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  • Train to Busan

    Train to Busan

    ★★★★★

    I have always known I had a bit of a submarine fetish. Now, having seen Train To Busan, I may have realized that I also have one for trains. But – then again – it got me thinking and it is also possible that my organic proclivity towards train and submarine movies may be a vestige of an early-life imprinting, a result of my being introduced to Tony Scott films during my so-called formative years as a cinephile. I think…

  • Art History

    Art History

    ★★½

    Joe Swanberg’s Art History left me with exactly three thoughts:

    1) that somewhere in this lo-fi mumblecore experiment one can find an ode to Ingmar Bergman and Michael Haneke,

    2) that by callously disregarding the filmmaking form Swanberg may have bolstered the film’s intention to blur the line between acting and real life,

    3) and that neither Josephine Decker nor Kent Osborne cannot be trusted with proper deployment of a condom. Alternatively, this could also be read as a stellar…

  • Ma

    Ma

    ★★★★½

    A consensus seems to have crystallized around Ma that names Octavia Spencer’s acting performance as the titular character as the defining reason why this film ultimately succeeds. I think it is undeniable that Spencer’s turn as an idiosyncratic, alluring, unstable and unpredictable woman and her mysteriously vengeful quest is something to behold and that she effortlessly owns the stage in every scene she’s in without necessarily drawing attention to herself. This is undoubtedly a hallmark of a great performer and…

  • Toy Story 2

    Toy Story 2

    ★★½

    Being completely honest, I can only describe Toy Story 2 as the equivalent of Beneath The Planet Of the Apes (or maybe more aptly as Escape From The Planet Of The Apes) of the Toy Story series. I fully realize I may come across as an uncultured philistine, but the gimmick of basically retelling the same story as in the original with a few convenient symmetrical alterations perking up the narrative just didn’t work for me. Interestingly, it worked wonders…

  • Crooklyn

    Crooklyn

    ★★★★★

    Co-written with his siblings, Crooklyn is likely one of the most personal and tender films in his entire catalogue. This plotless slice-of-life drama is in no small part based on the filmmaker’s own memories, though it is his sister he gives almost the entirety of the spotlight and it is through her eyes we get to experience this time capsule of a film about one particular summer in Brooklyn where Lee grew up.

    Interestingly however, this also might be one…

  • Godzilla: King of the Monsters

    Godzilla: King of the Monsters

    ★★★

    And here I am again finding myself in a predicament of trying to rationalize why Godzilla: King Of The Monsters is a an absolute mess that I nonetheless look forward to revisiting...

    I have been trying to wrap my head around this paradoxical conundrum for a good while now without necessarily joining the critical consensus in openly dismissing the entire film as a pile of directionless schlock trying to capitalize on its franchise potential a bit too soon (which is…

  • The Secret Life of Pets 2

    The Secret Life of Pets 2

    ★★

    It may be possible that nobody told the filmmakers when they embarked upon the quest of bringing to life the sequel to The Secret Life Of Pets that making movies for children is ever so slightly different to making movies for adults. A film will always resonate better with younger audiences when it follows the ‘KISS rule’ - Keep It Simple, Stupid. This is something Disney folks have long been aware of, which is one of the many reasons why…

  • The Childhood of a Leader

    The Childhood of a Leader

    ★★★★

    This adaptation of Jean-Paul Sartre’s short story, which was eerily fitting for the time of its publication in 1939 on the eve of World War II, is most often analyzed as a piece of narrative mimicry intended to mirror the rise of fascism in Europe. This analogy is at the very least too reductive to illustrate this process, which is both historically fascinating and incredibly nuanced.

    Instead, I prefer to see The Childhood Of A Leader as a highly allegorical…

  • Of Horses and Men

    Of Horses and Men

    ★★★★

    Aesthetically austere and tonally alienating, Of Horses And Men is likely best described as an attempt at a pastoral with an environmentalist twist filtered through an Icelandic perspective on the world, interpersonal relationship and the craft of filmmaking.

    This strangely absurdist collage of vignettes is often described as a bit of a romance about the complex dynamics of the bond between horses and their domesticators – humans. However, I couldn’t help but find this film to have a bit of…

  • The Raft

    The Raft

    ★★

    When Santiago Genovés initially conceptualized an experiment involving carefully curating a group of men and women and trapping them on a shoddy-looking raft floating across the Atlantic Ocean, he was hoping that by the end the expedition would devolve into a dystopian nightmare akin to Lord Of The Flies. In any case, he never expected that these people, instead of killing one another in an attempt to establish a social hierarchy, would simply start killing time by having sex with…

  • Rocketman

    Rocketman

    ★★★★

    Being completely honest, I was heading to see Rocketman with arms firmly crossed and an attitude of an opinionated old fart. I thought I was going to subject myself to a similarly uninspired experience Bohemian Rhapsody turned out to be. After all, the two films – at least on paper – had a lot in common. They are both biopics concerned with a world-renowned gay rock star, which invariably led to both of them utilizing the same subset of narrative…

  • Hackers

    Hackers

    ★★★

    If you ever wonder if it is important to ‘write what you know’, I suggest you watch Hackers.

    Although I always liked it and still do to an extent as a campy romp and a bit of a nostalgia trip, this film is a clear example of what happens when a bunch of people get together and decide to make a movie about things they have absolutely no concept of. I can actually extract immense amounts of comedy from this…