Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Put on some dry clothes and come play with us.

Not including the three by marriage, I have six uncles. One Bob, two Bills, a Peter, and a set of Mikes. My relationship varies up and down the line, but it's safe to say I love each of these guys. And, I'm assuming, they feel the same way about me, too. But, don't get me wrong. The extent of this affection goes only so far. Maybe a birthday ten-spot, or a ride to the airport.  Not, say...a lifetime of undying devotion and morbid fascination.

Stoker, the latest from director Chan-wook Park, is a rather unique experience. Taking place over a couple of days, the film revolves around the mysterious arrival of long-lost Uncle Charlie. Charlie is brother to the recently-deceased father of India, the young protagonist featured on the poster to the right.

India, newly 18, is an introverted young girl with enhanced powers of perception. She's not quite a candidate for Xavier's School for Gifted Youngsters or anything, she's simply a girl who due to her overwhelming shyness, has developed the ability to sense things more acutely than the rest of us.

While India may be slightly off, Uncle Charlie is totally f--ked up. Look beyond the radiant smile, glowing eyes and Norman Rockwell attire, and it's all too apparent that this dude ain't quite right. Then again, I'm not a lonely woman who just the man in her life. Them bitches love this mofo.

In the deft hands of Chan-wook Park, Stoker comes alive. Constant visual cues and camera movements make an interesting premise damn near captivating. Now it's not the glorious mindf--k that Oldboy is (though, what is?), but it's still quietly insane. Even if you can see the twists coming, it's still a blast watching it all come together, even if there's some heartbreaking madness along the way.

Though the film has its share of twists, the biggest I didn't see that coming moment, for me, still has to be who actually wrote the script. Wentworth F--king Miller (pretty sure that's his given name) of all people, the handsome guy from the Fox show Prison Break (and that one Mariah Carey video where her tits are hanging out), is actually a very educated feller, and penned a rather intricate script. Granted, with such fantastic actors and a genius/madman director, something I shat on a napkin would likely light up the silver screen, too. That said, I'm still impressed. Who knew?

Also surprising (and impressive) to one person, is that the upcoming Yays and Boos were written by yours truly. I know, you figured that someone much less handsome and charming had to come with these clever observations, but alas, they're all me.

Nothing creepy here.

  • Ah, the score. So wonderfully sullen and creepy. 
  • Time lapse shoe collection. I dug the shoes regardless, but seeing them all chronologically was very cool.
  • I love how actions in one scene affect the perception of another. Okay, that sentence doesn't make sense. Let's go with, screen look pretty.
  • Nicole Kidman. In addition to being an incredible actress, she is impossibly gorgeous as the mom in Stoker. I'm pretty sure watching her incorrectly assemble IKEA furniture would be utterly captivating cinema.
  • Retribution for High School A-holes. Ha ha ha. You gots yo hand f--ked up, playa!
  • The piano. While a beautiful instrument of grace and substance, here it's the setting of a devastatingly lovely/creepy-as-shit duet between Uncle Charlie and India. Here, let me get those pesky keys on the other side of you, dear.
  • Uncle Charlie, the creepy f--k that he is, comes up pretty huge for his niece. Though he might take his clutch move just a little too far.
  • Aw...those are some nice letters from your uncle. You should bring those us to your room. Oh, wait. What's this? Aw shit.
  • I swear I hear a phone ringing. Shh. Listen. It almost sounds like it's coming from...F--k this!
  • Personally speaking, I can't wait to watch life tear you apart. Ouch.
  • And finally, backwards credits. For comedies, you leave 'em with outtakes. For movies that are less laughs, more stabs in the brain, you send 'em out with backwards credits. You pretty much have to.
My bed looks just like this, except the boxes are filled with pictures of this scene.
  • Damn gossipy-ass maids.
  • At times, at least early on, the intrigue was coming on a bit thick. For example, the looks that punctuate the completion of most sentences can be pretty silly. Luckily the whole thing moves so damn quickly, none of the goofiness ever overwhelms.
  • Hey, high school douchebag! Nice hang out, bro. 
  • Uncle Charlie: (enthusiastically) This soil is good for digging! Rest of World: Good to know. (under breath) F--king psycho.
  • On that note, I thought that Charlie's unsavory antics were tipped super early. That said, shit still surprised me.
  • Sometimes, how odd everyone is can be a bit much. There was a scene where India (played by Mia Wasikowska) is sitting in a gigantic rocking chair reading an over-sized encyclopedia where I was tempted to just start slapping everyone.
  • There is one flashback near the end that crushed me. Then he makes a dirt angel? *shudder
  • Spiders. When will there quest for warmth/vagina end?
  • Whip, you a-hole. Either way, you got what you deserved.
  • I'm all for exploring your own body, but what the shit was that? Rarely do I celebrate the worst news alive with shower time antics. Rarely.
  • And finally, the ending. Not that the ending is a Boo, but I felt alone. And violated.

