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  • Aynabaji

    Aynabaji

    ★★★½

    A surprisingly unique take on identity in a commercially viable package led by Chanchal Chowdhury's phenomenal performance. Worth watching just for his brilliance—including an uncanny ability to make you smile with his "mirroring" acts.

    It's tragic that the film still hasn't gotten any sort of distribution with English subtitles as it deserves to be seen more widely. This would do wonders on a platform such as Netflix.

    Production quality-wise, there are issues with sound mixing and color grading, though both are overall salvaged by Chowdhury's charisma.

    · Currently #3 on Letterboxd 25: Bangladesh
    · Currently #33 on Letterboxd 50: Bengali

  • The Last Witness

    The Last Witness

    ★★★★

    I've met Park Chan-wook three times in my life: At a signing for Oldboy at Tower Records in Soho, then at the NYFF premiere of Sympathy for Lady Vengeance and once again at a Q&A for Thirst at the same festival. Only at the last event did I get to ask him whom his favorite inspirations were: He said Kim Ki-young and Yasuzo Masumura—which led me to binge on the latter’s works.

    But now, having watched The Last Witness, it's…

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  • Shock Wave 2

    Shock Wave 2

    ★★★

    Shock Wave 2 begins with with of the most absurdly awesome explosions in cinematic history and continues with twists and turns that keep you paying attention. Starts losing steam near the end only to be saved by another absurd (and unexpected?) sequence.

    It’s been a while since I’ve seen such a fun action flick out of Hong Kong. Also, has Andy Lau stopped aging or what? He’s the Asian Keanu.

  • The Kid Detective

    The Kid Detective

    ★★★

    Darker and more harrowing than expected.

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  • The White Tiger

    The White Tiger

    ★★½

    The tone just felt off here, with the lead character coming off unnecessarily sinister for much of the film. In addition, the class struggle angle felt not only overly exaggerated but also reductive. There is a great story here somewhere, possibly buried behind excessive screentime for a normally great Rajkummar Rao and a heavy-handed approach to a much more complex topic.

  • Punch

    Punch

    ★★★½

    LIFE AS FICTION Punch is not a blockbuster. It's about a poor high school kid growing up with a disabled father hellbent on dancing at a cabaret. It's about mothers and being an outsider in a closed off world. It's about fathers and sons and teachers and students. Most importantly, it's about knowing that one cannot separate all these, that in the evermore complicated world we live in, everything converges at once, and we must learn to find solace…