Burden of Dreams

Movies we loved and loathed (or worse, that simply bored us).

N.B. Recent additions come at the end, so for regular updates, just click on the reverse order icon.
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Secret Sunshine (2007)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
A woman moves to the town where her dead husband was born. As she tries to fit in, another tragic event overturns her life. (142 mins.)
Director: Chang-dong Lee
“ A movie full of surprises and a moving portrait of contemporary Korean society.

Though 'Secret Sunshine' may not be as accomplished as 'Oasis' and 'Poetry', it already bears the mark of a talented, deeply humanistic author. ” - Al Shiv
Encounters at the End of the World (2007 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
Film-maker Werner Herzog travels to the McMurdo Station in Antarctica, looking to capture the continent's beauty and investigate the characters living there. (99 mins.)
Director: Werner Herzog
“ A treasure island of a movie.

As Herzog warns us in the opening sequence, this is NOT another doc on 'penguins'. And yet, despite all the fantastically fcked up human beings we come across along the film, the most memorable moment remains the sequence with the disoriented penguin walking straight towards his death. ” - Al Shiv
The Day of the Beast (1995)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
A Catholic priest teams up with a Black Metal fan and an Italian connoisseur of the occult, to prevent the birth of the beast and the end of the world. (103 mins.)
“ Not as 'fuerte' as it could have been, but some truly hilarious scenes, such as the one where the anti-Christ chasing priest get assaulted by a shotgun-totting granny while trying to pump out some 'maiden's blood'. This remains a minor work compared to the later masterpiece of Iglesia, 'Balada de trompeta triste'. ” - Al Shiv
The Vanishing (1988)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
Rex and Saskia, a young couple in love, are on vacation. They stop at a busy service station and Saskia is abducted. After three years and no sign of Saskia, Rex begins receiving letters from the abductor. (107 mins.)
Director: George Sluizer
“ Chilling. Maybe the most terrific ending I've ever seen in a movie. Hail to the scriptwriter. ” - Al Shiv
Inside Job (2010 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  
Takes a closer look at what brought about the financial meltdown. (105 mins.)
“ Activist cinema at its best. Didactic but vindicative, a truly disturbing exposé of the financial Hell we built for ourselves. ” - Al Shiv
One Nite in Mongkok (2004)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
Hong Kong nihilism. December 22, a street quarrel leads to the death of a gang leader's son. Next day... (110 mins.)
Director: Derek Yee
“ Nothing unforgettable but a bit above the average, for its down-the-gutter humanism. ” - Al Shiv
Take Shelter (2011)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
Plagued by a series of apocalyptic visions, a young husband and father questions whether to shelter his family from a coming storm, or from himself. (121 mins.)
Director: Jeff Nichols
“ This is the kind of movie that saves it all or fcks it all in its last minutes. And in this case, the challenge was masterly addressed, not so much for what comes at the end (of the movie/of the world) but how it does. If I wasn't convinced about the choice of the mute daughter throughout the film, the last sequence made me wrong -and how wrong! ” - Al Shiv
White Material (2009)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.0/10 X  
Amidst turmoil and racial conflict in Africa, a French woman fights for her coffee crop, her family and ultimately for her life. (106 mins.)
Director: Claire Denis
“ Claire Denis' masterpiece to date. A falsely realistic/and yet kind of film, a narrative tour de force and a trippy ballad in a land of broken dreams. ” - Al Shiv
Outside Satan (2011)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  
In a village on the French Opal Coast, a drifter engages in a perplexing relationship with a young woman who has suffered abuse. (110 mins.)
Director: Bruno Dumont
“ Euh... I have always been an ardent supporter of Bruno Dumont, even when my friends and colleagues accused him of a debilitating treatment of 'the popular'. Dumont, like Claire Denis in a sense, is a false realist. Beneath the social surface of things, search for the fairy tale. But this was until the vengeful ghost of Tarkovski turned up and wrought havoc over the Dumont I used to revere. After the storm, all we seem to be left with is a cinema of gimmicks and falsely immanent spiritual BS. All that remains are these splendid shots of rural landscapes reflecting the otherwise opaque inner world of the protagonists. ” - Al Shiv
House of Tolerance (2011)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  
Life in an elegant Parisian brothel in the early twentieth century. The madam essentially owns the women: their expenses exceed earnings... (122 mins.)
