Author: Harris Dang

Parasite

Film Review: Parasite is a spectacularly insidious film you would want to latch on to

June 25, 2019

Director Bong Joon-ho is one of cinema’s most eclectic filmmakers working today. What makes his work stand out so much is his assured directorial hand in mixing genres that usually do not associate with each other and yet somehow, he executes them brilliantly. But no matter what genre he works in, he always manages to […]

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Melbourne Documentary Film Festival Review: Singled [Out] is too brief to make a true impact, but it is still worth a look

June 22, 2019

Singled [Out] is a new documentary by directors Mariona Guiu and Ariadna Relea; and the premise is what really struck out to me, as we follow the lives of five women (under 30) of different backgrounds (Australia, Turkey, Spain and two women from China), and how they live their lives with their choices, whether they […]

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Sydney Film Festival Review: Pain and Glory (Spain, 2019) is one of Pedro Almodovar’s best films

June 14, 2019

Viva Almodovar! If that opening didn’t clue you in, I am a huge fan of the work of acclaimed Spanish film director Pedro Almodovar. His filmmaking is an extravagant blend that is both wondrously idiosyncratic and entertainingly melodramatic; capped off with a colourfully vibrant eye. Even his supposedly disappointing films have won me over time, […]

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Sydney Film Festival Review: The Souvenir (UK, 2019) is one of the best films of 2019

June 11, 2019

Before I start off this review, it must be said that I have not seen any of the works by director Joanna Hogg. It wasn’t due to any prior indiscretions, rather my personal ignorance. But upon hearing the massive amounts of praise from festivals and critics all over the world for her latest film, The […]

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Film Review: Happy as Lazzaro (Italy, 2018) is magical realism par excellence

June 11, 2019

Over the recent years, it has come to my attention that some of the most problematic films that have attained a lot of critical derision have come from films that explore the trope of magical realism. Recent efforts such as Collateral Beauty, Life Itself and The Book of Henry have tried to be life-affirming by […]

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Sydney Film Festival Review: The Third Wife (Vietnam, 2018) is an entrancing, haunting and sensual experience

June 10, 2019

It feels absolutely wonderful to see a Vietnamese film in this year’s Sydney Film Festival. Of course, there have been many Vietnamese film in film festivals before but, with a stronger focus on genre-centric cinema over the recent year, it feels invigorating for a Vietnamese critic such as myself. This year, we have Ash Mayfair‘s […]

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Film Review: X-Men: Dark Phoenix is mutant X-Crement

June 5, 2019

It has been almost two decades since the X-Men franchise started and now it has finally come to an end. Over the years, we have had a series of generally positive outcomes from this franchise — a list of mostly great films and a handful of very bad ones. For every film like X2: X-Men […]

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Film Review: Godzilla: King of the Monsters pays loving tribute to its forebears, with monster battles and throwbacks galore

June 3, 2019

It’s finally here! The Godzilla franchise continues with Godzilla: King of the Monsters! Previous director Gareth Edwards has been replaced by Michael Dougherty, best known for his horror efforts like the Halloween anthology film Trick ‘R Treat and the Christmas movie Krampus. With an all-star cast of acclaimed thespians, rising talents and franchise returnees and free reign […]

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Film Review: Triple Threat may not live up to its promise, but it is still an action-packed treat

May 27, 2019

If you were to see the cast of Triple Threat, which is jam-packed with talented martial artists/established action heroes, chances are that you would be overly excited. With this much talent in an action film, how can it possibly fail? We must consider the people behind the scenes. Triple Threat has director Jesse V. Johnson, […]

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Film Review: Little Woods is a remarkably assured directorial debut from Nia DaCosta, with two great lead performances

May 13, 2019

When one brings up the word “survival” in cinematic terms, usually some would think adventure stories in foreign environments like tropical islands, forests or jungles. Others would think of contained thrillers, where stories would be set in one small setting like a hostage situation in a building ala Die Hard, Under Siege or Speed. But […]

