Vancouver 2014 Review: MAN ON HIGH HEELS, Crime Genre As Transgender Study

Man On High Heels, a Korean gangster-cop flick of another color, navigates gender politics as shakily as its strangely-worded (or translated) title would suggest. Cha Seung-won stars as Ji-wook, the eponymous man: a specimen of ideal masculinity who spends his... More »
  

Warsaw 2014 Review: THE COFFIN IN THE MOUNTAIN, An Entertaining And Cleverly Written Black Comedy

To make effective use of multi-perspective narrative is never an easy task, but first-time helmer Xin Yukun has found a perfectly workable way of implementing the risky technique within a story of a peaceful, rural Chinese village forcefully awakened from... More »
  

Camera Japan Review: SHORT PEACE Has Great Shorts But No Peace

(Otomo Katsuhiro once again searches for beauty in violence and destruction, and this time he has brought some friends...) Seeing anime on a big screen is always a special affair in the Netherlands, and there are only a few... More »
By Ard Vijn   
  

New York 2014 Review: BIRDMAN, A Visual and Comedic Feast For The Eyes and Mind

This year's New York Film Festival came to a satisfying conclusion with one of its best selections, Birdman, or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance), the oddly titled (and punctuated) fifth feature by acclaimed Mexican filmmaker Alejandro G. Iñárritu. Returning in... More »
  

New York 2014 Review: CITIZENFOUR, The Chilling Story Behind Edward Snowden's Explosive Revelations

In this year's New York Film Festival there were two gripping thrillers, both receiving their world premieres at the festival, and, intriguingly enough, both featuring moodily effective scores by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross. One was David Fincher's novel adaptation... More »
  

Busan 2014 Review: THE TRUTH SHALL NOT SINK WITH SEWOL Invokes Tears And Outrage

The Sewol Disaster, the most significant event to rock South Korea since the IMF Crisis in 1997, gets its first big screen treatment with The Truth Shall Not Sink With Sewol, the first of what are sure to be many... More »
  

Warsaw 2014 Review: GENTLE, A Polished And Splendidly Acted Adaptation Of Dostoyevsky's Touching Short Story

Le-Van Kiet's Gentle starts with an unexpectedly drastic scene, as if trying to wash away the tranquility so pleasantly accentuated by the film's opening credits and its intriguing title, inspired by Fyodor Dostoyevsky's 1876 short story 'A Gentle Creature'.From the... More »
  

Valdivia 2014 Review: SANTIAGO VIOLENTA, A Pleasant Surprise And A New Era For Díaz Espinoza

Though there are still three months left in the year and To Kill a Man has already been chosen for the Oscars as the Chilean representative (and rightfully so) I might say that the latest film by action-oriented director Ernesto... More »
  

Sitges 2014 Review: MONSTERS: DARK CONTINENT, An Intense Yet Alienating Ordeal

Four years after Gareth Edwards exploded onto the sci-fi scene with his inventive and industrious indie alien invasion flick Monsters, first-time director Tom Green delivers a sequel that bears little resemblance to the original, in tone, content or invention.Reportedly set... More »
  

Warsaw 2014: NAME ME Zooms In On Abandoned Daughters

Nigina Sayfullaeva's feature debut Name Me opens with 17-year-old Olya collecting the courage to look her biological father in the eyes for the first time. To ease the melodramatic atmosphere, she is accompanied by her easygoing, overly self-confident and fun-seeking friend,... More »
  

Busan 2014 Review: The Wonderfully Surreal SELF-MADE Has More Than A Few Screws Loose

Shita Geffen's Self-Made could be the strangest film I have ever seen. Part black-comedy, part surreal drama, and all feminist parable, the film follows two very different women as they inexplicably swap identities.This is vastly complicated by the locations... More »
  

Warsaw 2014 Review: FANTASIA, A Beautifully-Lensed, But Overly Familiar Chinese Indie

In Wang Chao's Fantasia, one family's struggle to overcome a personal crisis, inevitably worsened by the father's progressive terminal illness, serves its purpose as a catalyst for the director to weave a tale of seemingly great social significance. Even though... More »
  

Busan 2014 Review: KABUKICHO LOVE HOTEL, A Raunchy Charmer

Kabukicho Love Hotel (better translated as Sayonara Kabukicho) is the latest urban-centric film from esoteric director Hiroki Ryuichi (Vibrator). Although the film contains the sprawling metropolitan malaise that permeates his contemporary films, this is a far more accessible and crowd-pleasing effort that plays... More »
  

Busan 2014 Review: FIRES ON THE PLAIN Drags Us Into The Abyss

Though based on Ooha Shohei's book of the same name rather than Ichikawa Kon's languid and harrowing 1959 film, Tsukamoto Shinya's Fires on the Plain was always going to be an entirely different beast. Low-budget and with a frenetic and... More »
  

Busan 2014 Review: PARALLEL Means Well But Lacks Drive

The heart-warming story of a disabled ice hockey team's journey to the World Championships, Korean documentary Parallel is a testament to perseverance and passion in the face of adversity. However, at 70 minutes and with an all too easy to... More »
  

Review: DOCTOR WHO S8E08, MUMMY ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS (Or, A Thoroughly Unpleasant Train Journey)

To its credit, Doctor Who doesn't attempt to sweep Clara's impassioned outburst from last week under the rug. Her eventual decision to continue travelling with the Doctor doesn't suggest she's forgotten why he made her so angry in the first... More »
  

Busan 2014 Review: FACTORY COMPLEX, An Artful Look At Korea's Beleaguered Workforce

It's no secret that workers are subjected to punishing conditions and constant humiliation in Korea, a country that has made the news recently for having the longest work hours and yet the least productivity among all OECD nations. New documentary... More »
  

Vancouver 2014 Review: EXIT Feels Pretty But Shallow

Chienn Hsiang's second feature, Exit, is lovely to look at, and pleasant enough to watch, but ultimately feels inconsequential. Chen Shiang-chyi stars as Lingzi, a childlike middle-aged woman finds herself alone for a few weeks while her teenaged daughter visits... More »
  

Busan 2014 Review: SUNRISE Plunges Us Into Noirish And Riveting Tale Of Child Abduction

Indian cinema provides another jolt of electricity to the thriller genre with Sunrise, a tight, punchy neo-noir about child trafficking in Mumbai. Taking place at night, frequently under heavy rain and driven forward by a pulsating minimalist electro score, the... More »
  

Review: FURY Treads On Unsettled Ground

I found myself liking Fury almost against my best judgment, ignoring some of its overt flaws in favour of enjoying the ride. It might be because I'm a sucker for claustrophobic battle films. It may have been Das Boot... More »
  
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