2012.4.13 NOW Playing

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2012.4.13 NOW Playing

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The Scent (18)

Thriller, Comedy / 117 / Korean

Director Kim Hyoung-jun said he was eager to create a Korean femme fatale icon like Sharon Stone from the 1992 film “Basic Instinct.” And so, with appetites whet, attention was focused on the potential for nudity in “The Scent.”

But for those seeking an erotic thriller, the film might turn out to be a disappointment, as it is more of a comic thriller than anything else.

The plot revolves around detective Gang Seon-woo (Park Hee-soon), who specializes in adultery cases. The action starts when Seon-woo is assigned to a mysterious murder case involving a beautiful suspect, Kim Soo-jin (Park Si-yeon), who is the dead man’s wife. Things turn for the worse when, while investigating the case, Seon-woo becomes a murder suspect himself and struggles to prove his innocence.

As the story develops, it becomes clear that Soo-jin is the one and only person who can help Seon-woo prove that he is not involved.

The widowed Soo-jin who obtains the key to solving the mystery behind her husband’s death is a woman of diverse characteristics. She shivers and cries at the crime scene, but later, when she puts on her makeup, she smiles at the thought that her husband is dead. As Seon-woo slowly falls in love with the widow, his professional and personal lives blur together.

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Battleship (12)

Action, Sci-fi / 131 / English

Singer Rihanna makes her acting debut and swimsuit model Brooklyn Decker (aka Mrs. Andy Roddick) appears in her second feature film in this Peter Berg-directed and -produced loud, proud and special effects-laden monster of an alien/naval war movie. In the lead role of Lieutenant Alex Hopper is Taylor Kitsch, who is perhaps best known for his role as a football player in NBC’s hit series “Friday Night Lights,” but moviegoers will recognize him from Disney’s recent box office flop “John Carter.”

The film is set in Hawaii, in which a United States naval fleet comes across a ruthless unknown alien species called “The Regents,” who have come to Earth to conquer the ocean and make it its own power source. The U.S. team must defeat the aliens to take back their homeland and freedom. Added to the cast are Swedish actor Alexander Skarsgard (“True Blood”), who plays Alex’s brother Stone, and Liam Neeson as Admiral Shane, the father of Alex’s fiancee Sam (Decker).

What Rihanna and Decker lack in the acting department Liam Neeson probably makes up for with sheer star power, but even he is hardly enough to steer the movie in a direction other than that of pure popcorn entertainment. Second-rate dialogue, seventeen too many loud explosions, gigantic sci-fi aliens and a cast whose good looks alone can distract from the plot line are actually completely expected in an epic-scale film based off of the classic, much-loved pencil-and-paper game Battleship.

Who doesn’t like that once in a good while?

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The Beaver (12)

Drama, Comedy / 91 / English

Jodie Foster and Mel Gibson bring us the tale of a father, caught in the whirlpool of his depression; his family, beleaguered by his lethargy and distance; and a discarded beaver puppet, which serves as the father’s psychological crutch and impromptu therapist. Rising star Jennifer Lawrence plays a secondary part.

The Rotten Tomatoes movie rating aggregator gave “The Beaver” a score of 61 percent, reporting the consensus that “Jodie Foster’s visual instincts and Mel Gibson’s all-in performance sell this earnest, straightforward movie.”

Critics regard “The Beaver” as Foster’s strongest directorial work to date, though it was also her weakest-grossing debut, making only $1 million in the United States against a budget of $20 million. On the poor showing, Foster had some things to say. “Very often, Americans are not comfortable with [comedy-drama],” the actress said.

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A Better Life (12)

Drama / 97 / English

Movies about immigration and the hardships migrants face tend to garner critical acclaim with their usual poignant and touching plots of family and hope. “A Better Life” is no exception with its multigenerational story of a father’s love and the extent to which parents will go for their children to have a better chance at happiness and success.

However, there is a multitude of aspects that sets this movie apart from the rest. To name just a few, Chris Weitz, the director who brought us the classic “About a Boy” (2002), held the megaphone for this film. The movie also received several nominations and awards, most notably an Oscar nomination for Demian Bichir for best leading actor in the film.

Demian Bichir, who played Mexican drug cartel kingpin Esteban Reyes in Showtime’s drama series “Weeds,” plays Carlos Galindo, and helps personalize the illegal immigrant experience set in east L.A. as a stoic but compassionate father who struggles to keep his son from joining gangs and immigration officials.

The Hunger Games (15)

Sci-fi, Drama, Action / 112 / English

The latest breakout in young adult fiction crosses over to the big screen.

Based on the first book of Suzanne Collins’ “The Hunger Games” trilogy and directed by Gary Ross (“Pleasantville,” “Seabiscuit”), the film focuses on the annual televised death match put on by Panem, a totalitarian regime that rules North America. Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence), a hunter from the coal town of District 12, finds herself slated to fight in the games along with 23 other teenagers, some of whom have trained for the bloody contest their entire lives. As she struggles to win and return home alive, Katniss must balance her survival against her humanity.

Critics have received the film with positive reviews, praising the film’s thrilling pace, quality of acting and commitment to its source novel, as well as Lawrence’s portrayal of Katniss as a reluctant but unremorseful killer. Rafer Guzman of Newsday referred to “The Hunger Games” as being “darker than ‘Harry Potter,’ more sophisticated than ‘Twilight.’?”

Some critics disparaged the film’s length and tendency to pull punches, both in terms of social comment and intensity. Several critics have drawn unfavorable comparisons between the film and Kinji Fukasaku’s Japanese film “Battle Royale,” though Jonathan Looms of The Oxford Student argues that this is “unfair” since it “is a veritable pastiche of other movies” and artists normally borrow from and “improve on many sources. Quentin Tarantino has built his career on this principle.”

Fueled by the popularity of the novels, strong word of mouth and deft social media marketing, “The Hunger Games” rocketed to an astronomical $155 million at the U.S. box office, making it the third-best debut of all time and the best ever for any non-summer film opening.

Building on this success, the distributor, Lionsgate Films, plans to adapt three more films from the remaining two books in Collins’ trilogy, splitting the last book into two movies.

More information is available on the Web sites listed below

Art Reon www.artreon.co.kr
Arthouse Momo www.cineart.co.kr
Broadway Cinema www.bc5.co.kr
Cine City www.icinecity.co.kr
Cinus www.cinus.co.kr
City Cinema www.citycinema.co.kr
CJ CGV www.cgv.co.kr
Daehan Cinema www.daehancinema.co.kr
Hanil Cinema www.hanilcinema.co.kr
Hypertheque Nada www.dsartcenter.co.kr
Joongang Cinema www.joongangcinema.co.kr
Land Cinema www.landcinema.co.kr
Lotte Cinema www.lottecinema.co.kr
Megabox www.megabox.co.kr
MMC www.mmc24.co.kr
Primus Cinema www.primuscinema.com
Seoul Cinema www.seoulcinema.com
Sponge House www.spongehouse.com
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