This is a rare one for me: I saw PARASITE having no clue what it was about at all. Completely fresh. I saw the trailer 1 (one) time and didn’t understand what was going on. But I liked the three movies I’ve seen by director Bong Joon-ho (SNOWPIERCER) enough to just take the hype at its word and go see it. And since two of those movies (THE HOST and OKJA) are strange creature movies I honestly didn’t even know if the title was a metaphor or if there was also going to be an actual parasitic monster at some point.

Anyway it’s not a huge surprise twist movie or anything, but I enjoyed the lack of expectations. So I guess only read this if you’ve seen it or don’t care about that. (contains spoilers, mostly vague.)

It’s the story of the Kim family – father Ki-taek (Song Kang-ho, THE GOOD, THE BAD, THE WEIRD), mother Chung-sook (Jang Hye-jin), son Ki-woo (Choi Woo-shik, TRAIN TO BUSAN) and daughter Ki-jeong (Park So-dam, THE SILENCED) – who seem to take economic struggle in stride. They live together in a cluttered basement infested by stink bugs, with a window facing an alley where they often see a drunk guy peeing. In the opening scene they discover that their neighbor added a password to her wi-fi, but they can connect to a nearby cafe if they crawl into the top corner of the apartment on the raised platform with the toilet. Which is important because they need WhatsApp to communicate with the young manager of Pizza Generation (Jung Yi-seo) who pays them to fold boxes.

Opportunity knocks in the form of Ki-woo’s friend Mink-hyuk (Park Seo-joon, THE DIVINE FURY) who wants him to take over his tutoring of rich girl Park Da-hye (Jung Ji-so, THE TIGER: AN OLD HUNTER’S TALE) while he studies abroad. His sister Ki-jeong is good at Photoshop and forges documents so he can fake a college education, and after the job interview with Da-hye’s mom Park Yeon-gyo (Cho Yeo-jeong, THE CONCUBINE) he recommends Ki-jeong – pretending she’s only an acquaintance with a sterling reputation in her field – to be her weirdo son Da-song (Jung Hyun-joon)’s art teacher. She pawns that into a higher paying art therapist gig, and before long they scheme to have dad and mom replace the driver and the housekeeper (all pretending to not know each other).

There’s a whole lot of mischief involved. Brazen lies fly left and right. Innocent people are framed. An inappropriate relationship is formed. There is some shocking violence. Also some laughs and some sweet moments of quasi-friendship. It’s a masterfully told story that seems kind of crazy and random as it gets started and more and more intentional as the pieces fall into place. I love this type of writing where some little detail is mentioned, you wonder about it, you forget about it, and later when it becomes relevant there is no fucking way that would’ve been your guess.

(SPOILER EXAMPLE: We hear that Da-song had a traumatic incident when he was three – we had no clue it was seeing a ghost, and if we had, we wouldn’t have known that it was because the housekeeper’s husband has been secretly living under the house for years and once poked his head up at the wrong time!)

I won’t get into everything that happens, but it’s a movie about class – about people with money who think they’re nice to their servants and that makes them good people. I think one thing that makes it effective that that the Parks are, for the most part, nice people. They can be a pain in the ass, they tend to be self-absorbed, they can say mean things sometimes, but so can anybody. They’re hard to hate. They’re just oblivious. A more normal movie would be from their perspective and Mrs. Park throwing a birthday party would seem like a sweet moment instead of an opulent fuck you to another family in crisis.

And the Kims would be much better off with a little class solidarity. Not only do they steal jobs from people, but they then refuse an opportunity to help them out. In a weird way it reminded me of the end of Fargo Season 1 (spoiler for the end of Fargo Season 1) when Lester Nygaard could’ve gotten away with it but it insulted his ego that Lorne Malvo pretended not to know him, and he just couldn’t let it go, thus sealing his well-deserved doom. The Kims just had to help a brother out and everything would be fine. But they don’t do it. Even they look down on people in basements.

There’s an important theme of smell. Little Da-song notices that the Kims all have the same odor on them. At first they contemplate all using different laundry detergents in order to smell different, but So-dam says it comes from living in a basement. And her dad takes it very personally when he notices Mr. Park (Lee Sun-kyun, R-POINT) reacting to his smell. It’s just too much indignity for him, too much dehumanization. He doesn’t see a positive side to it like he did when the exterminators sprayed for stinkbugs and didn’t bother to tell them to close their windows.

