H.J. Park

How did you get started as a film critic?

It was 1980. My editor knew that I was a movie fanatic and I studied a little bit about it, so she just assigned me as a movie reviewer. I was the first and sole reviewer of The Korea Times and still am.


What was your first meaningful moviegoing experience?

It was during my junior high school years. I went to see From Here to Eternity. I cried and fell in love with Monty. After that, movies have been my life.


What was your first published review?

I don't remember the title but it was a remake of Lone Ranger. And I liked it.


What movie would you have liked to review had you been a critic upon its initial release?

From Here to Eternity.


What movie are you embarrassed to admit you love?

I love sentimental ones.


Name a film you think everybody should see.

Brief Encounter and The Third Man.


What’s the most common question you’re asked when someone discovers you’re a film critic?

What is your favorite movie?


What’s the most controversial review you’ve written?

It was The Last Temptation of Christ. I reviewed it very positively and my Christian readers didn't like it at all.


Is there a genre or era you have a particular affinity for?

Film noir.


What is your process in approaching a review?

Serious and realistic approach to the topic and emotional depth.


Do you like to discuss a movie with other critics immediately after a screening or before writing a review?



What other film critics, past or present, do you admire?

Joe Morgenstern is my favorite. Next one is Sheila Benson.


What’s the worst film you’ve ever seen?

Some of Nick Cage's movies.


Is there a classic film you’re embarrassed to admit you’ve never seen?

Un Carnet de Bal


If I weren’t a film critic, I’d be a…



In the age of digital media and blogging, where is film criticism going and where should it go?

Even though written reviews are in danger of being obsolete we should keep on writing.


To the public at large, what purpose does a professional film critic serve?

We can make them choose good movies.


What’s the best part of being a film critic and the worst part of being a film critic?

Watching as many movies as I can, but I have to review too many…and that damned deadline.


Name the worst sequel ever.

Godfather III.


What’s the biggest misconception people have about film critics?

I think we are movie lovers first. But they think we know everything about movies.


What would you say to the old saw that critics are frustrated artists, punishing those who do for doing?

Nothing. Just ignore.


Are movies better because of film critics?



In your opinion, have you ever written something that had a measurable impact?



What advice do you have for aspiring film critics?

Watch as many movies as you can.


Has social media changed how you interact with your readers and has social media made the job of film critic easier or harder?

Yes and a little bit easier.



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