Nov 4, 2011

Written & Directed by Jean-Marc Vallée: Filmmaker Spotlight

Well, here I am... a month later. If you want to know the truth, I chose to hold off my reviewing of the last film I saw at the Toronto International Film Festival-- Jean-Marc Vallée's "Café de flore"-- for one simple reason: I was so blown away by the director's profoundly moving visual style that I felt the need to explore his equally acclaimed work "C.R.A.Z.Y." so I could subsequently dedicate a blog post to his overlooked talent as a French-Canadian filmmaker (maybe I let a little too much time pass). So please continue reading for my reviews of both films mentioned above-- especially if you're looking for a new obscure director to begin obsessing over.

Sep 29, 2011


Country: United Kingdom
Year: 2011
Language: English
Runtime: 99 minutes

Acclaimed director Steve McQueen-- whose name became widely known by film aficionados after earning much praise for his debut feature "Hunger"-- continues to explore the arena of intense character studies with his latest effort "Shame". Chances are you've heard of this film and await its release with much anticipation. In that case, allow me to tell you what there is to look forward to...

Sep 19, 2011


Country: Denmark/Sweden/France/Germany
Year: 2011
Language: English
Runtime: 135 minutes

Many of you who have seen Lars von Trier's notoriously disturbing "Antichrist" are probably curious to find out exactly in what direction the director is headed with his films. Does his latest effort, "Melancholia", measure up to his other work? Does he explore new terrains here or does he continue to aim for the usual edginess seen in his most controversial crafts? Answers to these questions can be found in what's written below. So, you kind of have no other choice but to read on...

Sep 14, 2011


Country: United Kingdom
Year: 2011
Language: English, Hindi
Runtime: 117 minutes

Reviewing this film will probably prove to be the most challenging effort of mine as a self-proclaimed film critic, simply because I feel that I will either give away too much or not say enough about it. Since I wish for you to live the same cinematic experience as I did with "Trishna", I will try my best to say as much as I can without letting you know exactly what to expect.

Sep 10, 2011


Country: Finland
Year: 2011
Language: French
Runtime: 93 minutes

I started off my experience at this year's Toronto International Film Festival with Aki Kaurismäki's "Le Havre", a rather obscure, small production that was competing for the Palme d'Or at Cannes (it was Terrence Malick's "The Tree of Life" that was the big winner). The question is: Did I start off on the right foot? Read on to find out...

Aug 24, 2011

Great Movies - Being There (1979)

"Life is a state of mind."


Rarely do films provoke so much thought to the point where you feel the need to search for other people's interpretations. Hal Ashby's Being There is one of these cinematic gems purposely left ambiguous for the viewer's appreciation. However, if you haven't seen the film, reading on about the premise might give you different ideas, contradicting what I'm arguing. Although essentially simplistic in plot, I must reaffirm to you that-- ultimately-- there's a lot more to Being There than it seems...

Jun 14, 2011

These Are a Few of My Favorite Films - Part 8

My never-ending list of favorite films is finally coming to its long-awaited close with this very post (sorry for letting so much time pass by since the last post!). So if you must break out into tears, now is the time. Alright. Now take a deep breath, and get ready to find out which films I chose for the final part.

P.S. - Since I have lived through the 2000s more than any other decade (I grew up then), you will notice that I mention a much larger amount of films on here than on any other one of the eight parts. I must stress that this was probably the toughest decision I've had to make for this feature.

The Final Part
Part 8: The 2000s

5. Mulholland Dr. (2001)
I recently experienced this perplexing film for my second time around, and it seems to have cast a spell on me. Whenever I begin to think about this wonderfully mystifying treasure, in a matter of seconds I am overwhelmed by my thousands of thoughts surrounding the film. Why do I love it so much? Maybe because it's strange, enigmatic, eerie, haunting, thrilling, shocking, horrifying, disturbing, hallucinatory, sexy, erotic, beautiful, and heartbreaking-- all at once. Mulholland Drive is a puzzling expression of David Lynch's unique talent as a filmmaker, featuring an amazing performance from Naomi Watts.

May 29, 2011

These Are a Few of My Favorite Films - Part 7

Before I present to you my favorite films of the 90s, I must apologize again for letting so much time pass by since I posted the last part. Anyway, unless you haven't read any of the previous parts of this feature, you should already know very well how this works. So without further ado, I allow you to check out my picks! 

