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November 22, 2011 - Image 5

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The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

Tuesday, November 22,2011 - 5

Kick-ass Korean films

I n my last column, I briefly
mentioned some of the
films being made in Korea
during the past few years. Kore-
an filmmakers have been pro-
ducing some
of the best
films in the
world in the
last decade,e
capturing
the atten-
tion of film \<$
festivals and PHILIP
cinephiles CONKLIN
worldwide.
For those
wishing to explore Korean cin-
ema, here is a broad overview of
some of the country's best films
and directors.
The Korean director best
known in the U.S. is Park Chan-
wook, director of The Ven-
geance Trilogy - "Sympathy for
Mr. Vengeance," "Oldboy" and
"Lady Vengeance." "Oldboy,"
probably the most widely seen
Korean film in this country, is
a good place to start in one's
exploration into Korean cinema.
The film tells the story
of a man who is kidnapped
and imprisoned for 15 years
without being told why, and
upon release, he's given five
days to find his captor. Apart
from being a great film in its
own right, the movie is also
emblematic of what has come
to be recognized as the Korean
style - genre filmmaking,
graphic violence, the juxtaposi-
tion of dark humor and intense
pathos and an intricate, stylized
visual sense. While "Oldboy"
is heavier on the violence and
shock factor than most Korean
films, it serves as a barometer
for further exploration of the
country's cinema.
Other notable films by Park
include "J.S.A.: Joint Security
Area," which is about guards on
each side of the Korean border,
and "Thirst," his take on the
vampireamyth. Though,&S.A.' ,
is clunky in parts (there's more
than a little awkward exposi-
tion and halting, nearly incom-
prehensible English), it's one

of Park
touchir
ing stot
guilt. "
most m
certain
shot fil
Boni
many s
Chan-v
Host,"
wide re
is the h
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of a gia
rorizes
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Host" i
and an
It's alsi
Bong J
Th(
of
Bong
violent
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is unfli
WhileI
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the pas
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His f
der" is,
Based c
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vfilm bu
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Thet
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's funniest and most films are as beautiful as they
ng films, telling a crush- are different from Bong's and
ry of brotherhood and Park's. In contrast to those
Thirst" is perhaps Park's directors' elaborate genre piec-
ature work to date, and es, Kim's films are low-budget,
ly his most beautifully simple but enigmatic affairs.
m. They are thoughtful, deliberate
g Joon-ho's work shares films told entirely visually -
imilarities with Park there is almost no dialogue in
wook's. His film "The any of his movies.
which also has gained In "3-Iron," possibly Kim's
ecognition in the U.S., best movie, a young man breaks
ighest-grossing Korean into houses when the residents
all time. It tells the story are on vacation, doing house
nt mutant fish who ter- chores for them in exchange for
Seoul, and a father's their unintentional hospital-
o save his daughter from ity. At one house, he meets a
nster's clutches. "The woman who is abused by her
s a great monster movie husband, and a romance devel-
adroit political satire. ops between them - but they
o a nice introduction into never say aword to each other.
oon-ho's body of work. Kim has a quiet, inimitable style
in which every gesture and look
speaks volumes. His movies are
ts r e' simple on the surface, but they
ml are peerless in their thematic)
my favorite and visual depth. His "Spring,
Summer, Fall, Winter... and
directors. Spring," a film of mesmerizing
beauty, is a great example of
this.
For viewers looking to branch
g's films tend to be less out further into the oeuvres of
than Park's, often using these directors, there's Park's
e to suggest violence as "I'm a Cyborg, But That's OK,"
d to the unflinching bru- which is as strange as it sounds,
f Park's films. But Bong a quirky love story much tamer
nching in other ways. than any of the director's other
both directors use dark movies. Bong's first film, "Bark-
frequently and effec- ing Dogs Never Bite," also
Bong's humor is much worth seeing, is a funny, well-
there's something about made film, but one with hints of
sivity of his camera, the a director still tryingto find his
ten static takes, that voice. Kim's earlier works, like
it with a sort of ironic, "Bad Guy" or "Real Fiction,"
ed personality. Bong has have the director's signature
ability to wring comedic style but are much grittier and
its out of the heaviest less accessible than his later
ic material. material.
ilm "Memories of Mur- Despite their differences,
the best example of this. what all these films share is an
n the true story of the attention to minute details, an
rial murders in Korea, it emphasis on the power of the
on two bumbling local image and limitless imagination
d a big-city detective and originality. To see the best
murderer's trail. It's a movies being made today, look
rsting'with life - sirtman' to these great Koreardirectoes.'.

