OKAY! MADAM – A REVIEW

With leisure travel not returning anytime this year, a movie about flying will either seem like unnecessary torture, or a wonderful temporary escape. Thankfully, with its wacky ensemble and riotous plot, Okay! Madam is likely the latter for its audiences. Mi-Young (Uhm Jung-hwa) is your gregarious stallowner, hawking donut twists and effusive compliments. She’s well-liked…

THE TUNNEL (TUNNELEN) – A REVIEW

Norway has more than 1,100 road tunnels, with only a few of them designed with emergency rooms or escape routes. Some would call this a recipe for disaster or a ticking time bomb but it’s the reality for Norwegians. Since 2011, eight big fires – including one in 2015 involving a tanker truck with 16,500…

I WEIRDO – A REVIEW

Living with a younger brother with autism, I have a front-row seat to how Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) affects one’s life. The term is used loosely these days for people who fuss over small discrepancies, say a slightly tilted photo frame or their colour-coordinated stationery, but for people like my brother, it is less a…

BEAUTY WATER (FILM REVIEW)

The beauty industry, at last count, was a 532 billion dollar industry. And with Korean skincare and cosmetics trends leading the way for growth in the male sector, one can only imagine how important looking groomed is turning out to be. Let’s admit it – we are swayed by attractive people. There’s even a psychological…

REVENGE WITHOUT THE FRILLS

Revenge films a la Kill Bill and Old Boy has seen great success from individuals honing their anger into a fine point. Their skills are near supernatural – a nod to their intensity and focus – which stirs the blood in all of us. But would this happen in real life? Cold in July and…

LOVE YOU FOREVER (FILM REVIEW)

China’s movie-making efforts have largely fallen either towards epic fantasy and dramatic action flicks, or the overt comedy that basically doubles as a ham and cheese sandwich. It’s only the odd while you’ll get a romantic piece. Love You Forever is one of these rare attempts, and true to form, features a sprinkling of fantasy…

GREENLAND (MOVIE REVIEW)

There’s nothing like timing a disaster film to coincide with a similar real-life event – minus the devastating consequences of course. Ric Roman Waugh’s Greenland has been released just as the comet Neowise is coursing through our skies. The astronomical phenomena was at its brightest on 22 July, becoming as bright as the North Star…

HOTEL MUMBAI: FACT VS FICTION

The danger of films based on true stories, is that sometimes people take it for the whole truth. This is often not the case, as movies ultimately have to engage and tell a story within a span of a few hours. Thus the aertistic license being waved. That said, there are plenty of dramatisation that…

THE MAGNIFICENT FILM UNIVERSE OF A24

If there was ever a film company that displayed a cutting acumen for successful films, A24 would be a shoo-in contender. Founded only in 2012, the company has curated an archive of films known for their commercial and critical success. It’s indie done right – by capturing the flavourful powers of personal expression, along with…

BOMBSHELL (FILM REVIEW)

Playing out one of the most important chapters – the prologue if you will – of the #MeToo movement, Bombshell drops us into the frenetic offices of Fox News to witness the buildup to the sexual harassment allegations levelled at media mogul Roger Ailes. Director Jay Roach and writer Charles Randolph doesn’t go full The…

JOJO RABBIT (FILM REVIEW)

In today’s era of instant media and trigger-happy sensibilities, presenting a film about Nazis and their famed chancellor is like a game of dice… with razor blades. Fortunately under Taika Waititi’s treatment, Jojo Rabbit doesn’t draw blood, but instead, a mixture of laughs, shock, or indignance. How you enjoy this film might be an indicator…

THE AERONAUTS (FILM REVIEW)

To be honest, the trailer was a little underwhelming. The Aeronauts seemed to pitch the adventure of a lifetime in the air, and with Eddie Redmayne and Felicity Jones offering captainship, the premise seems to have some heft. But are a sea of clouds and fluttering butterflies enough to strike wonder in this age? With…

DETENTION (FILM REVIEW)

Wrapping a terrifying story around a true period of human horror, Detention is a layered tale that’s heavy on scares, but also dripping ripe with messaging. Touching on the political scene in Taiwan in the 1960s, it unfolds in the White Terror period, which was an era of martial law in the country that lasted…

KNIVES OUT (FILM REVIEW)

There’s a certain appeal to whodunnit movies that always keeps the audiences coming. One would hazard it’s due to our inherent curious nature, as well as an intrinsic engagement of our own sleuthing skills that keeps us addicted. It is this successful formula that has birthed a few renowned genre writers – such as Sir…

WET SEASON (FILM REVIEW)

Treading the line between artistic integrity and commercial viability is never easy – especially so in our tiny isle of Singapore. With Wet Season, Anthony Chen establishes his quiet finesse in creating films that strikes a chord with the audience, but bags critical mention and awards to boot. Chen’s sophomore feature has recently picked up…

