2012. 3.30 NOW Playing
Over My Dead Body (15)
Crime, Drama / 110 / Korean
When director Woo Seon-ho was at his maternal grandfather’s funeral, he wondered what would happen if his grandfather’s dead body suddenly disappeared. This unusual and dark thought inspired his latest film, “Over My Dead Body.”
Researcher Hyeon-cheol (Lee Bum-soo) realizes that an executive of a foreign company has attempted to steal a technology he has worked on for years, and goes on strike to protest the theft.
Hyeon-cheol then hears that the foreign company executive has died from a heart attack and that a computer chip containing all the information about his technology is inside the executive’s corpse. Hyeon-cheol and Dong-ha (Kim Ok-vin) decide to attempt to steal that corpse to recover the stolen information. The Girl Who Played With Fire (18)
Crime, Action / 129 / Swedish
“The Girl Who Played With Fire” is the 2009 Swedish sequel to the “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” and is based on the novel of the same name by late Swedish writer Stieg Larsson. The film follows delinquent genius Lisbeth Salander, who has returned to Sweden after spending a year abroad. She soon falls under suspicion of having committed the murder of three people, including her legal guardian. Convinced of her innocence, journalist Mikael Blomkvist has to track her down before the police do.
The film received positive reviews from critics, though some were disappointed upon comparison of the film to its predecessor. Noomi Rapace, reprising her role as Lisbeth, again garnered enthusiastic praise as the film’s best performer.
Michael Phillips of the Chicago Tribune describes the film as similar in caliber to the first despite a new director (Daniel Alfredson) and screenwriter (Jonas Frykberg); it is also a “crudely effective, extremely well-acted exploitation job” likely to please those who enjoyed the first film.
Though Rick Groen of the Globe and Mail describes the film as “tepid and downright confusing” for those who have not read the books, he concedes that most already have.Chronicle (15)
Drama, Sci-fi / 84 / English
Up-and-coming director Josh Trank brings us a film about three Seattle high school students who receive telepathic superpowers from an unknown glowing object. It’s all horseplay and practical jokes for the giddy teenagers until the most troubled among them begins using his new talents for darker purposes. The indifferent and sometimes distractingly clunky attentions of his camcorder documents disintegrating relationships and eventual chaos.
Utilizing the found-footage style that’s particularly voguish in a glut of low-budget independent films and playing on the tired tropes of Hollywood’s reality-challenged superhero flicks, “Chronicle” manages to transcend its various gimmicky components to create a menacing science-fiction tragedy loaded with uncommon emotional ballast.War, Inc. (18)
Action, Comedy / 107 / English
“War, Inc.” was the satire waiting to be made. In 2008, with a deadly and increasingly unpopular war being waged in Iraq - and almost laughably insensitive political leaders at the helm - the material kept on coming for a filmmaker who wanted to take on the war.
And yet, instead of embracing the complexities of the war, this political satire gets lost in the very maze it was intended to mock.
From the opening scenes of the film, in which audiences are treated to a hot sauce-powered assassin and a villain who gives orders from the toilet seat, it is obvious that there will be no graceful mockery in this film. And when the action shifts to a fictional Middle Eastern country called Turaqistan that is in the middle of a violent war run by an American corporation vying for control of the oil reserves, can you guess where we are? If it’s not already painfully obvious, most of the action takes place within the safety of the “Emerald Zone” enclave - hint, hint.
The characters, too, leave nothing open for interpretation, instead shoving humor offensively in viewers’ faces as if they were simply too dim-witted to connect the dots. Though rich with potential, poor execution makes this film hardly worth seeing. “War, Inc.” could have been a hard-hitting satire, but it just tries too hard. Seeking Justice (18)
Action / 105 / English
Nicholas Cage stars alongside January Jones of “Mad Men” fame and Guy Pearce, who recently received critical recognition for his role in the Oscar-winning film “The King’s Speech” as well as in the HBO miniseries “Mildred Pierce.”
Cage plays Will Gerard, whose wife Laura (Jones) is brutally attacked and sexually violated by an unknown man.
While waiting at the hospital for an update on her condition, Will is approached by a complete stranger (Pearce) who offers his condolences and then proceeds to tell him about his organization of a few men who help fellow citizens find justice after terrible things happen in their lives.
He offers Will a deal in which he will hire a stranger to seek revenge on the person who attacked Laura, only if Will agrees to return the favor in the future.
As Will gets more and more entangled in this secret organization and the people who run it, he inevitably discovers that not everything is exactly as they seem.
Kill Switch (18)
Action, Crime / 96 / English
If you’re in the mood to watch Steven Seagal act like his signature thickheaded self over and over again, then “Kill Switch” might just be for you. If not, at least have several drinks first. This 2008 direct-to-video movie must have found some following, as it was eventually put out for theatrical release, but it’s unclear who those fans are exactly.
Most Seagal flicks aren’t known for Oscar-quality acting or production, but rather, it’s the big cheese’s antics that draw in viewers. At first, “Kill Switch” seems to follow the tried-and-tested formula, giving it a fighting chance at mediocrity.
Seagal’s character, Jacob King, is a police detective haunted by a childhood memory of his brother being killed at a birthday party while playing outdoors. To avenge his death, Jacob devotes his life to capturing serial killers, though obviously it’s not his sophisticated detective work but his penchant for beating information out of the riffraff that makes him successful.
There’s a goody two-shoes who tries to ruin the fun in the form of an FBI agent named Frankie Miller (Holly Elissa), but what could potentially be a more intriguing tension never really develops between the two characters, even as Jacob’s investigations come under more scrutiny.
So, as true Seagal addicts will attest, we’re left with focusing on the fight scenes to really make the movie worth watching. But an awkward filming technique ruins even those, according to critics, leaving truly no saving grace.