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2012.6.8 NOW Playing

June 15,2012
Miss Conspirator (15)
Comedy, Action / 115 / Korean

What happens when a disoriented woman with a grave social phobia loses something that belongs to one of the biggest organized crime gangs in Korea, and needs to get it back before a bullet strikes her head- Sheer chaos ensues and that is what evidently happens in this upcoming movie “Miss Conspirator.”
Ko Hyun-jung stars as Chun Su-ro, a geeky cartoonist with constant panic attacks, has debilitating phobia of all forms of social interaction.

When a drug lord persuades Chun to deliver a birthday cake secretly filled with drugs to one of his accomplices, she unsuspectingly agreesand somehow gets infiltrated in a complicated drug deal followed closely by the police.

As well as for the blended package of comedy, action and romantic comedy, “Miss Conspirator” is very much awaited by the Korean audience because the movie was directed by Park Cheol-kwan, who produced the hit action comedy film “Hi, Dharma” (2001).

Expectations are indeed high and many are curious to see whether the lead character Chun is as innocent as we all first thought.



Giallo (18)
Horror, Thriller / 92 / English

Milan is Italy’s city of extravagance - high fashion, expensive leather bags and late-night clubbing. The young and powerful twentysomethings who roam the streets feel almost invincible in their youth as they soak up the unique culture the city presents around every corner. Little do they know, though, it will be the most mundane decision, one that they undertake without any thought, that will lead to their untimely undoing.
The Italian horror film “Giallo” plays with the unspoken trust on which many city dwellers stake their lives, whether when they invite a deliveryman into their homes or decide to take that empty back alley to save some time on the way to work.

In this not-so-acclaimed but still entertaining film, a disturbed taxi driver, who goes only by Giallo (yellow in Italian), kidnaps his female passengers before mutilating and killing them. The sexual gratification the murderer gets from his crimes is obvious without being overly analyzed and adds to the sickening horror that pervades the film.

While the cat-and-mouse chase that police investigators follow while trying to capture the killer is rather run of the mill and the ending predictable, “Giallo” is still worth a watch, and it will make you think twice before getting into a taxi by yourself, even if they’re not yellow in Seoul.



Lockout (15)
Action, Sci-fi / 94 / English

Released also under the title of “MS One: Maximum Security,” “Lockout” is a 2012 French science fiction film directed by James Mather and Stephen St. Leger and written by Mather, Leger and Luc Besson. The creators of the movie seem to have extracted and weaved the plot lines, action scenes and characters taken from other action films of the past decade.

They strictly follow a textbook formula of U.S. action films like the “Die Hard,” “Bourne” and “Mission Impossible” series. “Lockout” suffers from a lack of originality and impressive computer-generated imagery to keep the audience entertained. Even the plot twist at the end writhes and twists from transparent predictability.

As is usually the case, the movie starts with a hunky, smart-mouthed secret agent in interrogation, who is wrongly accused yet unwilling to vindicate himself, being given a Get-Out-of-Jail-Free card in return for accomplishing an impossibly challenging task usually upon which the fate of a country or the world depends.

The movie is set in the year 2079. The wrongly accused agent, named Snow (Guy Pearce), is expected to travel into space to an orbiting maximum security penitentiary where convicts of the most heinous crimes and foul character have staged a riot having killed everyone except for the first daughter (Maggie Grace), and bring her back to Earth safely. From demented Russian convicts to high-tension situation room drama to a series of explosions to battle scenes, elements are all too familiar and predictable.

However, considering the limited room in the plot, Pearce does what he can by injecting his charm into witty lines in between life-and-death situations. After all, one could not realistically expect more than moderate entertainment value from a movie where one falls out of space and lands on Earth in a parachute.



The Stoning of Soraya M. (19)
Drama / 114 / English, Persian

Stranded in a remote Iranian village by car trouble in 1986, a journalist (James Caviezel) is approached by Zahra (Shohreh Aghdashloo), a woman with a story to tell about the downfall and stoning death of her beloved niece, Soraya (Mozhan Marno), on the previous day. The journalist gets everything on tape, but he needs to escape the village with his life if he wishes to spread Soraya’s sad tale of misogyny, religious fundamentalism and mob violence to the rest of the world.

Directed by Cyrus Nowrasteh, “The Stoning of Soraya M.” is based on French-Iranian journalist Freidoune Sahebjam’s 1990 non-fiction book “La Femme Lapidee.”

For reasons that should be obvious, this book is banned in Iran. The film, however, did quite well at the 2009 Toronto International Film Festival, where it was voted runner-up to “Slumdog Millionaire” for the audience choice award - a meaningful coincidence, as each movie is perhaps the closest thing possible to the emotional inverse of the other.

“The Passion of the Christ” is another apt comparison - not least because they share a Middle Eastern backdrop, or because Caviezel played Christ in the latter, but because of their sheer violence: The climax of “The Stoning of Soraya M.” is a 20-minute public execution that leaves the viewer helpless in the onslaught of its blood-slicked reality. Opinions on the film are spilt.

The film is held together by Aghdashloo’s strong performance and the irrefutable moral force of its subject matter- but heavy-handed characterizations, undiscerning rage and Greek-tragedy pacing almost cause it to needlessly crumble. Not a feel-good flick, that much is fact.


Blue Valentine (19)
Drama, Romance / 114 / English

Starring Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams, “Blue Valentine” was quick to excite and draw much attention from many fans of romantic films with much anticipation for the likes of “My Week with Marilyn” (2011), “Crazy, Stupid, Love” (2011) and “The Notebook” (2004).

They were seriously misled as the romantic drama film directed by Derek Cianfrance turned out to be a heart-wrenching tale of a dissolution of marriage that shifts back and forth in time from the sweet beginnings of their courtship through desperate and futile acts to salvage the long-gone love and finally to the bitter, heartrending end. This critically acclaimed independent film evokes strong emotions and memories of loss of love and family as it moves slowly through an intense, doomed relationship.



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