The classical voice
of Michigan fandom

C
sta4
"It
and w
Orang
tine, S
play-b
1976,a
er for
Band.
late an
upset
ing th
Bowl.'
Gra
the O
Ohio
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chami
Alr
only c
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Michi
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heads
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"I c
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Michi
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arl Grapentine, Michigan history, when Michi-
gan secured a last-minute win
dium announcer against Notre Dame.
In the years since his Orange
and radio DJ Bowl gaffe, Grapentine has
remained faithful to the Michi-
By MIKE KUNTZ gan Marching Band, and he is
Daily Arts Writer now in his 42nd season as the
band announcer, a position he
was New Year's Day 1976, has held since 1970. But most
e're facing Oklahoma in the Michigan football fans might
;e Bowl," said Carl Grapen- know him as the booming voice
Michigan Stadium's current over the PA calling the play-by-
y-play announcer and, in play during games, a position he
a relatively green announc- has held since 2006.
the Michigan Marching Grapentine's first taste of Big
"The Rose Bowl is running House game announcing occurred
d (No.1) Ohio State is being while substituting for former Big
by UCLA, so they're hold- House announcer Howard King,
e broadcast for the Orange who had fallen ill before the start
" of the 2005 season.,
pentine was told to break "I thought about it for a day -
hio State score, since an well, maybe a day," Grapentine
State loss would make the said, laughing. "I said yes and did
e Bowl victor the national the first three games of the 2005
pion. season while Howard recuper-
eady relishing one of his ated."
opportunities to announce King returned to close out the
e band on the road, Gra- season, but he announced his
ie was now presented with retirement at the end of the 2005
ance to tell an enthusiastic football campaign, leaving Gra-
gan crowd the team was pentine the clear choice to carry
g for a national champion- the torch. And though he's been
Hooked up with his own announcing games for the Big
et in the press booth from House full-time since 2006, Gra-
egame duties for the march- pentine has remained faithful to
and, Grapentine revealed his gig with the marching band
ws. as well.
expecting this roar from Grapentine graduated from
owd that's here to see Mich- the University of Michigan with
lay in the Orange Bowl, and aspirations tobe a choral or music
wasn't much of anything," director. Instead, he quickly
d, layingon the suspense. became involved in radio, get-
pentine didn't know the ting his start at the now-defunct
of the silence until after Detroit classical music station
me when he talked to the WQRS. After working numerous
director. Apparently, the other gigs, he settled in as the
ng prayer was being given morning disc jockey for Chicago
field during that time. classical music station WFMT -
ame in right in the middle of regarded as one of the most repu-
nvocatian"!hetsaid. 'tables classical music stations' in,
somedne who has since the country - where he continues
lly referred to stadium to work as he has for the past 26
ncing as something resem- years. His favorite composers are
he "voice of God," the irony Bach and Mozart, and he likes to
ot lost on Grapentine. The fit in their shorter pieces during
entator spoke with The his morning show when he can.
gan Daily in the days fol- Through all his experience
g the first night game in with classical and collegiate

marching band music, Grapen-
tine has remained a steadfast
football fan his entire life. He was
more than up to the task of mak-
ing the transition to calling the
play-by-play for Michigan home
games, though he was careful to
maintain the tone established by
his predecessors.
"Michigan has always been
fairly conservative (when
announcing home games), and I
think that's the right way to be,"
Grapentine said. "Calls should
be impartial. If there are 110,000
people roaring, my voice might
get higher or louder, but I try to
use the exact same terminol-
ogy when I'm saying 'Michigan
touchdown' or 'Notre Dame
touchdown.' "
He added, "Generally, the PA
announcer doesn't do any fire-up,
let's-hear-some-noise sort ofstuff.
It's the way it's always been."
Since the beginning of his
stint as the Big House announc-
er in 2006, the Big House has
undergone numerous structural
changes that have been instru-
mental in retaining crowd noise.
Grapentine says he has noticed a
palpable difference in volume.
"My voice sounded louder as
more and more structure went up
on the east side, and now, there
are completely different speak-
ers this year, too," he said. "The
sound engineer (during the night
of the Notre Dame game) was
telling them to keep it cranked
up as high as it could, and it really
sounded loud."
That night - Michigan's first
home night game in more than
130 years of football - marked a
special moment for Grapentine,
and he could sense that the fans
felt similarly.
"It was just totally electric and
exciting," he said.fJiI' 'emember
turning to the Notre Dame band
announcer and my spotter, who
were both sitting to my right dur-
ing the pregame show, and I said,
'Is there anywhere else in the
world you'd rather be rightnow?"'
For Grapentine, it would seem
the Big House is home.

