Moviegoers who know nothing about the iconic 2003 Korean thriller will perhaps enjoy this half-hearted remake. It lacks the subtlety and irony of Park Chan-wook's deranged masterpiece, but Spike Lee brings a certain technical sleekness that holds our interest. Especially as the complex plot begins to twist and turn, gleefully pulling the rug out from under us.
It centres on Joe (Brolin), a drunken loser who blows his last chance at his job by coming on to a client's wife. The next morning he wakes up in a sleazy hotel room that turns out to be a locked cell where he'll be held for the next 20 years. He's shown news updates on how he's the prime suspect in his wife's violent murder, and he watches his daughter grow up in an adoptive family's home. Suddenly focussed on revenge, he plots his escape and then is caught off guard when he's inexplicably released. With the help of his old friend Chucky (Imperioli) and helpful nurse Marie (Olsen), Joe tracks down his flamboyant jailer (Jackson) and then the creepy man (Copley) who paid the bills and now demands that Joe understands why he did it.
Yes, the plot is a big puzzle, and watching the various pieces fall into place keeps us riveted to the screen, even if nothing is particularly involving. Lee's mistake is to play everything dead straight, with only the odd hint of black humour or underlying madness. Instead, we get bigger action fight scenes (cool but choreographed) and a variety of surprises and revelations that often make us gasp. And all of this is played with razor-sharp intensity by Brolin, who gives us just enough emotion to keep us engaged with his journey.
Continue reading: Oldboy Review
The latest clip from 'Oldboy' featuring a very unstable and mentally damaged Joe Doucett on his release from his 20 years imprisonment is now available to watch online. When Joe finds himself trapped in a cell with no window and barely more than a bed, a TV and a bible, it's only the beginning of a nightmare that would potentially be endless. He discovers that he is wanted as the prime suspect in the brutal murder of his ex-wife who leaves behind a daughter. All he can do is work out, grieve over her death and ponder the whereabouts of his beloved little girl. Eventually, 2 decades later, he is released with a wad of cash in his jacket though it seems he is not free from the taunts of his captor who forces him to wonder just why he was released.
'Oldboy' is a twisted thriller based on the original 2003 South Korean movie of the same name which was written by Garon Tsuchiya and Nobuaki Minegishi. This adaptation has been directed by the Oscar nominated Spike Lee ('Malcom X', 'Do The Right Thing') and written by Mark Protosevich ('I Am Legend', 'The Cell'). It is due to be released on November 27th 2013.
'Oldboy' is an intense mystery thriller about a man who is locked up for 20 years before being suddenly released with a pocket full of cash and no explanation. Main star Josh Brolin, his co-star Michael Imperioli, director Spike Lee and screenwriter Mark Protosevich among others talk about the flick in a short featurette.
Continue: Oldboy - Featurette
After this unusually well-made thriller builds suspense to almost unbearable levels, the filmmakers nearly throw everything away with a gear-change so contrived that we can't help but laugh. It's one of those ill-conceived final acts that seems to have been written by a focus group that wanted to see something "satisfying" on screen even if it violates the integrity of the entire story. Fortunately the cast is good enough to get away with it.
Most of the story takes place in a Los Angeles emergency call centre, where Jordan (Berry) receives a horrific call from a teen girl who's being stalked in her own home. And Jordan blames herself for the violence that follows. Six months later, she has removed herself to a training job, but gets roped in when another teen, Casey (Breslin), calls in panic from the boot of a moving car. This is clearly the same villain (Eklund) as before, and Jordan does everything she can to help Casey both survive and reveal her location. Along the way Jordan's assisted by a passerby (Imperioli) as well as her cop ex-boyfriend (Chestnut).
So far so good, as both Jordan's and Casey's perspectives ratchet up the emotional intensity. The kidnapper is seriously deranged and oddly difficult to track as time runs out. And here's where the film jumps the rail: Jordan takes matters into her own hands, heading out into danger without bothering to call for back-up. This sets up a rather terrifying final showdown that would have been much more involving if we could believe it.
