• The Broken Commandment

    The Broken Commandment


    I'm so happy to find out that Nobi and The Burmese Harp are not the only two humane Ichikawa films. This one is not about war but still about human dignity. I'm glad one of the most important characters in the film is played by Rentarō Mikuni, a real-life burakumin who experienced the discrimination those people faced firsthand. This, I believe, adds an important meta-layer to the film.

    The Broken Commandment is a very good film from the very beginning,…

  • Body Drop Asphalt

    Body Drop Asphalt


    Starts like a female version of The Man Who Sleeps but unfortunately drops this for a music video aesthetic before the 2000s computer graphic effects kick in during the opening credits sequence.

    What follows is akin to an anime adaptation of a Murakami story. And then it ends as a support message for artists so that they create original art?! I'm not going to lie, I was so disappointed to find out the whole movie won't be like the beginning,…

  • Lisbon Story

    Lisbon Story


    An attack on the heartless poser avant-garde or the new commercial shitty cinema produced by hacks who don't even look through the lens? This great love letter to cinema as it was is even more important nowadays when cinema is much more in danger than it was at the time of the film's premiere: feeling, beautiful celluloid has turned into soulless digital. There are no more hues in films, only colors. The director is rarely identified with the filmmaker anymore.…

  • The Touch

    The Touch


    Good, but I'd rather rewatch Dead Mountaineer's Hotel.

  • The Assassin

    The Assassin


    This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

    I'm surprised many people claim this film is style over substance or plotless. Actually, The Assassin is very plot-heavy and contains a lot of themes, including historical intrigues.

    But the centerpiece is Shu Qi's character who finds herself between two historical powers. She's but a cog in the political machine. Forced to kill her former lover, she cries and cannot bring herself to do it. She's torn between humanity and compassion she never entirely forwent and her profession which asks…

  • The Snow Woman

    The Snow Woman


    The Russians have Viy. The Japanese have this film. Of course, the Japanese also have Kobayashi's Kwaidan, a total masterpiece. But this film is great, too, with its stellar color cinematography and poignant ending. Highly recommended.

  • Chizuko's Younger Sister

    Chizuko's Younger Sister


    This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

    A family tragedy, the death of an older daughter, affects all family members. The mother suffers a nervous breakdown, the younger daughter begins to see the ghost of her older sister, and the father, quiet and keeping his emotions to himself, finally cheats on his wife at the earliest opportunity, when he is sent to Hokkaido due to work.

    Each family member experiences the loss of a loved one in their own way. And everyone eventually accepts the loss and…

  • Day of the Reaper

    Day of the Reaper


    OK, so this is an avant-garde SOV slasher made by a 17-yo that has better use of color than most slashers. What? No, seriously. The film is bathed in neon fluorescent hues and looks so good.

    Avant-garde and trash, art and shlock - sometimes it's hard to tell the difference. Maybe there isn't any?

  • Rosemary's Baby

    Rosemary's Baby


    This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

    The best abortion film ever? Can be interpreted as both pro-life and pro-choice, offering a very balanced voice in the debate.

    At one point in the movie, Rosemary says she won't get an abortion. And in the end, she accepts becoming a mother to a freakin' son of Satan instead of using the knife on him. You know, it's not the baby's fault his father is Satan. It's not the baby's fault he's not like other babies (disabled?). It's like,…

  • Mr. Wai-Go

    Mr. Wai-Go


    Pretty terrible but has some funny scenes and the ending was weirdly wholesome. Also, this has Anthony Wong playing a jiangshi, a sperm, and a male pornstar. What other actor can say they played all three, let alone in the same movie?!

  • On the Beach

    On the Beach


    Stanley Kramer is one of the best among 50s and 60s American directors.

    I'm surprised so many people found it boring. I was sucked in right away. Kramer's camera makes the prolix conversations a breeze.

    The atomic bomb scare in American cinema of the 50s and 60s is so unique, I don't think there's another such example of a national fear permeating celluloid, maybe except for the fear of the 1997 handover in Hong Kong cinema.

    The very last shot ("There is still time brother") comes across as a pedagogical but very much-needed message at the time.

  • Rumble Fish

    Rumble Fish


    I liked this one the least of the three Coppolas I watched. I already had amazing visuals in One From the Heart and the gang story in The Outsiders so this film brought nothing new for me today. The black'n'white cinematography felt a bit overcooked at times, too, and the splashes of color felt gimmicky, not unlike Spielberg's use of red in Schindler's List. I think only Kurosawa pulled it off the right way in High and Low. Still, this was a good movie.