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  • Pulgasari

    Pulgasari

    ★★★

    Pulgasari is probably the most widely known North Korean film, which I admit might not be saying much, that's probably like talking about Moldova's most famous pop act, but here we are. The story of its making, whereby agents of Kim Jong-il kidnapped Shin Sang-ok, a famous South Korean film director and imprisoned him and his wife in a re-education camp for several years before forcing him at literal gunpoint to make movies for the state before they finally escaped…

  • Zack Snyder's Justice League

    Zack Snyder's Justice League

    ★★★★

    It's only proper that a movie with the word “justice” in its title arrives to undo a great injustice. Zack Snyder's Justice League stands as a monument to not only filmmaking ambition in the superhero genre, but also as a vindication of true fandom and positive things can come from this. Of course modern internet fandom definitely has a negative aspect, recall the bullying of Kelly Marie Tran as if it was somehow her fault that Rian Johnson is an…

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  • Identity

    Identity

    ★★★

    Identity is some absolutely primo schlock, but I sure had a great time watching it. Just one of the reasons I can't bothered with all your typical superhero movies, romantic comedies, Oscar bait dramas and all the other product that rolls off Hollywood production lines is that they're just so tiresomely predictable. Not in the sense that they lack astounding twists, sometimes that's the worst thing about them (hello to Rian "I even spell my name in an annoyingly poncy…

  • The White Sun of the Desert

    The White Sun of the Desert

    ★★★

    I've now seen a few films of the Soviet Union, but this is something new: an "Ostern" or Eastern Western. This was a genre inspired by Hollywood western but unlike the spaghetti western (or even the USSR's own "Red Westerns") were not about the American frontier, rather they focused on the Central Asian/steppe region of the souther Soviet Union, and were mostly set around the time of the Russian Revolution or Civil War. The White Sun of the Desert is…

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  • Tenement

    Tenement

    ★★

    Over the last couple of years I've been making something of an effort to watch more films directed by women. I'm not sure Tenement, A.K.A. Game of Survival, A.K.A. Slaughter in the South Bronx, counts as any sort of win for feminist cinema, but in its own schlocky and crass way it does represent progress and equality; it shows women can direct movies that are every bit as crude, violent and tasteless as ones made by men. Director and cinematographer…

  • Daughter of Shanghai

    Daughter of Shanghai

    ★★★½

    Never mind Marlene Dietrich, after watching Shanghai Express (1932) I wanted to see more of Anna May Wong, and in researching her one can find a story about the global film industry in transition, even if it's not exactly one with a happy Hollywood ending. As I noted in that review, when the Hays Code came into force, its anti-miscegenation clause essentially blocked her from lead roles, as she couldn't romance any Anglo male stars, and America wasn't exactly in…