Maybe this is too obvious to need stating, but both families are parasites. The Kims latch themselves onto the Parks to live off of their wealth, first through salary and eventually treating the house as their own while the owners are on a camping trip. But of course it goes the other way too, with the Parks latching onto the Kims to feed them, drive them, take care of their kids, clean their house, give up their time, their lives and (literally in this case) their identity for them.

PARASITE reminds me quite a bit of a great Japanese film I saw last year but didn’t review, Hirokazu Kore-eda’s SHOPLIFTERS. That’s another movie about a family who live and work together, who have unusual ways of dealing with poverty, who we follow and become attached to before the full extent of their moral violations are known to us so we can accept them as complicated human beings rather than have to classify them as good guys or bad guys to root for or against. We can recognize their flaws and poor choices but also their struggles, their yearnings, their complex circumstances. We can be mad at them without passing judgment on them.

For a South Korean movie of non-specific genre, PARASITE has been a giant hit in the U.S. I know a ton of people who have seen it in a theater and I haven’t heard of one of them who didn’t think it was great. It’s one of those rare movies that ignores all previously existing templates, but feels completely confident from frame one. You never quite know where it’s going, because as it reveals itself as one thing it’s always holding another thing behind its back. And it’s about something, sure, but that something is wrapped warmly in personality and humor and the small details of these characters and their world. Once again Joon-ho has created a movie with a tone that makes most of our country’s movies seem pretty flavorless by comparison. When all is said and done it’s a dark, fucked up and angry movie. But it’s so funny and likable as it strolls to that destination that it tricks you into feeling like it’s a fun time at the movies.

PARASITE is outta sight!

This entry was posted on Wednesday, December 4th, 2019 at 10:15 am and is filed under Comedy/Laffs, Drama, Reviews. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

61 Responses to “Parasite”

  1. It’s not a BIG twist movie, but I think part of the reason this has had such crossover (on top of reflecting contemporary economic anxiety) is that unexpected story turns happen all the way through it. One of the things I’m getting increasingly tired of with movies is that I’ll often enjoy their setup and then after the first 45-minutes I know everything that’s going to happen. PARASITE doesn’t have that automated approach to resolving itself and it feels fresh.

  2. ****SPOILERS I GUESS ****

    I was very impressed with how easily this movie moved from a light hearted kind of heist, or at least hijinks, movie to horror/thriller to scathing indictment of modern society and capitalism. All of those transitions were smoothly done. I do have to admit that I started to get a little bored when they were all getting drunk in the house. Maybe that scene could’ve been tightened up a little? But boy did it ramp up from there.

    I knew it was a movie that started out one way and took some turns. I was halfway expecting some kind of zombie outbreak from the bug spray. I wonder if that was at all intentional to be misleading.

    I wouldn’t say it was debated amongst my friends because we all came up with the same answer but someone asked if we thought he got rich and bought the house at the end. We all pretty much immediately answered no before she could even finish the question.

  3. For some reason this doesn’t open here in the UK until next February. I’m guessing that’s so it can capitalise on Oscar buzz, but it’s bloody annoying when it’s already such a phenomenon.

    That said, the sheer quality of Bong Joon-ho’s work and the fact that he has enjoyed such global success and recognition while making formula-busting, political movies foregrounding Korean speakers gives me hope for the world. Bring on that Best Picture Oscar!

  4. I loved this film, but I also loved SNOWPIERCER. Vern, your last paragraph is a great encapsulation of what this movie does so well and how it contrasts with so much else that is on offer. It’s a true work of vision as opposed to something that is merely fun or competent, but often derivative and safe and, hence, forgettable. The ideas have a staying power and resonance that is rooted in the filmmaker’s unique vision and freedom to go to unexpected places.

  5. Loved it. Love the consistent anti-capitalist theme in Bong’s last three movies.

  6. Some of the best Korean films do an abrupt high quality thematic swerve and this was no exception. I thought it was a great film.

  7. I did know a bit about it going in, and I thought it would have more suspense than I felt it did. But maybe my expectations were way out of line? Did it feel suspenseful to you?

  8. Glad you reviewed this one: it’s my favorite of the year so far and I think sneaks in my top 15 Korean movies of all time. Can’t think of another country that has consistently produced such high quality films as Korea over the last couple of decades, it’s been an incredible run!

  9. I caught this one sort of by happenstance in the summer before it was released in the US, and thought it was very good and very clever. I didn’t forget about it afterwards, but it definitely got pushed to the back of my brainpan.

