Recent Blog Posts



All Recent Posts

Busan Cinematheque Goes Wild for Wilder


The Apartment

THE APARTMENT (1960)

Directed by: Billy Wilder

Starring: Jack Lemmon, Shirley MacLaine, Fred MacMurray

Where: Busan Cinematheque

When: Saturday March 28 at 14:00, Thursday April 2 at 17:10, Friday April 10 at 13:00

It’s easy to mistake “The Apartment” for a fairly simple and light-hearted romantic comedy, one of many that came out of Hollywood during the 40s and 50s (a number of which were directed by legendary director Billy Wilder himself). Yet, beneath its smooth surface, the film is actually quite subversive.

C.C. Baxter (Jack Lemmon) is a young insurance salesman trying to rise in the company ranks by lending the key to his apartment to the higher-ups, who take turns bringing girls there for a little hanky-panky. Soon enough though, things start disrupting his personal life.

Wilder spends the first act exploiting this amusing situation for laughs. Baxter is frequently unable to get into his own apartment when all he wants to do is take a long-deserved rest. Meanwhile, the landlady and neighbors - who already have him pinned for a duplicitous ladies man on account of all the women that come over - grow increasingly suspicious of what’s going on next-door.

However, what begins as a harmless romp quickly takes on a more critical tone. The film presents the business executive - the ideal American man - as self-serving and immoral. Baxter’s sleazeball superiors are brutish, ass-grabbing womanizers who cheat on their wives and lie to their lovers. But their biggest character flaw is their lack of humanity, which serves as a wider indictment against the heartless capitalist system that encourages and even rewards dubious behavior. The protagonist seems to be the only caring and considerate person in the giant skyscraper where he works, but as the saying goes, “nice guys finish last.”

Unlike Wilder’s other comedies, the film openly addresses some serious taboos in addition to its assault on core American values. While “The Seven Year Itch” (1955) and “Some Like It Hot” (1959) previously touched upon what was controversial subject matter at the time, both movies play it relatively safe by keeping it all in good fun. In “The Apartment,” the humor is supplanted by a sobering act of desperation - the female lead’s attempted suicide. What’s more, adultery is treated in a completely casual manner, implying that it’s more common than people like to admit.

This analysis may turn off some viewers who just want a couple hours of wholesome entertainment. Well, look no further. You don’t have to read into the film so much to enjoy it. At face value, “The Apartment” is a delectable movie that showcases the talent and charm of its two stars, Jack Lemmon and Shirley MacLaine.

Rating: 74/100

Will Obama legalize marijuana?

During an online town hall meeting yesterday, Barack Obama was asked if legalizing, and then taxing marijuana would help the U.S. economy.And, like the previous two White House occupants, when given the "legalize marijuana" question, Obama shifted right into the 3-step presidential response --straight out of the "Now You're the President! Inauguration Day Handbook."Step 1: First, employ a

What happens if Japan shoots down North Korea's missile?

With the Japanese government officially confirming they will shoot down any threatening North Korean missile like it was a South Korean hanging curve ball, the world watches and waits.Myself, I have a macabre vision of Kim Jong-il standing at the launch pad with a can of spray paint, christening his latest phallic symbol, "Archduke Francis Ferdinand."A possible scenario:Japan shoots down "The

Conservatives vs. Liberals: The Greatest Show on Earth

While the Federal Reserve in Washington and the Central Bank in London continue their decades-old (for the Brits centuries-old) game of fleecing the world, we do at least have the consolation of some fine entertainment on the main stage in America.Watching the Anglo-based alchemists, dressed as "conservatives" and "liberals", with their newly appointed, melanin-rich-middle-man, Barack Obama, and

Who is the photo editor at the International Herald Tribune?

This gem of a front page photo depicting Japan's victory in the WBC final was in the International Herald Tribune today. Was this the best shot they could come up with?I don't know, times are tough as prominent print media outlets duke it out for online readers. Maybe the IHT is hoping to broaden their readership into the lucrative proctology demographic? Or, perhaps, it is a nod to Korean

Burn After Reading, The Reader, Milk In Theatres Everywhere Thursday


Burn After Reading

BURN AFTER READING

Directed by: The Coen brothers

Starring: George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Tilda Swinton, Frances McDormand, John Malkovitch

Release Date: March 26

“Burn After Reading” is one of few black-comedies that directly tackles the post-911 era - “Team America: World Police” (2004) is the only other one that comes to mind. And who better to make fun of the folly of our troubled times than the devious Coen brothers?

Milk

MILK

Directed by: Gus Van Sant

Starring: Sean Penn, James Franco, Josh Brolin

Release Date: March 26

If you’re already an avid reader of this blog, you’ll know that I thoroughly disliked this biopic about the first openly gay man elected to office in the United States. Gus Van Sant returns to the generic filmmaking style he adopted in “Good Will Hunting (1997) and “Finding Forrester” (2000) after making a handful of artsier movies - “Gerry,” (2002) “Elephant,” (2003) “Last Days,” (2005) and “Paranoid Park” (2007).  Though the latter films weren’t necessarily good, they were at least significantly more interesting in terms of technique. “Milk” is just so bland, like a regular glass without a spoonful of cocoa or a cookie to go with it.

The Reader

THE READER

Directed by: Stephen Daldry

Starring: Kate Winslet, Ralph Fiennes

Release Date: March 26

I know what you’re thinking: “Ugh! Another movie about Nazis and the horrible things they did during World War II.” Someone really needs to declare a moratorium on these kinds of dramas, but for now let’s just look at what “The Reader” has to offer - two stellar actors in the male and female leads, and a capable filmmaker (I’m a sucker for Stephen Daldry’s previous film, “The Hours”). Still, by broaching this subject, movies like these have the added challenge of saying something new or different in an original way. And that’s never easy.

Did nationalism cost Korea the WBC title against Japan?

The buzz making the rounds in the baseball world following Korea's 10th inning loss to Japan in the WBC, is whether Korean nationalism superceded sound baseball strategy.Purely from a baseball perspective Korea's approach in pitching to Ichiro Suzuki, one of the worlds premiere hitters, looked a bit, well, either naive or nationalistic. Like a manager more concerned with losing face than losing

China says "Jump!" South Africa asks, "How high?"

In case you doubted that the world is forever locked in a state of contradiction, cast your eyes towards South Africa's banning of the Dalai Lama from a peace conference in Johannesburg. When I first heard about it two words came immediately to mind: "Irony" and "Idiocy."That the government of a people who fought so long and so hard to rid themselves of colonial suppression would ban the world's

Pages

Subscribe to Koreabridge MegaBlog Feed