REVIEW: 뫼비우스 [Moebiuseu] [Moebius] [2013]

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“Whole body is genital” If the whole “you’ll go blind” line doesn’t detract your kid from masturbating, controversial writer/director Ki-duk Kim has the solution. Just because the son in뫼비우스 [Moebiuseu] [Moebius] attracts the ire of his mother specifically due to his coveting the woman his father is having an affair with doesn’t lessen its impact. […]

NYAFF14 REVIEW: 白ゆき姫殺人事件 [Shirayuki hime Satsujin Jiken] [The Snow White Murder Case] [2014]

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“She’s just that kind of person” Based on a 2012 novel written by Kanae Minato, 白ゆき姫殺人事件 [Shirayuki hime Satsujin Jiken] [The Snow White Murder Case] is very much a product of our time. A satirical take on the Twitter age that also to a point provides a compelling murder mystery reminiscent of Gillian Flynn‘s Gone […]

NYAFF14 REVIEW: 風暴 [Fung bou] [Firestorm] [2013]

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“Do you have evidence?” For fifty minutes—minus one crazy hand-to-hand combat fight on top of a fallen metal gate suspended over two adjacent buildings’ fire escapes in midair—writer/director Alan Yuen‘s 風暴 [Fung bou] [Firestorm] is a fast paced actioner that fearlessly goes to the darkest corners Hollywood never would. After it crosses that threshold of […]

NYAFF14 REVIEW: 失魂 [Shi hun] [Soul] [2013]

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“I watch the wind and, dreamlike, vanish” Described in equal measure as a slasher horror and psychological meditation on the soul—whether from demonic possession, reincarnation, or both—Taiwan’s entry for the 86th Academy Awards ultimately proves difficult to categorize at all. Mong-Hong Chung‘s 失魂[Shi hun] [Soul] may in fact be better labeled as a drama about […]

REVIEW: Tore tanzt [Nothing Bad Can Happen] [2013]

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“Sometimes you have to defend yourself” I don’t believe it’s a coincidence that the words “Inspired by true events” only appear onscreen at the end of Tore tanzt [Nothing Bad Can Happen]. The move might be specific to its American release since events as atrocious as those depicted are hardly the type to remain unknown […]

REVIEW: Ida [2013]

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“Why am I not here?” A life well lived. Now there’s a concept very few of us can truly comprehend. It doesn’t mean old age. It doesn’t mean fame or fortune. It doesn’t even mean legacy, familial or otherwise. A life well lived can be ten years long or one hundred years short—the only necessity […]

REVIEW: L’image manquante [The Missing Picture] [2013]

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“Our only belonging was our spoon” How do you tell the story of something as horrific as Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge’s four-year rule over Cambodia after the Kampuchean Revolution when the only footage shot was that distributed by the regime itself? This is the problem director Rithy Panh faced, a teenager when war […]

REVIEW: Le passé [The Past] [2013]

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“Some things can’t be forgiven” If A Separation didn’t cause writer/director Asghar Farhadi to be revered as an auteur who understood domestic strife and illness’ lasting effect on those left to pick up the pieces, you better believe he is now. Switching to France for Le passé [The Past], the filmmaker brings us into an […]

REVIEW: 一代宗師 [The Grandmaster] [2013]

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“Keep the light burning” I think 一代宗師 [The Grandmaster] loses something in its translation for an American who couldn’t spot the differences between Kung Fu and Karate if his life depended on it (besides the former being Chinese and latter Japanese, of course). There’s the significance of the dark rain beating down on multiple fight […]

REVIEW: Al-Midan [The Square] [2013]

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“We were all present; we were one hand” As the initial sit-in at Tahrir Square taught the Egyptian people the power of protest and revolution in securing freedoms they only dreamed they could have, Jehane Noujaim’s Al-Midan [The Square] shares it on an international scale. I’ll admit I thought everything was okay after Hosni Mubarak […]

REVIEW: The Act of Killing [2012]

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“They proudly told us stories about what they did” Director Joshua Oppenheimer’s documentary The Act of Killing can be described as nothing short of a masterpiece. It’s a one-of-a-kind document that gets into the mind of madmen with the blood of genocide on their hands by displaying their hubris, remorselessness, and cavalier attitudes firsthand. Oppenheimer […]