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Entries in Oldboy (10)


Doc Corner: Revisiting 'Fahrenheit 9/11' and It's Cannes Influence

Glenn here. Each Tuesday we bring you reviews and features on documentaries from theatres, festivals, and on demand. In celebration of not just the Cannes Film Festival, which is underway right now, but also the release of my book Cannes Film Festival: 70 Years out now through Wilkinson Publishing, we're looking at only the second documentary to win the Palme d'Or. The book is a glossy trip through history, looking at the festival's beginnings, the films, the moviestars, the fashions and the controversies. You better believe I convinced my editors on a double-page Nicole Kidman spread!

Just earlier this year I said of Michael Moore’s most recent film, Where to Invade Next?, that it was “utterly disgraceful” and that it was bound to “truly be one of the year’s worst movies.” That film was on my mind as I sat down to rewatch the director’s 2004 Palme d’Or winning documentary, Fahrenheit 9/11. Would the impact of that initial viewing of Fahrenheit 9/11 remain all these years later now that my eyes and mind are much wider? It’s a little bit of yes and a little bit of no. ...more after the jump.

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Box Office: Hollywood Queen Beats Disney Princess

Amir here, bringing you Thanksgiving weekend’s box office report.

It’s a testament to the popularity and success of The Hunger Games series that Frozen, in its own right a breaker of multiple records this weekend, could not displace it as the number one film. Catching Fire has banked almost $300m in just ten days, leaving virtually no doubt that it will trump Iron Man 3 as the best selling film of the year. One can only imagine how much a Katniss vs. Tony Stark mash-up film would sell, though I struggle to think of any way in which Jennifer Lawrence is not superior to Robert Downey Jr. at the moment. Frozen, meanwhile, is now firmly positioned as the frontrunner for the animated film Oscar, what with positive reviews, strong word of mouth and incredible sales that guarantee every voter will be tempted to pop this screener in.

01 THE HUNGER GAMES: CATCHING FIRE $74.5 (cum. $296.5) Review
02 FROZEN $66.7 *expanded* (cum. $93)
Review | Like Wicked? | Snow Queen History | Jonathan Groff Interview
03 THOR: THE DARK WORLD $11.1 (cum. $186.7) Review  
04 THE BEST MAN HOLIDAY  $8.4 (cum. $63.4) Discussion 
05 HOMEFRONT $6.9 *new* (cum. $9.7)
06 DELIVERY MAN $6.9 (cum. $19.4)
07 THE BOOK THIEF $4.8 *expanded* (cum. $7.8)
08 BLACK NATIVITY $3.8 *new* (cum. $5)
09 PHILOMENA $3.7 *expanded*  (cum. $4.7)
10 LAST VEGAS $2.7 (cum. $58.7)

None of the other new films fared even remotely as well as Frozen. You can now put Homefront in your DVD box of indistinguishable Jason Statham flicks right next to Chaos, Safe, The Mechanic and your pre-ordered copy of Heat. Black Nativity has roughly the same per screen average, and Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom proved that audiences are not hungry to see yet another generic political biopic, especially one so generic that the title literally spells out Name: Dull Greatest Hits Version of Life Events Ending in Triumph. Without a doubt the biggest flop of the weekend was Spike Lee’s Oldboy remake though. I have no desire to see it, mostly because I adore the Korean original, but I can’t help but feel a bit excited about Lee’s misfortune with this one. Yes, yes, I’m petty. Look down on me all you want! But after a series of “incidents” such as this and this, I’m sure I’m not the only person who feels gleeful schadenfreude.

I’ve had a great weekend so far. I didn’t have to leave the house but I caught up with Ain’t Them Bodies Saints, The Grandmaster, The Dirties, At Berkeley and Viola, and with varying degrees of enthusiasm, I can recommend them all. What did you watch this weekend?



MTV News hilarious bit w/ Julia Roberts and Josh Horowitz talking Jennifer Lawrence
Juan Luis Garcia writes an open letter to Spike Lee about Oldboy poster designs that are being used without the designer's permission. Horrifying story of freelancer abuse
Gawker collected the key floats and Roker silliness for Thanksgiving Day Parade ICYMI 
Variety Evan Rachel Wood vs the MPAA over a recent sex scene 

List Mania
Gurus of Gold we list nominations we'd be thankful for and update our charts
THR Feinberg's Forecast. It's exhausting to read all the stuff that happened this week. Once campaigning starts it's just impossible to keep up, right?
The Playlist on the Breakout directors of 2013 from Destin Cretton (Short Term 12) to Sebastian Lelio (Gloria)
Variety also reviewed the week from Jean Claude Van Damme's epic split stunt to Frozen on your phone
Vulture all the times Peeta messes up in Hunger Games: Catching Fire. LOL. Get it together, Josh Hutcherson! 


