A few years ago, I worked with a college professor who said that the key to understanding creativity is to take two familiar things, combine them, and try to create some third new thing out of the process. That seems to be the idea behind Icarnate, Blumhouse Productions’ latest horror film. Take one part The Conjuring, one part The Cell, and sprinkle in a handful of familiar veteran actors, and what do you get? Hopefully a smart piece of counter-programming just in time for the the holidays.
Back around Christmastime, the well-regarded genre-defiers Radiohead revealed that they had recorded their own theme for the latest James Bond picture, Spectre. It was baffling, not just because their composition was swooningly beautiful, but because the Spectre team ultimately ended up going with Sam Smith, instantly agreed upon as one of the lesser Bond theme singers. But that’s all peanuts compared to the latest gross injustice from the world of film soundtracking, with greater effrontery dealt to an even more esteemed statesman of rock.
After making his English-language debut with Stoker, Park Chan-wook returned to his native South Korea for The Handmaiden, a sensual and gracefully twisted new film that is equal parts clever thriller and, surprisingly enough, romantic drama. To say that this is his best film to date is an astonishing suggestion — this is the man behind Oldboy, after all — but a second viewing validated my belief that it is his masterpiece. As a longtime fan, I was anxious to interview Director Park, who was far less intimidating than I had imagined. He is warm and gracious, and spent the duration slowly pacing around the room (in a great sweater, by the way), speaking his thoughts to a translator with the patient consideration of someone dictating a heartfelt letter.
American Horror Story Season 6 may not have built up its premise going in, but the first five episodes made a solid case for exploring Roanoke’s meta-twist further. That is, until Season 6 pivoted into an even more fourth-wall breaking format, of which Ryan Murphy now explains “we realized … there were no stakes.”
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