Author: Harris Dang

Raya and the Last Dragon

Film Review: Raya and the Last Dragon is visually rapturous and fun, marking a minor step in representation

March 4, 2021

Raya and the Last Dragon is set in a fantasy world called Kumandra; which was once inhabited by both humans and dragons in a harmonious existence. But, that peace comes under imminent danger when malevolent monsters known as the Druun make their presence known. To stave off the threat and save humanity, the dragons perform […]

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Exploring the Family Unit in World Cinema: From Dogtooth and Volver to Minari

February 18, 2021

Cinema can be a powerful medium in transporting audiences to other worlds that are brimming with imagination and fantasy. But, it can also be a powerful way to bring audiences into the shoes of people who are dealing with issues and matters that are prescient in the real world. No matter what nationality or gender […]

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Minari

Film Review: Minari is a beautiful family drama that is wholesome, relaxing and heartwarming

February 18, 2021

Minari tells the story of the Yi family, a Korean-American family that has moved from the city in California to a plot of land in rural Arkansas. The patriarch Jacob (Steven Yeun) is optimistic for the move and plans to grow fresh Korean produce and sell them to needy vendors in Dallas, Texas. His wife […]

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The Little Things

Film Review: The Little Things is an underwhelming disappointment; even with three Oscar winners in tow

February 18, 2021

The Little Things follows the story of Joe “Deke” Deacon (Denzel Washington), a world-weary deputy sheriff from Bakersfield, Kern County. He is called to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department to collect evidence in relation to a recent murder. Most people are apprehensive of his presence due to the fact that he used to work […]

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Film Review: In Search of Darkness II provides another bountiful smorgasbord for 1980’s horror fans

February 16, 2021

Two years after the first instalment, the search for darkness continues! Director David A. Weiner is back with another entry in examining horror films in the 1980’s with In Search of Darkness Part II. The first film, while very well-received (especially from yours truly), did receive some reserved criticism. One example is the lack of […]

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Film Review: A Writer’s Odyssey is a visually astounding fantasy thrill ride

February 14, 2021

A Writer’s Odyssey (formerly known as Assassin in Red) is the latest film from Chinese filmmaker Lu Yang. He is best known for the Brotherhood of Blades films; sterling examples of martial arts pieces that manage to branch out of genre conventions and become something more as they both venture into crime fiction. They were […]

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Sundance Review: I Was a Simple Man is a beautifully assembled and yet malnourished film

February 11, 2021

Set in the present-day Oahu, Hawaii, the film follows the story of Masao (Steve Iwamoto), an aging patriarch who is spending his serene days in his home, with his vast family who intermittently keep him company. His health is deteriorating and his relationship with his family becomes more and more estranged. When he contemplates his […]

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Sundance Review: We’re All Going to the World’s Fair is an outstanding directorial debut from Schoenbrun

February 11, 2021

Set in present day America, the film follows the story of Casey, a lonely teenager who participates in an online game known as the World’s Fair Challenge; a game that promises to be the scariest game in existence. After starting the game, Casey records videos of herself and posts them online in order to document […]

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Sundance Film Festival Review: In the Earth is Ben Wheatley back on maverick, transgressive, genre-shifting form

February 8, 2021

Set in a tumultuous time in the world that is overtaken by a virus, Joel Fry stars as Martin Lowery, a doctor who is tasked on a mission to venture to reach test site ATU327A, a research area that is deep in the Arboreal forest; led by Dr. Wendle (Hayley Squires). Lowery is guided by […]

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Sundance Film Festival Review: Eight for Silver is an enjoyably gnarly time from director Sean Ellis

February 7, 2021

Set in the late 1800s, a pathologist John McBride (Boyd Holbrook) has been sent to a distant village that has been terrorized by a wild animal, resulting in numerous deaths. He has been sent there to find a missing child; whom the parents (Alistair Petrie and Mary Reilly) presume with utter conviction that he is […]

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Sundance Film Festival Review: The Pink Cloud is more than just an eerie prophecy of the world today

