Biggest movies of all time

Biggest movies of all time

South Korea is home to a vibrant cinema scene, filled with brilliantly creative home-grown directors, actors and cinematographers. Korean films have a tendency to mix emotions, tones and genres in a way uncommon to western audiences. The mood of a movie can often switch from comedy to tragedy in the space of a scene. Yet, due to the superbly crafted story-telling and artistic, poetic photography, these shifts in mood only add the magic of South Korean cinema.

To investigate the phenomenon of South Korea's love affair with the silver screen further, let's take a look at the biggest grossing movies in the nation's history.

1. The Admiral (Roaring Currents), Released: 2014, Admissions: 17,607,820.

The biggest film in the history of South Korean cinema was released in 2014 – Kim Man Min's extraordinary The Admiral. This telling of the true story behind the legendary Battle of Myeongnyang in 1597, during which 12 Korean ships managed to fight off more than 330 invading Japanese ships, struck a nerve with audiences in a way few could have predicted. On its very first day of release it grossed around $4.8 million, with 682,882 admissions. Though it has only received a limited release in English speaking territories, it has still managed to find an international audience, grossing a very respectable $2.5 million in the US and $135.9 million international overall. That makes The Admiral a true phenomenon.

2. The Host, Released: 2006, Admission: 13,019,740

Before The Admiral, there was The Host, a very different take on military activity in South Korea. Ostensibly a monster movie, director Bong Joon Ho's tale of a gigantic sea mutant's attack on Seoul is actually a crisp critique of the government's collusion with the American military during the latter's ‘War on Terror.' Upon release it quickly set a new box office record, selling 10 million tickets in three weeks, and finding its way to scores of top ten lists for the year from critics all over the world. It also cemented the reputation of its director, who had impressed global audiences with his chilling debut Memories of Murder three years previously, as one of cinema's most intelligent and maverick voices. Inevitably, awards were many for The Host, including Best Film at the Asian Film Awards and Best Film at the Blue Dragon Awards.

3. The Thieves, Released: 2012, Admissions: 12,983,330

Choi Dong-hoon's serpentine crime comedy was always going to be a winner. As well as being helmed by one of the country's leading directors, it boasted an all-star ensemble cast, bringing together many of Korea's most popular actors. The ever-twisting plot revolves around the heist of a previous diamond necklace from a fortress-like casino in Macau. As the story unfolds, involving double and triple crosses aplenty, the action is always kept at the highest pitch, while all the stars enjoy their over-the-top comedy performances. The audiences enjoyed it just as much, with over 12.9 million tickets sold and plethora of prizes at the Blue Dragon Awards, the Buil Awards, the Grand Bell Awards and the Korean Association of Film Critics' Awards.

South Korea’s Wackiest Events

South Korea’s Wackiest Events

Whether you feel like slathering someone in mud, jumping off a cliff or dancing the night away, there are opportunities galore to get your freak on in South Korea.

Are you ready for a mud-fight? Then head to the Boryeong Mud Festival. Launched when the city of Boryeong became reputed for its natural mud-based cosmetics - particularly facial masks - the festival is a fun, let's admit it, wacky outdoor activity at the time revelers benefit from the effects of a spa session. During the festival, numerous swimsuit-clad tourists get involved in a slippery Korean wrestling match or sloppy mudslides.

Or are you looking to get dazzled? There's a festival for everyone in Korea and one of the most beautiful ones is Seoul Lantern festival. During the festival, hundreds of lanterns with unique design and story are lir on Cheonggyecheon Stream.

Film lovers can't miss Puchon International Film Festival, the second largest cinema event in South Korea which has grown into a hot regional festival for cult favorites.

For those who are passionate about film but can't live without music, they don't have to go far. There's a random festival that unites these two elements: Jecheon International Music Film Festival. Located by Cheongpung Lake, a seasonal getaway hot spot, the event is not only about musical films but also about bungee humping over the lake. There are also live concerts taking place all over the venue, raging from stage performances by major K-Pop stars to street traditional Korean percussion gigs. The lineup is varied and it includes Bollywood musical films, documentaries about African drummers or famous rockers, among others.

They say that Korea turns anything into a festival, so they even celebrate the snow season and this is the case: Taebaek's mountain range covered in white snow may be one of the most stunning landscapes in the country and to celebrate the snowfall, Taebaek hosts a snow festival every winter for 10 days.

The event opens with musical performances and there's a snow sculpting contest for university art students. If you attend, you'll have the chance to take part in a national climbing contest, a snowman contest and Okung sled riding. The place will look like a winter wonderland with giant sculptures adorning the designated area. There will also be driving and sledding courses, including a course for dog sled rides.

Another festival that has to do more with fortune is Jeongwol Daeboreum Fire Festival on Jeju Island. The event is meant to burn away misfortune and attract luck. A prayer ritual for a good harvest opens the festival and throughout the day, there are folk performances, a tug-of-war for "Great Unity", a "lighting of the sacred fire", a "moon house" building competition, a volcanic eruption show, a stone lifting demonstration (deumdol-deulgi), congratulatory performances from international exchange cities, fireworks and a laser show. Even if you don't get good luck from attending this festival, a good time is guaranteed.

