2018.12.26 Now Playing
Action, Sci-fi/ 114 / English / Dec. 25
A prequel to 2007’s “Transformers,” “Bumblebee” is the sixth installment in the live-action “Transformers” film series. Set in 1987, the movie begins on the Autobots’ home planet of Cybertron, where they are on the verge of losing the Transformer civil war and prepare to leave the planet. The Autobots get attacked after their plan gets leaked, forcing the leader to send a young scout, B-127, to Earth to set up a base of operations where they can regroup.
When B-127 lands in California, he disrupts a training exercise being conducted by a secret government agency that monitors extraterrestrial activity on Earth and is instantly presumed be a hostile invader. B-127 drives into a forest, where unexpectedly gets attacked by an enemy and transforms into a Volkswagen Beetle.
B-127 gets discovered by a socially outcast teenage girl named Charlie Watson (Hailee Steinfeld) in his Beetle form. She accidentally activates a homing signal, which gets detected in space by the enemy forces and ultimately guides them to Earth.
The movie was directed by Travis Knight of “Kubo and the Two Strings” (2016).
Take Point (15)
Action / 124 / Korean, English / Dec. 26
Starring Ha Jung-woo and Lee Sun-kyun, “Take Point” revolves around a mercenary force led by Ahab (Ha) on a covert CIA operation to apprehend a high-profile North Korean official in an underground bunker located 30 meters (98 feet) beneath the surface of the demilitarized zone (DMZ). Lee plays an elite North Korean doctor who happens to enter the bunker.
Shot from a first-person perspective, the movie offers an exciting yet sometimes dizzying point of view for audience members.
Directed by Kim Byung-woo and developed over the past five years, the movie sees the director once again collaborate with Ha, after the acclaimed action thriller title “The Terror, Live” (2013).
The Old Man and the Gun (15)
Romance, Drama / 93 / English / Dec. 27
The movie is based on the true story of Forrest Tucker a career criminal who made an audacious escape from San Quentin prison in his ‘70s to carry out a string of bank robberies that confounded authorities and enchanted the public.
The film stars 82-year-old Robert Redford as Tucker and Casey Affleck as the rookie detective named John Hunt that pursues him.
Hunt gradually becomes captivated with the criminal’s commitment to his craft as well as a woman (Sissy Spacek) who loves him despite his profession.
The movie, directed by David Lowery, premiere at the Telluride Film Festival in August. Redford has been nominated for Best Actor in a Motion Picture Musical or Comedy at the Golden Globe Awards, scheduled to take place on Jan. 7.
Drama / 133 / Korean / Dec. 19
Set in 1951 during the Korean War (1950-53), this dance movie revolves around a rebellious North Korean soldier named Ro Gi-soo (Do Kyung-soo) who falls in love with tap dancing after seeing Jackson (Jared Grimes), a U.S. officer and Broadway performer, dance.
Gi-soo then joins Jackson’s dance group, which is made up of prisoners of war from the U.S.-controlled camp located in Geoje, South Gyeongsang, and a translator named Yang Pan-rae (Park Hye-soo).
Though Gi-soo spends the entire day either practicing or getting into the rhythm of tap dancing, he struggles to speak about his newfound passion with others, as tap dancing is seen by his fellow soldiers as representing U.S. ideologies of democracy and freedom.
The movie is directed by Kang Hyung-chul, who also directed such popular comedies as “Sunny” (2011) and “Speed Scandal” (2008).
The Grinch (G)
Animation, Comedy / 89 / English / Dec. 19
Based on the 1957 Dr. Seuss book “How the Grinch Stole Christmas!,” this adaptation centers on the grumpy green creature who tries to steal the joy of Christmas from his neighbors, the citizens of Whoville. Together with his dog Max - his only friend - the Grinch invents special gadgets that allow him to continue living in grumpy isolation.
When the town’s mayor announces that this year’s Christmas will be much more fun, the Grinch plans to dress up like Santa, but instead of giving out Christmas gifts, he decides to steal them from every home.
The film is directed by Scott Mosier and Yarrow Cheney, and Benedict Cumberbatch voices the Grinch.
Crime, Drama / 139 / Korean / Dec. 19
Set in the southern port city of Busan in the ‘70s, the movie revolves around Lee Doo-sam (Song Kang-ho), a petty smuggler who barely makes ends meet to feed his wife, a piano teacher, and two children. But after he starts smuggling drugs by chance, Lee follows his instincts and ultimately builds an underground criminal empire, becoming a drug kingpin.
Inspired by the notorious real-life figure, the movie shows how a man, who used to be naive and simple, later transforms and gets destroyed by his own ambition and greed after getting a taste of wealth and authority.
Directed by Woo Min-ho of the crime title “Inside Men” (2015), the film co-stars Bae Doo-na as a lobbyist who guides Doo-sam into the upper echelons of the drug trade, Kim So-jin as Song’s fictional wife, and Cho Jung-seok as an ambitious and hard-nosed prosecutor chasing after Doo-sam.
Action, Adventure / 143 / English / Dec. 19
Starring Jason Momoa as Aquaman, Amber Heard as Princess Mera and Nicole Kidman as Aquaman’s mother, Queen Atlanna, the film opens with Atlanna fleeing from an arranged marriage and falling in love with the first man she sees on land. After giving birth to Aquaman, she is forced to return to the sea to protect her husband and young son from the Atlantean soldiers who pursue her.
Things start to pick up years later when Aquaman decides to confront and fight his half-brother Orm (Patrick Wilson), the current king of the underwater kingdom of Atlantis who is looking to wage war against those on land.
Directed by Jason Wan, known in the industry as a horror maestro, the film adds thrilling elements to the superhero genre.
The Party (15)
Comedy, Drama / 71 / English / Dec. 20
The movie begins as career politician Janet (Kristin Scott Thomas) opens a party to celebrate her recent appointment as a government functionary of an opposition party.
One by one, guests arrive, including her friend April (Patricia Clarkson), her estranged German partner Gottfried (Bruno Ganz) and Martha (Cherry Jones), a women’s studies professor and self-proclaimed spiritual healer.
The mood of the party starts off congratulatory, but by the end of the evening, things start to fall apart with people screaming and crying.
This black and white movie was directed by Sally Potters and competed for the Golden Bear at the 67th Berlin International Film Festival.
Crime, Mystery / 117 / English / Dec. 12
Based on a novel by author Darcey Bell, this movie revolves around two women: the wealthy and glamorous working mother Emily (Blake Lively) and a widowed mother named Stephanie (Anna Kendrick) who is a passionate mommy vlogger and active volunteer for community and classroom activities.
The two quickly become friends through their sons who go to the same elementary school.
Eventually, Emily starts asking Stephanie to do favors for her, like picking up her son Nicky after school. But one day, Emily suddenly disappears. Though the police work the case, Stephanie decides to investigate on her own.
“A Simple Favor” is directed by Paul Feig of “Spy” (2015) and “Bridesmaids” (2011).