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Udine 2018 Review: THE NAME, an Odd but Curiously Absorbing Japanese Indie

There is more than meets the eye in Toda Akihiro’s The Name, an odd but curiously absorbing mystery drama that appears deceptively simple from the outset. Within its modest trappings, this Japanese indie raises some thoughtful existential questions about personal...

Cannes 2018 Review: BURNING, a Slow Burn for the Ages

Eight years after his phenomenal drama Poetry, Lee Chang-dong makes a long-awaited return to the Cannes competition with his sixth film Burning, an adaptation of Haruki Murakami's short story 'Barn Burning'. Dense with symbolism, this tour de force burrows towards...

Udine 2018 Review: THE SCYTHIAN LAMB, A Bizarre Genre Hybrid Infused with Kaiju Folklore

In the sleepy coastal town of Uobuka, the statue of a googly-eyed green sea monster named Nororo towers over a precipice. According to legend, Nororo is an evil presence from the sea and whoever looks into its eyes will be...

Hot Docs 2018 Review: TUNGRUS, 15 Minutes of Tragicomic Absurdity

"If anybody wants to adopt a rooster, do your research, and as with all pets, be prepared for life to become hell." Tungrus examines the perils of pet ownership in a middle-class Mumbai flat, when a family adopts a 2...

Hot Docs 2018 Review: SHIRKERS, Weaponized Narcissism

Sandi Tan is the writer, director, narrator, and star of Shirkers, the documentary slash true crime story of her first film (also called Shirkers) which she made with her high school pals, and a mysterious American benefactor. The benefactor, named...

Udine 2018 Review: GONJIAM: HAUNTED ASYLUM May Scare You Away from Hospitals for Good

The history of Korean horror was rewritten this year by the most unlikely of contenders, as a low-budget found footage chiller became one of the top-selling K-horrors of all time. Without the benefit of any stars, Epitaph co-director Jung Bum-sik...

Udine 2018 Review: THE RUNNING ACTRESS Dashes to Victory

Ever since picking up a Best New Actor Prize from the Venice International Film Festival for Oasis in 2002, Moon So-ri has been known as one of the top performers in the Korean film industry. Now, after impressing viewers and...

Udine 2018 Review: BE WITH YOU, Pleasant Fantasy Drama Stays the Course

The Korean fantasy romance, a genre that has spawned modern classics such as Il Mare and Ditto, has fallen on hard times in recent years but makes a strong case for a return to form with Be With You, an...

Review: PSYCHOKINESIS, Sang-ho Yeon's Superhero Film Is Fun, Humane And Relevant

South Korea’s Yeon Sang-ho explored fantastic cinema for the first time with his diptych about a zombie invasion, Seoul Station and Train to Busan. After a couple of totally sordid animated features, The King of Pigs and The Fake, Yeon...

Udine 2018 Review: LITTLE FOREST Will Have You Yearning for the Simple Life

In Korean cinema, when characters retreat to the countryside things generally don't work out too well for them, but in Yim Soon-rye's new drama Little Forest, a young woman regains her spirit, and as she does so, many viewers will...

Review: SWATHANTHRYAM ARDHARATHRIYIL Is A Stylish SHAWSHANK In South India

Whatever is in the water in Kerala these days, I've gotta get some for myself. India's newest hot spot for thrilling filmmakers is churning out new and exciting films all the time, and the latest thriller to hit cinema screens...

Review: BIG FISH & BEGONIA, Chinese Animation Dazzles in Sumptuous and Mystical Feature

Hailed as the Chinese answer to the fantastical works of beloved Japanese animation house, Studio Ghibli, the independently produced feature Big Fish & Begonia channels ancient wisdom into a dazzling animated canvas. Enhancing the overall production value of the film,...

Indian Film Fest LA 2018 Review: MERCURY, Karthik Subbaraj's Silent Thriller Turns Up The Heat

Mercury, the latest film from Tamil wunderkind director, Karthik Subbaraj, is a bold experiment in alternative storytelling. This film, touted as a “silent thriller” though really more of a ‘dialogue-free’ one, is the most high profile project of its kind...

Indian Film Fest LA 2018 Review: TAKE OFF Is A Remarkable Testament The The Potential Of Indian Mainstream Cinema

In 2014, 46 Indian nurses were rescued from an ISIS controlled region of Iraq. Director Mahesh Narayan's 2017 feature, Take Off, is based on their story, and it became one of the biggest commerical and critical successes of last year...

Review: CITIZEN JAKE, A Wake-up Call for Both the Sleeping and the Woke

Often a trope in movies is when a hermitic, wise -- and often cranky -- veteran is brought out of retirement to school the youth when the times have turned most trying, especially when the villains they once faced in...

SXSW 2018 Review: FIELD GUIDE TO EVIL Explores The Universal Language Of Fear

This is a golden age for the horror anthology, and perhaps no single entity has been more responsible for the recent explosion more than the producing team of Ant Timpson and Tim League. Through their high concept omnibus packages, The...

Review: CLAIRE'S CAMERA, A Perfunctory Blip

Love him or hate him, Hong Sangsoo has been remarkably consistent with his films, which both offer viewers a familiar framework and new variations on his favorite themes. His 20th work Claire's Camera debuted last year at the Cannes Film...

Berlinale 2018 Review: HUMAN, SPACE, TIME AND HUMAN aka Rape: The Movie

The work of Kim Ki-duk has been contentious for many reasons over the years, with the rampant misogyny that permeates his films being a particular bone of contention amongst critics. His most recent outing doesn't so much add fuel to...

Rotterdam 2018 Review: I HAVE A DATE WITH SPRING, a Playful Tragicomic Ensemble Drama about The End Of The World

Do not be fooled by the outwardly cheery title of Baek Seung-bin’s I Have A Date With Spring – the film is actually about individuals whose birthdays fall one day before doomsday.   For a country like South Korea, which...

Rotterdam 2018 Review: THE NIGHT IS SHORT, WALK ON GIRL Marches Across All Emotions

Recent times have been kind to fans of animation director Yuasa Masaaki. The man has been quite prolific: in 2017 we got two new films from him, and Netflix viewers could start 2018 with his 10-episode-take on Go Nagai's Devilman...