I Saw the Devil

Magnet Releasing

Here’s the thing. It’s fashionable to bash remakes from their very first announcement as unnecessary and doomed to failure, but there have been more than enough good (and even great) ones to know that’s just dumb. No remake, whether good or bad, has the power to alter the original which will always be available to watch and enjoy. Of course, knowing that doesn’t change the knee-jerk reaction you feel when a particularly fantastic foreign film is snatched up and scheduled for American consumption. Kim Jee-woon‘s deliciously brutal I Saw the Devil has been on the path towards an English-language remake since its release in 2010, but details as to who would actually be involved have been up in the air until now. The Wrap just revealed — and producer Keith Calder confirmed via Twitter — that the team behind You’re Next and the recent The Guest will be writing and directing the film. Adam Wingard will direct from Simon Barrett‘s script, and while we’re still more than a year away from a finished product there’s reason to feel both excited and concerned… while still remembering that Kim’s original will always be here regardless.

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news remake i saw the devil

Hollywood remaking foreign-language films isn’t anything new, and countries as diverse as France, Japan, and Iceland have all seen their movies adapted, for better or worse, through an American lens. South Korea is a relatively new inductee into the bunch with only a handful of their films getting the Hollywood treatment leading up to this year’s much maligned Spike Lee redo of Park Chan-wook’s Oldboy. 2006’s The Lake House was the first U.S. remake of a Korean film (based on Il Mare), and it was followed by a forgettable romantic comedy (My Sassy Girl) and a trio of horror films including Mirrors (Into the Mirror), The Uninvited (A Tale of Two Sisters), and Possession (Addicted). And that’s it… for now. Per The Wrap, the latest Korean film to be slated for Hollywood reincarnation is Kim Jee-woon‘s brutally uncompromising and wickedly good I Saw the Devil (my review). Remake rights have been acquired by 1984 Private Defense Contractors which is headed up by Adi Shankar and Spencer Silna. The production company’s past films include The Grey, Dredd, Killing Them Softly, and others, which is a bit of a confidence booster, but what to make of the following comment from Shankar?

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laststand19

As written, The Last Stand is not an interesting movie. It’s a simple modern-day western as action flick with dialogue that’s nearly 100% expositional and a plot that offers nothing in the way of surprise, suspense or subtlety. It could really have been made at any time and starred any major or minor actor and been roughly the same as what we’re looking at this weekend with Arnold Schwarzenegger in the leading role. But The Last Stand is arriving now and indeed with Schwarzenegger’s name on the top of the marquee, his first starring vehicle in ten years. That makes the movie of note all by itself, in such a way that it might as well be actually titled “The Return of Arnold Schwarzenegger.” Or “Arnold is Back,” although this would imply that it’s an opportunity for winking bits of self-awareness. Surprisingly, there’s not a lot of silly references to the Arnie classics and signature lines. He thankfully got the obvious “I’m back” shtick out of his system in last year’s The Expendables 2.

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There are very few great directors with a near perfect record of feature films because the more movies you make the greater the odds that you’ll eventually make a stinker. Steven Spielberg has Always and Hook, David Fincher made The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Francis Ford Coppola shat out Jack. [Editor’s note: The labeling of these films as “stinkers” is solely my opinion, and definitely not condoned by Webster’s Dictionary or Mr. DeFrank.] But there’s at least one fantastic director who has yet to release a disappointment…you just have to look outside Hollywood. South Korea’s Kim Ji-woon has six feature films to his name so far, and all of them are pretty damn stellar across a wide range of genres. The Quiet Family, The Foul King, A Tale of Two Sisters, A Bittersweet Life, The Good the Bad the Weird, and I Saw the Devil. He’s currently filming his English-language debut (The Last Stand) with Arnold Schwarzenegger so this statement may not hold past next year, but for now the man is a golden god. His latest project, Doomsday Book, is an omnibus film that sees him contributing one of the two (or three?) segments alongside Lim Pil-seong (Hansel & Gretel) and possibly Han Jae-rim. The film is apocalypse themed with Kim’s segment featuring a robot gaining sentience and Lim’s focusing on a virus that leads to zombie hijinks. Check out the trailer below for Doomsday Book.

