2013.11.8 NOW PLAYINGMy Dear Girl, Jin-young (15)
Drama / 103 / Korean
Kim Jin-young (Kim Gyu-ri), an aspiring screenwriter with a zombie obsession, just turned 30 years old and has never dated a guy. Due to her single-minded obsession, her scripts never get accepted by any film production company.
Then one day, Jin-young meets a renowned director named Hwang Tae-il (Park Won-sang). Tae-il is an older graduate from the same university as Jin-young, but she has never liked him. However, Tae-il finds Jin-young’s script interesting and decides to make it into a film. Not surprisingly, Tae-il also finds Jin-young interesting.
This film definitely roots for those so-called losers who enter their 30s without achieving their goals. The story is a bit banal, as Jin-young overcomes her hang-ups and matures over the course of the film, but there are a number of interesting scenes.
Drama, Action / 113/ Korean
Although marketed as “Commitment” abroad, the director of the film, Park Hong-soo, said the Korean title “The Alumni” was the best way to describe the plot, which is about a North Korean teenage spy who enrolls at a South Korean high school.
Ri Myung-hoon (Choi Seung-hyun, aka the K-pop star T.O.P) takes the name Kang Dae-ho in the South and leads a double life. By day, he’s a quiet school kid, but by night he is a top-notch assassin.
Back in the North, the life of Myung-hoon’s sister, Hye-in (Kim You-jung) hangs by a thread, and the handsome spy must obey his superiors - that is, kill on command - if he wants to see Hye-in again.
Although he tries his best to stay out of trouble at school, he can’t help but stand out when he befriends a girl who has the same name as his sister (Han Ye-ri).
The first half of the movie depicts Myung-hoon, a boy trained in deadly martial arts in the North, as he struggles to adjust to life in the baffling world of high school.
But it isn’t long before his identity takes him out of the school yard and into unbelievable danger.
Christmas in August (15)
Romance, Drama / 97 / Korean
The legendary Korean romance film “Christmas in August” is back on the big screen, 15 years after its original release. Recently, a fair number of foreign films have been re-released in cinemas, including “Titanic” (1997), “Cinema Paradiso” (1988), and “The Professional” (1994). But this is the first re-release of a classic Korean film.
Jungwon (Han Suk-kyu) is a photographer in a small town who has inoperable cancer with just a short time left to live. At first, he accepts his death sentence rather calmly and prepares for the end. But his life changes when he falls in love with Darim (Shim Eun-hae), a 20-year-old parking attendant who walks into his quiet life with cheerful energy.
The debut film of director Hur Jin-ho, the film won praise for its remarkable portrayals of the detailed feelings between Jungwon and Darim. Plus, Han and Shim were two stars at the height of their fame when this movie came out.
Director Hur’s skillful way of showing their unadorned emotions is also reflected in his other films, such as “One Fine Spring Day” (2001), “Happiness” (2007) and “Dangerous Liaisons” (2012), but most critics agree that “Christmas in August” was the most natural and sophisticated of them all.
Steel Cold Winter (19)
Mystery, Drama / 109 / Korean
The Korean title of the film “Girl” and its accompanying poster of two teenagers holding onto each other tightly attracted plenty of attention with the promise of some clandestine youth affair.
The two teens at the center of this film are Hae-won (Kim Yoon-hye) and Yoon-su (Kim Si-hoo), and both come with mysteries of their own.
When Yoon-su, a mysterious city boy, moves to the country, he becomes the object of infatuation of the country girls in his class. But Yoon-su is not exactly the friendliest kid and keeps to himself, both at school and at home.
There is, however, one girl who gets Yoon-su’s attention: the class outcast Hae-won, who has a mentally disabled father, is constantly at the center of the townsfolk’s gossip.
Against the backdrop of a cold winter, complete with fog on cue, the two find themselves drawn to one another without knowing too much, nor talking all that much.
As the plot thickens, Yoon-su’s past surfaces, as does Hae-won’s tragic situation, which involves a rumor that she’s sleeping with her father.
It’s twisted, dark and predicable, but keeps you glued to the screen nevertheless.
The mystery of how the story will end will keep you in your seat to the end.
All Is Lost (12)
Drama, Adventure / 106 / English
Reminiscent of Tom Hanks’ “Castaway,” “All Is Lost” features one man, alone versus nature. This time, that man is Robert Redford, who is forced to tackle the sea after disaster strikes while he is sailing.
The plot is simple enough. A sailor, billed in the credits as “Our Man,” is on the Indian Ocean when a shipping container crashes into his yacht.
If “Castaway” looked at loneliness and people’s need for companionship, then “All Is Lost” looks more at a person’s resourcefulness as he strives to survive the challenges that nature throws against him.
We know not of Our Man’s life on shore, nor are we certain of his future, but in a letter he had written earlier, there is a sense of turmoil from within that you would like to learn more about.
It’s a premise that is totally captivating, and that promises to have your heart racing the whole time.
Sci-fi, Drama / 90 / English
Sandra Bullock dazzles in this space odyssey about two astronauts whose lives are put in jeopardy after an accident in space. In orbit around the Earth, some 600 kilometers (372 miles) above the surface, with no sound and no air, human perseverance and vulnerability are put to the test.
The film starts off with Ryan Stone (Bullock), a biomedical engineer, and Matt Kowalski (Clooney), a veteran astronaut, on a mission to repair a satellite.
When things take a turn for the worse and debris from an explosion destroys their space station and transportation, they are forced to dig deep and think fast to make it across the vast emptiness of space to the safety of another space station.
Just 90 minutes long, with no elaborate sub-plots or other distractions, director Alfonso Cuaron has been nearly universally praised for his amazing film, with its incredible visuals and a more realistic presentation of space than ever before.
Indeed, it has a 98 percent “freshness” rating on the Web site RottenTomatoes.com.
Made for the big screen and the 3-D experience, the IMAX version of “Gravity” has especially been praised by critics worldwide.