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.


June 30, 2008

Hana and Alice









Director - Shunji Iwai

Genre - Drama/Comedy


When Hana and Alice, two best friends find themselves falling for the same boy, their relationship is severely tested. More than a love triangle, the story delves into the complex interaction of two schoolgirls going through a crucial period of pubescent metamorphosis and bewilderment. Like unforgettable, fleeting fragments of life, these bittersweet moments captured by Shunji Iwai on film will touch the depths of your heart and soul.

4 STARS!

All about Hana and Alice

June 29, 2008

Lust, Caution








Director - Ang Lee

Genre - Drama/Romance/Thriller/War


This is a soft porn masquerading as an espionage thriller. The production is lavish and Tony Leung's presence added class but when the film ends, all you'll remember is Tang Wei's 'revealing' performance. Coming from Ang Lee hot on the heels of 'Brokeback Mountain', this is indeed a letdown. Overlong and bogged down by a weak plot, we are left with only the charms of Tang Wei to sustain our interest. That's really not that bad considering she is one exquisite and wonderful actress, but in the end it's the cliched story that lost us.

2 STARS!

All about Lust, Caution

June 27, 2008

Grizzly Man









Director - Werner Herzog

Genre - Documentary/Biography


Days after we saw this, we were still intensely affected by its imagery. In fact, up to this minute and perhaps forever more, we will have to live with this horrifying, real story narrated and made by eccentric German director Werner Herzog. If you choose to watch this, bear (no pun intended) in mind that it contains animal lover Timothy Treadwell's journal-like, visual documentation of his days living with a colony of bears, sans protective weapons of any kind. We leave it to you in guessing the outcome.

4 STARS!

All about Grizzly Man

June 26, 2008

Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me







Director - David Lynch

Genre - Drama/Fantasy/Horror/Mystery/Sci-Fi/Thriller



This is David Lynch's weakest film and a disappointing addition to the brilliant TV series, 'Twin Peaks'. Kyle MacLachlan's reported refusal to be more involved obviously hurt the film. MacLachlan's quirky portrayal of Agent Cooper is the highlight of the series and what made it successful. Sheryl Lee who plays the tragic femme fatale, Laura Palmer is left to carry the film and she's not bad but it all seemed forced. Even the music by Angelo Badalamenti seemed uninspiring here. A pointless prequel - sort of like having a comb when you're bald.

2.5 STARS!

All about Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me

June 24, 2008

Birdcage Inn








Director - Kim Ki-Duk

Genre - Drama


Quite a conventional movie from Kim Ki-Duk. Think of a believable, downtrodden as hell version of 'Pretty Woman' with nary a prince charming or sugar daddy in sight. You can see though that Kim is sharpening his tools here for his grand entrance as a madman in his later movies. Amidst the melodramatic, earthy feel of the film, there are still glimpses of his uniquely off-center style here. The girl (Lee Ji-Eun) playing the hooker is delectably hot too.

4 STARS!

All about Birdcage Inn

June 23, 2008

Michel Gondry's Website


Michel Gondry is going to launch his own website pretty soon! The site's main page features art with promises of all sort of rare Gondry's stuff for sale including comic book, t-shirt, DVD and more. Cool news for fans!

June 22, 2008

Rashomon








Director - Akira Kurosawa

Genre - Crime/Drama/Mystery


In this Akira Kurosawa film, a web of lies and deceit is spun by various suspects implicated in a murder. These characters each have their own versions of the 'truth' and it is up to us to discern who's innocent and who's not. Kurosawa's direction is undoubtedly assured but the whole concept is nothing new if thrown against the harsh light of today's filmmaking.

4 STARS!

All about Rashomon

June 20, 2008

Citizen Kane








Director - Orson Welles

Genre - Drama/Mystery


Amazingly, this film still holds up magnificently after all these years. This is due in part to the brilliant story and genius direction from Orson Welles. The editing and cinematography is better than most films made even today. All these translate into one instantaneous classic which transcends time. Welles even starred as the leading man here and it was his charismatic presence which drove this film to its widely revered status.

5 STARS!

All about Citizen Kane

June 18, 2008

Fast Food Nation








Director - Richard Linklater

Genre - Drama


Whereas Morgan Spurlock's 'Super Size Me' uncovered the after-effects of gorging on fast food, this film is a 'behind the scenes' look at the making of these fun buns. We are shown various stories from the manufacturers to the marketing executives, down to the person serving at the counter what exactly goes into a cheeseburger. At times harrowing and gruesomely in your face, depending on your level of tolerance, this Linklater movie will force you to reflect on your eating habits. Eating in or walk away?

