2008. 10. 24 NOW PLAYING
Body of Lies (15)
Action, Thriller / 128 min. / English
See full review, left.
Drama, Omnibus / 111 min. / Japanese
This omnibus film comprises three segments, by Bong Joon-ho from “The Host”, Leos Carax from “Mauvais Sang”, and Michel Gondry from “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind”.
The first segment, “Shaking Tokyo” by Bong, is about a hikikomori (a person withdrawn from social life who seeks extreme degrees of isolation) who breaks out of his lonesome lifestyle after 11 years to look for a pizza delivery girl. What he finds is stunning: There are hikikomori everywhere in Tokyo.
Carax’s “Mad Man” stars a filthy, awkward-looking man who appears from the gutters of Tokyo and strikes horror in the hearts of the city’s residents. He is arrested, but no one’s really sure whether he’s innocent or guilty.
Michel Gondry’s “Akirawa Hiroko” is about a woman named Hiroko who follows her boyfriend, an aspiring movie director, to Tokyo. One day, Hiroko finds herself incapable of doing anything, and embarks on a path of self-discovery.
Piano, Solo (15)
Drama, History, Music / 105 min. / Italian
Luca Flores (Kim Rossi Stuart) is a well-bred Italian boy growing up in Africa who has a unique gift for playing the piano. His life flourishes until a tragic accident tears him down.
Trained in a renowned conservatory, he grows up to become a lauded jazz pianist and is given the opportunity to perform globally.
After finding love, it seems that just about everything is perfect in his life when a sad and painful incident disturbs his harmony.
The Mermaid (18)
Drama / 114 min. / Russian
Alisa (Mariya Shalayeva) is a young girl with a special gift - she has telekinetic powers.
As she approaches her 18th birthday, Alisa’s job as a walking advertisement for a cell phone company leads her to fall in love with Sasha (Evgeny Tsyganov). But Sasha prefers the seductive Rita (Irina Skrinichenko).
Can Alisa overcome the tolls of urban living and win the affections of her true love?
This film has drawn comparisons to French film “Amelie” (2001) starring Audrey Tautou, combining fantasy and dark humor in a modern day fairy tale.
Painted Skin (15)
Fantasy / 103 min. / Cantonese
So Wui (Xun Zhou) is a woman with mesmerizing beauty who is subject to the torment of an evil warlord.
But lucky for So Wui, her beauty wins her the attention of General Wang (Kun Chen), who protects her. When he brings her home, mystery seems so surround her. But as time passes, a number of corpses missing their hearts begin to appear on the grounds of Wang’s home.
It turns out there’s more to So Wui than meets the eye, yet her murderous tendencies take on more of a fantastical, rather than horrific, air.
The Duchess (15)
Drama, History / 110 min. / English
In late 18th century England, women had very little freedom to speak of, as illustrated through the life of Georgiana, the Duchess of Devonshire (Keira Knightley). But married to a cruel duke (Ralph Fiennes) who is single-minded in his pursuit of producing a son, Georgiana, despite her beauty and popularity, finds herself being cuckolded.
As her husband’s dalliances take on great prominence, she is forced to live in an increasingly dire situation, compounded by her difficulty in bearing a son. Georgiana finds herself desperately yearning for solace in an old friend, Charles Grey (Dominic Cooper), yet tightly bound by the constraints of her social class.
How to Lose Friends and Alienate People (15)
Comedy, Romance / 105 min. / English
British journalist Toby Young’s memoir about his five years of trials and tribulations as a contributing editor at Vanity Fair magazine comes to the screen in this film adaptation. The names and parts of the story have been changed, but the story’s still hilarious. Simon Pegg stars as Sidney, a bumbling, two-bit celebrity reporter who gets his big break through a job at Sharps magazine, a prestigious publication. Although his editor has ordered him to get along with people, a series of missteps befalls Sidney, which include irritating his colleague Alison Olsen (Kirsten Dunst). In time, however, he finds salvation in friendship with a starlet, Sophie Maes (Megan Fox). After a while, Alison and Sidney start to become friends, too. But with only a few allies, can Sidney survive the dog-eat-dog world of New York journalism?
Death Race (18
Action / 104 min. / English
The 1975 film “Death Race 2000” is reincarnated in writer and director Paul W. S. Anderson’s 2008 version. In “Death Race,” set in 2012, corporations fund prisons, and inmates at Terminal Island prison are finding themselves in the spotlight. To credit are the pay-per-view broadcasts of the prisoners’ lawless auto races. New inmate Jensen Ames (Jason Statham) chooses to take over the role of Frankenstein, a fierce masked driver who has recently died, with the promise that he’ll be freed if he wins against Machine Gun Joe (Tyrese Gibson), another driver.
Ames has a chance, but the race is no easier than living behind bars. True to this film’s title, it’s either win the race or die.