2013.2.22 NOW PLAYINGSunshine Boys (15)
Drama / 85 / Korean
Close friends in high school branch out onto different paths in life once school is over.
“Sunshine Boys” is the story of three guys who have just graduated from high school in 1999. Among the three, only Sang-won (Shim Hee-seop) manages get into college, while Seung-jun (Ahn Jae-hong) decides to take the college entrance exam again the following year and Min-wook (Kim Chang-wan) suddenly joins the army for family reasons.
One day, Seung-jun and Sang-won visit Min-wook at his base in Cheolwon, Gangwon. They’re happy to see their old friend, but bear bad news: a goodbye letter from his girlfriend. The two keep the letter a secret so that they can concentrate on enjoying their short time together.
This heartwarming independent film, directed by Kim Tae-gon, examines the pains of youth. It garnered a lot of attention at the 2012 Busan International Film Festival.
The Hunt (15)
Drama / 115 / Danish
Director Thomas Vinterberg’s latest centers on the way in which society handles cases of sexual abuse.
The head of a day-care center, Grethe (Susse Wold) is led to believe that recently divorced kindergarten teacher Lucas (Mads Mikkelson) exposed himself to young Klara (Annika Wedderkopp), one of his students. Grethe immediately calls Klara’s parents as well as the parents of the rest of the center’s children. Soon, the small community Lucas lives in is set against him, before he has a chance to learn which child accused him of doing something so unspeakable.
Vinterberg’s movie revolves around Lucas’ perspective as we watch as everyone except for his son Marcus (Lasse Fogelstrom) and his godfather begin to doubt Lucas’ innocence. The story looks beyond whether or not Lucas actually is guilty of the crime, exploring the harsh truth of society’s predilection for mass hysteria.
The film has been received well since its showing at the Cannes Film Festival. Hollywood Reporter’s David Rooney called it Vinterberg’s “best film since ‘Festen’” and an “unsettling psychological drama.”
The film has also been praised for its acting and provocative themes. It premiered in competition at the Cannes Film Festival, where Mikkelson won the award for Best Actor.
Silver Linings Playbook (19)
Drama, Comedy, Romance / 122 / English
The Academy is abuzz with director David Russell’s rom-com, which already bagged eight Academy nominations including the Big Five categories.
“Hunger Games” belle Jennifer Lawrence, 22, won best actress for her performance in “Playbook” at both the Golden Globes and Screen Actors Guild, setting out on what is sure to be a long and successful acting career.
The film centers around Pat (Bradley Cooper), a bipolar patient recently released from a mental health facility where he was admitted after an episode wherein he beat to near-death a man with whom his wife was having an affair.
After being released into his parents’ custody, he is determined to overcome his illness without resorting to medication to win back his now-estranged wife.
Meanwhile, he meets Tiffany (Lawrence), a troubled young widow recovering from sex addiction. The two recognize the neuroses in each other and in time heal their wounds. Pat’s path to recovery is often obstructed by relapses for which his family takes the brunt.
Despite setbacks, his dad (Robert De Niro) and other family members help Pat rebuild his life from scratch, a crucial theme of the film.
This heartwarming story resonates with many who, like Pat, have experienced the travails of life that at times can make them feel crazy, but who see hope in Pat’s long path to recovery.
Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters (19)
Action, Fantasy, Horror / 87 / English
Forget the fairy tales you were told as a child, this “Hansel and Gretel” is not the classic tale you’re used to. In the beginning, the plot starts out on a familiar path - abandoned deep in the forest by their father, Hansel (Jeremy Renner) and Gretel (Gemma Arterton) are captured by an evil witch. You know what happens: the two manage to escape from the ordeal by shoving the witch into a burning oven.
Fifteen years later, the siblings are now bounty hunters armed with plenty of sex appeal and grit and are dedicated to ruthlessly exterminating all the witches they can find. One day, 11 children are abducted from the town of Augsburg. The townspeople beg Hansel and Gretel to hunt the witches down and bring the kids back home safely.
While reaction to the film has been generally negative, critics agree that the movie does manage to poke fun at other genre films, and fans of style - gory, violent style - over substance may have something to look forward to.
The Sessions (19)
Drama, Comedy, Romance / 95 / English
This romantic comedy explores the awkwardness involved in the act of sex, a squeamish topic under normal circumstances, and it does so through the even-more-awkward filter of disability.
The synopsis of this indie film - a quadriplegic, 40-year-old virgin seeks unconventional therapy from a sex surrogate, or sex therapist - while refreshing enough to grab anyone’s attention, is a minefield of sensitive subject matter that needs to be tread upon with care by someone who knows their craft, and director Ben Lewin is just the one for the task. But what’s really noteworthy about the film is the acting. Helen Hunt, who is in the running for an Oscar for best supporting actress for the film, plays the graceful therapist who uncharacteristically falls in love with her patient, Mark O’Brien (John Hawkes). Hunt fills the film with rich and raw emotions, and all the while she keeps the mood sexy and funny.
Hawkes, who plays a middle-aged poet bound to an iron lung, is comfortable in juggling the subtle emotional inflections of the complex character, who is both secure in himself yet resigned to his fate. The audience grows to love him.
Hawkes is convincing and charming as Mark, who exudes confidence from his self-awareness and brilliant literary mind that manifests itself in a sense of humor peppered with gentle self-deprecating jokes that win over the hearts of many beautiful women who enter his life.
A Good Day to Die Hard (15)
Action / 97 / English
Iconoclastic, reluctant hero cop John McClane (Bruce Willis) finds himself on foreign ground for the first time after traveling to Moscow to help his troubled son Jack (Jai Courtney), unaware that Jack is in reality a highly trained CIA operative intent on preventing a nuclear weapons heist.
With Russian gangsters in pursuit, and racing against a countdown to war, the two McClanes discover that it’s their differences that will make them unstoppable heroes.