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So You Think You Can Dance returns tonight, and what can I say? You’d have to be out of your mind to dislike this show. It’s filled with amazing talent that changes wildly from year to year, and the show’s celebration of dance culture is — for a Fox show going into its tenth season — alarmingly cool.
Today let’s psych ourselves for the new season with a quick lesson in the show’s best perks. Here are the five best things about So You Think You Can Dance.
5. The weirdo auditioners aren’t trainwrecks (usually).
Unlike American Idol, So You Think You Can Dance routinely offers up strange auditioners who, while perhaps not versatile enough for the Top 10, are interesting enough that we don’t pity their bizarreness. In fact, it’s the unconventional dancers who make Sytycd something of an educational experience. Take for instance Princess Lockeroo, »
- Louis Virtel
The supreme testament to Hitchcock is that no matter how many years pass, his work exerts an ever-stronger influence. Just last month came Park Chan-Wook's reimagining of Shadow of a Doubt, Stoker, and last year Anthony Hopkins did Hitchcock as a Hitchcock character in Hitchcock—and let's not forget the Psycho TV prequel Bates Motel. Or that last year's Sight & Sound poll named Vertigo the greatest film ever made. Hitch's influence is obviously international—Claude Chabrol was dubbed the "French Hitchcock," and with Chabrol deceased, François Ozon looks likely to assume the mantle. Yet Ozon's latest, In the House, seems to qualify the title: How about the New French Hitchcock, Postmodern Division?
A charming »
I've mentioned before how several years ago I created a list using Roger Ebert's Great Movies, Oscar Best Picture winners, IMDb's Top 250, etc. and began going through them doing my best to see as many of the films on these lists that I had not seen as I possibly could to up my film I.Q. Well, someone has gone through the exhaustive effort to take all of the films Roger Ebert wrote about in his three "Great Movies" books, all of which are compiled on his website and added them to a Letterbxd list and I've added that list below. I'm not positive every movie on his list is here, but by my count there are 363 different titles listed (more if you count the trilogies, the Up docs and Decalogue) and of those 363, I have personally seen 229 and have added an * next to those I've seen. Clearly I have some work to do, »
- Brad Brevet
I've mentioned before how several years ago I created a list using Roger Ebert's Great Movies, Oscar Best Picture winners, IMDb's Top 250, etc. and began going through them doing my best to see as many of the films on these lists that I had not seen as I possibly could to up my film I.Q. Well, someone has gone through the exhaustive effort to take all of the films Roger Ebert wrote about in his three "Great Movies" books, all of which are compiled on his website and added them to a Letterbxd list and I've added that list below. I'm not positive every movie on his list is here, but by my count there are 362 different titles listed (more if you count the trilogies and Decalogue) and of those 362, I have personally seen 229 and have added an * next to those I've seen. Clearly I have some work to do, »
- Brad Brevet
Ok, Bates Motel, you win. Sort of.
You gave me enough of the violent, incestuous, mouthbreathe-y things I wanted from a 2013 Norman Bates, plus more sweater-and-khaki sets that would look fetching on Corduroy the Bear. I can't say I'm intoxicated by the endless amounts of "eerie ambience" you're throwing at us in the form of contemptuous policemen, homicidal pot farmers, and a mysterious predilection towards arson, but I'm certainly enjoying Norma Bates (Vera Farmiga) as she showcases her craziness in every obvious way possible, including enjoying herself at a lumberjack show.
Before we jump into a nutty recap of all things weird and pseudo-Hitchcockian about the second episode of Bates Motel, let's check in with the original Norman Bates, Anthony Perkins, to see his rating for this episode. Mr. Perkins gives this episode...
... A Nervous, But Emphatic Smile!
And so do I. Here are the five most interesting things about last night's Bates Motel. »
Bates Motel is an interesting idea for a series (and frankly, so is The Carrie Diaries), but like Carrie Bradshaw I have to wonder: Have we nailed the art of the movie prequel TV series yet? I think it remains to be seen.
