2014.3.28 Now PlayingSee, Beethoven (15)
The film “See, Beethoven” is an adaptation of a play of the same title. On a sultry summer day, three girlfriends meet up at a coffee shop in Sinchon, western Seoul, where they talk about coffee, cigarettes, love and sex.
Throughout the 90-minute film, the directors depict the three women - Ha-jin (Kim So-jin), Sung-eun (Kong Sang-ah) and Young (Oh Yoo-jin) - as candidly as possible, making their conversation look completely impromptu and unplanned.
The three actresses played their roles together already in the stage version, so they are able to bring an easy and convincing camaraderie.
Rather than using fancy camera techniques, co-directors Min Bok-gi and Park Jin-soon placed four CCTV cameras in the coffee shop to convey a sense of voyeurism to the viewers, as if they were spying on a real conversation.
Although the film is the cinematic debuts for both Min and Park, both hold their own admirably. Min had participated in many films before this one, including “Hwayi: The Monster Boy” (2013), where he acted in a minor supporting role.
Park worked on the production teams for several films, including the 2003 film “Delicious Sex, and Love.”
Adventure / 139 / English
With Russell Crowe as the faithful Noah, Darren Aronofsky’s take on the Bible may be problematic for some Christians, as the director picks and chooses from the biblical version at random.
On the other hand, the film does offer some impressive visuals and a sense of spectacle.
Oddly enough for a movie based on the Bible, God is referred to only as “He,” “The Creator” or “Him,” almost never as just “God.” While the diction does bring a sort of neutrality that could in theory bring in audiences from all walks of faith, most of the time it’s just downright distracting and makes God seem like “he who must not be named,” like some sort of comedic sci-fi film.
The U.S. version of the movie came with a disclaimer after test screenings with Christian communities drew complaints about the non-biblical changes (the distributor says it will not include the disclaimer in Korea).
This is where viewers need to remind themselves that this is a work of Hollywood, one that came with a price tag of $125 million. A typical retelling wasn’t in the cards.
Captain America: The Winter Soldier (15)
Action, Adventure / 136 / English
The good captain Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) is back and he is still trying to adjust to life in the future after having spent several decades frozen in waters off the Antarctic.
Lucky for him, he has Natasha Romanoff, also known as Black Widow (Scarlett Johnson) and commander Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) to help him with his transition.
But it isn’t long before SHIELD (Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcement and Logistics Division) is under attack and Fury is the first to be targeted.
When Fury is found in a critical state inside Steve’s house, SHIELD is divided between those who believe Rogers did it and those who don’t.
To track down the assassin with the code name “Winter Soldier” and to clear his own name while also saving the world, Captain America sets out once more with Black Widow and a new friend, The Falcon (Anthony Mackie).
Along the way, Steve may have to face an ugly truth about the man whose orchestrating the chaos.
The Grand Budapest Hotel (19)
In this all-star whodunit by director Wes Anderson, you’ll be transported to a colorful world of pure imagination and delight.
With Tilda Swinton, Jude Law, Adrien Brody and Ralph Fiennes - among many more - each character comes with a unique story.
Their link is, of course, the luxurious Grand Budapest Hotel and its famous, if not a little too flamboyant concierge, Monsieur Gustave H. (Fiennes).
A hit with the older ladies that stay at the hotel, Gustave gets framed for the murder of wealthy dowager Madame D. (Swinton), who has left him a priceless painting upon her passing.
With Gustave locked up, it is up to the new lobby boy Zero (Tony Revolori) to clear his supervisor’s name with the help of managers of the ritzy hotels around Europe as well as his sweetheart Agatha (Saoirse Ronan).
The opulence of Europe between the two World Wars mingled with the dark, twisted humor promise a 100-minute ride that will leave an impression.
The film is doing extremely well in Korea for a film that’s considered art house.
Romeo + Juliet (15)
Drama / 120 / English
A rare chance to see young Leo will be offered in Korea.
Baz Luhrmann’s 1996 film “Romeo + Juliet” is being released in theaters again, ostensibly to celebrate the 450th anniversary of the birth of William Shakespeare.
It’s the classic tale of the Capulets and the Montagues, with the original dialogue but set in modern America instead of Renaissance Verona.
Viewers will once again be able to enjoy the famous aquarium scene, followed by the beautiful elevator kiss and the tragic ending.
What Maisie Knew (15)
Based on the 19th-century novel by Henry James, the film follows the story of a divorced couple and their only daughter, Maisie. Four-year-old Maisie’s parents, Susanna and Beale, are on bad terms after spending years married together. Even after the decision to separate, the two fight through the courts to get the upper hand.
Then Beale marries Maisies’s nanny Margo, while Susanna seeks Lincoln as her new partner. Immersed in the never-ending quarrel, they mostly ignore young Maisie.
Then Margo and Lincoln somehow start to get closer to Maisie, emphasizing her difficult situation. Viewers who struggle with the notion of divorce can relate to this story about irresponsible parenting.
Elegant Lies (12)
This is 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 typical teenagers. So when Cheon-ji kills herself, the family is overcome by more shock than grief.
At first, the mother and older sister seem to get by OK, 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 the grief in their own way.
Directed by Lee Han of “Punch” (2011) and “Lover’s Concerto” (2002), Lee once again looks at the secret lives and thoughts of teenagers.
Melodramatic to its core, the film carries a subtle yet strong message about family, relationships and life.