April 12, 2012
First-time feature director Kat Coiro gives an oft-tread story a snappy new spin in the hip and enjoyable comedy "Life Happens. " After underdog Kim (an endearing Krysten Ritter) loses out for the last nearby condom to brasher roommate Deena (Kate Bosworth, also fine) during the BFF's simultaneous one-night stands, Kim ends up a devoted but ill-prepared mother of a baby boy. With the child's me-first, surf star dad (Rhys Coiro, Kat's husband) decidedly absent, Kim must navigate the demands of single motherhood, her thankless job assisting a hellish canine patron (Kristen Johnston)
January 10, 2014 |
In the 19th century, the British had a phrase to describe their effort to keep Russia from extending its imperial influence through Central Asia and into the crown jewel of the British empire, India. It was called the Great Game, with both sides spying, gathering intelligence and manipulating local leaders and populations to their advantage. Rudyard Kipling used the term in his classic 1901 novel "Kim. " In his new book, "America's Great Game: The CIA's Secret Arabists and the Shaping of the Modern Middle East," Cal State Long Beach history professor Hugh Wilford explains how the same phrase, and many of the same risky tactics, came to describe the post-World War II effort by U.S. operatives to shape the modern Middle East.
August 14, 2011 |
Pity the Chinese food delivery guy on Haeundae Beach as he wanders the mile-long maze of sun umbrellas with haiku-like instructions: "Lifeguard tower 8; third row; three parasols from end; noodles. " Covered end-to-end with multihued parasols that turned the beige sand into a sea of blue, red, white and pink, South Korea's popular summer playground is a beach where people studiously avoid the sun. American businessman Greg Conklin shook his head at the sight: This isn't a public beach; it's another planet.
January 15, 2012 |
On his first day of freedom, North Korean defector Kim Yong-chul sat crossed-legged on the floor of a small apartment without a stick of furniture. He ate fried chicken and pork belly, washed down with celebratory shots of soju from a paper cup, toasting the stranger he says saved his life. Krys Lee is no stranger now. The Korean American writer is more like a fussy parent, worrying that the fortysomething refugee was drinking too much and might fall prey to other addictions in South Korea's culture of plenty.
October 4, 2012 |
The original "Taken" may have earned an impressive $224 million-plus in worldwide box office receipts, but it apparently went unseen in one remote corner of Albania. That would be the home base of a group of men who, not knowing any better, feel compelled to menace Bryan Mills and his family one more time in "Taken 2. " Talk about slow learners. Led by taciturn Murad (grizzled veteran Rade Sherbedgia), these men are the blood relatives of the folks master of mayhem Bryan killed back in the day while rescuing his daughter Kim from the clutches of nefarious white slavers in Paris.
December 20, 2012 |
The South Korean import "Whatcha Wearin'?" is as sweet and silly and, at times, raunchy as any Hollywood-hatched romantic comedy. Still, even if it's not all that distinguishable from its stateside brethren, the film manages enough sparkly charm and warm comedy to offer a few hours of featherweight fun. The meet-cute here between the recently dumped Hyun-Seung (Ji Sung) and the long-partnered Yun-jung (Kim Ah-joong) involves an accidental phone sex session that's contrived, but also amusing and sexy.
August 4, 2011 |
Four decades ago, fisherman Kim Seong-do came to this tiny outcropping known as the lonely island in search of solitude and a good catch. He moved into a cave here in 1971, scratching out a desolate existence on what South Korea calls Dokdo, whose two treeless islets rise from the water like shark's teeth, battered by fierce winter storms. Scaling its seaside cliffs, Kim found a freshwater spring reachable only by a rope strung up a 250-foot-high rock face. At night, his cave came alive with strange creatures.
August 23, 2012 |
At any other time, the storyline of a film like "R2B: Return to Base" - a reckless young fighter pilot (Korean superstar Rain) is taken down a few pegs by a more experienced and disciplined rival (Yu Jun-sang) and learns the value of teamwork - would likely earn references to "Top Gun. " With the film by chance seeing release so closely after the recent death of "Top Gun" director Tony Scott, one almost feels sorry for "R2B" director Kim Dong-won for how inescapable the comparisons will be. They are not unfounded, of course, as Kim's film looks to get premium mileage from the thrill of a slo-mo formation walk across a tarmac or the whooshing rush of the horizon line slipping by the cockpit.
October 21, 2011 |
It's hard to underestimate the power of an ingénue you enjoy rooting for, and U.K. up-and-comer Felicity Jones is the kind of fresh-faced heroine — equal parts clear-eyed sass and waif-y optimism — who helps make the British romantic comedy "Chalet Girl" more enjoyable than it should be. Jones plays a cash-starved ex-skateboarder named Kim who ditches burger flipping for a winter catering gig at a wealthy family's Swiss chalet. The powdery Alpine terrain is no match in fluffiness, though, for the flag-marked route Tom Williams' screenplay takes, as Kim finds friendship, a renewed sense of achievement and class-mixing romance (cue the bedroom glare of Ed Westwick as the much nicer version of his "Gossip Girl" rich boy, Chuck Bass)
September 12, 1997 |
Even in this sexually brazen age, romantic comedies involving transsexuals are not the usual thing. Filmmakers, not surprisingly, aren't rushing to create genial romps about people who've turned to surgery to change their sex because, explains a dictionary, they have "the physical characteristics of one sex but a strong and persistent desire to belong to the other." Which is why the British "Different for Girls" is different for sure.