Part 7: The 90s

5. Fargo (1996)
Fargo is a true American masterpiece (and when I use that word, I mean it). It couldn't possibly be any more unique: it's a murderous thriller set in the cold, snowy landscapes and cityscapes of North Dakota. And on top of that, it manages to make the sticky situation the characters find themselves in something that's darkly humorous-- or, should I say-- hilarious. This wonderful cross between comedy and thriller makes the film both intensely suspenseful and ridiculously fun. And that's something that's almost singular to the work of the Coen brothers.

May 15, 2011

These Are a Few of My Favorite Films - Part 6

Though I would have to call it my least favorite decade when it comes to film, I still had quite a struggle picking my five favorite films from the 80s.
By now, you should know the drill: check out both my honorable mention and "Yeah, I'll get to it" lists at the bottom, and please rate this post and leave a comment. And just to make things more interesting, why not answer this question in your comment: Which decade in the history of film is your favorite, and which one is your least favorite? 

Part 6: The 80s

5. Wings of Desire (1987)
Wim Wenders' Wings of Desire (Der Himmel über Berlin) is one of the most breathtakingly beautiful films of all time. With its rich black and white and color cinematography, visual and verbal poetry, overall tranquility, and reflective outlook on humanity, how could one not fall in love with this work of art? You don't need to believe in angels to gaze in wide wonder at this masterpiece.

May 8, 2011

These Are a Few of My Favorite Films - Part 5

Who doesn't love the 70s? Film was a visual medium that had really matured by that point, and a great deal of groundbreaking classics (in the making) were astonishing audiences everywhere. 
Since I never cease to have a hard time boiling it all down to a selection of five films, I once again included an honorable mention section below. I also conceived the brilliant idea of inserting a "Yeah, I'll get to it" list at the end of the post, which consists of a bunch of widely praised films I haven't seen and would like to see sometime soon. That way, I won't get too many comments where people complain about the exclusion of a certain film I haven't seen.
Lastly, don't forget to rate this post and don't be afraid to leave a comment. I always enjoy reading everyone's opinions! 

Part 5: The 70s

5. Annie Hall (1977)
Romantic comedies don't get much better than this one. Annie Hall is a love story that is told piece by piece, using a very unique narrative structure-- a breakthrough style at the time. While Woody Allen plays his usual self, Diane Keaton delivers what is arguably her greatest performance as the quirky, ditsy title character he falls in love with. Unlike many of yesterday's and today's "rom coms", this one is refreshingly realistic yet hopeful.

May 1, 2011

These Are a Few of My Favorite Films - Part 4

Once again, picking my five favorites among so many wonderful films was a very painful, heartbreaking challenge! Especially this time, because the 60s just so happen to be my favorite decade when it comes to movies. It was a time of flourishing for the overabundance of revolutionary motion pictures that were trying to surpass the predominant Hollywood conventions. And all my choices seem to reinforce this statement.
As always, make sure to check out the honorable mention section below, which consists of films which I will never forgive myself for having left out; and please rate this post and leave a comment. Don't be afraid to share your thoughts!

Part 4: The 60s

5. Midnight Cowboy (1969)
(Read my review here)
A tale of true friendship, Midnight Cowboy is about finding solace in someone else through times of hardship and loneliness. This warm, heartbreaking film will stick with me for as long as I live. Jon Voight and Dustin Hoffman deliver outstanding performances, together ranking as one of the greatest screen duos of all time. And John Barry's beautiful harmonica score will always be there to remind me of this film's raw emotional power.

Apr 23, 2011

These Are a Few of My Favorite Films - Part 3

Before reading, I'll have you know that I had an especially hard time picking my five favorite films from this particular decade. So please take in note each and every great film I listed in the honorable mention section below (the list goes on and on!).
As always, don't forget to rate this post and leave a comment below, whether you agree or disagree with my selections!

Part 3: The 50s

5. Witness for the Prosecution (1957)
Billy Wilder practically dominated the 50s in terms of cinematic masterpieces. And out of all his wonderful films-- though I hate to break it to you early-- I would have to say that this one is my favorite. It's a very suspenseful piece of courtroom drama with excellent acting and more twists and turns than you could ever imagine! This can be explained by the fact that it's based on a short story written by my favorite author and the "Queen of Mystery" herself, Agatha Christie!

