2011.12.2 Now Playing

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2011.12.2 Now Playing

Penny Pinchers (15)


Romantic comedy / 114 / Korean

Hong-sil (Han Ye-seul), is a stingy girl who does all she can to avoid spending money. She doesn’t go to church so she can avoid tithing, she endures all sickness, whether serious or not, to avoid going to the hospital, and she withdraws from romance and the occasional date. Ji-woong (Song Joong-ki) is an unemployed young man, and a bit of a playboy, who lies to his mother in order to get money. His cushy life comes to an end when his mom cuts him off, leaving him homeless and penniless.

The two meet when Hong-sil comes up with a new scheme to make money that could net her $20 million, but she’ll need Ji-woong’s help to make it work.

“Penny Pinchers” is directed by fi rsttime fi lmmaker Kim Jeong-hwan.

Dancing Cat (all)

Documentary / 76 / Korean

Cats are the subject of a new documentary that is likely to change how the animals are seen in a country that has traditionally regarded them with suspicion.

The fi lm originated with Lee Yong-han, a professional poet who also describes himself as a traveler. Lee said he became interested in the animals after observing a stray cat family one night three years ago.

He started photographing and writing about cats and would upload the content to his blog, which has since made him famous. He published some of the material from the blog in the book, “Hello and Thank You Stray Cats,” which has sold more than 35,000 copies since its publication in 2009 and became the inspiration for the fi lm. After the publication of the book, Lee met up with Yoon Gi-hyung, who works as a television commercial director Yoon originally conceived the project as a 20-minute short with photos of Lee, but said that after deciding to incorporate more material he spent about a year and a half fi lming stray cats around his place with his camcorder.

The fi lm alternates between the two men’s creations, with interludes of animation and indie music in between.

The structure is simple but the fi lm is entertaining, informative and even touching.

As we see the two men’s interactions with the cats develop, we also gain insight into the animals’ behavior. Some of the more entertaining shots show the cats playing with plastic bags, while more moving scenes show them delivering and nursing their young or picking through chicken bones out of starvation (this cat was later adopted by Lee).

Through it all, we also witness the cats’ struggle to survive and, when they lose this battle, the lonely deaths they die in the middle of the streets.

The fi lm is not a serious documentary, but it does pose some interesting questions about how cats live while ultimately revealing something about their human counterparts.

The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn — Part 1 (15)


Fantasy, Drama / 117 / English

The fourth in the now-ubiquitous “Twilight” series, “The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn,” starts with a major win for vampire fans, as Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart) fi nally ties the knot with Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson) till death does the couple part — which, for the vampire at least, means forever. But, of course, things are never so simple, and even though Jake Black (Taylor Lautner) does not interfere in the ceremony, all is not lost for the werewolves.

After a ravishingly romantic night with Edward, Bella notices that something is not quite right, and she realizes that she’s become pregnant with an unusually fast-growing fetus. As events in the fi lm unfold, we watch Bella’s health rapidly deteriorate until she is near death and only one substance can save her — blood — in what is a clear sign of the transformation she is about to undergo.

And yet, Jake, ever blind in his love for Bella, refuses to leave her side, even as others in his pack swear to kill the woman he loves and her child as soon as she gives birth, fearing the creation of a new, all-powerful soldier for the vampires.

By the end of the fi lm, Bella clearly takes sides in the age-old feud between the werewolves and vampires, whether she wants to or not. But her child takes on Bella’s role as the character stuck in between the two feuding species, as she is biologically related to the vampires but cared for by Jake as well. The outcome of the next and fi nal installment of the “Twilight” series is sure to depend on the fate of this newest character.

The Adventures of Tintin — The Secret of the Unicorn (all)


Adventure, Animation / 107 / English

Using motion capture animation (somewhere between animation and live action) Tintin is sure to be a hit this Christmas with kids all around the world as Tintin, a young Belgian reporter, globe trots trying to solve a mystery. In the fi rst installment in the series, Tintin (Jamie Bell) is searching for three manuscripts that will lead to sunken treasure.

Aided by Captain Haddock and with his dog Snowy, the teenage hero sets off in search of the scrolls while avoiding the evil clutches of villains.

The story fl ips back and forth from the 1940s to the swashbuckling days of Captain Haddock’s ancestors as the story of the Unicorn, the ship captained by Sir Francis Haddock, is revealed. Sure to make millions at the box offi ce, the fi lm stars Daniel Craig, Simon Pegg and Andy Serkis alongside Jamie Bell.

50/50 (12)


Drama, Comedy / 100 / English

When Adam (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) sees a doctor after persistent back pains, he is hit with news that changes his life:

A rare cancerous tumor has developed, and he has a 50 percent chance of surviving.

It’s diffi cult to write a comedy about a subject as serious as cancer, but Gordon-Levitt, Seth Rogen (Kyle) and director Jonathan Levine (“The Wackness”) draw laughter from the experiences of screenwriter Will Reiser, a cancer survivor.

Adam and Kyle, best friends and co-workers, take on the diffi cult path together. After shaving his head prior to chemotherapy sessions, Adam and Kyle decide to test the disease’s infl uence on single girls in bars.

The fi lm reminds us that friends, family and love are the greatest healers.

Tower Heist (12)

Comedy, Crime / 104 / English

Ben Stiller teams up with Eddie Murphy to get back money that was stolen from a group of employees at a plush highrise apartment building by Arthur Shaw, a Wall Street fi gure played by Alan Alda.

Stiller is the ringleader and hires a professional criminal (Murphy) to help them get their money back.

The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade provides the backdrop for the movie as Murphy trains the previously straight and hard-working citizens.

Casey Affl eck, Matthew Broderick and Tea Leoni feature as the newly formed criminal enterprise attempts to steal back the $20 million that is said to be stashed away inside Shaw’s apartment.
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