Cinema: July 2019

  • Long Day’s Journey Into Night (地球最后的夜晚). A wonderful effort from Bi Gan. The celebrated long take is indeed impressive. Did seem too slow-paced at times. At one point, the protagonist (Huang Jue) mentions that he fell asleep in the cinema and ended up in a cave. That did happen to me too (although the cave was on the screen). The Tarkovsky‘s and Lynch‘s influence seemed apparent. 8/10
  • Babylon. The sound quality was horrible, not sure if it is the fault of the cinema, or the film. The story seemed authentic and convincing. 7/10
  • Toy Story 4. Not as good as previous installments, mostly due to the creators’ decision to allocate little time to many of the original toys (that were great and funny). 6/10
  • Midsommar. Ingenious, atmospheric, humorous, psychedelic, and unique. Ari Aster is a new master of smart horror, directing one of the best films of the year the second year in a row. 9/10
  • Three Peaks. Omen in the mountains. 6/10
  • In the Aisles. There is something here. 7/10
  • Crawl. Kaya Scodelario is very convincing and impressive. One might think that this kind of alligators-eat-humans movie does not allow for a demonstration of acting skills, but the whole film is worthy mainly due to her. 7/10
  • The Farewell. This is an American film directed by Lulu Wang and starring Awkwafina as the main character (both are Chinese-Americans). Indeed, the contrast with Chinese films (some of which were “reviewed” in the previous months) is visible. The film, story, and actors are absolutely incredible though, especially the chemistry between Awkwafina and Zhao Shuzhen. All praise is well-deserved. 9/10
  • Wild Rose. There is nothing especially interesting about the story, and it is hard to sympathize with the protagonist, but some songs are very good and touching, and Jessie Buckley is amazing. 7/10
  • The Art of Self-Defense. This is a hilarious comedy that half-way turns into a satirical thriller. Alessandro Nivola steals the film, but all the cast are amazing. The line “I see now how her being a woman will prevent her from ever becoming a man.” (recalled from an article by Tom Philip) was indeed a memorable one and a good example of the film’s satire. 9/10
  • The Lion King. I don’t think I watched the original film, but this one is nothing special. The Scar (Chiwetel Ejiofor) and Pumbaa (Seth Rogen) were memorable though. 6/10

Cinema: May 2019

  • Sunset (Napszállta, László Nemes). The story is mysterious, and remains so at the end credits. The cinematography and direction, hand camera style, varying focus from close-up shots to blurred shots, dark colors, the overall dark atmosphere—all is really wonderful. Juli Jakab, who you follow for most of the film, did a good job, I think, although the role did not require an especial emotional variety, mostly hidden and restrained. 7/10
  • Hail Satan? (Penny Lane). Highly recommended. About The Satanic Temple. The word “Satan” can be misleading to those unfamiliar with the topic; it was for me. The topic is important and relevant. I found their values align with mine to a great extent.
  • Ramen Shop (情牽拉麵茶, Eric Khoo). Vegetarians may have a hard time (I had a bit), but the film is very light and enjoyable, having a tragic touch. 7/10
  • Long Shot (Jonathan Levine). The story is too extreme to be true, but very funny most of the time. 7/10
  • Aniara (Pella Kågerman). Underrated. One of the best recent science fiction films. From start to end. Wonderful Emelie Jonsson. 8/10
  • Booksmart (Olivia Wilde). Overrated, but one of the best examples of the genre. Beanie Feldstein raises obvious associations with “Lady Bird”, but the topics and genres are different. A number of funny moments; stupid are present too. 7/10
  • My Son (Mon garçon, Christian Carion). Guillaume Canet doing things. 6/10
  • Photograph (Ritesh Batra). Too sweet to be true, but appreciate the ending. 6/10
  • Shadow (影, Zhang Yimou). From the master Zhang Yimou. The league of its own, so distinct from the “western” cinema. Visually stunning with unique atmosphere, “impressionistic” battles, original story, marvelous music (Zai Lao). Overall, another world. 9/10