부산행 (Train to Busan)

Posted in Film Review by - Jun 25, 2017

“Look out for only yourself.”

There’s no better movie to pinpoint the differences between Hollywood and Korean cinema than Train to Busan. Where American zombie films would play safe, this Korean thriller twists and turns, keeping viewers constantly on their toes. Anything can happen, anyone can die—no one is safe from viewer favoritism or main character syndrome. And that is where Hollywood flusters and Korean cinema prevails. Hollywood films have trained its consumers to be entertained by expecting the expected, and turning off when favorite characters or protagonists fall out or die. It’s such a peculiar movie-viewing culture, especially when you consider …

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Léon: The Professional

Posted in Film Review by - Feb 13, 2017
Léon: The Professional

“In my stomach. It’s all warm. I always had a knot there and now… it’s gone.”

I always had a knot, ever since I heard of Léon: The Professional. And when my brother watched it without me and told me it’s the kind of movie that I’d really like, the knot grew tighter. But now that I’ve seen it… it’s gone. Sometimes, I wish it wasn’t. Sometimes, I wish the mystery, the expectation, was still there. I’ve had high hopes for Léon, not only because of its reputation and high ratings, but also because of the Italian hitman spin. While the film isn’t riddled …

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Kimi no Na wa. (Your Name.)

Posted in Film Review by - Jan 13, 2017
Kimi no Na wa. (Your Name.)

“Treasure the experience. Dreams fade away after you wake up.”

When it comes to anime movies, I think I’ve got a type. It’s got to have a dash of magical realism, at least a little bit of romance, and set in a small town. The last part is important, as small town settings immediately evoke a sense of comfort and nostalgia, while also allowing for a hint of mystery. Kimi no Na wa. (Your Name.), which is apparently one of Makoto Shinkai’s most favorable films yet, spends half its time in the bustling city of Tokyo and the other half in the …

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The Imitation Game

Posted in Film Review, Short Review by - Dec 05, 2016

“Sometimes it’s the very people who no one imagines anything of who do the things that no one can imagine.”

To be honest I didn’t expect much from The Imitation Game, which is why I put off on watching it despite its numerous Oscar nominations in 2015. For the most part, prestige biopics are wasted on me—they all follow the same obvious beats of a misunderstood genius turned hero, ending with closing titles that depress the hell out of you. Who needs another A Beautiful Mind?

But oddly enough, The Imitation Game left me unexpectedly satisfied, even after its cliche motivational line being …

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Kubo and the Two Strings

Posted in Film Review by - Nov 28, 2016

“If you must blink, do it now.”

You know what the most unfortunate type of films are in the movie industry besides indies? No, not video game adaptations, although those are a close second. Its computer animation’s forgotten eldest brother, stop-motion animation. For some reason, stop-motion animations are one of the lowest performing films in terms of the box office.

Fantastic Mr. Fox — Budget $40M, Gross $46M

Anomalisa — Budget $8M, Gross $3.7M

Just look at these numbers and tell me you can’t help but pity the filmmakers. Both these films, Fantastic Mr. Fox and Anomalisa are well received in terms of ratings, and both …

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Jane Got a Gun

Posted in Film Review, Short Review by - Oct 05, 2016
Jane Got a Gun

“Don’t know what it is you ever see in that man, Jane.”

I’ve never been more disappointed in a movie starring Natalie Portman. Actually, disappointment has been a recent recurring theme when it comes to Natalie Portman. After the perfection of Black Swan, there has been nothing but groan-inducing comedies (Your Highness), nonsense superhero flicks (Thor: The Dark World), and overly pretentious flops (Knight of Cups). And it doesn’t help that her appearance in films has been scarce during the past few years. (She had nothing released during 2014, but I digress.)

Jane Got a Gun continues her string of disappointments, this …

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Rocky

Posted in Film Review, Short Review by - Aug 09, 2016
Rocky

“Adrian!”

Despite our American heritage and our love for movies, new and old, Alex and I were able to go for quite a while without watching a single installment of the Rocky franchise. But with the somewhat recent release of Creed, the constant name dropping of Rocky, and the occasional mimicry of “Adrian!” we had no choice but to start off with the original 1976 sports drama. And while it isn’t a complete knockout, it’s a solid narrative of morals, character, and important life lessons.

When watching Sylvester Stallone, you can’t help but notice his complete immersion into his role as Rocky …

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Finding Dory

Posted in Film Review by - Jun 20, 2016

“What if I forget you?”

Over a decade later, Pixar has released a sequel to one of its most beloved films. Finding Dory (a near reboot for new audiences, and an unwarranted, yet surprising sequel for fans of Finding Nemo) takes the underwater franchise to both familiar and new grounds while adapting Pixar’s now solid storytelling formula. You will laugh, you may cry. But in the end, you’ll realize Pixar’s increasingly obvious path of adopting Hollywood’s ideology of sequelizing everything. This contradicts Pixar’s original success of creating new imaginative worlds (unlike Disney’s practice of rehashing old fairy tales). Yes, Finding Dory isn’t a necessary sequel. But after having seen it …

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Shaun of the Dead

Posted in Film Review by - Jun 12, 2016
Shaun of the Dead

“I’ll stop doing it when you stop laughing.”

Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg kick off the Cornetto trilogy with a romantic comedy set during a zombie apocalypse. Shaun of the Dead, while not the top film of the trilogy, plays off well known zombie films, such as Dawn of the Dead, and works hard to set up a satirical atmosphere that carries over the length of three films. The film is filled with Simon Pegg’s wit, as his character Shaun, a loser experiencing a depressing pit in his life, attempts to win back his recently ex-girlfriend (Kate Ashfield) and reconcile his relationship with his naive mother …

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Hot Fuzz

Posted in Film Review, Short Review by - Jun 11, 2016
Hot Fuzz

“My perfect Sunday…”

Includes watching some British comedy. Hot Fuzz, the second film in the Cornetto trilogy, is the current peak of Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg’s combined comedic genius (you never know when they’ll team up again). What separates Hot Fuzz from Shaun of the Dead and The World’s End are the genres it’s spoofing, the magnitude of the conflict, and the mortality rates of central characters. Shaun of the Dead and The World’s End are both apocalyptic comedies, the former dealing with the ever cliche zombies (I’m sorry, didn’t mean to say the Z word) and the latter incorporating a more scientific twist …

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