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Friday, April 15, 2005

Short Takes: April 15, 2005

Les Choristes

Director: Christophe Barratier
Language: French
Currently showing
[See Japan Times movie listings]

This heartwarming drama begins when a successful conductor comes across his mentor's diary and reminisces about his childhood. Once a problem child at a French reform school, he was taken under the wing of an eccentric music teacher named Clement Mathieu (Gerard Jugnot). Although Mathieu's passionate method of teaching conflicts with the headmaster's policy of strict discipline, he inspires his pupils to reach great heights as a choir group. Soundtrack provided by Les Petits Chanteurs de Saint-Marc, a popular boys' choir group.

Flight of the Phoenix

Director: John Moore
Language: English
Currently showing
[See Japan Times movie listings]

In this remake of the classic 1965 Robert Aldrich film, veteran pilot Frank Towns (Dennis Quaid) picks up an oil company crew who have finished an exploration mission in Mongolia. On the return flight, a sandstorm brings the plane down in the middle of the scorching Gobi desert. Knowing that nobody will come to rescue them, they desperately try to build a new plane from the wreckage of the old one.

Infernal Affairs III

Director: Andrew Lau, Andy Mak
Language: Mandarin
Currently showing
[See Japan Times movie listings]

This emotional yet violent film is the final part of this trilogy, which has been dubbed the Hong Kong version of "The Godfather." It focuses on two young men, Lau (Andy Lau), a triad member who infiltrates the police force, and Chan (Tony Leung), a cop who goes undercover as a gangster, for a 10-year period. In this star-studded finale, which is both a prequel and sequel, Lau struggles with a police superintendent Yeung (Leon Lai), whom he suspects of being another mole. Other mysteries in the previous stories are also revealed. Since the story is fast-paced and complicated, it's recommended that you rent the two previous films if you don't want to get lost.

Please Teach Me English

Director: Kim Seong-su
Language: Korean
Currently showing
[See Japan Times movie listings]

Na Yang-Ju (Lee Na-Young) is a quiet, ordinary 25-year-old office worker, until, under her boss's order, she reluctantly enrolls in an English conversation school. On the first day there, she instantly falls in love with Moon-su (Jang Hyeok), a boy sitting next to her in the class. Suddenly she's inspired to try anything -- including eating the pages of an English dictionary -- to master English and win his heart.

The Sea Inside

Director: Alejandro Amenabar
Language: Spanish
Currently showing
[See Japan Times movie listings]

Alejandro Amenabar's latest work, winner of the Academy Award for best foreign film, is based on a true story. At age 25, Ramon Sampedro has a diving accident that leaves him paralyzed from the neck down. Having been bed-ridden for nearly three decades, Ramon petitions for the right to die and is refused by the Spanish legal system. After his plight is covered by the media, supporters come to his bedside, including a lawyer who takes his case free of charge. Masterfully executed and told with utmost sincerity, this work speaks above all about the joy and dignity of living. (Kaori Shoji)

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