    Then, holy shit, this avalanche of critical and audience hosannas for this movie called Parasite, all of them declaring absolute brilliance. I actually checked to make sure there wasn’t another movie named Parasite that wan’t the recipient of all of this. Nope, same flick, which leaves me a bit perplexed. I boiled it down to two options:

    One, since I went in absolutely cold, I wasn’t aware that what I was about to watch was supposed to be ‘great’ and therefore I failed to identify the ‘greatness’ (or it went over my head). Two, maybe it’s one of those movies where the more you seem to love it, the less you seem like a bourgeois jerk…

  10. I too had no idea what to expect going in. I just assumed it would be a horror movie but it’s honestly more of a black comedy than anything? The Kims came across like the Korean Bundy’s in that, though how they act is more or less wrong by society’s standards, you’re still rooting for them. They had great chemistry. The last third of the movie has some terrific physical acting reminiscent of the “A Quiet Night In” episode of Inside No.9 for those who’ve seen that show (highly recommended.) This might actually be my favorite movie of 2019?

  11. I concede that the social commentary here is a little obvious (Kurosawa didn’t need 10 minutes of continuous descending shots to get the same point across in HIGH AND LOW) but on the other hand, I can’t remember another film about class that felt as viscerally satisfying as this one. What’s the point of being subtle with an issue we already understand so innately, anyway? PARASITE captures such a vivid sense of what it’s like to be living on the margins — the self-hatred, desperation and simmering resentment, but also the sense of anarchic freedom and scrappy cleverness– that it doesn’t seem contrived or manipulative even when it manifestly is.

    Even better than its unsentimental evocation of its poor family, though, is its ambivalence towards the rich family. We’ve got plenty of movies about rich sadists, but this one makes a somewhat more interesting –even audacious!– case by making them blandly friendly rather than villainous. The problem with the rich isn’t that they’re thoughtless, though they can be, or that they’re venal and lazy, though they can be, or even that they’re undeserving, though they obviously are.

    No, the problem with the rich is that they exist. Every minute they continue to exist in their insulated little enclaves while the rest of us demean and exhaust ourselves trying to get by is an intolerable insult. It’s a simple understanding, but a profound one, and I think that’s what PARASITE has captured so perfectly, and why it resonates so strongly with people.

  12. Another great last paragraph. Nailed it, Subtlety.

  13. I loved this movie so much. As an aside from the thematic conversation, the filmatism in this one was just off the charts for me. I’ve never seen streets in South Korea framed and lit so cinematically. Some of the camera moves inside the house just really made me wonder how they pulled them off in the confined space. This movie is one I’ll return to for many reasons.

  14. I read that the house was built for the movie, so they must’ve designed it to make some of those moves possible. But I agree.

  15. Finally saw this. I liked it but was a little less into it than most people, which seems to be a running trend for me this year. I’m glad you mentioned Shoplifters. My biggest issue with this was that it reminded me too much of that, to the point where I feel like a few years from now I’ll probably forget if certain scenes were from one or the other.

  16. @Mr. Subtlety

    A distinct yet related theme I got out of the movie is that the rich aren’t any different from the rest of us; we’d all be the same if we had access to the kinds of resources the Park family has. Both the popular left and the right seem to have conceded to a notion that the elite are somehow fundamentally different from the rest of us; the right taking that to mean they can commit crimes with impunity, and the left that we should murder them in their beds. (I exaggerate for effect, but not by much). Both views divide our culture in harmful ways, imo. I like that Parasite took the view that all of the characters were people, none more or less human than the rest. Wealth is the corrupting factor, as we see when the Kims are willing to throw the former household staff under the bus in order to get their hands on some. There should be solidarity among the lower classes, but there isn’t. Perhaps the Parks were once very much like the Kims too.

  17. How much of an asshole does it make me that I’ll still probably never see this movie? I don’t give a shit about the Best Picture win (that’s actually a strike against it) but literally ever human who’s ever seen it—including my fellow assholes who hate every movie—says it great and I’m still not interested. What’s wrong with me?

    I’m not bragging here. There’s nothing noble about skipping a great movie. I’m sincerely wondering why I am so impervious to recommendation. Do I just hate humans that much that anything they love is automatically suspect?

