Tag: Chan-wook Park

It’s the bloody end of week movie news dump

As this year’s apparently rather upbeat and successful Sundance winds down, this is just a sampling of some of the movie news stories that have been making the rounds.

* There’s a constant stream of stories about indie films being acquired by studios — like, say, artist Miranda July’s “The Future” and the gentle Paul Rudd comedy, “My Idiot Brother.” Most of these sound like more or less traditional “Sundance” films (docs, small relationship-centric dramas and comedies). At the other extreme, there’s also been an undercurrent of transgression in Park City this year as three films are said to be pushing the envelope regarding extreme graphic violence and gore/blood.

“I Saw the Devil” doesn’t sound like my idea of a good time though it’s twisted revenge premise has a kind of sick cleverness to. If this movie really is as gory as people say, I don’t quite get the comparisons to “Oldboy,” which was often unpleasant and, I suppose, somewhat shocking and definitely brutal in places, but not really particularly gory — I don’t think I closed my eyes once and I’m, you know, me.

oldboy

“The Woman,” is a film about a misogynist torturer who eventually gets his that has really divided viewers and caused one gentleman to completely flip out at a screening. Reading Drew McWeeney’s extremely positive review and description of the utterly insane showing, setting aside the issue of the treatment of women onscreen, I sort of fail to see the point of the exercise. Okay, he was traumatized by the movie. Why is that a good thing? Gore and violence aside, in my view, art and that kind trauma may actually be antithetical because it doesn’t allow you any room of your own in which to think. We could maybe use a little more of Bertolt Brecht’s “alienation effect” and a little bit less total immersion cinema these days.

On a somewhat less serious tack, the most popular Sundance premiere with the fanboy set by far is the long ballyhoed “Hobo With a Shotgun,” in which the gore and brutality is mostly, but perhaps not entirely, played for laughs in what I understand is deliberately cheesy grindhouse style. Even so, it sure sounds as if the envelope may be pushed too far for this extreme-gore-phobe, funny or not

Actually, there’s always the matter of festival hype to consider with all of these films. Something about the air in Park City sometimes makes people exaggerate how violent/gorey/scary/upsetting movies are. Remember when “Blair Witch” was the scariest movie of all time?

* Speaking of “Oldboy” director, Chan-wook Park, Mia Wasikowska is in talks to star in his first U.S. film, “Stoker.”

* Yes, the concept that men and women think somewhat differently will be entirely fresh concept for a romantic comedy, I can hardly wait.

* Mel Gibson’s DVD of his new film, “The Beaver” was stolen. Sometimes, the jokes really do all but write themselves.

* A.J. Schnack has some very solid explanations of why “Waiting for Superman” wasn’t nominated and also wasn’t “snubbed” by Oscar.

* Seth Rogen’s going to make a comedy road movie with Barbara Streisand as his mom? It really seems to be happening.

* Another “Hobbit” delay, but a short one caused by a nasty perforated ulcer for Peter Jackson, who surely has had one hell of a year.

The Good, the Bad, the Weird

Korean cinema has really flourished over the last five years under the guidance of directors like Chan-wook Park and Joon-hoo Bong, and you could probably add Ji-woon Kim to that list as well. Though his last two movies (the horror thriller “A Tale of Two Sisters” and the crime drama “A Bittersweet Life”) haven’t had much of an impact overseas, his latest film is a fresh and fun action comedy that transcends its midnight movie façade to succeed as a true cult classic in the making. Unlike Takashi Miike’s “Sukiyaki Western Django,” which failed to make the most of its East-meets-West potential, “The Good, the Bad, the Weird” actually has a solid story and some great acting to go along with its flashy set pieces.

Clearly inspired by Sergio Leone’s “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly,” Kim’s film takes place in 1930s Manchuria where three strangers – a bounty hunter (Woo-sung Jung), an assassin (Byung-hun Lee), and a clumsy thief (Kang-ho Song) – face off for possession of a stolen treasure map while being pursued by a group of bandits and the Japanese army. Though it’s a bit long at 130 minutes, Kim does well to keep the story moving along as we learn more about the characters and how they’re connected to one another. Granted, the supposed Good of the film isn’t really all that good considering he kills the most people, and Jung makes him so mysterious that he’s also the least identifiable, but the other two actors are perfect in their respective roles – particularly Song, who’s so amusing as the comic relief that it’s hard to imagine the movie working as well as it does without him in the mix. The film also features a handful of incredible action sequences that underscore everything that’s great about “The Good, the Bad, the Weird,” and although it might not appeal to everyone, it’s one of the most wildly entertaining movies that I’ve seen all year.

Click to buy “The Good, the Bad, the Weird”

If you’ve got a thirst for a new vampire flick…

…this trailer will probably convince you that you could do a lot worse than “Thirst,” directed by Chan-wook Park, who also brought us “Oldboy” and “Lady Vengeance.”

In the interest of full disclosure, I must admit that the inspiration to post this trailer – which, as you may already have discovered, is a red-band trailer and requires that you enter your birth date before you can view it – came as a result of receiving a package in the mail from the film’s publicists which contained a bag of “blood” and a straw.

Of course, it’s only juice with some seriously red food coloring added, but as it stands right now, I still haven’t dared to take a taste. I definitely will do so in the near future (specifically, when my wife and daughter get home, so they can bear witness to it), but I’m not sure how quickly my fellow Bullz-Eye contributor, Jason Zingale, will be taking a hit off his bag.

“I still haven’t braved drinking it,” he said, “but less because I’m worried what it will taste like and more because it’s just plain creepy.”

Sure, it’s creepy. Isn’t that the point? Drink up, Jason!

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