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Review: Ugetsu photo

Review: Ugetsu

The films of Kenji Mizoguchi have been a major blind spot in my life as a filmgoer. I've seen plenty of Akira Kurosawa and Yasujiro Ozu films, but for some reason Mizoguchi had always hovered on my to-watch list, always put off until recent...

 
 
Review: We Are the Flesh photo

Review: We Are the Flesh

Reviewing We Are the Flesh from writer/director Emiliano Rocha Minter is tricky. On the one hand, it's a deeply flawed film aimed at a limited audience. It's transgressive in the extreme, sexually explicit bordering on pornographic, nonsens...

 
 
 
 
 
 
NYFF Review: Toni Erdmann photo

Review: Toni Erdmann

There's no way Toni Erdmann could ever live up to its hype. Reviews from Cannes and the Toronto International Film Festival touted the German film as a 162-minute screwball comedy masterpiece, packed with high emotional stakes and major lau...

 
 
 
 
 
Review: Evolution photo

Review: Evolution

There's so much going for Lucile Hadzihalilovic's Evolution, a film expertly lensed from the deliberate first shot: looking up to the sky from underwater. From beneath, the ripples and waves on the ocean surface produce undulating shadows, ...

 
 
Review: Elle photo

Review: Elle

Elle has been billed as a rape-comedy, but that's a misnomer. It's a comedy in the classical sense given the events of the story, but it's not necessarily funny (there are funny scenes, though). And yes, it's about rape. Elle has been laude...

 
 
 
Review: Tampopo photo

Review: Tampopo

Prior to this week, the last time I saw Juzo Itami's 1985 food comedy Tampopo was in the mid-90s. I remembered so little of the movie save for the fact that I enjoyed it. Some isolated scenes are easy to recall, though. There's an etiquette...

 
 
Review: Fire at Sea photo

Review: Fire at Sea

Sometimes I'll see a movie and that makes me shake my head and say, "Okay, yeah, I get it". These sorts of movies are ones that I can understand at a formal, metaphorical, or thematic level, and yet even though I understand the choice that ...

 
 
Review: Under the Shadow photo

Review: Under the Shadow

Some of the most notable indie horror movies of the last few years have been by women or about women. For example, see Jennifer Kent's The Babadook, David Robert Mitchell's It Follows, and Robert Eggers' The Witch. Each of these films ...

 
 
 
 
 
Train to Busan Review photo

Review: Train to Busan

In my review of Yeon Sang-Ho's Seoul Station from this year's New York Asian Film Festival, I said that I felt it would have been better as a live-action film than it was as an animated one. There was just something about its visu...

 
 
 
Review: The Lobster photo

Review: The Lobster

I still haven't gotten around to seeing Yorgos Lanthimos' Dogtooth, though I intend to. The blackly surreal 2009 film was nominated for a Best Foreign Film Oscar and drew favorable comparisons to the work of Luis Bunuel and Michael Han...

 
 
Review: Dragon Inn photo

Review: Dragon Inn

While King Hu's 1971 epic A Touch of Zen is his towering masterpiece, his earlier film Dragon Inn may be the best entry point into the director's work. This 1967 adventure is one of the essential early martial arts films, both gor...

 
 
Review: A Touch of Zen photo

Review: A Touch of Zen

A Touch of Zen is King Hu's masterpiece, yet unless you're patient and a bit adventurous, it may not be the best introduction to his work. Dragon Inn, his straightforward wuxia classic from 1967, might be a more palatable entry point into K...

 
 
Review photo

Review: April and the Extraordinary World

Animated films are the best, aren't they? They give more life to their worlds than most live-action films do with their mixed use of CGI and human actors. Even as technology advances to the point where CG characters will be flawless and sea...

 
 
 
 
Review: Baskin photo

Review: Baskin

I was talking to another film critic a few weeks ago and he mentioned catching a screener of Can Evrenol's Baskin. "You have to see it," he said. He added that he spent the last third of the movie looking away in disgust and fear, whic...

