New in Home Entertainment – January 24, 2017

New in Home Entertainment

January 24, 2017

The Handmaiden
NR (But most likely would have been NC-17 if rated)
Language: Korean with English Subtitles
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 94%
Park Chan-wook, the brilliant South Korean director behind Thirst and Stoker, gives us this sexy new crime drama set in Korea under Japanese colonial rule. The story follows a conniving “count” who wants to marry a rich young girl only to have her committed so he can steal her inheritance. To help him with his plan, he hires a fellow con artist to become her handmaiden for some inside assistance. For much of the first act, I began to wonder if Chan-wook has gone Merchant Ivory on us; but alas, once the story gets going, it evolves into one of his most ferociously twisted tales yet, full of multiple unexpected turns, savage violence and extremely graphic sex. That being said, if you are even slightly turned off by the last sentence, you need to leave this one alone. Then again, if you are a Chan-wook fan already or just love great movies of any kind regardless of subject, you might just come to love this one. A-

The Monster
Rated R for language and some violence/terror
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 78%
Zoe Kazan (Ruby Sparks) is a divorced mother who makes a late night trek to drive her young daughter to live with her father when their car crashes and they are stranded on a desolate highway with a creature that won’t let them escape. While it looks on the outside like an outright monster movie, the film plays surprisingly like an R Rated version of the similarly titled “A Monster Calls,” where the monster may or may not be real, but the pain and coping mechanism very much are. In this case, the mother struggles with alcoholism, which has greatly impacted her daughter. In spite of reasonably good reviews, the film is basically straight to home entertainment, probably because it is too smart for the genre it is pretending to be in. While there is plenty of gore and some decent scares, the film makes you question everything you’ve see – after you see it. B