• The Humans

    The Humans

    ★★★★½

    Beautiful and terrifying in exactly the right way. Makes me feel a little bit better about my own Thanksgiving.

  • Antlers

    Antlers

    ★★★½

    While Antlers is definitely a recommend, I felt like director Scott Cooper didn’t fully develop the themes of abuse, neglect, poverty and environmentalism he introduced. Plot was very predictable after the (amazing) first act. The film often lacked nuance despite a well-crafted atmosphere and haunting performances. 

    Practical effects and CGI/creature design were SICK though, you can feel prod. Guillermo del Toro’s influence. And Keri Russell got the final girl role she rightly deserves.

  • Squid Game

    Squid Game

    Sae-byeok forever

  • Desert Hearts

    Desert Hearts

    ★★★★

    Desert Hearts features memorable performances and some incredible one-liners. It leaves you with a warm, glowing feeling, and doesn’t oversimplify its central romance.

  • Farewell My Concubine

    Farewell My Concubine

    ★★★★★

    So epic, terrifying, and beautiful. Leslie Cheung is a legend.

  • Beasts Clawing at Straws

    Beasts Clawing at Straws

    ★★½

    There’s definitely a good film in here somewhere? Kinda disappointed because I really wanted to like this debut from Kim Yong-hoon.

    Beasts feels like a 15-year-old boy tried to make a Tarantino or Coen brothers movie. The film has a lot of violence against women, and thinks it’s much funnier and cleverer than it actually is. 

    (Jeon Do-yeon’s performance might be worth the watch though)

  • Mysterious Skin

    Mysterious Skin

    ★★★★½

    An unflinching and heartbreaking masterpiece.

  • Identifying Features

    Identifying Features

    ★★★★

    Fernanda Valadez’s debut is a tense, quiet, powerful film. It’s filled with both unanswered questions and shocking reveals.

    Identifying Features build its mystery slowly at first, towards a heart-pounding end. Valadez makes great use of shallow focus, although sometimes she gets a little too abstract.

    This isn’t just a story of those crossing the US/Mexico border, but of the loved ones they leave behind. The constant not-knowing and grief, the fear and violence, the love and hope.

  • House of Hummingbird

    House of Hummingbird

    ★★★★½

    “Among all the people you know, how many do you understand?“

    House of Hummingbird is a beautiful film that captures, and makes you feel, a wide range of emotions. I’m so excited to see more from writer/director Bora Kim after this debut.

    The film is long, and some of the slower and quieter parts can be frustrating. But right when any scene feels too bleak or numb, Hummingbird offers just enough sweetness to keep us going. It’s one of those rare movies that makes you want to close your eyes and sit for a while.

  • Undine

    Undine

    ★★★½

    Undine has a hypnotizing lead performance from Paula Beer, and a really cool third act. But that doesn’t quite make up for the film’s slow middle. It’s nice to see Petzold working with a modern setting and experimenting with some fantasy elements, even if the effect of the film’s ambiguities is a bit…meh.

    While not a must-watch, Undine is worth your time, especially if you enjoy water imagery, some romance, and historical monologues about urban planning. Extra half star for catfish.

  • Nine Days

    Nine Days

    ★★★★

    This is a really astonishing debut from writer/director Edson Oda, led by Winston Duke's heart-wrenching, A+ performance. The film's exploration of existential concepts is sometimes too superficial for its serious tone, and some conversations seem cut off before reaching their true depth.

    Regardless, Nine Days is an ambitious story that often touches greatness, delivering a very emotionally satisfying cinematic experience.

  • First Love

    First Love

    ★★★★

    Filled with Miike’s trademark violence and weirdness, First Love is equal parts gangster movie, romcom and hallucination. The film’s over-the-top antics are probably not for everyone, but it weaves characters together with increasingly satisfying results. Ultimately, First Love serves up nonstop entertainment, reminding us along the way that having something (or someone) to fight for makes all the difference in life.