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After finally turning enough heads in the U.S. and getting a little recognition from Hollywood by making things like The Good, The Bad, The Weird and I Saw the Devil, director Kim Ji-woon finally got the chance to direct an English-language film, one starring no less than Arnold Schwarzenegger, called Last Stand. Though the film has not come out yet, I’m really anticipating it, because I Saw the Devil was one of the only ultra-violent revenge type flicks that I’ve ever really liked and, you know…Schwarzenegger. But this begs the question, now that Kim has his foot in the Hollywood door, is it going to be studio-produced English-language films from here on out? Will we next hear his name attached to some sort of big budget remake or an adaptation of an old TV show? Not quite, at least not yet. Now that things have wrapped up on Last Stand, Kim is actually heading back to South Korea to make a movie called The Fall of Humanity, which will be a collaboration with Antarctic Journal and New Generation director Lim Pil-seong. Not much is known about this project yet, or what Kim’s plans will be after he finishes work on it. Was working in the States on Last Stand just a one-time deal and now it’s back to Korean cinema full-time, or will he be moving back-and-forth between the two countries from here on out?

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As we all sit here at Reject HQ, gathered around an absurdly long, but incredibly imposing, table discussing what to do with the nuclear missiles we just “creatively appropriated” from a breakaway Russian republic, it occurs to us that 2011 was a great year to be bad. For every boring, dopey, goody-good hero that popped up on the silver screen, there was a brilliant, super cool, woefully misunderstood villain doing everything he/she/it could to thwart the zero hero at every turn. So when Supreme Commander #1, better known to the world (and those pesky Avengers so they’ll stop blasting our lair) as Neil Miller, issued an official order (delivered by a specially-trained, fire-breathing, gun-toting alligator who lives in the moat) to construct a supersonic death ray…that assignment went to Kate “Femme Fatale” Erbland. But then I got asked to do this list of the 20 Best Villains of 2011, a decided promotion from my usual position as sinister cocktail-fetcher and cleaner of the diabolical gutters.

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The Best Films of 2011: The Staff Picks

As you may have noticed, this final week of 2011 has been almost completely taken over by our third annual Year in Review. It was born in 2009 out of our love for lists and your thirst for reading, discussing and ultimately hating them. And each year the entire project gets a little bigger, a little bolder and slightly more absurd. With that in mind, I’m once again proud to present you with The Best Films of 2011: The Staff Picks. Each of our 14 regular staff writers, contributors and columnists, almost all of whom have been with us the entire year, were asked to present their top 5 films, in no particular order (although many of them placed their top film at the top, as logical people tend to do), each with an explanation. Some even included curse words as a bonus to you, the reader. Read: The Best Films of 2010: The Staff Picks | The Best Films of 2009: The Staff Picks Once again, the Staff Picks are a testament to the diversity we have here at Film School Rejects, with picks ranging from the likely suspects (Take Shelter, Hugo, Shame) to the slightly more nerdy (Attack the Block, Super 8, The Muppets) to several movies that may not yet be on your radar (see Landon Palmer’s list for those). And once again, it’s with a deep sense of pride that I publish such a list, the best of 2011 as seen through the eyes of the movie […]

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It seems like every year I find myself disappointed in the horror offerings of the preceding twelve months. Especially if you think of widely released theatrical flicks, few of which ever make the lists. If it weren’t for DVDs and VODs, I don’t even know if I could in good conscience pretend that 10 (or 11) horror films were good. That said, I did manage to find some enjoyment in theaters and at home this year, but it wasn’t the easiest task in the world. In a good year, it’ll be hard to eliminate films from the list, but when it comes to horror most years, its scraping the bottom of the barrel to come up with a full list. Quickly, in terms of eligibility, I write my lists a little differently than many others – for me, a film has to be widely available in this year, either in theaters or DVD or VOD. So films that only show at festivals generally aren’t eligible for my lists until they’re released on DVD. For example, Ti West’s The Innkeepers has made several lists, but it’s not widely available until 12/30 so most people won’t see it until 2012, so that’s that.

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The Holiday Gift Guide: DVD and Blu-ray

Merry Christmas movie/TV/goat-cheese lovers! As part of our week-long gift guide extravaganza thingamajig we’ve put together a list of Blu-rays, DVD and a few other ideas for you to use when shopping for others or for putting on your own Christmas list. Or both. Some of the films below are from years past, but they all hit Blu-ray and/or DVD this year so they totally count for this gift guide. Click on the links to be magically transported to Amazon, AmazonUK and other places where lovely things can be found.

