Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Haepi Endeu (Happy End)

High Infidelity.

Haepi Endeu (Happy End)

Starring: Choi Min Sik (Oldboy), Do-Yeon Jeon (No Blood, No Tears)
Directed by: Ji Joo Chung (Sarangni, If You Were Me 2)

The ferocious shagging has grab. Another time and place, it might've amounted to softcore jollies, ticket bait. Here, it amounts to emotive brunt. Here, it means to hurt. And does it. To the soap opera potboiler of meek salaryman Choi Min Sik losing his job and his headstrong careerist wife Do-yeon Jeon getting it on - - -way, way on - - - with her high school sweetheart behind his back, it butters the melodrama with harm, like saltwater to fresh wounds. Infidelity not as moral abstract but as messy object ,the shadowy taboo forming into familiar bodies - - -so yeah, things get sticky and prickly. And makes your belly knot - - -at how much of a dork meek salaryman is,at how much of a bitch headstrong careerist wife is, at how much you want that title to be ironic for her. You grasp the economic subtexts , and the chill of its repercussions , but it's the primal urges - - yours and the piece's - - - that make this throb. The female of the species is more deadlier than the male. Right.
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Monday, March 05, 2007

Gwoemul (The Host)

Here Be Monsters

Gwoemul (The Host)
Starring : Song Hang-Ko (Memories of Murder, The President's barber)
Directed by: Bong Joon-Hop (Barking Dogs Never Bite)

It's a given that you imprint the monster in monster movies- - - that corrosive interloper that usurps and upsets the status quo and rallies humankind to restore order to the universe - - -with whatever you want its intrusion and threat and carnage to stand in for. The slime-black Lovecraftian reptile here comes encoded with toxic dumping and not a little wary xenophobia for intrusive Americans. But when it abducts a young schoolgirl ,and her bickering family of four - - - grizzly grandpa, buffoon dad , stoic archer aunt, hairtrigger drunk uncle - - - grudgingly coheres into a combat unit , it's the dysfunction of the family dynamic that full-hogs and heightens the drama. It's no crawl , mind, as it's steeped in another monster movie given: set piece upon set piece of rampage - - - glorious, gorgeous and (here's the killer blow) emotionally resonant rampage at that. But this creature feature's ultimately about fatherly love and the lengths blood will go to to keep its own from harm. * * * * *