Apple TV+ to Bow Its First Korean-Language Series, ‘Dr. Brain’

“Dr. Brain,” a new six-episode Korean-language Apple Original series will premiere globally on Nov. 4 (Nov. 3 in the United States) on Apple TV+.

Based on the popular Korean webtoon of the same name by Hongjacga, “Dr. Brain” marks the first Korean-language series to debut on Apple TV+.

The sci-fi drama series, written, directed and executive produced by Kim Jee-woon, will premiere with the first episode, followed by one new episode weekly through Dec. 10, 2021.

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The series follows a brilliant brain scientist Sewon (Lee Sun-kyun, Parasite) who suffers a horrific personal tragedy when his family falls victim to a mysterious accident. Desperate to uncover what happened, he goes to extraordinary lengths to solve the tragic mystery by conducting “brain syncs” with the dead to access their memories for clues.

The series also stars Lee You-young, Park Hee-soon, Seo Ji-hye and Lee Jae-won.

Korean Film ‘Escape From Mogadishu’ Available on Digital Oct. 19 From Well Go

The Korean film Escape From Mogadishu will be available on digital Oct. 19 from Well Go USA Entertainment.

Based on a true story, the film takes place as civil war rages in Mogadishu, Somalia. Rival North and South Korean diplomats are left trapped. With no aid from either government, their only shot at survival may require uniting with bitter adversaries to escape.

The film was nominated in a 10 categories — including Best Film, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Supporting Actor and Best Screenplay — at the 30th Buil Film Awards, which will take place Oct. 7 in Busan, South Korea. The film received the most nominations of any film this year.

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Korean Hit ‘Deliver Us From Evil’ Due on Digital, Blu-ray and DVD May 25 From Well Go

The Korean box office hit Deliver Us From Evil will debut on digital, Blu-ray Disc and DVD May 25 from Well Go USA Entertainment.

The film stars Hwang Jung-min (The WailingThe Spy Gone North), Lee Jung-jae (Tazza: One-Eyed JackAlong with the Gods franchise), Park Jeong-min (Svaha: The Sixth Finger), Park Soi (Parasite) and Choi Moon (Anarchist from ColonyOkja).

In the film, after the shocking kidnapping of a little girl in Thailand, a mercenary with a murky past as a government black ops agent (Hwang) is forced to re-emerge from the shadows when he learns the incident is closely connected to him. With the help of expat Yui (Park), he flies to Thailand and begins tracking the girl’s whereabouts, moving ever closer to the notorious child trafficking ring responsible for her abduction. However, when an infamous gangster nicknamed The Butcher (Lee) learns just who has entered the country and is finally within his grasp, he goes on a bloody rampage to thwart the ex-agent’s rescue mission as retaliation for a killing that even he will never be able to forget — or forgive.

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Bonus content includes making-of and filming locations featurettes.

Korean Epic ‘The Swordsman’ Bows on Digital and Disc Feb. 16

The Korean action film The Swordsman will swing to digital, Blu-ray and DVD Feb. 16 from Well Go USA Entertainment.

In the hybrid of mainstream historical drama and traditional martial arts action, after failing to protect and prevent the downfall of the King, the best swordsman in Joseon leaves and lives in seclusion with his daughter in the mountains. As his eyesight begins to fail due to an old injury, his daughter seeks to find a treatment for him. When she is captured and taken away by a slave trader, the swordsman is forced to raise his sword again in order to save her.

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The Swordsman was directed by Choi Jae-hoon and stars Jang Hyuk as the main character.

The film was released theatrically in South Korea in September. The Swordsman was invited to the 40th annual Hawaii International Film Festival and was picked as the opening film in the 2020 Korean Indonesian Film Festival.

 

Well Go Acquires Rights to Korea’s ‘Deliver Us From Evil’

Well Go USA Entertainment has acquired North American rights to the Korean film Deliver Us From Evil and will release it in March 2021.

The action thriller debuted at No. 1 at the Korean box office, with total admissions topping 1.3 million in its first four days, according to Well Go.

The film stars Hwang Jung Min (The Wailing), Lee Jung Jae (Svaha: The Sixth Finger) and Park Jeong Min (Tazza: One-Eyed Jack) and is directed by Hong Won Chan, who previously earned a Best Director award from the Busan Film Critics Association for his mystery thriller Office.

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In the film, after the shocking kidnapping of a little girl in Thailand, a mercenary with a murky past as a government black ops agent is forced to re-emerge from the shadows when he learns the incident is closely connected to him. With the help of expat Yui, he flies to Thailand and begins tracking the girl’s whereabouts, moving ever closer to the notorious child trafficking ring responsible for her abduction. However, when an infamous gangster nicknamed The Butcher learns just who has entered the country and is finally within his grasp, he goes on a bloody rampage to thwart the ex-agent’s rescue mission as retaliation for a killing.