  18. I am a bit hesistant to watch it myself too, because I have learned over the years that Korean cinema, especially when it’s award winning and critically acclaimed, simply isn’t for me. And the hints that this is a genre bender kinda scare me away, because of how jarring those tonal shifts can be. They even made me dislike this director’s own THE HOST a bit less, although the whole thing already didn’t do much for me anyway after the brillant opening scene. And even his SNOWPIERCER left me cold (No content related pun intended.) 15 years ago I would’ve randomly blind bought the DVD, like I did for example with OLDBOY, but that one ended up doing nothing for me either. But I guess today I will just record it from pay TV and have it sit on my shelf for a long time.

  19. I loved this one but I’m probably the wrong person to ask becasue every time I watch one Bong Joon-ho’s movies, it becomes one of my favorites. No clue if you’d be won over by it though.

  20. It’s better than the Charles Band original, at least.

  21. Haven’t watched it either and probably never will. Doesn’t really call my attention. Props to it’s victory though. It at least shows an attempt to remove the scope of that damn award beyond “#oscarsowhite”. Hope it sets a new prescedent though and doesn’t end up just being an exception cause the best foreign movie concept never ever really made sense to me anyway.

  22. I’ve liked the other films by the director I saw. I think I’m just not into the concept. It sounds like the kind of thing that would just make me antsy. I just saw two commenters praise it as being, respectively, “a cringe comedy that takes interesting turns” and “the best ever episode of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” and those are two things that are going to keep me very far away. So maybe I should just trust my instincts and move on to not watching whatever movie everybody loves in 2020?

  23. I don’t think you need to feel bad about not seeing a movie, and you don’t need to justify it to anyone. Presumably, you’re just watching movies for your own pleasure. Unless your trying to be some sort of expert on the Academy Awards or Korean cinema, there’s nothing wrong with deciding PARASITE doesn’t look like it’s up your alley and avoiding it. You’ll exclude yourself from the conversation about PARASITE, sure, but there’s plenty of other conversations you can chime in on.

    I’m trying to make more of a concerted effort to see more popular, praised or culturally significant movies, even if I think they look like dog shit, because being a movie nerd is part of my identity, and it’s important to me to keep my finger on the pulse and to be able to chime in on these things. But this is, like, my main hobby. If movies are more of a pastime for you, like they are for most people, then you don’t own PARASITE or any other “important” movie shit.

  24. Speaking of which, I saw PARASITE twice, not because I loved it but because found it underwhelming, and given it’s universal praise and my general appreciate for Bong’s movies, I figured the problem had to be me.

    (I didn’t really feel differently the second time, but I appreciated it more on a technical level; the shots are just about the best framed and staged of anything from 2019)

    The interesting part is that my second viewing was of a special black and white re-release of PARASITE, and I’m curious if anyone else has seen this and if that had any thoughts. I was glad I saw it; it’s an experiment I find interesting and gratifying, but I would say that it doesn’t really work in this case. There’s not really a lot of contrast in the cinematography; a lot of the movie is crisp medium shots where everything is evenly lit, and that’s not an compelling look for black and white. Some of the night sequences, especially the flood sequence, look good that way, but overall I thought it had the effect of making the movie look less pretty than it previously did.

  25. I saw it today having arranged to see it prior to its surprise win. I didn’t have a particularly strong reaction to it either way. I was kind of antsy in the first half because I hadn’t actually heard much about it and was expecting something a bit closer to SNOWPIERCER in tone and approach. I enjoyed the second half more but a few moments still tested my patience.

  26. “being a movie nerd is part of my identity, and it’s important to me to keep my finger on the pulse and to be able to chime in on these things.”

    I guess that’s what I’m wrestling with more than anything else. I do consider myself a movie nerd, but in the past decade or so it seems like what that means to me has changed. I used to want to take part in a community of movie nerds, but two decades of the internet has cured me of that inclination. With some exceptions, such as you fine people, I no longer care about being part of “the conversation” because it increasingly means watching a whole shitload of movies I have no interest in and talking to a whole bunch of people I think are full of shit. I used to be excited about the state of the art of cinema and keeping up with the new crop of directors and styles, but the new directors and styles mostly seem pretty dreary to me nowadays. So why bother? Is this about movies or is it about conversations? Because, frankly, if I liked conversations more, I probably wouldn’t need to like movies so much.

