Wednesday, August 10

Tag: Rating: 3

Review: Shirley (2020)
Movie Review

Review: Shirley (2020)

In the recent years, Elisabeth Moss has transformed herself into a beast of an actor. Her sharp acting keeps pushing the boundaries and setting higher standards in each occasion. In the aftermath of Madmen, she quickly bounces with staggering performance in all seasons of The Handmaid's Tale before winning Palme D'Or in Ruben Östlund's The Square, and the unnerving acting in Her Smell. In 2020, she single-handedly leads Leigh Whannell's The Invisible Man into its acclaimed status. Shirley, however, presents a challenge that she manages to overcome with scintillating details in portraying Shirley Jackson, quirky horror author who writes The Haunting in the Hill House. (more…)
Review: Wet Season (2019) – Luang Prabang Film Festival 2020
Focus: Asia, Movie Review

Review: Wet Season (2019) – Luang Prabang Film Festival 2020

Back from the Camera d'Or 2013 winner, Ilo Ilo, Singaporean director, Anthony Chen returns with a similarly bittersweet, yet forgivable melodrama which picks on contemporary problem in Singapore in Wet Season. Set during the soaking monsoon season that drenches almost mercilessly, Chen puts forward his observations of Singapore's blindspots and weaves it into the story of a lonesome teacher and an abandoned teenager. Reuniting his previous film's leads, Yeo Yann Yann and Koh Jia Ler, the narrative observes their respective loneliness before finding a little sunshine in each other amidst the rainy days. (more…)
Review: The Long Walk (2019) – Luang Prabang Film Festival 2020
Focus: Asia, Movie Review

Review: The Long Walk (2019) – Luang Prabang Film Festival 2020

Laotian first and only female director, Mattie Do, rewards those who patiently follows the tangled story in her latest feature, The Long Walk, written by her frequent collaborator, Christopher Larsen. Her film dives deep into a rural Laos village, intertwines a chilling yet barely scary ghost story with time-travel tropes, and presents it with an art-house sensitivity. The connection between one element and the others isn't always bleak and the whole plot demands commitment as well as full, undivided attention; but, when the dots are connected, the rewards paid off. (more…)
Review: Extra Ordinary (2019)
Movie Review

Review: Extra Ordinary (2019)

To simply classify Enda Loughman and Mike Ahern's full-feature debut, Extra Ordinary, as a banal, non-specified, ordinary horror comedy might be an understatement through and through. There are ghosts in it, but not in a horror mood; there are jokes in it, but not of some straight gross-out mode. In fact, a woman—Maeve Higgins—stars, leads, and co-writes hearty yet ghastly comedy that isn't a product of try-hard. It's an oddball, tongue-to-cheek movie with lots of ghost and lots of heart at the same time, finding a consensus with a troublesome midlife crisis in the background. (more…)
Review: Run (2020)
Movie Review

Review: Run (2020)

After the sleeper hit, Searching (2018), everyone seems to look forward to what Aneesh Chaganty and Sev Ohanian bring for their next story. The highly anticipated follow-up, Run—starring Sarah Paulson—was announced immediately after the release of Chaganty's debut for a Mother's Day release in May 2020. After some schedule amendment, this thriller eventually streams directly on Hulu. Look closely and you will find just how close Run thematically is with Searching, in which both exudes borderless parental love in nasty thrillers that could have gone out of hand in a matter of minutes. (more…)
Review: Just 6.5 (2019)
Focus: Asia, Movie Review

Review: Just 6.5 (2019)

Peyman Moaadi (A Separation, The Night Of) stars alongside Navid Muhammadzadeh (Life and a Day) in this Iranian crime story about drug trades and the harrowing law that follows in Just 6.5 by Saeed Roustayi. Starting out with a fast-paced, neatly choreographed alley chase and concluding with a bone-chilling, man-cry ordeal, Roustayi's clear-cut action thriller with open-ended morality doesn't want to give peace in the audiences' mind—with bitter, almost sympathetic feeling lingers after almost every important conclusion in this story. With slick set pieces that draw comparisons to Hollywood's finest ones blended in with close observations of Iranian law system, making a referential gesture to political crime movie like Steven Soderbergh's Traffic, this is the kind of crime movie that won'...
Review: John Denver Trending (2019)
Focus: Asia, Movie Review

Review: John Denver Trending (2019)

When the internet was first introduced in the Philippines in 1994, nobody would have thought that, at least two decades later, its widespread impact would be massive and life-changing. Nobody would have imagined that an ordinary teenager from a farming village in a rural provincial area would become a nationwide, online sensation overnight. Everything about him becomes a trending topic; even people would want the president to know about him—but not for any good reason, any good cause, or any good aftermath. (more…)
Review: My Extraordinary Summer with Tess (2019)
Movie Review

Review: My Extraordinary Summer with Tess (2019)

