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  • Save the Green Planet!

    Save the Green Planet!

    ★★★★½

    Nick Davie: As 2020 draws to a close, South Korean cinema has never been as popular as it is now, in part thanks to Parasite's Best Picture Academy Award triumph for Bong Joon-ho. As western audiences were further exposed to South Korean cinema, Jang Joon-hwan announced he would be remaking 2003’s Save the Green Planet! in the English language. This month we will be discussing Jang Joon-hwan's original film, in which the word original really sticks. The film is a…

  • A Tale of Two Sisters

    A Tale of Two Sisters

    ★★★★½

    The creative explosion of Korean cinema at the beginning of the 21st century featured films of incredible diversity in style and subject matter. Park Chan-wook took techniques from exploitation movies and brought operatic stylings to the revenge genre in his trilogy consisting of Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance, Oldboy and Lady Vengeance. Lee Chang-dong examined the issues plaguing traditional Korean patriarchy with a limpid eye in Oasis and Secret Sunshine. Bong Joon-ho would make tragicomedies about both law enforcement and the…

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  • Deep Crimson

    Deep Crimson

    ★★★★½

    A very handsome version of a familiar story. While The Honeymoon Killers leaned hard into into its tabloid roots, Deep Crimson goes for romance and makes a tragiocomic story about two really horrible people. It doesn't exactly humanize them, but it doesn't glamorize them either. Regina Orozco brilliantly mixes pathos with comedy to give a more human performance in which we can understand her issues, though she's still reprehensible.

  • Breaking the Waves

    Breaking the Waves

    ★★★★½

    One of Lars Von Trier's most brilliant films. A twisted fairy tale that manages to eviscerate provincial mentalities and religion. Maybe it's best to see Bess as a victim of this mindset because the way Emily Watson plays her is as a fierce innocent. Yes, she is naive but she is actually quite powerful in her own way, and she actually wins small victories against the oppressive society that she is part of.

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  • Black Panther

    Black Panther

    ★★★★

    I kind of forgot I was watching a Marvel movie and that was so welcome. It's an incredible, beautiful vision of Black empowerment and influence, but it's also complex and influenced by current knowledge and issues. It also manages not to be didactic and gives us some of the best staged action scenes in any Marvel movie. A big studio like Disney should not be afraid to let artists have their voices heard, and this is proof.

    Edit: Just heard…

  • Freedom Writers

    Freedom Writers

    I saw this movie way before my experience with social justice teaching. It's pandering in a way that is supposed to make privileged audiences feel good about themselves. Instead of addressing the systemic flaws that created the harsh world these students live in, it falls into the trap of white woman savior saving the poor illiterate kids of color, which is condescending at best, straight up racist at its worst. I don't think Hollywood will ever get a movie about teachers right if this kind of crap passes as verisimilitude.