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This week, on a very special episode of Reject Radio, we speak with legendary actor Ron Perlman about his white dreadlocks in Bunraku, we’ll chat with The Dark Knight Rises executive producer Michael Uslan about his incredible journey to bringing Batman to the screen, and we’ll talk with Brian Salisbury and Luke Mullen about favorite films from Fantastic Fests past to get excited for the debauchery of this week. Plus, Screenrant editors/Screenrant Underground Podcast hosts Ben Kendrick and Rob Keyes fight to the pain in our Movie News Pop Quiz. Is it any wonder we end up talking about Qwikster? Download This Episode

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Culture Warrior

Last week, as I watched Quentin Dupieux’s Rubber, I noticed that the trailers on the rental Blu-Ray were all of titles sharing space at the top of my queue: titles like Takashi Miike’s 13 Assassins, Kim Ji-woon’s I Saw the Devil, and Jason Eisener’s Hobo with a Shotgun. All, I quickly realized, had been released by the same studio, Magnet Releasing, whose label I recalled first noticing in front of Nicolas Winding Refn’s Bronson. After some quick Internet searching, I quickly realized what I should have known initially, that Magnet was a subsidiary of indie distributor Magnolia Pictures. The practices of “indie” subsidiaries of studios has become commonplace. That majors like Universal and 20th Century Fox carry specialty labels Focus Features and Fox Searchlight which market to discerning audiences irrespective of whether or not the individual titles released are independently financed or studio-produced has become a defining practice for limited release titles and has, perhaps more than any other factor, obscured the meaning of the term “independent film” (Sony Pictures Classics, which only distributes existing films, is perhaps the only subsidiary arm of a major studio whose releases are actually independent of the system itself). This fact is simply one that has been accepted for quite some time in the narrative of small-scale American (or imported) filmmaking. Especially in the case of Fox Searchlight, whose opening banner distinguishes itself from the major in variation on name only, subsidiaries of the majors can hardly even be argued as “tricking” audiences into […]

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Not too long ago I was all abuzz at the possibilities of a grumpy old Arnold Schwarzenegger returning to acting and taking on all of the roles that Clint Eastwood wouldn’t be able to after taking a step back from acting. One of the more promising projects he had on his plate was a western directed by I Saw the Devil’s Jee-woon Kim called Last Stand. Schwarzenegger would play the role of an aging sheriff who gets in over his head dealing with a dangerous drug cartel and decide whether or not to rise to the occasion in order to protect his town. Unfortunately, soon after word of this project came out, Schwarzenegger’s personal life erupted into very public scandal, and he pulled out of all the acting gigs he had been dancing around. What a difference a couple of months make. Schwarzenegger has laid low, he let the heat die down, and now he’s ready to take a second stab at that acting comeback. What this means for fans of action legends and Jee-woon Kim is that Last Stand appears to be back on. Lionsgate has picked up the project and it looks to be starting in September. This will be Kim’s English language debut and the first starring role for Schwarzenegger since 2003’s Terminator 3. I’m giving myself permission to get re-excited about this movie. I just hope that Arnie doesn’t knock up any gardeners or pool girls before it can get off the ground. [Deadline Beclabito]

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This Week in Blu-ray

It’s been a long time since the world has held gaze upon This Week in Blu-ray, that much is true. But it’s back for a Saturday run in a big way — tons of Blu-rays, many of which are worth a rent or better, and a guest appearance by Rob Hunter. Since we’ve been away for the last two weeks, I’m including a few of the notable releases from both weeks. So prepare yourself (and your wallet) for an onslaught of awesome. Get through it this week, as next week appears to be just as good. And that’s where we’ll meet again, but on Tuesday this time. I Saw the Devil A South Korean government agent (Lee Byung-hun) is devastated when his fiance is murdered and dismembered by a madman (Choi Min-sik), but after a brief mourning period he sets out for a twisted and very unorthodox revenge. As in he catches the killer, hurts him severely, then lets him go… only to repeat the cycle over and over again. It’s a brutal game that sees the supposed hero bypass catharsis in favor of the dangerously unthinkable. Director Kim Jee-woon’s latest is easily the darkest, saddest, and most violent of his career but still every bit as fantastic as The Good the Bad the Weird and A Tale Of Two Sisters. Scenes of heart-pumping thrills exist side by side with stretches of excruciating dread. Magnet’s Blu-ray offers a crisp and beautiful transfer as well as an audio track that does […]

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What is Movie News After Dark? It’s a nightly movie news column that wishes it could recreate the world using Legos. It would begin with the cast of Community and Rachel Weisz. It would then have them play one of the most epic games of paintball ever! Sal Mineo can come, too. Rachel Weisz may be doing more than taking a trip to Oz with James Franco and Sam Raimi. Word on the street is that she may also land a leading role alongside Jeremy Renner in The Bourne Legacy. In other news, I enjoy leading off my nightly columns with pictures of Rachel Weisz.

