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 29, 2008

Mr. Brooks

Director - Bruce A. Evans

Genre - Crime/Drama/Mystery/Thriller

Earl Brooks is a successful entrepreneur with a loving wife and daughter. His life seems blessed and harmonious. However, like all men who must cling to a sinful habit, he does have one vice. Mr. Brooks is an ice-cold killer and he is the best at it. Kevin Costner who had been missing from the scene for some time makes a victorious return, playing the role with relish. This film would not have worked without his screen presence which whilst not as devastating as Brando's or (in younger mode) Pacino's, incinerates just as well in its own inimitable way.


All about Mr. Brooks

August 27, 2008

Latest Poster for 'Sad Dream'

Here's the latest poster for Kim Ki-Duk's upcoming film 'Sad Dream' (Bi-mong, [비몽]) starring Lee Na-Young and Japanese actor Joe Odagiri. This is the second film from Kim Ki-Duk to feature a non-Korean actor in the lead role ('Breath' was his other film starring Chang Chen from Taiwan). 'Sad Dream' opens in South Korea this October.

August 26, 2008

As Tears Go By

Director - Wong Kar Wai

Genre - Crime/Drama

A slightly conventional and commercial debut film by Wong Kar Wai. It is interesting to note that once this movie made his name, he never looked back. Every film after this is personal and tested the perimeters of filmmaking. There isn't anything wrong with this one other than the tacky 80's clothing though. Andy Lau and Jackie Cheung play two underlings of a triad organization terrorized by a devious villain acted with mischievous glee by Alex Man. A good starting point for Wong.


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August 24, 2008

Triangle (Tie Saam Gok)

Director - Tsui Hark, Ringo Lam & Johnnie To

Genre - Action/Thriller

3 accomplished directors from HK (Tsui Hark, Ringo Lam & Johnnie To) have put together a movie that may sound like too many cooks, but is in fact a thriller which has benefited tremendously by their shared ebullience. As each of them are accountable for different parts of the film (beginning, middle & end), we get to enjoy their unique blend of cinematic interpretations and ingenuity. Intrinsically, this translates into a suspenseful treasure hunt gone defiantly uneasy which will keep you guessing and hooked.

3.5 STARS!

All about Triangle (Tie Saam Gok)

August 22, 2008

The Village

Director - M. Night Shyamalan

Genre - Mystery/Thriller

M. Night Shyamalan had the makings of a uber director in waiting once. With 'The Sixth Sense', 'Unbreakable' and 'Signs' he was touted rightfully as the next Hitchcock. And then, he went and did 'The Village'. A whole Amish-like community are awakened from their god-fearing, evil-abstaining stupor by a truth that may or may not set them free. In the aftermath of this film's 'unveiling', we couldn't help wishing that we shouldn't have even bothered to peep a little in the first place. And that we should have just said our farewells to the promising trailer and left it at that.


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August 21, 2008


Director - Marc Caro & Jean-Pierre Jeunet

Genre - Comedy/Drama/Fantasy/Horror/Romance

Coming on like the French cousins of Tim Burton, the directing team of Jean-Pierre Jeunet and Marc Caro ventures into the same sort of otherworldly shenanigans which highlight Burton's career. Set in an undisclosed time-frame, maybe the future (although the future here looks like a past you wouldn't want to revisit), our hero arrives for a job at a run-down apartment building. A former clown, he is happily unaware of the sinister going-ons which lurk in the place. Cannibalistic horror made to look fable-like. Think 'Hansel & Gretel' in large scale.

3.5 STARS!

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August 19, 2008

Apocalypse Now

Director - Francis Ford Coppola

Genre - Action/Adventure/Drama/War

Francis Ford Coppola's epic visage of the Vietnam war is a plethora of assaulting colors and drug-induced explosions of the mind. Martin Sheen plays an officer tasked with taking down Colonel Kurtz, played majestically by Brando. Kurtz is a megalomaniac who has with his entire troop and some tribal savages built a self-sustaining colony deep in the Vietnamese jungle. The fleet of choppers scene is jaw-droppingly blazin' hot, as is Brando's seminal portrayal of a man-beast. The Horror...


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August 17, 2008

Hearts of Darkness

Director - Fax Bahr & George Hickenlooper
Eleanor Coppola (documentary footage)

Genre - Documentary

Assembled from footages shot by Coppola's wife (Eleanor), this documentary showcasing the troubled shooting of 'Apocalypse Now' is a quintessential 'making of'. From intimate interviews with the actors involved to various mishaps which plague the set of Coppola's Vietnam war epic unceasingly, this is a revealing insight into the inner workings of a huge production. In the end, a masterpiece is created out of sheer determination. Brando's hilarious outtakes included (these alone are solid gold!).


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August 14, 2008

20th Century Boys: Chapter 1 Trailer

The first installment of the '20th Century Boys' (20 Seiki Shônen, 『20世紀少年』) trilogy opens in Japan August 30th. This is the most highly anticipated manga adaptation from Japan this year for us.

