With movie houses closed down and social distancing in full force, what do movie lovers do? We turn to streaming videos on TV. My 65-inch 4K high-def smart television is pumped up with dozens of apps offering Netflix, Amazon Prime, AT&T TV Now, Acorn, Britbox, Pluto, HBO Now, Comedy Central, Amazing Classics, Disney+, and several others.
You may not have as many on your TV set, but it’s easy to subscribe to Netflix or Hulu, or buy an Amazon Firestick or whatever.
And the studios are moving those feature films that were in theaters directly to TV. On Amazon Prime, I can watch “Upward” or “Emma” or “The Hunt” just as if they were playing at the Regal or Carmack or your local emporium. The price is about the same as two movie tickets or sometimes half as much or other times free.
So, this week I decided to take a critical look at “Parasite,” (original title: “Gisaengchung”), the South Korean film written and directed by Bong Joon Ho. It’s notable since it won this year’s Academy Award for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Original Screenplay, and Best International Feature. I found it on Prime, Apple TV, Fandingo, and several other services for $5.99 – all I had to do was pop my own kettle corn and press the red button on my remote.
“Parasite” has subtitles, having been filmed in Korea. You might call it a drama or black comedy or thriller. Even a horror film. But the concept grabs you, f’sure.
There’s an echo of “Heartbreakers” or “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels” – con men out to pull a fast one.
In this case, it’s a lower-class family (son, daughter, dad, mom) who ingratiate themselves into the household of a wealthy family. With forged papers Kevin gets a job as an English tutor, recommends his sister Jennifer as an art therapist, sets up the family’s chauffer to get Dad the job, bamboozles the family into hiring Mom as housekeeper. All is well; everybody is happy. Our family of tricksters are living large. And the wealthy family is pleased with the great service that makes their life easier.
However, things go awry when the old housekeeper returns to reveal a secret.
No spoilers here, but blood will flow.
I’d put this into the same category as Jordan Poole’s “Get Out,” a family setting where something is off kilter, danger lurking just below the surface.
Will you like it? The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences did. So, did the judges at Cannes, awarding it the Palm d’Or. It also scored wins with the Golden Globes, BAFTA, and Screen Actors Guild.
What’s not to like?
… other than you had to see it at home and not in a plush theater seat.