The Illusionist

Wistful and whimsical, minimalist and moving, slow-paced and rich with pathos, The Illusionist is a surprising, unusually nuanced antidote to garish mainstream cartoon fare; an old-style, hand-drawn animated film of fleeting charms rather than loud noises; a French story without dialogue and with one of the most depressing final acts ever committed to celluloid. It’s enough to make you laugh if you didn’t feel like crying.

Continue reading

Tagged , , , , ,

Animal Kingdom

Hardhearted, ominous, violent, and nail-biting, Animal Kingdom is a distinctive distillation of a well-worn genre; a brooding, unrelenting character study about uncaged beasts; and a grim rites-of-passage Shakespearean drama with an atmosphere of lethal portent and malignancy. Skilfully lit and edited with low-key performances, it’s a contemplative policer from down under with a high startlement quotient, marrying heightened emotionality with cool contemporary style.

Continue reading

Tagged , , , , , , , ,

Mother

Acrid, labyrinthine, unnerving, and well-assembled with visual panache, jarring sound design, and spasmodic pacing, Mother is a deceptively simple and humorous tale with nasty flashes of violence; a slippery drama that suggests the psychological thrillers of Henri-Georges Clouzot transposed to present-day Asia; and a superb thriller that will make the hairs stand up on the back of your neck.

Continue reading

Tagged , , , ,

Whiplash

Harrowing, propulsive, and euphoric, Whiplash is a spellbinding drama about the toxic fallout from rampant ambition and cutthroat perfectionism; a make-or-break movie aimed at those who have ever wanted to be excellent at anything; and a cynical, intense, blood-curdling portrait of geniuses as sociopaths. It’s a cymbal-clashing achievement.

Continue reading

Tagged , , ,

2010 Retrospective

Reeling in a post-Avatar world, 2010 saw a dramatic increase and prominence in the use of 3D technology, and Pixar’s long-awaited trilogy-capper topped the box office with over $1 billion worldwide. For cinephiles, the year was overflowing with goodness, and five major festivals catapulted breakthrough debuts and mature gems to audiences across the globe. Here are my thoughts on a year that shunned the “rules” of filmmaking and in so doing reached the heavens.

Continue reading

Gone Girl

Mystifying, well-planned, precisely curdled, and tantalizingly mercurial, Gone Girl is a stealthy comedy and an absorbing melodrama; a break-all-the-windows plot-twister that retains every jolt from Gillian Flynn’s blockbuster novel; and a work of chilly wit and bleak metaphor that toys with the viewer like a femme fatale with her prey. It’s the perfect date-night movie for couples who dream of destroying one another.

Continue reading

Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

Mommy

Uproariously emotional and painfully personal, Mommy is a heart-swelling, heartbreaking, breathtaking piece of cinema: a mature, funny, and tragic mother’s tale featuring real heart-on-sleeve performances that are almost operatic in scale, a story of rare poignancy and insight told with a delightfully nasal Québecois timbre. It’s a film of startling warmth, sizzling sentiment, and suffocating power.

Continue reading

Tagged , , , ,
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 34 other followers