Author: Harris Dang

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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TIFF Review: The magnificently mesmerizing Wolfwalkers will have audiences howling with joy

September 18, 2020

Whenever one thinks of animation studios, the main ones one would think of would be either Disney and Pixar from the West and Studio Ghibli overseas. Then on the lesser known side, there would be studios like Laika and Aardman studios. But there is one that is even more obscure and that is called the […]

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TIFF Review: Pieces of a Woman is a moving drama and stellar acting showcase for Vanessa Kirby and Ellen Burstyn

September 18, 2020

The filmography of playwright/director Kornel Mundruczo is quite interesting from a first glimpse. The standout feature is the fact that his works are usually political parables disguised as genre fare. His last two films White God and Jupiter’s Moon delved into the horror/sci-fi genre but were more about the examination of the inner workings of […]

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TIFF Review: Naomi Watts is the best thing in the underwhelming Penguin Bloom

September 17, 2020

Penguin Bloom follows the story of the Bloom family, a happy and adventurous troupe who are led on many treks by the outgoing matriarch Sam (Naomi Watts). All appears well as they are holidaying in Thailand until a once-in-a-lifetime accident occurs; leaving Sam paralysed and confined to a wheelchair.  Seen as a shadow of her former […]

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TIFF Review: Shiva Baby is one of the funniest films of 2020

September 15, 2020

Rachel Sennott stars as Danielle, a young bisexual Jewish woman, traipsing through life going through a phase of self-defeat as she essentially performs sex work for money; all under the guise of sexual empowerment excused by her gender studies degree. The mindset of Danielle is set up in a succinctly and hilariously tired fashion as she has sex with her […]

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TIFF Review: Get the Hell Out is an exhausting yet ultimately amusing zombie horror comedy

September 13, 2020

There are genre conventions that we see all the time in film that whenever they show up, we cannot help but smile at the sight of it. One of them is seeing the hero succeed in their journey; another is seeing the protagonist triumph over oppression and adversity and another is seeing a zombie getting […]

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TIFF Review: A Good Man is an empathetic and understanding look into the life of a trans man wanting to have a child

September 13, 2020

When news of the latest project by writer/director Marie-Castille Mention-Scharr was announced, this reviewer was intrigued yet quite trepidacious [sic]. The premise of the story itself is inspiring but the casting of the titular role can be seen as quite problematic. The major reason for being is because of the lack of proper representation for […]

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TIFF Review: One Night in Miami is an electrifying film directorial debut for Regina King

September 12, 2020

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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TIFF Review: Holler is a remarkable coming-of-age drama and directorial debut from Nicole Riegel

September 11, 2020

Jessica Barden stars as Ruth Avery, a high school student who lives in Jackson, Ohio with her older brother Blaze (Gus Halper). She is intelligent and resilient but due to her living conditions, she is looked down upon by people at school to the point that she has to resort to stealing books (i.e. Madame […]

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Film Review: Da 5 Bloods is Spike Lee’s Vietnam War opus and one of his very best

June 15, 2020

Fresh off the acclaim of his last film Blackkklansman and the series reboot She’s Gotta Have It, writer/director Spike Lee is back with his most ambitious film yet; the 2020 wartime drama Da 5 Bloods. Taking his prescient, provocative style and conveying it on a larger scale, it looks to be an absolute winner. A […]

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The Way Back

Film Review: The Way Back is a great showcase for Ben Affleck

March 5, 2020

The sports drama formula in cinema has been the most overused and non-innovative formula in cinema lately. Ever since the early 2000s, Walt Disney Pictures have made a long string of films with a fixed formula: inspirational movies about triumphing over adversity that are mostly based on true stories. Despite the critical reception of the […]

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Film Review: The Call of the Wild is a call not worth answering

February 20, 2020

The 1903 book The Call of the Wild is considered classic literature for young children. So much so, that it has been adapted on-screen multiple times as a silent film, an anime film and through multiple attempts in Hollywood; including a 1996 version starring Rutger Hauer that is considered by some to be the most […]

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Film Review: Richard Jewell is a mostly successful return to form for Eastwood as Hauser shines

February 13, 2020

There are few better ways of getting audiences into the cinema than to provide an underdog story. Even superhero films such as Avengers: Endgame (2019) are in their very nature an underdog story; triumphing over adversity and injustice. But the icing on the cake for such stories is that if the film is based on […]

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Film Review: Midway crashes and burns as it can’t meet its ambitions halfway