Deliver Us From Evil is an action-packed thrill ride from start to finish, which is no surprise thanks to its veteran cast that includes Hwang Jung Min and Lee Jung Jae,” Doris Pfardrescher, president and CEO at Well Go USA Entertainment, said in a statement. “With its stunning action sequences and nonstop suspense to some beautifully executed tender moments, Deliver Us From Evil is a poignant, tough-as-nails thriller that will keep viewers rooting for the good guys to the very end.”

The deal was negotiated by Doris Pfardrescher on behalf of Well Go USA Entertainment and Jerry Kyoungboum KO on behalf of CJ Entertainment.

Korean Animated Film ‘A Dog’s Courage’ Coming to Disc Aug. 18 From Well Go

The South Korean animated family film A Dog’s Courage will debut on Blu-ray and DVD Aug. 18 from Well Go USA Entertainment.

The title is already available on digital.

The film follows Jacob, a feisty and playful dog abandoned by his owners. He joins a pack of strays that embarks on a journey filled with adventures and life lessons in their pursuit to find a new and loving home, finding the perfect place of safety and peace, the demilitarized zone between North and South Korea.

The film is available in both the original Korean and an all-new English dub.

Directed by Chun-Baek Lee and Oh Sung-Yoon (Leafie, a Hen Into the Wild), A Dog’s Courage was nominated for Best Animated Feature Film at the 2019 Asia Pacific Screen Awards.

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Comedy ‘Zombie for Sale,’ Thriller ‘Black Rainbow’ and Atomic Bomb Drama ‘Hiroshima’ Among Titles Due on Blu-ray in July from Arrow and MVD

The Korean comedy Zombie for Sale, the British thriller Black Rainbow and the Japanese atomic bomb drama Hiroshima are among the titles coming to Blu-ray Disc in July from Arrow Video and MVD Entertainment Group.

In 2019’s Zombie for Sale, due July 7, the illegal human experiments of Korea’s biggest pharmaceutical company go wrong, and one of their “undead” test subjects escapes and ends up in a shabby gas station owned by the Park family — a band of misfits spanning three generations who hustle passers-by to make ends meet. When the family uncovers their undead visitor, he bites the head of their household, who instead of transforming into an undead ghoul becomes revitalised and full of life. The family then hatches a plan to exploit this unexpected fountain of youth, allowing locals to pay to be bitten, too, until things go wrong. Extras include an audio commentary with filmmakers and critics Sam Ashurst and Dan Martin; a Q&A with director Lee Min-jae from a 2019 screening at Asian Pop-Up Cinema in Chicago, moderated by film critic and author Darcy Paquet; “Eat Together, Kill Together: The Family-in-Peril Comedy,” a video essay by critic and producer Pierce Conran exploring Korea’s unique social satires; a making-of featurette; behind-the-scenes footage; the trailer; a reversible sleeve featuring original and newly-commissioned artwork by Mike Lee-Graham; and for the first pressing only, a collector’s booklet featuring new writing by Josh Hurtado.

Also coming July 7 is the British thriller Black Rainbow (1989). Mike Hodges (Flash Gordon, Get Carter) wrote and directed this supernatural chiller as a meditation on the human race’s ability to destroy the world, a gothic tale of suspense and the occult. Martha Travis (Rosanna Arquette, Pulp Fiction, Crash) is a travelling clairvoyant on the road with her sceptic father (Jason Robards, Once Upon a Time in the West, Magnolia). During a séance, Martha communicates a message from a dead man to his wife in the audience. Shocked the wife insists her husband is still alive. Later that evening the husband is killed by a ruthless assassin. As Martha foresees more and more tragic events journalist Gary Wallace (Tom Hulce, Amadeus, Animal House) follows the pair in pursuit of a hot story with catastrophically eerie results. Sent direct to cable by its struggling distributor on initial release, Black Rainbow never got wide exposure. It is newly restored from the original negative. Extras include new audio commentary by film historians Kat Ellinger and Samm Deighan; archival audio commentary by Hodges; an archival making-of documentary; several archival featurettes; the trailer; a reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Nathanael Marsh; and for the first pressing only, a booklet featuring new writing on the film by author Alexandra Heller-Nicholas, Hodges and more, illustrated with stills.

