The Housemaid

fo_taste of money

Im Sang-soo‘s The Housemaid is a devastating look at class distinctions in South Korea couched in a film that manages to be sexy, blackly comic and stunningly photographed. Its heady mix of beauty and wit makes it a film that stuns and engages on multiple levels. Im’s latest film, The Taste of Money, takes aim at a similar target, but while nearly every frame is pleasing to the eye it misses the mark in some key areas. Yoon (Baek Yun-shik) is the CEO of a large Korean corporation looking to expand into the Americas, but while he runs the company his wife Geum-ok (Yoon Yeo-jung) rules everything else with a watchful eye and an iron fist. Her secretary Young-jak (Kim Kang-woo) is ambitious and looking to climb the ladder of wealth and status, but the behaviors he witnesses are slowly breaking his resolve. The couple’s grown daughter, Na-mi (Kim Hyo-jin), is torn between the lifestyle and pangs of kindness and sympathy with those around them. Memories of a certain housemaid who perished before her eyes aren’t helping matters any either. Yoon beats them both to the conscientious punch though when he falls in love with the maid (Maui Taylor) he’s been diddling on the side and decides to walk away and choose happiness over wealth. His actions don’t sit well with Geum-ok, especially as they coincide with legal issues brought on by their son’s (On Ju-wan) illicit behavior, and soon events take an even darker turn.

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This Week in DVD

Three good to great films we first enjoyed at last year’s Fantastic Fest are making their DVD debut this week, and they’re all worth a rental or a purchase. Rubber and The Housemaid are both automatic purchases in my book, but there are plenty of other releases this week worth a look including the Coen Brothers’ very funny True Grit, Adam Sandler’s ever so slightly better than usual Just Go With It, the James Cameron-produced disaster Sanctum, the LARP filled thriller (?) The Wild Hunt, the Le Tigre concert film Who Took the Bomp?, and many more. As always, if you see something you like, click on the image to buy it. Rubber A discarded tire gains sentience and discovers a taste for murder when it rolls into a small desert town and begins using telekinesis to blow up peoples’ heads. And then the movie gets weird. Normally when people dislike films I love I know it’s because they’re most likely utter tools, but with Rubber? Well, I completely understand it. It’s an absolutely absurd comedy that goes the meta route to comment on films and audiences alike. It’s laugh out loud funny and very smart, has a great score, and features some of the best remote controlled tire work you’ve ever seen. Check out my full review here.

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The Reject Report

Yeah. Now get that song out of your head. Good luck with that. When you’re done, head on out to see a movie. There isn’t much new to partake in this weekend, but, if you’re a big fan of Natalie Portman, Bruce Willis’ son, or Olivia Thirlby (we can just assume on that last one), then you might want to check out the lone candidate for new releases. You enjoy the rest of the report. I’m gonna continue to sing Pinocchio songs to myself.

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We posted up the original Korean trailer for The Housemaid a while back, and then some of us got to see it at Fantastic Fest. The result? Quotes like this: “Beneath the water-still porcelain feeling of the mansion in which most of the action (in both senses) takes place is the dirt red beating heart of infidelity and the cruelty and callousness that exist within some people who can see nothing beyond protecting their wealth and status.” The film is a masterpiece of dramatic filmmaking – one that’s keen on taking chances and delivering something vile and beautiful. The trailer itself comes about a nanometer away from needing a Red Band, which is actually pretty indicative of the film’s teasing tone (even if the movie ends up delivering on the climax). Now, you can enjoy the newest trailer without ordering Rosetta Stone:

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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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Two years ago, I challenged myself to come up with twelve films that corresponded with all the verses of the popular Christmas song that Eddie Izzard loves to sing the fifth verse of. Despite ending that sentence with a preposition, I sat down to a quiet Christmas break intending to stay as far away from work as possible, but that became impossible after my third quart of egg nog. For it was after that quart that the Planet of the Apes poster in my office began speaking, nay, taunting me to the challenge of coming up with twelve more films. I only have two words for hallucinatory, two-dimensional Cornelius. Challenge. Accepted.

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There are few films as delicately beautiful as The Housemaid. There are also few films that use that beauty to disguise the ugliness that’s lurking underneath. Beneath the water-still porcelain feeling of the mansion in which most of the action (in both senses) takes place is the dirt red beating heart of infidelity and the cruelty and callousness that exist within some people who can see nothing beyond protecting their wealth and status. Euny (Do-yeon Jeon), a shy but enterprising young woman becomes the second housemaid for the extremely wealthy Hoon (Jung-jae Lee) and his pregnant wife Hae Ra (Seo Woo). She joins the older, crankier Byeong-sik (Yeo-jeong Yoo) and the daily work of tending the house and their young daughter sets in as Byeong-sik remarks how ugly their job is. It becomes clear only after Hoon slides his way into Euny’s panties with ease that the true ugliness of their work becomes clear.

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This week, on a very special episode of Reject Radio, Rob Hunter drops by after surviving Fantastic Fest in order to recap a few movies that fans need to keep an eye out for. Then, filmmaker Kirby Ferguson gives us some insight to his Everything Is A Remix project. Listen Here: Download This Episode

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With the exception of Gentlemen Broncos, we were spot on with our Must See Films of Fantastic Fest 2009 list last year. While we’d love to take the credit for it, the truth is that it’s Fantastic Fest that came through with a large slate of winners from the weird world of genre. Fantastic Fest is the movie festival for movie lovers, and as the FSR Death Squad assembles yet again, we’re gearing up to attack the event with a renewed fervor by shining the spotlight on the films we’re anticipating the most. We’re pleased to have Adam Charles, Robert Fure, Brian Salisbury, Rob Hunter and Cole Abaius (led by the slightly inebriated and deep fried Neil Miller) comprise the Squad this go ’round. As for the Must See movies, this year, we’re enlisted four members of the Squad to choose 5 films each, and the result is a list full of blood, Hong Kong action, gritty Santa Claus stories, geriatric Kung Fu, Dystopian societies, ninjas from Norway, slasher follow-ups, mental trips, creepy clowns, and little girl vampires. A truly sprawling feast for the eyes and ears. Hopefully you’ll be sitting next to us, but if not, we aim to make you feel that way with our coverage. It’s time to get excited. Here are the 20 films that have got us running to the famous Alamo Drafthouse for Fantastic Fest 2010.

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And the hits keep right on coming… and by “hits” I mean awesome movie announcements from Fantastic Fest 2010′s already incredible film schedule. The first wave of titles was announced last month and included several highly anticipated films like Let Me In, Ip Man 2, Golden Slumber, Outrage, Red Hill, and more. Earlier today the second round of titles was released, and as expected the list of upcoming movies represents probably the greatest gift to mankind since pizza. Fantastic Fest 2010 runs from September 23rd through September 30th. The official press announcement is below…

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Who wants to watch a beautiful and stunning trailer in a language they don’t understand? You do. Especially when I tell you it’s about a torrid and dangerous affair between a wealthy man and his delicate housemaid.

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