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Entries in Chang-wook Park (7)

Tuesday
Nov262013

Review: Oldboy (2013)

Greetings, Dear Readers. Michael C. here. Since Nathaniel is on record as being emphatically NOT a fan of Chan-wook Park's original Cannes prize winner, I thought it fitting I, an enthusiastic Oldboy lover, would step in to review Spike Lee's hotly anticipated English language remake.

One of the smallest changes to Spike Lee’s American remake of Oldboy is the most revealing. A subplot involving hypnosis has been excised from the film. No doubt the filmmakers decided mass audiences wouldn’t accept such an outlandish plot device, but therein lies the fatal error. An Oldboy that comes anywhere near plausible reality is no Oldboy at all. 

Park Chan-wook’s original version pulsed with bonkers confidence, dancing on the edges of sanity, and, when need be, careening right over the cliff. In dragging the remake closer to the director’s realism comfort zone, this version has drained the story of the operatic pitch it requires.

Click to read more ...

Sunday
Mar032013

Review: "Stoker" Disturbs. But To What End?

A slightly abridged version of this review was previously published in my weekly column @ Towleroad

Thirst > Stoker

A few years ago Park Chan-wook, the acclaimed genre fabulist from South Korea, made an award winning vampire film called Thirst. With the exception of the Swedish instant classic Let The Right One In, it's the best vampire film of the past 20 years. Second best might not seem like high praise but consider the volume of competition!  

In Thirst, a priest and reluctant vampire, infects a young girl with his addiction and she flips from moody troubled teen to lusty adult trouble-maker. Is she his impressionable victim or his soulmate apprentice? Or is she much harder to pin down? Having raved about Thirst when it was released (including a Best Actress nomination for Kim Ok-bin right here) and being a shameless Kidmaniac I walked into Stoker with high expectations. Despite the title's nod to Bram Stoker, I was not expecting an English language pseudo-remake of his earlier vampire feature. There are no literal vampires this time but the central power play relationship and overall bloodlust are like eerily similar echoes. Even the supernatural powers remain: India (Mia Wasikowska) even begins the film boasting of her preternatural hearing in voiceover while she hunts a defenseless animal in the tall grass. It's like a Terrence Malick sequence with brutality in place of spirituality. India's hearing is so acute she even catches spidery footsteps (So do we since Stoker shares with Thirst masterfully creepy and super detailed sound design.)  

A Stoker family dinner. Bloody steak.

"Don't disturb the family" is a stupid fun tagline for Stoker's ad campaign and poster since the warning is pointless. This family was disturbed long before you bought a ticket. [more...]

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Wednesday
Jan232013

Clips w/out Context: Nicole Kidman in "Stoker"

So many people have sent me that first official clip from Stoker over the past week, a monologue from Queen Kidman, that I figure it's a sign from the cosmos that I've been neglecting my genuflections. (I had had another big Nicole (!) piece planned last week and then they went and snubbed her/spoiled it. And then there was The Hours anniversary and I thought maybe I had Kidmandeered the blog too much. Apparently not!)

Lights on. Camera. Actress!

Almost every time someone has sent or linked to the clip they've done so with a variation of "OMG!!!" or "all the Oscars for Nicole!" in their text and a quick check of online reactions fall roughly along those lines too. My reaction was more like "..." with a side of "♥"

...which I shall explain alongside the clip and Stoker @ Sundance madness after the jump.

Click to read more ...

Saturday
Sep222012

Thoughts I had while watching that "STOKER" tease

As you may now Park Chang-wook of Thirst fame has trained his keen cruel eye on something a little less supernatural and subtitled for his next film Stoker. We got the first taste of it on Entertainment Tonight days ago but... you know... (how long do you think I can milk this "but I have pneumonia!!!" excuse?). So herewith some unedited thoughts I had while watching it...

Personally speaking I can't wait to see life tear you apart."

• Love La Kidman lashing out. These opening eye daggers reminded me more than a little of The Golden Compass and I mean that as a compliment. That book trilogy was beyond and Nicole Kidman really got that character (Mrs Coulter) so it's such a pity that the movie didn't really get the book and the ending didn't even get the ending and no other movies will be gotten to get it all retroactively like! I have pneumonia.

• I'm tickled that this isn't a biopic on Bram Stoker! 

video and more thoughts after the jump...

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Jul192012

Links

Comic Convos an animated summary of Michael Fassbender's role in Prometheus. Hee
Trespass Our friend Glenn reviews The Dark Knight Rises 
Slate's Tanner Colby gives HBO a free drama series pitch, a bridge between the America of Mad Men and the America of The Wire if you will... 
Filmmaker Magazine 25 New Faces of Independent Film 
Cinema Blend 5 Batman villains they wish Chris Nolan had used in his trilogy. But, you know, you can only use so many and Batman does have the best rogues gallery.
Hollywood.com the latest hiccup for The Wolverine. Jessica Biel is not on board after all. So much pre-production trouble with this movie.  Now the role may go to Tinker Tailor's Svetlana Khodchenkova

Today's Video Must See
Here is Annette Bening and Warren Beatty's eldest child Stephen who was born Kathlyn.

He doesn't speak about his parents at all in this video but the internet is saying that this is Stephen Ira Beatty so I believe (everything on the Internet is true, right?). Stephen makes a joke about staring at us uncomfortably to end the video but the only thing uncomfortable about this charming motor mouthed super smart kid staring at me is a) how hideous the walls in this room are and b) freaking out over how much he EXACTLY looks like a cross between his parents. Especially when he smiles. Well, more Beatty than Bening but still...  Right?

Finally, you should know that Park Chan-Wook's first English language film Stoker, featuring a dreamy triangular cast of Mia Wasikowska as a lonely girl, Matthew Goode as her shady Uncle and Nicole Kidman as her unstable mother is no longer the 2012 release we were hoping for. It will open on March 1st, 2013 in limited release. Don't be sad. We still have more Nicole Kidman coming in 2012 with The Paperboy. Next year: Stoker and Oscar Bait The Railway Man.