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Also on tap July 7 is 1969’s Inferno of Torture. Japanese exploitation legend Teruo Ishii (Horrors of Malformed Men, Orgies of Edo) delivers one of his most extreme visions of violent eroticism in the sixth in his abnormal love series, in which tattoos and torture await women forced into servitude. Unable to repay a local lender, Yumi (Yumika Katayama) takes up an offer to serve as a geisha for two years with a promise of freedom once her debt is repaid. She quickly realizes that this is less a house of geishas than an extremely cruel brothel specializing in supplying Western visitors with tattooed playthings. Extras include audio commentary by Japanese cinema expert Tom Mes; “Erotic Grotesque Nonsense & the Foundations of Japan’s Cult Counterculture,” a condensed version of Jasper Sharp’s Miskatonic Institute lecture; the trailer; a reversible sleeve featuring original and newly-commissioned artwork by Jacob Phillips; and for the first pressing only, a collector’s booklet featuring new writing on the film by Chris D.

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Due July 14 is Hiroshima (1953), about the devastation wrought by the world’s first deployment of the atomic bomb and its aftermath, based on the written eye-witness accounts of its child survivors compiled by Dr. Arata Osada for the 1951 book Children of the A Bomb: Testament of the Boys and Girls of Hiroshima. Adapted for the screen by independent director Hideo Sekigawa (Listen to the Voices of the Sea, Tokyo Untouchable) and screenwriter Yasutaro Yagi (Theatre of Life, Rice), Hiroshima combines a harrowing documentary realism with human drama in a tale of the suffering, endurance and survival of a group of teachers, their students and their families. It boasts a score composed by Akira Ifukube (Godzilla) and stars Yumeji Tsukioka (Late Spring, The Eternal Breasts), Isuzu Yamada (Throne of Blood, Yojimbo) and Eiji Okada (Hiroshima Mon Amour, Woman in the Dunes), appearing alongside an estimated 90,000 residents from the city as extras, including many survivors from that fateful day on Aug. 6, 1945. Hiroshima was produced and distributed outside of the studio system by the Japan Teachers’ Union following the mixed critical reception to Children of Hiroshima (1952), directed by Kaneto Shindo the previous year, the first dramatic feature to deal directly with the atomic bombing. Although sequences from the film were used in Alain Resnais’ classic of French New Wave cinema, Hiroshima Mon Amour (1959), it has been effectively out of circulation in Japan and the rest of the world since its original release due to the force and political sensitivity of its message. This new HD presentation is the complete version, restoring the footage from the international edit that was released in the United States in 1955. Extras include an archive interview with actress Yumeji Tsukioka; Hiroshima Nagasaki Download (2011), a 73-minute documentary featuring interviews with survivors of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki atomic bombings now residing in the United States, with an introduction by the director Shinpei Takeda; a new video essay by Jasper Sharp; newly commissioned artwork by Scott Saslow; and for the first pressing only, a collector’s booklet featuring new writing on the film by Mick Broderick.

Coming July 21 are two films from 1988, Bloodstone and Life Is a Long Quiet River.

In Bloodstone, a man of action and a cab driver pair up to save a young girl from the clutches of an evil criminal magnate. The Bloodstone, a priceless stolen ruby, accidentally ends up in the possession of American newlyweds Sandy (Brett Stimely, Cannibal Women in the Avocado Jungle of Death) and Stephanie (Anna Nicholas, “Remington Steele”). Now, their honeymoon in India is interrupted as they become the target of international fence Van Hoeven (Christopher Neame, The Prestige) and his evil henchmen. When Van Hoeven kidnaps Stephanie and ransoms her for the jewel, Sandy joins forces with the cabby and dormant stunt-driver Shyam Sabu (Rajinikanth, 2.0) to rescue his young bride. Co-written and produced by Nico Mastorakis (Island of Death, The Wind), the film features a performance by legendary Tamil megastar Rajinikanth in his first English-language role. Extras include new audio commentary by Bryan Reesman; “Keeping it to Myself,” a new interview with producer and co-writer Nico Mastorakis; a new video essay on Rajinikanth by Indian cinema expert Josh Hurtado; trailers; an image gallery; the original screenplay; a reversible sleeve featuring original and newly-commissioned artwork by Graham Humphreys; and for the first pressing only, an illustrated collector’s booklet featuring new writing on the film by Mark Cunliffe.

