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2014.5.30 Now Playing

A Hard Day (15)


Crime, action/ 111/ Korean

It has been a while since a Korean crime thriller encompassing a quality storyline, great cast members and a good laugh came along, but in Kim Seong-hun’s latest film, “A Hard Day,” you can expect all of this and more.

Detective Geon-soo (Lee Sun-gyun) is not in a good mood. He’s heading to his mother’s funeral and is also on the verge of divorce.

To make matters worse, he commits a hit-and-run and is left with a dead body. To evade the situation, he decides to hide the corpse in his mother’s coffin. Thinking he has committed the perfect crime he aims to get back to his normal life. But not long after, his peace of mind is shattered when an unidentified witness (Jo Jin-woong) appears and threatens to reveal all.

In recognition of the director spending five years working on the plot, the movie was recently invited to the 67th Cannes International Film Festival, which was held earlier this month.

Oculus (15)

Mystery, horror/ 105/ English

Summer is near and it’s time for some spine-chilling horror movies. One that might suit your taste is “Oculus,” which centers on a supernatural phenomenon that is a horror-movie must: the mirror.

Ten years ago, Tim (Brenton Thwaites) was convicted of the murder of his parents, and his sister Kaylie (Karen Gillan) wants to get to the bottom of the brutal case. Kaylie finds out that the owners of Lasser Glass, an antique mirror installed in their house, have all died due to horrible accidents and she becomes convinced that her parents’ death has something to do with it.

The trend in horror movies these days has shifted from the appearance of grotesque ghosts or demons to realistic supernatural phenomenons, as shown in box office hits like the “Paranormal Activity” series and “The Conjuring.”

My Sweet Orange Tree (12)


Drama/ 97/ Portuguese

Based on a Brazilian novel of the same title, written by Jose Mauro de Vasconcelos, the coming-of-age movie “My Sweet Orange Tree” shows an unlikely yet heartwarming friendship between an offbeat 8-year-old boy, Zeze (Joao Guilherme Avila), and a grumpy grandfather, Portuga (Jose de Abreu).

The two weren’t so friendly towards each other when Zeze fooled around in front of Portuga and was scolded for trying to ride on his car’s bumper.

After that, Zeze plans revenge, and the two get busy trying to outdo each other.

But when Zeze hurts his feet the situation turns around - Portuga holds out his hand to Zeze when he sees the boy limping. From then they form a genuine friendship, and Zeze learns from Portuga how to open up his mind to other people and also how to receive love.

But one day, Portuga is in an unexpected car accident, leaving Zeze all by himself again.

This is the second adaptation of the novel. It was invited to movie festivals such as the Rome Film Festival and the Puchon International Fantastic Film Festival.

A Girl at My Door (19)

Drama / 120 / Korean

Starring Bae Doo-na and Kim Sae-ron, “A Girl at My Door” is a poignant, subtle human drama that conceals yet gives away just enough and forever leaves the viewer wondering.

Bae plays Young-nam, a police officer who has been transferred to a quiet seaside town where she has been told to “stay quiet.”

And while she tries to obey orders for the one year that she’s stationed there Young-nam starts rocking the boat when she meets Do-hee (Kim Sae-ron) who is the victim of abuse.

With her drunkard stepfather-played by the talented Song Sae-byeok, grandmother and even peers out to bully her, looking after Do-hee becomes a full-time occupation.

Do-hee, for her part, becomes enamored by her lady knight in shining armor which annoys Do-hee’s stepfather even more. Those grey areas often ignored by Korean society are put in the spotlight in this drama that Bae called “full of blanks.”

The film made the official segment of this year’s Cannes festival and is a courageous attempt by first-time feature director July Jung.

X-Men: Days of Future Past (15)

Action, Adventure / 134 / English

After Captain America and his colleagues swept Mapo District, western Seoul in April, Spider-Man came shortly after to continue the craze. However, as their name might hint, the X-men are not as patriotic as Captain America, nor are they as cute as Peter Parker. But these mutant superheroes, led by Professor X (James McAvoy), have been Korea’s most beloved movie characters for a long time.

In this new sequel, the ultimate X-men are assembled in order to fight a war for the survival of the species. Bryan Singer, who also directed “X-Men: First Class” in 2011, continues the work but puts the heroes back to the past, to fight in a battle that will save the future.

Obsessed (19)


Drama/ 132/ Korean

“Obsessed” is set in 1969 near the end of the Vietnam War. Colonel Jin-pyung (Song Seung-heon), who fought with valor during the war, is looking forward to being promoted to general. His beautiful wife, Sook-jin (Jo Yeo-jung), is an aspirational woman who cares deeply about her family’s reputation around the village.

One day, Woo-jin (On Joo-wan), one of Jin-pyung’s subordinates, moves into the village with his wife, Ga-heun (Lim Ji-yeon), and Jin-pyung falls in love with her at once.

The spark between them is ignited instantly, and a scandal that can never be forgotten begins.

The movie has garnered attention for its provocative and sensual teaser photos and trailer, with the curiosity of audiences and critics piqued by the fact that this will be Song’s first try at acting in a sex scene.

Her (19)


Drama/ 126/ English

Spike Jonze’s latest feature, “Her,” explores a new form of romantic relationship: falling in love with a computer.

Theodore (Joaquin Phoenix) is a ghostwriter who pens personal letters - most of them based around love - for other people. The mail he writes may be full of fluttery and delicate sentiments, but for Theodore, who is separated from his wife Catherine (Rooney Mara), reality cannot be lonelier.

One day he buys an operating system who calls itself Samantha (Scarlett Johansson). The computer is not just an automatic talking device but has a personality and is a conscious being. As Theodore becomes more engaged in an intimate relationship with Samantha, he finds himself falling in love with her. But, of course, no further intimacy can be pursued for she has no physical existence.

The movie has had positive reviews from the international press for its intriguing theme and visually stunning portrait of a future Los Angeles, in which the movie is set. Scarlett Johansson’s sultry voice is also not to be missed.

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