3 STARS!

All about Fast Food Nation

June 16, 2008

There Will Be Blood








Director - Paul Thomas Anderson

Genre - Drama


Paul Thomas Anderson's movies are hard to pin down stylistically and thematically. 'Boogie Nights', 'Magnolia' and 'Punch-Drunk Love' look as different as night and day. This latest film by him is just as erratic. The story is told simply but Daniel Day-Lewis's performance and the soundtrack is anything but. Day-Lewis is an acting god in human form. His role as an oil driller driven to expand his influence by any means possible is chilling. The music scored by Jonny Greenwood of Radiohead also deserves special mention for evoking the brutal drama which unfolds.

4 STARS!

All about There Will Be Blood

June 15, 2008

Into The Wild








Director - Sean Penn

Drama - Adventure/Biography/Drama


Born privileged, a young man feels no contentment in the material comfort he is provided. His heart craves to be free of all the trappings associated with society's expectations and conformations. By abandoning his constrained life, he hopes to eke out a new beginning in the liberating wilderness, far away from it all. Spoilt little rich kid or just terribly misguided? You decide. It's a tad too lengthy for its own good but still, this is Sean Penn's finest directorial work yet. Based on a real story.

3 STARS!

All about Into The Wild

June 13, 2008

We Own The Night








Director - James Gray

Genre - Crime/Drama/Thriller


Joaquin Phoenix plays a hotshot gangster ascending the hierarchy of the underworld swiftly. This creates a lot of tension with his family as his brother and father are both cops. His dream of making it big is shot down when a merciless drug dealer goes after his family, making him reflect on his choices in life. The story is all too run of the mill, but Phoenix elevates the film to a place it never would have been without his remarkable presence. Truly one of the most gifted actors of his generation.

4 STARS!

All about We Own The Night

June 11, 2008

Abhijan (The Expedition)








Director - Satyajit Ray

Genre - Drama


Unexposed to Indian movies which are not of the 'song and dance' variety, we were stunningly overwhelmed with this film. Born of warrior caste, a taxi driver grows increasingly disappointed with the way his life turned out. A chance encounter offers a way out, but at what cost? This is a sincere masterpiece teeming with unadulterated realism. Satyajit Ray was an astonishing director who utilized the language of cinema to the fullest in creating a film which mirrors the stark, sometimes brutally unforgiving world we live in.

5 STARS!

All about Abhijan

June 10, 2008

Following








Director - Christopher Nolan

Genre - Crime/Mystery/Thriller


Little known movie by 'Batman Begins' director, Christopher Nolan. Filmed in black and white, this smart thriller is a heady mixture of arthouse and film noir. Nolan's astute filmmaking and the overall dark atmosphere of it is infectious, making you reflect on the movie way after it ended. It's a shame though that not many have seen or are even aware of its existence.

5 STARS!

All about Following

June 7, 2008

Rain Dogs








Director
- Ho Yuhang

Genre - Drama


Independent filmmakers from Malaysia have rarely hit the mark with their endeavors. This film by Ho Yuhang though shows a potential that is both refreshing and hopeful. Its simplistic story which revolves around a young man who lost his brother to the triads, prompting him to consider revenge is juxtaposed against the quiet, peaceful village lifestyle. The cinematography is like a fresh breeze blowing like whispers of a better life in a convoluted world. Promising.

3.5 STARS!

All about Rain Dogs

June 6, 2008

PTU








Director - Johnnie To

Genre - Crime/Thriller/Drama


A stylish thriller with film-noir elements from Johnnie To. The dark and moody atmosphere fills every scene with a sense of dread. However, in To's capable hands, the story of a group of patrolling cops is also wildly intense and provide an insightful peep into their minds and work. In fact, the dynamics of the Hong Kong police department is so intimately explored it's very likely To had exclusive access into their world. It's a unique blend of artistic bravado and genre-breaking coolness. To took a dangerous risk with this and it worked.

4 STARS!

All about PTU

June 4, 2008

To Live








Director - Zhang Yimou

Genre - Drama


A grandiose, ambitious epic. The story is set in the early days of communism in China. We are introduced at the start to a gambling addict who seems hell-bent on wasting away his father's riches. Drafted into the ensuing war, he gradually changes when faced with insurmountable tribulations. What is so great about this is that it isn't for or against communism. It simply lets the characters and circumstances piece together a remarkable tale of survival.

5 STARS!

All about To Live

June 2, 2008

Gone Baby Gone








Director
- Ben Affleck

Genre - Crime/Drama/Mystery


Based on a Dennis Lehane book of the same title, this film is directed by a surprisingly gifted Ben Affleck. He finally shows us that he is as talented as his buddy, Matt Damon and maybe, just maybe, succeeds in erasing the ghosts of 'Gigli', 'Daredevil' and 'Paycheck'. For giving us this superbly directed thriller, we are ready to forgive his past sins. Casey Affleck is perfect as a smart-mouth private detective who isn't exactly the type of buffed, handsome hero we're used to in Hollywood flicks. With just the right amount of human drama and action, Affleck's first undertaking in the director's chair earns instant respect.

4 STARS!

All about Gone Baby Gone