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.


September 25, 2010

Monga








Director - Doze Niu

Genre - Drama


The world of cinema has had a long and fruitful love affair with the underworld. From crudely unsleek Tony Montana to Kitano's too cool for school gangsters, our fondness for these rebels who live on the outer ring of rules-following society stem from our own yearning to break free of authoritative constraints. In 'Monga', directed by actor/director Doze Niu, a young man named 'Mosquito' falls in with the wrong company and like us, is drawn into a love affair with all things explicitly illegal. Set in the 80's, there's a feeling of gleeful reminiscence when watching this. Violence and backstabbings occur like bees drawn to honey-pregnant flowers as with all secret societies but it is all done with such a sentimentalized, romanticized gloss that it came across as refreshing as a glass of lemonade on a scorching day. We feel special mention should be given to Ethan Yuan. He plays 'Monk' with such conviction and heartbreaking vulnerability we felt he anchored the whole movie with his presence. Similarly, its impressive cinematography and direction gets a shout-out too.

5 STARS!

All about Monga

September 22, 2010

Kapurush








Director - Satyajit Ray

Genre - Drama/Thriller


For those who think that a gargantuan budget, plenty of stunts and a timer bomb are all key ingredients for making a suspenseful thriller, this perfect little gem will astound you. When a screenwriter bumps into his old flame on a fateful research-orientated excursion, he decides to make right all his previous mistreatment of her. One big hurdle he has to overcome though is the husband. All this seem very domestically unremarkable we presume you're thinking, but we're unable to divulge more lest we spoil the film for you. We'll reveal though that this is one hell of a bite your nails thriller we didn't see coming. Satyajit Ray's films never fail to enlighten our pursuit to seek the best cinema has to offer. This is a benchmark set very high indeed and we have become full-fledged disciples of Ray's henceforth. You should too.

5 STARS!

All about Kapurush

September 15, 2010

Man on Wire








Director - James Marsh

Genre - Documentary


A documentary about a man's love for walking on tightropes. Suspended high above skyscrapers! You may say that such a person is obviously not right in the head or that he doesn't value his life. As we viewed this, it became apparent to us that here is a man who only feels really alive when he is doing what he does best, even to the extend of alienating his friends and lover. One of the highlights here is our daredevil extraordinaire walking on a rope between the famous twin towers in America. This is a feat we'll never ever witness again as the towers no longer exist. Similarly, seeing a man up in the air high above the city skyscrapers as if he is walking on a dream-scape of his own making is just unbelievably beautiful.

3.5 STARS!

All about Man on Wire

September 9, 2010

At The End of Daybreak








Director - Ho Yu Hang

Genre - Drama


This film right here reminded us again why we love indies. Profit driven movies are often without soul, filled with lines only movie people will utter ("you complete me", "you can't handle the truth!", etc) and often the story will not be an extension of the director's feelings towards the world at large. Malaysia's Ho Yu Hang may well be his country's breakthrough filmmaker and we're taking notice. Based on a news article he'd read, it is at once his own take on that event but also more crucially, a tale of a fragile relationship broken by human frailties. What was fascinating for us is that Ho nailed the hypocrisy of a young girl's fleeting vision of love so well, so full of truth it was just refreshing to watch. It may not have the gloss and polish of a bigger-budgeted film, but that is why we love independent movies. It is flawed, like all the rest of us. Life isn't lived on an expensive, built up set, is it?

4 STARS!

All about At The End of Daybreak

September 2, 2010

The Secret Life of Bees








Director - Gina Prince-Bythewood

Genre - Drama


What an embarrassing Hallmark-y picture this turned out to be. Every fiber of the direction is designed to pull violently at your heartstrings, urging you like an annoying credit card salesman to let its teardrops-inducing devices overcome you. Adapted from a novel which was endorsed with fervor by Oprah (the movie received ample cheer-leading from her as well), it stars Dakota Fanning who runs away from home with slave (Jennifer Hudson) in tow and as consequence to that, find solace as well as lessons on life in the arms of a black family. Queen Latifah plays the matriarch figure and Alicia Keys one of her sisters. Keys seemed to have been brushed on with a darker (and uneven, gasp!) tone of body paint to make her appear more of a black woman, which is really odd and ridiculous. The only person here who managed to rise above the material is Paul Bettany, playing Fanning's volatile dad with marked believability in a movie filled with alarming stereotypes.

2 STARS!

All about The Secret Life of Bees