'20th Century Boys' first installment's characters.

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Official website of '20th Century Boys' movie

August 13, 2008


Director - Sam Mendes

Genre - Biography/Drama/War

A stark and cynically-tinged war movie directed by Sam Mendes. Peppered throughout with moments of tar-black humor, it serves as a critically condemning statement on the war in Iraq. Going into Saddam Hussein's country, a group of foot soldiers are eager to do battle and make their country proud. Instead, contemporary warfare renders them almost obsolete and they begin to lose hope fast. Aided with immeasurable competence by cinematographer Roger Deakins, this stunning picture is incredulously underrated and overlooked.

4.5 STARS!

All about Jarhead

August 12, 2008

La Vie En Rose

Director - Olivier Dahan

Genre - Biography/Drama/Music

Marion Cotillard plays singer Edith Piaf in this biopic which wallows somewhat in pain and sadness. Plucked from obscurity and poverty, Piaf's story is one of amazement and the love of singing which kept her alive. Frail and sick all through her hard life, she put her torment into the songs she sang, and therein was her strength. Cotillard's portrayal which earned her an Oscar is spectacular. The voice inflections, personality quirks and overall physical change she went through just bowled us over.

3.5 STARS!

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August 11, 2008

10 Items or Less

Director - Brad Silberling

Genre - Comedy/Drama/Romance

Morgan Freeman has made an entire career out of playing mentor type roles. Here he is again, imparting his invaluable wisdom in this film. He is essentially a Jedi master sans lightsaber. Doing research for a supermarket manager role, Freeman who plays an aging actor encounters Paz Vega's cashier character and immediately decides to guide her towards a better life. Patronizing and overflowing with cliched moments and personalities, this movie relies heavily on the charms of Vega and Freeman. Spare us please.

2.5 STARS!

All about 10 Items or Less

August 9, 2008

The Face of Another (Tanin no Kao)

Director - Hiroshi Teshigahara

Genre - Drama

We fell deeply in love with this film. If possible, we'd like to make love to it. Horribly disfigured by an industrial mishap, our hero grows vehemently bitter. When a questionable doctor offers to create a special mask for him, he is skeptical but accepts. Light years ahead of its time, this masterpiece by Hiroshi Teshigahara relentlessly pursues the issue of identity through the psychological labyrinth of the protagonist's mind. Cinematography is artistically superior and singular. This is the best movie we've ever watched in our entire lives.


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August 6, 2008

An Autumn Afternoon

Director - Yosujiro Ozu

Genre - Drama

Yosujiro Ozu is one of Japan's most revered directors and this is his swan song. The story tells of a widower who regrets keeping his daughter by his side for too long. Fearing that she might end up as a spinster, he resolves to find her a suitor before it is too late. The tale is simple but in Ozu's hands, it becomes so much more profound and alive. Every scene is painstakingly framed to perfection and Ozu's highly controlled, restrained style is still to this day, unsurpassed.


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August 4, 2008

The Science of Sleep

Director - Michel Gondry

Genre - Comedy/Drama/Fantasy/Romance

Directed by former MTV director Michel Gondry, this movie will take you headlong into the mind of a child-like dreamer whose waking life and dream world seem to interlace. His love for a next door neighbor keeps him grounded and is the anchor which prevents this film from spiraling into idiosyncratic zone. Their real relationship dialogues and struggles give the story significance. Gael García Bernal is perfect as the boyish dreamer while Gondry's use of handmade, low-budget effects is charming.


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August 3, 2008

Sweeney Todd

Director - Tim Burton

Genre - Crime/Drama/Musical/Thriller

A musical starring Johnny Depp? Our fears of this being a colossal mistake proved unfounded as this Tim Burton vehicle actually worked amazingly. And Johnny Depp can sing! Who would have known? This isn't the sort of musical you can bring your whole family to though. Your kids would probably have infinite nightmares. It's a musical bathed in blood and filled with visually dark, gothic scenes. The kind Burton revels in devilish abandon. Watch out for Sacha Baron Cohen who is without doubt the 'New Peter Sellers'.


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August 1, 2008

Official 'Ashes of Time' Redux Trailer

Here's our original 1994 'Ashes of Time' review. The Redux version opens in theaters October 10.

The Departed

Director - Martin Scorsese

Genre - Crime/Drama/Thriller

Atrociously disappointing film by Scorsese. Remade from 'Infernal Affairs', a HK thriller which was much more meatier and with more bite, this in contrast is just a mistake. The muddled plot about an undercover gangster embedded in the police force battling wits with an undercover cop buried deep in the trenches of an Irish mob is clever for about 20 minutes. Then it descends like bad canteen food you're forced to eat. The HK version although had similar fantastical script, was cloaked in cool tinted shades of deceit.


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