Film: Sunny


Sunny (써니) 2011. Written and directed by Kang Hyeong-cheol

Watch if you like:

  • the Breakfast Club, Pretty in Pink, and other 80s flavored nostalgia
  • Sex and the City + drop kicking ajummas
  • the multiple applications of designer bags (especially to cause bodily harm)
  • endearing and poignant high school high jinks
  • the unexpected benefits of cursing grandmas

The Korean movie Sunny is a celebration of high school friendship and reminder that just because you’re an adult doesn’t mean you have to have it all together (and its never too late to turn things around). It navigates the joys and hardships of a core group of friends as they reunite for the first time since high school. The film explores how easy it is to lose touch not only with friends as we “grow up” but also how we lose touch with ourselves.

Slapstick comedy melds with a touching sincerity as the girls journey on their quest to reunite. Get ready for curse battles, police car rides, unrequited loves, at home dance practices, and some big hair. Its the perfect mix of bitter and sweet that will have you laughing and crying and laughing again.

The storyline might sound like it delves into the realms of tired clichés but even if the plot points have been used before Sunny reinvents them in a way that feels authentic and refreshing. Have tissues on hands because this story will hit you straight in the feels. And it might just make you call up those old friends of yours from high school.

Film: Molière

Watch if you love:

  • sass…oh so much sass
  • Shakespeare, but you’ve read everything like 12 times already cause you’re an over achiever
  • disguises
  • beautiful costumes or you just generally have a flair for fabrics
  • drama (in every sense of the word)
  • 16th century France
  • meditations on the power of comedy
  • beleaguered artists who are too smart for their own good

Odds are that you have heard of Shakespeare, but unless you have a penchant for French literature (or come from a French speaking country) you probably haven’t heard of Molière. Which is a damn shame because the French playwright Molière easily rivals Shakespeare in comedic genius.

Curious? Ok I’ll tell you more.

The premise of this 2007 film adaption Molière is similar to that of Shakespeare in Love where the plots of several plays written by Molière, along with historic facts, are used to to construct a hypothetical window into the great playwright’s life. But where Shakespeare in Love leans into the realms of idealism and dare I say it…fluff  (Nothing against fluff. I enjoy it quite regularly) Molière  retains all the spirit of the plays and yet maintains both a lightness and a gravitas that is characteristic of the author himself. Not to mention a keen eye for the absurd and a sharp wit.

Get ready for disguises, death, seduction (both successful and unsuccessful), and some of the most memorable characters you will ever see. True to its namesake Molière manages to exhibit the ridiculous in every situation in ways that evoke both laughter and reflection. Don’t worry about a saccharine ending its just the right mix of bitter and sweet.

Put down A Midsummer Night’s Dream, stop dwelling on Downton, and watch this ASAP.

Young Detective Dee: Rise of the Sea Dragon

Have I got a movie for you!

Watch if you love:

  • Kung Fu Hustle and/or Shaolin Soccer
  • Sherlock Holmes
  • The Tang Dynasty
  • Supernatural (yes, the show and the genre)
  • Creative applications of Traditional Chinese Medicine
  • Horses with aquatic abilities



Netflix brilliantly describes the plot thusly:

Detective Dee’s first assignment with the Imperial police finds the city gripped in fear of sea monsters, which is only the beginning.

Yes friends, sea monsters are merely the beginning. If sea monsters were the only thing going on Detective Dee would have wrapped this mystery up in no time. Plot elements of the movie include: kidnapping, star-crossed lovers, creatures from the blue lagoon, poisoning, secret island, conspiracies, devious empresses, and unnecessary kung fu. Wait. What did I just say? Scratch that, necessary kung fu.

This movie is based off of the prominent historical figure Di Renjie during the Tang Dynasty as well gong’an crime novels written in the eighteenth-century that were also loosely based off of Di Renjie. This is the Sherlock Holmes character of ancient China and he actually existed! The movie doesn’t take itself too seriously and there are some moments where the CG is a little awkward, but stick with it! I promise you it’s worth seeing what happens next. The plot has several creative and kooky twists are thoroughly enjoyable in and of themselves. As well as lines such as “release the poisoned fish!”

If you want more Detective Dee there is another film called Detective Dee and the Phantom Flame (available on Netflix). Also check out the new TV series called Young Sherlock also based on Di Renjie, which I cannot wait to watch!