HEARTLAND20 REVIEW: Minari [2020]

Because of the dirt color? One of the first things Soonja (Yuh-Jung Youn) wants to do upon arriving in America to live on her daughter’s family’s new Arkansas farm and help with her grandkids is find a place to grow the minari she’s brought over from Korea. She mentions it out loud at dinner after picking a spot only to hear her son-in-law Jacob (Steven Yeun) say he’ll think about it. He’s too busy plowing the land he bought to grow Korean vegetables to worry about additions, but Soonja wasn’t…

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Online Film Critics Society Ballot 2018

Below is my December 27th ballot for the 22nd annual Online Film Critics Society Awards honoring movies released domestically in the United States during the 2018 calendar year. Each category is ordered according to my preferential rankings. Group winners are labeled in red. (No option to abstain was supplied this year.)

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REVIEW: 버닝 [Beoning] [Burning] [2018]

Should I forget it ‘isn’t’ here? Jong-su (Ah-In Yoo) never tells Hae-mi (Jong-seo Jeon) what “metaphor” means. They’re standing in Ben’s (Steven Yeun) kitchen as he chops ingredients for a pasta dish and talks philosophically with a smug smile until the question comes up. He defers answering her to Jong-su since he’s the writer of the group, but he decides to ask where the bathroom is instead of supplying one. It’s ironic since the entirety of Chang-dong Lee‘s Beoning [Burning] proves one giant metaphor for the anger, uncertainty, and entitlement…

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REVIEW: Sorry to Bother You [2018]

More like apples and the Holocaust. If you’re still unsure about whether capitalism brought the United States to its current position with extreme political divisiveness and the fallacy of what’s left of the “American Dream,” rapper-turned-writer/director Boots Riley is here to break it down via a debut as satirically sound as it is insanely, absurdly surreal. The film is Sorry to Bother You and it was born from the artist’s own time as a telemarketer wherein success forced him to change who he was to earn higher sales. By putting…

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REVIEW: Okja [2017]

Very healthy! I’m far from a vegetarian or a pet/animal lover, but I get the reasons why people would be both. And no matter how much I enjoy eating red meat, even I would have to draw the line when confronted with a “Meet your meat” type scenario. What purpose is drawn from such a stunt? Do you know what’s a good pig/cow/chicken from a bad one? Do you even get to choose or are you merely gazing upon the one selected for you? It’s one thing to eat another…

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REVIEW: Mayhem [2017]

I just wanted the corner office. If you’ve ever worked an office job wherein every single one of your bosses has been promoted above his/her aptitude, you know what futility feels like. You slave away at your cubicle to reach beyond your pay grade only to have someone that knows nothing about what you do—or worse, throws you under the bus for something you’ve never even heard about—derail everything with the stroke of a pen or click of a button. What’s your recourse? Unless they stupidly cc’d you on the…

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REVIEW: I Origins [2014]

“You’re not going to regret this in the morning are you?” Faith is a powerful, impossible thing. By definition it’s something we cannot know with certainty. However, just as those of scientific minds demean believers of God for taking the easy road towards fairy tale, one could say similar sentiments about them for refusing to accept that which they haven’t seen for themselves. After all, isn’t it harder to allow yourself to know without knowing? To hold something in your heart that you have no basis for other than a…

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