    I mean, I’ve been skipping the It Movie pretty much every year since LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE. Prior to that, I’d made it a point to see the big critical darlings (the AMERICAN BEAUTYs and whatnot) when they seemed at least a little in my wheelhouse, but that was the year I decided, “You know what? I’m good.” And I can’t say I feel like I’ve missed anything since then, skipping all these movies that people can’t stop talking about for six months and then never mention ever again, but I also can’t say I’m really happy with the state of cinema in general, and at least part of the blame for that has to lie on my stubbornness. If a movie doesn’t seem like my kind of thing, I don’t see it. That’s all there is to it. I don’t care if God Herself materializes and assures me that I would love it. I don’t know if that’s healthy. Maybe cinema seems so underwhelming right now because I keep skipping the movies that get people excited.

    Funnily enough, I tend to think of the type of fan you’re describing, Dan—the one for whom movies are a pastime, not a hobby— as casual viewers who only watch movies when they’ve built up enough critical acclaim or audience goodwill that they become inescapable. These viewers don’t know what they really like and aren’t all that invested it anyway, so they’d rather let someone else decide for them. You know, the kind of people who’d never seen a Korean movie in their lives but had to check out PARASITE because everybody is talking about it. Meanwhile I could give a shit what everybody’s talking about (Everybody is overrated, in my opinion) but I own a two-foot stack of Korean movies. So am I less adventurous than that type of viewer or do I just know myself better?

    So I don’t know. I guess I’ll go with my first hypothesis that I’m just an asshole.

  27. This is a good conversation because I feel like my expecations have now leveled off becuase they were really high before today. Going into a movie with the good and the bad evened out is the best way to go. Though middle of the road is the most dangerous place to drive so I dont’ know.

  28. I checked out of popular and middlebrow movies for a while, because Hollywood doesn’t make movies for me any more, but I’m glad I changed my tune on that. I was only watching things that appealed specifically to me, and I realized that I was starting to lose perspective. I made a point to watch a lot of the important 2019 movies, and I’m glad I did, even the ones I hated.

    But that’s because I want to know where the culture is, to know what’s going on with modern movies. So now, when I get smugly critical of popular movies, I can actually explain why instead of just assuming that, you know, THE LION KING is utter garbage or whatever.

  29. I’m totally okay only being part of “the conversation(s)” that I want to and opting out of the Big-C “Conversation,” whatever that is. Even here on OutlawVern, there are plenty of movies I’m not interested in watching. For instance, I like Vern and 80s action enough that I’ve seen DAY OF RECKONING and UNDISPUTED II-IV, and I enjoyed all of them well enough (DAY OF RECKONING is a classic), but I don’t feel obligated to be a part of even all the conversations on this fine websight, much less go n-levels deep on J-horror or Isaac Florentine or the broader filmography of the dude who did PARASITE (also loved!). I’m fine being a tourist, even if it means I don’t get an invitation to pay $100 to get my name in Who’s Who of Movie Aficionado Douches. I’m good just talking about the ones I want to talk about. Also, Majestyk is an asshole but a lovable one whose shitload of movies quote wins the day.

  30. Did any of you go see Birds of Prey this weekend?

  31. Sternshein – I’m not a Harley Quinn fan and the direction the movie takes with Cassandra Cain sounds like it would break my heart considering that she is my favorite Batgirl and a top 3 addition to the Batman mythos during the last 20 yrs. This also applies to Black Mask and The Huntress. However I also heard the action and stunts are actually sharp as fuck & that this version of Black Canary is more engaging than any we’ve seen in the Arrowverse so far. Also that it was entertaining enough to not be another SUICIDE SQUAD situation. Soa I might catch the matinee on Wednesday.

  32. Yeah, as much as I like Margot Robbie in ONCE UPON A TIME…, the Harley Quinn character is so obnoxious to me that it’s an uphill battle for me to muster much interest. But interested to hear your thoughts, Stern.

  33. I am glad I never read the comics because I would probably feel the same way you guys do. It’s not great but I thought it was fun and I had no baggage going in. DC really tried to make their version of Deadpool and it’s not really a Birds of Prey movie. I’m not really selling it either. The second half I think is really good and all the action scenes are top notch. It did make me wish we got more female fronted action movies with actual martial artists but all the girls were totally game.

    I saw they changed the title today to Harley Quinn: Birds of Prey for people looking for the movie.

    Oh I’m sure it’s a different take on Huntress but I wanted more of Mary Elizabeth Winstead in it. She is awesome and I really liked her awkward take on it. She really needs to do more action movies.

  34. Majestyk – sometime during the hoopla of Breaking Bad, I remember being annoyed by everyone around me always talking about it, and I finally asked someone, “Is Breaking Bad REALLY as good as everyone says?” and they said “Oh- it’s better”. And as ridiculous as that statement was, it made me finally say fuck it, and I gave in and watched it and agreed.