“ Bonello's best film to date. Etheral, and yet social; moral but non-doctrinal; poetic and erotic; literary but also infused with pop culture references (from Italian Giallos to the killing jokes of Batman's Nemesis). Only one -serious- mistake: the contemporary epilogue and its implicit conclusion - 'brothels were not all that good but at least the girls were off the street and enjoyed better protection, if not more dignity'. Cut the crap, Bertrand, you can do better than that. ” - Al Shiv
Giants and Toys (1958)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
In the middle of a fierce commercial competition between three caramel companies, an executive builds up a ditsy teenage girl as a mascot while simultaneously trying to uncover the rival companies' plans. (95 mins.)
“ A brilliant satire of Japanese workaholism and of capitalism at large. As usual, Masumura shows more interest and empathy for his female characters than for their male counterparts. The rags-to-riches heroine may get a broken heart but she, at least, knows how to make the best of all this fuss, without losing sight of the vacuity of it all. Cool cat indeed. ” - Al Shiv
“ Masumura's best film (with Red Angel?), free from the excesses of his better known works (Blind Beast, Seisaku's wife, Manji...). The most honest and thus disturbing exploration of the underbelly of heroism I have ever come across. The 'holier than thou' competition between the wife and mother of Dr. Hanaoka finds an echo in the quest for martyrdom of many contemporary 'terrorists'. ” - Al Shiv
Happy End (2009)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  
Robinson, appropriately named as we will soon discover, is on vacation in Biarritz with his wife. What follows is the story behind the loss of his arm... (130 mins.)
“ What is (so) right with French cinema, these days? Forget 'The Artist' (and go back to Guy Maddin if you want to see how alive and kicking mute cinema can truly be), these last few years have seen the release of a plethora of excellent French films, devoid of the visually-impaired 'nombrilisme' that seemed to have become their lot. Of course, 'Les derniers jours du monde' is a chatty film: when the world falls apart, the French continue to chit, chat and cheat on their spouses. But 'Les derniers jours...' is also a confirmation of all the good that came from the new breed of French filmakers' venture into genre cinema (science fiction, here, but the same could be said for horror and thrillers). And then, Biarritz is indeed a nice place to watch the world breathe its last. ” - Al Shiv
Seduced and Abandoned (1964)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
Agnese, a 15-year-old Sicilian girl is seduced and impregnated by Peppino, her sister Matilde's fiancé... (115 mins.)
Director: Pietro Germi
“ Very disappointing. Too long, too obvious, too laborious. Miles away from the same director's excellent 'Divorce Italian style'. The only truly funny dialogue of the film comes towards the end, when the (Roman?) cop points at Sicilia's map and concludes that the best thing the Italian government could do with this island would be to nuke it out, full point. ” - Al Shiv
Alice (1988)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
A surrealistic revision of Alice in Wonderland. (86 mins.)
Director: Jan Svankmajer
“ The best adaptation of 'Alice' on screen ever. Super vintage, for its stop-motion animation, but incredibly inventive. Fantasmagoric and yet terribly organic. Fantasy has a texture and few films have approached it so closely. ” - Al Shiv
Love Exposure (2008)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
A bizarre love triangle forms between a young Catholic upskirt photographer, a misandric girl and a manipulative cultist. (237 mins.)
Director: Sion Sono
“ Shion Sono's opus magnum, the 4-hour plus 'Love Exposure' is the Great Russian Novel of Japanese perverts. Never did 'Hentai' look as cool as in the exhuberant martial voyeurism of this bunch of otakus. Tosatsu (voyeuristic photography, with a predilection, here, for teenagers' panties) as a martial, but also as a FINE art, incredibly healthier than the spiritual gibberish of the 'Zero Church'. And I like pervert ninjas who kidnap devout girls to rehabilitate them through true love with a zest of Sasori kickassism. ” - Al Shiv
Go Go Tales (2007)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.8/10 X  
A screwball comedy centered on a Manhattan go-go dancing club, where a financial struggle between the owner, his accountant and his silent partner brother threatens the business's future. (96 mins.)
