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Mark Kermode’s best films of 2017

Cannibalism in France, a latterday Our Gang in Florida, three women in Tel Aviv, and – at last! – a Blade Runner sequel are among the year’s must-sees

• Observer critics’ reviews of the year in full

To get a sense of how many great movies played UK cinemas in 2017, just look at some of the outstanding titles that didn’t make my top 10 list. From Park Chan-wook’s The Handmaiden (brilliantly adapted from Sarah Waters’s novel Fingersmith) to Anocha Suwichakornpong’s dazzling By the Time It Gets Dark, Paul Verhoeven’s Elle (featuring an Oscar-nominated Isabelle Huppert) and Kleber Mendonça Filho’s Aquarius (with Sônia Braga in breathtaking form), there was a dizzying array of delights on offer. Even so-called mainstream cinema seemed particularly adventurous this year, ranging from Patty Jenkins’s rip-roaring Wonder Woman to Christopher Nolan’s overwhelming Dunkirk, Kathryn Bigelow’s gripping Detroit, Edgar Wright’s pulse-racing
See full article at The Guardian - Film News »

'The Shape of Water': Sally Hawkins on the Art of Romancing a Fish-Man

'The Shape of Water': Sally Hawkins on the Art of Romancing a Fish-Man
Sally Hawkins was writing a story about, of all things, a mermaid. That's when the call came in.

New project. Guillermo del Toro. Vague premise. Might not happen. But he has you in mind.

The film that the 53-year-old Mexican director, best known for outrageous, ornate fantasies like 2006's Pan's Labyrinth, was working on was titled The Shape of Water. And oddly enough, like Hawkins' tale, this project also revolved around an underwater creature: a merman cryptically referred to as "the Asset," who's been captured by the U.S. military
See full article at Rolling Stone »

Park Chan-wook and Florence Pugh Teaming Up for John le Carré Adaptation ‘The Little Drummer Girl’

  • Indiewire
Park Chan-wook and Florence Pugh Teaming Up for John le Carré Adaptation ‘The Little Drummer Girl’
Park Chan-wook isn’t done adapting English novels. After bringing Sarah Waters’ “Fingersmith” to the silver screen in the form of last year’s masterful “The Handmaiden,” the Korean auteur is now set to direct a six-part adaptation of John le Carré’s “The Little Drummer Girl” starring Florence Pugh.

Read More:‘Lady Macbeth’ Review: Florence Pugh Is a Persecuted Woman Who Takes Control In Powerful Dark Drama

The news comes courtesy of the Daily Mail’s Baz Bamigboye, who adds that the BBC TV project begins shooting next year. Pugh has won acclaim for her lead performance in William Oldroyd’s “Lady Macbeth,” itself a literary adaptation; she’ll next appear opposite Liam Neeson in “The Commuter.” Le Carré’s novels have been adapted for the screen more than a dozen times, including the films “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy,” “The Constant Gardener,” and “A Most Wanted Man.”

Read More:
See full article at Indiewire »

Guillermo del Toro’s ‘The Shape of Water’ Dazzles 50th Sitges Festival

Guillermo del Toro’s ‘The Shape of Water’ Dazzles 50th Sitges Festival
Sitges, Spain — Opening with Guillermo del Toro’s “The Shape of Water,” which dazzled critics and audiences alike at the Spanish Festival, the 50th Sitges Festival, a Mecca for genre fanboys and Europe’s biggest fantasy event, looks set to pack some weighty Spanish world premieres: “La Zona,” the fourth original series from Movistar + to see the light of day, a family and crime drama set in the wake of a post nuclear power station meltdown; and “Muse,” an English-language supernatural thriller from Filmax and one of its star directors, Jaume Balagueró, whose [“Rec”] franchise installments have proved a highlight of multiple Sitges events.

Sitges will also world premiere “Errementari – The Blacksmith and the Devil,” a Basque Country-set fantasy horror debut from Paul Urkijo, mentored by Álex de la Iglesia and again sold by Filmax.

