Category Archives: Drama

Life is but a walking shadow, a poor player that struts and frets his hour upon the stage and then is heard no more

Review: Next Sohee — Fantasia Festival 2022

July Jung’s Next Sohee is a story told in two nearly equal halves. In the first half, high schooler Sohee (Kim Si-eun) is awarded an externship to work at a call center office. Conditions at the call center are tense and only get worse as Sohee tries to acclimate to a highly competitive environment and training which has her doing everything in her power to delay unhappy customers’ service cancellations.

As Sohee tries to weather the hostile work environment, she grows distant from her friends, suffers in school, and amplifies her alcohol consumption. When she hits the brink, the film fades to black and we switch perspectives to Continue reading Review: Next Sohee — Fantasia Festival 2022

2022 Fantasia Festival Movie Reviews — Megalomaniac, Incredible But True, The Fifth Thoracic Vertebra

Megalomaniac, The Fifth Thoracic Vertebra and Incredible But True are screening as part of the 2022 Fantasia International Film Festival, which runs from July 14 – August 3.

Megalomaniac

Megalomaniac is the bleakest film I’ve seen at this year’s Fantasia (and I also watched Speak No Evil, so that’s a high bar to clear). In the case of Speak No Evil, I could better stomach the Continue reading 2022 Fantasia Festival Movie Reviews — Megalomaniac, Incredible But True, The Fifth Thoracic Vertebra

2022 Fantasia Festival Movie Reviews — Shin Ultraman, Country Gold, Give Me Pity!

Shin Ultraman, Country Gold, and Give Me Pity! are screening as part of the 2022 Fantasia International Film Festival, which runs from July 14 – August 3.

Shin Ultraman

Shin Ultraman is the second Toho Pictures reboot of classic characters to be written by Neon Genesis Evangelion creator Hideaki Anno, with a third film planned. And Shin Ultraman immediately comes across as a sibling to the 2016 Shin Godzilla, with its Continue reading 2022 Fantasia Festival Movie Reviews — Shin Ultraman, Country Gold, Give Me Pity!

2022 Fantasia Festival Movie Reviews — Popran, The Roundup

The Roundup and Popran are screening as part of the 2022 Fantasia International Film Festival, which runs from July 14 – August 3.

The Roundup

The Roundup is the sequel to the fan favorite The Outlaws from 2017. Admittedly, I have not seen this first film, but one hardly needs to to get invested in Continue reading 2022 Fantasia Festival Movie Reviews — Popran, The Roundup

2022 Fantasia Festival Movie Reviews — Swallowed, Special Delivery, Employee of the Month

Swallowed, Special Delivery, and Employee of the Month are screening as part of the 2022 Fantasia International Film Festival, which runs July 14 – August 3.

Swallowed

Benjamin (Cooper Koch) is moving away to Los Angeles to pursue a career in the adult entertainment industry. During their final night together, he and his best friend Dom (Jose Colon) tie one on, culminating in a surprise Continue reading 2022 Fantasia Festival Movie Reviews — Swallowed, Special Delivery, Employee of the Month

Review: The Diabetic — Fantasia Festival 2022

The Diabetic is screening as part of the 2022 Fantasia International Film Festival, which runs July 14 – August 3.

Shot on Hi-8 and transferred to 16mm, The Diabetic is hazy and grainy, a distinct aesthetic choice to mirror the protagonist’s harried state. His name is Alek (James Watts), and he seems dead-set on going on a bender.

Returning home to see his parents, early-30-something Alek reaches out to anyone still in town in pursuit of a drink and some company. A type one diabetic, Alek continues taking shots and doing drugs through the night despite Continue reading Review: The Diabetic — Fantasia Festival 2022

Crimes of the Future (2022) Movie Review

The near-future of Crimes of the Future is marked by the progression of medical technology. And the progression of human evolution in the form of biological mutations. For some, vestigial organs and appendages serve as performance art pieces. Inner beauty takes on new meaning in a world like this. Saul Tenser (Viggo Mortensen) and Caprice (Lea Seydoux) have grown a reputation in the art world by performing live surgeries, during which Caprice removes useless organs which Tenser’s body spontaneously produces.

It is also implied that, in this future, “surgery is the new sex.” People’s tolerance for pain has drastically increased. Tenser remains wide awake as Caprice uses a mechanical autopsy machine to open his Continue reading Crimes of the Future (2022) Movie Review

Top Gun: Maverick (2022) Movie Review

When I went to see Dr. Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, I was more excited by the “extended look” at Top Gun: Maverick than I was by the movie I had come to the theater to see. The ad was the dogfight training montage sequence that occurs early in the film, in which Tom Cruise’s Maverick hunts the helpless young Top Gun graduates with an all-out aerial assault, all set to the tune of The Who’s “Won’t Get Fooled Again.”

It is a cracker jack sequence, very exciting and well-edited. Within the context of the film, you realize that the joke of the sequence—that the first person to get “shot down” by Mav has to do 200 push-ups—doesn’t track across the entire montage. For some reason, the rules change halfway through the montage so that everyone who gets shot down by Mav has to do push-ups. But as an isolated sequence where the rules are not very important, it is a superb set piece.

This ad was the first time I felt genuinely excited for Top Gun: Maverick. Sitting in the theater for this sequel, coming 36 years after Tony Scott’s original, I soon realized that Continue reading Top Gun: Maverick (2022) Movie Review

Men (2022) Movie Review

I have a distinct feeling that Alex Garland planted things in Men, the writer-director’s new film starring Jessie Buckley and a bevy of Rory Kinnears, which I have not entirely picked up on. Namely, allusions to religion and mythology which fly outside my knowledge structures. Yet what I did understand about Men, what was left after those allusions are stripped away and narrative and theme remain, was altogether so blunt and superficial that I in moments thought I was watching a parody of a specific breed of arthouse film. A parody of the exact film Men is.

This is not a case of I didn’t understand the film, therefore I don’t like it. On the contrary, Continue reading Men (2022) Movie Review

Happening (2022) Movie Review

Audrey Diwan’s Happening, which won last year’s Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival, finds itself with a U.S. release date incidentally coinciding with legislative changes which make it all the more timely. It is a frank film about unwanted pregnancy and rigid abortion laws in 1960s France. Viewing it with American eyes, I imagine one’s appreciation for the content in the film may rest on individual politics. That, or one’s patience for quiet drama and arthouse chic.

Anne Duchesne (Anamaria Vartolomei), after discovering she is a few weeks pregnant, seeks out the possible channels for an abortion. Doctors steer her Continue reading Happening (2022) Movie Review