2012.7.13 NOW Playing
Mystery, Thriller / 86 / Korean
One man and two women wake up in a basement of a strange house deep in the woods. None of these three people, mystery novelist So-hee (Park Han-byul), college student Suk-ho (Kim Ji-seok) and high school student In-jung (Park Jin-joo) remembers how, when or why they got there. Ever since they woke up, time ceased to pass by and they are confined within the house with weird keening sounds and unidentified presences. As they strive to survive in the endless night and limited space, time reveals secrets about the house and about each other, drawing them into mistrust and madness. Such peculiar settings amplify synergy with detailed Mise-en-Scene of two-sided elegance and dreariness of the house, letting the audience go through kinds of horror they’ve never experienced in a Korean horror film before. “Two Moons” is directed by Kim Dong-bin, who was formerly a director of other horror films like “The Ring Virus”(1999) and “Red eye”(2004). Park Han-byul starring ‘So-hee’ in “Two Moons” also has experience in horror films such as “Whispering Corridors 3: Wishing Stairs”(2003) and “Yoga School”(2009). Blood and hair-raising sounds replaced by sound storyline and atmospheric synesthesia to the characters, “Two Moons” could be a perfect chill for the summer heat.
Mystery, Thriller, Action / 105 / English
Discouraged by chronic writer’s block and recently rejected by his girlfriend Lindy (Abby Cornish), writer Eddie Morra (Bradley Cooper) decides to take an experimental drug that gives him the ability to use 100 percent of his mind. Eddie runs into an old friend who introduces him to NZT, a black-market “smart drug,” which allows Eddie to become the absolute perfect version of himself. He suddenly finds his memory impeccable and his acquisition of information quick and expedient and uses his new abilities to exploit Wall Street. However, Eddie’s overnight success doesn’t go unnoticed - he catches the attention of business mogul and investor Carl Loon (Robert De Niro) and the suspicions of greedy mobsters who want the pill for themselves. Eddie soon realizes that taking the easy way out comes at an incredible price and he finds himself racing to save his own life. “Limitless” has been well received as being more than the standard thriller - intelligent, suspenseful and original. However, some critics have dubbed “Limitless” as being just the opposite: limited. They criticize Cooper’s one-dimensional acting and the premise of the movie itself, dubbing “smart drugs” an outdated subject matter. Yet, the skillful cinematography and unique camera angles pump adrenaline into the movie. All in all, the movie carries momentum and intrigue, and critics and fans alike agree that it is in fact an entertaining watch.
Comedy, Drama / 97 / English
After another alcoholic relapse, Nick Halsey (Will Ferrell) finds himself completely lost: He is fired from his sales job, only to come home and finds that his wife has left and kicked him out. With no money and nowhere to go, Nick resorts to living on the lawn, hopelessly drinking his beer. When the police ask Nick to vacate the premises, his cop friend, Frank, gives him a five-day permit for a lawn sale. While trying to sell his belongings, he befriends neighborhood kid (Christopher Wallace) and new neighbor Samantha (Rebecca Hall). Though the story line is simple, this film delves into what it means to climb your way up from rock bottom. Nick learns that in order to truly start over and let go, everything must go - starting with all of his old belongings. The movie is more of a human drama rather than a happy-go-lucky comedy one may expect from “Anchorman” and “Blades of Glory” actor Will Ferrell. However, the script’s wit and dry humor, coupled with an exceptional job by the cast, make this film endearingly funny. In this film, Ferrell proves that he can also do drama - he is funny, moving and brings a very human, relatable quality into the deadbeat character. Some critics wish the film could have been bolder and more humorous, while others commend the film for not fishing for a punch-line and simply “being what it is,” allowing viewers to enjoy the film on its own terms.
Comedy, Drama, Romance / 123 / English
Directed by John Madden and based on a 2004 novel “These Foolish Things” by Deborah Moggach, the formulaic storyline of this British comedy-drama film is about seven English seniors finding love and adjusting to a new life at a retirement hotel in India. While the movie can be replete with cliches and obvious plot development, the Tony cast makes this flick one to watch this year. Starring in this silver years’ drama is a star-studded ensemble, including Judi Dench, Celia Imrie, Bill Nighy, Ronald Pickup, Maggie Smith, Tom Wilkinson and Penelope Wilton, not to mention the “The Slumdog Millionaire” star Dev Patel. Set in contemporary India, seven pensioners for various circumstances end up in the exaggeratedly-advertised Jaipur’s the Best Exotic Marigold Hotel run by eager and youthful manager Sonny (Patel). To varying degrees the newly arrived cohort experience overwhelming challenge with the unfamiliar environment which draw stark contrast with the off-the-wall enthusiastic attitude of Sonny. Through tragicomic happenings, and errors of first impressions, the characters find new understanding of life and love, and find ways to cope with the sunset of their lives. Though many of the subset stories fail to escape contrivance, the story told well as a whole is worth more than the sum of its parts.
Midnight in Paris (15)
Fantasy, Romance / 94 / English
After London, Barcelona and Rome, Woody Allen has returned with another cinematic treat. Eponymously set in nocturnal Paris, Allen’s serenade to his beloved City of Light is a time-traveling, escapist fantasy in which Allen’s film stand-in Gil (Owen Wilson), a wide-eyed Hollywood screenwriter, journeys to the Golden Twenties and meets the cohort of the Lost Generation and further to la Belle Epoque. The protagonist, who has a reverent respect for the high culture, is misunderstood and feels out of place in the company of his yuppie fiancee Inez (Rachel McAdams) and her neoliberal parents. When asked to join Inez’s even more pretentious friends, Gil, who is deeply suspicious of intellectual snobbery, saunters off alone into the Paris night streets. When the bell of the nearby cathedral signals midnight, he is swept off in a vintage Peugeot to a jazz-flowing, flappers-replete fete to join his literary heros Gertrude Stein, Hemingway, Zelda and Scott Fitzgerald and Djuna Barnes, along with Cole Porter, and their European peers Picasso, Dali and Bunuel. Gil relishes in the dream-like refuge from the post-9/11 America and yearns for his nightly escape to the ’20s literary expatriate community in Paris. Filtered through the innocent imagination of a young writer, Paris that Allen portrays inspires nostalgia for the past audience has not lived.