The big TV premiere is a departure for Sitges. Del Toro’s humanistic horror and powerful local premieres are not so new to
See full article at Variety - Film News »

‘The Handmaiden’ Blu-ray Review

Stars: Tae-ri Kim, Min-hee Kim, Ha Jung-woo, Cho Jin-woong | Written by Chung Seo-kyung, Park Chan-wook | Directed by Park Chan-wook

Based on Sarah Waters’ 2002 novel, Fingersmith, Park Chan-wook’s first feature since 2013’s Stoker is a ravishing feminist fable, full of fantastically cruel twists. It’s sensual, funny, nasty, brilliantly acted, beautifully shot and exquisitely edited.

The setting is 1930s colonial Korea, slap bang in the middle of Japanese rule. Nam Sook-hee (Tae-ri Kim), a young pickpocket, is approached by smooth conman “Count Fujiwara” (Ha Jung-woo), who intends to swindle money from a wealthy Korean aristocrat known as Uncle Kouzuki (Cho Jin-woong). The plan is for Fujiwara to seduce Kouzuki’s niece, Izumi Hideko (Min-hee Kim), and steal away with her uncle’s cash. Sook-hee will act as Hideko’s handmaiden, and help manipulate Hideko into Fujiwara’s arms.

But then an intimate relationship blooms between Hideko and Sook-hee. It seems
See full article at Blogomatic3000 »

Ghost in the Shell; The Handmaiden; Viceroy’s House and more – review

Carnal pleasures and clever plotting combine in Park Chan-wook’s thrilling The Handmaiden, while Scarlett Johansson is a woman of steel

Eastern and western identities cross over to striking effect in two of this week’s major DVD releases. Where the English-language, Scarlett Johansson-led Ghost in the Shell (Paramount, 12) took flak in many quarters for “whitewashing” a beloved Japanese manga, South Korean auteur Park Chan-wook’s mischievous The Handmaiden (Curzon Artificial Eye, 18) balances the scales a little by giving a radiant Asian makeover to the brittle Victorian mystique of Sarah Waters’s Fingersmith.

As adaptations go, Park’s is far the more fearlessly individual. The slinky mechanics of Waters’s uncorseted mystery survive intact, but relocating the action to Japanese-occupied 1930s Korea adds tissue-fine layers of political and erotic complexity to an already ornately knotted mystery. Even at their most hot and heavy, the novel’s deviously entwined lesbian
See full article at The Guardian - Film News »

Win The Handmaiden on Special Edition Blu-ray

  • HeyUGuys
Author: Competitions

To mark the release of The Handmaiden on 7th August, we’ve got 3 copies to give away on special edition Blu-ray.

With help from an orphaned pickpocket (Kim Tae-ri), a Korean con man (Ha Jung-woo) devises an elaborate plot to seduce and bilk a Japanese woman (Kim Min-hee) out of her inheritance. From celebrated director Park Chan-wook comes a ravishing crime drama inspired by the novel Fingersmith from celebrated British Author Sarah Waters.

Please note: This competition is open to UK residents only

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The Small Print

Open to UK residents only The competition will close 14th August 2017 at 23.59 GMT The winner will be picked at random from entries received No cash alternative is available

The usual T&Cs can be found here. Good Luck!

The post Win The Handmaiden on Special Edition Blu-ray appeared first on HeyUGuys.
See full article at HeyUGuys »

Five Things You Didn’t Know About Rupert Evans

Rupert Evans is an English actor who was born in Staffordshire in 1977. Having graduated from Webber Douglas Academy of Dramatic Art, Rupert Evans started his career working mainly in television. Notably in British costume dramas such as ‘Sons & Lovers’ starring Sarah Lancashire and Hugo Speer, North and South, ‘Crime and Punishment’ and ‘Fingersmith’ with Imelda Staunton and Charles Dance. Currently Evans is known for playing Frank Frink in the Amazon series “Man in the High Castle.” While many of his roles are well-known, there are many interesting facts about this talented celebrity that not many people know. Here

