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.

March 24, 2012

Blue Valentine

Director - Derek Cianfrance

Genre - Drama/Romance

A marriage implodes from within and it's not a pretty sight. No, we're not talking about Mel Gibson's marriage. This here is the complete opposite of a date movie and those plunging into relationships should back the hell away. Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams play a married couple who fight with each other constantly, caught in a heartbreaking reality of their once happy union turning excruciatingly sour. Will they be able to save the matrimony for their sake and their daughter's? Flashbacks of when they were blissfully romantic and unaware of the storm coming fills the movie with a bittersweet nature. Those who think it's easy being in a relationship will think twice when they watch this. It's hard to pinpoint what exactly happened to cause the disintegration of their love. Gosling and Williams hit it out of the ballpark with their truth-seeking, controlled acting. Basically, what you have here is a horror story for fresh couples or those who are thinking of partaking in relationships. It doesn't take much to start falling out of love. Not much at all.

3.5 STARS!

All about Blue Valentine

March 14, 2012

Life Without Principle

Director - Johnnie To

Genre - Crime/Drama

Johnnie To changes gears here, giving us a different sort of picture than what he had been dishing out. The cast are still considerably familiar but his style is not so overpoweringly overwhelming like in his past repertoire, allowing the story to flow with better ease. Featuring a backstory of Hong Kong going through an economic strife, the script is about the average Joes and plain Janes in the competitive city who struggle with financial difficulties in their lives. With the cost of owning a roof over most Hongkies' heads way beyond their means, will they still hold on to their ethical values? Or will they trample over each other to get what they want? The questions which Johnnie To asks in this film are way more interesting than what he had offered before. Fighting to survive here doesn't involve bullets and crossfires as much. Instead, it is the rising cost of staying in a cutthroat city which trip up the characters more than anything else. A welcome change of style from Johnnie To. For his own survival in the world of cinema, we feel he is on the right path.

3.5 STARS!

All about Life Without Principle

March 7, 2012

13 Assassins

Director - Takashi Miike

Genre - Action/Drama

Takashi Miike the non-conforming indie director in a bigger budget, more mainstream mode? A samurai movie is something we never would've imagined Miike doing yet this turned out pretty good. When the brother of a reigning shogun abuses his privilege by torturing and punishing those under him in unbelievably cruel ways, a group of samurais rises up to take his head. The violence here is unmistakably Miike, but compared to his previous work, the gravity of violence is explored here. Lives were as cheap as unwanted cabbages in those days and by watching the picture, we are actually also reliving the savage past of a bygone Japan. Appreciation for our own lives are derived in the end and that is the strength of Miike's film. The action comes at you fast and hard, but with every slash of the blade, every drop of blood shed, violence is not celebrated but shown to be ugly, repulsive. Kind of how it was in 'Audition' too. Not only will this silence his detractors, his relevance in world cinema is also enhanced greatly.


All about 13 Assassins

March 2, 2012

Midnight in Paris

Director - Woody Allen

Genre - Comedy/Fantasy/Romance

A Woody Allen rom-com is like a cup of really good coffee on a rainy day. Most rom-coms require you to leave your brains at the entrance but with Allen, what you leave behind are your worries and that dreadful boss who smells like he used toilet cleaner in place of deodorant. The enormous extent of Allen's wit continues to flabbergast us with this lighthearted tale of time-traveling. Starring Owen Wilson as a Hollywood screenwriter, the script takes our hero who yearns for a more simple era to a Paris filled with the who's who of past artists and writers. Elated beyond belief, he soon discovers that he has fallen in love not only with a retro version of Paris, a mysterious girl has also captivated his heart. Wilson is surprisingly a very good fit here in Woodyland, and we had a fun time naming the supporting actors in the film like Adrien Brody, Kathy Bates and Carla Bruni. If you're looking for a smashing time filled with intelligently told jokes, this is it. If you're tired of throw-away fares like 'Forgetting Sarah Marshall' and 'Meet the Fockers', well, here is the alternative. The cure even.

4.5 STARS!

All about Midnight in Paris