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2014.3.14 Now Playing

Monster (19)


Thriller / 114 / Korean

Bok-soon (Kim Go-eun) is called the “crazy woman” in town because of her weird behavior. She is not very smart, but she manages to make a living by running a corner grocery store with her younger brother Eun-jeong. However, after Eun-jeong is murdered by the serial killer Tae-soo (Lee Min-ki), she takes a knife and decides to track down the psychopath. Bemused, Tae-soo responds by chasing her back.

Director Hwang In-ho, who made his directorial debut with “Spellbound” in 2011, attempts to twist the old thriller paradigm by empowering the female character. In this film, the female lead is not just a victim, but a rival to the male bad guy.

Kim, best known for her role in “Eungyo” (2012), succeeds in coming up with a wholly new and different character.

Sadako 2 3D (15)

Horror / 96 / Japanese

Sadako Yamamura, the Japanese vengeance ghost who has been scaring horror fans around the world since first appearing in Koji Suzuki’s novel “Ring” in 1991, is back once again, this time in director Tsutomu Hanabusa’s film “Sadako 2 3D.”

“Ring,” of course, became a hit movie with the same name in 1998, followed by numerous sequels and international adaptations.

“Sadako 2 3D” takes place five years after the first “Sadako” film, as there still are some bizarre deaths going on around town. The cursed video is back, and this time Fuko Ando, a 24-year-old graduate student in psychology, finds herself drawn into the bizarre tale.

Times have changed, though, so instead of a cursed video tape, now we have a cursed Internet video clip. And despite the 3D technology, the 21st-century version of “Sadako” no longer evokes the horror that the crawling, black-haired ghost did in the 1998 Japanese version.

One Chance (12)


Comedy, Drama / 106 / English

When the Wales-based phone salesman Paul Potts sung “Nessun Dorma” on “Britain’s Got Talent” in 2007, audiences from across the world wondered how such an ordinary-looking man with such a simple background was able to sing so outstandingly. Director David Frankel of “The Devil Wears Prada” (2007) has adapted Potts’s journey into a 106-minute film.

Paul (James Corden) has dreamed of becoming an international opera star since his childhood. No matter how much he gets teased and bullied for his audacious goal, he never gives up. Years later, Paul succeeds in entering an opera school in Venice, where he meets superstar Luciano Pavarotti.

The film reveals some unknown tales about the talent show winner, while enchanting viewers with the “zero to hero” tale.

Endless Love (15)

Drama, Romance / 104 / English

Director Shana Feste depicts the fragile days of two adolescents “saying goodbye to innocence,” based on Scott Spencer’s 1979 novel of the same title. Jade Butterfield (Gabriella Wilde) and David Elliot (Alex Pettyfer) are graduating from high school in 2014. Although David has had a crush on Jade throughout high school, he was never able to work up the nerve to approach her. Yet during their last summer at home, the teenagers fall in love with each other, convinced that they have found the love of their lives. But this just worries their parents, who work to keep the young lovers apart.

As the famous ’70s couple has evolved into the 21st century, digital touches have been added to the original story, like transforming landline phone calls into iPhone texting.

Stories We Tell (15)

Documentary / 108 / English

Canadian actress and filmmaker Sarah Polley evokes memories and surprising family secrets as she directs a documentary about her own mother. The film shows that all the members of the Polley family are born storytellers, as they tell their own versions of their mom Diane Polley, an actress who gave up the stage for her family.

As Sarah Polley grills family members and friends in front of the camera, you get a sense for the passion and zeal that the late actress and mother had for life. But this is just scratching the surface. Before long, a peculiar situation surrounding Sarah’s own birth makes for a shocking revelation. And from there on, you’re hooked. The film is Polley’s attempt to get a better understanding of herself and her mother, who passed away when Sarah was just 11 years old. In doing so, she has to face some ugly truths about her mom. It’s complicated to decipher, as life often is, and as you keep watching, you can’t help but wonder why someone would want to air their dirty laundry like this.

Despite the tinge of myopia, it’s a courageous attempt and while it may not be completely relatable, it does pose some interesting questions about storytelling itself.

Elegant Lies (12)


Drama / 117 / Korean

A heartbreaking tale of how a mom and her daughter deal with the death of the family’s second child.

Single mom Hyun-sook (Kim Hee-ae) works hard to put her kids through school. On the surface the two kids Man-ji (Ko Ah-sung) and Cheon-ji (Kim Hyang-gi) seem like your typical teenagers. So when Cheon-ji kills herself, the family is overcome more by shock than grief.

At first the mother and older sister seem to get by okay, even managing to move houses in a bid to start afresh. But as time passes, the veneer of happiness gives way and the two learn to deal with grief in their own way.

Directed by Lee Han, of “Punch” (2011) and “Lover’s Concerto” (2002), once again Lee looks at the secret lives and thoughts of teens.

Yoo Ah-in, who was in “Punch,” also makes an appearance as a kooky neighbor who turns out to be quite an instrumental character as Man-ji tries to decipher what tipped her quiet sister over the edge.

Child actor Kim Yu-jung plays Hwa-yeon, a friend who had a strange hold on Cheon-ji.

Melodramatic to its core, the film carries a subtle yet strong message about family, relationships and life.

Dallas Buyers Club (19)


Drama / 117 / English

In this Oscar-winning film, based on a true story from the 1980s, Matthew 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 drugs prescribed by the doctor, but realizes that they aren’t helping. Instead, he smuggles an unauthorized drug into the United States to help him and others suffering from the same disease. With a transvestite business partner named Rayon (Jared Leto), Ron forms the Dallas Buyers Club and demand goes through the roof.

Soon, however, Ron faces resentment from the medical and pharmaceutical industries and his operation faces being shut down. Both McConaughey and Leto are outstanding in their depictions of broken men who try to hold on to hope.

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