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Friday, July 8, 2005

Short Takes: July 8, 2005


Dear Frankie

Director: Shona Auerbach
Language: English
Currently showing
[See Japan Times movie listings]

This is the story of a single mom (Emily Mortimer) on the run from her abusive husband with her mother and deaf 9-year-old son Frankie (Jack McElhone) in tow. Frankie has been told that his father is a merchant seaman on a ship called the Accra. When he learns that the real Accra has docked in Glasgow, his mom has to hire a stranger (Gerard Butler) to play the part of Frankie's dad. He and Frankie hit it off and the mother finds herself drawn to the reticent man who seems to understand everything without being told. There are too many contrivances, but the film tugs at the heartstrings all the same. (Kaori Shoji)


50 First Dates

Director: Peter Segal
Language: English
Currently showing
[See Japan Times movie listings]

Imagine going on a first date with the same person over and over again. That's what serial playboy Henry Roth (Adam Sandler), a marine biologist living on Hawaii, has to do when he falls for Lucy Whitmore (Drew Barrymore). The fact that Lucy suffers from a brain disorder and cannot remember beyond the last 24 hours does not discourage him, and each day he dreams up a new way to charm her. Think "Groundhog Day" in a tropical setting with plenty of Sandler-style goofiness, including walrus vomit and much falling over. This is Sandler and Barrymore's second onscreen pairing, the first being 1998's "The Wedding Singer."


Marathon

Director: Yoon Chul Jeong
Language: Korean
Currently showing
[See Japan Times movie listings]

When Cho Won's mother realizes that her autistic son, who's in his 20s but has the mind of a 5-year-old, is a strong runner, she hires a former marathon champion teaching at Cho Won's school as his coach. The coach, a burned-out alcoholic, is initially reluctant but eventually inspired by the boy's determination. A megahit in South Korea, the film's hero is based on Bae Hyeong Jin, an autistic runner who ran a full marathon under three hours. While writing the film the director spent a year actually training with Bae.


One Nite in Mongkok

Director: Derek Yee Tung-Sing
Language: Cantonese and Mandarin
Currently showing
[See Japan Times movie listings]

A naive villager, Lai Fu, comes to Mongkok -- the heart of Hong Kong's Kowloon area and one of the world's most densely populated areas -- to carry out a hit ordered by a gangster. His real motive, however, is to find his fiancee, who went to Mongkok to look after his grandmother but ended up becoming a prostitute. Meanwhile, fearing that the assassination will start a gang war, the police are in pursuit of Lai Fu. After he saves a young streetwalker from a violent client, she becomes his guide to Mongkok.


The Ring 2

Director: Hideo Nakata
Language: English
Currently showing
[See Japan Times movie listings]

This sequel to the hit horror flick is this time helmed by Nakata Hideo, director of the original "Ringu." After the horrifying experience in the first series, Rachel (Naomi Watts) and her son Aidan move to a quiet ocean town in Oregon to start a new life. That changes when a corpse showing signs of the video's curse is found. As shown in the first movie, everyone dies within a week of watching the strange videotape, unless they pass it on. The focus in the sequel, however, is the evil spirit of Samara, and her attempts to possess Aidan's body. To protect her son, Rachel goes to Seattle to investigate Samara's past further.



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