Five Things You Didn’t Know About Rupert Evans
See full article at TVovermind.com »

The 15 Greatest Lesbian Movies of All Time, Ranked

The 15 Greatest Lesbian Movies of All Time, Ranked
Narrowing down the 15 best movies in any genre is tough, but for lesbian films you have to begin with a reductive question: What is a lesbian film? What, in fact, is a lesbian? (But that’s a different piece). Must the film focus primarily on a gay storyline, or can it feature strong lesbian characters doing something entirely different than just being lesbians? Is subtext enough? How much cinephile wrath will rain down on us for the absence of a certain recent Oscar nominee?

Ultimately, the best lesbian films honor the traditions of queer cinema in all of its glory: Strong women, high entertainment value, and bold visuals reign supreme. Too often, lesbian characters are either unattractive man-haters or used for titillation. These movies reclaim all of that; they’re the movies you will see played on a loop in the club, or at an underground rooftop movie night. Some
See full article at Indiewire »

The Handmaiden review – a ripe, erotic tale

Park Chan-wook refashions Sarah Waters’s Fingersmith into a perverse psychodrama that wrongfoots you at every turn

There are giddy pleasures to be found in this rip-roaringly ripe erotic thriller/melodrama from Oldboy director Park Chan-wook. Inspired by Sarah Waters’s 2002 novel Fingersmith, The Handmaiden is a playfully provocative tale of seduction, desire and deceit. Slyly undermining stereotypes of fall guys and femmes fatales (this is more Bound than Basic Instinct), Park’s film takes great delight in wrong-footing its audience, peeling away layers of mesmerising misdirection with delicious cinematic sleight of hand. As the serpentine narrative spirals back and forth upon itself, we witness the same events from multiple perspectives, each one more revealing than the last.

In Waters’s novel (adapted as a BBC mini-series in 2005), an accomplished pickpocket is plucked from a Dickensian den to work in an upmarket home where she plays a key role in
See full article at The Guardian - Film News »

The Handmaiden movie review: the women pushing back against misogyny, thwarted by their own film

MaryAnn’s quick take… The intrigue, shifting alliances, and twisted revenge? Delicious, pulpy fun. The male-gazey soft-core porn that undermines the female protagonists? Not so much. I’m “biast” (pro): I’m desperate for stories about women

I’m “biast” (con): nothing

I have not read the source material

(what is this about? see my critic’s minifesto)

In Japanese-occupied 1930s Korea, a Korean con man (Jung-woo Ha) and a Korean pickpocket (Tae-ri Kim) conspire to steal the fortune of sheltered Japanese heiress Lady Hideko (Min-hee Kim). He will pose as “Count Fujiwara” and woo Hideko, while thief Sook-Hee will become Hideko’s shy new maid “Tamako” and convince the lady to run off with the handsome and romantic count instead of marrying her hideous widowed uncle-by-marriage Kouzuki (Jin-woong Jo), who of course is (also) only after his niece’s money. The plan is, after “Fujiwara” and Hideko are wed,
See full article at FlickFilosopher »

Park Chan-Wook’s ‘The Handmaiden’ is Now Available on Amazon Prime Video

From Park Chan-wook, the celebrated director of Oldboy, Lady Vengeance, Thirst and Stoker, comes a ravishing new crime drama inspired by the novel ‘Fingersmith’ by British author Sarah Waters.

Having transposed the story to 1930s-era colonial Korea and Japan, Park presents a gripping and sensual tale of a young Japanese Lady living on a secluded estate, and a Korean woman who is hired to serve as her new handmaiden, but who is secretly involved in a conman’s plot to defraud her of her large inheritance.

