Culture

  1. By Kwak Yeon-sooWhen Blackpink released their highly anticipated music video of How You Like That in late June, it was not their music but their fashion that stole the show.Being stylishly reinterpreted with its traditional traits intact, the Korean costume, hanbok, mesmerised global fans and has encouraged them to discover Korea’s traditional beauty that was lesser known than K-pop.Blackpink members are globally recognised fashionistas. They have already proven their impeccable fashion taste…
  2. Superpower Interrupted: The Chinese History of the World, by Michael Schuman. Published by PublicAffairs. 4/5 stars During a one-year sojourn in London in the 1970s, my secondary school history curriculum covered about a century from the mid-1700s on. A decade into a discussion of the Napoleonic Wars, my history teacher mentioned that after marching through a swamp, a detachment of British soldiers had burned down the White House. “That’s the War of 1812,” I interjected, finally twigging to…
  3. 2.5/5 stars The Maid starts out as just another tawdry tale of a naive young housemaid tormented by vague supernatural forces in a ridiculously lavish mansion. But Lee Thongkham’s film turns into an audaciously violent revenge slasher of which even the subversive filmmaker Sion Sono might be proud. Only the most dedicated of film-goers will get to appreciate this Thai movie’s gratuitous excesses, since its painfully uninspired opening act will put off more viewers than it legitimately…
  4. By Dong Sun-hwaK-pop boy band Monsta X have postponed their comeback online concert until next month to allow band leader Shownu to recover from retinal detachment.“We made an inevitable decision to reschedule the ‘Monsta X Live from Seoul with Luv’ gig, as we regard our artists’ health condition as the highest priority,” said the group’s record label, Starship Entertainment. “Shownu had surgery and is recovering through rest.”The show was initially set to be live-streamed on July 26 on…
  5. Americans have long adored things from France, like its bread, cheese and wine. But they’ve been stubbornly resistant to one of the biggest French exports: Asterix.The bite-sized, brawling hero of a series of treasured comic books is as invisible in America as the Eurovision Song Contest is big in Europe. One US publisher hopes to change that.Papercutz, which specialises in graphic novels for all ages, is republishing Asterix collections this summer with a new English translation – one…
  6. Dan Stevens has proven he can sing and dance as the Beast in Disney’s live-action Beauty and the Beast.But as big-cat-loving Russian billionaire singer Alexander Lemtov in Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga (now streaming on Netflix), Stevens steps his song and dance level up from beast to apex predator.As the rival to hapless Icelandic duo Lars Erickssong (Will Ferrell) and Sigrit Ericksdottir (Rachel McAdams), Lemtov belts his signature Lion of Love tune while prowling around the…
  7. With a title that resonates intensely in these increasingly inclusive, deeply caring days, It’s Okay to Not Be Okay (Netflix) looks like another drippy romantic comedy-drama in which certain Seoul studios specialise. In fact, it’s an expectation trampler of considerable finesse. The works of Tim Burton and Neil Gaiman echo through this often twisted, live action and animation combination of love story and sinister fairy tale. With her fables of nightmares, abandonment and revenge, children’s…
  8. Fans of Bruce Lee are in for a bonanza this week when esteemed home-video distribution company Criterion Collection release a seven-disc Blu-ray box set called Bruce Lee: His Greatest Hits.For release on July 14, the box set, put together by New York-based producer Curtis Tsui for Criterion, collects together all of Lee’s martial arts films, along with a plethora of special features and commentaries, to provide a comprehensive overview of the actor’s life and career.Lee is still popular enough…
  9. The four young girls in Run the World, a new American pop group that launched while its members have been in quarantine, have never met in person. You wouldn’t know that after listening to their catchy debut single, Rainbow, though.They greet one another like old friends in the group’s various interviews and TV appearances, often talking over one another and laughing at their accidental interruptions. Sometimes, they even know what the other is going to say before they say it.“Our bond is…
  10. South Korea holds its Miss Korea beauty pageant every year, and the title arguably could have gone to singer-actress-model Seolhyun for several years running given how much love she receives from her home country.A pageant winner shouldn’t just stand out for her beauty or popularity, but also for how she looks to use her influence to help those less fortunate. Once South Korea’s most searched celebrity on the internet, and sought after for her charity work, learn more about Seolhyun.Seolhyun’s…