« Hey, America. Giuliani is sort of a jerk, remember? | Home | Most irritating restaurant in NYC closed for health code violations »

March 12, 2007


First best movie of 2007: The Host

The Host

If you're one of the many people who saw 300 this weekend, yay for you--you helped create the first blockbuster of 2007. But if you're one of the (probably) many more people who got to the movie theater and found 300 to be sold out, perhaps you saw what's the first undeniably kick-ass movie of 2007, The Host [official site].

This movie has gotten loads of positive press for a Korean creature-horror movie, which helped to generate the Ain't it Cool News "on par with Jaws" quote and Wired's great "K-horror is the new J-horror" article. The Host is a horror movie for the whole family: the characters are really engaging and well-developed, the action scenes are fast and scary and cool, and every time it looks like a scene might degenerate into something predictable or sappy, instead it suddenly becomes smart and funny, and often really weird. In this movie you laugh while a family mourns a dead child, because, actually, it's hilarious.

And even though the movie still would have been great if it was just about a scary-ugly river creature that's mesmerizingly graceful as it acrobatically swings by its prehensile tail across bridge supports, it takes on bigger issues, too. Without getting at all preachy, it comments on pollution, military ineptitude, medical terrorism, American exploitation of politically strategic allies, and unethical bureaucracies. If the genderless monster had turned out to be female (it did have some similar features to the creature in Alien, though the CGI was only OK) it would have fit in with some other interesting mother themes of the movie, and might have inspired a delightful title variation: The Hostess.

Great cast, too: both Song Kang-ho and Bae Doo-na were in Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance, and an awesome 13 year-old girl is the definition of intrepid and resourceful. Plus it has a really simple yet scary movie poster.

Here's an excerpt from a letter to viewers from the filmmaker, Bong Joon-ho, that Landmark Sunshine Cinema emailed around last week:

Park Gang-du and his family have led ordinary, repetitive lives, never really extending beyond the confines of their small food stand on the banks of the Han River. They are devastated by the emergence of the Creature. Robbed of their peaceful daily routines, Gang-du and his family do the only thing they can: throw themselves into a life-and-death struggle against the Creature to rescue their lost daughter. The film shows how these exceedingly normal people, no different from our everyday neighbors, are transformed into monster-fighting warriors.

But as with all great monster films, the Creature is not the only adversary they have to fight. Have you ever felt powerless in the face of an immovable impasse? For Gang-du and his family, impoverished, powerless "little people," the whole world around them is revealed to be a true monster. They have to fight against it tooth and nail. The film is, in the end, a record of their moving fight to the death against the indifferent, calculating and manipulative Monster known as the world.

I don't know about Landmark, but at the AMC Empire's screenings of The Host, you can see the trailer for Satoshi Kon's cool-looking new movie, Paprika.

categories: Movies
posted by amy at 2:09 PM | #

Trackback Pings

TrackBack URL for this entry:


Post a comment

Remember Me?

(you may use HTML tags for style)