• Archiving Time

    Archiving Time

    ★★★★★

    Archiving Time is not bad by any means; it is a segmented, albeit slightly disjointed look into several small stories that play through in the realm of film archiving and restoration. This is simply one of those times where I am unable to let my objective thoughts on a piece of work cut through my interest in the subject material. I absolutely adore the process of discovering, cataloging, and restoring lost film, so a solid hour of just seeing people…

  • The Company of Strangers

    The Company of Strangers

    ★★★★★

    The Company of Strangers is a "soaking in the warmth of the fireplace at your grandmother's house" of a film. It is so modest, so unwavering yet so gentle in its presentation, a mostly ad-libbed celebration of life as nine stranded mostly elderly ladies sit around and just...talk about their lives. It perfectly blends narrative fiction and real life stories of the women together, creating this piece where it just makes you happy to just be there with them, enjoying…

  • Hail Driver!

    Hail Driver!

    ★★★½

    Prebet Sapu, also known as Hail Driver!, made some small rounds in Malaysian film circles as one of the country's first genuine attempts in creating and distributing a film that held its artistic inclinations on its sleeve. Shot in black and white and utilizing a more segmented, free-flowing feel for its scenes, it was actually sent by Malaysia to the Oscar's as its nomination for Best International Film, though it was not chosen.

    I admit to have let this past…

  • Love Unto Wastes

    Love Unto Wastes

    ★★★½

    Love Unto Wastes is Stanley Kwan's second film, and I had no idea what to expect. His reputation has been grounded so thoroughly—deservedly so mind you—on Rouge and Center Stage—that I had no idea what this one, the film he made prior to the former, was about.

    So going into this blind, I find myself understanding it more than outright liking it. Technique-wise, while there's some jarring clunkiness to the scene-to-scene editing, overall it's very much a Stanley Kwan film,…

  • Seance of the Past

    Seance of the Past

    ★★★½

    Technique-wise, Seance of the Past serves as a damn good debut for upcoming director Adelaide Sherry. The cinematography here is the clear standout, its hazy look and high contrast teal and orange color palette emanating a barely solid, ambiguous look to things. On that alone I do believe that with further development of her craft, there is potential for a great cinematically unique director.

    Where it falters for me is in its storytelling. I don't quite click with these abstractly-structured…

  • Top Gun: Maverick

    Top Gun: Maverick

    ★★★★

    Been a lot of buzz for this one, and while I can't help but feel that the overwhelming praise of "it's better than the original" only stems from it actually using characters from the original and allowing them to develop into new angles—which is what sequels should do that doesn't automatically mean it's better—there's certainly much to praise here.

    This is Cruise's "I'm getting old but darnit I can still do it" film, something he has already been doing since…

  • Mat Magic

    Mat Magic

    ★★

    I jumped forwards 7 years from Mat Sentol's directorial debut Mat Tiga Suku to this film, Mat Magic, to see how much he might have improved during that time. What struck me the most about the former film is his style of slightly absurdist comedy with him as a charismatic bum, and unfortunately Mat Magic dials back a bit on that somewhat. It's still there, but things are even more segmented than before, and for most of the film he…

  • Chip 'n Dale: Rescue Rangers

    Chip 'n Dale: Rescue Rangers

    ★½

    They understood the assignment, but flunked the test.

  • The Phantom Carriage

    The Phantom Carriage

    ★★★★

    Undeniably well executed in its craft—I can easily see and understand why it's considered one of Sweden's best films—The Phantom Carriage doesn't fully land for me on a wholly personal, subjective basis; it's built on a set of religious beliefs that I just don't subscribe to.

    That doesn't take any of its innovativeness away, but I can't not mention it. I'm glad I saw it regardless.

  • Mat ¾ (Mat Tiga Suku)

    Mat ¾ (Mat Tiga Suku)

    ★★★

    I must admit that my knowledge of 60's and 70's Malaysian/Singaporean cinema is criminally under-developed. It's easy to blame this ignorance on the general cultural apathy the nations seem to have for its classic films, which I shall still say is part of the problem, but even then I acknowledge that despite having acquired a couple, I have yet to actually go digging into this era of local cinema for whatever reason. The most I had done was a P.…

  • The Goddess

    The Goddess

    ★★★½

    After watching Center Stage a long while back, I had planned to watch the films of its subject matter, Ruan Lingyu, but for one reason or another—mostly procrastination—I had let it be. I finally decided to change that tonight with The Goddess, purportedly her best film and one of the pinnacles of Chinese silent cinema.

    And you know what, coming from it purely in terms of her acting, she gives a damn good performance; you can easily see why she…

  • Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness

    Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness

    ★★★★

    - Liked it most when it was Raimi going full Raimi, which started out slow but thankfully built on as it went along before finally going full blast.

    - Pacing felt pretty quick at the start too but that also eventually panned out.

    - Elizabeth Olson was great in it.