Apr 16, 2011

These Are a Few of My Favorite Films - Part 2

I'm terribly sorry for letting so much time pass since I published the last part! I'll try to be quicker in posting the next seven parts.
Oh, and by the way, I thought I would change the list of films to an ascending order, just to make things more exciting. I also added an "honorable mention" section at the end.
Enjoy! And don't forget to leave a comment, whether you agree or disagree with my selections!

Part 2: The 40s

5. It's a Wonderful Life (1946)
This film is one of my personal favorites, because I've been watching this perennial at Christmastime ever since I was little kid (I like to think I still am one). Though it's ultimately a feel-good story, it has always made me shed a small tear at parts. It's an incredibly warm, moving film that can be enjoyed again and again by the whole family! 

Apr 2, 2011

These Are a Few of My Favorite Films - Part 1

Since quite a bit of time has passed since my last real blog post, I thought I would do something monumental. So I thought about going through every past decade (starting with the 30s) and listing some of the films that, in my opinion, stick out as true masterpieces (five films per decade). You may or may not agree with my choices, but either way, I would love to hear what your thoughts are! 
Please stay tuned for the next seven parts of this feature!

Part 1: The 30s

1. Gone with the Wind (1939)
Gone With the Wind was a groundbreaking achievement in cinema that defined the classic American epic and established standards for films to come. I find this film impossible to resist. Vivien Leigh and Clark Gable shine as Scarlett and Rhett, who undeniably make one of the greatest screen couples of all time.

Feb 22, 2011

Cult Classics - Videodrome (1983)

(or: Movie Review #8)
"Death to Videodrome! Long Live the New Flesh!"

Ever since I watched Videodrome, it has been nearly impossible to keep thoughts of it out of my mind. It's without a doubt one of the most intriguing and thought-provoking films I have ever laid eyes on. And since I've been obsessing over it for the past day and a half, I thought: "What the hell! I should just write a review to get it out of my system!". So here I am, doing just that.

Feb 19, 2011

Timeless Classics - Midnight Cowboy (1969)

(or: Movie Review #7)
(Side note: it has been a while since I've written a movie review, and since many of you have suggested that I write about an older film instead of always writing about recent ones, I thought I would review a timeless classic. And thus begins a new series of movie reviews.)

"I ain't a f'real cowboy. But I am one helluva stud!"

Midnight Cowboy. If you haven't seen it, you probably know of it as the only X-rated movie to ever win Best Picture at the Oscars. But there's much more to it than its record-breaking film rating...

The film's plot is pretty simple, but it's delivered in a very compelling and powerful way. Joe Buck (Jon Voight) is a small town man from Texas who decides to leave his job as a dishwasher and hop on a bus heading to New York City. How does he plan on making a living there? By being a male prostitute, of course! He seems pretty confident that rich women are into that sort of thing and that he can make any one of them fall head over heels for his cowboy act. Typically, his dreams of living the easy life are crushed as he repeatedly fails at hustling or finding clients willing to pay for his services. In this downward spiral, he meets the sickly Enrico "Ratso" Rizzo (Dustin Hoffman)-- another outcast-- and together they build up their friendship and dreams as they struggle to survive in the Big Apple. 

Jan 10, 2011

Movie Review #6 - Blue Valentine (2010)

"You said for better or worse. (...) Now this is my worst"
Two nights ago, I managed to get my brother and some of our friends to come along to go see the critically-acclaimed indie "love story" Blue Valentine. I had been looking forward to seeing it ever since its trailer was released. With the controversy surrounding this movie's initial NC-17 rating in the US (and the headlines it made after winning the appeal for an R rating), I was even more excited to see this movie. The day it got its limited release in the US, I thought for sure that it would be playing in some Toronto theater. But in reality, I had to wait over a week until I could see it in the ONLY Toronto theater screening it. Of course, when we rushed to the 7:30PM showing and arrived more than 15 minutes early, the enormous theater was already packed. It just comes to show how many cinephiles reside in the Toronto area. We were worried about getting in, since the movie had an 18A rating and none of us were 18. To our great surprise, they let us in without any hesitation. And I am so glad they did!