As Jokers, Gemini men and charmingly eccentric spooky families hit the theaters this weekend, there is one movie that is looking to latch on to the box office and shake things up. Auteur Bong Joon-ho'sParasitehas already been released abroad and has been making its festival runs leading up to what Neon hopes to be a solid debut and launch of an award season run.
Parasite will join the ranks of other award season contenders that have recently hit theaters including JudyandPain and Glory. From the looks of it, it seems like the buzzy Korean film will rule the Specialty box office — but that's not to say that the mockumentary Mister Americaor the riveting documentaryEmanuelwon't be worth your time.
If you heard anything aboutParasite, then you probably know that everyone who has seen it is remaining tight-lipped about the film's story as director Bong Joon-ho has urged people not to spoil the viewing experience for others — and it is an experience.
“It is his most complex and grandest film,” said Tom Quinn, co-founder of Neon. “The degree in difficulty, which is generally high in all his films, is way higher with Parasite and for reasons that I can't give away. The traits that come with a Bong Joon Ho film are endlessly entertaining — there is no other filmmaker like him.”
He's right. There are twists and turns in this film that make it a contorted spectacle that includes excitement, shock, fright, empathy and social commentary in a way that Joon-ho can only do. “He's a genre all on to himself,” adds Quinn.
The film stars Song Kang Ho, Choi Woo Shik and Park So Dam and features the interaction and relationship between the wealthy Park family and the scamming street smart Kim family. When their worlds collide the ecosystem between the two families begins to go haywire in the most darkly hilarious and heartwrenching way.
Woo-sik Choi, Kang-ho Song, Hye-jin Jang, So-dam Park in 'Parasite' Neon
Parasitehas paved a golden road for itself as it is already sitting pretty as the best-reviewed film of the year with a Rotten Tomatoes Certified Fresh 100% Critics Rating. It won the Palme d'Or when it made its debut at the Cannes Film Festival, making it the first Korean film to do so. It continued to light up the festival circuit playing at Telluride, Beyond Fest and the New York Film Festival. It was the Audience Award Winner at the Toronto Film Festival as well at Fantastic Fest.
The film is set to open today at the IFC Center in New York and the Landmark and Arclight Hollywood in Los Angeles before expanding to seven markets next week and 15 the following week. By the end of the month, Federoff said the film will be on roughly 85 to 100 screens in the top 25 markets.
So-dam Park and Woo-sik Choi Neon
Though “The Plot Against America” took its time to get going, it’s full steam ahead for David Simon’s Philip Roth adaptation by Episode 4 — but to what end? With just two episodes to go, the drama has certainly flared up: The Levin familial bonds are being pushed to the brink as Sandy falls increasingly under Lindbergh’s spell, with the help of Aunt Evelyn and her new boyfriend Rabbi Bengelsdorf. The lines have been drawn, and it’s not looking good for either side. While this was by far the most exciting episode so far, it still feels as though Simon is obligingly following Roth’s outline rather than forging his own path.
In both the novel and the series “The Plot Against America,” there’s an unmentioned but implicit rhetorical question reaching out from beyond the page and screen. To borrow from the musical “Cabaret,” one of the only pieces of pop culture to artfully grapple with this unthinkable dilemma: What would you do? If a fascist were elected president of your country, if your sister started dating one of his shills, if your son was secretly sketching his visage by flashlight — how would you behave? Would you flee to Canada, organize the resistance, or stick your head in the sand and hope for the best?
The fourth episode hones in on these questions with laser-like precision, enjoying the fruits of the preceding three episodes that felt, both in retrospect and in real time, mostly like set-up. Having returned from his “Just Folks” adventure in Kentucky, a Hitler Youth-esque recruiting tool of Rabbi Bengelsdorf’s John Turturro design, Sandy has quite literally become the poster child for assimilationist Jews. Evelyn Winona Ryder proudly features him in a brochure for the program, against Bess’ Zoe Kazan wishes.
Sandy’s transformation has been building since the pilot episode, which ended with him surreptitiously sketching Charles Lindbergh from of a newspaper clipping. Having planted the seeds deliberately, the show earns its most uncomfortable moment so far when Sandy spits at his parents, calling them “ghetto Jews — narrow-minded ghetto Jews.” His transformation is complete. When Bess slaps him across the face, it’s hard not to let out a silent cheer. Your Jewish firstborn becoming a Nazi sympathizer may be the rare instance when a kid deserves a good wallop.
Less effective is a Shabbas dinner argument between Herman Morgan Spector and Bengelsdorf, where Herman puts aside any last shred of civility to tell the Rabbi what he really thinks of his man Lindbergh. Maybe it’s the fact that only the men are talking while the women make sidelong glances of...
SPOILER ALERT: If you are among the few who haven’t actually watched Netflix’s Tiger King docuseries, this review contains a lot of details about what goes down in the sad big cat saga.
With Netflix poised in the coming days to cash in and crank the base up a notch with more Tiger King, it's time to come out and say it: I hate the Red State porn that is the crash and burn of Joe Exotic
The initial seven episodes of this septic and shallow patchwork of trademark infringement, sex, guns, labor exploitation, song, drugs, mullets, betrayal, animal activism, revenge, and a lot of big cats may be much binged over these weeks of coronavirus lockdown, but that doesn't mean it's actually worth watching.
Now, I get it, I sound like I'm just a dour critic who hates anything that isn't prestige premium cable or aspirational. C'mon man, you want to say, Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness is just so unbelievable, I can't look away.
I respectfully disagree, and in fact, propose Tiger King isn't just bad, but dangerous in a divided America persistently looking to reduce the other side to caricature.
In a presently ailing nation where TV is more voluminous and vital than ever, the truth is the March 20 launched Tiger King is a clawed white trash misery index. Gawking at some clearly fragile and damaged people like would-be reality TV star Exotic and their below the Mason-Dixon line antics, the series subsequently provides a cultural circus for those smug bicoastals under stay at home orders and screaming to rise up in moral superiority.
Essentially, the tale of big cat collector, self-styled Oklahoma zoo proprietor and 2016 Presidential candidate Exotic AKA Joseph Maldonado-Passage and his ultimately unsuccessful attempt to have rival Carole Baskin knocked off by a hitman hired for $3,000, Tiger King is in that context more a zero-sum game, literally and figuratively, than hitting the zeitgeist.
Obviously, Netflix are pretty damn good at gauging and dragging the public mood over the years, as the likes of the then phenomenon of 2015's Making A Murderer or 2018’s Wild Wild Country prove. Yet, for all the attention it has drawn, this unfocused murder for hire exploration of sorts emerges as a bastard child of Cops, a million Dateline segments from the 1990s and Fox’s short-lived Murder in Small Town X reality show from 2001.
Not exactly the prestige product that the home of Roma, The Irishman and American Factory likes to brag about at award shows. Then again, with the knowledge that the Romans sold out the Colosseum every night feeding Christians to the lions, the bottom line based House of Hastings surely loves the subscription sign up that the currently incarcerated Maldonado-Passage and the accompanying motley gaggle of...