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Friday, April 22, 2005

Short Takes: April 22, 2005


Constantine

Director: Francis Lawrence
Language: English
Currently showing
[See Japan Times movie listings]

The forces of heaven and hell are fighting over the souls of humans, and it seems that hell has a slight lead. Constantine (Keanu Reeves), an exorcist bound for hell because he attempted suicide, must fight evil to get a passage to heaven. When a police officer (Rachel Weisz) asks him to help her look into the death of her twin sister, they find more than they expected. An adaptation of the comic book "Hellblazer," "Constantine" is the feature debut of an award-winning director of music videos.


Freestyle: The Art of Rhyme

Director: Kevin Fitzgerald
Language: English
Currently showing
[See Japan Times movie listings]

This documentary follows more than seven years of rhyming and MC battles, focusing on the artistry and history improvisational rap. Both famous and unknown hip-hop artists are shown, rhyming spontaneously in their own styles. Better-known featured artists include Supernatural and Craig G; the Notorious B.I.G. freestyling during his teens; as well as Mos Def and Questlove of The Roots.


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-suk
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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