Powered by remarkable performances from Kim Min-hee (Right Now, Wrong Then) as Lady Hideko, Ha Jung-woo (The Chaser) as the conman who calls himself the Count and sensational debut actress Kim Tae-ri as the maid Sookee, The Handmaiden borrows the most dynamic elements of its source material and combines it with Park Chan-wook’s singular vision and energy to create an unforgettable viewing experience.
See full article at AsianMoviePulse »

Movie Review – The Handmaiden (2016)

The Handmaiden, 2016.

Directed by Park Chan-wook

Starring Min-hee Kim, Tae-ri Kim, Jung-woo Ha, and Jin-woong Jo.

Synopsis:

Japanese heiress Hideko employs a new handmaiden, Sook-hee, but what she doesn’t know is that the girl is a pickpocket. She’s been recruited by a con artist who aims to marry her mistress and swindle her out of her fortune. The plot seems to be going according to plan, until Hideko starts to fall for her maid.

For Victorian England, read Korea under Japanese occupation in the 1930s. Oldboy director Park Chan-wook has taken Sarah Waters’ 2002 novel Fingersmith and changed its location and timing, turning it into luxurious thriller with more twists and turns than the writhing octopus that one of the characters keeps crammed into an all-too-small tank. The result is The Handmaiden, the director’s first Korean film after Stoker.

Sook-hee (Tae-ri Kim) comes from poverty, the daughter of a notorious pickpocket.
See full article at Flickeringmyth »

The Handmaiden Shows Two Faces through Video-on-demand Today!

Director Park Chan-wook's (Oldboy, 2003) The Handmaiden is releasing on Amazon Prime, today. The film is a bit of a genre bender, with elements of mystery, erotica and crime drama appearing. Shot in Korean and the Japanese language, the film is being offered, exclusively on Amazon Prime, with English subtitles. Kim Min-hee, Ha Jung-woo, Kim Tae-ri and Cho Jin-woong star in this feature. Based on Sarah Waters' novel Fingersmith, the film involves a conspiracy to rob a woman of her large inheritance, through any means necessary. A trailer and release details, for The Handmaiden, are hosted here. For more on the story, a Japanese lady lives in a secluded estate. A Korean woman is hired as a handmaiden, on this estate. Sookee (Tae-ri Kim) is working with a local conman, Count Fujiwara (Ha Jung-woo), to strip Lady Hideko of her wealth. But, Lady Hideko has plans of her own.
See full article at 28 Days Later Analysis »

The Handmaiden review – suspense thriller drenched with sex | Peter Bradshaw's film of the week

Park Chan-wook’s adaptation of Sarah Waters’ novel Fingersmith, relocated to 1930s Korea, is an erotic triumph – with a whiplash twist

With his erotic classic In the Realm of the Senses from 1976, the Japanese director Nagisa Oshima achieved the distinction of popularising auto-erotic strangling in the Us. Will Korean film-maker Park Chan-wook’s The Handmaiden be able to claim anything comparable? This film’s addictive and outrageous sexiness might just create an international fad for filing down your lover’s crooked tooth in the bath with the finely serrated surface of a thimble. It’s a quasi blowjob scene that sounds bizarre in print. On screen, it was so extraordinary that I almost forgot to breathe.

Related: The Handmaiden: the return of erotic cinema

Continue reading...
See full article at The Guardian - Film News »

Park Chan-wook interview: The Handmaiden, film critics

Ryan Lambie Apr 14, 2017

Eminent director Park Chan-wook talks to us about the themes in his new film, The Handmaiden, and lots and more...

One day, science will finally deliver us the electronic equivalent of a Babel fish: a little device you can put in your ear that will interpret and translate your words as they're spoken. That way, people from opposing planet will be able to hold fluid conversations despite speaking completely different languages.

See related  Celebrating Deadwood Timothy Olyphant interview: Justified, Deadwood & more...

This sprang to mind as we sat down with Park Chan-wook, the Korean director of films as Oldboy, Stoker and I'm A Cyborg, But That's Ok. Despite the stunning mental agility of a translator, who renders my mumblings in to Korean and Director Park's responses into English, the back-and-forth is painfully slow. All of this explains why the interview below, despite lasting 20 minutes, only contains a
See full article at Den of Geek »

The Handmaiden review

Oldboy director Park Chan-wook returns with The Handmaiden - an erotic thriller that is downright unmissable...

