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46. Ah-ga-ssi (The Handmaiden) – This Just In (#247)

Hosted by Andrew Quinn and Darren Mooney, and this week with special guests Grace Duffy and Graham Day, This Just In is a subset of The 250 podcast, looking at notable new arrivals on the list of the 250 best movies of all-time, as voted for by Internet Movie Database Users.

This time, Park Chan-Wook’s Ah-ga-ssi.

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Non-Review Review: Olympus Has Fallen

It’s easy to see why Die Hard is such a popular action movie template. It’s a formula that is very hard to do wrong. Sure, you might end up with a clumsy and disjointed mess of movie, but the format of man trying to save hostages in a base under siege is so straight-forward that it’s almost always an effective vehicle for an action film. Olympus Has Fallen takes that familiar movie outline and rigidly adheres to it. After all, once you’ve figured out the formula, all you have to do is plug in a few variables and a movie practically makes itself. As compared to a boat or a train or in a stadium, Olympus Has Fallen at least has ambition. It’s Die Hard in a White House.

It’s a clumsily constructed film, one that doesn’t excel at anything and fumbles at quite a few things. However, there’s only so far you can screw up a formula and Olympus Has Fallen winds up being a watchable, if very far from exceptional, mid-tier action film.

"Look, this is what happens when terrorists attack while Bruce Willis is on holiday..."

“Look, this is what happens when terrorists attack while Bruce Willis is on holiday…”

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Non-Review Review: The House of Flying Daggers

Yimou Zhang’s House of Flying Daggers is a wonderful visual and auditory experience. It’s a sumptuous feast for the eyes and the ears, a truly beautiful piece of film that really needs to seen to be fully appreciated. While its plots and characters aren’t quite as rich as the wonderfully saturated surroundings, House of Flying Daggers remains a film that really seems to bask in light and colour, almost soaking in those elements, with each frame seeming like a stunning work of art.

Bamboozled?

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Non-Review Review: The Yellow Sea

This film was seen as part of the Jameson Dublin International Film Festival 2012.

The Yellow Sea is a strange little Korean neo-noir that manages to seem impressively intimate and epicly vast, often at the very same time. Written and directed by Hong-jin Na, the movie follows a cab driver in the borderlands between North Korea, China and Russia. Severely indebted to a local crime lord, Ku-Nam finds himself assigned to assassinate a South Korean businessman. At the same time, he tries to track down his wife, who disappeared into South Korea after he paid for a rather expensive visa. The movie occasionally has a bit of bother balancing the personal side of the story with the wider crime-based elements, but it is darkly fascinating viewing, driven by Hong-jin Na’s wonderful eye for kinetic action sequences.

Myung-Ga wonders how good his insurance police is...

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