Oldboy

Franco Nero is Space Jesus in THE VISITOR

Welcome back to This Week In Discs! If you see something you like, click on the title to buy it from Amazon. The Visitor John Huston and Jesus Christ (Franco Nero) are in a never-ending war with Satan, and their latest battleground is Atlanta, GA, where the soul of a child holds the key to saving the universe. Probably. Lance Henriksen, Glenn Ford, Shelley Winters, and Sam Peckinpah join in the fun as Huston struggles to stop the girl’s descent into evil and tendency towards causing bodily harm. It’s hardly news to say that this thirty four year old movie is a mental fingerbang that bends genres and somehow teases both brilliance and stupidity, but I’m saying it anyway. Both highly derivative and wholly original, the film cherry picks elements from The Omen, The Fury, Phantasm, and more, and then swirls them together in a psychedelic mélange of horror, sci-fi, fantasy, and pure nuttiness as it tells the story of good and evil battling over a young girl’s potty-mouthed soul. Drafthouse Films brings this gem to HD for the first time, and while the extras are unfortunately scarce the film alone is enough to warrant a purchase. Read my full review. [Blu-ray/DVD extras: Interviews, trailer, booklet]

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Oldboy

Few people would ever accuse Park Chan-wook’s Oldboy of being subtle cinema, but Spike Lee’s remake of the 2003 feature smashes any lingering vestiges of the restrained right into the ground with a bloody, looming hammer. Strangely enough, the opening credits of Oldboy provide some insight into the feature itself – this is “a Spike Lee film,” not “a Spike Lee joint,” and it’s “based on the Korean film,” not “based on Park Chan-wook’s film” or “based on Garon Tsuchiya’s manga.” This is not a unique feature and even its own director isn’t interested in putting his signature touch on it. As with Chan-wook’s film, Oldboy centers on a seemingly regular man who is abducted, thrown into a prison-like hotel room for two decades, and framed for the heinous murder of his ex-wife. Josh Brolin is effective enough in the role, and he’s got the fiery anger and unswerving drive element of his character down pat. Emotions not fueled by rage and revenge aren’t quite his forte, at least here, but those don’t really come into play into further down the line. For the first act of the film, he’s just about perfect. Brolin’s Joe Doucett is a flabby, drunk loser who thinks that a smooth-talking attitude will help him succeed at work (it won’t) and just yelling about things to his beleaguered ex-wife will get her to shut up (it also won’t). He’s unsympathetic, but he certainly doesn’t deserve his punishment (or, well, does he?).

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IntroMeals

Since it’s right upon us, I thought it might be fun to completely ruin your Thanksgiving this year. With no further introduction, here are the most disgusting meals consumed by human people in movies. Enjoy!

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news oldboy1

For many years now a potential remake of Park Chan-wook‘s Oldboy has been striking fear into the hearts of fans. No matter the level of talent involved, scoffs were heard loud and clear around the Internet. Why remake such a recent classic? Probably because, outside of cinephiles, it’s not exactly well known. But that’s beside the point. Even when Steven Spielberg flirted with the project, fan interest remained low, which is a shame because when Spielberg really likes to get cruel as a filmmaker, it’s pretty spectacular. Like Justin Lin and others, Spielberg eventually moved on, as did one-time potential star Will Smith. However, someone who stayed with the project through the years is screenwriter/co-producer Mark Protosevich. Protosevich, who scripted The Cell and chunks of I Am Legend, has always been a serious cheerleader for this remake. I say remake, because, despite what Spike Lee and others tell you, Oldboy is definitely a remake, not a reinterpretation. There’s nothing wrong with that, and Protosevich, he doesn’t treat “remake” as a dirty word either.

