2013.11.22 Now PlayingCloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2 (ALL)
Animation, Comedy / 94 / English
After the edible apocalypse swept through the island of Swallow Falls in the first “Meatballs” movie, Flint (voiced by Bill Hader) had to destroy his incredible invention, the “Flint Lockwood Diatonic Super Mutating Dynamic Food Replicator” (or FLDSMDFR for short). Or so he thought.
It turns out that the machine was not destroyed, and has been continuing to churn out new “foodimals.” Under the evil scheme of Chester V (voiced by Will Forte), who wants the machine for himself, Flint returns to the island with his friends and father to get the FLDSMDFR back.
This is another upbeat, animated movie for the whole family. With its plethora of cute monsters and a relatively short running time, younger children should enjoy the film, too. It is funny how the food gets transformed into cute creatures, even when the world gets threatened by a “spaghetti hurricane.”
Comedy, Crime, Drama / 97 / English
A Japanese student is murdered by a gang, and a corrupt, drug-addicted police detective Bruce Robertson (James McAvoy) is on the case, hoping that it can somehow secure a promotion and win back his wife and daughter. But Robertson is clearly on a downward slope, and as his addiction grows worse, so, too, does his sanity.
Adapted from the novel “Filth” by the Scottish novelist Irvine Welsh, this story is much what you would expect from the man who also wrote “Trainspotting” in 1993. The film starts out messy and slips into a frenzy. Compared to “Trainspotting,” though, this movie’s nihilism is more powerful and extreme. McAvoy, whose character is at the center of this whole movie, hides his usual boyish charms behind a rough beard, and his out-of-control style is a major break from the actor’s typical heroes.
The Fake (19)
Animation, Thriller / 101 / Korean
A religious charlatan named Choi visits a rural village that is soon to be flooded as part of a new dam project, with his eyes firmly set on the villagers’ relocation compensation. He says he can save the town from evil, but it will cost them their compensation money. Even the town’s much-revered Reverend Sung is convinced by the cunning man’s scheme.
The only person who doubts him is Min-chul, one of the village’s most vile and untrustworthy characters. But after Choi forces Min-chul’s daughter into prostitution, Min-chul becomes obsessed with revenge.
The award-winning director Yeon Sang-ho, who won much praise for his 2011 film “The King of Pigs,” is back with another brutal take on Korean society, about as different from a cute Pixar film as you could imagine.
The story itself is not really new to the public; religious schemers and scam artists have long preyed on the vulnerable. But in some ways that works for the movie. The film shows the humiliating reality of misguided beliefs that you want to avoid, and yet it is a truth that we must address.
Thor 2: The Dark World (12)
Action, Adventure / 112 / English
The Norse god with the boomeranging hammer is back.
Thor (Chris Hemsworth) once again comes to the rescue of the nine realms, and this time Jane (Natalie Portman) is coming along as Thor makes his way in and out of portals.
Trouble presents itself in the form of a dark elf from Svartalfheim named Malekith, and if Thor wants to save the universe and his girl, he must turn to the one person that he’s been most hurt by: his half-brother Loki (Tom Hiddleston).
Along with plenty of action, Thor taps into his sensitive side as he tries to work out where he stands with his half-brother, who betrayed him in the prequel.
As the title suggests, there is darkness aplenty, but there are some comedic moments, too, especially when Jane travels to Asgard and meets Thor’s parents for the first time.
Loki, being the bitter, jealous, cynical underdog, delivers some witty remarks and magic spells that are laugh-out-loud funny.
Hunger Games: Catching Fire (15)
Action, Fantasy / 146 / English
Just when you thought Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) and her adorable Games partner and co-winner Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) were in the clear, they are thrown back into the Game.
While on a victory tour after their win, Katniss accidentally ignites another rebellion among the people of the districts. As the mutiny spreads across the nation of Panem, with Katniss as the unofficial mascot, President Snow (Donald Sutherland) and Games organizer Plutarch Heavensbee (Philip Seymour Hoffman) come up with a brilliant idea: For the 75th anniversary edition of the Games, all the surviving Games winners will square off against each other, including the troublesome Katniss.
“Catching Fire” presents a more grown-up side to the teenager, as she grapples with the memories of her first blood-filled Games and the implications of what been crowned a winner means for her life and those around her.
Katniss’ longtime friend and love Gale (Liam Hemsworth) seems more out of reach than ever, and Katniss begins to realize she also has feelings for Peeta, although she’s not quite sure what they are.
The contestants are also a stranger bunch than the first film, having survived previous Games in some of the oddest - and most hilarious - ways. Lenny Kravitz, once again playing the defiant stylist Cinna, is also very amusing. Get ready for an adrenaline rush more intense than the first.
Friend 2 (19)
Drama, Action / 124 / Korean
The story must go on, even without Jang Dong-gun.
After serving his time for organizing the killing of his former friend and rival Dong-soo (Jang), Jun-seok (Yoo Oh-sung) is released back into society.
But times have changed in the 17 years Jun-seok was locked up, and there are several obstacles in the way if he wants to once again be the boss of gangster-ridden Busan.
To overtake Eun-ki (Jung ho-bin), who has usurped his place in the gang, Jun-seok recruits some new loyalists such as Sung-hoon (Kim Woo-bin), whom he spent time with in prison.
The affection seems one-sided at times with the older Jun-seok lavishing gifts on Sung-hoon and the latter just eager to keep hoarding.
There is backstabbing (and frontal stabbing, too) and bashings aplenty, as well as swearing and typical cliches. Fans of Kim no doubt, will also enjoy watching their favorite model-turned-actor on the big screen.
Director Kwak Kyung-taek, who also directed “Friend” in 2001, has denied intentionally making the film similar to the iconic Hollywood gangster sequel “The Godfather: Part II.” However, he did admit that “Godfather II” was his favorite movie of all time and many see more than a few similarities.
“Friend” was the biggest film ever in Korea for years, pulling in about 8.2 million admissions until “Silmido” dethroned it in 2004 with 11 million admissions.