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  • What We Left Behind: Looking Back at Star Trek: Deep Space Nine

    What We Left Behind: Looking Back at Star Trek: Deep Space Nine

    ★★½

    I love Deep Space Nine, so this was a fun and endearing watch. What it lacks in originality in its presentation and analysis of the show's legacy, it makes up for it greatly with only the best intentions and interviews of virtually all the cast and writing staff (as well as fans who crowd-funded it), all holding a great love for the show itself, which strings it together nicely.

    The framing device is a theoretical opening episode for season eight,…

  • Spider

    Spider

    ★★½

    Cronenberg's delve into guilt and trauma in Spider is a worthy and engaging effort. The despondent and incredibly bleak tone seeps into every shot and interaction through the eyes of our unreliable protagonist, “Spider” Cleg (Ralph Fiennes.) His recollection of the event from his childhood, which led to his hospitalization, haunts him from that moment to an almost comatose state of inner anguish into his adulthood – trapped in his head, replaying key moments, wishing to rewrite the chain-of-events in…

  • Chasing Trane

    Chasing Trane

    ★★½

    A paint-by-numbers documentary on Coltrane. There are definitely worse ways to spend 90-minutes than soaking in the breadth of his iconic works, thankfully this is the backbone.

    Numerous segments that focus on his important songs and the inspirations he absorbed from playing with his contemporaries throughout his career: the licence of free expression that Miles Davis gave to his band, Thelonious Monk's meticulous compositions, his legendarily fearless and talented quartet, and later, his second quartet period with Pharoah Sanders and…

  • Starry Eyes

    Starry Eyes

    ★★★½

    In Starry Eyes our focus is on Sarah (Alex Essoe), working an objectifying and shallow job at a "hooters"-type diner as a waitress, with a sexually fixated and flippant boss. We learn she's an aspiring actress; failing an audition she turns to self-harm, pulling at her hair. Inner turmoil and the anguish that comes with lofty ambitions is the core of Starry Eyes and this is elevated greatly by the performance of Essoe.

    Sarah's inner-circle are like-minded to her, friends…

  • Goyokin

    Goyokin

    ★★★

    Nakadai and Tamba star in this visually breathtaking and wide-ranging samurai flick. The first film in Japan that was shot in Panavision, you can definitely tell that Hideo Gosha was having the time of his life with his new toy. Utterly gorgeous landscapes throughout, shadows and colours bursting off the screen, with a couple of wacky camera motions at the beginning for some added zest.

    I've always loved the range Nakadai showcases in his acting and it's no different here,…

  • The Only Son

    The Only Son

    ★★★½

    Ozu is always such a lovely and simple pleasure and it's no different in his first sound film The Only Son. My favourite thing about his filmmaking has always been the manipulation of simple plots, so this was especially lovely, for me, since it's probably the most light of the films from him, that I've seen, in terms of plot and characters. (even for Ozu)

    As always family dynamics are explored: here, with a widowed mother coming to visit her…

  • The Empty Hands

    The Empty Hands

    ★★★

    A technically impressive if undercooked project from Chapman To, The Empty Hands is an enjoyable ride with its share of weighty moments from the strong lead performance, courtesy of Stephy Tang, in an otherwise standard tale of legacy and self-realisation - just don't expect many surprises from its narrative and barebones supporting characters or you'll come out the other side a bit underwhelmed.

    The unique style, sharp editing and effective shots contrasting music and silence helped to soften the blow…

  • We Are Still Here

    We Are Still Here

    ★★

    It's clear that director/writer Ted Geoghegan has a great love for the genre: from the inclusion of Barbara Crampton, the kitschy acting, forced dialogue, a small-town's dark secret and a bloodbath ending (which in all honesty I enjoyed a lot for what it was), however, Geoghegan wears the tropes of the genre so loud and proudly on his sleeve in We Are Still Here to the point of where it feels played-out in the first fifteen minutes - ending in…

  • Hagazussa

    Hagazussa

    ★★★½

    An incredibly rich and effective film, brimming with mood and vision; elevated by the expressive performance of Aleksandra Cwen, overwhelming sound design and great use of natural lighting and striking cinematography.

    The person who recommended this to me likened it to Repulsion and The Witch, yet although on the surface the latter is about as apt of a comparison you can get, I found this to scratch a couple of itches that most appeal to me (primarily its focus on…

  • Green Fish

    Green Fish

    ★★★½

    Gritty and powerful with the driving-force being its three distressed and conflicted characters.

    This is my introduction to Lee Chang-dong's films and considering it was his directorial debut and how low-scale it is, I was very impressed with it as a whole and can already see why he's so highly considered: (even though this isn't one of his most revered entries)

    Mostly in just how emotionally potent, chaotic and evocative so many of the scenes were; immaculately blending them together…

  • Minbo: the Gentle Art of Japanese Extortion

    Minbo: the Gentle Art of Japanese Extortion

    ★★½

    Good performances all around from a few familiar faces, however, the lion's share bordered on mediocrity, for me. The ditzy tone from the comedy early on undercut the overall relentless pace and serious moments, making it confusing to keep a grip of everything.

    Could be a case of not being accustomed to Itami's style or not understanding the full context behind the film itself (probably both to be fair) but I felt lost-at-sea through its most intense moments. Kept me…