In the long history of Asian genre directors crossing over into English-language films, Chan-wook Parks’ Stoker, a deliriously directed noirsih thriller, is the cream of the crop. Unlike this year’s other Korean-directed thriller Jee-woon Kim’s The Last Stand, Park’s devilish film about nebbish teenager disturbed by the arrival of her long lost Uncle bristles with cinematic ingenuity and with a kind of inspired unconventionality not seen since the bombastic heyday of Brian De Palma.
Friday, June 14, 2013
Even after six films following his celebrated Nouvelle-Vague debut 'Band of Outsiders' finds Godard at his hippest, frolickiest, cool, witty and irreverent – a postmodernness which bleeds formally into the seminal early work of Martin Scorsese and Quentin Tarantino.
Thursday, June 13, 2013
While Ingmar Bergman’s films have often been marked as methodical and arguably slow exercises in emotional rigor, which is often unfriendly to lay audiences, Fanny and Alexander is a wholly accessible, truly haunting journey for its two main title characters.
Wednesday, June 12, 2013
'Cleopatra', notable for being the most expensive movie ever made, the subject of heavily-consumed gossip fodder, and it’s place as one of biggest Hollywood ‘flops’ of its time, carries a lot of baggage. But unlike the glorious rediscovery and new appreciation of Michael Cimino's equally-loaded 'Heaven’s Gate', 'Cleopatra' never surmounts its expectations as a bloated and creatively bland sword and sandal picture.
Tuesday, June 11, 2013
Delmar Daves’ (3:10 to Yuma) uncomplicated western soap opera has taken the fancy of the Criterion Collection resulting in a visually spectacular high-def transfer, though underwhelming in special features. Despite some ovepraise in the Criterion notes, Daves’ very loose Othello story set fits the western genre well. Shakespeare’s themes such a male loyalty, codes of honour and betrayal are transplanted successfully to the story of a wandering cowboy caught in the power struggle between a naïve cattle rancher and his devious ranchhand looking to seize his wealth.
Thursday, June 6, 2013
Tuesday, June 4, 2013
Well, it was fun to have John Carpenter back after so many years dormant and more than a decade of forgettable films, even if this latest effort was not the reverie we all hoped for. At least it’s a pure horror film. There are no vampires or ghosts on Mars. But there is a contained location, specifically a psych ward in the '60s, and the ghost of a missing or dead girl tormenting a group of female patients.
Monday, June 3, 2013
With the kinks worked out from the previous exposition and time travel-heavy Kirk/Spock origin story, and by staying close to the spirit of Wrath of Khan, the most action-oriented entry of the Star Trek episodes, the result is a more focused and thus clearer action sci-fi picture aimed at moderate Trek enthusiasts and summer blockbuster audiences.
Wednesday, May 29, 2013
The confidence and command of the medium with this very first feature film from the Coen Bros is kind of astounding. The loosely documented story behind the making of this film has it that Coen Bros made a short demo, or trailer for the film as a pitch to some family friends to invest in their feature version. With their meticulously detailed story board, the maximized their million and a half budget instantly launching their successful career.
Tuesday, May 28, 2013
Undone by the casting of slow and wobbly Arnold Schwarzenegger, this is simply a very sad Hollywood debut for renowned and wholly inspiring Korean director Kim Je-Woon, of ‘I Saw the Devil’ fame. We only have to look to Chan-wook Park's brilliant Stoker as a superior example of a successful Asia-to-American transplant.
Monday, May 27, 2013
Under the guise of a coming-of-age film, Jeff Nichols’ third feature is a film about kids for adults and continues his string of complex character dramas, reflecting themes of family, revenge and violence in the landscape of the American Midwest.
Thursday, May 23, 2013
Wednesday, May 22, 2013
The formulaic nature of the multiple sequels of this film might suggest that 'Rocky' itself is a formula film - that is, chronciling the journey of a down and out boxer from the rough streets of Philly to boxing highest stage, a shot at the heavyweight title. Indeed this is how “Rocky” plays out but its honest and truly sincere character-based personal approach as written and performed by Sylvestre Stallone subverts all expectations for the first time viewer.
Tuesday, May 21, 2013
Like Leon Gast’s great ‘When We Were Kings’ documentary about the Rumble in The Jungle fight, it took 20 years after the event for the film to be completed. Jeffrey Levy-Hinte's 2009 documentary on the accompanying music festival, arrived late as well and like King's was an instant classic as memorable as some of the greats music documentaries of its era, Gimme Shelter, Woodstock, and Monterey Pop.