The Birth of Korean Cool: Euny Hong Provides South Korea-in-a-Book [REVIEW]


The Birth of Korean Cool, Euny Hong’s book about the Korean Wave or hallyu, which only appeared to take place overnight. It seems that all of a sudden we’re aware of Samsung phones and Psy galloping his way to gazillions of YouTube hits. However, Hong describes how South Korean’s influencing world culture, not just pop culture, was a few decades in the making.

In just over 250 pages, Hong documents developments in South Korean music, movies, technology, and food. Ms. Hong, a Korean-American who has also lived in France and Germany, is our tour guide through modern South Korea. She maintains a balancing act where she shares her experiences living in Seoul’s Gangnam district as a teenager and reporting South Korea’s aspirations of worldwide cultural dominance. Continue reading “The Birth of Korean Cool: Euny Hong Provides South Korea-in-a-Book [REVIEW]”

Black Eagle (aka Soar Into the Sun) Review


Directed by Dong-won Kim.

Alternate English title: R2B: Return to Base.

Rain, a former South Korean pop star and Stephen Colbert rival, is a hotshot pilot who can barely be tamed. Black Eagle has his last starring role before entering his mandatory military service. It’s okay popcorn entertainment marred by gratuitous melodrama and predictability. The movie, showcasing the aerial prowess of the ROK, sums up as “South Korea Saves The Day.” Continue reading “Black Eagle (aka Soar Into the Sun) Review”

Kill 'em All Review


Directed by Raimund Huber.

Kill ’em All is an almost plotless exhibition of style which is fine for anyone looking for action flicks. The film begins with vignettes of four assassins, The Kid (Tim Man), Som (Zom Ammara), Gabriel (Johnny Messner), and Black Scorpion (Ice Chongko). They, and several other assassins, are gathered in a danky room where the two of the worst draws engage in one-on-one battles. The winner will get earn one weapon from the weapons room. Rinse-and-repeat? Continue reading “Kill ’em All Review”

Jiro Dreams of Sushi Review

The staff of Sukiyabashi Jiro

Directed by David Gelb.

I’ll neither eat seafood nor pay hundreds of dollars per seat for the privilege of fine dining. Respect must be given, however, to Jiro Ono for drawing visitors to his special sushi experience in Tokyo. He may be reaching new peaks of fame as a octogenarian: he’s the oldest restaurant owner to earn the highly-coveted three Michelin Stars and gets to be a subject of this fine documentary. Continue reading “Jiro Dreams of Sushi Review”

March Media Madness - Ping Pong Playa Review

Ping Pong Playa poster

Are there Asian-American athletic heroes beyond Jeremy Lin and, in the past, Yao Ming? Christopher “C-Dub” Wang thinks he’s one. Ping Pong Playa is a typical sports movie jazzed up in an Asian-American flair. Also, as the title suggests, there’s some hip-hop culture infused in the movie through Jimmy Tsai‘s C-Dub & many of the loud soundtrack beats. Continue reading “March Media Madness – Ping Pong Playa Review”

March Media Madness - Shinjuku Incident Review

Shinjuku Incident movie poster

I was intrigued to see my favorite action star take a major dramatic turn. The action sequences are handled realistically and they serve the plot beyond showcasing Chan’s awesome skills. Somewhere is some social commentary about Chinese-Japanese relations and even a romance or two. Those may have been lost at sea, however. Continue reading “March Media Madness – Shinjuku Incident Review”