Today, in honor of A&E's new show about Norman Bates' bizarre past, I say we examine eight movies that could inspire fabulous prequel series. I snuck in two ideas for other Hitchcock prequels in case that's an easy sell right now. Grab your most hideous bridesmaid gown and suggest your options for prequel-worthy movies below.
Face it: Alex Forrest should be one of the most interesting characters of the '80s, but because Fatal Attraction corners her into being a two-dimensional psychotic loon, she's never quite as humanized as she should be (despite Glenn Close's exceptional performance). A prequel series would rectify this »
If there is one movie that has caused unending debate around The Playlist water-cooler, it's Park Chan-wook's English-language debut "Stoker." First screened at Sundance and making its slow creep across the country now, it's a twisty, unerringly perverse riff on Alfred Hitchcock's "Shadow of a Doubt," wherein a mysterious Uncle Charlie (Matthew Goode) comes to visit his long lost family following his brother's equally mysterious demise. Mia Wasikowska plays the young daughter of the deceased, and an admirably batty Nicole Kidman is the new widow. We got to sit down with director Park and discuss what made "Stoker" so appealing as his first English language movie, how he decided on the composers for the film, and where the film fits in with his filmography. Those who have already seen "Stoker" know that it is baroquely stylized, a main point of contention for those who form the "con" side of the "Stoker" debate, »
- Drew Taylor
Chan-wook Park’s Stoker is a Gothic fairytale, a family drama and a beautifully twisted, pitch black coming of age story, all at once. This slow-burning psychological thriller isn’t afraid to cross into uncomfortable places, often edging close to taboo territory. Park wants his audience to twitch in their seats and the master director is able to accomplish this with the greatest of ease. Along with first time screenwriter Wentworth Miller, Park weaves a coming-of-age tale through a tangled, murderous family plot, loaded with sexual subtext and upper-class entitlement. People disappear, a landscape of family secrets is revealed, and Park teases the audience into anticipating the worst. With Alfred Hitchcock’s classic Shadow of a Doubt serving as a template, Stoker’s first two acts are without a doubt impeccably crafted. The problem comes in the third act. Its script doesn’t quite carry the dramatic heft of his earlier work, »
The bloody soap opera Stoker is Park Chan-wook’s first Hollywood movie, and if you’re unfamiliar with the Korean director’s work, you’re in for a real kick. Park’s vampire opus Thirst and his acclaimed Oldboy established the director’s cult status among fans of offbeat foreign crime films and while no one eats a live octopus in Stoker, he’s brought his novel style to this psychosexual thriller about the dysfunctional Stoker family. After her father (Dermot Mulroney) dies on her 18th birthday, India Stoker’s (Mia Wasikowska) long-lost Uncle Charlie (Matthew Goode) comes to visit. He’s welcomed into the family’s sprawling Connecticut mansion by India’s beautiful, unstable mother Evie (Nicole Kidman), but India’s not quite as quick to embrace this relative that she never knew she had. Charlie’s wholesome facade hides sinister intentions and India recognizes something’s not quite »
- Tom Stockman
Everyone celebrates President's Day, Valentine's Day, and the sort, but it's the cool kids who know that tomorrow, March 12th, is National Alfred Hitchcock Day!
Need a reminder why Alfred Hitchcock is still the legendary master of suspense? Read on!
Hitchcock, the recent film starring Sir Anthony Hopkins, was based on Stephen Rebello’s bestselling book, Alfred Hitchcock and the Making of Psycho. We asked Stephen to write something special for Hitchcock Day, and he came up with “6 Great Reasons Why Hitchcock Is Still the Master of Suspense.”