February 5, 2021

One of the things that is very reflective about film is how cinematic storytelling can reflect the current condition of the world today. But it is that very same quality that can make the storytelling of said film feel dated. The main reason would be due to the time spent on development in getting the […]

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Sundance Film Festival Review: Passing is a fantastic directorial debut from Rebecca Hall

February 3, 2021

Passing is the feature-length directorial debut from acclaimed actress Rebecca Hall. She is best known for her astounding performances in Vicky Christina Barcelona, Professor Marston and the Wonder Women and Christine; as well as her appearances in blockbusters like The Prestige and Iron Man 3. Her interest in adapting the source material of the same […]

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Sundance Film Festival Review: The Blazing World is a tarnished world of immense beauty

February 2, 2021

The Blazing World is the type of film where the ideas of logic, plot or conventional storytelling need not apply; and that is absolutely fine with the story it is telling. Expanded from a short film of the same name, it is the feature-length directorial debut from established actress turned writer/director Carlson Young. The short […]

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Sundance Film Festival Review: Try Harder! is a delightful documentary about the high school experience and overcoming impossible expectations

February 2, 2021

Starting on a personal note, when I heard about the documentary Try Harder and its premise, I had traumatic flashbacks to my own time as a student. The relentless studying, the overbearing parenting, the exaggerated expectations, the regrettably embarrassing actions; it all came flooding back. That is when I knew that I had to watch […]

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Sundance Film Festival Review: Mayday is a wonderfully unique, genre-shifting ode to female resilience

February 1, 2021

Do you know how it feels to describe a dream? A moment where you are not really sure what you just witnessed and yet you remember seeing certain things and oddly enough, you remember feeling everything about it? That is basically how it feels like watching Mayday, the feature-length directorial debut by writer/director Karen Cinorre. […]

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Sundance Film Festival Review: Don’t ignore the Knocking! Go see it for the thrills and Cecilia Milocco’s performance!

February 1, 2021

Knocking follows the story of Molly (Cecilia Milocco), a woman who is returning to the outside world after being discharged from a psychiatric hospital after she was admitted due to her involvement in a past traumatic event. She moves into an apartment complex and is starting to experience things that she has not come into […]

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Sundance Film Festival Review: Censor is an enjoyably reverential and visually stimulating psychological horror experience

January 30, 2021

When a filmmaker decides to venture into the topic of filmmaking as a narrative, their efforts can be fascinating in terms of storytelling. When the horror film Censor had been announced as an entry for Midnight Madness at the 2021 Sundance Film Festival, it was particularly intriguing for a few reasons. Firstly, the topic of […]

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Sundance Film Festival Review: In the Same Breath is a sobering, harrowing account on the origins and cover-up of COVID-19

January 30, 2021

There really is no way for yours personally to say this in a pithy fashion so it is best to just say it straight. One of my most anticipated films this critic wanted to see was In the Same Breath by director Nanfu Wang, a talented documentary filmmaker whose work in indicting the government workings […]

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Film Review: High Ground takes a deceptively simple story to heights of excellence

January 28, 2021

High Ground is the latest film from Stephen Maxwell Johnson, whom is best known for his 2001 acclaimed film Yolngu Boy; a powerful coming-of-age story about three Aboriginal men who strive to become great hunters as they deal with social, economic and especially filial factors in maturing from adolescence to adulthood. Since then, Johnson has […]

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Film Review: One Night in Miami is a thematically powerful and emotionally riveting chamber piece

January 13, 2021

In America 1964, the audience is introduced with its four main players. Renowned boxer Cassius Clay (Eli Goree) had just defeated Sonny Liston to become heavyweight champion of the world; Muslim minister and human rights activist Malcolm X (Kingsley Ben-Adir) is still fighting for the cause for Black people; pop musician Sam Cooke (Leslie Odom […]

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Koko-di Koko-da

Film Review: Koko-di Koko-da is a loopy descent into madness and grief

December 8, 2020

Koko-di Koko-da starts off in an oddly jovial fashion. We are taken into a forest and there is a small troupe of people – visually influenced by nursery rhymes – dancing in unison while singing merrily. Yet not all is as it seems; and it sets the tone for what is to come: an eerie […]

