REVIEW: Nosferatu, eine Symphonie des Grauens [Nosferatu] [1922]

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“Does this word not sound like the deathbird calling your name at midnight?” Every copy of F.W. Murnau‘s Nosferatu, eine Symphonie des Grauens [Nosferatu] should have been destroyed. It was with good reason too considering the German based production house Prana hired Henrik Galeen to “loosely” adapt Bram Stoker‘s Dracula without permission. The estate sued […]

REVIEW: 百日紅 [Sarusuberi: Miss Hokusai] [Miss Hokusai] [2015]

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“That nutty old man is my father” Japanese artist Katsushika Hokusai‘s “Thirty-Six Views of Mount Fuji” series is one of my favorite works of art with “The Great Wave off Kanagawa” being its unforgettable cornerstone. Even so, I never thought to myself, “Why hasn’t anyone made a movie about his life?” If you’ve seen one […]

REVIEW: 아가씨 [Ah-ga-ssi] [The Handmaiden] [2016]

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“The snake marks the bounds of knowledge” As soon as I began walking out of the theater after 아가씨 [Ah-ga-ssi] [The Handmaiden], a friend and fellow critic asked if I was the one laughing. I said, “Yes.” Parts Two and Three (of three) were legitimately funny—I’d say intentionally so. All of Chan-wook Park‘s films are […]

REVIEW: En man som heter Ove [A Man Called Ove] [2015]

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“Sometimes, however, honesty needs a little assistance” Despite being rated PG-13 due to a liberal use of the word “shit,” En man som heter Ove [A Man Called Ove] is still one of the most full-hearted family-friendly dramedies of the year. I’d even say it’s the live action version of Up you’ve waited for since […]

REVIEW: L’ultimo bacio [The Last Kiss] [2001]

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“With pounds of cellulite and all your insecurities” I really want to love Gabriele Muccino‘s Italian blockbuster of a rom-com L’ultimo bacio [The Last Kiss] because it is funny, charming, complicated, and hopeful. My issue lies in the fact that it’s also awful in its depictions of selfish ego and weak indifference. Maybe this is […]

REVIEW: 残菊物語 [Zangiku monogatari] [The Story of the Last Chrysanthemum] [1939]

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“Wait for me” Writer/director Kenji Mizoguchi‘s Meiji period-set film about a struggling Kabuki actor and his devoted wife, 残菊物語 [Zangiku monogatari] [The Story of the Last Chrysanthemum], is a heartbreaking display of love’s power to endure no matter the external forces trying to extinguish it. For Kikunosuke Onoue (Shôtarô Hanayagi), the adoptive child of master […]

TIFF16 REVIEW: La Mujer del Animal [The Animal’s Wife] [2016]

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“What am I paying for?” Colombia’s tourism department won’t be sanctioning Víctor Gaviria‘s La Mujer del Animal [The Animal’s Wife] anytime soon and I definitely will never be visiting to see how accurate a depiction of life there it proves. This film is two-hours of sadism at the hands of Tito Alexander Gómez Arias’ Libardo […]

TIFF16 REVIEW: Indivisibili [Indivisible] [2016]

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“Can we at least see what’s possible?” It starts off so magically with conjoined twins Dasy (Angela Fontana) and Viola (Marianna Fontana) bringing hope and the word of God to the unfortunate souls languishing in poverty just north of Naples, Italy. They’re blissful when singing, eating up the attention and love from their parents Peppe […]

TIFF16 REVIEW: טהורה לעד [Tehora la’ad] [Forever Pure] [2016]

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“My heart will always stay yellow and black” Just when you think it can’t get worse—that the vocal, racist minority spewing bile will be extinguished in a show of tide-turning empathy—everything is literally engulfed in flames as a city watches it burn to cheers from a cesspool of hate. This is the 2012-2013 season for […]

TIFF16 REVIEW: Bar Bahar [In Between] [2016]

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“Don’t let on that you know what you’re doing” It’s Tel Aviv in 2016 and the parties are wild. Drinking, dancing, snorting, kissing—it’s time for twenty-year olds to have fun and be alive. But whereas in America you’d get looks of jealousy at best or judgment at worst, culture dictates heavier consequences for three Palestinian […]

TIFF16 REVIEW: Kati Kati [2016]

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“You’re here because you’re dead” Most of cinema’s best films are those that do rather than explain. These works are created by artists wielding airtight concepts insofar as attaining their goal of delivering a specific, emotion-fueled message. Kenyan creative Mbithi Masya‘s feature debut Kati Kati is a perfect example of what can be made when […]