    And now it’s my turn to say I think Parasite is even better than the hype. It does start off kinda slow but holy shit once it gets going, it’s a bonafide masterpiece. The script, the directing, the acting, the music, the cinematography – every piece of it is independently excellent, but the whole thing feels organic and sprouted from the mind of one madman auteur. It feels homogenous but also like an incredible collaboration from a group of people firing on all cylinders. It absolutely puts 99% of Focus-Grouped American Big Studio Movies to shame. I AM kinda surprised that other people love it as much as I do, though. It’s big and broad and over-the-top in that De Palma way, and the metaphors are so past “on-the-nose” it made me think of Charlie Kaufman’s brother’s script in Adaptation a couple of times (“it’s a battle between motorcycle and horse! Like a metaphor for technology vs. horse!”). But I love that shit and I’m ecstatic it won the Oscar. I’ve been summing it up to people as “Alot like Snowpiercer except it moves vertically instead of horizontally” which sounds like stoned talk and probably is.

    Sternshein – I saw Birds of Prey last night instead of watching the Oscars. It may not be the “best” comic book movie, but it might be my “favorite” comic book movie since Superman II. I’ll save most of my thoughts until Vern writes his review, but I’ll just say it seems custom-made for Vern and most of the people on this site – it’s less Deadpool and more Margot Robbie’s John Wick. It’s Atomic Blonde without the boring parts. It’s a Jackie Chan movie directed by Paul Verhoeven. There’s so much fucking action and all of it is absolutely jaw-dropping, but there’s also incredible acting and character work. I laughed alot, I almost cried a few times. I fell in love with every character. It’s a shame it’s not doing well because it’s easily the best movie from the DCEU (and I loved Wonder Woman but this is on a whole other level)

  35. Okay, well, you guys have piqued my interest in BIRDS OF PREY. More likely than not, I’ll wait for video on this one, but I will check it out, at least (whereas I still have not watched JUSTICE LEAGUE or even WONDER WOMAN or AQUAMAN yet and only saw parts of SHAZAM — I guess I am the poster boy for the collective cultural shrug at the DC universe, and these are a few of those all-important cultural conversations I’ve missed out on). Still, this one sounds fun.

  36. I think Deadpool is a better analogy because of the tone of the film and the winking at the audience voice over. I don’t think there is as much action as you say but the action is really good. So far, though, three people here feel it’s good to great so that’s something.

  37. Maj, I don’t know if we’re the same age but I’m 42 and I find it hard to get excited about discovering new movies anymore. Part of it is with 42 years, there are so many old favorites (from the 90s) I want to watch again and won’t have time to, let alone add new ones.

    Every once in a while I’m still floored by something like John Wick or Fury Road or Whiplash but the days of wanting to give everything a chance just in case it’s great are over. Streaming compounds that but maybe that’s just getting older.

  38. Since I started logging films on letterboxd near the end of 2017 I only average around 20% of my total films every year from the current year. I don’t really watch non genre anymore because I don’t go to the theater and I can’t concentrate with long ass drama movies. I can do them in the theater easily but I don’t want to spend the money to do it.

  39. I used get somewhat pissed off when “everyone” came up to me and raved about a current movie that wasn’t nearly half as good as the ten movies I had tried to tell them about earlier.
    But that was before I had the last of my emotions removed surgically.

  40. I stopped going to the movies weekly around 2004 or 2005. I still catch whatever grabs my interest. My last 5 movie trips were: THE IRISHMAN, THE LIGHTHOUSE, FROZEN 2, JUMANJI: THE NEXT LEVEL & BAD BOYS FOR LIFE. I enjoyed them all a great deal. But even 2 of those I probably would not have seen without my 9 yr old niece. I’m very selective but I will never stop supporting movies that speak to me either.

    The days of me watching everything to keep up with the convo are long gone. I don’t bother with any other movie community besides this one to be frank. Too much toxic energy and I have no real time to waste. It’s become as exhausting as talking politics.

    Being a passionate movie nerd is not my wave anymore. Not to the extent of trying to find others online anymore. But I will always be a movie nerd nonetheless. Next to music film has been my only real friend. I mean I have “friends” but I know you guys know exactly what I’m talking about here.

