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The W - Movies & TV - Fantsia 2010: The Secret Reunion (2010)
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Llakor
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Since: 2.1.02
From: Montreal, Quebec, CANADA

Since last post: 563 days
Last activity: 554 days
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#1 Posted on | Instant Rating: 5.31
The Secret Reunion (2010) aka Ui-hyeong-je imdb
Directed by Hun Jang, Written by Hun Jang and Min-seok Jang



There is only one reason to see The Secret Reunion, but it is a good one: lead actor Kang-ho Song. He is not just Korea's best actor, he is one of the world's best. It shouldn't be a huge surprise that I am totally in the bag for Kang-ho Song. I have been using his role as the Foul King for my avatar since 2001.

What impresses most about Kang-ho Song is his range - able to play tragedy, melodrama and comedy - sometimes switching from one to the other during the same scene.

The strength of Korean cinema (and sometimes its Achilles Heel) is its ability to switch genres in mid-scene, to inject laughter into drama, danger into slapstick and terror into the mundane. The willingness of Korean directors to run risks and blend genres makes their films fascinating and unpredictable. It also demands actors with the emotional flexibility of Kang-ho Song. If he didn't exist already. Korean directors would have had to invent him.



The Secret Reunion is a bit of a twist on Infernal Affairs. Kang-ho Song is Agent Lee, a maverick police detective in charge of a shift of the anti-terrorism squad trying to track down North Korean spies and protect North Korean defectors. The baby-face Dong-won Kang is Song, a North Korean agent working for a ruthless assassin known by the code name Shadow. When the two sides collide, the ensuing blood-bath causes Lee to be fired and Song to be branded as a traitor to North Korea.

Six years later, Lee is a private detective specializing in tracking down runaway Vietnamese brides and Song is on the run both from the South Korean police and his fellow North Korean spies. Lee runs into Song and recruits him to join the detective agency (such as it is.)  Both men recognize each other, but fool themselves into believing that the other man failed to identify his former enemy. In the byzantine world of spy and counter-spy, simple truths are the hardest to believe, so Song and Lee become convinced that the story of being fired by their respective organizations is a cover story designed to confuse.

There has been some complaints about the middle stretch of the film where it morphs from a tense espionage thriller into a domestic sit-com, but this stretch is vital to the film's theme of the hope, despair and tragedy surrounding any chance of reconciling the two Koreas. On a human level, friendship and trust sometimes seems possible, but humanity plays little part in the larger political conflict that is constantly interfering in the lives of the cast and by extension the lives of all Koreans.



Oddly, the film that The Secret Reunion most reminds me of is L.A. Confidential, a brilliant film that runs five minutes too long - spoiling a perfect albeit downbeat ending to give us a cop-out bullshit Hollywood ending that ties a happy bow around the characters. The Secret Reunion has the same downbeat ending, one that makes perfect tragic sense for the film, for the countries and especially for the characters, but betrays those characters and the situation to give us a cop-out bullshit Hollywood ending that ties a happy bow around the characters.

(Also I should add that the sub-titles were TERRIBLE, not in the badly translated sense, but in the "I can"t read white text against a white background" sense. Learn to use Drop Shadow, For Fuck's Sakes.)

(edited by Llakor on 10.7.10 1435)

"Don't Blame CANADA, Blame Yourselves!"
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Cerebus
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Since: 17.11.02

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#2 Posted on | Instant Rating: 1.48
If you can fit it in, do yourself a great favor and catch A SERBIAN FILM (fantasiafestival.com), NEVERMORE (fantasiafestival.com) and THE LAND BEFORE TIME (fantasiafestival.com)


...HAHA, I just fucking with you on that last one, don't see that shit. The other two are extremely good. Especially NEVERMORE; Jeffrey Combs gives the performance of his life here. It's like he was born to play Poe.



