International Cinema

Review: For a Lost Soldier

Review: For a Lost Soldier

Original title: Voor een verloren soldaatYear: 1992 | Rating: Content Warning: This review mentions pedophilia and the sexual abuse of a child. Moreover, For a Lost Soldier explicitly depicts the grooming and sexual abuse of a child, including a sex scene between an adult and a child. If any of that makes you uncomfortable, I recommend that you do not read this review, nor do I suggest that you watch the film in question. I doubt that many of you reading this have ever heard of For a Lost Soldier, and any of you that have probably already know what it's…
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Review: Happy Together

Review: Happy Together

Original title: Chun gwong cha sitYear: 1997 | Rating: Holy smokes. It's been a long time since I've seen a film in which every single frame feels like an innovation, like something I've truly never seen before. The style that director Wong Kar-Wai, cinematographer Christopher Doyle and editor William Chang achieve with Happy Together is simply remarkable. I doubt that there's anything that I could possibly say about the camerawork that hasn't been said before, so instead I'll just say this: Wow. But beyond that, Happy Together is exactly the kind of film for which Western audiences have been begging for years: a…
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Review: Just Friends

Review: Just Friends

Original title: Gewoon vriendenYear: 2018 | Rating: Based on the generic, non-licensed music (some of which was attempted to be passed off as Sufjan Stevens and Bon Iver, which is completely and utterly ridiculous) and quality of some the shots (especially the flashbacks), I at first assumed that Just Friends was a super low-budget production that was maybe made independently and submitted to some festivals by some first-time filmmaker who was chasing their dreams, and I felt kinda bad about not liking it very much. But then I did some research, and discovered that this film was actually financed by…
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Review: Rashomon

Review: Rashomon

Original title: RashômonYear: 1950 | Rating: Given the number of films, TV shows and other media that have copied its basic structure over the years, would it be safe to claim that Rashomon is one of the most influential films of the mid-20th century (if not ever)? I think so. Amazingly, though, with so many derivative works floating around out there, some of which are quite good in their own right (e.g. The Last Duel [2021]), the original somehow manages to remain perhaps the greatest example of the form, thanks to legendary director Akira Kurosawa's singular vision and insistence on not revealing which…
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Review: Mirror

Review: Mirror

Original title: ZerkaloYear: 1975 | Rating: It occurs to me now for the first time that due to recent events, my watching and logging of Mirror could be seen as a political action, but I must confess that this was simply the next film in my "to be watched" stack of Blu-rays, and I inserted the disc into my Playstation without even the slightest of thoughts to current world events. It does make me wonder, though, exactly what that political statement might be in the context of this film, and of Andrei Tarkovsky's life in general. Later on, he was an effective…
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Review: Drive My Car

Review: Drive My Car

Original title: Doraibu mai kâYear: 2021 | Rating: Drive My Car is the perfect film for the time in which we live, a time in modern society in which an unprecedented number of people are losing people that they care about. Death currently surrounds us on a global scale that humans have rarely throughout history experienced all at the same time -- over six million people have died from COVID-19 worldwide as of the writing of this review, nearly one million of those in the United States alone. At this point, most people now knew someone who has died during…
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Review: The Hand of God

Review: The Hand of God

Original title: È stata la mano di DioYear: 2021 | Rating: A buddy from work and I were talking about The Hand of God maybe a week ago, and he asked me if this movie had anything to do with the Maradona goal that shares its title. I replied that I didn't really know that much about the film, but based on what I had heard, probably not. Shows how much I know. Significantly more intimate and subdued than director Paolo Sorrentino's 2013 masterpiece The Great Beauty, The Hand of God is also somewhat less profound that the former, but I question if…
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