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[13.11.04] Latest Update - Two International reviews on "Jinx!" and Hyomin's acting

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[13.11.04] Latest Update - International Review on "Jinx!!!"

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A frothy and fun-packed college comedy romance, Naoto Kumazawa’s Jinx!!! (yes, three exclamation marks!) is an engaging tale of star-crossed romance where those trusty plot devices of misunderstanding, shyness and friendship are used to good effect.

Much is made of cross-cultural romantic references between South Korea and Japan, and while its youthful target audience is most likely from those territories the film has a whole lot of remake potential as a co-production between other countries (US and Japan, UK and France etc). The film had its world premiere at the Tokyo International Film Festival and opens in Japan on November 16.

The film actually opens in South Korea where young student Jiho (fresh and delightful K-pop star Hyomin, from group T-ARA) is waiting to meet her boyfriend for their 100-day date (celebrating romance every 100 days is a big deal in South Korea), but he dies in a motorcycle accident.

To try and get over her grief she heads to Japan as an overseas student (where much is made, naturally, about cultural misunderstandings). She quickly befriends the seemingly sad and rather clumsy Kaede (a charming Kurumi Shimizu) and starts to try and apply her Korean-style romance tactics to fostering Kaede’s would-be romance with the boy Yusake (Kento Yamazaki) she has loved from high school.

It is territory that has been covered many times before, but what gives this rather lengthy rom-com (it runs over two hours) its heart is the sheer force of personality of Hyomin in her film debut who is a real delight as Jiho, who puts her own sadness to one side and use her matchmaking prowess to try and help Kaede.

She tries to get Kaede to adopt the Korean romantic tactics of ‘milbang’ – essentially a series of rules on how to get a guy to fall in love with you – though naturally enough this leads to misunderstandings galore (as Kaede can’t quite seem to follow the rules) and also gradually draws out more about Jiho’s relationship with her late boyfriend.

The film has more than its fair share of charming moments – with more than a few side trips into melodramatic territory – with Liszt’s Liebestraum No. 3 acting as a romantic motif. Best of all is Jiho’s love for the notion that couples should show their love by reenacting scenes from famous Hollywood romantic films such as Love Actually and in particular Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind, where the scene of lying on the ice looking up at the stars plays a key role in Jinx!!!.

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Source: http://www.screendaily.com/reviews/the-latest/jinx/5063177.article?referrer=RSS

Two introverted, socially awkward Japanese university students like each other, but cannot even exchange one single word at school. Help! Bring a photogenic girl resembling a K-pop star to the rescue by sending her to Japan and teaching them the ways of courtship, Korean style!

The premise sounds like a hokey, adolescent international incident rife with stereotypes, but what powers “Jinx!!!” through its 122 minutes is the charm of its lead, Hyomin (a real-life K-pop star and member of the girl group T-ARA). Hyomin plays the character of Jiho, who makes a sudden decision to study in Japan to recover from the sudden death of her boyfriend in Korea. Why Japan? How does Jiho learn to speak Japanese? What is she studying? None of these questions seems to matter when she comes across Kaede (Kurumi Shimizu), who sits by herself in the cafeteria at lunchtime each day. When Jiho realizes that Kaede acts nervous around a couple of male classmates, she accurately assumes that her new reluctant friend must be interested in one of them. So begins a determined Jiho’s quest to play the ringmaster in a play-hard-to-get series of antics called milbang. Jiho’s insistence on playing matchmaker, her over-the-top perkiness in forcing Kaede to be friends with her, and her eventual involvement in pushing the equally hesitant Yusuke (Kento Yamazaki) to pursue Kaede become clearer as the relationship with her late boyfriend is gradually revealed.

What will make “Jinx!!!” appealing to the teen and 20-something set is the Japanese indie film meets K-drama story line, through which Hyomin pretty much plays up two moods: wide-eyed happy and tearful sad. As a result, melodrama is bound to play a major role, with a dreamlike classical piano piece (Franz Liszt’s “Liebestraum No. 3″) serving as the theme for nostalgic flashbacks and scenes from romantic Hollywood movies. These all manage to comprise the backbone and the heart of “Jinx!!!” in a series of genuinely comedic, tear-inducing and heartwarming events that help Jiho herself to heal.

“Jinx!!!” made its world premiere at the 2013 Tokyo International Film Festival and will be released theatrically on Nov. 16.

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Source: http://www.meniscuszine.com/articles/2013102626343/jinx-%E3%82%B8%E3%83%B3%E3%82%AF%E3%82%B9-2013-tokyo-international-film-festival-review/

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