• The Woman in the Window

    The Woman in the Window

    ★★½

    Besides the fact it's directed by Joe Wright who's behind the 2005's brilliant adaptation of Jane Austen's masterwork, Pride and Prejudice, and that it stars Amy Adams in the leading role (because she's Amy Adams!), The Woman in the Window has been one of my most anticipated films of the year since knowing that its lead character suffers from agoraphobia, a subject that piqued my interest for the last couple of years. Amy Adams plays the eponymous heroine, Anna. An…

  • All About My Mother

    All About My Mother

    ★★★★½

    Relying on its melodramatic strength, affectingly poignant score and sumptuous colour palette, the movie goes full force right off the bat towards its core concept driving the story forward, relentlessly pulling at heartstrings and leaving us completely choked up by the end of its first act. Then, it seems to abandon what it set up, and begins to liberate itself only to unveil, little by little, its rich and intricate tapestry of femininity and maternity. Through a growing web of…

  • Volver

    Volver

    ★★★★

    With lurid and bold colours redolent of giallo films and a sense of macabre glee that's indicative of something mysterious lurking somewhere, Almodóvar deftly set the tone for Volver before lurching to comedy, firing on all cylinders with a malleable formula of strangely alluring melodrama and fiendishly farcical humour. Volver is a provoking film of death, abuse and confessions, all encapsulated in rather breezy supernatural elements involving apparitions and superstitions. Plus, Penélope Cruz has never been better than she is here.

    10 Directors × 5 Unseen Films Challenge - Round 1

  • French Exit

    French Exit

    ★★★★

    Do you ever feel that you've had adulthood thrust upon you
    at too young an age? And that... you're still
    essentially a child... mimicking the behaviors of
    the grown-ups all around you so they won't uncover the
    meager contents of your heart?

    A few minutes in, I thought this is going to be one of these movies that adopt some sort of a false pretense in order to satirize the rich and upper class. Well, as I finished the movie…

  • Millennium Actress

    Millennium Actress

    ★★★★

    Ever wondered why does a well-told love story always work in every movie regardless of its genre? Be it a shoot-'em-up actioner, a swashbuckling fantasy, an alien-invasion sci-fi or a cowboy western, nothing can prove a constraint to the power of love in cinema. I guess one of the main reasons for that is its ability to ground the most wild and fanciful stories in reality because it evokes emotion in such a way the viewer comes to identify with…

  • Taste of Cherry

    Taste of Cherry

    ★★★★½

    The decision has been made. Badii is intent to end his life, and all he asks for is someone who could bury him as he's lying in his grave he's already dug out. We have no idea why exactly Badii is willing to kill himself. And in this lack of explanation not only we're asked to focus on the 99-minute journey instead of the destination, but we're also implicitly informed that Badii's soul is no longer being tormented but it's…

  • Coffee and Cigarettes

    Coffee and Cigarettes

    ★★★★

    It's true that a compilation of 11 vignettes that centre around somewhat esoteric, yet also trifling, exchanges of conversation between two or three people, with the majority of them being celebrities playing themselves, while vibing and sipping coffee and smoking cigarettes does sound super boring and even pointless. But with his signature subtly absurd humour and monochrome aesthetic that lend the film a meditative quality and a melancholic warmth, Jarmusch managed to explore some universal human themes, such as envy and addiction, in surprising depth and with unexpected layers of complexity.

    10 Directors × 5 Unseen Films Challenge - Round 1

  • Babette's Feast

    Babette's Feast

    ★★★★½

    Babette's Feast is one for the soul. So, instead of blemishing it by any word, I'd just ask you to do yourself a favour and sit there and let it seep into your soul with grace.

  • Stranger Than Paradise

    Stranger Than Paradise

    ★★★★

    Watching TV, playing poker, and sleeping are pretty much everything Willie does every day. His life is uneventful to say the least, and it seems that he's completely unaware that he is trapped in his illusion of 'American dream', leading his life mindlessly as isolation created for him an independent-seeming façade that numbs his brain and blinds him from realising his purposeless life. Then comes his cousin, Eva, to live with him for a few days before moving to Cleveland…

  • The Mitchells vs. The Machines

    The Mitchells vs. The Machines

    ★★★★½

    We are in the social media era where people are addicted to the internet, spending an entire 24 hours with their eyes glued to their smartphones' screens. We see the ramifications of the status quo making an ever-broadening rift in the fabric of the family. The Mitchells is a dysfunctional family but it's the turbulent relationship between Rick and Katie Mitchell, the father and daughter, that takes the centre stage here. The father doesn't even bother to pay the slightest…

  • Raising Arizona

    Raising Arizona

    ★★★★

    With a breakneck pace, Looney Tunes-esque ridiculously-exaggerated sound effects, boisterously rambunctious style, vertiginous camerawork and hysterical editing, I guess calling this batshit crazy Coens' crime comedy film a live-action cartoon wouldn't be preposterous. It's wild and quirky, but it's also extremely smart and clever in every respect. Just like a cartoon, it finds humor in the most horrifying scenes by hyperbolizing the violence to the brink of absurdity. But it also boasts some of that signature Coen brothers' stone-faced, deadpan…

  • Bottle Rocket

    Bottle Rocket

    ★★★½

    In all honesty, the plot is awfully muddled I couldn't even figure out what it is about, and it keeps going off at a tangent frequently with all its twists and turns until it becomes almost entirely obfuscated by the end. But seeing whip pans, dolly-tracking shots, overheads of perfectly placed props and profile shots among others that would later become Wes Anderson's visual trademarks is oddly satisfying and special in its own right. Sure they seem unripened and lacking…