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December 20, 2013

Movies You Missed & More: The Tower

Screen Shot 2013-12-19 at 5.29.43 PMThis week in movies you missed: Have we got a Christmas movie for you! Celebrate the season in Korea on "108 stories of terror."

What You Missed

Christmas is coming to the luxury residential skyscraper complex of Tower Sky in Seoul, and its owners have planned a party to end all parties. VIPs will fill the lobby, and helicopters will fly overhead and shower snow on passersby.

No one heeds a warning about dangerous air currents, nor does anyone care that the building's sprinkler system is screwed up, because this is a disaster flick.

Anyway, everyone's busy living out his or her own mini-soap. Building manager Dae-ho (Sang-kyung Kim) is a single dad trying to find a way to smuggle his adorable moppet into the party and tell his crush (Ye-jin Son) that he likes her. The "legendary" local fire chief (Kyung-gu Sol) has promised his wife that he'll spend Christmas Eve with her. About a dozen other characters I've already half-forgotten have their own dramas.

The only question is, who will live and who will die when Tower Sky inevitably goes up in flames?

Why You Missed It

Directed by Ji-hoon Kim, The Tower was a blockbuster with record ticket sales in its native Korea in 2012. Here, well, you can catch it on Netflix Instant.

Should You Keep Missing It?

That depends on a few factors:

1. Do you like disaster movies, particularly The Towering Inferno? Have you been itching to see a modern version with high production values?

2. Do you enjoy movies set at Christmastime where a lot of extras die in horrific ways (burnt to a crisp, falling from heights, etc.)?

3. Do you feel that it is and will always be "too soon" for such movies? Particularly when they involve aircraft colliding with a pair of tall buildings?

4. Do you prefer your subtitled movies to be arty? Or do you enjoy seeing how a foreign director takes the cheesiest of Hollywood clichés and bends them to his own purposes?

Either way, you should know that the characters in The Tower are about as realistic as the characters in Valentine's Day. The difference being, terrible things happen to them! My personal favorites were the comical family of lower-class devout Christians who've moved into their fancy apartment thanks to a lottery win — and their nemesis, the hoity-toity rich lady with a tiny dog.

5. Do you like watching CGI destruction with a superhero savior nowhere in sight?

6. Do you mind when you can predict every plot twist in a film?

7. Do you feel like wasting some time on the couch?

Verdict: If you answered yes to most of these questions (but not No. 3), here's a perfectly decent "Christmas" movie to watch while swilling egg nog and recovering from the downtown shopping crowds.

In Theaters This Week

At the Roxy: Bruce Dern's acclaimed turn in Alexander Payne's Nebraska. At the Savoy: Rome comes alive in The Great Beauty.

At various theaters: American Hustle, Saving Mr. Banks, Anchorman 2, Walking With Dinosaurs.

On Video This Week

Ain't Them Bodies Saints, Elysium, The Family, Kick-Ass 2, The Lone Ranger, One Direction: This Is Us, Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters, Prisoners.


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