K-Pop superstar builds a G-Dragon hotel

K-Pop superstar builds a G-Dragon hotel

K-pop boy band Big Bang leader G-Dragon has financed a new pension hotel -"pensions" are small boutique hotels in the Korean countryside - and has given it to his family to operate. The new Dolce Vita Pension in Pocheon, Korea has taken both the media and social media in South Korean by storm.

It is no surprise that thousands of of fans fly to South Korea to attend K-Pop concerts every year, but now some fans will be able to stay at the K-Pop star's pension hotel, have a chance at spotting the star, compete for the attention of his family and relax in the meantime.

Given his extravagant style, the result is a funky mix of street art, pop art and high fashion. To top this extravaganza, the hotel is decorated with fan-oriented details such as miniature figurines of Big Bang and suites named after Big Bang songs.

G-Dragon also devised a room only for himself and his friends. The room is named after the title son of G-Dragon's last album - "Crayon".

"G-Dragon's family originally bought the land thinking they would build a vacation home for G-Dragon to come rest occasionally," said hotel manager Eun-mae Huh.

"Two of his mother's friends run pension hotels in the area, which is where the idea for this pension hotel came from."

G-Dragon put up around US$920,000 to finance the hotel as a gift to his parents. His father, Young-hwan Kwon, runs the hotel and currently lives there with the K-Pop star's dog, Gaho.

"G-Dragon came to stay with Taeyang recently, and 2NE1 is also supposed to come soon," said Huh.

According to the hotel manager, the success of the pension hotel came early. From the start, bookings started pouring in from fans including those who travel from far like Japan.

While Big Bang is one of Korea's biggest boy bands with the most albums sold in the country in the first half of 2012, their success overseas is not as big but has been growing rapidly since they started. In fact, they took home the title of "Best Worldwide Act" at the MTV Europe Music Awards in 2011.

Therefore, the overseas fans are expected to crowd the pension hotel then and again. However, according to G-Dragon's father, the hotel will not be receiving guests under the age of 19. Apparently, teenage fans are not welcome to keep the pension hotel a quite place for guests to rest.

"It's not a place for teenage fans to come, and we won't be receiving them even if they come with parents" said Kwon in the interview. "It's not meant to be a commercial enterprise but just a quiet place for guests to stay."

Rates start at ?250,000 (double occupancy).

2.25 Gisan-ri Ildong-myeon, Pocheon, Gyeonggi Province, Korea.

K-Pop idols with eccentric personalities

K-Pop idols with eccentric personalities

When somebody describes a person as 4D in Korea it means that they are eccentric, wacky and even deranged. However, far from being an insult, it's actually a compliment to their original and strong personality. The best example of this is the K-Pop industry as there are many 4D stars, but far from scaring fans away, it just make them love their idols more.

Here's a list of the wackiest K-Pop idols out there:

1) 2NE1's Bom: The girl band might be known for its crazy and energetic girls, but it is Bom the one that stands out for her 4D personality, hands down. And fans love her for it. Her passion for corn and random outbursts has made her one of the most entertaining Korean singers.

"On the outside, I may seem happy a lot. But I'm human, and it's not possible to be happy all the time."

"My voice! And my style, my looks, Park Bom herself is an original!" - Park Bom

2) Big Bang's Top: The boy might be known for his charming eyes and heart-warming eyes, but sometimes it's his wacky personality what stands out the most. His love for toys and crazy hats doesn't seem normal to anyone, not even to Bom who thinks he is from another planet.

"No matter what anyone says, passion never lies." "I'm trying to become a person who I've been imagining as my hero since I was very little." "To being Big Bang is I don't think being Big Bang has a definition yet. It's something that's unfinished." -Top

3) T-ara's Hyomin: Known as the Folding Screen, Hyomin has such a peculiar sense of humour that makes everyone laugh at her wacky jokes. Everyone loves her for her "I-don't-care" attitude and silly dances.

4) Super Junior's Yesung: Even though Yesung is professional, charming and serious while he is on stage, the minute he is not performing he is already showing his strange personality. Indeed, with a tortoise as a pet and extravagant dances, Yesung proves to be completely our of the ordinary.

5) Beast's Hyunseung: Without a doubt, there are many K-pop stars who stand out for their wacky personalities, but what makes Beast's leader special is he seems to live in his own world. Once and again, he says things that only him seem to understand, but that's what makes him loved by everyone.

6) FT Island's Seunghyun: He might have been the band's cute little one, but today Seunghyun is the member that keeps FT Island on their toes with his strange dances and squeals.

7) U-Kiss' Kiseop: He might have fooled us all in the beginning by looking shy and quiet, but now he has proven that he is just the opposite. The best part is that he doesn't care about his image.

8) 2AM's Jo Kwon: this is the a case where 4D reaches its pinnacle. Jo Kwon's eccentricities reach such level that he even got his own name for it: kkap. His specialty is turning charming and even sexy dances into pure entertainment. Not only his facial expressions but everything he says is highly peculiar.