SAMJIN COMPANY ENGLISH CLASS – A REVIEW

The title seems to suggest a language-centric comedy, but Samjin Company English Class holds a lot more sass in class than playing up botched English deliveries. There’s a great deal of messaging here, from hierarchical ceilings to gender discrimination, but most of all, that doing the right thing might be tough, but always worth it…

THE WIDOW (VDOVA) – A REVIEW

As each country’s film industry finds renewed interest in the horror genre in the last decade, we are seeing interesting projects coming out from lesser-heard places, such as Iran (Under the Shadow). While Russia is relatively known, the scares coming from the country have been a little short, surprising given the rich folklore and austere…

THE SILENT FOREST – A REVIEW

All too often, there are some topics in life we tiptoe around. We either gloss over them, avoid them, or deny them altogether, and even more so when it presents uncomfortable or unfamiliar truths. So imagine when two of those themes come together. The Silent Forest is a bold and disturbing look into the effects…

THE SWORDSMAN – A REVIEW

To me, modern action has nothing on period pugilistic pieces. Guns, lasers, cars and bombs rarely need skill, and filmmakers often depend on bigger explosions to one-up excitement. The clash of fists and swords in comparison, feels more elegant, and often results in a more satisfying payout. They are called martial arts for a reason….

COFFEE OR TEA? 一点就到家 – A REVIEW

Like the double-yolked egg or the extra piece of McNugget, life can be full of pleasant surprises. Coffee or Tea turned out to be one of them. What seemed like a predictable fish-out-of-water story of three unlikely business partners, turned up with some really good dramatic moments within moving themes on home, family, and friendship….

JIANG ZI YA: LEGEND OF DIEFICATION – A REVIEW

If the opening credits are anything to go by, this project took a LOT of work. Studio after studio flashed their vanity intros across the screen, but the most significant contributor is clearly Coloroom Pictures. Initially bought over by Beijing Enlight Pictures to establish themselves as a Chinese animation powerhouse on par with Disney’s Pixar…

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…

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…

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…

TOOTSIES & THE FAKE (FILM REVIEW)

For the uninitiated, tootsie is a affectionate term used in Thailand for a campy gay guy. And celebrating this without restraint, Line TV created a series based on the online accounts of Thachpacha Setthachai, a proud tootsie who does a Carrie Bradshaw and recalls the many humourous episodes he has with his three best friends…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

GRETA (FILM REVIEW)

In the vein of psycho-stalker thrillers like Fatal Attraction, Single White Female, and Misery, Neil Jordan directs Ray Wright’s script of a tale of obsession set in the bustling streets of New York. Frances (Chloë Grace Moretz) is the city newbie, getting adjusted to the lifestyle after the passing of her mum. Spotting an abandoned…

MATA BATIN 2 (FILM REVIEW)

Director Rocky Soraya is back with chapter two of his Mata Batin film series, and for those that enjoyed his first outing, you’ll find more of the same in this episode. This means big sets, big houses, and big acting, along with a crazy soundtrack that refuses to die. You can probably already tell I’m…

PET SEMATARY (FILM REVIEW)

Stephen King’s IT reboot was a phenomenal success. So it’s only natural for directors Kevin Kolsh and Dennis Widmyer to feel a little pressured when resurrecting PET SEMATARY – arguably one of Stephen King’s darkest titles. On top of box office and fan expectations, Kolsh-Widmyer has the difficult task of keeping the film fresh, as…