January 14, 2021

CINEMA | Growing 'Minari' – Steven Yeun Finds His American Dream

"Grandma smells like Korea."
Steven Yeun Alan Kim Noel Cho | Lee Isaac Chung's Minari A24
A24 / Elevation Pictures
Korean-American filmmaker Lee Isaac Chung (no relation) has made a startlingly moving and quietly emotional semi-autobiographical immigrant story set on a rural farm in 1980s Arkansas. Starring Steven Yeun (Chung's cousin by marriage) as a version of the writer/director's own farmer father, Minari tells a wondrously intimate tale of assimilating to the American Dream.

January 7, 2021

SCREEN | Vanessa Kirby Breaks Apart 'Pieces of a Woman'

"She got it gray like her soul. That's her spirit colour."
Vanessa Kirby Molly Parker Kornél Mundruczó | Pieces of a Woman | Netflix
Bron Studios
British actress Vanessa Kirby gives a career-best performance as an expectant mother turned grieving one in Hungarian director Kornél Mundruczó's messy tragedy piece, Pieces of a Woman. Despite the tour-de-force acting and high sense of tense melodrama, the intimate film folds parental suffering into a basic melange of circumstantial grief and dramatized trauma.

January 4, 2021

GENRE | A 'Promising Young Woman' Gets Her Revenge

"That is just asking for it."
Carey Mulligan Emerald Fennell | Promising Young Woman
Focus Features / LuckyChap Entertainment
British actress and filmmaker Emerald Fennell, who recently played Camila Parker Bowles in The Crown in addition to showrunning season two of Killing Eve, makes her feature directorial debut with a twisted dark comedy revenge thriller with a deceptively bright bubblegum pop gloss to it. Starring Carey Mulligan as a contemporary femme fatale, Promising Young Woman is all about an underestimated bombshell in disguise exacting her own form of disturbing vigilante justice against would-be male rapists.

December 31, 2020

CINEMA | Top 10 Films of 2020

John Magaro Orion Lee Kelly Reichardt | First Cow | A24
Each film reviewed where linked below:
1) First Cow (dir. Kelly Reichardt)
2) The Nest (dir. Sean Durkin)
3) Lovers Rock (dir. Steve McQueen)
4) I'm Thinking of Ending Things (dir. Charlie Kaufman)
5) Minari (dir. Lee Isaac Chung)
6) The Climb (dir. Michael Angelo Covino)
7) American Utopia (dir. Spike Lee)
8) Swallow (dir. Carlo Mirabella-Davis)
9) Da 5 Bloods (dir. Spike Lee)
10) The Vast of Night (dir. Andrew Patterson)

December 28, 2020

CINEMA | Gal Gadot Throws Back to 'Wonder Woman 1984'

"This world is not ready for all that you will do."
Gal Gadot Kristen Wiig Patty Jenkins | DC Wonder Woman 1984
Warner Bros. Pictures / DC Films
Director Patty Jenkins and star Gal Gadot both return for their long-delayed but still highly anticipated and jam-packed DC Comics superhero sequel set some sixty-five years after the first film in WWI. Wonder Woman 1984 feels more than just an unabashed throwback to the long bygone spirit of the original 1970-80s Superman films as a bright and colourful adventure romance designed to comment on our current cultural political climate through glossy '80s culture contrasted with acts of kindness.

December 24, 2020

SCREEN | A Jazzy Afterlife – Pixar's 'Soul' Meets Body

"There's a soul missing."
Jamie Foxx Tina Fey | Disney Pixar Soul
Walt Disney Pictures / Pixar Animation Studios
Pixar Animation creative head Pete Docter delves further into the soft mechanics of human experience for another life-affirming animated embodiment of our very being. Soul uses jazz music and the nature of existence to rethink what it is to live and have a purpose. Through glowing orbs visualizing said souls and humorous riffs on everyday life, the existentially warm film sure feels pleasing and surprisingly adult.

December 21, 2020

SCREEN | On Being Vietnamese – 'No Crying at the Dinner Table'

"So let us listen. That's all."
Carol Nguyen | No Crying at the Dinner Table
Travelling Distribution
I have never seen anything so effectively document exactly what it feels like growing up in a Vietnamese-Canadian household than Toronto-born (now Montreal-based) filmmaker Carol Nguyen's award-winning documentary short film, No Crying at the Dinner Table. In the fifteen-minute short, she interviews her parents and sister as they therapeutically describe internalized past traumas around death and their lives as refugees artfully intercut with intimate b-roll footage of them performing personal daily rituals revealing their vulnerabilities.

December 17, 2020

CINEMA | Tom Hanks Spreads the 'News of the World'

"We're all hurtin'."
Tom Hanks Helena Zengel Paul Greengrass | News of the World
Universal Pictures / Playtone
British filmmaker Paul Greengrass and his Captain Phillips star Tom Hanks reteam for a sombre but earnest screen adaptation of author Paulette Jiles' 2016 western novel News of the World. Greengrass' road film opens in 1870 after the repercussions of the American Civil War in a still divided South. It actually feels surprisingly a lot like Cast Away except in the West with an orphaned German girl raised by natives instead of a volleyball.