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spike-lee

To watch Spike Lee’s feature narrative films is to only understand a fraction of his career as director. If you count his documentaries, Spike Lee has, when next week’s Oldboy remake hits screens, helmed 32 features in the 27 years since She’s Gotta Have It. And that doesn’t even include the numerous shorts, music videos, commercials, and TV pilots he’s directed. Of all the things that are misunderstood about Spike Lee, his largely under-recognized and uniquely prolific output of work might be chief among them. As both public figure and producer of culture, Lee has meant many things to many audiences: co-pioneer of the 1980s American independent film renaissance, restless observer of popular culture, connoisseur of African-American popular music, firebrand provocateur, native new Yorker, and brand name. He has also helped define and expand the possibilities for contemporary African-American filmmakers inside and outside Hollywood. It’s difficult to imagine what American cinema of the past quarter century would look like without Spike. So here’s some free advice (for fans and filmmakers alike) from the man behind every Spike Lee joint.

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remakes

Seeing as we’re pretty deep into the golden age of remakes at this point, it should probably come as no surprise that we’ve got a handful of big movies that have already been big movies readying themselves for release in the near future. That Hollywood currently loves remakes is clear, but what’s also becoming clear is that the way we respond to them is a little bit complicated and a little bit hypocritical. Announce that a movie a lot of people love is getting remade and the response is almost always an outcry of outrage and disgust. Actually release the same movie in theaters and enough of those outraged, disgusted people still go to see it anyway, which keeps the remake train rolling. A couple of trailers for high profile remakes that got released today shine a light on the fact that our response to all of these remakes has been a little bit more nuanced and a little bit more complicated than an initial abhorrence and then an eventual acceptance though. A new trailer for director José Padilha’s RoboCop has been released, which shows it to be a legit attempt to update the material from Paul Verhoeven’s original, yet it has been met online with almost universal contempt. On the other side of the coin, a new trailer for Spike Lee’s Oldboy has also been released, and even though it seems to be a pretty straight and unnecessary retelling of Park Chan-wook’s 2003 film, movie fans have welcomed it […]

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news oldboy1

It’s been a mere two days since we last received new Oldboy pics, but images from Spike Lee‘s latest joint just keep pouring in. Collider‘s gotten their hands on four new ones, including a tease of one of the original film’s gooiest, grossest moments. A lot of this we’ve either seen before, like the hallway hammer fight (which was glimpsed in the trailer) or Josh Brolin‘s character holding a Chinese take-out carton (which presumably will take the place of the original’s dumplings). Brolin staring longingly into an octopus, however, is brand new stuff. Chan-wook Park’s original Oldboy infamously saw its lead actor consume a live octopus in a sushi bar. The octopus was both real and really alive (before being crammed unceremoniously down Min-sik Choi’s throat), and four octopi had to sacrifice their lives to nail the right take. There’s no word yet whether Brolin will committing his own act of mollusk genocide or if Lee has some plan to reinvent the now-notorious sequence. Perhaps this image is all we’ll get on the subject; with the Korean delicacy being offered but Brolin’s character tongue-in-cheekily turning it down. Keep reading to see three more pics.

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Oldboy

Spike Lee‘s remake of Oldboy, Chan-wook Park‘s 2003 story of a man imprisoned in a hotel room for 20 years for no rhyme or reason and then suddenly released for just the same, is shaping up to be one of the most anticipated films of the year. While the red-band trailer gave us all of the gore and revenge fantasy imagery our greasy little hearts could desire, these new stills released from the film, courtesy of Huffington Post, are offering us something a bit more subtle to work with, albeit still powerful. The first shot of Joe Doucett (Josh Brolin) emerging from his classy steamer trunk to fresh air and freedom for the first time in 20 years is incredibly powerful. He looks tiny, like a doll inside of a suitcase forgotten in that field. This image of Brolin bursting from the casket used on the poster, but it’s his more revenge-happy, confident persona leaping out, rather than crawling that they decided to depict. Two other images show Brolin’s character while he’s still being held captive in Hotel Hell, sporting some Castaway-level facial hair. The fourth still introuduces our heroine Elizabeth Olsen, who plays the young therapist who attempts to help Doucett cope with his situation post-captivity. She deserves that cigarette mightily. Check them out after the break.

