We'll tackle any film foreign or otherwise, paying exclusive attention to Arthouse, Indie & Cult features. Selected up to the minute News will also be given prominence.

August 26, 2013

Silver Linings Playbook

Director - David O. Russell

Genre - Comedy/Drama/Romance

Bradley Cooper stars as Pat Solatano Jr, a former teacher who was sent to a mental institution for something he did in the past. Out now, Pat is desperate to reclaim all that he had lost. His father is played by Robert Deniro who seems to be just as mentally perturbed as his son. They have an uneasy, explosive chemistry when they're together, often being just a few inches away from coming to blows with each other. Throw Jennifer Lawrence into the mix and you have one of the most unconventional yet true to life romantic movie we've ever seen. Which comes as a surprise, because we didn't think it would steer into that path, thinking initially that it would be a dark drama. Strong performances from the cast and a fantastic script makes this a winner. Excelsior!


May 26, 2013

The Cloud-Capped Star

Director - Ritwik Ghatak

Genre - Drama/Musical

Directed by Ritwik Ghatak, who was previously unknown to us, this picture is extraordinarily without blemish. From the occasionally unusual but captivating soundtrack, its cinematography which can only be described as pure class and the arrestingly magnetic performances of its cast, this film is a gift to fans of cinema everywhere. The story isn't multitiered with plots aplenty, but the simple script hides a message-driven lesson which is heavier than how it appears. Nita is a woman who fends for her family even though she risks losing herself in the process. Embodying India's long suffering daughters who often don't get any say in society, Nita was Ghatak's tool in bringing out to the open one of India's social ills.Highly memorable and we recommend immediate search and view.

5 STARS!   

December 6, 2012

Besieged City

Director - Lawrence Lau

Genre - Drama

Hong Kong movies don't often surprise us. There are numerous times when we are burnt by scripts with no soul starring the most talented actors. 'Besieged City' is directed by Lawrence Lau who also did 'My Name Is Fame' which we rather liked as well starring Lau Ching Wan. This movie here had no stars yet it made a huge impact on us. The story is basically about a kid who got into trouble and drags his older brother into the mess. Suspected of killing the girlfriend of a triad leader he himself is injured badly, ending up in the hospital. His older brother is being sought by the triad in order to retrieve some drugs they claimed was taken from them by his sibling. Intrigue ensues when we try to figure out what actually happened along with the protagonists of the movie. The cast is mostly young unknown actors which is quite refreshing since we grew up with the mugs of every popular Hong Kong actor who ever lived etched into our skulls. The language used here is also vulgar and 'street', enhancing the experience for us because HK scripts can be very safe and predictable. Artsy and without the safe protective banality of the country's commercial aspirations, this movie will help you reconsider what Cantonese cinema means.

4.5 STARS!

All about Besieged City 

November 5, 2012

A Simple Life

Director - Ann Hui

Genre - Drama

Ann Hui's film is quite classy and masterful. It feels like a waft of soothing breeze, a warm embrace of motherly love and a renewed appreciation for life all rolled into one. If that isn't a stroke of classy filmmaking, what is? Another great feature of this picture is the effortless, obvious chemistry between Deannie Yip and Andy Lau. Their closeness in real life is well known with Yip being a godmother of sorts to Lau. This close relationship they share translates very well on the screen and we believe their loves for each other. Yip plays a maid (Tao Jie) to Roger (Lau) who is now old and unable to provide her loyal service to the family. She checks herself into an old folks' home but Roger is still very worried for her, visiting and accompanying her whenever he gets the chance. Tao Jie's stay in the senior's home is not all that rosy and she is taken advantage of sometimes because of her good nature, but she carries on and Roger's visits give her the strength to live. Ann Hui's direction gives so much without showing everything, her restraint in not painting Tao Jie's character as pitiful lets Tao Jie appear gracefully strong-willed, a woman who dedicated her whole life to a family that is not her own yet never had any regrets. From her we learn the true meaning of sacrifice, as we believed Roger understood in the end as well. That is the real meaning of the movie. Sacrifice. We take back what we said in the beginning. Ann Hui's latest isn't just quite masterful, it is an elegant depiction of life on earth as seen through the eyes of someone who treasured life no matter what came her way.


All about A Simple Life

October 28, 2012

Tai Chi Zero

Director - Stephen Fung

Genre - Action/Drama

Bad Hong Kong movies on a shoestring budget is at least forgivable in part because of its financial constraints. Not a good reason on the whole for we have seen perfectly fine films produced with very little. Now here comes this big, move out of the way action blockbuster with budget bursting out of the seams (apparently this is only the 1st part of a trilogy). Fell flat on its huge-headed piped up dreams as far as we're concerned! Stephen Fung's the director in question and we are swearing off him as we speak. The script has it that a young man with a horn-like growth on his head turns into a mean fighting machine when said growth is pressed----Editors note: Our reviewers have left this review incomplete. Efforts to change their minds had been futile, with them yelling something about dumb arcade style direction and calling for Stephen Fung's exile from filmmaking. Well, at least Stephen was professional. He COMPLETED his bad film!


All about Tai Chi Zero

October 14, 2012

Nightmare Detective

Director - Shin'ya Tsukamoto

Genre - Fantasy/Horror/Thriller

Eat your shorts 'Death Note'! This picture here trumps the 'Death Note' by a mile. Where 'Death Note' was an exercise in being unnecessarily convoluted and dreary, this manga adapted creation by Shin'ya Tsukamoto shows its class by being one hell of a satisfying detective story. Its uniqueness lies in the protagonist's character who we believe is the most reluctant, unwilling anti hero in the history of cinema. One look at him and you wouldn't think this is the guy who would save the world. In fact, you wouldn't even think he'd be capable of much of anything because all he wants to do throughout the film is to kill himself! Yet, he is blessed (or cursed as he says) with the power to enter other's nightmares. The story involves a spate of suicides which doesn't seem to be as clear cut as it appears. The nightmare detective is roped in to help figure out what actually happened, putting his own life in danger. There are elements of artistic streak here which jump out at you like a shocking nightmare, making you aware without a doubt that this isn't your usual detective picture. Tsukamoto has taken the genre and made a sort of hybrid monster out of putting his artistic, indie filmmaking slant into the mix. Like his 'Tetsuo, The Iron Man', this is highly one of a kind. Can't wait to watch part 2.

4.5 STARS!

All about Nightmare Detective

October 5, 2012

21 Jump Street

Director - Phil Lord & Chris Miller

Genre - Action/Comedy/Crime

Took us by complete and utter dismay this. We thought it would fall flat on its knees but it did not and we're glad we caught it. Most recent remakes of 80s movies are ugly roadkills so you can't actually blame us for thinking so, alright? Remember 'The A Team'? Anyway, the laughs here come hard and fast which is just the way we like our comedy. And our women. Hah. Just a little joke there. Awkward? Okay we'll move right along. Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill play two police officers who fumble more than they rumble. They are taken off the streets and sent to a high school where they are tasked with infiltrating a drug dealing gang. The humor when these two become students are priceless, with plenty of laugh-out-loud hijinks and slapstick. It helps that the two leads are charming too. The story has very little to do with the 80s TV series and the leads are never as cool here as Johnny Depp was when he did the series. In fact, Tatum and Hill are downright silly which we think probably helped the movie considerably because it is hard to top Depp's coolness in the series (back then he was the bomb. Well at least he wasn't wearing pink like Don Johnson in 'Miami Vice'!). Enjoy.

3.5 STARS!

All about 21 Jump Street