2011.12.23 Now playingWhite Jungle (All)
Documentary / 82 / Korean
Although Korea has a national insurance system, there are some people who don’t receive proper medical treatment because they can’t afford to pay 20,000 won ($17) every month for medication. This dark side of the Korean medical system is portrayed in “White Jungle.” By spotlighting the people who are not covered by the national insurance system, the film delivers an obvious message: Privatization of health care would deprive many people in lower income brackets of health care in Korea.
The 82-minute “White Jungle” is directed by Song Yun-hee, whose day job is as a medical doctor. In the film, Song and her husband, who is also a doctor, meet patients who can’t afford health care.
The documentary captures competition from doctors who profit from patients. It shows how some doctors do not hesitate to provide unnecessary treatment to make money. The “30-second medical examination” is another interesting segment of the documentary, which was captured through hidden cameras.
There is a significant meaning to the title. “White” symbolizes a doctor’s gown and “jungle” is how the Korean medical world looks to the filmmakers.
The film’s earnings will be donated to the independent film industry as well as to medical patients in need.
My Way (15)
War / 137 / Korean, Japanese
Filmmaker Kang Je-kyu is back in seven years with another war film “My Way,” featuring top actors, Jang Dong-gun and Joe Odagiri, from Korea and Japan.
With stark differences between his newest war film and the previous one “Taegukgi: Brotherhood of War” (2004), is “My Way” is a global project involving Korea, China and Japan with a much larger budget of 28 billion won ($24.3 million), the highest in Korean film history, and far more crew members, at about 170.
The idea for “My Way” came from a television documentary about the tumultuous life of a man who was conscripted into Japan’s Kwantung Army and forced to fight for three countries - Japan, the Soviet Union and Germany - during World War II. Perhaps coincidentally, Kang decided to make “Taegukgi” after he watched a television documentary.
Based on the true story from a Korean soldier, the film adds fictional elements by creating a rivalry between the Korean and Japanese characters. Jun-sik (played by Jang) and Tatsuo (played by Odagiri) are both top marathoners in their country, but they become archrivals when Tatsuo moves to Korea during Japanese colonial rule. The film weaves facts and fiction using Korean marathoner Sohn Kee-chung. Sohn won a gold medal in the 1936 Summer Olympics in Berlin as a member of the Japanese delegation, but a picture of him on the podium during the medal ceremony showing that he covered the Japanese national flag on his chest is still remembered by many. The film takes liberties with this moment. In the film, after Sohn wins the gold medal, Korean marathoners are not allowed to participate in the Olympics. But Jun-sik gets a little help from Sohn, and the marathon elevates tension between Jun-sik and Tatsuo. But the two lead characters are eventually involved in World War II.
Rabbit Hole (15)
Drama / 92 / English
Becca (Academy Award winner Nicole Kidman) and Howie Corbett (Aaron Eckhart) lived happily in suburbia before the sudden, shocking loss of their four-year-old son, who was hit by a car while chasing after his dog. But despite the weight of such a devastating turn of fate, the two must find some way to live on.
Based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning play of the same name, “Rabbit Hole” dives into the couple’s complex emotions - guilt, longing, rage - experienced after the loss of their only son. Becca struggles to stay afloat, the pain driving her away from her husband. Howie tries to find some solace with another woman (Sandra Oh).
From director James Cameron Mitchell (“Hedwig and the Angry Inch”), the film is an affecting depiction of raw emotion in the most dire of situations. In the most impossible of situations, the family must find a way
A Game of Shadows (15)
Action, Adventure / 129 / English
“Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows” sees Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law reunite as Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson in a bid to foil their fiercest adversary, Professor Moriarty.
With plenty of witty dialogue, a comedy English accent by Downey and the addition of Swedish actress Noomi Rapace, “Sherlock Holmes: a Game of Shadows” will please audiences craving a Victorian-era thriller with lots of explosions and shooting.
Somewhat different from the intellectual version often seen in other movies and TV shows, Downey claims his representation of Holmes is based on Conan Doyle’s original description.
On the legitimacy of the movie Downey said, “I’d rather be doing this than some little indie move that everyone says is fantastic and it kind of sucks and is boring.”
The one-minute, 27-second trailer has several explosions and a few “Matrix” style fight scenes. Make of that what you will.
Arthur Christmas (All)
Animation, Family / 96 / English
It’s that time of year again when Santa checks his list, prepares his reindeer and sets off on a Christmas Eve journey to deliver presents to children all around the world. And naturally, your kids will have lots of questions about how Santa gets his work done. Well, now there’s a behind-the-scenes tour that can give them an exclusive look at the North Pole, including both the good and the bad.
The new animated flick, “Arthur Christmas,” shows how Santa has brought his operation into the 21st century, complete with a high-tech airship and a command center filled with hundreds of staff and a gift wrap army. But while the technology makes the Christmas Eve operation more precise and efficient, there’s always room for at least one mistake, and when one girl’s present is not delivered, Santa and his family argue, leaving Santa’s youngest son, Arthur, to fix the problem.
As Arthur travels the world struggling to deliver the present without assistance from his family, we learn the downside to technology and realize that many in Santa’s operation, even Santa himself, have lost touch with the Christmas spirit, viewing their work as an industrial operation more than one designed to make children happy.
But not to worry. Santa’s youngest son comes to the rescue, and though your children are sure cringe at Santa’s doubts about Christmas and the seemingly petty arguments he has with his family, the ending will make up for it all. Just make sure to have milk and cookies at home on Christmas Eve, as they’ll certainly want to put some out for Santa and his helpers after seeing all they go through to deliver presents each year.