2014.2.28 Now PlayingAnxiety (12)
With attention turning toward social entrepreneurship in Korea, many people have questioned whether the idea of making a profit can coexist with social values.
“Anxiety,” a documentary by director Min Hwan-ki, portrays a group of young men struggling to break into the Korean fashion industry, which is dominated by conglomerates.
After quitting their jobs at the nation’s most prominent companies, the men launch a fashion enterprise called “Orgdot” to offer a platform that producers and consumers can both benefit from.
Their initial goal was to oppose the big fashion companies’ exploitative ways.
However, things turn out to be much more difficult; as time passes, relationships among the workers sour and their ideals and dreams clash with the harsh reality of running a business.
The film records not only the anxieties of the group’s members but also the younger generation’s uneasiness about the future.
Action, Adventure / 104 / English
The movie depicts the disaster of Pompeii, a city in the ancient Roman Empire that was buried in ashes after the eruption of Mount Vesuvius. But the film also has a strong love story.
Milo (Kit Harington) is a slave turned gladiator who was the only Celt to survive a raid by Roman soldiers. While being taken to his next contest in Pompeii, he encounters Cassia (Emily Browning), a daughter of the city’s lord, and they both fall in love instantly.
However, their difference in social status hinders their love, and Corvus (Kiefer Sutherland), who was the main culprit in killing Milo’s parents as well as the city’s senator, plans on marrying Cassia.
But before their love triangle is resolved, the volcano explodes, spewing fireballs and blanketing the city in ash.
Lebanon Emotion (19)
Although a year has passed since his mother’s death, protagonist Hyun-woo (Choi Sung-ho) still cannot move on. With the intention of killing himself, he borrows a friend’s house in the countryside, where he discovers the mountain is under development. Before leaving the house, his friend asks Hyun-woo to check a trap that he had set for a deer, with a puzzling remark that he hates to clean up the corpse. After burning his mother’s keepsakes, Hyun-woo tries to commit suicide. Then he hears the squealing sound of a woman from the mountain, whom he rescues and takes to the house to look after.
The film’s title, “Lebanon Emotion,” is appropriated from the work of poet Choi Jeong-rye; just like its ambiguous title, the film unfolds a series of bizarre and dismal events, and raises questions about human beings’ constant choices throughout their lives.
12 Years a Slave (19)
Based on a true story, this powerful tale of a free black man who finds himself trafficked and sold as a slave in the South is a confronting tale that is relatable to audiences worldwide.
Solomon Northup (Chiwetel Ejiofor) lives a peaceful life in New York with his loving family as a free black man. A talented violinist, he is feted among his peers (both black and white). He has not a care in the world until one day he is kidnapped and transported south.
No one will listen or believe his story as he is bound and sold from one master to the next. While Northup’s predicament offers enough to keep viewers tuned in, the plethora of characters that he passes through poses various questions, such as: How do you define good and is it possible to be free of hypocrisy?
His first master, Ford (Benedict Cumberbatch), is a gentle spirit who lords over Northup with compassion for the most part, but of course refuses to listen to Northup’s tale.
Edwin Epps (Michael Fassbender) is no doubt the film’s most interesting - not to mention evil - character as he tries to make sense of his feelings for a female slave and his loveless marriage to his wife (Sarah Paulson). It’s an ugly part of American history that is told in a no-holds-barred manner that will leave a mark.
The Monuments Men (12)
It’s World War II and time for Americans to come to the rescue of Europe.
Directed by George Clooney and starring the good actor himself along with Matt Damon, Cate Blanchett and Bill Murray, among other big shots, the story revolves around a platoon of artists in disguise as American soldiers on a secret mission to recover artwork that was stolen by Hitler.
The premise is promising enough, but the movie plays out more like a family adventure tale than a real drama, a captivating historical piece or even an art film.
The plot and the lines are way too predictable, the sentiments are very American and the actors fall short of their full potential. Nevertheless, Europe is Europe and the scenery is breathtaking, as Frank Stokes (Clooney) leads his team of men across Germany (and France) to find artworks stolen and concealed in the most unlikely places.
Despite such a stellar cast, the film is nothing short of a fizzle, but it’s been some time since there was a big Hollywood film about World War II, so it may be worth watching in that regard.
Tabloid Truth (15)
Drama, Crime / 121 / Korean
In the entertainment business, image is the most crucial factor that determines a celebrity’s rise and fall, especially for women.
“The Tabloid” focuses on one of the industry’s most serious issues, “jjirasi,” which comes from a Japanese word for the controversial rumors going viral among Korean actors.
The story kicks off with a promising actress committing suicide after being rumored to be in a relationship with a married politician. Her manager, Woo-gon (Kim Gang-woo), decides to get to the bottom of the tabloid and its distributors.
Woo-gon uncovers a more discreet world behind the circulation of the rumors, involving characters such as former reporter Park Sa-jang (Jung Jin-young) and Baek-moon (Go Chang-suk), a bizarre wiretap specialist.
American Hustle (19)
Crime, Drama / 138 / English
Several of Hollywood’s A-list actors have teamed up to portray the Abscam scandal, which led to the conviction of a U.S senator and several congressmen on bribery charges in the 1970s.
Irving Rosenfeld (Christian Bale) and his seductive con partner, Sydney Prosser (Amy Adams), are good at what they do: pulling off a con. However, when Prosser faces the prospect of being jailed by renegade FBI agent Richie DiMaso (Bradley Cooper), the two are forced to work for him to find corrupted politicians who are suspected of being involved in briberies.
But DiMaso becomes drawn to Prosser, which makes Rosenfeld jealous, even though he is married to someone else, Rosalyn Rosenfeld (Jennifer Lawrence).
Director David Owen Russell took the megaphone again after 2010’s “Silver Linings Playbook,” which also starred Cooper and Lawrence.
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