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South Asian 2016 Review: MAROON, A Tale of a Man Trapped With His Worst Fears

In Maroon, veteran character actor Manav Kaul plays an associate college professor whose wife goes missing, and it's not too long before his sanity goes along with her. Manav Kaul plays Saurabh, an associate professor of literature at a liberal...

Blu-ray Review: LONE WOLF AND CUB, Feel-Good Family Films For All

If I have another son, I'm going to name him Daigoro. In 1972, producer Katsu Shintaro (Zatoichi, Hanzo the Razor), director Misumi Kenji (also a veteran of the Zatoichi and Hanzo series), manga artist Koike Kazuo, and lead actor Wakayama...

Review: SWORD MASTER Honours Wuxia Tradition Through Bold Reinvention

Nearly 40 years after Chor Yuen launched his acting career in the Shaw Brothers classic Death Duel, director Derek Yee returns to Gu Long’s source novel for a ravishing new adaptation. With Tsui Hark producing and action choreography from Yuen...

Review: OLD STONE, A Riveting Thriller Where A Good Man Goes Bad

Old Stone develops into a riveting thriller and asks weighty questions about the cost of doing right in an unempathetic society where people rather kill the accident victims off by running over them again rather than saving them. It's a raw and tough first film. And it signals a emergence of a major storyteller.

London Korean 2016 Review: DONGJU, THE PORTRAIT OF A POET Offers Sober and Compelling Look at Modern Korean History

During the last year, the floodgates have opened for the Japanese Occupation Period in mainstream Korean cinema, yet The King and the Clown (2005) helmer Lee Joon-ik, arguably Korea's top purveyor of commercial period fare, has opted to tackle the...

Review: EVOLUTION, a Strange, Unsettling Tale of Body Horror

I'm a great believer in minimalism, particularly when it comes to body horror in film. Used carefully and deliberately, a few choice scenes can have far more weight in a story and a far more effective impact on the audience. ...

Review: NOEM MY SKOLLIE, South Africa's Deserving Oscar Submission

Noem My Skollie (Call Me Thief) is Daryn Joshua's emphatic debut and Dann-jacques Mouton's breakout performance, but the heart of this year's South African Oscar submission belongs to its writer, John Fredericks, on whose life growing up in the townships...

Black Nights 2016 Review: HOUSE OF OTHERS, The Ghosts of War

Sometimes ghosts are visible, sometimes invisible, and sometimes 'ghosts' are the emptiness, the palpable void left behind. And the latter can be the most frightening and sad of all. In Russudan Gluridze's feature film House of Others, the ghosts are...

Review: SKY ON FIRE Goes Down in Flames

Last year saw Ringo Lam, the acclaimed Hong Kong director behind such action spectaculars as City on Fire and Full Contact, stage a comeback with his first feature film in more than a decade. Wild City was a rather modest...

Review: MANCHESTER BY THE SEA, Lonergan's Latest is Earnest if Predictable

The structural adventurousness of Kenneth Lonergan's film about an emotionally numb man learning to open his heart to others again is admirable. But we're too busy wading through the narrative thickets to entirely access the raw beating heart at its core.

Black Nights 2016 Review: PORTO, Love Does Not Conquer All

Call me a cynic, but I've always been skeptical of anyone who's in the first few months of dating who says that they and their partner were 'meant to be together' (maybe because at least half of those relationships end...

Black Nights 2016 Review: ANATOMY OF VIOLENCE, The Pain of a Terrible Crime

In 2012, a young medical student, Jyoti Singh, was gang-raped and brutally beaten by six men on a bus in New Delhi, later dying of her injuries. This sparked a nation-wide protest, with thousands calling on the government, and Indian...

Black Nights 2016 Review: THE WHITE KING, Dystopia Through A Child's Eyes

Dystopian film and literature has taken a turn from science fiction to possible current affairs, in our recent political climate. With the rise of right-wing political ideology and right-wing political control of influential countries, these stories are more important than...

London Korean 2016 Review: OUR LOVE STORY Offers Authentic, Modern and Compelling Romance

2016 has seen Korean cinema make a big push to focus its narratives on characters from all walks of life, and particularly of different sexual orientations, with several major queer films bowing at festivals from Berlin to Busan. In between...

Black Nights 2016 Review: A MONSTER CALLS, Emotional Manipulation at its Finest

You might be able to argue that J.A. Bayona is not the most original filmmaker current working today, but there is no denying that he has a masterful understanding of how to direct a film that will grab (almost) all...

Blu-ray Review: Jump Straight Into Akira Kurosawa's DREAMS

Akira Kurosawa's DREAMS arrives on Blu-ray from The Criterion Collection, and it's dreamy.

Black Nights 2016 Review: VIOLENTLY HAPPY, Theatre of Intimacy and Pain

Most of us spend our lives trying to avoid pain. Whether it be physical or emotional, our bodily instinct (at least for physical pain) seeks to keep us out of harm's way. Emotional pain is harder to avoid even though...

Los Cabos 2016 Review: THE ISLANDS AND THE WHALES Takes A Fascinating Look At A Remote Community

The notion of cultural relativism is one that goes back to the late 19th century and is one that’s often simply conflated to mean “you have your way, I have mine”. It was an attempt, through its sister moral relativism,...

Review: YOUR NAME, a Body-Swap Animated Romance with Brains and Heart

Body swapping, time displacement and comets of mass destruction all feature prominently in Makoto Shinkai’s heart-wrenching adolescent romance. Boasting an infectious soundtrack by RADWINGS and luminous animation, Your Name proves a winning combination of laughter, tears and occasionally mind-bending concepts...

Black Nights 2016 Review: Steven Cantor's DANCER Dazzles, But Risks Falling Short

Director Steven Cantor turns his attention to ballet prodigy Sergei Polunin in his latest documentary, Dancer. Having already taken the stage at the 60th BFI London Film Festival, and now returning for an encore at Tallinn's Doc@POFF strand, this feature-length...