Director: Abel Ferrara
“ Ferrara remains Ferrara. For the best -his love of cinema and his conviction that the fabric of dreams should remain a family enterprise- and for the worst -the aspiration to another, 'greater' cinema. But then this weakness is also what ignites 'Go Go Tales' with a tension rarely seen in his previous films (except 'Body Snatchers', maybe) between fantasies of the mainstream and a visceral attachment to the underground. ” - Al Shiv
Pina (2011 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
A tribute to the late German choreographer, Pina Bausch, as her dancers perform her most famous creations. (103 mins.)
Director: Wim Wenders
“ An interesting though not completely successful attempt to adjust dance and cinema to the same tempo. Sometimes it works and in these magical moments, Wenders seems to have captured the essence of Pina Bausch's orderly disorder. But on the whole, Wenders seems to be more concerned with (his) cinema than with (Pina's and her troupe's) dance. The rough cuts into each dance sequence are frustrating and sometimes truly annoying as far as the de-synchronized interviews extracts are concerned. As my better half concluded: 'You shouldn't ask dancers to speak. They don't know how to speak. That's why they dance'. ” - Al Shiv
Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol (2011)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
The IMF is shut down when it's implicated in the bombing of the Kremlin, causing Ethan Hunt and his new team to go rogue to clear their organization's name. (133 mins.)
Director: Brad Bird
“ The world is a playground for the IMF (!?) and Brad Bird, better known for his animes, sometimes makes the best of this axiom. The Kremlin gets bombed, Ethan Hunt climbs over the Burj Khalifa Tower in Dubai, before he and his team set off for Mumbai (yes, Anil Kapoor is here!). But about half way through the film, something happens and the excitement dies down. ” - Al Shiv
Shame (2011)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
In New York City, Brandon's carefully cultivated private life - which allows him to indulge his sexual addiction - is disrupted when his sister arrives unannounced for an indefinite stay. (101 mins.)
Director: Steve McQueen
“ After an initial reaction of reject, I tend to revise my appreciation. I'm still uncomfortable with the whole treatment of the brother/sister relation and its lacrymal climax, but the memory of Brandon, prisoner of his ever-unsatisfied body, lingers on. A bit too manipulative for its aspiration to be a truly physical piece of cinema, though. ” - Al Shiv
Common Wealth (2000)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
The accidental discovery of a big fortune hidden in the apartment of a deceased man, will fill the heart of a real estate agent with greed and dreams of a luxurious life, but the neighbours think otherwise. (110 mins.)
“ Iglesia grand cru. The unity of action, within a single apartment building, contains his natural inclination towards dispersion. Carmen Maura carries much of the movie on her shoulders. Then again, it's Iglesia, so expect some last minute fckup, but honestly who cares. ” - Al Shiv
Macunaima (1969)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
Our story begins with Macunaima's miraculous birth to an old woman in a tiny jungle settlement. Born full grown... (110 mins.)
“ The picaresque novel meets cinema novo, meets feminism, meets racial politics, before it all ends up in the belly of the pretty cannibal fairy. Something like an early Jodorowsky, only more raw, more energetic, more musical. ” - Al Shiv
Mysteries of Lisbon (2010)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
Follows a jealous countess, a wealthy businessman, and a young orphaned boy across Portugal, France, Italy and Brazil where they connect with a variety of mysterious individuals. (272 mins.)
Director: Raúl Ruiz
“ Splendid, formally as well as narratively. The whole movie unfolds like a spiral staircase around Father Dinis, the Master of stories, one of the many characters of the film who lived several lives under several names, several masters, several garbs, but the only one who seems to have mastery over his own fate and that of all those revolving around him. The photography is simply breathtaking, giving life to wall or ceiling paintings while composing every shot in the manner of a Rembrandt. The camera literally floats around the characters, piercing through walls, hearts, souls. ” - Al Shiv
Don't Look Now (1973)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
A married couple grieving the recent death of their young daughter are in Venice when they encounter two elderly sisters, one of whom is psychic and brings a warning from beyond. (110 mins.)
