Here are some of the recent Korean movies you can enjoy online.
With cinemas temporarily closed due to the global COVID-19 pandemic, cinephiles are turning to streaming platforms to sate their hunger for good films to watch. We've done a few lists of suggested movies to watch during prolonged stays at home, for people who are being quarantined or are mandated to stay indoors, here's another but this time focusing only on movies that hail from South Korea. More specifically, recent Korean releases that can be found online. (We categorise 2019 and 2020 releases as recent titles). The following movies can be found for rent or purchase on Google Play, or on streaming platforms and apps such as Viu, Hulu, Apple TV+, Amazon Prime and Netflix.
"The Man Standing Next" (2020)
Lee Byung-hun stars as President Park Chung-hee in this political drama film directed by Woo Min-ho. Based on Kim Choong-Sik's novel of the same name, it revolves around the president who controls Korea during the 1970s through the Korean Central Intelligence Agency (KCIA). The director of the KCIA, Kim Gyu-pyeong, will do the president's every bid no matter how outrageous. But after meeting a former KCIA director who's been exiled to the U.S., Kim's views begin to change.
"Hitman: Agent Jun" (2020)
An action comedy starring Kwon Sang-woo. Directed by Choi Won-Sub, the movie follows Kwon's titular hitman who decides to exchange his action-packed life in the National Intelligence Service (NIS) with a normal, uneventful life as a webcomic writer – a struggling one that is. Watch the hilarious chaos that ensues when one night, he drunkenly draws his comic based on his past NIS adventures and it unexpectedly becomes a hit.
"Innocent Witness" (2019)
"Along with the Gods" star Kim Hyang-gi plays Ji-woo, a high school girl with Asperger's in this drama film directed by Lee Han. Since Ji-woo is the only witness to a murder crime, Jung Woo-sung's defense attorney character, Soon-ho, must find a way to convince the girl to provide a statement during his client Mi-ran's trial, who is accused of killing the old man that employed her as a housekeeper.
"Kim Ji-Young, Born 1982" (2019)
A feminist film, directed by Kim Do-Young, based on Cho Nam-joo's novel of the same name. Jung Yu-mi stars in the titular role, a woman in her 30s who has quit her job after marriage and now lives a monotonous life as a dutiful stay-at-home wife and mother. She begins to feel alarmed when she finds herself talking and behaving like the other women in her life, such as her mother and deceased grandmother. Jung's "Train to Busan" co-star Gong Yoo plays Kim's husband, Jung Dae-hyun.
"Crazy Romance" (2019)
Kim Han-Gyul directs this rom-com starring Kim Rae-won and Gong Hyo-Jin. The duo reunites after 16 years, since their last pairing as the leads of MBC's 2003 drama, "Snowman". In this movie, Kim's Jae-hoon and Gong's Sun-young attempt to heal from their failed relationships by working through their problems together. The former is struggling to move on after his fiancée dumps him a month ago, while the latter is also trying to move on after dumping her cheating boyfriend.
Of course Bong Joon-ho's black comedy is a must watch, it's the only South Korean film to ever win at the Oscar (or even be nominated at the prestigious award) after all. It tells of the Kim family, who, after securing a way to insert themselves one by one in the affluent but oblivious Park family, find themselves tangled in a web of lies that become increasingly complex, culminating in a shocking turn of events. Song Kang-ho, Choi Woo-shik, Park So-dam and Jang Hye-jin star as the Kims, while Lee Sun-kyun and Cho Yeo-jeong lead the Park family.
No Korean movie list is complete without at least one supernatural horror on it. This big screen adaption of Jang Jak's webcomic of the same name revolves around the members of a supernatural exploration club, who are plagued by a curse after entering a haunted abandoned house. K-pop idols Jung Eun-ji (Apink) and Lee Sung-yeol (Infinite) are among the cast members in this Yoo Sun-dong helmed horror movie.
"The Gangster, The Cop, The Devil" (2019)
Dubbed South Korea's The Rock (you'll get why from the amount of movies he's led), Ma Dong-seok a.k.a. Don Lee stars as gang boss Jang Dong-su, who is targeted by a serial killer. After being the only person to have ever survived the killer's attack, he finds himself forced to work with the equally disgruntled Detective Jung Tae-seok to catch the killer, despite Jung's hatred of organised crime. Lee Won-Tae directs this crime thriller.
An action crime film directed by Park Noo-ri, starring Ryu Jun-Yeol as a young man named Jo Il-hyun who dreams of becoming rich. The aspiring stockbroker finds it hard to make big money in the cut-throat world of stock exchange market without the right connections. He seizes the chance when an anonymous mastermind who controls the stock market in secret, who goes by the name The Ticket, approaches him with a scam, ignoring all the dire consequences that comes from accepting the offer.
"The Odd Family: Zombie On Sale" (2019)
This Lee Min-Jae directed comedy follows the oddball Park family. Their peaceful rural town is shaken by the arrival of a 'strange man', who turns out to be the zombified result of illegal experiments run by a pharmaceutical company. The family then tries to profit from their discovery. "Believer" actor Jung Ga-ram plays the zombie while Jung Jae-young, Kim Nam-gil, Uhm Ji-won and Lee Soo-kyung round up the main cast.
Cinema Online, 14 April 2020