REVIEW: ישמח חתני [Ismach Hatani] [The Women’s Balcony] [2016]

“Evil decrees upon evil decrees with evil decrees of evil” There’s more to ישמח חתני [Ismach Hatani] [The Women’s Balcony] than the American marketing machine has thus far presented. Billed as a feel good comedy of communal spirit—and correctly so—there are much weightier issues at play. This isn’t merely a farcical war between a synagogue’s […]

REVIEW: Yella [2007]

“I want you to love me again” There’s a glimmer of hope in Yella Fichte’s (Nina Hoss) eye when things finally seem to be going in the right direction. She’s earned a new job starting the day after tomorrow, one that should fill her empty bank account and lead her towards prosperity. But before she […]

REVIEW: Bacalaureat [Graduation] [2016]

“Do what’s best for you” The amount of corruption to simply exist within the borders of Romania as displayed by Cristian Mungiu‘s Bacalaureat [Graduation] is insane. So much so that I feel bad admitting to what it reminded me of on a much more insidiously vile scale. Yes, it was nearly impossible not to see […]

REVIEW: Under sandet [Land of Mine] [2015]

“I’ll make it home” War is a horrific reality that forces people into doing terrible things. Everyone sees him/herself as being on the side of “good” and “righteous”—look at the discrepancies from one history book to another in how education systems describe certain events to shine one’s own nation in a rosier tint than it […]

REVIEW: Mil gritos tiene la noche [Pieces] [1982]

“To Hell with the book. The book says get the killer.” Cult classic horrors are a special breed. While I often see the appeal, I don’t always find them winning me over. The disconnect lies between those laughing at themselves and those that aren’t. I appreciate the former because the comedy is intentionally applied for […]

REVIEW: Gespenster [Ghosts] [2005]

“And I walked towards the music” Three women caught in disparate existential crises are converging in Christian Petzold‘s Gespenster [Ghosts] to seek answers despite reality only supplying opportunity to exacerbate their already volatile shortcomings. Nina (Julia Hummer) is a late-teen orphan hopeful to discover an avenue towards a brighter future that will assist her in […]

REVIEW: 攻殻機動隊 [Kôkaku Kidôtai] [Ghost in the Shell] [1995]

“What we see now is like a dim image in a mirror” Hype is a tough concept to combat. To tout a film like攻殻機動隊 [Kôkaku Kidôtai] [Ghost in the Shell] as one of the best animes ever created is to set-up expectations that cannot help but falter under the weight. Yet here I am—having watched […]

REVIEW: Córki dancingu [The Lure] [2015]

“Would you eat him?” Not all fairy tales must be for children as their lessons resonate with ages young and old. There’s a reason many original forms of such tales deliver more blood and horror than Disney counterparts—that sense of fear allowing adults to find dramatic value and kids a scare to remember the moral […]

REVIEW: Julieta [2016]

“Remember, you don’t like goodbyes” It began as many things: an adaptation of Nobel Prize winning Canadian writer Alice Munro‘s three connected short stories from her book Runaway (“Chance,” “Soon,” and “Silence”), Pedro Almodóvar‘s English-language debut with its venue switching from Vancouver to New York, and a starring vehicle for Meryl Streep. But Julieta eventually […]

REVIEW: Geride Kalanlar [Leftovers] [2017]

“Let’s hope it’s not her” We each possess a blind spot, one seeking to shield the horrors of life we know exist regardless. It manifests a sense of optimism in that we are safe because we live morally or that those we trust are inherently good. The opposite—to live in constant paranoia believing tragedy is […]

REVIEW: 路边野餐 [Lù biān yě Cān] [Kaili Blues] [2016]

“You took a photo and stole my soul” While the calling card for Gan Bi‘s feature debut 路边野餐 [Lù biān yě Cān] [Kaili Blues] is its magnificent 41-minute long take, that scene is but a movie within a movie. Its brilliance is in the way it takes his main character Chen Sheng (played by the […]