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Favorite films

  • Yi Yi
  • Weekend
  • The Grandmaster
  • Vive L'Amour

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  • Network

    ★★★★½

  • Cupid One

    ★★

  • Amina

  • After Sunset, Dawn Arrives

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  • May December

    May December

    ★★★★½

    Don’t fret, for this is not a spoiler: five seconds into Todd Haynes’ May December, a needle drop of lush strings pulled from a midcentury Michel Legrand score, accompanied by condensed bold sans serif title cards dropping in, confirmed to me that Todd Haynes is about to deliver another masterpiece. Melodrama Haynes is back. After an unexpected career pivot towards a *straight* environmental/courtroom drama Dark Waters in 2019, Todd Haynes returns to his favorite topic: women. And what more glamorous…

  • Crimes of the Future

    Crimes of the Future

    ★★★★★

    David Cronenberg is having a moment. Internet-savvy distributor Neon released the provocative teaser of Cronenberg’s Crimes of the Future seconds within the announcement of the film’s inclusion in the main Competition, and it set the internet aflame with its flashes of body horror, heralding the return of the 79-year-old director like he never left.

    David Cronenberg has always been ahead of his time. His 1996 movie Crash repulsed then-jury president Francis Ford Coppola so much that Coppola refused to give…

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  • Network

    Network

    ★★★★½

    It’s impossible to avoid the elephant in the room, so yes: it’s staggering how much Chayefsky got right. The literal disintegration of newsrooms through M&As can’t be more on the pulse right now. This is as radical as a liberal movie can get (it’s just a little mean-spirited to the activists noted Zionist Chayefsky is palpably giddy to mock), but at least it got studio dollars to reveal how the world is run by IBMs and AT&Ts. The only thing…

  • Cupid One

    Cupid One

    ★★

    As with the opening of My Heart Is That Eternal Rose (which goes on to become a much better movie), I personally find this worth watching purely for anthropological value, in capturing the milieu and the prevailing sexual attitudes of 1980s Hong Kong, i.e. rape-y. Women are routinely disrespected, thrown around, and tamed by men. I naïvely hoped the movie has caught on when our female lead repeats “no” five thousand times at the finale, but that’s just her denying…

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  • Inside the Yellow Cocoon Shell

    Inside the Yellow Cocoon Shell

    ★★★★★

    Apichatpong Weerasethakul has long held that audiences are allowed to sleep during his movies, and at his New York career retrospective earlier this year, expanded that “sleep is very close to cinema: the collective dreaming.” Well, Apichatpong-heads, we may have met his true successor. Inside the Yellow Cocoon Shell, an unbelievable directorial debut by Vietnamese director Pham Thien An, is Weerasethakul’s cinema or slow cinema on steroids—at a gargantuan 182-minute runtime, even longer, even more beguiling, and at many times,…

  • Lan Yu

    Lan Yu

    ★★★★½

    I had the great fortune of seeing the restoration of Stanley Kwan’s Lan Yu, an indisputable all-time classic in gay, Sinophone cinema, because back when this was made, any gay Sinophone cinema was classic, period. Though few key crew positions are held by HongKongers (including Kwan himself and William Chang – more on him later), this is a substantially Mainland Chinese production, and Mainland Chinese gay cinema was rare enough back then, getting rarer and rarer these days. So it’s…