Psycho. Vertigo. North by Northwest. The Birds. If Alfred Hitchcock had directed nothing more than that astonishing quartet, he’d still be considered the maestro of creating nail-biting suspense, romantic intrigue, and unforgettable thrills. But that incredible run of movies, released in theaters from 1958 to 1963, represents only a drop in the bloody bucket of Hitchcock’s masterworks, »
- Uncle Creepy
This wild, watchable, relatively brief, deeply annoying thriller is the disappointing American debut of the gifted Korean film-maker Park Chan-wook, rightly celebrated for his trilogy of clever psychological thrillers Oldboy, Lady Vengeance and Sympathy for Mr Vengeance. A smirking, would-be charismatic Matthew Goode comes into a rich family's home in rural Tennessee composed largely of British actors wearing ill-fitting American accents. He's there after a long absence for his brother's funeral and is always referred to as Uncle Charlie, an invitation to identify him with Joseph Cotten's charming psychopathic murderer in Hitchcock's Shadow of a Doubt. The film is over-emphatic in every way – images that hit you in the face, dialogue that digs you in the ribs, rapid flashbacks designed to unhinge, and obtrusive music including two piano duets by Philip Glass.
guardian.co.uk © 2013 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. »
- Philip French
By the end of 2013, three of South Korea’s most notable filmmakers will have made the trek to the Us of A to make their English-language debut – first up was Kim Jee-woon’s less than stellar Schwarzenegger vehicle The Last Stand, and in a few months Bong Joon-ho will make his stab at Western glory with Snowpiercer. Park Chan-wook, meanwhile seems like the most natural fit of the three for a transition into American cinema, and not only because his Oldboy is likely the most widely seen of the filmmakers’ combined oeuvres. An ostentatious stylist with a penchant for ultraviolence, his movies are nothing if not relentless in their pursuit of insidious thrills. Where Jee-woon’s film felt curiously less grand in scale than his last Korean film, The Good, The Bad, The Weird, Stoker at least has »
- Simon Howell
Park's English-language debut boasts 'lovely blend of styles,' but is marred by inconsistent narrative The movie title Stoker, left to stand alone for helmer Park Chan-wook’s and screenwriter Wentworth Miller’s psychological thriller, could be referring to numerous things, such as those connected to vampires, marijuana, or tandem bicycling, depending on one’s approach. The Dracula author is a relevant reference, but in Park's film the name Stoker is the surname of the family central to its narrative: mother, father, daughter, and uncle. (Pictured above: a striking closeup of Matthew Goode in Stoker.) Even so, Miller’s script attempts to come up with an identity that goes beyond family names to actual lineage -- in other words, to the core genetics of the family tree itself. Stoker tells us that some human traits, however dark, are part of our nature. That’s hardly an original thought, but in »
- Tim Cogshell
It's a good weekend for limited release films. Canada's Oscar-nominated foreign entry "War Witch," a harrowing yet poignant tale of a young Congolese girl's survival and first love, is scoring top marks with critics. Meanwhile, documentaries "Leviathan" and "A Place at the Table" are both gaining praise; the former turns a critical, artistic eye on the fishing industry, while the latter looks at America's hunger problem. "Stoker" is getting understandably mixed reviews -- Park Chan-wook's aesthetically gorgeous "Shadow of a Doubt" homage (and first foray into English-language films) suffers from a terrible script by Wentworth Miller and misguided performances from the film's three leads, Mia Wasikowska, Nicole Kidman and Matthew Goode. Wide release "Jack the Giant Slayer" isn't slaying the critics. With the film's delayed release date and murky demographic target, it may very well face a disappointing opening weekend. War Witch Dir. Kim Nguyen, Canada | Tribeca Film | »
- Beth Hanna
The schlockier this Hitchcock-inspired gothic nightmare gets, the better
Where Hitchcock's original injected a small drop of poison into picket-fence suburbia, Stoker stands proud as a full-blown gothic nightmare, replete with cadavers in the freezer and sexual ecstasy in the shower. I'm not convinced it hangs together; I'm not even sure it's good. But its wild undulations cast a definite spell.
Mia Wasikowska stars as India Stoker, a pensive emo teenager and occasional huntress, while Nicole Kidman plays India's mum with a ramrod-straight bearing and a pained crimp to her solicitous smile. Both are rattling around a grand designer home in the forest, mourning the man of the house, recently dead in an unexplained accident.
