The title Stoker suggests vampirism, as a play on the name of Dracula creator Bram Stoker. But the monsters in this film are purely human — people warped into terrible shapes by neglect and jealousy.

For his English-language debut, Oldboy direcotor Park Chan-Wook chose Stoker, a script by actor Wentworth Miller that revolves around a family suffering the pain of change after a significant death. Evie Stoker and her daughter India barely have a moment to come to terms with the untimely passing of husband/father Michael, when his long-lost brother Charlie shows up. Charlie is so long-lost that the rest of the family barely knew of his existence. But it isn’t long before he has insinuated himself into the broken household, and is toying with the affections of lonely Evie and rapidly maturing India.

There’s an influence from Hitchcock — the imposition of a long-lost Uncle Charlie can’t help but conjure thoughts of Shadow of a Doubt — but Stoker doesn’t feel like a Hitchcock film at all. Unfortunately, it doesn’t feel much like a classic Park film, either. There’s lush cinematography to spare, and a strikingly vivid color palette, yes. As a story or character portrait, however, Stoker is resoundingly hollow. Read More »

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Park Chan-Wook‘s Stoker is one of the film’s we’re most keen to see in the early months of 2013; the English-language debut of the director behind Thirst and the “Vengeance Trilogy” (Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance, Oldboy, Sympathy for Lady Vengeance) holds a lot of appeal. That’s in part due to Park’s wonderful work with the camera and actors, as seen in most of his previous films. But there’s also the appeal of him tackling a story with explicit Hitchcock references and a talented cast that includes Mia Wasikowska, Nicole Kidman, and Matthew Goode, the three of whom play a strange family unit that comes together in the aftermath of a death in the family.

The first teaser poster for the film artfully brings together some of the story elements, and corrals them in a stark frame of thorny growth that aptly visualizes the characters’ twisted entanglements. Check it out in full below, along with a video showing the poster’s creation. Read More »

The core of the US trailer for Stoker, from Oldboy director Park Chan-wook, was a wonderfully hateful little speech from Nicole Kidman as the threatened matriarch of the Stoker family. That speech is in this new UK trailer, but thrown toward the end, truncated, and cut up with other footage. The core here, instead, is the nature of her daughter, played by Mia Wasikowska. This trailer turns her character, India, into more of a sinister figure, and an overt threat. The effect is to heighten my already elevated interest in the film, not that it needed much help given the talent involved.

Stoker hits early next year, but you can get a new taste of it below. Read More »

Finally! We recently saw some footage from Stoker, which is the English-language debut from South Korean director Park Chan-wook, best known for the “vengeance trilogy” of Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance, Oldboy, and Sympathy for Lady Vengeance.

Stoker appears to be a thriller in the Hitchcock/De Palma vein, with a good dose of heated psycho-sexual tension, and some of Park’s characteristically lush visuals. After the death of the Stoker family patriarch, the women of the family, mother Evelyn (Nicole Kidman) and daughter India (Mia Wasikowska), are visited by Uncle Charlie (Matthew Goode). Things get intense, and really weird.

Check out the trailer below. Read More »

It’s not a proper trailer — in fact, this is one of those irritating footage presentations on Entertainment Tonight where the talking heads yammer over the top of scenes from a film. But it is the first footage from Stoker, which marks the English-language directorial debut from acclaimed South Korean filmmaker Park Chan-wook, responsible for Oldboy, Sympathy for Lady Vengeance, and Thirst.

What we see here sets up the story: Nicole Kidman is mom to Mia Wasikowska, and after the death of Mia’s father, her uncle Charlie (Matthew Goode) comes to visit, and some sexual power games begin. The Hitchcockian overtones are obvious (“Uncle Charlie” being a carryover from one of Hitchcock’s most praised films, Shadow of a Doubt) but the camerawork and style are all Park, and Kidman looks like she’s giving her best work in a while.  Read More »

One intriguing film that’s currently making the rounds at TIFF is the grief drama Burning Man, starring Matthew Goode. Written and directed by Jonathan Teplitzky, the film centers around Tom (Goode), an English chef in Australia who falls into self-destructive behavior following a crushing personal tragedy. Trying to save Tom from himself are his 8-year-old son Oscar (Jack Heanly) and a rotating slate of beautiful ladies — because if you look like Goode and are an incredible cook, women will flock to you even if you’re being kind of a dick. Bojana Novakovic, Rachel Griffiths, Essie Davies, and Kerry Fox also star. Watch the trailer after the jump.

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Cool Posts From Around the Web:

Casting! Here’s info one one potentially great project, one that will probably find an appreciative audience, and one that will perhaps just make you hungry. I’ll let you figure out which is which:

  • Wentworth Miller joins Park Chan-wook’s first English-language film, Stoker,
  • John C. McGinley will realize his destiny by playing police chief to Tyler Perry in I, Alex Cross,
  • and Tyler Posey will go to war with rival taco vendors in Taco Shop.

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Way back in late 2010, we reported on the potential casting of Bradley Cooper in the lead role for David O. Russell‘s The Silver Linings Playbook. At some point, however, Mark Wahlberg emerged as the star of the film, and Cooper was no longer associated with the project. Now, it’s looking like we’re back to square one, with Wahlberg out and Cooper back in. Wahlberg has dropped out of the film due to a scheduling conflict with a different project (possibly Broken City with Allen Huges), and Cooper is currently in talks to replace him.

Also in talks for the movie is Robert De Niro, who met with Russell earlier this summer regarding an unnamed part. Jennifer Lawrence is still set to co-star as the main character’s love interest. Based on a novel by Matthew Quick, the film follows a former high school teacher (that’d be Coopers part) who’s just been released from a four-year stint at a mental institution into the care of his mother. [Deadline]

After the jump: Reese Witherspoon teams up with Disney, Alden Ehrenreich joins Stoker, and Doctor Who star Karen Gillan nabs an indie romance.

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Alia Shawkat may not be quite as ubiquitous as Arrested Development co-star Jason Bateman, but she’s been quietly beefing up her film resume over the past few years. Recently, Shawkat added two more projects to her slate: He Loves Me, Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris‘ follow-up to Little Miss Sunshine; and The Brass Teapot, starring Juno Temple and Michael Angarano.

He Loves Me revolves around a lonely young novelist (Paul Dano) who writes a fictional dream girl for himself — and manages to will her into existence. (She’ll be played by Dano’s real-life girlfriend Zoe Kazan, who also wrote the script). Shawkat will play a hipster who’s obsessed with one of Dano’s literary creations, and who has a crush on the novelist himself. Annette Bening, Deborah Ann Woll, Steve Coogan, Elliot Gould, and Chris Messina are also set to star.

The Brass Teapot marks the feature film debut of director Ramaa Mosley, known for her work in commercials and music videos. The dark comedy follows “a broke young couple who steal a brass teapot that produces cash whenever someone feels pain.” Shawkat will play the best friend of Temple’s character; I’m assuming Temple and Angarano will play the main couple. [Variety]

After the jump, Animal Kingdom star Jacki Weaver picks up a new gig, and David Oyelowo signs up for Lee Daniels’ new project.

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