Continue reading: The Call Review
When Joe Doucett suddenly wakes up one morning to find himself imprisoned in a cell with little more than a bed, a TV and a bible, his first thought is some sort of terrible nightmare. But things get worse when a news broadcast states that he is the prime suspect in the murder of his ex-wife and mother of his child Donna Hawthorne, and his daughter has been subsequently adopted. He spends his hours dwelling on Donna's death, working out, boxing, self-harming and talking to stray mice until one day, 20 years later, he finds himself climbing out of a trunk in a field very well-groomed and dressed smartly with a wad of cash in his jacket. He embarks on a mission to kill the man who took his liberty while falling in love with the beautiful Marie, who tries to help him re-build his life. However, he soon releases that he is less free than he thought as his captor continues to taunt him with questions of why he imprisoned him and why he let him go.
Continue: Oldboy Trailer
Jordan Turner is a 911 emergency call operator whose life is turned upside down when one distressed girl's call complaining of an intruder in her house ends in a brutal murder. Shaken and traumatised, Jordan contemplates taking a different career path as she struggles to come to terms with what happened when she recognises that her own actions could have been a catalyst in the girl's fate. With the support of her cop boyfriend, she finds the strength to remain as that steady, calm figure that has helped so many people in the most devastating of situations. However, when another girl dials 911 from the trunk of a kidnapper's car, she realises that, through several disturbingly familiar similarities, they are dealing with the same killer and this time she is determined not to let another girl die. Passing on a series of careful instructions to the victim, she takes matters into her own hands and goes from operator to rescuer in a matter of hours.
Continue: The Call Trailer
This film is packed with involving performances, even though Jackson takes a bloated approach to what should be a quietly emotional drama. And in the end, the production design is so lush that it swamps the story's themes.
In 1973, Susie (Ronan) is a happy 14-year-old just beginning to blossom. Her crush on a fellow student (Ritchie) is about to culminate in her first kiss, but she's instead brutally murdered by a creepy neighbour (Tucci). Her parents (Wahlberg and Weisz) are distraught, and Grandma (Sarandon) needs to come help care for Susie's younger siblings (McIver and Christian Thomas Ashdale). Susie watches all of this from "my heaven", longing for her parents to recover their balance and aching for some form of revenge.
The central theme is that Susie's yearning for vengeance is preventing her parents from moving on, and it's also keeping her from resting in peace. As the months and years pass, she struggles to let go of her connections to her family and also to dislodge her killer's hold on her. This intriguing idea is more suited to a small-budget filmmaker forced to find subtle, creative ways to depict the interaction between the afterlife and the living world.
Jackson, of course, has no budgetary constraints, and indulges in constant eye-catching effects that are drenched in colour and symbolism. This luxuriant approach seems odd for a story this fatalistic; it's not likely to be a commercial hit no matter how glorious the digital artistry is. While some viewers will connect with the raw emotional tone, concepts of the cruelty of fate and the fragility of life are lost.
Even so, Ronan delivers another knock-out performance packed with nuance and meaning even though many of her scenes only require reaction shots. It's in her eyes that the film comes truly to life, as it were. The other standouts are Sarandon, who brazenly steals scenes in what's essentially a thankless role, and Tucci, who never resorts to stereotype in his portrayal of a sinister loner. Jackson, on the other hand, continually applies cliches around him, from shadowy angles that generate palpable suspense to a ludicrously over-the-top coda that erases any subtlety the film might have.
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Moviegoers who know nothing about the iconic 2003 Korean thriller will perhaps enjoy this half-hearted...
The latest clip from 'Oldboy' featuring a very unstable and mentally damaged Joe Doucett on...
After this unusually well-made thriller builds suspense to almost unbearable levels, the filmmakers nearly throw...
When Joe Doucett suddenly wakes up one morning to find himself imprisoned in a cell...
Jordan Turner is a 911 emergency call operator whose life is turned upside down when...
This film is packed with involving performances, even though Jackson takes a bloated approach to...