• The Hateful Eight

    The Hateful Eight

    "Justice delivered without dispassion is always in danger of not being justice."

    The perfect response to Django Unchained, a film I like but struggle with a lot, partly due to its pacing and structure but also because I find its racial politics and themes to be surface level and borderline flagrant at times. The Hateful Eight isn’t a better version of it, instead it feels like a counter to that film, one that’s filled with hatred for its time and irreverence…

  • Shaolin Soccer

    Shaolin Soccer

    I quite liked it when the Stephen Chow martial arts-infused sports film broke out into two musical numbers, before and after becoming a horror film, then transitioning into war film, before settling down as an underdog story about believing in oneself and toppling down corrupt officials. Did I mention it’s a love story too? I could imagine disliking this for many reasons, if I were a moron with boring taste and no sense of humour. If you dislike this, I dislike you, capisce?

  • Kiki's Delivery Service

    Kiki's Delivery Service

    “We each need to find our own inspiration, Kiki. Sometimes it’s not easy.”

    A warm blanket of kindness to lift my spirits. I'm leaving home, I'm not happy, and I can barely even "fly," but maybe that's okay. Jiji down bad, also probably the biggest factor in this movie saving Studio Ghibli back in '89.

  • The Time to Live and the Time to Die

    The Time to Live and the Time to Die

    I didn’t know that it was Hou Hsiao-hsien’s birthday before watching this, but it just so happens that I chose his autobiographical film on this day. This gave me a better perspective of who he is and what’s so special about his filmmaking. There’s something so simple and mundane about it, but undeniably rich, poetic, graceful, complex, and at the end of the day, historical under the surface. An easier watch than A City of Sadness, I’m looking forward to revisiting this down the road. So far, so great from Hou Hsiao-hsien!

  • 100 Yen Love

    100 Yen Love

    i don't think the implied rape is given enough attention for it to really advance Ichiko's struggle with self-worth, and the idea of her gaining her dignity back after the assault isn't handled with the grace i would've liked. her main love interest is also plain uninteresting, and he has basically no chemistry with Ichiko either. these are both problems you'd expect to find when a male director handles this kind of subject matter, so i can't say i'm surprised.…

  • The 39 Steps

    The 39 Steps

    30s and 40s Hitchcock mini binge: Film #9

    It’s amazing what several months, some background knowledge of Hitchcock’s 1930s career, a higher definition video, a renewed sense of purpose (continuing the binge, and a good nights sleep beforehand can do for one’s opinion of a film! When I first saw The 39 Steps it was my first of Hitchcock’s pre-Hollywood efforts and I thought it was a perfectly solid wrong-man romantic thriller, something I felt North by Northwest accomplished quite…

  • Sky, Wind, Fire, Water, Earth

    Sky, Wind, Fire, Water, Earth

    "It hurts...but now I understand."

    The most challenging film I've seen...all year? It's humble to the point of narcissism, and that makes absolutely no sense, but that's my honest opinion regardless of the glaring contradiction. It's difficult to talk about this without comparing it to Embracing, which is where this journey began. Embracing was Naomi confronting her own childhood trauma, lack of genuine affection, and self-loathing as she tracked down her biological father, a former yakuza man. It was about…

  • Seed

    Seed

    Whoa I'm not used to Kawase being so optimistic...maybe it's just Sakura Ando's charisma idk this is a beautiful short but definitely slight compared to Naomi's 90s diary work. Then again this was filmed in a completely different context but I still feel like this is riding a rather flimsy metaphor all the way through...her early shorts had metaphors in spades but there was always personal weight to them. Here it's just pretty fun fluff, and while it's not the…

  • A City of Sadness

    A City of Sadness

    “...a woman killed herself by flinging herself into a waterfall. She wasn’t tired of life. She hadn’t lost the will to live. She just couldn’t face the loss of her youth. Once lost, nothing means anything. Why not imitate the cherry blossom...and fall when in the fullness of our beauty? Carried by the wind...”

    Trauma, despair, and civil unrest shrouded in a corrupt, oppressive regime, a broken family crisis enveloping political terror and turmoil, historical tragedy and atrocity captured with…

  • The Third Murder

    The Third Murder

    “What is...a vessel?”

    If we are given multiple versions of the truth, is there any one real truth, and is knowing, or exposing, this truth in any way relevant to the operation of justice, morally or legally?

    We really disregarded one of the most compelling legal dramas of the century as “too cold and distant” for Kore-eda to capture. It’s not as if he’s the sole reason why this unravels in the way it does. It’s a miracle this isn’t even among my favourites from Kore-eda. Also a beautiful homage to Rashomon and High and Low!

  • BLACKPINK: Light Up the Sky

    BLACKPINK: Light Up the Sky

    “we all have dreams, hunger to make it. When you’re really invested in what you do, that’s what makes things happen.”

    The work ethic and commitment alone is so far beyond inspiring.

  • Suzaku

    Suzaku

    Maborosi’s sister, but for all their similarities I feel like Suzaku is more personal to the person behind the camera. That’s to be expected, I’ve never come across a director so vulnerable like Naomi Kawase, and that same vulnerability and need for the cinematic medium present in her diary films carries over into her first narrative feature, which is one of the best I’ve ever seen. In Embracing, Naomi expressed the desire to be more natural, to be like a…