously by people. They end up together because the girl on right was sleeping with the girl on the left’s father who left the house to her when he died during sex. They make sure you know that even by showing a condom with sperm in the tip picked up off the floor.
The virgin wants to go out with a ballet dancer and even envisions him in his tights, but untucked. The girl on the right does art, wants to be taken seriously, but doesn’t seem to realize that maybe dialing back on the sleeping around thing might help a little. I mean she was sleeping with the virgin’s father who apparently is so important that a call to the president of South Korea can be made. Her sex life is a tad high profile. She winds up trying to give the virgin instructions on how to get a guy. By and large, they are the kind of instructions someone who has watched too many movies like Hooked Up (2009) would give. That’s the movie with Corey Feldman, who never appears to have aged after all these years, which is obsessed with blow jobs.
That’s the movie. I don’t even remember how it ends. That’s how little of an imprint this sex comedy left on me.
9 1/2 Dates (2008, dir. Tamás Sas) – Oh, yeah! That looks like a lesbian love story poster to me. I mean look at the one for Fingersmith (2005) which is a lesbian movie.
Or the poster for The Guest House (2012) which is also a lesbian love story.
This isn’t a lesbian story. Let’s take another look at the poster. It says the cast that get top billing are Ferenc Elek, Patricia Kovács, and Gábor Hevér. That’s two actors and an actress. So of course 80-90 percent of the movie is actually with actor Iván Fenyö. Here is the realistic poster for this movie.
Just wow! You probably want to know what the plot of this movie is now. Sorry, I nearly forgot with these misleading posters.
The movie is about a guy named Dávid who wrote a book that did well, but hasn’t really published anything recently. However, he is now under pressure to put something out and is told to date 10 women, then turn around to write about what he learned from the experience. Sounds like a simple enough concept. Shouldn’t be too hard to do. Well, they screwed it up.
First, the directing is sloppy. A quick example is when a musical audio lead-in starts so soon during the current scene that we aren’t sure if it’s coming from the radio or not. This kind of bad directing plagues the film.
Second, you’d think the movie would focus on the women he dates while having the lead be low-key and mainly listen to the ladies he is dating so he has material for his book. Yeah, you’d think that, but it’s not. The dates are pushed so far onto the back burner of this film that you could forget they exist. You could even forget that the women he dates paint a bit of sad portrait of modern Hungarian women. Seriously, they are so glossed over that you can totally miss that. They are really subplots in this movie. The main plot is him trying to get back in with his ex who has been assigned to work with him on the book.
Thirdly, while this is a problem with Amazon Prime and not the movie, the subtitles are fast as lightning. If you are going to subject yourself to this movie, then make sure you can read fast. You’d think they would be onscreen longer when there are a bunch of words on the screen. Nope! Sometimes that happens, but often it disappears so fast that you are missing half of what is being said. Also, I think these subtitles weren’t done by someone who has a good grasp on the English language. It’s not awful, but there are enough moments where the subtitles really don’t read right.
So, it’s sloppy, glosses over it’s plot, and has subtitles you have to be very quick to read. Avoid it.
Go with Love Affair if you want to see any of these movies.