 
 
 
 
New Directors/New Films photo

NYC: New Directors/New Films starts next week (March 16-27)

The 45th edition of New Directors/New Films starts next week in New York City. New Directors/New Films showcases emerging filmmakers from around the world, and screens some of the most talked about films on the festival circuit. This year's...

 
 
RIP Andrzej Zulawski photo

RIP Andrzej Zulawski (1940-2016)

Andrzej Zulawski, the Polish director behind cult classics such as Possession and On the Silver Globe, passed away on Wednesday. He was 75 years old. In 2012, BAMcinématek held a retrospective of Zulawski's work titled "Hysterical Ex...

 
 
 
Review: Ip Man 3 photo

Review: Ip Man 3

It's weird to think that the first Ip Man came out in 2008. It seems so much longer than that. Since then, the series has spawned two sequels as well as plenty of other media about the eponymous real-life practitioner of Wing Chun. The...

 
 
Review: Seven Weeks photo

Review: Seven Weeks (Nononanananoka)

Even though most people in the US know Nobuhiko Obayashi for his 1977 cult classic House (Hausu), he's remained a prolific filmmaker in Japan. His body of work is varied, including the body swap comedy Exchange Students and the Ozu-esq...

 
 
Nobuhiko Obayashi photo

Nobuhiko Obayashi: The Strange, the Sweet, and the Childlike

The largest retrospective of Nobuhiko Obayashi's work in the United States kicks off tonight at The Japan Society with a screening of House (Hausu). Hausu is Obayashi's best known work in the US, and probably the only one of his films that ...

 
 
The Boy and The World photo

Watch the gorgeous trailer for The Boy and The World

The Boy and the World has been on my radar for a few months after seeing still from the film. This Brazilian animated feature won great acclaim at film festivals, and is currently on the shortlist for Best Animated Feature. Told without dia...

 
 
 
Shrew's Nest Review photo

Review: Shrew's Nest

When I was in middle school, we'd periodically have a writer, Jon Land, come and talk to us. He'd talk about writing and life and whatever else. (Honestly, I don't really remember what most of those talks were about, but whatever.) I do, ho...

 
 
Summer Camp Review photo

Review: Summer Camp

In Resident Evil 4, Leon S. Kennedy is dropped in a Spanish village. He's an all-American hero (by way of Japan), but his enemies don't speak his language. The characters talk, but they speak Spanish.  To a Spanish speaker, this may no...

 
 




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SXSW Mr. Jimmy"When the music strikes a chord "

 

SXSW Olympic Dreams"I wish I could watch it again every day "

 

SXSW Red Dog"Lives from the rowdiest, most infamous strip club in Oklahoma"

 

SXSW Bluebird""It will help you find where your soul is located""

 

SXSW Pig Hag"The film I wish I'd made"

 

SXSW Museum Town"Behind the museum"

 

Triple Threat"They brought guns to a fist fight"

 

SXSW Adopt a Highway"Some laws are just ridiculous"

 

SXSW La Mala Noche"Compelling subject matter, promising direction"

 

SXSW Frances Ferguson"A bored wife finds a boring affair"

 

Who Let the Dogs Out"Art creation through popular music"

 

SXSW Them That Follow"Subtle, tense, and lasting"

 

SXSW South Mountain"An affair to remember"

 

SXSW The River and the Wall"Gonna make lemonade from these weather-lemons!"

 

SXSW Red 11"Lab rats and reality perception"

 

SXSW For Sama"Why aren't we all talking about Syria?"

 

SXSW Aleksi"Just get a pizza and move on! "

 

Woodsrider"Exercise in apathy"

 

SXSW I Love You, Now Die"How texts led to one man's suicide"

 

Starfish"Hipster horror"

 

SXSW Porno"Boobs, balls, and blood"

 

SXSW Booksmart"Olivia Wilde makes her mark as a director"

 

SXSW The Highwaymen"...and sometimes fiction is stranger than truth"

 
 
 
 
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