Director: Nicolas Roeg
“ An excellent paranormal thriller, with some brilliant sequences. If it looks a bit oldish today, it's got more to do with Donald Sutherland's moustache than Roeg's tight directing. And indeed Venice can be a scary place - 'too many shadows', as the sister of the psychic complains. ” - Al Shiv
I Wish (2011)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
Twelve-year-old Koichi, who has been separated from his brother Ryunosuke due to his parents' divorce, hears a rumor that the new bullet trains will precipitate a wish-granting miracle when they pass each other at top speed. (128 mins.)
“ The time when Kore-Eda showed a quasi-obsession for death (Maborosi, After Life...) seems like an eternity ago. The forces of life have taken over with the kids - kids who often seem more mature than their drifting parents. ” - Al Shiv
Sleeping Beauty (2011)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.3/10 X  
A haunting portrait of Lucy, a young university student drawn into a mysterious hidden world of unspoken desires. (101 mins.)
Director: Julia Leigh
“ Excruciating. Not so much for the agonizing 'sex' scenes as for the artificiality of all the rest. ” - Al Shiv
Redline (2009)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
A story about the most popular racing event in the galaxy, the Redline, and the various racers who compete in it. (102 mins.)
Director: Takeshi Koike
“ As gripping on the second viewing as on the first one. And how could one not love a film which has the following immortal line: 'We can't let Funky Boy destroy Robot World'. ” - Al Shiv
Patlabor 2: The Movie (1993)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
When a terrorist attack is blamed on the Air Force, Special Vehicle Unit 2 gets caught in the middle of a growing political conflict. (113 mins.)
Director: Mamoru Oshii
“ 'Every war is a surreal experience', says one of the characters towards the end of the film, one of Oshii's best. A slow-paced meditation on the transformation of war in the post-cold war, and the anxieties of Japan in a new world order. A bit tough to follow when you don't have the 1st volume in mind, though. ” - Al Shiv
The Mission (1999)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
Triad boss Lung, who has just escaped being killed in an assassination, hires five killers for his protection. Their grown solidarity is under compulsion when Lung gives a special order. (84 mins.)
Director: Johnnie To
“ The film seems slightly outdated today (I remembered the mythical mall scene as more spectacular) but it remains as pleasant and stylish as ever. Unlike Tarantino's, Johnnie To's characters don't spend their short lives talking - they act, if only to eat peanuts... This is pure fetishist cinema, but To's fascination for guns could also be taken as a quasi-documentary approach towards a profession and its tools of the trade. ” - Al Shiv
Protégé (2007)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
A special agent has for 8 years been deep undercover in Asia's lucrative organized crime trade as he plays protégé to one of the key players, Banker. Nick now has but he has started to feel loyalty to his new environment, and to the money. (106 mins.)
Director: Derek Yee
“ Revolting. The worst film I ever saw on drugs, their producers, traffickers and users, deeply infused with cheap morality. 'Why do people take drugs?', asks the main character at the beginning, before answering to himself: 'Because they are empty inside'. Well, if you can go along an answer like that, this piece of trash is for you. I will never watch a Derek Yee film again. ” - Al Shiv
The Horse Thief (1986)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
The story of Norbu, a horse thief, who is thrown out of his tribe in an effort to purge it of evil. Norbu repents after the birth of his son... (88 mins.)
“ What better way to explore a society than to look at it from its margins? Norbu the horse thief is a deviant par excellence and his repeated transgressions, which will destroy him and his family, speak volumes on the norms of Tibetan society. From a formal point of view, the film is a rare achievement: while it seems to endorse a documentary, quasi-ethnographic perspective, it rapidly leaps into abstraction, during long sequences of religious rituals using layer after layer and creating mind-boggling mental (spiritual?) landscapes. ” - Al Shiv
Haywire (2011)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.8/10 X  
A black ops super soldier seeks payback after she is betrayed and set up during a mission. (93 mins.)
