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Film and TV picks: Smugglers, Concrete Utopia, Hear U Out

Smugglers (NC16)

129 minutes, opens in cinemas on Sept 14

In the mood for some action? South Korea’s summer hit Smugglers is finally coming to Singapore’s screens.

The film drew more than four million moviegoers in its home country after opening on July 26 and has since earned over US$36 million (S$49 million).

Set against the backdrop of a sleepy seaside town in the 1970s, it revolves around a group of female divers, or haenyeo, who traditionally make their money harvesting oysters until a chemical plant that opens in their town upends their livelihoods.

One of the divers, Choon-ja (Kim Hye-soo), puts her and her friends’ diving skills to another use – picking up smuggled goods dropped into the sea.

It may be a quick way to make a fortune, but she also has to navigate a dangerous world filled with criminals, like notorious smuggler Sergeant Kwon (Zo In-sung).

Concrete Utopia (PG13)

130 minutes, now showing

Another South Korean summer blockbuster is the black comedy apocalypse film Concrete Utopia, set in Seoul after a catastrophic earthquake destroys the entire city except for one sole apartment building.

The A-list cast includes Lee Byung-hun, Park Seo-joon and Park Bo-young as residents of the building, who are initially welcoming of refugees looking for shelter in their homes. But amid dwindling food and resources, the residents soon vote to kick the refugees out.

One of the residents, Young-tak (Lee), gets appointed to become the leader of the building and begins ruling the little society formed within the building with an iron fist.

While public servant Min-seong (Park Seo-joon) reluctantly becomes his right-hand man, his wife Myeong-hwa (Park Bo-young) is unsettled by Young-tak’s draconian rule.

The star-studded film is an entertaining and unique disaster movie that is a commentary on power, greed and the South Korean dream of owning a home.

Hear U Out 4

Premieres on mewatch on Sept 7

Hear U Out is back for a fourth season. Helmed by veteran host Quan Yifeng, the popular Mediacorp talk show is known for its long, in-depth conversations that often make its guests cry.

While the first three seasons of the show largely interviewed local celebrities and personalities such as actress Fann Wong, blogger Xiaxue, actor Mark Lee and even former Member of Parliament Lee Bee Wah, Hear U Out is setting its sights beyond Singapore’s shores in its latest season.

Quan and her team headed to Hong Kong and Taiwan for lengthy sit-down interviews with eight foreign celebrities: Taiwanese actress Ruby Lin, singer Eric Chou and host Bowie Tsang; Cantopop trio Grasshopper; and Hong Kong entertainment power couple Julian Cheung and Anita Yuen, as well as actors Him Law and Wong Cho-lam, who is now the chief creative officer of Hong Kong broadcaster TVB.

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