    Too many movie fans online don’t even know what they’re talking about anymore. I stick to those I trust because their movie loving voice is authentic. Like all of you guys and Vern himself. Hell I haven’t watched THE GENTLEMEN yet cause I legit feel Vern is probably the only online reviewer that actually gets Guy Ritchie’s sensibilities. So I’m still waiting on his take.

  41. pegsman – “But that was before I had the last of my emotions removed surgically.”

    That really fit your Lee Marvin avatar.

  42. I liked HARLEY QUINN BRIEFLY FEAT. BIRDS OF PREY but if anybody goes in expecting “jaw-dropping” action I think they’ll be pretty disappointed. The action is fine, sometimes very good (especially the car chase on roller skates) but it’s just the usual kicking and falling over. There’s a lot of it and it’s all clearly practical so that’s nice but there’s nothing exceptional. It’s a very colorful, likeable movie but i don’t think it can withstand the expectations some of you more enthusiastic commenters are dumping on it.

    And Broddie: Yeah, they might as well have turned Cassandra Cain into a cartoon bunny rabbit or an elderly elf princess or some shit for all the fidelity they showed to the character, who’s one of my favorites. For those who don’t know, she’s a practically mute young woman who was raised since birth by an assassin to speak only in body language, which makes her the most intuitive hand-to-hand fighter in the world (except when fighting the Joker, whose body language is gibberish). I guess the filmmakers felt the only load-bearing aspect of her character is “is Asian” because that is literally the only thing they kept. A movie about the actual Cassandra Cain with action by the JOHN WICK guys would legit be this sight’s favorite comic book movie ever. But I guess cinema’s 400,000th comic relief wastrel in a hoodie who cowers and complains is fun, too.

  43. As unenthusiastic as I am about comic book movies, and even though SUICIDE SQUAD is one of my least favorite movies of all time, I’m mad at myself for not checking out BIRDS OF PREY (AND THE WORST SUBTITLE OF ALL TIME) last weekend. I’ve been complaining that we don’t get enough mid-to-large budget R-rated action movies. I’ve been complaining that too many big budget movies have dull color palettes. I believe that Hollywood doesn’t give enough opportunities to female directors. This is something I should support, even if the odds of me actually enjoying it aren’t great, and I’ll probably rectify that soon.

  44. I think the fights are a lot more imaginative than M states but I am probably overselling them.

    The one question I keep asking people is if there are any female fight choreographers and nobody seems to know other than Zoe Bell. I would like to see more.

  45. Broddie why would your 9 year old niece want to see The Irishman or The Lighthouse?

  46. I don’t remember their names but I’ve seen a few movies lately with female stunt coordinators. It’s always a welcome sight to watch a behind-the-scenes featurette and all these big, macho tough guys are happily taking orders from a woman. You know that broad must be hard as steel. It brings a song to my heart.

  47. I guess this talkback will see a resurgence. I watched this last night. I liked it a lot, but I am not sure I would have said it was best picture. I really liked Once Upon A Time, Marriage Story and 1917 much better. A lot of interesting ideas, and a beautifully made movie, but I really thought the ending was kind of a mess.

  48. Muh – She’s an old soul with a pretentious heart.

  49. I never heard of Cassandra Cain but she does sound like a character uniquely suited for Film. What a missed opportunity

    Still, if the current cultural climate holds I’m sure we’ll see another take on the character before the decade ends.

  50. I think they could still do a version of the real character, given the foster home background they gave the revamped one (maybe she’s a sleeper agent and she gets reprogrammed or some shit?), but if that was their goal they either miscast the shit out of the actress or she’s got hidden badass qualities she didn’t even hint at in her first appearance.

  51. I don’t know if everyone gets the same ads I do at the bottom of these reviews, but it is usually from Amazon with a link to buy the movie on DVD. The one that pops up, though, is Parasite 3D, the 1982 horror movie. That made me chuckle. And I forgot Demi Moore was in that.

  52. I put those links there and I amuse myself with dumb choices like that. So I’m glad you noticed.

  53. “I’ve been summing it up to people as “Alot like Snowpiercer except it moves vertically instead of horizontally” which sounds like stoned talk and probably is.”

    That’s exactly how the director himself describes it in one of those interviews that plays after the movie at Arclight Cinemas. He basically took Snowpiercer and rotated it 90 degrees.

