REVIEW: 旺角卡門 [Wong gok ka moon] [As Tears Go By] [1988]

“I found that glass” Writer/Director Kar Wai Wong hit the scene in 1988 with gangster drama 旺角卡門 [Wong gok ka moon] [As Tears Go By] in a way that many compare to Martin Scorsese‘s debut splash Mean Streets. It’s a gritty look at the streets of Hong Kong populated by men who are nothing without their fearsome reputations. “Guts” are what sustain them, keeping them alive within this cutthroat underground of tough guys bluffing in the hopes loud threats prove enough to stay at the top and crazy psychopaths calling…

Read More

REVIEW: 설국열차 [Snowpiercer] [2013]

“Is it time?” When talk surrounding the US release of Kar Wai Wong‘s The Grandmaster erupted in controversy about a truncated cut from the Weinsteins, cinephiles across the nation couldn’t help but let depression set in. Even so, no one could have been surprised by the decision because Harvey Scissorhands likes to streamline story for action whenever he can to trick American audiences into seeing a foreign film they wouldn’t otherwise care about. So when the same rumors started swirling around Bong Joon-ho‘s Snowpiercer, you had to fear for the…

Read More

INTERVIEW: Richard Ayoade, cowriter/director of The Double

I didn’t know who Richard Ayoade was until 2010 and boy was it the perfect time to find out. My introduction was courtesy of the brilliant British television show “The IT Crowd” and his fantastically drawn Maurice Moss. I had tried watching the show a couple years previously only to forget about it after the pilot. This time, however, I mainlined the first three series and eagerly awaited the fourth only to see co-star Chris O’Dowd journey to mainstream acclaim with Bridesmaids less than a year later. When would Ayoade’s…

Read More

REVIEW: 一代宗師 [The Grandmaster] [2013]

“Keep the light burning” I think 一代宗師 [The Grandmaster] loses something in its translation for an American who couldn’t spot the differences between Kung Fu and Karate if his life depended on it (besides the former being Chinese and latter Japanese, of course). There’s the significance of the dark rain beating down on multiple fight scenes I’ve read provides the “white noise” for one’s “sense of touch”; the honor in accepting one’s actions to seek vengeance by taking vows to forever be alone as compensation; and the history of a…

Read More

VIFF11 REVIEW: 倭寇的踪迹 [The Sword Identity] [2012]

“What else can we do for fun?” With his screenplay for The Grandmasters coming to the big screen next year by Wong Kar Wai, writer/director Haofeng Xu gives us the first taste of his creativity with an adaptation of his own novella, 倭寇的踪迹 [The Sword Identity]. A mix of comical playfulness and serious martial arts, the script has some impressive camera compositions to allow for intriguing visuals, acting that is consistently earnest throughout, and fight choreography that’s a joy to experience. All those things do little to help from wondering…

Read More

VIFF11 INTERVIEW: Prashant Bhargava, writer/director of Patang

While at the Vancouver International Film Festival this year, I had the pleasure of speaking to the writer/director of Patang [The Kite], Prashant Bhargava. A Chicago-born filmmaker of Indian descent, his first feature length work has hit screens in Berlin and Tribeca before making its way to Canada, picking up praise at every screening. A very human tale of a family in Ahmedabad rekindling during the city’s famous kite festival, Bhargava’s film will enchant and intrigue through its exotic locale and very familiar emotions. Speaking about his process, the casts’…

Read More

REVIEW: The Hire [2001-2002]

“BMW recommends that you always wear your seatbelt” After watching the Parallel Lines series, my desire to revisit BMW’s The Hire was too much to contain. This thing was a cultural phenomenon, doing what no one had ever done, with a medium still untested at the time. Back in 2001, households across America were still learning about the internet; installing their dial-up connections to surf for mostly news articles and sites without too many images for quick access. Looking to tap into a market that could target its demographic of…

Read More

Top 25 Films of 2008

(short and sweet and to the point; culled from watching 129 releases. constantly updated as i catch up to those i missed. click poster for review if applicable) #25: Entre les murs [The Class] directed by Laurent Cantet #24: JCVD directed by Mabrouk El Mechri #23: Boy A directed by John Crowley . #22: Cloverfield directed by Matt Reeves . . #21: Doubt directed by John Patrick Shanley . #20: Il y a longtemps que je t’aime [I’ve Loved You So Long] directed by Philippe Claudel #19: Milk directed by…

Read More

Top Ten Films of 2008: The Year of World War II

This list is accurate as of post-date. So many films and not enough time to see them all, the potential for future change is inevitable, but as of today here are the best … I don’t know what precipitated 2008 being the year of the World War II movie, but of the 100+ releases I saw, six of them concerned it in some regard. The year saw more than its share of war from all decades with Che, Stop-Loss, Waltz with Bashir, and even Tropic Thunder, however, the Holocaust spent…

Read More

REVIEW: My Blueberry Nights [2007]

“I decided to take the longest way to cross the street” I really need to start watching more films by Wong Kar Wai. I adore In the Mood for Love, yet I still have not found the time to view its sequel 2046. Instead, I chose to take a gander at his English-language debut, My Blueberry Nights. This is a fantastic film; I don’t care what people say. It is a road trip journey through the landscape of the soul, overcoming that which did not work in life in order…

Read More

REVIEW: 色, 戒 [Lust, Caution] [2007]

“I have a mission” I can’t stand American film distributors and how they handle foreign films. With their money-scheming minds, they give us movie trailers without any dialogue, trying their best to disguise the fact that the work is not in English. If they don’t let us hear a strange language or show a single subtitle, people may just think that it was a minimal piece meant to strike our senses. Unfortunately, for someone like me, I know before seeing the trailer that it is a foreign film—I’ve probably been…

Read More