Monday, June 18, 2018

SIFF 2018: 'Susu' (2018) Movie Review

With Yixi Sun’s Susu, gothic British horror gets filtered through a Chinese lens. Two young students, Qi’an (Ziton Wu) and Aimo (Lun Zhu), living in the U.K. wind up in the middle of a dark, tangled mystery when they take a job digging into the archives of Susu (Junjie Mao), a long-dead Kunqu Opera star. Which, of course, are located in a massive, ancient country manner overseen by a family of weirdos with all manner of secrets and skeletons hidden away in various closets.

Friday, June 15, 2018

'Believer' (2018) Movie Review

Johnnie To has carried the Hong Kong action banner like few others and 2012’s Drug War stands as one of his greatest achievements, which says something, because the man has churned out some all-timers. Sure, that was only a few years ago, but that didn’t stop South Korean director Lee Hae-young (The Silenced) from remaking it as Believer. He puts more of a thriller spin on the proceedings rather than turning in a straight-up action ride, allowing the film to stand on its own, both for better and worse.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Kim Jee-Woon's 'Jin-Roh: The Wolf Brigade' Delivers A Tense, Creepy Teaser

I’ve admittedly never watched Jin-Roh: The Wolf Brigade, the dystopian anime sci-fi based on a popular manga. But I will watch the ever-loving-crap out of any film Kim Jee-woon makes, and that includes his upcoming live-action remake of Jin-Roh. It doesn’t actually reveal much, but a new teaser trailer certainly sets the mood, and I’m way, way in. 

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Top 12 Films Of SIFF 2018

So, another Seattle International Film Festival is in the books. As usual, I watched a crap-load of movies over the past six weeks—SIFF is nothing if not a marathon. My total topped 60 this year, which isn’t even half of the features. (On the final night, I encountered someone on their 123rd movie.) Overall, it was the strongest field in a few years; I routinely found myself pleasantly surprised by movies I didn’t expect. With that in mind, here are my favorites of SIFF 2018, in no particular order.

Monday, June 11, 2018

SIFF 2018: 'Chedeng & Apple' (2017) Movie Review

A bittersweet, blackly comic riff on Thelma and Louise, with a flourish of Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia thrown in for good measure, Chedeng & Apple is part road trip comedy, part lesbian romance, part off-kilter voyage of self-reclamation. After all, one title character spends most of the movie toting a Louis Vuitton bag holding the severed head of her abusive husband. Sounds like a hoot, right?

Friday, June 8, 2018

Blumhouse's 'Halloween' Trailer Makes You Believe In The Boogey Man

Well damn. I didn’t realize how excited I was, or really that I was excited at all, for Blumhouse’s new Halloween movie until the other day when they released a handful of teasers for the first trailer. (I know, I know, trailers for trailers, it’s silly, all that.) But when the music kicked in, I got chills. Well, the full trailer is here. Again, chills.

Thursday, June 7, 2018

'Hotel Artemis' (2018) Movie Review

Hotel Artemis isn’t a movie I ever need to think of again. But as a slice of pulpy sci-fi action, buoyed by a strong performance from Jodie Foster and a great surrounding cast, writer/director Drew Pearce (Mission: Impossible—Rogue Nation, Iron Man 3) delivers a fun little R-rated trifle.

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

SIFF 2018: 'Bodied' (2017) Movie Review

“New jacks are spending mad time on they battle rhymes.”
-Blue Scholars, “No Rest for the Weary”

Joseph Kahn’s Bodied follows Adam (Calum Worthy, American Vandal), a nerdy white college student. Fully entrenched in the PC world of academia, he’s writing his thesis on the use of the granddaddy of all racial slurs in the world of underground rap battles. Immersing himself in this world, he, along with his mentor Behn Grymm (Jackie Long), discovers a penchant for sick rhymes and ill burns that outrages everyone around him and throws his coddled, carefully manicured life into chaos.

SIFF 2018: 'American Animals' (2018) Movie Review

American Animals is a movie that has an admittedly cool hook—it tells a true story, but along with the dramatization, director Bart Layton (The Imposter) splices in interviews with the real people involved. But like many films with a cool hook, it’s too in love with its own coolness, to the point of distraction. And while it tries to do something different, it’s so hyper-stylized—I counted at least six slow-motion montages set to conspicuously recognizable pop songs—that the stylistics cease to have any substantial impact and it’s not nearly as edgy as it wants to be or thinks it is.

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

'Hereditary' (2018) Movie Review

The less I say about Hereditary, the better, so I’ll try to keep this brief. What’s important is that this stands as one of the best horror movies in years. It moves in unexpected ways, overflows with bonkers great performances, and builds to a genre crescendo that rips out your still-beating heart and shows it to you. Writer/director Ari Aster crafts a creepy, cryptic, moody horror tone poem about coping with grief and loss and family that rattles and shakes in deep, profound ways.

Monday, June 4, 2018

SIFF 2018: 'Hearts Beat Loud (2018) Capsule Review

Sundance fave Hearts Beat Loud shows maybe the best on-screen father-daughter relationship I’ve ever seen. Sam (Kiersey Clemons) is the driven, focused one, about to start a pre-med program. Her father, Frank (Nick Offerman), is the head-in-the-clouds dreamer unable to relinquish a fading musical ambition and desire to start a band with his daughter.

'Suspiria' Trailer: Dakota Johnson Dances Into Darkness

Susupiria is arguably horror legend Dario Argento’s greatest work. So, of course there were grumblings from the faithful when a remake was announced. That’s just what happens in these situations. What we’ve seen thus far looks creepy and witchy and weird, and early reactions to footage have been overwhelmingly positive. But that’s all second hand and hearsay, at least until now. Amazon dropped the first trailer for Luca Guadagnino’s Suspiria and it looks pretty rad.

Friday, June 1, 2018

SIFF 2018: 'The Long Dumb Road' (2018) Movie Review

Road trip movies are hard. They’ve been done so much, it’s a struggle to find anything new; they rely on a series of vignettes, so it’s difficult to maintain many carrying themes and through lines; and if the people on said road trip don’t have chemistry, your movie is in trouble. Most known for indie dramas, writer/director Hannah Fidell (6 Years) dives headlong into mismatched buddy road comedy with The Long Dumb Road. It falls into some of these pitfalls at the same time as it skirts others, and while the results are often uneven, it’s also a raucous good time.