ZOMBIELAND: DOUBLE TAP (FILM REVIEW)

Sequels have it hard. Zombieland raked in commercial and critical success for taking the audience off-guard in a period of zombie titles, so what can Zombieland: Double Tap bring to the table? The answer is – plenty. The franchise capitalises on three things: astute witticisms, irreverent self-awareness and unabashed caricultures. With that, the sequel has…

THE REAL STORY OF THE KILL TEAM

It’s often said to be a necessary evil, but that can just as easily be a marketing spiel. War is war. For nation, for justice, for religion, for power, for greed, for land…. the actual reasons for war goes on, hiding behind a nobler banner. The Kill Team is a film directed by Dan Krauss,…

COUNTDOWN (FILM REVIEW)

There’s nothing terribly unpredictable about this – but that might not be a bad thing at all. Like Scream, Final Destination and any franchise with over 5 chapters, formulaic horror has an appeal of its own. Countdown has nothing of a reputation to bank on, but it follows a proven model and manages to get…

THE CURRENT WAR (FILM REVIEW)

If you’ve read up a little bit about this project, then you’ll know that this was one of Weinstein’s last work before his entire film career and company collapsed from the sexual allegations. The Current War, with its polished production and high-profile casting premiered to a small (and unimpressed) crowd at Toronto International Film Festival…

METAMORPHOSIS (FILM REVIEW)

South Korea is really gunning for their own Exorcist hit. From TV titles like The Guest (2018) to movies like The Priests (2015), The Wailing (2016), House of the Disappeared (2017), and most recently, The Divine Fury (2019) and Netflix’s, Svaha: The Sixth Finger (2019), it seems that the priest protagonist remains as enigmatic as…

REVENGE OF THE PONTIANAK OR DENDAM PONTIANAK (FILM REVIEW)

Probably one of the most enigmatic and popular supernatural entity in this region, the pontianak is to Southeast Asia what Sadako is to Japan.  Based on popular mythology, she is the ghost of a woman who died pregnant or during childbirth, and boy is she angry! Appearing as a beautiful woman to lure victims to…

SCARY STORIES TO TELL IN THE DARK (FILM REVIEW)

“Why she so curious?” “I thought she returned the book?” “Why they return to the house?” To a movie reviewer, nothing is scarier than a viewer who needs to verbalise her mind. And to the teenage girl in question, the answer to all of your question is: Because this is a movie, so just watch…

A BIGGER SPLASH (FILM REVIEW)

If Call Me By Your Name is remembered by the peach, then A Bigger Splash will be remembered for its pool. The oasis in the sunny island of Pantelleria bears silent witness to the mansion’s going-on, which runs from tension (both of the aggresive and sexual sort) to therepeutic retreat. Acted out by a quartet…

BINDING SOULS (FILM REVIEW)

I used to study in a pre-war school, and so as you might guess, the grounds were filled with stories. The fact that actual riots and war heroes were part of its history made it all the more compelling. So haunted school plots have a particular relevance to me, especially when they involve unspoken topics,…

LOOKING UP (FILM REVIEW)

There’s no punches pulled here – Looking Up is a China-made film, replete with pride-stirring messages that can be seen as gentle nostalgia or shameless propaganda. If you can set that all aside, there’s a couple of universal themes here at play which might be of more interest. Ma Fei (Bai Yu) is one of…

THE DEAD DON’T DIE (FILM REVIEW)

Let’s be clear here: You’ll either love this movie for all its cleverness (because you’re that savvy zombie genre fan – especially for Romero – and geeks out at inside references), or you’ll be like the rest of us – a little bored and cheated. To say The Dead Don’t Die is indulgent is about…

ANNABELLE COMES HOME (FILM REVIEW)

Slowly but surely, James Wan is building and reinforcing his horror legacy. Since the success of The Conjuring, the skillful director has extended his universe significantly, even crossing over to areas which we wouldn’t have expected. (Aquaman and Shazam!) It goes to show the pop culture appeal and power of his creations, and leading the…

PARASITE (FILM REVIEW)

There’s a “landscape rock” gift that gets featured early in the Parasite that sits very nicely as a metaphor for the film. It’s a harbinger of prosperity as much as a burdensome weight; physically, an elegant decoration that can also turn deadly. It never changes its state and doesn’t presume to be anything but a…

DEATH WHISPER (FILM REVIEW)

Well, someone’s a big fan of the Korean Whispering Corridors. From the rotating Hangeul characters during the opening credits to the gift of the actual film DVD to a student on campus, DEATH WHISPER makes no qualms about where it takes inspiration from. This remake by Awi Suryadi bears many references to the original in…

SADAKO (FILM REVIEW)

No matter how little of a horror fan you are, you would most likely have heard of the 1998 japanese classic The Ring. Not only did it launch a new era of stylistic horror, many aspects of the movies were repeated in titles to come in one form or another. You can’t deny that impressionable…