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.

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Little movies we're looking forward to

Hi, it's Tim. Such a great time to be a cinephile, the end of summer. Venice is in full bloom, Toronto is so close you can almost taste it, and we can finally start talking about awards hopefuls in categories other than Visual Effects and Sound Editing.

But not right now. We all know the upcoming films that we’re supposed to be excited about for their artistry (Her), their awards prospects (August: Osage County) or both (Gravity). And we all know the movies that we’re probably going to end up seeing even though there’s no reason to be excited at all (The Hobbit: Get Your Smaug On). What I’d like to talk about for the moment is all the little stuff that nobody cares about, or at least not very loudly: films that aren’t going to make much of a ripple at the awards shows, on the critics’ lists, or at the box-office, but that I, personally, am looking forward to anyway. For the filmgoer cannot live on prestige alone.

September 13: The Family
To be fair, readers of The Film Experience have better reason to be aware of this movie than the population at large, since it stars Michelle Pfeiffer as the wife of a Robert De Niro’s ex-mobster in witness protection. Even so, the film is stuck with such a lousy release date that openly begs for us to overlook it in favor of TV coming back, TIFF wrapping up on the very same weekend. It’s an uncaring date for a movie that looks like it has to deserve more than that: Pfeiffer, De Niro, and Tommy Lee Jones are all three actors worth getting excited about, and the trailers have a broad sense of humor that nevertheless seems playful more than just dumb and hammy. To be fair, nothing in Luc Besson’s career suggests that he’s a good fit for the style of comedy that the film would appear to possess, but as a palate-cleansing lark before awards season starts in earnest, his unsubtle instincts could be just about right.


October 11: Machete Kills
Robert Rodriguez’s Machete, spun out of a one-off joke in Grindhouse, was junk. Absolutely tawdry, tacky junk, with pointless violence and naked Lindsay Lohan and Jessica Alba body doubles and all. It’s also totally hilarious in its over-the-top absurdity, and while there’s certainly not one blessed thing that’s respectable about looking forward to see more of the same cartoon slapstick violence and politically nuts plotting, I am looking forward to it anyway. Few filmmakers can reliably do the “deliberately stupid to be energetic and funny” thing, and Rodriguez has proven through the years to be one of the very best at it, and whatever else is true, his mindless action-comedy should be a nice change of pace surrounded by such deeply serious films as Captain Phillips, All Is Lost, and 12 Years a Slave.


November 15: Faust
A mere two years after winning the Golden Lion at Venice, Aleksandr Sokurov’s take on the famous German legend of a scientist making a deal with the devil finally shows up in North American theaters, though I don’t imagine that anyone living outside of the biggest cities will have any chance in hell of actually seeing it that way. A pity; a most grievous pity. Sokurov (whose best-known film, Russian Ark, is also his least typical) is an unsparingly severe art house kind of filmmaker, but everything he makes is the best kind of ordeal, pushing us right up close to human beings in the grips of intense emotion. Coming off of three stories about real-life men destroyed by their grasp for power, the tetralogy-capping Faust is exactly the kind of unique take on a deliberately clear-cut plot that has made all of the director’s work some of the most brilliant and challenging in current world cinema.

November 27: Oldboy
My initial hope was to pick one movie from each remaining month of the year, but there’s not anything in there that we can plausibly call “little”, unless I want to try and sell you on the idea that I’m some kind of savvy insider for looking forward to Inside Llewyn Davis. Instead, let’s go with the Thanksgiving release of a most peculiar mix of director and subject – so peculiar that it must be worth looking forward to, whether the final results are any good or not. Spike Lee remaking a notoriously dark South Korean action movie? And with Josh Brolin? It’s hard not to have your curiosity at least slightly piqued by that, and for all that he’s prone to getting into self-serving spats that don’t do anybody good, Lee is too gifted a filmmaker to ever write him off in advance. Frankly, if we had to have an American Oldboy, I’m deeply grateful that it was made by somebody with the visual instincts and ambition of Lee, rather than just a talented fanboy who’d undoubtedly make a flavorless carbon copy?

Now it’s your turn. What unheralded fall/winter releases are you looking forward to?


'Yes, No, Maybe So' Blow-Out Special

Trailers everywhere! At the movies and at home this weekend I saw a whole slew of trailers and realized I hadn't written about any of them. So let's catch up with super quick trifurcated thoughts on five forthcoming features (The Grandmaster, Blue Jasmine, Out of the Furnace, Oldboy, and Runner Runner) via their current trailers.

Are you aching to see any of these movies, eager to avoid them, or withholding judgment until you see reviews? Don't be shy, lurkers. Speak your three-part thoughts in the comments.

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