2011.5.13 NOW PLAYING

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2011.5.13 NOW PLAYING

Sunny (15)


Drama / 124 / Korean

Na-mi (Shim Eun-kyung, Yoo Ho-jung), who is living a comfortable life with her husband and teen daughter, decides to reunite with friends from high school after meeting one, Chun-hwa (Kang So-ra, Jin Hee-kyung), for the first time in 25 years. Chun-hwa, who has cancer, has found out she has two months to live.

The film flashes back to the girls’ teenage days in the 1980s. The girls meet for the first time when Na-mi is transferred from a middle school in the countryside to Seoul. With the other students mocking her dialect, Na-mi first encounters her friends when they come to her rescue. Together, the seven girls form a group they call “Sunny” and swear an oath to be friends forever. The girls ambitiously prepare to perform at their school’s talent show, but after an unfortunate event the day before the show, they break their oath and separate.

Directed by Kang Hyung-chul, the film was well received by movie critics and is expected to attract women of all ages. Excellent performances by the young actresses make this film even more appealing. Kang is known for his hit “Speed Scandal,” which was viewed by over 8 million people in 2008.

The Journals of Musan (15)

Drama / 127 / Korean

Jeon Seung-chul defected from North to South Korea to find a better life. Although he does all types of menial jobs such as taping up posters on the street, he is armed with a can-do spirit. But he often finds himself being beaten or bullied by his neighbors because of his status as a North Korean defector.

Things become more complex when he falls in love with a South Koran woman at his church who works at a noraebang (Korean singing room). To win her heart, Jeon even lands a job at the same place.

Meanwhile, Jeon has to contend with his roommate, fellow defector Kyung-chul, who often steals and cheats on his compatriots.

Inspired by director Park Jung-bum’s friend Jeon Seung-chul, a North Korean defector who died of stomach cancer at the age of 30, rookie director Park wrote the screenplay and also played the lead role. The film has received more than five international film awards.

Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides (12)


Action, Adventure / 128 / English

The fourth installment of the franchise sees Cap’n Jack escaping from George II’s palace, meeting up with Keith Richards for some witty repartee and then setting off with Barbossa to find the elusive fountain of youth, only to discover that Blackbeard and his daughter are after it too.

Keira Knightley has been replaced by Penelope Cruz, who in the right light looks a bit like a heavily made-up Knightly, and plays the daughter of the dreaded Blackbeard. Ian McShane, perhaps best known to Americans for his role in HBO’s “Deadwood,” plays the fearsome pirate and continues the franchise’s fascination with British baddies. There is a mermaid in there, too, somewhere, as much buccaneering as you can shake a cutlass at and the classic swashbuckling music that has become part of the brand.

Gore Verbinski has been booted out and Rob Marshall, a Broadway choreographer and director turned filmmaker, has been drafted in to breathe life back into the franchise. The similarities to the other films in the series are too many to list but, as with most franchise films, if you liked the other three you will probably like this one too.

Listen to Your Heart (12)

Drama, Romance / 100 / English

A small, unknown film in the United States, “Listen to Your Heart” has opened in theaters here in Korea, seemingly aimed at the same demographic that makes Korea’s saccharine television melodramas so popular and enduring.

Similar to the plot devices used here, “Listen to Your Heart” is about a romance caught in the crosshairs of social and economic class. Replace the destitute girl with a New York City songwriter who waits tables on the side, and substitute the chaebol heir with a privileged girl from Greenwich, Connecticut.

Danny (played by Kent Moran) is smitten when he chances upon Ariana (played by Alexia Rasmussen). Danny’s discovery that Ariana is deaf inspires his songwriting, an act of love that Ariana has no way of truly comprehending. It’s a particularly cruel irony, one that will surely resonate with the soap operatic hearts of Koreans everywhere.

And just like an SBS drama, it is the mother of the richer of the couple who becomes the villain - in this case Victoria (played by Cybill Shepherd, surprisingly).

Armed with her pearls and an air of Fairfield County snootiness, the Greenwich mother fights to keep Ariana and Danny apart.

“Listen to Your Heart” is directed by Matt Thompson, who is all of 26 years old.

Thor (12)


Action / Adventure / 114 / English

The God of Thunder...in New Mexico.

Thor, a powerful but arrogant warrior is stripped of his super powers and his mythical hammer, and thrown out of Asgard by his dad, Odin (played by Sir Anthony Hopkins). He is banished to Earth, modern day America to be specific, where he develops a fondness for humans. He falls in love with Natalie Portman’s character, Jane Foster, who teaches the deity a few much needed lessons. Exactly what kind of lessons you will have to speculate on. Then, to spoil the party, Loki, a trouble-making god starts causing all kinds of mischief and Thor must stop him.

Thor is directed by Kenneth Branagh, who was nominated for the best director Oscar for Henry V way back in 1989 and is best known for directing and starring in several film adaptations of William Shakespeare’s plays, perfect for a CGI soaked super hero epic then. The CGI is said to be “ropey” at best but most 12-year-olds, the target audience, won’t mind or even notice.

Australian Chris Hemsworth plays the lead and Stellan Skarsgard adds a touch of Scandinavian for that authentic feel.

Officer of the Year (15)


Comedy / 117 / Korean

Known for their rivalry, the Mapo and Seodaemun police stations constantly compete to become the best performing police stations in the area. When a competition to name the “Officer of the Year” begins, two candidates, Hwang Jae-sung (Park Joong-hoon) and Jung Eui-chan (Lee Sun-kyun), compete to become the best officers in town. Jae-sung, chief of the Mapo police station, is a highly decorated officer and an elite graduate of the Police Academy. Eui-chan, chief of the Seodaemun police station, is the only one given a chance to beat out Jae-sung for the award.

The rivals take on a case and have two weeks to solve it. Jae-sung, who isn’t a graduate of the Police Academy, needs the promotion, and Eui-chan, whose wife is pregnant, needs the prize money.

“Officer of the Year” is the directorial debut of Lim Chan-ik. He previously worked on other films as an assistant director, including “Bravo My Life” (2005) and “Wedding Campaign” (2005).
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