Article. Kim Rieun, Im Sooyeon (CINE21 Reporter), Kim Gyeoul (writer), Kang Ilkwon (RHYTHMER, Music Critic)
Design. Jeon Yurim
Photo Credit. Antenna Plus
BbamBbam Social Club (Ddeun Ddeun)
​Kim Rieun: Six people who aren’t yet that close get together from 10 at night till midnight and become friends over some drinking games. BbamBbam Social Club—a show from Antenna Plus’ DdeunDdeun, the same YouTube channel that hosts Yoo Jae-suk’s online variety show Just an Excuse—brings back memories of pre-pandemic first-year university parties. Just like with Just an Excuse, each episode takes advantage of the unconventional YouTube format and runs anywhere from 30 minutes to over an hour, and the whole show is Joo Woo-jae, Lee Yong Ju, Park Se Mee, Aiki, JOOHONEY (MONSTA X) and SUNWOO (THE BOYZ) playing games where the loser has to drink. Fortunately, the creators of the show make the experience of drinking games far more enjoyable by allowing the players to choose their own drinks and the amount they consume. The show is an absolute hoot whether they’re playing the “pony game,” which is similar to the more familiar “bunny bunny game” but with the chant changed simply to whinnying, or the “mango music game,” where everyone has to try and sing without their gums showing. The show is full of naturally funny moments, like when Lee Yong Ju has to make a video call to everyone else as a penalty and later reenacts the awkward call with Joo Woo-jae, or when drinking “lightweight” Joo and SUNWOO egg each other on. The whole show itself acts as a guide to forming social relationships with people who are meeting for the first time—so much so that, before you know it, Lee, who was dead last in a previous episode, comes bearing gifts for the others that he carefully picked out = at the department store, and while Aiki is in the United States and temporarily absent from the show, the other cast members become absorbed in a game all about her. In other words, BbamBbam Social Club recaptures the youthful fun of pre-pandemic revelry that gave people the opportunity to get to know one another better through activities like drinking games. In other words, it’s a new spin on the classic online drinking buddy format.
​The Fabelmans
Im Sooyeon (CINE21 reporter): Steven Spielberg’s 35th feature film is also his first autobiographical one. The movie focuses on the teenage years of Sammy, a stand-in for Spielberg, from the moment he becomes enthralled with film after seeing The Greatest Show on Earth with his parents to the beginnings of his career in Hollywood. The film asks audiences to revisit the director’s filmography, with suggestions that his parents’ divorce serves as the background behind the appearance of lonely children in many of his movies (E.T., Catch Me If You Can, etc.) and the anti-Jewish discrimination he experienced in his Californian high school as the reason behind why his film Schindler’s List was so important to him. The Fabelmans isn’t satisfied with simple personal recollection, carefully manipulating emotions through its control over its use of imagery. It also occasionally deviates from the director’s intentions or projects unwanted truths (which are in fact untrue). The movie ultimately speculates on how flashy, well-produced films can push for harmony and tolerance in humanity. Though the movie might help its director to heal some personal wounds, it isn’t weighed down by personal emotions and it raises questions about the very medium of film itself without ever becoming pedantic. Spielberg has been a major figure in the movie industry since the 1970s and continues to make masterpieces into the 2020s.
​Futurepasttense (Bae Myung-hoon)
Kim Gyeoul (writer): It’s not past and future tenses—it’s the “futurepast” tense. The title immediately captures the sense of the book and raises expectations for something unusual, and, as usual, author Bae Myung-hoon doesn’t let his readers down with Futurepasttense, his first short story collection in seven years. Despite working within the crowded sci-fi genre, Bae has built a unique world through his works over the past 20 years and garnered a major following as well. Futurepasttense is equal parts humor and sorrow, happiness and sadness, triviality and marvel. The stories inside showcase his talent as a humorous storyteller and explorer; perhaps most impressive is his innocent and enduring curiosity about the world. “With Chakatapa’s Passion” is a clever twist on the problem of “rupture” that got lost in the headline-grabbing era of the pandemic. “Folding Gods” plays on the motif of origami and how it’s used in real-world space exploration. With excitement and with poise, his stories shine one by one, from sci-fi rooted in emulating the structure of traditional Korean pansori to stories involving linguistics. Adding to the fun is the new addition of author’s notes tacked onto each story. This is sci-fi that’s pure joy to read.
​“Swing Slam” (Samuel Seo)
Kang Ilkwon (RHYTHMER, Music Critic): Some artists’ creative springs are unlikely to ever run dry, and Samuel Seo is one of them. Seo has put out hit after hit beginning with his rapper foundations and as he transitioned to life as a singer-songwriter. In a span of eight years of releases, he’s not let us down even once. And that’s no easy feat. His amazing music, a blend of R&B/soul, funk, hip hop, jazz and alternative pop with lyrics that are marked by unique language and values, is soulful, bold and, from time to time, nonlinear. The word “unrivaled” is a perfect description. You can feel it as soon as you hear “Swing Slam.” Even on this track, where Seo seems to be understating his abilities, his talent jumps out at you everywhere, from the power of each note billowing out in the simplicity of the jazz-meets-soul production style to the delicately woven vocals not bound by any kind of form and the sense of rhythm arising from lyrics that amplifies the feeling of every word in combination. It’s at once touching in a familiar way and unconventional. Neither does the music ever feel contrived or designed simply to show off. Fans can once again rest assured that, whether Seo’s putting out a single or an album, they won’t be disappointed.