wed 22/09/2021

South Korea

Album: Golden Child - Game Changer

This second full-length album from South Korean 10-piece Golden Child moves seamlessly from pop balladry to anthemic EDM without ever losing its footing.With ghostly, submerged bell noises, ominous-sounding low brass, joined by strings and pounding...

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Album: Tomorrow X Together - The Chaos Chapter: Freeze

This second full-length album from South Korean quintet TXT scrambles musical genres in rich and fascinating ways. From the fizzing hi-hats and dreamy chords of opener “Anti-Romantic” to the harmonic stasis and minimalist groove of “Frost” which...

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Night in Paradise review - lukewarm bloodbath

Since launching his directing career in 2011 with The Showdown, Park Hoon-jung has established himself as a promising devotee of the bloody gangster genre. The pandemic may have slowed the South Korean director’s momentum, as the producers were...

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The Woman Who Ran review - toxic male alert

The dramatic developments in The Woman Who Ran, the 24th film written and directed by Hong Sang-soo since 1996, are mild to say the least. The worst that befalls the protagonist, a romantically puzzled thirtysomething Seoul florist called Gam-hee (...

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Album: BTS - Be

EDM bangers? Check. Melancholic ballads? Why certainly. Great vocal arrangements which switch from rap to angelic falsetto in the blink of an eye? Step right this way. You’ll find all this and more on Be, which is no mean feat given that the album...

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DVD/Blu-ray: Parasite

So what exactly is all the fuss about? For those of us from a cinema-deprived area, it’s been a long wait for the homevideo release of this much vaunted "masterpiece". And the trailer gives away so much, there’s probably little to surprise us, right...

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The Beast review - bad cop blues

“They say we all have a beast locked up inside of us,” a character observes early in this Korean crime movie. Monsters are certainly chewing at the moral fibre of police captains Jung (Lee Sung-min) and Han (Yoo Jae-myung) as they corruptly pursue...

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Album: BTS – Map of the Soul: 7

To anyone out of their teens or without a grasp of the Korean language, BTS are probably an unknown quantity. Yet, they are probably the most successful boyband, if not the most successful band, in the world. In fact, just as Abba had a massive...

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Parasite review - a class war with grand designs

With the Oscars approaching, one film building momentum in the fight for best picture – and whose victory would delight all but the most blinkered – is the Korean Bong Joon Ho’s deliriously dark and entertaining black comedy, Parasite. It...

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Cannes 2019: Parasite review - hilarious and horrifying

Like Snowpiercer before it, Bong Joon-ho’s rage-fuelled satire Parasite puts class inequality squarely in its sights. This time however, the story is grounded in the real world and concerns a family of hustlers who will do anything to get by. ...

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Burning review - an explosive psychological thriller

Burning, which is the first film directed by the Korean master Lee Chang-dong since 2010’s Poetry, begins as the desultory story of a hook-up between a pair of poor, unmotivated millennials – the girl already a lost soul, the boy a wannabe writer...

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theartsdesk in Korea: national pride and candour

Fear not. The Arts Desk has not suddenly sprouted a Sports Desk. Heaven forfend. Korea in late February had more to offer than luge, bobsleigh, skeleton and all the other bemedalled and potentially life-threatening variants of hurling bodies down...

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