It's a summer holiday in a sea-surrounded Dutch island. A 10-year-old boy, Sam (Sonny van Utteren), overthinking the possibility that she might someday the last surviving member of his family, is preparing for the worst. During Sam's trial for loneliness, he encounters the manic pixie 11-yearl-old girl, Tess (Josephine Arendsen), who somehow prepares for the best. Gradually, things start to move on to quite an unpredictable direction for both prepubescent children and that titular, extraordinary summer is about to unravel. (more…)
Review: Roh / Soul (2019)
Focus: Asia, Movie Review

Review: Roh / Soul (2019)

Unlike most horrors from the regions, Malaysia's submission for the 93rd Academy Awards, Roh (a.k.a. Soul), is a kind of horror that favor creeping atmosphere and a storm of uncertainty to deliver the scare. It's only the second film by Kuman Pictures—an indie studio focusing on low-budget horror—and the directorial debut for Emir Ezwan (previously known as visual effect supervisor for One Two Jaga). However, this folk horror shows prominent composure and confidence in delivering an unlikely horror story that effectively works on several layers at once. (more…)
Review: Beginning (2020)
Movie Review

Review: Beginning (2020)

Beginning starts with flame that burns down a Jehovah's Witness community's Kingdom Hall in a small, provincial town in Georgia. It's a result of a coordinated attack by a religious extremist group—members of the vast majority who claim to have been disturbed by the minority's religious activity. Amidst the horizontal conflict, Yana (Ia Sukhitashvili), wife of the community leader (Rati Oneli), finds herself slipping deeper in an existential crisis engulfing her marital and parental duties as well. She helplessly watches her life crumbles from the inside as she tries to make sense of her desires and repeatedly punishes herself each time she has the thoughts. Each punishment feels more severe than the last; before long, the film concludes with dust and that's where Beginning's thought-prov...
Review: She Dies Tomorrow (2020)
Movie Review

Review: She Dies Tomorrow (2020)

Amy Seimetz's new visionary story, She Dies Tomorrow, is nothing less enigmatic than her previous foray, Sun Don't Shine (2012). The baffling narrative comes together as if she's still co-starring in Shane Carruth's similarly mystifying feature, Upstream Color—an anxiety inducing sci-fi that feels like a psychotic dream. It is a film that focuses on an unknown fear which immediately crawls upon your skin and never lets you go as it becomes more baffling as it goes. With this, Seimetz showcases her bold and original storytelling prowess almost mercilessly. (more…)
Review: One Careful Owner / El Inconveniente (2020)
Movie Review

Review: One Careful Owner / El Inconveniente (2020)

Adapted from Juan Carlos Rubio's acclaimed play in Spain, 100 Metros Cuadrados—in which the playwright also co-writes with Bernabé Rico, One Careful Owner a.k.a. El Inconveniente is an unexpected character study masqueraded as a dry comedy. As it turns out, Rico's full-feature debut is a little, rewarding treat for those giving this movie a chance. In a dialogue-heavy, limited-setting fashion, the movie takes everyone by surprise—delivering an emotionally genuine portrayal of human longing for connection and companion in the direst moment. (more…)
Review: Wolfwalkers (2020)
Movie Review

Review: Wolfwalkers (2020)

With The Secret of Kells, Song of the Sea, and The Breadwinner all nominated in various Oscars seasons, Irish animation studio, Cartoon Saloon, keeps on knocking on the door. Along with American stop-motion studio, Laika, the studio has established themselves as serious contenders for prominent names like Pixar, Dreamworks, and even Ghibli. Their new animated feature, Wolfwalkers, directed by their first-in-commande, Tomm Moore, and veteran art director, Ross Stewart, is likely to be following the path of its predecessors with its heartwarming story and compelling visuals. (more…)
Review: Kajillionaire (2020)
Movie Review

Review: Kajillionaire (2020)

Welcome to Miranda July's idiosyncratic come-back with another quirky bandwagon, Kajillionaire, exactly nine years after the filmmaker's last foray into oddball cinema with The Future. Her new movie works on multiple layers and, at some points, functions like a wicked fairy tale that doesn't exhaust the dose of everything beyond ordinary—from soap-soaked house to a nine-year-late 17th birthday party. Framed as a con-artist drama, the plot might have inhabited the world that looks real, but normal characters are scare and that's what to expect from this movie. (more…)
Review: Sweat (2020)
Movie Review

Review: Sweat (2020)

In Magnus von Horn's Sweat, newcomer Magdalena Kolesnik breaks into the movie frenetically, portraying Sylwia Zajac—an Instagram personality and a workout guru with approximately 600,000 followers. Taking the center stage in the movie's highly energetic opening, adeptly choreographed and staged, Sylwia is a powerhouse in the internet and in real life. We can feel the energy that she brings as she keeps calling her disciples "kochanie" ("sweetheart" or "darling" in Polish) and spreading positivity whenever she can. The opening sequence shows just how influential the main character is—how powerful is her motivation and how people would like to be like her. And yet, this is the grandest and the most lively the movie would ever be; because what follows is a milder character study to unravel h...

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