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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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  • Century of Birthing

    Century of Birthing

    ★★★★

    Century of Birthing feels like a film Lav Diaz had to get out of his system. Diaz churns out films regularly, often directing multiple features a year. But there was a 3 year gap between Diaz's Melancholia and Century of Birthing. There was clearly a struggle and it is no surprise that Century of Birthing has Diaz considering why he does what he does. There's three stories, one about a cult, one about a film director, and a film within…

  • Family Romance, LLC

    Family Romance, LLC

    ★★★½

    Family Romance, LLC is an odd piece of docufiction. It's scripted and has a story, but it's also like a documentary, kind of. It looks at the industry of renting people to be a part of a life for a small time. Whilst this may seem bizarre, I think we underestimate the ease at which we can lie to ourselves and indulge in fantasies and pretence. This service allows people to reconnect with relatives, have family at their wedding, pretend…

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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…