2019.02.08 Now Playing
Action, Adventure / 122 / English / Feb. 5
From visionary filmmakers James Cameron of “Avatar” (2009) and Robert Rodriguez of the “Sin City” franchise, “Alita” is a cyberpunk action film based on Yukito Kishiro’s manga series “Gunm.”
Taking place several centuries into a technological dystopian future, “Alita,” produced by Cameron and Jon Landau, and directed by Rodriguez, revolves around a big-eyed amnesiac cyborg named Alita (Rosa Salazar), who is rescued from a scrap heap and nursed back to health by a doctor (Christoph Waltz) who tries to help her remember her past. Realizing her warrior spirit, she becomes a bounty hunter who tracks down criminals.
The movie tells a human story through the eyes of the cyborg, and shows her falling in love and discovering who she is.
Drama / 126 / Lebanese / Jan. 24
Zain (Zain Al Rafeea) is a 12-year-old Syrian refugee. The movie opens with Zain being asked by a judge, “Why are you attacking your parents in court?” His answer is simple: “For giving me life.”
Along with several siblings, Zain lives in a cramped apartment. His sister, Sahar (Cedra Izam), is in danger of being sold into marriage by her parents to a much older neighbor. The tension at home crushes Zain, and he eventually leaves.
Zain takes refuge in an amusement park, where he meets an Ethiopian immigrant who has an infant son. Together, they form a family and Zain feels a sense of safety and nurturing he had hoped to receive from his parents.
Written and directed by Lebanese actor and director Nadine Labaki, who directed “Where Do We Go Now?” (2011) and “Caramel” (2007), her latest title was selected to compete for the Palme d’Or at last year’s Cannes Film Festival. It picked up the Jury Prize.
Hit-and-Run Squad (15)
Crime, Action / 133 / Korean / Jan. 30
Directed by Han Jun-hee of crime movie “Coin Locker Girl” (2015), the movie begins with police Lt. Eun Si-yeon (Gong Hyo-jin) being demoted to a hit-and-run investigation squad from the regional investigation unit at the National Police Agency because of the methods she used while investigating the rich race car driver-turned businessman Jeong Jae-cheol (Cho Jung-seok).
After joining her new team, she meets Seo Min-jae (Ryu Jun-yeol). an officer who is also trying to catch Jae-cheol for causing a series of car crashes. With his keen sense of cars, Min-jae is the ace of the team.
As implied in the title, there are a number of thrilling car-chase scenes, more than 90 percent of which were pulled off by the actors.
Animation, Adventure / 104 / English / Jan. 30
The third and final film in the “How to Train Your Dragon” trilogy takes viewers on another dragon-riding adventure to far away lands.
The movie begins one year after the events of the second film, which was released in 2014. Here, the brave young Viking Hiccup continues to rescue dragons with his fellow dragon riders and friends, including his fire-breathing Night Fury buddy, Toothless.
Although Hiccup has achieved his long-held wish of creating a world where humans and dragons can live together, his adventure to save dragons from ruthless dragon hunters continues. His dream of finding the mythical place known as Hidden World, a safe haven of dragons, is also what motivates Hiccup to keep moving.
But his adventure gets in the way of the infamous dragon hunter Grimmel the Grisly, who uses the Light Night Fury, a sparkling white female dragon, as bait in his capture of Toothless.
Comedy / 111 / Korean / Jan. 23
Chief Detective Go (Ryu Seung-ryong), who leads a low-performing drug squad, repeatedly misses out on promotion opportunities. Though he and his crew, including hot-tempered Detective Jang (Lee Ha-nee) and rookie officer Jae-hun (Gong Myoung), are extremely passionate about taking down criminals, their attempts continue to fail.
One day, Chief Detective Go’s colleague, who is about to be promoted, tells Go about an opportunity to catch a criminal organization and prove his team is worthwhile. To do so, Go’s squad opens a chicken restaurant located in front of the criminal organization’s safe house.
Their plan, however, doesn’t pan out as expected when the chicken starts selling very well, interfering with their real work.
Directed by Lee Byeong-hun, who was behind such comedy titles as “What A Man Wants” (2018), the film co-stars Jin Sun-kyu, Lee Dong-hwi and Shin Ha-kyun.
Mystery, Drama, Sci-fi / 129 / English / Jan. 17
Directed, written and produced by M. Night Shyamalan of the horror title “The Sixth Sense” (1999), “Glass” is the final installment of the “Eastrail 177” trilogy, which began with “Unbreakable” (2000) and continued with “Split” (2017).
Bringing James McAvoy, Bruce Willis and Samuel L. Jackson back to the screen, “Glass” centers on David Dunn (Willis), the Philadelphia security guard from “Unbreakable” who realized he was invincible, and Elijah Price (Jackson) from the same title, whose brittle bones break like glass, earning him the nickname “Mr. Glass.” Elijah’s physical weakness leads him to escape into the world of comic books, with a strong desire to know whether superheroes really exist. Kevin Wendell Crumb (McAvoy), a disturbed man with 24 personalities, also makes his return.
Beginning only a few weeks after the events of “Split,” Dunn uses his abilities to track down and capture The Beast, the most dangerous of Crumb’s 24 personalities. Orchestrating the fight is Price, who holds the secret that the two men are desperate to uncover.
Animation / 98 / Japanese / Jan. 16
Kun is a four-year-old boy who has a newborn sister. At first, he is very excited about having a new sibling, but that sense of excitement soon turns to jealousy when he realizes his parents’ love and attention have been displaced onto his new sister, Mirai, a Japanese name that translates to “future.”
After one of the many tantrums Kun throws in front of his parents for not loving him enough, he stomps off to the garden where he meets a strange man believed to be the human version of the dog the family raises. On another occasion, he also meets a middle school girl who claims to be a future version of Mirai. Directed by Mamoru Hosoda, best known in Korea for “The Boy and the Beast” (2015) and “The Girl Who Leapt Through Time” (2006), his latest title is a coming-of-age film that shows time’s journey through Kun’s eyes.
The film gained international acclaim, and premiered last year at Directors’ Fortnight, an independent event held parallel to the Cannes Film Festival.
Comedy / 126 / Korean / Jan. 16
Hong Jang-mi (Yoo Ho-jeong) is the nagging and nosy mother of a daughter (Chae Soo-bin). Her ordinary days, however, begin to change when she chances upon her old friend Myeong-hwan (Park Sung-woong). The encounter risks Jang-mi revealing the past she had hoped to keep hidden from the people around her.
Flitting back and forth between the 1970s and the current day, Ha Yeon-soo portrays the younger version of Jang-mi, who dreamed of becoming a singer. Myeong-hwan was also an aspiring singer who Jang-mi dated and with whom she shared her dream.
The younger version of Myeong-hwan is played by Lee Won-keun.
The film is directed by rookie filmmaker Cho Seok-hyun, and co-stars Oh Jung-se and Choi Woo-shik.