There’s a lush, operatic quality to Park Chan-wook’s movies, whether they’re dealing with vampires (2009's Thirst) or bitter tales of revenge (Sympathy For Mr Vengeance, Oldboy). The director brings his unwavering eye for minute detail to The Handmaiden, a deliciously lurid thriller which takes Sarah Waters' British novel, Fingersmith, and moves it to 1940s Korea.

See related Kingsman: The Golden Circle adds Vinnie Jones

At first, it looks as though we’re in for an intimate little chamber piece about a demure handmaiden, her wealthy young Japanese mistress and the latter’s suitor, a handsome nobleman who teaches her how to draw and paint. A passionate love triangle develops between them; Lady Hideko (Kim Min-hee) and Count Fujiwara (Ha Jung-woo) are engaged to marry, yet a frisson of sexual chemistry
See full article at Den of Geek »

Exclusive: Park Chan-wook on The Handmaiden, getting in touch with his feminine side & criticising the male gaze

Author: Stefan Pape

Renowned primarily for his contemporary classic Oldboy, Park Chan-wook has just crafted one of his very best yet, with the sumptuous, electric thriller The Handmaiden. When the film played at the London Film Festival we were fortunate enough to be granted some time with this ingenious auteur, to discuss this indelible piece of cinema, which owes a lot to the success of the filmmaker’s seminal piece – which helped establish South Korea as a shining light in world cinema.

Sat down next to his translator, Park took a somewhat more modest view, claiming it’s the work of other directors from his homeland which have allowed for the industry to flourish, and see budgets for films such as The Handmaiden now be available to filmmakers.

“I may have been somewhat responsible for Korean films being discovered outside of Korea, but in terms of filmmakers who impacted the
See full article at HeyUGuys »

Sarah Waters: ‘The Handmaiden turns pornography into a spectacle – but it's true to my novel'

Waters’ hit novel Fingersmith, about a lesbian love affair in Victorian England, has been transported to 1930s Korea for a new film. The author explains how it remains faithful to her original

“‘You pearl,’ I said. So white she was.” With these words, Sarah Waters confirmed the arrival of a world-class writer capable of turning conventional literary erotics upside-down and inside-out. The dialogue is uttered in a scene of lesbian lovemaking that has been cited by both male and female, gay and heterosexual commentators as one of the sexiest encounters in literature.

Waters’ first two novels, Tipping the Velvet and Affinity, had signalled a powerful new voice in lesbian fiction, but Fingersmith took it to a new level, its kaleidoscopic prose and structure creating a dizzying variety of desires and perspectives. Shortlisted for the Booker prize, it was one of David Bowie’s 100 must-read novels and has had a lusty afterlife in theatre and TV.
See full article at The Guardian - Film News »

Sarah Waters: ‘The Handmaiden turns pornography into a spectacle – but it's true to my novel'

Waters’ hit novel Fingersmith, about a lesbian love affair in Victorian England, has been transported to 1930s Korea for a new film. The author explains how it remains faithful to her original

“‘You pearl,’ I said. So white she was.” With these words, Sarah Waters confirmed the arrival of a world-class writer capable of turning conventional literary erotics upside-down and inside-out. The dialogue is uttered in a scene of lesbian lovemaking that has been cited by both male and female, gay and heterosexual commentators as one of the sexiest encounters in literature.

Waters’ first two novels, Tipping the Velvet and Affinity, had signalled a powerful new voice in lesbian fiction, but Fingersmith took it to a new level, its kaleidoscopic prose and structure creating a dizzying variety of desires and perspectives. Shortlisted for the Booker prize, it was one of David Bowie’s 100 must-read novels and has had a lusty afterlife in theatre and TV.
See full article at The Guardian - TV News »
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