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The Host

(Korea, English subtitles): I know that a lot of people have probably already seen this one, but I missed it, and I have been doing a Bong Joon-Ho movie-watching binge, and here we are. Kang-du is a single father of Hyun-seo; both live with his father. Kang-du appears to be narcoleptic, falling asleep at the window of the little store his father owns. One day, as he is delivering food to a customer outside, a slimy fish-lizard like creature arises from the river and creates mayhem and, at the same time, takes Hyun-seo. The remainder of the film is about the family’s search for Hyun-seo. This is another one of my favorite Joon-Ho films. As is his custom, he mashes together a few genres – it is part monster movie, reminiscent of the old Japanese films like Godzilla; part social satire, which is timely given the current pandemic; and a really funny comedy. The process of the search brings out family dysfunctions and jealousies that are hilarious to watch. The comedy often turns quickly very serious, then funny again. My favorite scene for this tone shift is when Kang-du is in a hospital getting ready for a procedure that is supposed to help detect and rid him of “the virus”. The director is such a master at this technique. I was completely entertained, and if you like those old monster movies, and you like Bong Joon-Ho, definitely watch it if you have not seen it. Big thumbs up from me. (2006; 4.5 Stars)

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