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This Week in DVD

This week doesn’t feature much in the way of high profile releases, but there are two genre titles hitting shelves that are worth a blind buy for fans of quality international cinema. And violence. Lots and lots of fantastically gruesome and bloody violence. One’s even in English for those of you unwilling (or unable) to read. I Saw the Devil and Black Death may be the best titles hitting shelves today, but they’re not alone. Other new releases include Blue Valentine, No Strings Attached, Dahmer vs Gacy, and more. As always, if you see something you like, click on the image to buy it. Black Death The black plague works its way across Europe, but when word comes of a village that has rescinded God’s favors and is free of death the bishop sends his best men to bring back the lead heretic for punishment. Sean Bean heads up the mission and recruits a young monk to help guide their way, and the group is soon waist-deep in mystery, madness, and dead bodies. Director Christopher Smith has delivered a dark exploration of faith, both what it means to retain it as well as what it takes to let it go. The action is a well-choreographed mix of metal on metal when it’s not slicing its way through flesh, and the ending packs a solid punch as well.

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We realize that you’re probably sitting at home right now, chewing your own nails off and wondering what movies are coming out this month. Maybe you’re even wondering why no one on the entire internet has said anything about them. Strange, we know. How will you know what to watch this month? Fortunately, Rob Hunter and Cole Abaius spent the entire month of February drinking tiger’s blood, wandering the Oscar red carpet, and copying by hand every copy of Below The Line in order to keep you informed about what’s coming out in March. You watch movies, so this guide’s for you.

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The Reject Report

Reject Reports. Adjustment Bureaus. A talking gecko. You’d think we were shilling for an insurance company this week. Not the case, and Johnny Depp as Rango is infinitely more adorable than the Geico lizard. That might have something to do with the latter’s Cockney accent. Also on board this week are Topher Grace making a move to top billing and a Beauty and the Beast for the Twilight crowd. Of course, a blind Neil Patrick Harris might be cuter than anything the other three films have to offer. Let’s see who’s in line to make some cash.

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Sundance 2011 marks my first time at the festival, and the overwhelming task of having the chance to see literally hundreds of films and shorts makes it a daunting and exciting task to look forward to in my first adventure in snow-capped Park City. Many of these films will only be seen at this one time at the festival and then possibly never again due to various rights, distribution, unseen film politics, or just plain shoddy filmmaking (sad to say). So besides all of that hub-bub, here are the 11 films I can’t wait to see as the year’s festival kicks off from this Thursday, January 20th to the following Sunday of the 30th.

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What is Movie News After Dark? This is a question that I am almost never asked, but I will answer it for you anyway. Movie News After Dark is FSR’s newest late-night secretion, a column dedicated to all of the news stories that slip past our daytime editorial staff and make it into my curiously chubby RSS ‘flagged’ box. It will (but is not guaranteed to) include relevant movie news, links to insightful commentary and other film-related shenanigans. I may also throw in a link to something TV-related here or there. It will also serve as my place of record for being both charming and sharp-witted, but most likely I will be neither of the two. I write this shit late at night, what do you expect?

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Welcome to my list of the best foreign films of the year! In case you’re wondering why certain films appear to be missing there are a few factors to take into account. First, films like Mother, A Prophet, The Good the Bad the Weird, and The Secret In Their Eyes are movies that made previous lists. Second, I haven’t seen everything that was released this year. And third, your favorite foreign release from 2010 may actually have been a piece of shit. I kid. But seriously, these are my picks for the ten best foreign language movies of the year in alphabetical order. As a bonus I’ve added in the five best English language foreign films for you as well. I know. You’re welcome. (Full reviews for all of the titles below can be found via our Reviews database, and my weekly excursions into foreign films can be found here.)

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published: 11.21.2014
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published: 11.21.2014
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published: 11.19.2014
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published: 11.19.2014
B-, C


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