At the 2006 Toronto International Film Festival blissfully far from any rivers concealing flesh-eating aquatic life forms I spoke (through a translator) with Bong Joon-ho, director and cowriter of The Host.
SFBG I've read that you make films you yourself want to see. Are you a fan of monster movies, and have you always been?
BONG JOON-HO I'm a fan of several monster films, but I was not necessarily fascinated exclusively by them. Read more »
Sitting in the theater the other night, it was with both great relief and great sadness that I realized I felt zero obligation to work out what was going on in David Lynch's Inland Empire. The movie practically dares you to be stupid enough to try, so I didn't. At first all I felt was the relief -- what a pleasure to let the movie's New Orleans funeral procession of words, sounds, images, and performances roll along without having to ask the left side of my brain to do anything. Read more »
First things fuckin' first: I know I'm not the only film fan who's still pissed about Crash winning over Brokeback Mountain in 2006's Best Picture race. In fact, let's change the subject before I punch the nearest preachy ensemble drama (look out, Babel!). Cinemaniacs actually have a bigger problem this year, with the prospect of an Academy Awards ceremony chockablock with predetermined winners. Read more »
Tonight's episode of ABC's Wife Swap pits Iowa farm family the Haigwoods (apocalypse-fixated and obsessed with raw food, they even eat raw meat; the kids are home-schooled and spend all day working on the farm; they don't clean their home because they think germs are helpful -- and that manure can cure cancer) and San Francisco sophisticates the Hess-Webbs (neat freaks who eat out several times a week and put great emphasis on their clothing and appearance).
Naturally, the sparks (essential in Wife Swap, which tee Read more »
Just outside Las Vegas sits a solitary phone booth, as isolated as the restaurant at the end of the universe. Despite its unlikely location, it's a magnet for lost souls; they appear at odd hours to pounce on the ringing receiver and chat with Greta (Shani Wallis), a mysterious, husky-voiced dispenser of advice and moral support. Read more »
I thought for sure the next Werner Herzog movie I'd be writing about would be Rescue Dawn, a harrowing POW drama (and a remake of his 1997 documentary, Little Dieter Needs to Fly) due out in late March. Read more »
TRASH TALKING BIO, TAKE ONE There are so many exquisite moments in steward Desmond Atholl's tell-all that tells all. This ain't no roman à clef, in other words; it's a cutting, richly detailed, tension-filled diary of overseeing the Marlo Thomas–Phil Donahue household. Neither my favorite chapter title ("Free to Be ... Read more »
KIDS' TV GONE WILD There's a scene in Half Nelson a top contender for most depressing scene in a movie loaded with 'em in which Dan, Ryan Gosling's drugged-out high school teacher, trudges home for a meal with his post-hippie parents. As the evening shuffles into boozy awkwardness, his mom throws Free to Be ... You and Me on the hi-fi, and the sounds of "It's All Right to Cry" fill the house. It's the perfect choice for so many reasons; for Dan, a product of the 1970s, any song off that iconic '72 album would signal bittersweet nostalgia. Read more »
I've been at the Guardian awhile -- it'll be eight years next month, in fact. I started as a fresh-faced, eager intern, and since 1999 I've met many other fresh-faced, eager interns, intent on careers in media or academics or giraffe-tending (for real! If you're out there, intern-who-reviewed-movies-but-was-also-a-zookeeper, email me and let me know how you're doing.) But I've only known a few who were determined to segue from film writer to filmmaker -- and one of 'em was Dina Gachman, who just finished her graduate thesis film at USC.