2013.10.11 Now Playing
Action, Thriller / 125 / Korean
Hwayi (Yeo Jin-gu) was raised by five men, all members of a notorious criminal group led by Suk-tae (Kim Yun-seok). One day, the group is assigned to kill a guy named Lim and his wife. Suk-tae forces Hawyi to take the job. Only after killing them does Hwayi realize that Lim was, in fact, his real father.
From that moment on, Hwayi vows revenge on his gangster fathers, using the devious skills he picked up from a life in crime.
Actor Kim Yun-seok - who won plaudits for his role in the hits “The Chaser” and “The Yellow Sea” - does a great job as the evil boss at the center of this film.
And protagonist Yeo Jin-gu, who just turned 17, displays some especially mature acting in the film. Yeo won the best child actor award at the 2012 MBC Drama Awards.
The director Jang Joon-hwan leapt to international attention with “Save the Green Planet” in 2003 - a highly praised science-fiction film that crashed badly at the box office.
Jang’s career has been stuck since then, and, after several aborted projects, this is his first movie since that promising debut.
Action, Drama / 123 / English
The film, just like Formula One racing, is fast, bold and loud. Adapted from the real story of the thrilling Formula One season in 1976, “Rush” is fiction, but with the urgency of real life.
It tells the story of two rivals, James Hunt (Chris Hemsworth) and Niki Lauda (Daniel Bruhl). The two drivers with polar opposite styles had been rivals since competing in Formula Three years earlier.
Hunt was nicknamed “Shunt” for his bold driving and his lifestyle - he was a natural driver and a showman, not to mention a major lothario. On the contrary, Lauda was nicknamed “computer brain” for his rational and calculated racing style.
After Lauda’s unfortunate accident in the German Grand Prix in 1976, where a crash caused him to lose one ear and most of his scalp, he earns Hunt’s respect and the respect of the entire racing the world.
“Rush” smoothly flows back and forth between the rivals’ lives, while both Hemsworth and Bruhl ratchet up the thrills with their first-rate performances, and director Ron Howard presents some of the most realistic and thrilling race footage in a long time.
The Patience Stone (19)
Drama / 102 / Persian, English
According to one Persian folktale, if you tell a stone your sorrows, secrets and wishes, it will shield you from the suffering of life. “The Patience Stone” tells the story of a Muslim wife (Golshifteh Farahani) shrouded by conflict in an unknown part of the Middle East, as she starts talking to her husband (Hamid Djavadan) as he lies in a kind of coma, forgotten by friends and family.
As village conflict rages on, the woman suddenly decides to reveal to her paralyzed husband her sacrifices and desires - secrets she couldn’t tell him even after 10 years of marriage. Surviving in the war-torn country was increasingly hard and the woman begins to seek shelter with her aunt (Hassina Burgan), a prostitute, who provides her with nurturing and consolation.
One day, the woman receives a terrifying visit from two soldiers and lies to them that she herself is a prostitute. After they leave, one of soldiers (Massi Browat) - an awkward young man - comes back looking for sex. The woman surprisingly agrees, and the two start their own unconventional romance as she increasingly confides in her husband. Written and directed by Atiq Rahimi, who first wrote the best-selling novel in French, “The Patience Stone” explores the fines line of secrecy and revelation as well as loyalty and faith. Rahimi, a French-Afghan filmmaker, also directed Afghanistan’s first drama, which won the Special Award in 2008 at the Seoul Drama Awards.
Biography, Drama / 118 / English
In the United States, cautious distributors refused to touch this much-praised biopic of the iconic pianist and performer Liberace, so audiences had to watch it on HBO. But in Korea, it is getting a proper theatrical release.
Liberace, of course, was famous for his glitz, glam and generally outrageous behavior. “Behind the Candelabra” focuses on the relationship the famed pianist (played by Michael Douglas) developed with then-17-year-old Scott Thorson (Matt Damon).
Thorson was working as an animal trainer when he first met Liberace backstage after attending a performance. They bonded over one of Liberace’s sick dogs, and soon Thorson became Liberace’s muse. Liberace rewarded Thorson with expensive gifts, including the most precious of all - being his personal assistant and getting to bask in Liberace’s glow.
Despite a 40-year age difference, they two grew incredibly close. But gradually Liberace wanted more; he didn’t just want Thorson as a lover, he wanted Thorson to become another Liberace, paying for expensive and extensive plastic surgery to change Thorson into the image of the flamboyant star.
Directed by Steven Soderbergh of “Erin Brockovich” (2000) and “Ocean’s Eleven” (2001) fame, the film was nominated for 15 Emmy awards, winning 11, including the big prize for outstanding movie or mini-series.
Tough as Iron (15)
Drama / 108 / Korean
Kang-chul (Yoo Ah-in) is a former gangster who cleaned up his ways for the sake of his mother, Soon-e (Kim Hae-sook). He works in a loading dock in Busan taking care of his mother, who is suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. As her disease gets worse, Soon-e increasingly wanders around town and gets into accidents. She doesn’t recognize her own son, confusing him with her deceased husband.
One day, though, his mother needs an expensive operation that he cannot afford. Without any options, Kang-chul goes to some local gangsters to borrow the money he needs.
Under the direction of Ahn Kwon-tae, who also directed “My Brother” in 2004 and co-directed “An Eye for an Eye” in 2008, “Tough as Iron” is a mix of brutal gang violence and tender family love. In fact, it is quite reminiscent of “Friend,” the 2001 hit on which Ahn served as an assistant director.
The Busan-gangster motif is familiar, perhaps even a little boring, but “Tough as Iron” differentiates itself with its strange characterization. Unlike Jang Dong-gun in “Friend” or Zo In-sung in “A Dirty Carnival,” Yoo plays Kang-chul with an uncommon sense of positivity.
“Tough as Iron” screens with English subtitles at the CGV Yongsan on Sunday at 5:50 p.m.
The Conjuring (15)
Horror / 112 / English
Loosely based on a true story, “The Conjuring” is a surprisingly effective horror story reminiscent of “The Amityville Horror” or “Poltergeist.” It’s the story of a family that moves into a beautiful but terrifying haunted house, and the paranormal investigators who try to help them deal with the foul spirits.
The film is set in 1971, when the Perron family move into an old, desolate house in the distant countryside in Rhode Island. Of course, it isn’t long before strange things start happening - and not long after that, strange turns to horrific.
By the time the family realizes how deeply they’re in trouble, the evil spirit has latched onto them; even if they had the money to move, the ghost would only follow them
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