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spikelee_oldboy

From the start of his career to the height of it, Spike Lee has never had an easy time getting projects off the ground. In some cases it’s because he was ahead of the curve — like when he had hopes to make a Jackie Robinson biopic, but the financing never came together because studios didn’t feel there was an audience  for a black baseball film. This year, 42 would beg to disagree. Of course even though it appears like an order form for free money, the Kickstarter funding route isn’t easy either. For established filmmakers it takes a combination of thick skin for backlash and vulnerability to ask fans for money that studios and financiers won’t give. Within a few months time, Lee will have taken the trust fall of asking the public to fund a movie for which he’s given very few details and then debuted a high-profile (yet non-mainstream) reinterpretation about proper hammer usage. Facing the contradictions head-on, we spoke to the filmmaker about this new, same-as-the-old chapter in his career:

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news spike lee kickstarter

Riding high off the publicity for his Oldboy remake, Spike Lee is now the latest celebrity to hit Kickstarter with an impassioned plea for why you should give him lots of money. On his official Kickstarter page, Lee speaks about the current climate for independent film; what could pass as a budget when he was first breaking into the business is now just a drop in a very, very large bucket. He offers up his entire filmography as a body of work as proof that this Kickstarter is a legitimate filmmaking venture, and offers a handful of details about the film’s plot. Lee’s hypothetical latest film will chronicle people who are addicted to blood the way others are addicted to drugs or sex (although he promises the film will still have plenty of sex). The $1.25m goal may seem drastically steep, but keep in mind that stranger things have happened. This spring saw the Veronica Mars movie bank over $5m, while Zach Braff’s Garden State follow-up pulled in just over $3m. And a scant few hours into the Kickstarter has already netted Lee close to $12,000 – presumably that number will rise dramatically as the news starts to spread.

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DY0U9231

Earlier in the weekend, we reported on the creepy ground-level marketing for Spike Lee’s upcoming American remake of Oldboy, which included girls with yellow umbrellas who would walk you to your hotel. We urged our readers to stay away, because as anyone who has seen the original Oldboy could tell you, there’s no way this works out in a positive manner. Yet as it turns out, no one listened and Film District is probably in possession of several sad souls at this very moment. That is, if they truly committed. It’s more likely that they just wanted some great photo-ops. So let’s give ‘em their photo-op, shall we? After the break, get your fill of ladies with yellow umbrellas.

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Oldboy

When it comes to grabbing the attention of the 120,000+ attendees of Comic-Con, movie studios will do just about anything. It isn’t just about showing up in Hall H and showing off a sizzle reel for your film, you have to lure them in with unique experiences. This year has seen even more of these offsite marketing pop-ups, including a Godzilla experience and an Ender’s Game fan experience. Both of these, large monster included, pale in comparison to what Film District has done around their upcoming release, Spike Lee’s Oldboy remake. There is no building with Godzilla graffiti, no Harrison Ford interactive war game, just girls with umbrellas, ready to serve you. For those who have seen the original Oldboy, this might just make your skin crawl.

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IntroInterrogation

Any psychotic can smash someone’s fingers or beat a head to a pulp until they get what they want – and thanks to the spree of bizarre torture porn movies like Saw and Hostel, seeing people get cut apart is almost standard at this point. Still, filmmakers do manage to get creative every now and then, and from it we get a scene of brutality the likes of nothing before it. Shall we celebrate that? Oh, and warning – this is going to be painful.

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Oldboy 2013

Ever since it went into development , the question of, “Why remake Oldboy?” has floated around like dumbfounded wildfire. Even when Steven Spielberg became involved, fans remained unconvinced in the need or desire for a new take on Chan-wook Park‘s revenge film. Spike Lee‘s name won over some fans, and why wouldn’t it? Lee is a director whose work is inherently American. If anyone can bend that material enough to breathe in some seedy American streets, it’s going to be the filmmaker behind 25th Hour and Do the Right Thing. Whether the film will feature some sort of commentary is up in the air, but one thing is for sure based on the first red band trailer for the film, this looks like Lee’s most focused film in years:

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Oldboy Poster 2013

  Brimming with impenetrability, the first poster for Spike Lee‘s take on Oldboy features Josh Brolin dressed as Neo, making his escape from a steamer trunk in the middle of a field while Elizabeth Olsen (or Sharlto Copley with shaved legs) stands poignantly facing the other way. Its premiere is a preamble to a trailer release which will most likely happen this week (*cough*Wednesday*cough*) — so we’ll finally get to see how Lee  and screenwriter Mark Protosevich plan to tell the story (and how much hammer-wielding takes place). While you wait, stare at this until the yellow umbrella dissolves into symbolism or you go cross-eyed.