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Film Review: Fighting With My Family (UK, 2019) is a satisfying crowd-pleaser that will wrestle your funnybone as well as your heart

March 24, 2019

Based on a true story (well-documented in the Channel 4 documentary The Wrestlers: Fighting with My Family), born into a tight-knit wrestling family, Paige (Florence Pugh) and her brother Zak (Jack Lowden) are ecstatic when they get the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to try out for the WWE. But when only Paige earns a spot in the […]

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Film Review: Hotel Mumbai (Australia, 2019) is an intense but humane, white-knuckle thriller

March 21, 2019

Adapting tragic events of the world to the cinema screen can be a very risky proposition. There are many ways to get it wrong and very few ways to get it right. The wrong ways can lead the film to be considered exploitative, cheap, insulting, xenophobic and even laughable. It would also depend on the […]

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Alliance Française French Film Festival Review: Knife+Heart is an unashamedly queer slasher hybrid

March 18, 2019

What is it about slasher films that makes them stand out as one of the best horror sub-genres? It is just a person just killing people with a sharp object and that’s it, right? Yes, but, that’s also the very reason why it has succeeded so well. Unlike the other horror sub-genres that involve fantastical […]

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Film Review: Greta (Ireland/USA, 2018) is B-grade schlock elevated by A-grade credentials in all the right ways

March 4, 2019

If there’s a bias I have as a film critic, it is that I have an affinity for seeing established actors give unhinged performances in film that accommodate said performance. Most of these performances are usually in thriller genres, like the psycho-logical subgenre. Yes, the use of the hyphen is intentional, as those films delve […]

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Film Review: Everybody Knows (Spain, 2018) is an inferior, yet effective entry from director Asghar Farhadi

March 4, 2019

Iranian director Asghar Farhadi has made some of most critically acclaimed dramas in the 21st Century. Garnering awards from many festivals, including winning two Oscars for Best Foreign Film, it is a testament to Farhadi’s impeccable storytelling about the social, gender and class differences in modern Iran as well as his assured hand in telling […]

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Alliance Francaise French Film Festival Review: Revenge is a beautifully realized and pointedly subversive piece of exploitation

March 2, 2019

It isn’t hard to figure out that the reason why a lot of people watch movies is because of wish fulfillment. Who wouldn’t want to be in a fairy tale romance? Who wouldn’t want to be a kick-ass hero? But another level of wish fulfillment is to see people get revenge on those who have […]

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Film Review: Vox Lux (USA, 2018) is as dazzling as it is divisive

February 20, 2019

What is it about stories about the rise to stardom that makes it so fascinating to audiences? Is it because it resembles a wish fulfillment fantasy? Or is it because it resembles a cautionary tale? Either way, it is a well-worn formula, that has been the backbone of well-regarded films, including 2018 films A Star […]

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Film Review: Alita: Battle Angel (USA, 2019) is faithful to its source material and very entertaining, when love isn’t in the air

February 13, 2019

English-language live-action film adaptations of manga/anime source material have been quite problematic, to say the least. While most of the films just fail to capture the spirit of the source material due to bad filmmaking (eg. Fist of the North Star, Death Note [2017]), other examples fail just due to the fact that they did […]

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Film Review: Capernaum (Lebanon, 2018) is a compelling, life-affirming journey; Zain Al Rafeea shines

February 11, 2019

Films that are for adults that revolve around children are becoming more uncommon these days. So much so that people have to differentiate films that are for children with films that are about children. Case in point, the 2004 fantasy drama Bridge to Terabithia. While the film does show a fantasy world and the story […]

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Film Review: Cold Pursuit (USA, 2019) is peak Neeson Season material

February 7, 2019

It’s hard to believe but at this present time, whenever you ask young people who Liam Neeson is, they often tend to quote his action films and then not know or forget about his critically acclaimed films like Schindler’s List, Michael Collins, Rob Roy and others. But ever since the 2008 action film Taken, Neeson […]

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Film Review: Green Book (USA, 2018) is a film about racism told by white people, and it really shows

