2014.3.7 Now Playing

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2014.3.7 Now Playing

The Empire of Shame (12)


Documentary / 92 / Korean

The attempt to shine more light on the real story behind the late Samsung factory worker Hwang Yu-mi is being pursued again in “The Empire of Shame,” directed by Hong Ri-kyung.

But what’s different from “Another Family,” which opened last month, is its focus on the lives of the women who joined the company, instead of just Hwang and her family. The women were filled with joy and pride after being hired by the factory, but they get crammed into small dormitories that are no better than factory spaces that lack safety features. Also, the film shows a series of real interviews done with other factory laborers who have gotten sick after working there, making the story more thought-provoking. As it touches on a highly controversial issue, the movie is struggling to secure theaters in Seoul, just like its predecessor did. This is also the director’s first feature-length film.

Return Match (ALL)

Romance / 37 / Korean

As the title suggests, it’s a movie with a sports theme, which isn’t that common in the Korean film industry. All the more, it intertwines the themes of sports and love, unlike previous movies that only focused on delivering inspiring stories of sportsmanship.

Oh-gi (Lee Ji-hun) is a total wimp and Chae-in (Jeong Yeon-ju) is good at pretty much any sport you can think of. Oh-gi falls for Chae-in and confesses his feelings, but unfortunately Chae-in is not attracted to men who are weak or bad at sports. “You are like a little brother,” she says.

From then on, Oh-gi challenges the girl in tennis, Ping-Pong, basketball, badminton, swimming and so on to prove he can be her man. As expected, Oh-gi goes through some embarrassing moments and continuous defeats. However, while participating in the games, both Oh-gi and Chae-in come to enjoy the intense atmosphere and the excitement coming from challenging themselves. And gradually, Chae-in opens up to Oh-gi.

Intruders (15)

Mystery, Thriller / 99 / Korean

While traveling here and there in Korea, Sang-jin (Jeon Suk-ho) encounters a deserted pension deep in the mountains. Not long after his arrival, a man called Hak-su (Oh Tae-kyung) comes up to him and says he will help him out with his luggage and guide him around the place. But Sang-jin finds out that he is an ex-convict who just got out of jail and starts to feel uncomfortable. Then, things get more suspicious when an unknown hunter wanders around the pension, and a bunch of guys appear out of nowhere and ask him whether they can stay for the night.

That day, the pension becomes isolated due to heavy snow, and to make things worse, one of the guys is found dead the next morning.

The guests at the pension try to get to the bottom of this mysterious murder case, but with the appearance of a police officer who doesn’t seem so trustworthy himself, more things are revealed.


To the Wonder (19)

Drama, Romance / 112 / English

Directed by Terrence Malick of “The Tree of Life” (2011), the movie gives off a similar dreamy mood by emphasizing the dramatic effects of pictures and music. But this time, Malick explores the meaning of love and the lives of people involved in a relationship.

Neil (Ben Affleck) from the United States meets Marina (Olga Kurylenko) when he visits France. How Malick captures the beautiful landscape and the grandeur of Mont Saint-Michele when the two visit the place is just breathtaking.

Afterward, Marina, who is a single mother, moves to Oklahoma with her daughter to live with Neil, but due to some unexpected differences in the environment, troubles start to emerge between them. In addition, Neil reconnects with Jane (Rachel McAdams), who is his childhood sweetheart.

The film neither carries much dialogue nor does it pinpoint the obvious concerns of the characters. However, it focuses on evoking the sentiments of viewers who have fallen in love or gone through breakups at least once in their lives.


Dallas Buyers Club (19)

Drama / 117 / English

This movie won multiple Oscars, including one for best actor for Matthew McConaughey, at the Academy Awards earlier this week.

Based on a real story from the 1980s, McConaughey plays Texas electrician Ron Woodroof, who used to like alcohol and women but one day is diagnosed with the HIV virus by Dr. Eve Saks (Jennifer Garner). Woodroof is left with only 30 days to live.

He starts taking the drug prescribed by the doctor but realizes that it doesn’t help his disease at all. From then on, he smuggles an unauthorized drug into the United States that will help not only him but other fellow patients who are suffering from the same disease. Unintentionally, the number of people who want to buy the smuggled drug gets bigger, so Woodroof forms the Dallas Buyers Club. However, he soon faces resentment from the medical and pharmaceutical industries and his operation faces being shut down.


12 Years a Slave (15)

Drama, History / 134 / English

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. It’s an ugly part of American history that is told in a no-holds-barred manner that will leave a mark.

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 movie 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.

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