Forget it Josh... it's Cerebustown.
J. Kyle
Boudin blanc








Since: 21.2.02
From: The Land of Aloha

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#3 Posted on | Instant Rating: 3.89
Sing this special song. It's just for you.
    Originally posted by Cerebus
    If you can fit it in, do yourself a great favor and catch A SERBIAN FILM (fantasiafestival.com), NEVERMORE (fantasiafestival.com) and THE LAND BEFORE TIME (fantasiafestival.com)


    ...HAHA, I just fucking with you on that last one, don't see that shit.
Don't hate. Just clutch your tree star and believe.



Click to see it fullsize! Thanks Jen!
Llakor
Landjager








Since: 2.1.02
From: Montreal, Quebec, CANADA

Since last post: 563 days
Last activity: 554 days
AIM:  
#4 Posted on | Instant Rating: 5.31
    Originally posted by Cerebus
    If you can fit it in, do yourself a great favor and catch A SERBIAN FILM (fantasiafestival.com), NEVERMORE (fantasiafestival.com) and THE LAND BEFORE TIME (fantasiafestival.com)


    ...HAHA, I just fucking with you on that last one, don't see that shit. The other two are extremely good. Especially NEVERMORE; Jeffrey Combs gives the performance of his life here. It's like he was born to play Poe.


All the Serbian films scare the shit out of me. I get nosebleeds just reading their descriptions, but I will see what I can do.

I am just happy that you didn't ask for The Human Centipede!

*****

Turns out I am watching Fish Story the first time that Serbian Story plays and the second time I am working. Nevermore is in a different part of the city and I don't think I can squeeze it in.

Care to make another request?

Anyone else want to make me watch a film and report on it?

(Fair warning, if your answer is Birdemic or The Human Centipede a donation to the YoungCuts Film Festival will have to be involved.)

(edited by Llakor on 10.7.10 1432)


"Don't Blame CANADA, Blame Yourselves!"
Cerebus
Scrapple








Since: 17.11.02

Since last post: 10 days
Last activity: 10 hours
#5 Posted on | Instant Rating: 1.48
HUMAN CENTIPEDE wasn't really all that great to me. Probably cause I've see the same type of stuff (extreme body modification) up close and live. When you see a guy strap his cock and balls up causing the blood flow to stop and use an exacto knife to cut his junk off... something like THAT kinda ruins it for you I suppose.

...WHAT?!?! I'm just saying!

Here's a few of the movies this year that I've either seen already and want to subject you to them as well or I've heard of them and would like someone I kinda sorta knows' opinion.

DELIVER US FROM EVIL (fantasiafestival.com) - July 25th and 28th

BLACK DEATH (fantasiafestival.com) - July 23rd ...don't let the title scare you. It stars Sean Bean!

DOGHOUSE (fantasiafestival.com) - July 22nd ...I've read this was supposed to be pretty funny, like Peter Jackson's DEAD ALIVE and MEET THE FEEBLES funny!

THE LOVED ONES (fantasiafestival.com) - July 26th ...this one might be a little to gross for you though.

WE ARE WHAT WE ARE (fantasiafestival.com) July 15th ...never heard of this one but it looks promising.

----------

I have seen these...

BATTLE IN OUTER SPACE (fantasiafestival.com) Directed by the late Ishiro Honda

EVANGELION 2.0 YOU CAN (NOT) ADVANCE (fantasiafestival.com) I would LOVE to enjoy these, but the computer animation drastically takes away my enjoyment of the series. Go watch the originals instead or read the manga.

SPACE BATTLESHIP YAMATO: RESSURECTION (fantasiafestival.com) Sadly, this movie didn't do well when it opened in December. It was lost in the huge glut of other anime/action releases in Japan like ONE PIECE: STRONG WORLD, MACROSS FRONTIER, KAMAN RIDER and ULTRA GALAXY LEGEND all were released in a 3 week period. This was really good and deserves a wider audience.




Forget it Josh... it's Cerebustown.
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I completely disagree with almost everything the last poster said. Ground Zero Mosque is probably the most totally unexpected and shocking thing I've ever seen them do (but maybe I have a short memory). Definitely one of the funniest too.
- StingArmy, Season Premiere of SNL (2010)
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