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Entries in Chang-wook Park (10)

Wednesday
Nov162016

Min-hee Kim's Secrets and Lies in "The Handmaiden"

by Chris Feil

Much of the praise for Park Chan-Wook's The Handmaiden has favored the director's twisted vision, the sumptuous design elements, or its grinning audacity. Sure the film is as immaculately crafted as all that talk has promised, but there one thrilling puzzle inside the film worthy of equal regard is the lead performance by Min-hee Kim.

For a film as plotty and opulent as The Handmaiden, you can understand how any performance might not be the first takeaway. But believability of the narrative's many twists falls largely on Kim's coolly dexterous shoulders...

Click to read more ...

Sunday
Nov062016

Podcast: The Handmaiden and Other Heavenly Creatures

We're back to weekly podcasts! This week Nick and Nathaniel revisit a summer favorite that's now on DVD and have divergent feelings about The Handmaiden despite their mutual Park Chan-wook history.

Index (41 minutes)
00:01 A Heavenly Creatures revisit
05:10 The Handmaiden and that time Nathaniel and Nick watched a Park Chan-wook together
25:00 Almodóvar's Julieta and Farhadi's The Salesman
34:00 Doctor Strangé & Captain Fantastic briefly to wrap-up

You can listen to the podcast here at the bottom of the post or download from iTunes. Continue the conversations in the comments, won't you?  

Referenced in this conversation:
Nick's Isabelle Huppert e-mail hack | Nathaniel's photo op with Viggo Mortensen | A recent rewatch of WitnessAlama Drafthouse Night Out | 1994 Oscar Races 

The Handmaiden Fantastic

Saturday
Jan302016

Stretch Linkstrong 

Randomness
Film School Rejects it's all about talking animals who sound just like celebrities this year
Towleroad ABC rejects a TV ad for Carol because (GASP) naked lesbian shoulders
John August shares depressing box office stats on why we get so many sequels
Guardian picks 5 best moment of Jane Fonda in the movies - bizarre choices beyond her Oscar winning roles
Guardian investigation of why movie posters are so terrible in comparison to their aged counterparts
The Wrap TV adaptation of American Gods (a must read from Neil Gaiman) has cast Ricky Whittle (the 100) in the leading role
MNPP ...goes all out with an endless gratuitous post celebrating Whittle
Awards Daily Awesome crusading Senator Elizabeth Warren loves The Big Short


New Projects
Tracking Board Chan-wook Park to direct the adapation of sci-fi novel Genocidal Organ about homemade nuclear devices
Coming Soon Oscar winning director Kathryn Bigelow and writer Mark Boal (The Hurt Locker) are reteaming for a film about the 1967 Detroit Riots. Shooting to start this summer
Variety Ruh-roh Jennifer Aniston is doing a true life sports drama called The Fixer -- she's got her eyes on The Blind Side's surprise prize if you know what I mean
Coming Soon (sigh) Dear Toni Collette's Agent, WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU? I know we ask this all the time but you have not answered. (Toni is now signed to do a bureaucrat role in xXx: The Return of Xander Cage because Hollywood weirdly believes we want every Vin Diesel franchise revived)
/Film Stretch Armstrong series (yes, the boys doll with stretchy arms) is going to Netflix. For kids.
Variety Meg Ryann behind the camera. Her first film Ithaca did not yet find distribution which is weird (all star cast) but she's signed to direct a second, a romantic comedy even, called The Book 

 Theatre People
Playbill Zachary Quinto, about to reprise his Spock role on the big screen, on why he prefers theater to film or television 
Playbill Dominic Cooper returning to the stage for a new production of The Libertine about the hedonistic Earl of Rochester in 1670s London. Did any of you ever see that Johnny Depp film version of the play?

Today's Watch
A well timed brief history of white actors playing ethnic roles from Screen Crush. (Minor Quibble: Technically some consider Russian born Yul Brynner as Asian -- he claimed Mongolian heritage but others denied it was true)

Awards Update
Everyone's making their final moves -- Oscar ballots out on Feb 12th. Jennifer Jason Leigh is getting a tribute at the American Cinematheque. They'll be screening Hateful Eight, Georgia (the closest she ever came to a nom' previously), her divisive Mrs Parker and the Vicious Circle (she's excellent), Single White Female and breakout hit Fast Times at Ridgmont High.

Finally, the ACE Eddie Awards were handed out last night. The winners:

  • Mad Max: Fury Road (Drama)
  • The Big Short (Comedy)
  • Inside Out (Animated)
  • Amy (Documentary).

 

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...]

Click to read more ...