Both, in time, will find themselves bewitched by boyish Uncle Charlie »
- Xan Brooks
Park Chan-wook is clearly in a very dark place. His head is bowed, his mood blue. What terrible circumstances could be troubling the South Korean director who masterminded the queasy excesses of Oldboy and the rest of his Vengeance trilogy? Recent incarceration by an unknown malefactor? Is he being hounded by a secret black-market organ-smuggling operation?
In fact, his cat has died, and he's still struggling to cope. "I'd had him for more than 10 years."
Mooka, Park's Russian Blue puss, was just one of the victims of a kitty reaper that stalked the set of his new film, Stoker. Composer Clint Mansell's mog died at the same time. "The only consolation is that it didn't happen during shooting, but during postproduction, »
- Phil Hoad
Directed by: Chan-wook Park
Running Time: 1 hr 38 mins
Release Date: March 1, 2013 (Chicago)
Plot: A widow (Kidman) and her daughter (Wasikowska) are visited by a mysterious man (Goode) who claims to be the dead husband’s long lost brother.
Who’S It For? Fans of horror that is more artful than it is gory. If you liked director Chan-wook Park’s previous Oldboy for its violence, you’ll probably find Stoker pretty underwhelming. However, if you’re starved for horror movies with actual characters, and a more artistic interpretation of mystery, here is Stoker. Fans of Hitchcock should definitely take note of this one.
Expectations: Park has shown his vitality by tackling different subgenres before, such as with his narratives on vengeance, or even vampires (Thirst). Having him bring his authorship to the states for an English »
- Nick Allen
With "Stoker," acclaimed Korean director Park Chan-Wook ("Oldboy") riffs on Alfred Hitchcock in his own artsy and oppressive way. It's a chilly reworking of "Shadow of a Doubt" (with nods to "Psycho" and "The Birds" along the way), that eventually takes a turn into Brian De Palma territory. Only here Matthew Goode's mysterious Uncle Charlie creeps up on his passive niece, India (Mia Wasikowska), out of nowhere before they realize how much they're kindred spirits in this bizarre coming of age story that co-stars Nicole Kidman as India's frigid mother. As production designer Thérèse DePrez ("Black Swan") points out in the exclusive featurette below, "Stoker" is hyper-stylized even beyond what we expect from Chan-Wook. It mostly takes place in an austere yet timeless-looking 1920s mansion. With its diorama concept and icy green shadings, the house is as much a trap as the gothic Bates house. »
- Bill Desowitz
In the new thriller "Stoker" (in theaters Friday), a girl (Mia Wasikowska) whose recently lost her father suspects the motives of the uncle she never knew she had. Matthew Goode plays the enigmatic "Uncle Charlie," surely a nod to the main character in Alfred Hitchcock's film "Shadow of a Doubt," in which a small-town girl discovers her beloved uncle is really a serial killer. We doubt that's this Charlie's secret but it's often true in films that you simply cannot trust your uncle. Take Hamlet's wicked uncle, Claudius, whose dastardly plan has inspired more than one cinematic villain's plot to seize power. Of course, Shakespeare also drew from real life, since murderous uncles and young heirs unfortunately go hand in hand. And then there are those uncles who get away with a different kind of murder, whether it's neglect or outright abuse. Here are 12 of the creepiest, no-good movie uncles we could find. »
- Sharon Knolle
There's a creepy intruder in the Stokers' handsome, isolated estate, but it's India's Uncle Charlie (Matthew Goode), whose existence India was unaware of until he arrived following the death of her father (Dermot Mulroney) in a mysterious car accident. Dashing, cultured and oozing melodramatic evil, he's an homage to Joseph Cotton's Uncle Charlie – a murder in a suit jacket at the dinner table – from Alfred Hitchcock's "Shadow of a Doubt."
Park, the celebrated South Korean filmmaker of stylistic, hyper-violent revenge tales ("Oldboy," "Lady Vengeance") has long drawn Hitchcock comparisons. In "Stoker," he makes them explicit, with references not just to "Shadow of a Doubt," but "Psycho" and maybe even "The Birds," if we can agree that Hitchcock forever owns violent attacks in phone booths. »
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