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Dumb America Gets Burned by Coen Brothers


Burn After Reading

BURN AFTER READING

Directed by: The Coen brothers

Starring: George Clooney, John Malkovitch, Frances McDormand, Brad Pitt

In a time when warantless wiretapping, and the neglect of due process have become government policy, there are surprisingly few black comedies that challenge these frightening realities with sharp, witty humor. “Burn After Reading” - a clever farce that captures the absurdity of the post-911 era - does just that.


Busan Cinematheque Goes Wild for Wilder


The Apartment

THE APARTMENT (1960)

Directed by: Billy Wilder

Starring: Jack Lemmon, Shirley MacLaine, Fred MacMurray

Where: Busan Cinematheque

When: Saturday March 28 at 14:00, Thursday April 2 at 17:10, Friday April 10 at 13:00

It’s easy to mistake “The Apartment” for a fairly simple and light-hearted romantic comedy, one of many that came out of Hollywood during the 40s and 50s (a number of which were directed by legendary director Billy Wilder himself). Yet, beneath its smooth surface, the film is actually quite subversive.


Frost/Nixon Never Resigns from Entertaining its Audience


Frost/Nixon

FROST/NIXON

Directed by: Ron Howard

Starring: Frank Langella, Michael Sheen

Richard Nixon is so hot right now.  Between “Watchmen” (which  takes place in a dystopic version of the 1980s where Nixon is a dictator) and “Frost/Nixon” (which  recounts the Nixon interviews conducted by British journalist David Frost shortly after Watergate), the Korean box office is currently saturated with representations of the notorious 37th President of the United States. And here’s a heads up: the latter is by far the better movie.


Mickey Rourke Wrestles his Way Out of B-List Celebrity Status


The Wrestler

THE WRESTLER

Directed by: Darren Aronofsky

Starring: Mickey Rourke, Marisa Tomei, Evan Rachel Wood

“20 Years Later,” indicates the title across the bottom of the screen in the opening shot of “The Wrestler.” Randy “The Ram” Robinson (Mickey Rourke) is sitting in an empty locker room with his head down and his back to the camera. A promoter enters the frame and hands him a few measly bucks. This first scene says it all.


Former Titanic Co-Stars Depict Marriage as a Sinking Ship


Revolutionary Road

REVOLUTIONARY ROAD

Directed by: Sam Mendes

Starring: Kate Winslet, Leonardo DiCaprio

“Revolutionary Road” opens at the party in the roaring New York City apartment where Frank (Leonardo DiCaprio) and April Wheeler (Kate Winslet) first meet, and instantly fall in love. The blissful beginning provides a rare glimpse of happiness in a film that spends the next two wretched hours dissecting a married couple’s discontentment with their all-too normal suburban lives in 1950s America.


Rohmer Marries Art and Entertainment in Seductive Romantic Comedy


A Good Marriage

A GOOD MARRIAGE (1982)

Directed by: Eric Rohmer

Starring: Beatrice Romand, Andre Dussolier, Arielle Dombasle

Where: Busan Cinematheque

When: February 20 at 13:00, February 25 at 17:20

I’ve already gushed over Eric Rohmer enough in the past two weeks (see previous posts), so I’ll try to keep this relatively brief. Like most of the other films in the “Comedies and Proverbs” cycle, “A Good Marriage” is a charming reflection on the precarious nature of male-female relationships.


No Doubt About It, Streep and Hoffman Shine in Religious Drama


Doubt

DOUBT

Directed by: John Patrick Shanley

Starring: Merryl Streep, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Amy Adams

It’s 1964. President Kennedy was just assassinated and the Civil Rights Act has been passed. The times-they-are-a-changin’. In a parish in the Bronx, the lone black student struggles to fit in with his classmates, but the kind and gentle priest (Philip Seymour Hoffman) takes him under his wing. Before long, the school principal and head nun (Merryl Streep) suspects him of molesting the child and makes it her mission to expose him despite lacking proof. At times poignant and evocative, “Doubt” works as a cautionary tale against the dangers of excessive confidence.


Quell your Curiosity; Benjamin Button Among Biggest Disappointments of 2008


The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

THE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON

Directed by: David Fincher

Starring: Brad Pitt, Cate Blanchett

“The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” takes the spectator on a journey throughout the life of a man who ages backwards. Benjamin Button (Brad Pitt) is born a decrepit old codger whose mother dies in childbirth and whose father abandons him on the front steps of a retirement home (how ironic Mr. Screenwriter!). As time goes by, he realizes that he’s been dealt the fantastical fate of growing young.


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