2011.10.28 NOW PLAYING

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2011.10.28 NOW PLAYING

Punch (12)

Drama / 107 / Korean

“Punch” is based on Kim Ryeo-ryeong’s novel “Wan-deuk-i,” which has sold more than 700,000 copies since it was published in 2008. Like the novel, the film is a coming-of-age story that revolves around a multiethnic family facing dire circumstances.

Wan-deuk (Yoo Ah-in) is in his second year of high school and lives with his father in extreme poverty. Although not a good student, he is a good fighter, a skill that will prove valuable to his future.

Wan-deuk has been able to endure his situation until now, but he is brought to the point of snapping when he learns of a long-held family secret: the mother who ran out on the two of them years ago is Filipino.At its heart, the film focuses on the relationship between Wan-deuk and his homeroom teacher, Dong-ju (Kim Yoon-seok). Although the two start the film bickering constantly, circumstances force them together and they soon become like family to one another. Wan-deuk’s life finally begins to change when he is encouraged to take up kickboxing. Through the sport, he begins to mature as a person and starts to develop his own dreams.

Always (15)


Drama / 105 / Korean

“Always” is a tragic love story about a former down-on-his-luck boxer who falls for a woman who is losing her sight but, by contrast, still sees the joy in life.

Cheol-min (So Ji-sub) is a man with a dark, mysterious past who finds a part-time night job as a parking lot attendant. His main job is to manage the miniature pay booth in the lot, but he spends most of his time staring at a small portable television. His mundane routine is changed by the entrance of a woman named Jung-hwa (Han Hyo-joo), who walks into the booth one night and, to his surprise, sits next to him.When she confuses him for the parking attendant who worked there previously, Cheol-min realizes that she is partially blind. The two watch a drama together, with her asking questions about the plot, and she returns night after night to watch subsequent episodes. But the relationship starts to sour as Cheol-min dodges Jung-hwa’s questions about his past. Then, an incident involving Jung-hwa’s boss threatens to tear them further apart.

Paranormal Activity 3 (12)


Horror / 85 / English

Watching “Paranormal Activity 3” is, in many ways, like watching old home videos filmed by your VHS camcorder. Except, of course, for the demons.

The third in a series of successful horror films, “Paranormal Activity 3” employs the now tried-and-tested “found footage” technique that made its predecessors so unique. Set in 1988, a couple decades before the other films, we meet the “Paranormal” protagonists when they were children, just as their haunting began. The previous films leave much of their childhood shrouded in mystery, setting up a perfect opening for this film, which hardcore fans are sure to love.

In response to mysterious and frightening incidents that take place at his girlfriend’s residence, Dennis (Christopher Nicholas Smith) places video cameras throughout the house, and it is through the grainy footage captured by these cameras that much of the plot, and the most impressive scares, is advanced. One camera, ingeniously set on the base of an oscillating fan, is used particularly well to build suspense in the theater.

As the days pass, the demon’s attacks become bolder and focus on the family’s two young sisters, Katie (Chloe Csengery) and Kristi (Jessica Tyler Brown), at one point holding a sister hostage to force the other to do its bidding. The escalating violence even wins over the girls’ ever-skeptical mother, who plays the horror film’s classic skeptic. But, by then, it’s far too late.

The innocent family members who come under the demon’s control are unpredictably violent, and in the confusion, it is hard to tell who can be trusted and who will go on the attack - introducing an element of surprise that will keep you on the edge of your seat. And there’s little more disturbing than seeing a helplessly possessed young child.

This film has all the pros that made its predecessors popular among horror movie fans and then some, so it is not likely to disappoint.

The Music Never Stopped (12)


Drama / 105 / English

In the words of Wilco frontman Jeff Tweedy, “music is my savior.” In Jim Kohlberg’s directorial debut, Bob Dylan and Grateful Dead records are potential remedies for an estranged son suffering from a brain tumor and post-operation neurological disorders.

But while Gabriel Sawyer (Lou Taylor Pucci) may have been knocking on heaven’s door, his conservative father Henry (J.K. Simmons), who lost contact with his runaway son for two decades, is fighting to make up for abandoned love.

Gabriel finds it difficult to distinguish the past from the present, but he keeps truckin’, slowly recovering lost memories and always pushing for one more Saturday night.

A psychiatrist’s innovative methods utilize the rock ’n’ roll music Gabriel loved as a youth to spark the recollection of lost memories. The neurological processes involved in listening to and absorbing music have been researched for some time - victims of Alzheimer’s can often sing the tunes of childhood songs long after they forget their own names. Albums are associated with particular moments and emotions, and Kohlberg brings classic records to life with a gripping father-son story. The film is a sentimental take on generation gaps and is for anyone whose music, no matter the genre, lies deep within.

Friends With Benefits (18)


Comedy, Romance / 109 / English

After getting unceremoniously dumped, Dylan, played by former boy-band-warbler-turned-SNL-stalwart Justin Timberlake, and Jamie, played by Mila “Meg Griffin” Kunis, swear off love but decide that being single shouldn’t mean they have to stop having sex. Seeing as they know each other well and care for each other’s welfare, they decide to just have sex and promise not to become emotionally involved. Well, sounds like nothing can go wrong there.

The plot seems to revolve around these two getting ever closer, having sex, meeting each other’s families and finding themselves in humorous situations (sitting on the Hollywood sign and sort of participating in a New York flash mob where Dylan pretends to not know what a flash mob is).

Will they declare their love for each other towards the end of the film and live happily ever after? Who knows. And frankly who cares.

British newspaper The Guardian gave the film one star but The New York Times seems to think this film pokes fun at its own genre.

It’s been said there are two kinds of people in this world and this film will highlight that divide. You will either leave the cinema with a warm fuzzy felling inside, happy that true love prevailed and go home to eat a tub of ice cream alone while thinking that you, too, might find love one day. Or you’ll leave with a dribble of vomit down your shirt cursing yourself because you’ll never get that 109 minutes of your life back.
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