Audition (Ôdishon) (1999): Collector’s Edition [Blu-Ray/DVD]

It should just about go without saying that “Audition” is basically Takashe Miike’s masterpiece. If not then it’s the most accessible in where Miike is able to basically cut loose in a horror movie that begins as a romance about a man finding love again that descends in to darkness and torture. Twenty years later, “Audition” is a masterpiece of the genre, of film, and hasn’t aged a single bit since its release in 1999. It embraces romance, drama, a hint of dark comedy, and builds up to a fever pitch of a climax that’s both horrifying and will leave audiences feeling physically pained.

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The Shorts of “We Are the Weirdos 2 2019: Presented by The Final Girls Collective” [Women in Horror Month 2019]

Featuring some of the greatest new and emerging female talent in the genre space, these films delve deep into the darkest human desires from a uniquely female perspective. These are films that delve deep into the darkest corners of the human experience, bringing an unforgettable array of monsters to the screen and offering a fresh and perverse perspective on horror. “We Are The Weirdos is at the core of what we want The Final Girls to be about: a platform which can nurture, champion and spotlight female talent at the centre of the horror genre.” adds co-director Anna Bogutskaya. “The programme is distributed by The Final Girls and it is our intention to make this an annual event at cinemas worldwide.”

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2019 Oscar Nominated Shorts: Live Action

It’s pretty disappointing that the Academy almost cut out the entire Live Action short category this year for the Oscars, as there are so many wonderful short films nominated. There are five pretty fantastic short films with strong messages about childhood and loss of innocence, and I hope now that they’re back in the broadcast, that audiences get a chance to watch and celebrate them.

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Tito and the Birds (Tito e os Pássaros) (2019)

It’s a very good element of animation that it is so accessible and can be fit to work in any story no matter how extraordinary it may be. Animation allows the creator to be as unique and individual as possible, while also conveying an important message that deserves to be heard now more than ever. I can’t say that I loved “Tito and the Birds” but I very much enjoyed it is an imaginative and entertaining adventure with an important message to give its audience about prejudice, xenophobia, the value of animals, and the irrational hysterical fear of the impoverished that’s become so common.

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Behind the Bullet (2019) [Slamdance Film Festival 2019]

Director Heidi Yewman does a lot to conjure up awareness of gun violence and has contributed to injecting the reality of gun violence in the public consciousness. With ”Behind the Bullet” she continues that tradition for better and for worse. While “Behind the Bullet” is a documentary that everyone should watch, it’s a documentary people will only be able to see once, as it’s often difficult to endure. It shows us the stark reality of gun violence in four forms, but it’s also so incredibly depressing and soul crushing, and at rare times feels like its intent on shocking us more than informing us.

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Mid90s (2018)

Director and writer Jonah Hill very much likes to paint “Mid90’s” as a film that’s basically for the kids that grew up in the nineties. But despite some choice nineties tracks, “Mid90’s” is once again less for the whole of the nineties kids, and more for the suburban skater kids that spent most of their time riding around on boards, and hanging out in parking lots getting drunk. If you can accept “Mid90’s” as mainly a niche arthouse drama that projects nostalgia wholesale, you might enjoy it, but I left it pretty much indifferent and not feeling very connected by anything that unfolded.

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Hearts Beat Loud (2018)

You can almost look at “Hearts Beat Loud” as something of an urban “Once,” in where music is something of the soul behind a very human story of two lost individuals in a somewhat turbulent world. This time around we meet father and daughter Sam and Frank, both of whom never really healed from a horrendous loss that they experienced many years before the narrative starts. In one instance, Frank literally sits at the scene of his wife’s death, which is still a memorial standing in the middle of a busy street, and tries to figure out where to go next.

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Roma (2018)

“Roma” is the film that is making rounds this year, with high acclaim and big Oscar buzz and for good reason. Alfonso Cuarón outdoes himself with what is a masterstroke of visual and emotional storytelling. At over two hours in length, “Roma” is an engrossing and absolutely striking story that juxtaposes ideas over and over. There’s life and death, the beginning of one marriage while one comes to an end, and so on. Cuarón devotes so much of “Roma” to how much the tale of Cleo is a microcosm to the tidal wave that is life, and we view it through her eyes, as she endures endless pain, but finds solace in the most unlikely sources.

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