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Jiu Jitsu

Jiu Jitsu Interview: Writer/director Dimitri Logothetis on working with Nicolas Cage for his wild sci-fi martial arts flick

December 3, 2020

In this writer’s opinion, a new upcoming film starring Nicolas Cage is a cause for celebration. But when you have the eclectic actor starring in a film that features martial arts, aliens and ass-kicking, that sounds like a jam-packed smorgasbord of fun. And that is what the sci-fi martial arts flick Jiu Jitsu is. We were […]

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Nicolas Cage

Film Review: Jiu Jitsu is much like Nicolas Cage; scrappy, eager-to-please and a lot of fun

November 20, 2020

Jiu Jitsu stars Alain Moussi as Jake Barnes, an amnesiac military man who is on the run from an unseen force that is attacking him. Sustaining a severe head injury in the process, he is taken in and nursed back to health by the military. He is interrogated severely by Myra (Marie Avgeropoulos); who believes […]

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Film Review: Ellie & Abbie (& Ellie’s Dead Aunt) is a genuine crowd-pleaser of a LGBTIQ rom-com

November 19, 2020

Sophie Hawkshaw stars as Ellie, a high school student captain who has a healthy relationship with her overprotective mother Erica (Marta Dusseldorp) and feels content with her existence via her good grades and her source of inspiration through her subject for her assignment Faith Underwood (a cameo by Chiara Gizzi). The main thrust of the […]

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Film Review: Corpus Christi is a gripping drama about the murky and hypocritical grounds of faith, redemption and morality

October 22, 2020

Corpus Christi follows the story of a young inmate Daniel (Bartosz Bielenia), who is imprisoned for second-degree murder. During his long stint, he has a spiritual awakening and he makes it his goal to become an ordained priest. But his journey does not come easy due to his criminal background. After his release, he is […]

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Film Review: The Broken Hearts Gallery is a predictable yet winning rom-com with a star performance from Geraldine Viswanathan

October 9, 2020

Romantic comedies are a bit of a conundrum in terms of execution. In comparison to other genres (and oddly enough, the action genre), it has gone through the most criticism. While people can get into the fantasy of said genre, others criticize the genre for its lack of realism and plausibility. Case in point, The […]

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TIFF Review: Spring Blossom is a striking directorial debut from writer/director Suzanne Lindon

September 26, 2020

Writer/director Suzanne Lindon stars as Suzanne, a 16-year old student who is starting to feel a sense of ennui as she trudges through her daily routine of high school adolescence. Her mingling with her friends is becoming tedious and boring – evident in an amusingly awkward party sequence – and her outside life feels constrained […]

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TIFF Review: Director Francois Ozon returns to his roots with Summer of 85

September 24, 2020

Queer cinema has come through quite well over these past few years. We have had great examples like Call Me By Your Name, Love, Simon and Moonlight; foreign entries like BPM (Beats Per Minute), the Oscar-winning A Fantastic Woman and BAFTA-winning The Handmaiden and hidden indie gems like Princess Cyd, Beach Rats and God’s Own Country. All of these films have had critical acclaim and they […]

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TIFF Review: Those who are adventurous horror seekers would do quite well with Violation

September 21, 2020

Trigger warning: Sexual abuse One of the reasons why cinema is so well received is that it can figuratively transport you into another world. In addition to that, it can be a way of wish fulfilment. Who wouldn’t want to be a kick-ass hero? Who would not want to be in a fairy tale romance? […]

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TIFF Review: Shadow in the Cloud is an exhilaratingly silly yet undeniably entertaining genre mashup from writer/director Roseanne Liang

September 21, 2020

Trigger warning: Sexual abuse and some coarse language Before we start off this review, let’s point out the elephant in the room. The film was co-written by Max Landis, who is now known for the various accusations of emotional and sexual abuse from eight separate women. Since then, lead actress Chloe Grace Moretz has said […]

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