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  • A Brighter Summer Day

    A Brighter Summer Day

    ★★★★★

    This review contains various thematic spoilers but only vague allusions to plot spoilers. Read at your discretion.

    A Brighter Summer Day is a truth epic, a four hour journey into the abyss of teenage disillusionment. It's about the reality of growing up and the consequences of an aimless life. It's a quiet movie, of people kissing in the dark, with conversations happening between people offscreen, of themes muted in favour of shapeless ideas. It's paced like life itself, with threads…

  • Werckmeister Harmonies

    Werckmeister Harmonies

    ★★★★★

    Werckmeister Harmonies is a film of constant symbolism and allegory. It is the greatest philosophical and political allegory since Sátántangó, another film by master auteur Béla Tarr. Werckmeister Harmonies is Tarr's most exciting film (although Sátántangó remains his best) because it's the most brimming with ideas. Adapting the novel The Melancholy of Resistance by László Krasznahorkai, Werckmeister Harmonies more than matches the quality of the masterful original text. The film is more implicit in some ways, taking the dense metaphorical nature of the novel but…

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  • The Mattei Affair

    The Mattei Affair

    ★★★★½

    The Mattei Affair is an intriguing real life mystery, rooted in conspiracy and international politics. It is beautifully shot and edited with intensity. The explosive opening, with its fast pace and unnerving music, sets the stage for a Citizen Kane style story, looking back on the life of a powerful dead man. It's a circular, non-linear movie, cutting through time to discuss and examine the lead as well as his impact on the world. Mattei is presented as a man…

  • Dheepan

    Dheepan

    ★★★½

    Dheepan is a really solid drama with crime thriller elements. It's fairly standard, but does everything well. Using immigration as its backdrop, Dheepan captures people who feel like they are not a part of their surroundings. For starters a language barrier creates difficulty when trying to fit in and understand a new world. Dheepan is also distinctly non-Hollywood, with the characters feeling real and not like some detached actors with fake dirt thrown on their face. It captures struggles that…

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  • Weathering with You

    Weathering with You

    SPOILERS ahead, but I would recommend reading this review regardless.

    This was my own personal hell. I was actually very excited to see Weathering with You. Makoto Shinkai is a mixed director at best but his work was certainly improving over the years. Two of the friends I most trust for anime recommendations told me this was great. I even almost went to the English premiere. Boy am I glad I didn't. I hated this film. I was fine for…

  • The Lighthouse

    The Lighthouse

    ★★★★½

    You cannot follow or understand The Lighthouse, you watch for the experience. It starts silent, with an old style Universal logo, and then enters a free-fall into madness.

    The horror in The Lighthouse comes from how little we know. There's a series of small hauntings that grow, but never once are we afforded an explanation. The real and unreal are shot indistinguishably, forming a truly perplexing nightmare. 

    With skies of foggy grey, The Lighthouse is squalid, shit-stained, and rain-soaked. It's…