  54. Gepard – wow, i know the joke’s probably been made many times but I wonder how much Bong hits the bong. To even CONSIDER “so, on which axis/plane does my movie move?” – it sounds like such bad college stoned talk; the fact that he could turn these outrageous ideas into incredible visions, and then convinced competent, talented people to trust him, and got these movies financed and produced, and then people actually like these movies? That’s a freaking miracle in my eyes and gives me so much hope that cinema’s not dead.

  55. Finally caught this at the weekend, and now I’ve been able to read the review and comments properly. It’s a great review of a great movie. I don’t know if it’s better than several of Bong’s other movies, but I love that he has had this big hit without compromising on the stuff we love about Korean movies – the tonal shifts, the seeming longeurs that makes it feel slightly too long but just add to the effect when you think about it, and the violence!

    It does indeed feel like a miracle and something we can take a glimmer of hope from.

    That said, it also seems that Director Bong played a helluva awards season game. He and his interpreter were everywhere being more interesting, witty and charming in two languages than most celebrities can manage in one.

  56. Nabroleon Dynamite

    February 21st, 2020 at 10:47 am

    Trump has spoken against it, so it’s job is now done.

    Excellent review for an excellent movie.

    Definitely better than the last 5 academy’s best pictures.

  57. Well, I’m in a minority here, but like all Bong’s movies, it’s good with some great moments, but not a great film per se.

    I didn’t know much about the story going, but I knew all the raves, yet raves don’t really affect me that much.

    I enjoyed the first half a lot and I was very interested where the film was going. But once the safe room is revealed it brings out some effective set-pieces, but also becomes a rather different, more generic story.

    I think the film would clearly be better if they kept the first half and then kept on building from that, rising the stakes higher and higher for everyone, until the eventual destruction of everything.

    For me Park is still the master of Korean cinema.

  58. Well, I’m in a minority here, but like all Bong’s movies, it’s good with some great moments, but not a great film per se.

    I didn’t know much about the story going, but I knew all the raves, yet raves don’t really affect me that much.

    I enjoyed the first half a lot and I was very interested where the film was going. But once the safe room is revealed it brings out some effective set-pieces, but also becomes a rather different, more generic story.

    I think the film would clearly be better if they kept the first half and then kept on building from that, rising the stakes higher and higher for everyone, until the eventual destruction of everything.

    For me Park is still the master of Korean cinema.

  59. Thomas Caniglia

    April 13th, 2020 at 8:57 am

    Parasite is an OK movie. That’s all. It’s like one of those pretty good short films you can find on YouTube, like the one that inspired Lights Out. OK idea, OK execution. If I watched Parasite without ever hearing any of the hype surrounding it, I’d forget it within two days.

    However, if we are going to say that Parasite is a great movie, then we have to re-evaluate about 1,000 other just-OK movies, because they will also qualify. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with it, but there’s just not anything about it that really impressed me as being great.

    The Kims aren’t very likeable to me at all. The boy sets about seducing the daughter pretty quickly, which is stupid. The daughter sets up the driver so her stinky dad can take his job? Crappy thing to do. The dad almost wrecks the Benz because he can’t keep his eyes on the road. And let’s be honest. Setting up the housekeeper to get fired, and the way they did it, is the act of garbage people. And the mom is just a raging biznatch.

    I think the best idea in the movie is the reveal of the bunker and the fact that the housekeeper had her husband hiding down there. After that though it’s just slapstick violence. Whatever.

    I’ll say one thing though, I love that big house! For me Parasite can be like Andy Warhol’s EMPIRE, where he just filmed the entrance of the Empire State Building for 8 hours. If you love the entrance of the Empire State Building, than that would be a great movie for you. But while I do love the house in Parasite, I don’t love it enough to say that I would prefer to watch a 2:12 movie about it than to just see some pictures.

    Since this is a Birds of Prey board too, I didn’t see it because they gave Margot Robbie bangs, which is like making me a beautiful birthday cake and then stepping on it. That was my superficial turn-off to it. Then hearing that Cassandra Cain, who I also think is an awesome character in the comics, is just a Deadpool sidekick in the movie just cements that I’m giving it a pass.

  60. thomas caniglia

    April 13th, 2020 at 7:21 pm

    You guys and gals that really did like Parasite though, I think you might really like this movie from the Netherlands that is called Borgman. The poster had me obsessed until I finally saw it.

    Borgman (2013) - IMDb

    Directed by Alex van Warmerdam. With Jan Bijvoet, Hadewych Minis, Jeroen Perceval, Alex van Warmerdam. A vagrant enters the lives of an arrogant upper-class family, turning their lives into a psychological nightmare in the process.

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