It's no secret that I've been looking forward to Lars von Trier's Nymphomaniac, but now my anticipation has climaxed. Above is one of many posters showing the cast in the moment of their little death. Other contenders for the best - Stellan Skarsgaard's angrily defiant orgasm, and Uma Thurman's far-away stare. Check out the rest here.
I'm far less confident about Spike Lee's remake of Oldboy. From the moment I first heard about it until the release date of the trailer, I figured that it was going to either be a magnificent failure or a surprising triumph. Even though he hasn't hit the same high-marks he did in the '90s, he still made Inside Job and 25th Hour at the dawn of this millennium. But, starting with the trailer, it seems more likely that Lee is Americanizing the parts of Oldboy that may have best been left alone. Somehow, scenes like the intensely culture-specific consumption of the squid have remained in Lee's version, while the background now features a sexy assassin and a promotional campaign littered with posters of political events during each year of Josh Brolin's captivity.
My prediction - Lee is using the base components of Oldboy to comment on how America has entered a state of arrested development because of its past sins and is unwilling to accept the truth about its place in the world. This ties into the source film's preoccupation with revenging slights, be they real or imagined, and with an unhealthy obsession with protecting the assumed purity of every young woman. I hope to be wrong about this prediction, just like I hope that Lee's Oldboy is a raving success, but it's starting to develop an unhealthy odor.
Tomorrow I'll return with a review of Paul Feig's new comedy with Melissa McCarthy and Sandra Bullock, The Heat.