2011.8.26 NOW PLAYING

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2011.8.26 NOW PLAYING

Invasion of Alien Bikini (18)


Sci-fi / 75 min / Korean

Directed by four filmmakers calling themselves Kino Mangosteen, “Invasion of Alien Bikini” arrives among a recent crop of B-movies that have been making a comeback this year.

A mixture of many sub-genres including sci-fi, romance and action, “Invasion of Alien Bikini” depicts a confrontation between a seemingly innocent young woman named Monica (Ha Eun-jung) and a nerd named Young-gun (Hong Young-keun) who fancies himself a crime fighting hero and even wears a superhero costume to disguise himself. When the two meet, Monica seems to be the victim of a mugging, but is actually being pursued by government agents who suspect she is being inhabited by an alien that wants to reproduce and take over the world. Young-gun takes Monica back to his apartment to help her recover, and that’s when the fun starts. The alien inside of Monica goes on the prowl to seduce our young hero, who, although attracted to Monica, wants to keep his virginity until he gets married with comic results as the two tussle over their conflicting desires.

Working with a low budget of 5 million won ($4,545), the members of Kino Mangosteen - Oh Young-doo, Ryu Hoon, Hong Young-keun and Jang Yun-jung - kept things simple by doing a lot of the work themselves. Oh wrote the screenplay, directed and participated in the editing process. Ryu was in charge of equipment rentals and Hong played the role of Young-gun in the film. Jang, who is Oh’s wife, produced the film and also served as a special effects makeup artist.

“Invasion of Alien Bikini” won the grand prize at Japan’s Yubari Fantastic Film Festival in February and was a sell out during all three screenings at last month’s Puchon International Fantastic Film Festival.

The Ultimate Weapon (15)

Action, War / 122 / Korean

Set during the second Manchu invasion of 1636, “The Ultimate Weapon” combines dazzling special effects, a tense plot line and the thrill of the chase to tell the story of master archer Nam-yi (Park Hae-il) and his quest to rescue his sister Ja-in (Moon Chae-won) from the Qing Dynasty.

After their father is killed for being a traitor to his country, the two young siblings are raised by a family friend who lets Nam-yi hunt with a bow and arrow just as his father did. Although they face a number of hardships, the two grow up well and Ja-in eventually falls in love and becomes engaged. But on her wedding day, tragedy strikes as she is dragged away by Qing warriors, setting Nam-yi on a mission to save the only family he has left. Armed with only a bow and arrows, Nam-yi hunts the Qing army, taking them out one by one.

Backed by a strong cast and creative team, the film has drawn 2 million to the theater since its release on Aug. 10. Director Kim Han-Min is well known for his work on the 2009 thriller “Handphone” and Park Hae-il rose to fame with his role as a serial killer in the 2003 hit “Memories of Murder.”

Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark (15)


Thriller, Horror / 99 / English

As Alex Hurst (Guy Pearce) and his girlfriend Kim (Katie Holmes) restore their Gothic mansion’s period interiors, Alex’s young daughter Sally (Bailee Madison) explores and investigates gruesome and frightening history of the estate.

Young Sally is encouraged by the whispering voices that emanate from the basement of the creepy house, voices that offer friendship. Sally is lured by these devilish voices to unwittingly open a gateway to hell through which an army of nightmarish creatures swarm. Sally attempts to warn her new family but in true horror-movie style, nobody believes her.

Writer Guillermo Del Toro (“Pan’s Labyrinth”) says of the film that it was the scariest of his generation. He sought out the only surviving member of the writing team who created the original 1973 TV movie, Nigel McKeand, who also wrote the short story it was based on, and along with his sometime writing partner Matthew Robins wrote the screenplay. The entire process from tracking the rights to the original to filming the Del Toro version took from 1993 to 2009, a mammoth 16 years.

There are elements of the “The Shining” with a hint of “Gremlins” and there will be scary moments that will make even the most cynical cinemagoer jump.

Drive Angry 3-D (18)


Action / 100 / English

Nicholas Cage is the Ghost rider, in a car, in 3-D. Well OK, he isn’t Ghost Rider but he does escape hell and go on the hunt for bad men. He doles out the odd butt kickin’ too. Lots of guns, shooting, high speed driving and explosions coupled with the fact that it was shot in 3-D makes this a must-see cinematic experience.

IMDB sums up the complicated plot in a very long-winded way, but I think it is worth repeating it word for word. “A vengeful father escapes from hell and chases after the men who killed his daughter and kidnapped his granddaughter.” Not so long and complicated after all.

This film can be likened to a tin of Ronseal, a woodstain and wood-dye from the U.K. A famous advertising campaign for the company’s products spawned a now common idiomatic phrase in the U.K. and it fits perfectly for Nic Cage’s latest release. “It does exactly what it says on the tin.”

Drive Angry 3-D is, according to the blurbs from the trailer “spectacularly explosive 3-D action like you’ve never seen” and you will see “Nicholas Cage at his action-packed best.”

The Hangover Part II (18)


Comedy / 102 / English

What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas - unless a sequel rakes in more than $250 million in the U.S. box office and some $300 million in international showings. Warner Bros. got the original film’s star-studded cast back together for another round, but this time flew Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms, Zach Galifianakas and Justin Bartha to Bangkok, Thailand.

While the film had a record-setting opening weekend in the United States, its reception was mixed - director Todd Phillips (“Road Trip,” “Old School”) seemed to create an exact replica of the first film, adopting the same premise and story structure.

Yet the staff’s talent, driven by Galifianakas, makes the experience worthwhile.
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