2013.10.18 NOW PLAYING
Documentary / 91 / Korean
“The Silk Flower” is another documentary about the Korean shaman Kim Keum-hwa, who has been given the title Important Intangible Cultural Property No. 82 because of her rare skills and artistry at performing Korean traditional exorcism rites.
The granddaughter of a shaman, Kim started to have shinbyeong, or “spirit sickness,” when she was just 12 years old, and received the initiation rite to become a shaman when she was 17 years old.
Usually, Korean shamans are not well known to the outside world, but in the 1982 World’s Fair in Knoxville, Tennessee, Kim was invited to perform a rite to commemorate the Korea-America centennial.
Today, Kim is probably Korea’s best-known shaman. Director and artist Park Chan-kyong has also made another documentary about her, “Manshin: Ten Thousand Spirits,” which should be coming to theaters soon.
But unlike “Manshin,” “The Silk Flower” focuses more on Kim’s current life and her attempts to get shaman rituals recognized as an art form, rather than the inner conflicts she went through when she was young.
Queen of the Night (15)
Romance, Comedy / 113 / Korean
Young-soo (Chun Jeong-myoung) is a nerd without any interest in women until he meets Hee-joo (Kim Min-jung) in a sandwich store one day. They get married and it looks like Young-soo is destined to have a happy marriage, until one day he begins to doubt Hee-joo and tries digging into her past.
With the combination of actress Kim and actor Chun, two veterans of many television dramas, the film “Queen of the Night” has attracted a lot of attention.
However, the movie is also something of a cliche romantic comedy. And, worse, parts of the story are just out of date for today’s Korea.
Case in point: There’s a scene where Young-soo criticizes Hee-joo for not being a virgin when they get married. In 2013, really?
Chun in particular is considered one of the best TV drama actors today, especially in romantic comedies, so his presence in this second-rate film is something of a mystery.
With Kim getting a total makeover for this role, at least she stands out a bit. In fact, this movie is mostly a one-woman show for Kim.
Drama, Biography / 92 / English
Based on the life of one of the world’s most famous porn stars, Linda Lovelace, the film takes an unconventional approach to the biopic.
Growing up in the suburbs, Linda (Amanda Seyfried) is seduced by Chuck (Peter Sarsgaard) and it isn’t long before she is shooting porn to help her boyfriend get out of debt.
What makes “Lovelace” novel is how the story is presented - it unfolds in two parts, the first like a fun, fast-paced romp such as “Boogie Nights,” but the second like a radically different point of view, of Linda as a victim, abused terribly.
The strained relationship between Linda and her goody-two-shoes parents John (Robert Patrick) and Dorothy (Sharon Stone) is the film’s most appealing aspect. Seyfried’s Linda exudes sex appeal and Sarsgaard’s Chuck perfectly depicts the no-good boyfriend with a drug habit. Stone is unrecognizable in one of her least sexiest roles ever, as a stiff-necked Catholic mom who has a habit of checking on her twentysomething daughter to make sure she is in bed by 11 p.m.
Other actors, like Chris Noth, Hank Azaria and James Franco, also make appearances.
Kick-Ass 2 (19)
Action, Comedy / 103 / English
The costumed teenage duo of Dave, known as the wannabe hero Kick-Ass (Aaron Taylor-Johnson), and Mindy, aka Hit-Girl (Chloe Grace Moretz), is back, as is their enemy from the first film Chris D’Amico, Red Mist (Christopher Mintz-Plasse). But this time, D’Amico has graduated to all-out bad guy, as he seeks revenge for his father, who was killed in the first movie.
Dave joins a local battalion of other masked vigilantes named Justice Forever, led by Colonel Stars and Stripes (Jim Carrey), going on crime-fighting adventures to keep the neighborhood safe.
Mindy refuses to join and gives up her past by getting more involved in school. But after a boy pulls a prank on her, she ends up reverting back to her carnage-filled ways, bringing a shock baton to school and terrorizing her classroom.
Meanwhile, D’Amico doesn’t rest, cooking up his own batch of supervillians, like Mother Russia (Olga Krukulina), to go after Justice Forever. As the superhero league begins to fall, Mindy realizes she can’t stay in retirement forever and must fight to save Dave and his crew.
As the sequel to 2010’s film, “Kick-Ass 2” continues its streak of blending humor with havoc, packing more punches and introducing new characters such as Battle Guy, Dr. Gravity and Genghis Carnage.
Drama / 109 / Japanese
A college student by day and a call girl by night, Akiko (Rin Takanashi) is embroiled in a romance between two men who love her in two different ways. First, there is Noriaki (Ryo Kase), a jealous boyfriend who obsesses over her. The other is a retired professor named Takashi (Tadashi Okuno), one of Akiko’s clients who prefers old-fashioned romance rather than her services. After Takashi drops Akiko off at school, he encounters Noriaki, who confuses the elderly man for her grandfather and asks for his permission to marry Akiko. Afraid to get caught, Takashi keeps the lie going and rejects Noriaki’s request. When Akiko catches both of them talking, she is bewildered about what to do.
Drama / 122 / Korean
“Wish” is director Lee Joon-ik’s ambitious attempt at interpreting the infamous “Na-young” case, the story of a young girl who, while on her way to school, was sexually assaulted by a drunk older man in a public toilet. As a result, she suffered many horrific injuries, while the man who attacked her was given just 10 years in prison.
Thankfully, Lee’s version keeps the gory details to a minimum, but it is still a difficult tale to stomach.
The victim, here called “So-won” (which means “wish” in Korean) is played by 7-year-old Lee Re, and the little actress’s performance is powerful and sure to evoke plenty of tears.
The film also looks at the toll the incident had on her parents. It’s an emotional roller coaster of a movie that, despite the subject matter, will leave you with a sense of optimism once the credits roll.
The Famous Five (ALL)
Adventure / 93 / German
Adapted from the “Famous Five” children literature series by Enid Blyton, which began in 1942, this is surprisingly the first version of the series to make it to the big screen in more than 40 years. Even more surprising, it’s in German.
Julian, Dick and Anne visit their uncle Quentin’s house to see their cousin Georgina, who wants to be a boy named George.
With George’s dog Timmy, the five children accidently find out about villains who are after the energy source that uncle Quentin is investigating in. When no adults will believe what the five have uncovered, the kids decide to rescue their uncle themselves.
A big hit in Germany in 2012, this version of the “Famous Five” series is being turned into a franchise, with at least two more films on the way.
But could it become the next Harry Potter?