Reading a few 'Best of 2013' lists, it seems that a lot of bloggers really, really liked Stoker. You should probably check it out, then. I mean, bloggers pretty much know everything.

My uncles would vouch for this, I'm sure.


  1. "bloggers pretty much know everything" <--- I so wished this was true. I'll probably just watch this film for the backwards credit alone!

    On a different subject, how's the change of career going for you? Why not try a writing job and use this blog to show and demonstrate "writing experience". I'm not not even kidding about this.... but that's what I've been doing since last month and apparently now I've successfully changed career into a "writer". But I do come from a country where English isn't the main language so that's why my poorly written and full of grammatical errors blog was accepted. Then again you're a much better writer than me.

    1. The change of career kind of sucks so far, but it's letting me stay home with the kids.. so that's good.

      Tell me more about your endeavor as a writer. I'm very interested.

      And don't sell yourself short. Your blog is great.

    2. I'm now a writer/journalist for an online news portal. Basically, when asked "do you have any experience for this kind of job".... I replied no... but mentioned and show my blog... used it as writing examples. Then just basically try to sell it.... say the writing style is more laid back because of the target audience and you could adapt to different writing styles. You might try giving it a shot.... just find any magazine or online site, and give it a go.

    3. I'm going to do this. I'll let you know how it turns out...


  2. Good review M. It's a very strange thriller, however, I guess that's better than being a conventional one, so take with that what you will.

    1. Thanks, Dan. It is strange, but in a good, quiet way.

      I feel that I liked it more than you, though, huh?

  3. "Granted, with such fantastic actors and a genius/madman director, something I shat on a napkin would likely light up the silver screen, too." - haha yeah who would have thought tattooed boy from Prison Break could write something like this?

    I really loved this movie. Goode was amazing in the role but I can't help but think if Hiddleston played the part I wouldn't survive it. This whole film was so sexy - piano duet, sure, but that moment when he puts high heeled shoe on India's foot, she loses balance and he grabs her hand to keep her from falling? Oh, Jesus.

    1. I still can't get over Wentworth Miller. I don't know why I have such low expectations the's that damn Mariah Carey video.

      Goode was awesome. Let's not even talk about the other thing you've mentioned. I don't want ovaries all over my website.

      I'm still mopping up my own carcass due to the Robbie Incident.

  4. Great review. This one was one of my favorites last year. The actors were great and Chan-wook Park was able to bring the script to life.

    1. Thanks. What a talented group of people producing great art.

      Unlike say, my uncles.

  5. Park is an amazing director. and "screen look pretty" is an apt description for any movie he makes. I found Stoker to be a bit tame by his standards, to appeal to us Americans no doubt, but it was still very very enjoyable; a breath of fresh air compared to all the run of the mill thrillers out there. Great review.

    1. You know, you caught me. I might appear that I know Park, but I just know Oldboy really, really well.

      I have seen nothing else that he has had a hand in.

      Shameful, I know.

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