Burning (Beoning) (2018)

There’s so much about Chang-dong Lee’s dramatic mystery that I had a good time picking apart. It’s a long and occasionally trying film, I’ll admit, but director Chang-dong Lee slowly but surely takes every single element of his narrative and places them in their proper order, allowing for a character study about class warfare and paranoia that is quite satisfying. I wasn’t really privy to what “Burning” was about when I first stepped in to it, but I had a difficult time looking away from it as it unfolded, as Chang-dong Lee dissects a lot about the haves and the have nots, the idea of love, and obsession.

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The Street Fighter Collection [Blu-Ray]

It’s a wonderful time for fans of grindhouse cinema and collectors of physical media. Great studios are all rushing out to offer collectors some of the rarest and under seen movie titles of all time, including some of the best martial arts films ever made. With Arrow Video releasing the pristine Sister Street Fighter Collection on Blu-ray recently, Shout! Factory follows up from the rear unleashing the Street Fighter Collection. If you loved both series, now is the time to grab them, as they’re finally on Blu-Ray, with the original article starring Sonny Chiba in a great box set with a ton of extras and restorations.

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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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Nose Nose Nose EYES! (2017) [Final Girls Berlin Film Festival]

“Flesh and Blood” Shorts Block

This South Korean horror film by Jiwoon Moon is not a movie about ghosts or goblins, but about the absolute perverse horrors of greed and the evil money can foster. Director-writer Moon tells the tale of a small family living in a sheltered home. After Ji-hyo has a horrible nightmare with her father scaring her without any eyes, her mother Hyeon-woo half heartedly assures her that it was all a nightmare.

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Slamdance Narrative Shorts Block 1 [Slamdance Film Festival 2019]

Autumn Waltz (2018)
Ognjen Petkovic’s short thriller is a tense look at a couple trying to escape a war zone and make it out of enemy lines without becoming one of the many victims of the ensuing battles. Set in the 1990’s amidst a landscape of rubble, and torn down deluxe flats, a man and woman attempt to make it outside of Yugoslavia. When they’re faced with a barricade of ruthless armed soldiers, they make up a story that allows them free passage. But as the soldiers interrogate them their reasons for leaving their home land begin to fall apart. At the last minute they’re saved by the most unlikely source and it’s a testament to how the past can affect the present, and vice versa. It’s a well shot and tense short with some fine photography and I quite liked it.

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You Have to See This! Grave of the Fireflies (Hotaru no haka) (1988)

Opens Friday January 4th for a New York Premiere 30th Anniversary Theatrical engagement!

The idea of the cost of war has never been more thoughtfully and emotionally conveyed than in Isao Takahata’s “Grave of the Fireflies.” The 1988 animated film is still one of the most emotional and powerful films I’ve ever seen, it’s a film that completely transcends all ideas of storytelling, and destroys any stigma that animation is a child’s medium that is limited in scope and substances, especially when telling human stories.

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Laplace’s Witch (Rapurasu no majo) (2018) [Fantasia 2018]

Following a mysterious death, a scientist is brought in to hopefully rule it as an accident. As he does his research, a police detective desperately wants to rule it as a homicide. Mixed up in the middle of it all is a teenager with what looks to be psychic powers and her friend who has disappeared. What will they all find once all is said and done?

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Microhabitat (So-gong-nyeo) (2017) [Fantasia 2018]

A young woman living paycheck to paycheck on a very tight budget finds herself in a hard place when she has to decide what to cut from her budget when her rent goes up by quite a bit. As she tries to find a way, she decides to abandon the tiny apartment and go couch surfing for a while. As things advance, her situation becomes more and more precarious.

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