January 28, 2019

Do good intentions make a good film? That is the question that has popped up in my head through the many recent films over the past year. Whether the film is about the commentary on major issues like racism, sexism and discrimination, the film itself still has to be well-executed in all areas in order […]

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Film Review: The Kid Who Would Be King (UK, 2019) is an incredibly fun take on the Arthurian legend for the whole family

January 17, 2019

It’s quite amazing to know that there are many films out there that have been inspired by the story of the Arthurian legend. On the top end of the scale, we have the Disney flick The Sword of the Stone, the John Boorman cult classic Excalibur and of course the comedic parody Monty Python and […]

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Film Review: Instant Family (USA, 2018) is an instant failure, despite the likable cast

January 13, 2019

Family films have been a very mixed bag with me. While there are some films out there that really capture the spirit of what makes a family come together in both cinematic terms and emotional terms, most of the family films out there are incredibly cynical in how they are made i.e. a checklist of […]

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Film Review: Eighth Grade (USA, 2018) is an empathetic, uncompromising & honest piece of work

January 4, 2019

Teenage films have been quite a huge staple for me in the past decade. Whether they would be quality films (like Heathers, Stand By Me), plain fun (Mean Girls, Easy A, Say Anything etc.) or just plain silliness (Porky’s, American Pie), this reviewer has always found some enjoyment for entertainment reasons as well as nostalgic […]

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Film Review: Cold War (Poland, 2018) is a dryly amusing, dramatically concise and romantically passionate epic

December 24, 2018

It seems that autobiographical stories that stem from the lives of film directors are in the spotlight in terms of critical acclaim lately. There are great films out there like the Spanish family drama by Carla Simon, Summer 1993; the relationship comedy-drama by Tamara Jenkins, Private Life; the semi-autobiographical rom-com by Eva Vives, All About […]

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Film Review: Bumblebee (USA, 2018) is a joyous and heartfelt sci-fi wonder that succeeds on its own bee’s knees

December 20, 2018

The Transformers film franchise has been in devastating lows these past years. Although one can expect that from a franchise that is based on a line of toys, any film based on a toy can be a good film like the LEGO films. Aside from the 1986 cult-classic animated film (which featured Orson Welles as […]

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Film Review: Second Act (USA, 2018) is a likable piece of rom-com fluff, with an engaging Jennifer Lopez

December 10, 2018

Jennifer Lopez has a pretty spotty track record when it comes to her acting career. The last great film in the past 20 years is still Steven Soderbergh‘s crime flick Out of Sight. While she still has her charismatic and likable presence on-screen, unfortunately her choices of scripts have been quite sub-par. Apart from some […]

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Film Review: Climax (France, 2018) is an orgy of gracefully demented brilliance, drenched in LSD

December 1, 2018

French enfant terrible provocateur film director Gaspar Noe is back with his physically-impulsive, boundary-pushing sex-and-drugs approach. For those who don’t know, Noe is a prolific filmmaker who pushes the buttons of the audiences in extreme measures and beyond boundaries of good taste. His debut feature-length film, I Stand Alone, contained gruelling violence and references of […]

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Film Review: Creed II (USA, 2018) may not touch gloves with its predecessor, but it still packs a mighty punch

November 30, 2018

If there’s one franchise that I am utterly surprised that it is still ongoing at this point, it is the franchise of Rocky Balboa by Sylvester Stallone. Proving you can’t keep a fighter down (or you can’t stop beating a dead horse), writer/director Ryan Coogler came up with the idea to reinvigorate the franchise without […]

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Film Review: I Used To Be Normal: A Boyband Fangirl Story (Australia, 2018) is a wonderfully funny and joyous documentary about the positive reinforcement of fandom

November 26, 2018

According to Webster’s Dictionary, the term fangirling is defined as a female fan behaving and obsessing in an overexcited fashion. You may or may not forgive me for finding this definition quite amusing, but it sums up my expectations of director Jessica Leski‘s I Used To Be Normal: A Boyband Fangirl Story perfectly. A film […]

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