A smorgasbord of holiday DVD reviews

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A smorgasbord of holiday DVD reviews

For some, Chuseok is a season for family gatherings. For others, it’s a chance to catch up on some PG fun with piles of movies spread all over your living room carpet.
“Barefoot Ki-bong” is a story about a 40-something bachelor with a mental disorder. His entire world is devoted to pleasing his old mother (He is nicknamed “a barefoot Ki-bong,” because he is often seen running home after work to bring food for his mother). Then one day, he decides to attend a marathon competition, hoping he’ll be able to fix his mother’s teeth.
The film, based on a true story that aired in a TV documentary series, is touching and warm. But it’s also naive and anachronistic.
For a family film with an edge, try “The Birth of a Family,” by Kim Tae-yong. The film depicts loving family members not tied by blood.
Kim insists that the principle of a family is love, not blood. Decide that for yourself after watching the film. The supplements of the DVD are fulfilling; it comes with voice commentary by the film’s actors.
If you want something light and quirky, try “Swing Girls,” a Japanese film about a female jazz band that takes the place of the original band members when they get sick. The film deals with the adventures of girls in a rural part of northern Japan as they prepare for a major concert.
The sounds of swing jazz and the comical imagination that fill the screen present good laughs. Supplements include music lessons on how to play the major instruments that appear in the movie, and the background stories of the main characters.
If you get nostalgic during the holiday, try some classic action flicks, such as the series “The General’s Son” by Im Kwon-taek. The story is of Kim Doo-han, a notorious political gangster who allegedly protected Korean merchants from the threats of Japanese gangsters over territorial issues in the ’60s.
In the dictionary of sword fighting and kung fu, you can’t beat Hong Kong action flicks.
The recently-released “Police Story Trilogy” DVD set, contains films that fully explore the comic persona of Jackie Chan. After all, the film is Mr. Chan’s debut work, filled with timeless humor and great action scenes. It carries some of the most absurd stunt work and chase scenes ever put in a single film.
The films, which came out as sequels, also drew attention for the roles of the policewomen who partnered the main hero. (It featured former Hong Kong beauty queens including Maggie Cheung, who appeared as May in Police Story I and became an instant star overnight.)
For singles, there is no better way to spend a long holiday than with a TV drama series. “Alone in Love,” a story based on a Japanese novel about a couple who tries to get on with their lives after divorce, is a fine option. The DVD, which puts together 16 episodes, is deliciously romantic, earning the praise of many critics.
If that isn’t enough, “Goodbye Solo,” a story by screenwriter No Hee-gyeong, offers some bittersweet episodes about love and loss.

by Moh Eun-young
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