sly funny, gripping and
last director I'd like to
n is Kim Ki-duk, whose

Conklin is packing his bags
for a Seoul vacation. To help,
e-mail conklin@umich.edu.

Racy Rihanna revs up on 'Talk'

By CHLOE STACHOWIAK
Daily Arts Writer
Forget the Mayan calendar
and the fabled apocalypse on
11/11/11. The true end of the
world occurred
11 months ago *
when Rihanna
released her Rihanna
single "S&M."
At least, Talk That Talk
that's what the
public seemed Def Sam
to think. The
provocative song was met with
outrage everywhere, from cen-
sorship of the words "whips"
and "chains" to the music vid-
eo's viewing restrictions on You-
Tube. It even ruffled the BBC's
feathers, and the song's title
was promptly changed to the

FOLLOW US AND EVERYTHING IS ALRIGHT
You won't find nobody else like us
@MICHDAILYARTS

F

"The Playboy Club" got cancelled, Rihanna.

less of
it aired
coming
els in t
in shoo

A.
th
t]

But
sorship
Rihann
challen
Talk T
enough
graphic
Gaga o
red-ho
with t
hesitat
erotic t
At it
daring
when i
using n
the che
in the

fensive "Come On" when she steers clear of heavy-handed
d on the radio. And this is melodies to focus on rhythm.
g from a country that rev- Deep, thumping bass replac-
he teen sex and drug use es instrumentals, and vocals
ws like "Skins." are spoken steadily instead of
wailed. The music is simple, and
that's what makes Talk so allur-
11te k ing: Rather than getting caught
up in gooey pop sounds and
tunes, the album lets its sensual
messages take center stage.
h If Rihanna's new musical
e style brought her into the ranks
of hip hop, consider her bawdy
lyrics extra credit. Talk That
instead of taking this cen- Talk's words are as dirty as the
as a sign to hold back, raunchiest rap song, complete
na has treated it like a with specific sexual fantasies
age: Her newest album, and less-than-subtle innuen-
'hat Talk, smolders with dos. "Cockiness (Love It)" is
a sexual references and as explicit as it sounds: The
c lyrics to make even Lady doe-eyed artist sings, "Baby be
ook like a prude. Talk is a my sex slave / anything that I
t album that fuses risk desire" and, "Suck my cockiness
he artfully risque, never / lick my persuasion."
ing to cross into the most Even songs about dancing,
hemes or beats. like "Roc Me Out," are surpris-
s best, Talk That Talk is ingly graphic. Could anyone
. Rihanna takes a chance believe lines like, "Rock me out,
t comes to musical style, back and forth" and, "I've been
more hip-hop tones than a bad girl, Daddy / won't you
'esy dance music she used come get me" are actually about
past. In "Birthday Cake," a club?

Despite its explicit nature,
her frankness is tantalizing. But
there are some moments that
cross the line between artful
sexuality and cheap shock fac-
tor. Title track "Talk That Talk"
has all the makings of a hit, but
it ultimately suffers from Jay-Z's
over-the-top contributions. It's
just too hard to take the father-
to-be seriously, especially when
he talks about hooking up on the
beach, buying "reefer" and how
often he's propositioned for sex
when he's "just trying to chill."
After all, doesn't he have a nurs-
ery to decorate? Even Rihanna is
guilty of subpar verses at times,
as cringe-worthy lines like, "I
love it, I love it, I love it when
you eat it" are hard to ignore.
Still, Talk That Talk has that
guilty-pleasure charm that
not even the crassest moments
can take away. It's the kind of
album to listen to in your teen-
age bedroom with a smirk, pray-
ing your parents won't walk in
and hear. It's brave, rhythmic
and smoothly sexual - and the
newly pubescent gang from
"Skins" just can't compete with anc
that.

A

I i

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