Sunday, March 11, 2007

Bong Joon-ho's "The Host"/"Gwoemul"

The ability to discover a movie is rare in these days of endless and relentless buzz and hype. We're essentially told what whe should look forward to. So it's a distinct treat - and privilege - when a movie sneaks up on us. And that's the exact case with South Korean filmmaker Bong Joon-ho's "The Host"/"Gwoemul," a nifty, old-fashioned monster flick about, well, the unspeakable. To get to the point, "The Host" is a drop-dead hit.

Made with B-movie cunning and a keen appreciation of every natural-and-unnatural thriller that came before it - from Spielberg's "Jaws" to Honda's "Gojira" ("Godzilla") - Joon-ho's "The Host" doesn't play fair but rather confronts us with primal moments, both queasily comical and cruelly frightening, involving something hellish from the deep, a mutant tadpole or whatever. And the film, like its beast, explodes on screen with the vigor and brightness of a Jovian meteor. Made with extraordinary intelligence and style and surprising flashes of humor, "The Host" in the end is spellbinding, a sneaky celebration of what movies are supposed to be all about. By all means, treat yourself.

(Artwork: Bae Doo-na faces the worst in a scene from Magnolia Picture's "The Host"/"Gwoemul")

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6 comments:

Anonymous said...

This movie is superhot. I saw it on Saturday and gonna see it again. Nice blog.

Barb Raphael said...

Thanks for turning me on to this movie. It is just the kind of thing that Jerry and I like to watch.

bob e said...

Didn't know where else to post it so i'll post it here.

In regards to your monthly schedule of TCM's to look out for, you've got to add Ace In the Hole by Billy Wilder which will air at 12pm (est) on Saturday March 17th.

xiaocaicai85 said...

This is very nice blog. I really loved it.

Pascals Bookie said...

aw this yesterday, knowing nothing other than that it was a Korean monster movie and that my girlfriend was getting a bunch of us out for a day of it.

Holy sweet gawd...

This is, essentially, "Little Miss Sunshine" as a monster flick, as a family of misfit failures all try to get it together long enough to save their daughter/granddaughter/niece, and refuse to give up in the face of everything and everyone keeping them from it.

I won't spoil anything, but towards the end, there's a nearly silent scene which is easily the most tension-filled that I've ever seen, and I was a film-school kid. There's a reveal in this scene which tops even the original reveal of the monster itself, but done in complete silence where any other movie would have put a loud STING in the score. I still can't get it out of my head.

"The Host" borders on parody in numerous moments, but is a classic in it's own right. It's like it comes upon every cliche, and subverts them, not to mock them, but just to get around the inevetible generic aspects. This is a movie begging to reinvent things, and getting it's wish.

See it as soon as possible.

joe baltake said...

Bob-- Sorry. The comment function on that post wasn't open. I just added your comment to it, but to clarify things, I mentioned "Ace in a Hole" when Turner first telecast it in January. It's my Jan. 1st post. --Joe