Top Hollywood films for February

By Claire Lee

‘Pompeii,’ ‘The Monuments Men’ and ‘12 Years a Slave’ to open in Korean theaters

  • Published : Feb 6, 2014 - 19:31
  • Updated : Feb 6, 2014 - 19:31
A scene from “Pompeii” (D&C Entertainment)
After the box-office smash of Walt Disney Animation Studios’ “Frozen,” Korean theaters are welcoming the arrival of another series of highly anticipated Hollywood films this month.

Paul W.S. Anderson’s 3-D disaster thriller “Pompeii,” George Clooney’s “The Monuments Men” and slavery saga “12 Years a Slave” are all opening in theaters in February, each offering something different.

Among the three, the first to be released here is “Pompeii,” which follows the story of a slave who falls in love with a woman of a noble family on the eve of a massive volcanic eruption that destroys Pompeii, the ancient Roman city near modern Naples. The city was buried under about 5-6 meters of ash upon the eruption of Mount Vesuvius, which took place in A.D. 79.

Before being destroyed by the volcano, Pompeii enjoyed great economic prosperity and a rich culture. It had a complex water system, a port and a wide range of entertainment facilities including theaters. The film, which combines romance and disaster adventure, is to also offer glimpses of what it was like to live in Pompeii before it was destroyed. 

A scene from “The Monuments Men” (20th Century Fox Korea)
Meanwhile, Clooney’s ambitious project “The Monuments Men” revolves around a group of people during World War II who retrieved famous artworks that were stolen by the Nazis, and return them to their rightful owners before Hitler destroyed them.

The film, which is based on a true story, is directed by, produced by and stars George Clooney, who previously directed “Good Night, and Good Luck” (2005) and “The Ides of March” (2011), among other films. Clooney’s costars in the film include Cate Blanchett and Matt Damon. 

A scene from “12 Years a Slave” (Pan Cinema)
Camera d’Or-winning director Steve McQueen’s highly successful “12 Years a Slave” is also hitting local theaters this month. The film, which received nine Academy Award nominations including Best Picture and Best Director, is McQueen’s third feature film.

It is based on the 1853 memoir of the same title by Solomon Northup, a free African-American New Yorker who was kidnapped by slave traders in Washington, D.C., and sold into slavery in Louisiana in 1841. There, he forced to work on farms in the South for 12 years until his release.

The film was released in the U.S. in November, and received critical acclaim. British actor Chiwetel Ejiofor plays Northup, while Brad Pitt plays Samuel Bass, a carpenter from Canada who plays a key role in helping Northup regain his freedom. Pitt is also one of the film’s producers.

It was named best film at the London Critics’ Circle Film Awards earlier this month, as well as Best Actor (Ejiofor) and Best Supporting Actress (Lupita Nyong’o). In January, the film won Best Motion Picture ― Drama at the annual Golden Globe Awards.

“Pompeii” opens in theaters on Feb. 20, while “12 Years a Slave” and “The Monuments Men” hit theaters on Feb. 27.

By Claire Lee (dyc@heraldcorp.com)