REVIEW: Neruda [2016]

“He’s the king of love” Pablo Neruda was a Chilean legend. He was a poet who won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1971, a diplomat holding multiple posts including that of Senator for the Communist Party, and ultimately so feared by President González Videla and President Augusto Pinochet that his death is rumored to […]

REVIEW: Elle [2016]

“It was necessary” Director Paul Verhoeven has made a career of pushing the envelope whether through violence, sex, politics, or all three wrapped together. It’s hardly surprising then that his buzzword of choice on the promotional trail for his latest Elle has been “controversial.” The word choice is appropriate considering David Birke‘s script (adapted from […]

REVIEW: L’avenir [Things to Come] [2016]

“Can we put ourselves in the place of the other” No one is making movies with as much depth of character as Mia Hansen-Løve—so much depth that you may wonder where the plot is considering everything is hinging on a single trajectory. But that’s how our lives progress. How we experience our own evolution stems […]

REVIEW: Ma vie de Courgette [My Life as a Zucchini] [2016]

“Well, I think I killed my mum” You have to respect when a story targeted towards children is allowed to possess pathos. Take Gilles Paris‘ 2002 novel Autobiographie d’une courgette for example—a 228-page piece centering on a nine-year old boy’s experience living as an orphan in France after accidentally killing his mother. This is the […]

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

“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]

“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]

“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]

“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]

“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]

“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]

“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 […]