By Kim Tae-jong
Staff Reporter (The Korea Times)
To celebrate the Chusok holiday, millions of people are expected to hit the roads to their hometowns enduring severe traffic congestion. But with longer leaves from work this year, many people will also be spending the holiday at theaters.
“As the holiday is longer than ever, we expect to have more moviegoers, maybe double the average,” said Kim Min-ji, PR analyst at CJ CGV, the nation’s biggest multiplex theater chain. “Since the lineup seems quite attractive, we think there are many people who will visit theaters more than twice during the holiday.”
As Chusok is traditionally one of the most lucrative seasons for the film industry, many films have been released to attract holidaymakers. Local theaters are holding various events along with offering discounts.
About 10 movies are now showing at theaters, and most of them are Korean movies. If you are not sure what to see, here is some information on the movies showing.
Maundy Thursday (Wuridului Haengbokhan Sigan)
This tearjerker made a successful debut drawing over 2 million moviegoers in under two weeks since its release on Sept. 14, and it is still going strong.
Directed by Song Hae-sung and starring the handsome Kang Dong-won and the lovely Lee Na-young, the film seems to be a typical love story, but it actually deals with the controversial issue of the death penalty through characters leading a marginalized life. It may disappoint audiences who expect to see a regular melodrama.
The story revolves around Yun-su (played by Kang), a convicted killer on death row, who befriends Yu-jung (Lee), when she visits him with at the prison with her aunt, a nun. Yu-jung has made repeated suicide attempts due to a troubled youth. As the seemingly extreme relationship further develops, they help each other heal.
Marrying the Mafia 3 (Kamunui Yonggwang 3)
The film is the third installment of the popular gangster comedy series. The rest of the series all have opened around Chusok, achieving huge success. Will the new film outdo its predecessors?
The members from the second installment teamed up once again for the new film, including director Jung Yong-ki and actors Shin Hyun-jun, Kim Won-hee and Kim Su-mi, bringing little that is new since the second film.
But the new film has appealing elements to those who seek something far from serious, given the fact that it attracted some 1.2 million viewers within four days of being released.
The story takes off with the family matriarch, Mrs. Hong, her star prosecutor daughter-in-law and the rest of the family launching a kimchi-making business after putting an end to their days of organized crime. But they face a crisis as their enemies prepare to take revenge on the Hongs.
Tazza: The High Roller (Tajja)
Often seen during the Chusok holiday are family members and relatives gathering around playing “Go-stop,” a Korean card game, with small stakes. But more fatal gambling is depicted in this film.
Despite the risks that the film takes, such as running two hours and 20 minutes and the rating of “18 and over,” it appears to be the strongest competitor at the box office attracting over 1.3 million moviegoers since its release on Sept. 27.
Directed by Choi Dong-hun, the film is an adaptation of a hit comedy series by Hur Young-man. Veteran actors such as Cho Seung-woo, Kim Hye-soo, Baek Yoon-sik and Yoo Hae-jin bring life to their counterparts from the original series.
The film revolves around Ko-ni (by Cho), an ordinary factory worker at a furniture company, who loses everything overnight at a gambling table and decides to become a top professional gambler to get back what he lost.
Lee Joon-ik, director of the nation’s second most viewed film “King and the Clown,” is back with this human drama.
To present another successful touching story, two veteran actors Park Joong-hun and Ahn Sung-ki, who have maintained an intimate friendship for decades in real life, join the film.
However, despite the high expectation and positive reviews, the film made a disappointing debut, drawing some 0.2 million nationwide.
The film is a story about a rocker who was a huge star in his heyday but is pushed to host a small radio show in the countryside. It sheds light on the decade long friendship between the rock star and his personal manager.
The Fox Family (Kumiho Kajok).
If you like the 1979 American cult film Rocky Horror Picture Show, you would love its Korean version. The film aims to present unique tastes combining different genres including musical, horror and cult.
Directed by Lee Hyung-gon, the movie takes the motif from the ghastly Korean tale of “kumiho,” a fox with nine tails that desperately yearns to become human but can only do so by gobbling up the livers of 100 unfortunate souls.
But different from the scary original, the film revolves around a wacky kumiho family, who struggle to become a human while they run a circus with their tricks and magical powers.
The Banquet and Project BB
With the strong domination of local films at the box office during the holiday, two Chinese films The Banquet and Project BB are attracting moviegoers with their distinguishing charms.
The Banquet is regarded as a loose adaptation of Hamlet. It is directed by Feng Xiagang and starring China’s top actress Ziyi Zhang, and it is interesting to see how Asian actors recreate the Western classic with Asian touches.
Set in a Chinese empire in chaos, the film revolves around the emperor, empress, prince, and other high officials in the kingdom have their own enemies they want to eliminate at a night banquet.
Jackie Chan, who has often greeted Korean fans with his films during Chusok holiday, is back with his latest film Project BB.
The martial arts star shows his never-to-die action skills and stunts once again for family audiences, making it hard for them to guess how old he is.
The movie revolves around a man with the addiction to gambling, who decides to kidnap a boy from a rich family for a big ransom but he actually saves him from dangerous situations.
Image credit: various sources
doozy: I’ve seen the two previous movies of the Marrying the Mafia franchise and I enjoyed them. Hence, Marrying the Mafia 3 is one of the movies that I look forward to seeing. Although I’m not a fan of Zhang Ziyi, I’m also interested in watching The Banquet because it looks so grand.