Life Is a Long Quiet River is a fast-paced French satire. The radiantly bourgeois Le Quesnoys, with their immaculate children and perfect manners, and the grubby, disreputable Groseilles are thrown together in absurd chaos by an act of revenge as they discover that 12 years prior their babies were switched at birth. A witty send up of class relations and family ties, Life Is a Long Quiet River was celebrated with a host of trophies at France’s César Awards ceremony, winning best screenplay, best debut work and acting prizes for Héléne Vincent and Catherine Jacob. Extras include archival interviews with director Étienne Chatiliez, actor André Wilms, co-writer/co-producer Florence Quentin and producer Charles Gassot; a reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Scott Saslow; and for the first pressing only, a collector’s booklet featuring new writing on the film by Jonathan Romney.

Korean Film ‘House of Hummingbird’ Flying to Digital and Blu-ray Aug. 4 From Well Go

The Korean coming-of-age story House of Hummingbird will debut on digital and Blu-ray Aug. 4 from Well Go USA Entertainment.

Ignored by her parents and abused by her brother, 14-year-old Eun-hee moves through life like a hummingbird searching for a taste of sweetness wherever she may find it. In a rapidly expanding Seoul in 1994, she roams the neighborhood with her best friend, attempts romantic relationships with both girls and boys alike and is sent to the hospital with an unclear diagnosis. When a new teacher arrives, she becomes the first adult the young girl feels really understands her.

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Bora Kim makes her feature film directing debut in this acclaimed film that stars Ji-hu Park (The Witness), Sae-byuk Kim (The Day After), Seung-Yeon Lee (Alive) and In-gi Jeong (Chaser).

The film won Best Feature Film at the 2019 Berlin International Film Festival and the 2019 Seattle International Film Festival. The Korean Association of Film Critics’ Awards named it one of the Ten Best Films of the Year and it won the awards for Best Actress (Park), Best Cinematography (Guk-hyun Kang) and Best International Narrative Feature at the 2019 Tribeca Film Festival.  In addition, director Bora Kim has won numerous Best Director awards, including from the 2019 Athens International Film Festival, the 2020 Asian Film Critics Association Awards and the 2019 Korean Association of Film Critics’ Awards.

Well Go Joins Allied Vaughn MOD Service

Well Go USA Entertainment has joined manufacture-on-demand service Allied Vaughn, launching the deal with four Blu-ray releases available now in the Asian action and horror genres.

The Korean actioner Unstoppable stars Don Lee as a legendary gangster enjoying a quiet retirement. When his wife is kidnapped, he must once again become the brutal criminal he left behind.

In the Chinese actioner Line Walker 2, a car crash sparks a war between local police and an international terrorist organization. After Superintendent Yip (Francis Ng) and Inspector Ching (Nick Cheung) arrest a hacker named Yiu involved in the accident, the two police officers are suspected by Superintendent Cheng (Louis Koo) as double agents. Clues lead the three officers to the far foreign soil of Myanmar and Spain, but as the investigation continues the lines between good and evil become blurred.

The Chinese actioner Chasing the Dragon 2: Wild Wild Bunch is based on real-life crimes that terrorized Hong Kong in the 1990s. Logan (Tony Leung Ka Fai) is the head of leading a notorious human trafficking gang, abducting the children of the city’s elite. Police forces decide to send in Sky (Louis Koo), an undercover agent whose mission is to save the hostages, all while bringing the gang and their leader to justice in this action-packed thriller.

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The Chinese horror compilation Lucid Dreams presents four stories in which the director recounts four of his own dreams. The explored dreams are Tung, a down on his luck young man who decides to hold a fake wedding in order to pay his debt to a finance company; Fan, a depressed white-collar worker whose boss is trying to steal his girlfriend; Tung Tung, a writer who reunites with her long-lost mother; and Chun, a bus driver inspired by four ‘ghost ladies’ to believe in his musical talent.

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In other news from the MOD service, Allied Vaughn in its newsletter stated, “Despite the operating climate, our internet, food & drug, and catalog based resellers report brisk sales throughout the past month. General merchandise retailers along with specialty outlets have definitely been impacted by stay-at-home orders. But, overall home video sales for AV Entertainment titles remain strong.”

Korean Animated Adventure ‘A Dog’s Courage’ Due on Digital April 14

The South Korean animated family film A Dog’s Courage will debut on digital  April 14 from Well Go USA Entertainment.

The film follows Jacob, a feisty and playful dog abandoned by his owners. He joins a pack of strays that embarks on a journey filled with adventures and life lessons in their pursuit to find a new and loving home, finding the perfect place of safety and peace, the demilitarized zone between North and South Korea.

The film is available in both the original Korean and an all-new English dub.

Directed by Chun-Baek Lee and Oh Sung-Yoon (Leafie, a Hen Into the Wild), A Dog’s Courage was nominated for Best Animated Feature Film at the 2019 Asia Pacific Screen Awards. 

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