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IntroPrisons

Prison sounds like hell. You’re locked in one room, barely going outside while you are forced to sit around all day and like… read and watch TV and shit. I hear there are movie nights and exercise equipment as well. You’d probably get really fit, and hell – you’d be socializing for once in your life. Okay, when I describe it like that, prison sounds all right. In movies it varies, especially when the film doesn’t exactly take place in our own reality. They cane be comedic, nightmarish and, in some cases, musical. They can also be like hell. Here are the ones that look like the biggest pains to reside in – places where, in a world where you have to either get busy living or get busy dying, the latter would probably be best.

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poster oldboy spike lee

Director Spike Lee‘s upcoming Oldboy is viewed as a remake of Park Chan-wook’s brilliant 2003 film, but in reality it’s a new adaptation of the original source material, a graphic novel by Nobuaki Minegishi. The story remains the same, though. A man (Josh Brolin) is kidnapped and imprisoned for twenty years with no clue as to his captor’s motive or identity. He’s inexplicably released one day and given a limited amount of time to discover the answers to all of his questions, but he may not like what he finds. In fact, he most definitely won’t like what he finds. Oldboy co-stars Sharlto Copley and Elizabeth Olsen and hits theaters on October 11th. [Press Release]

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park lady vengeance

Park Chan-wook is one of South Korea’s top directors, and ever since his 2003 hit Oldboy crossed the ocean to rave reviews and cult status he’s become the most familiar Korean filmmaker to American audiences too. Of course, those audiences have remained small as foreign language films rarely reach or appeal to the masses. That starts to change this weekend though as Park’s English debut, Stoker, hit theaters on Friday in limited release with plans to expand throughout the month. (Check here to see if it will be playing near you.) While many of our readers are already familiar with Park’s films, many others will experience his work for the first time with Stoker. It’s a good movie, a beautiful one in fact, but it’s far from his best. (My review here.) That said, once you see it expect to walk out of the theater jonesing for more of his unique and endlessly fascinating vision. To that end, because I love sharing brilliant foreign films with fellow movie-lovers, I humbly offer up this list of Park’s Korean films ranked least best to best along with where you can find them…

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IntroRedemption

Sometimes a person just doesn’t get along. In films, it can be the other characters that don’t mesh, or sometimes it’s the audience themselves who just can’t stand a single idiot character that won’t go away. I believe the term is “Jar-Jaring” or, if you’re referring to television, “pulling a Lori.” Last year I gave you a pretty okay list of characters that achieved excellent redemptions for their wrongdoings. Today I want to explore those who did not. These are the asshole characters that tried and failed, or simply didn’t try at all. Hey spoilers!

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James Ransone

Somewhat incredibly, Spike Lee‘s remake of Chan-wook Park’s beloved new classic, Oldboy, keeps trucking right along. After months and months of casting rumors, informed chatter, (probably) uninformed chatter, and starts and stops, the film is set to star Josh Brolin, Elizabeth Olsen, and Sharlto Copley (seriously, this sounds great, right?), but Variety now reports that one co-star has been replaced, thanks to some pesky old scheduling conflicts. The outlet reports that Nate Parker (who recently broke out with his solid work in Arbitrage) has had to leave the currently-filming project, with James Ransone stepping into his role (that of “a doctor who works with Olsen’s character”). While this may sound like a small role, Lee’s original choice of Parker, an actor who is poised for super-stardom, and his replacement pick of Ransone, who he has worked with twice before, indicates that this role might be beefier than it sounds. Why else pick a rising star and a trusted collaborator?

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published: 11.26.2014
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published: 11.26.2014
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published: 11.21.2014
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published: 11.21.2014
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