February 1, 2020

Bombastic blockbuster filmmaker Roland Emmerich has been on a bit of a downward spiral lately. He started off quite well with projects from his home of West Germany; until he worked in America; making entertaining efforts like Universal Soldier and Stargate that succeeded well at the box office. But few had expected his next effort […]

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Film Review: Bombshell lacks the power of its namesake as it pulls its punches

January 16, 2020

Ever since the Harvey Weinstein scandal, the world had drastically changed and stories of sexual violence have gone through the roof; exposing all the reprehensible actions that have been swept under the rug for decades in the entertainment industry. Since then, the boom has reached worldwide, exposing other horrific stories in the process. What is […]

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Film Review: The Gentlemen is a film that should’ve minded its manners

December 31, 2019

British director Guy Ritchie has had an interesting career trajectory over the years. He started off with his calling card film Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels; a crime comedy that put him on the map thanks to his humour poking fun at geezery [sic] gangsters in Britain, the extreme political incorrectness and his energetic […]

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Film Review: Greta Gerwig’s Little Women is a masterful adaptation with a spectacular cast

December 31, 2019

The amount of film adaptations of Little Women has been vast – the most recent one only came out in 2018 – but the reason this beloved source material is still relevant today is because of how timeless the story is. Despite the period setting, the story shines light on prescient and relevant themes such as […]

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Film Review: Portrait of a Lady on Fire burns with passion

December 22, 2019

French director Céline Sciamma is one of the best writer/directors in French Cinema working today. She specializes in coming-of-age dramas and this reviewer has been a fan of her work ever since he saw her film Tomboy. From fantastic directorial work like her directorial debut Water Lilies and her prior film Girlhood to stellar screenwriting […]

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Film Review: Sorry We Missed You is a grueling, heartbreaking yet compassionate drama from Ken Loach

December 21, 2019

Sorry We Missed You is the latest film from acclaimed British director Ken Loach. Loach has made many great films over the years that delved into social realism. Great works like I, Daniel Blake, It’s a Free World…, Vera Drake, The Wind That Shakes the Barley; all examined the gritty undertakings of the British environment […]

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Film Review: Nothing will prepare you for the experience that is Cats

December 20, 2019

Horror films have had a banner year in 2019. They crept under the audience’s skin, lingering in the mind long after the credits had stopped rolling. But none of them seemed as haunting as the first theatrical trailer for Tom Hooper‘s Cats. When the trailer was released, the public opinion was overwhelmingly negative. Many viewers were […]

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Film Review: Freaks is one of the best genre surprises of the year

December 9, 2019

One of the pleasures of watching films is the feeling of surprise and enjoying the journey and not knowing where it will lead you. In other words, a little mystery goes a long way. In the case of Freaks by co-directors Adam B. Stein and Zach Lipovsky, it comes with an interesting premise that has […]

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Film Review: The Two Popes is a thought-provoking piece of work, featuring a great double act from Pryce and Hopkins

December 4, 2019

Brazillian director Fernando Meirelles has a very interesting body of work. With intense crime thriller City of God (which he co-directed with Katia Lund) as his calling card, Meirelles has always been a filmmaker that aimed for realism and verisimilitude (see: political thriller The Constant Gardener) even if the premise had veered more into a fantastical way […]

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What we learned from The Truth Q&A with director Hirokazu Kore-eda

November 17, 2019

Renowned Japanese director Hirokazu Kore-eda’s latest The Truth had it’s Australian premiere this weekend, at a special event at Sydney’s Hayden Orpheum Picture Palace, with the director himself in attendance. We were lucky enough to be in the audience for a post-screening Q&A with the director, headed up by film critic David Stratton, and we’ve got all […]

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Film Review: The Report is a gripping procedural, boasting a fantastic performance from Adam Driver

November 14, 2019

Some of the cinema history’s most acclaimed films have revolved around stories of journalistic, procedural or investigative narratives. And with most of the selected group based on true stories, it begs the question: how can you make a gripping film where you already know the outcome of the story? Case in point: writer/director Scott Z. […]

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Film Review: Ford v Ferrari is a fantastic tribute to the Hollywood sports genre

November 13, 2019

The 1960s set Ford v Ferrari might not sound appealing to anyone with limited knowledge of or interest in the world of motor racing. But, in the world of cinema, any story can work, regardless of its premise, thanks to the themes it examines. In the case of director James Mangold‘s latest, these universal themes cover […]

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