2014.6.20 Now PlayingGrace of Monaco (12)
While her ex-husband Tom Cruise does well at the local box office with his blockbuster “Edge of Tomorrow,” Nicole Kidman transforms into legendary Hollywood icon Grace Kelly (1929-82) - aka the Princess of Monaco - in the new film “Grace of Monaco.”
Directed by French director Olivier Dahan of the 2007 film “La Vie en Rose,” the film follows the life of actress-turned-princess Kelly whose married life comes under serious crisis when she tries to return to Hollywood to join an Alfred Hitchcock film.
To local viewers, “Grace of Monaco” will be a comeback for Kidman a year after her recent collaboration with Korean director Park Chan-wook in “Stoker” (2013).
Nymphomaniac: Vol.1 (19)
Danish screenwriter and filmmaker Lars von Trier’s four-hour film “Nymphomaniac” finally hits the local cinemas after stirring global controversy because of its vivid sexual depictions.
The first volume chronicles the sex life of Joe (Charlotte Gainsbourg), who confides to Seligman (Stellan Skarsgard) that she is a nymphomaniac. Throughout the movie, Joe’s sex life is divided into five stories.
Though the Korea Media Rating Board spent a while debating whether or not the film was too provocative for Korea, von Trier’s message is not just about “lustful” stories. Rather, the director raises questions about social hierarchies in the contemporary era through the means of intercourse.
The film was shot in Belgium and Germany, and the Director’s Cut, “Nymphomaniac: Volume II,” will premier at the 2014 Toronto International Film Festival in September.
Beauty and the Beast (ALL)
Fantasy, Romance / 113 / French
The well-known fairy tale “Beauty and the Beast” is transformed into a live-action film, but this time, not under Disney’s direction. Based on Jeanne-Marie Le Prince de Beaumont’s traditional French fictional story, Christophe Gans elaborates on the legendary love story of Belle and the Beast in this 113-minute film.
Gans has concentrated on coming up with appealing graphic effects in his version of the fairy tale, thus stressing visual arts. It will be interesting for local Disney fans to compare and contrast the two while watching the film.
Korea’s most beloved French star Vincent Cassel plays the Beast, while Lea Seydoux plays the titular role, Belle. The film was screened at a competition during the Berlin International Film Festival in February.
Smiley, the symbol of happiness in the Internet world, gets mutated into an icon of notorious murder in Michael Gallagher’s horror film. In “Smiley,” Gallagher delves into an Internet myth, relating a notorious murder with a smiley-masked serial killer.
Just like any other movie from the “I-know-what-you-did-last- summer” genre, college students, as usual, become interested in Smiley’s acts. It is revealed using online messaging services that people are being brutally murdered by the mysterious Smiley killer.
The plot seems like a mixture of several slasher films that enjoyed success in the past - Wes Craven’s “Scream” series sometimes pops up, with the general atmosphere hovering around Bernard Rose’s “Candyman” (1992). Gallagher’s 2012 film may not be the best option for local filmgoers who expect a “Paranormal Activity” style of horror.
For the Emperor (19)
Action, Noir / 104 / Korean
With ambitious noir films such as “No Tears for the Dead” and “High Heel” opening in Korea recently, another movie from the genre is ready to hit local theaters.
Director Park Sang-jun’s new film “For the Emperor” traces how once-promising baseball player Lee-hwan (Lee Min-ki) is kicked out of the sports business after being accused of fixing a match.
Left with nothing, to make ends meet Lee-hwan becomes involved in one Busan’s biggest gang circles, Hwangjae Capital, which is headed by Sang-ha (Park Sung-woong).
Despite opposition from other members, Sang-ha feels sympathy for Lee-hwan and decides to scout the boy. However, as Lee-hwan adapts to the competitive and deadly world, he starts to show veiled ambitions and begins to covet what Sang-ha has.
Actress Lee Tae-im plays the femme fatal in the film that sees a risky love game unfold between the two male leads.
Directed by Korean-Chinese director Zhang Lu, the film’s lead, Choi Hyun (Park Hae-il), bears much resemblance to Zhang.
Both are Korean, speak fluent Chinese, are professors and are mesmerized by a chunhwa - an erotic painting - they saw at a traditional tea house in Gyeongju.
This is where the similarities end.
Choi returns to the said tea shop, and while he can’t find the painting on the wall, he does strike up a friendship with the shop’s beautiful owner, Gong Yoon-hee (Shin Min-a).
Not all that much happens except the beginning of a friendship, and because of the film’s length, it feels like you are watching something unfold in real time.
Not quite romance, not enough drama, the movie is more like a snippet of real life, complete with awkward silences and uncertain moments and characters.
Director Ryu Seung-wan also makes a cameo, but it’s still not enough excitement.
Those who enjoy slow-paced tales centered on natural dialogue will enjoy “Gyeongju,” but those who want some excitement from their cinema experience may not be so enthused.
The Great Beauty (19)
Comedy, Drama / 141 / Italian
It has been 40 years or so since journalist Jep Gambardella (Toni Servillo) wrote his one-and-only novella.
Although he doesn’t really write anymore, Jep is immersed in Rome’s high-end life of the literary world, which includes alcohol, drugs and of course, beautiful women.
Not only does he wish to remain in the inner circle, he wants to be the king of it, and for that he is not afraid to use as much botox as he can to look young and brilliant.
While continuously reinforcing his position, he confronts the death of his first love at the age of 65 and starts to carefully retrace the most beautiful or ugliest memories of the past.
The film has already captured the hearts of international audiences by winning the Best Foreign Language Film at the 86th Academy Awards along with a Golden Globe in 2014.
Having Italy’s capital as its backdrop, many foreign press have praised the beautiful depiction of how the city is today.
British daily newspaper The Telegraph described “The Great Beauty” as “a shimmering coup de cinema to make your heart burst.”