spike lee oldboy

Spike Lee’s Oldboy is a curiosity to be sure, a remake of a bizarre, twisted, gruesome Korean thriller. Most people thought Lee’s film was pretty terrible, and while I don’t have too many positive things to say about it, I did find it fascinating to compare the decisions that Lee made with those that Park Chan-wook made in his 2003 cult classic version of the story.

After the jump, you’ll find five reasons why I thought Lee’s version is inferior to Park Chan-Wook’s version. And please share your own opinions on the two films in the comments. Assume SPOILERS lie within the comments and the video. For more on the making of Oldboy, see Germain’s interview with Spike Lee and writer Mark Protosevich.
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Hany Abu-Assad, whose 2006 film Paradise Now was nominated for a Best Foreign Film Oscar, and who just won the Jury Prize at Cannes this year for his new effort, Omar, will be the latest to attempt a remake of Park Chan-Wook‘s first “vengeance” film, Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance.

The remake rights have been in the hands of a few companies over the past decade. Earlier this year a partnership between Silver Reel, Lotus Entertainment, di Bonaventura Pictures and CJ Entertainment set a new effort in motion, and it seems like the Brian Tucker (Broken City) script, commissioned by Warner Bros. in 2010, may still be in play. With a director on board, the next steps include casting, and actually getting the money together to make it happen. Read More »

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After much anticipation, neither Kim Ji-woon’s The Last Stand nor Park Chan-wook’s Stoker set Western audiences on fire when they opened earlier this year. But the third English-language debut by a South Korean director this year, Bong Joon-ho‘s Snowpiercer, seems poised to blow the other two out of the water.

Following very early screenings for the highly anticipated sci-fi film, the very first reviews have begun trickling out. And the critics seem to agree on a few points: 1) that Snowpiercer is very, very dark, 2) that it’s so dark it could turn off movie ticket buyers, and 3) that it’s freakin’ fantastic. Hit the jump to read their comments.

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We’ve seen Tilda Swinton play many different roles, with an eclectic variety of looks over the years. But we’ve never seen her in a getup quite like what she sports for Bong Joon-ho‘s new film Snowpiercer. If you can imagine a halfway point between an aged Princess Leia and a stern schoolmistress, you’re close to nailing her look.

Nine character posters for the film have arrived today, and they show Swinton and eight of her co-stars (Chris Evans, Jamie BellJohn Hurt, Ed Harris, Ko Ah-sung, Song Kang-ho, Octavia Spencer and Ewen Bremner) in their fairly grimy garb.

Why the downtrodden appearance for all? Well, Snowpiercer takes place on a train that carries some of the last remnants of humanity as it speeds across an icy landscape. The film, directed by the man who made Mother and The Host, produced by Park Chan-wook (Oldboy, Stoker) and based on French graphic novel Le Transperceneige, could be the big genre film at Cannes this year.

Until we get a chance to see some footage, check out the character sheets below. Cross-reference them with these character bios for more info. Read More »

Listen to Clint Mansell’s ‘Stoker’ Score in Full

Park Chan-wook‘s first English-language film, Stoker, opens this week in limited release, before going out to more theaters in the weeks to follow. One of the better aspects of the movie is the score from Clint Mansell (Moon, Requiem For a Dream). The entire score is now available to stream in full, and you can check it out below. Note that the score opens with sampled dialogue that explains one of the film’s stranger traits — and one of its more awkward ones, I thought at Sundance.  Read More »

I may not have been wild about Park Chan-Wook‘s English-language debut, Stoker, but there are definite pleasures within. Among them are the performances from the supporting cast. Jacki Weaver shows up for a bit, as does Dermot Mulroney. Neither has featured in a big way in the marketing so far, as each has a relatively small part to play in the film. But this featurette, which offers a behind the scenes look at the greater Stoker family, gives each some time in front of the camera. (Of course there’s plenty from the films star cast, too — Mia Wasikowska, Nicole Kidman, and Matthew Goode.) Read More »

To coincide with its long-awaited Sundance debut, Chan-wook Park‘s Stoker has just unveiled a new international trailer. The first English-language outing from the Oldboy auteur stars Mia Wasikowska as India, a teenage girl mourning the death of her father (Dermot Mulroney). The unexpected arrival of her mysterious Uncle Charlie (Matthew Goode) further complicates matters, especially as he seems to have taken an unhealthy interest in both India and her chilly mother Evelyn (Nicole Kidman). Watch the new video after the jump.

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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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