“ On the positive side, 'Haywire' is a humble, self-assumed low-key exercise for Soderbergh, entirely devoted to its heroine. The fights are surprisingly old school, which gives them a realism lacking in too many post-Matrix films. On the downside, Soderbergh seems to have gone on vacation in the middle of the editing and the end is splendidly botched up. On all counts, David Holmes' soundtrack in itself makes the film worth a watch. (6.5/10) ” - Al Shiv
Bronson (2008)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
A young man who was sentenced to seven years in prison for robbing a post office ends up spending three decades in solitary confinement. During this time, his own personality is supplanted by his alter-ego, Charles Bronson. (92 mins.)
“ It's the second time I watch 'Bronson' in the last six months, with equal pleasure and astonishment. This is a truly great piece of cinema, where every experiment (with sound, archival footing, animation, theatre...) somehow feels right. It is also, whatever one might think of Charlie Bronson, a visceral tribute to mankind's 'fighting spirit' in its crudest form. (9/10) ” - Al Shiv
The Man from Nowhere (2010)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
A quiet pawnshop keeper with a violent past takes on a drug-and-organ trafficking ring in hope of saving the child who is his only friend. (119 mins.)
Director: Jeong-beom Lee
“ An almost flawless Korean thriller. As dark, raw, and gripping as it gets. Despite a slightly easy ending, the presence of the kids does not so much add a touch of innocence to this descent into hell than it adds horror to it all. Nihilistic cinema at its best. (8.5/10) ” - Al Shiv
A Dirty Carnival (2006)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
Byung-du is a 29-year-old career criminal, working for the middle-rank enforcer Sang-chul. Burdened... (141 mins.)
Director: Yoo Ha
“ A landmark in Korean gangster flicks, 'A dirty carnival' keeps its promises till the end. While skillfully mixing outbursts of raw violence and melodrama, it introduces a brilliant mise en abîme around the film within the film, thus questioning the links between gangsters and their cinematic representations. (9/10) ” - Al Shiv
Black Venus (2010)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  
The story of Saartjes Baartman, a Black domestic who, in 1808, left Southern Africa, then ruled by Dutch settlers... (162 mins.)
“ A real shock, especially since I did not expect much from Kachiche after 'La graine et le mulet', which I had found poorly directed and too nice for its own good. But this is an entirely different story - in all the senses of the term - and 'Vénus noire' is a great piece of radical cinema, as well as a disturbing portrait of a woman dominated but never subjugated, facing plural and volatile publics, all of which did not complacently compromise themselves in this racist freak show. True, the British liberals standing for the Venus' dignity in Court may have had other concerns in mind (abolitionist politics, in particular), but their dissent is a reminder that there never was a consensus around 'the colonial' in European societies. (9/10) ” - Al Shiv
Repo Man (1984)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  
Young punk Otto becomes a repo man after helping to steal a car, and stumbles into a world of wackiness as a result. (92 mins.)
Director: Alex Cox
“ "Repo Man" has aged - badly. Save for some truly magical moments, at the very beginning and the very end, the rest looks terribly outdated. From the haircuts to the crucifix earing of Emilio Estevez, it all looks like a testimony on a (hopefully) gone era. It's hard to believe that Alex Cox would grow up to direct 'Walker', a true masterpiece that, for its part, has not taken a wrinkle. (4/10). ” - Al Shiv
Red Riding: In the Year of Our Lord 1974 (2009 TV Movie)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
A rookie Yorkshire journalist sets out to solve the case of a child murderer. (102 mins.)
Director: Julian Jarrold
“ Formally, the most enticing opus of the trilogy, though the characters are not as developed as in the third installation, the best of all three films. (7/10) ” - Al Shiv
Red Riding: In the Year of Our Lord 1980 (2009 TV Movie)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
A team of investigators attempt to stop a serial killer known as the Yorkshire Ripper from claiming his next victim, but uncover something far more terrifying. (93 mins.)
Director: James Marsh
“ The second installation is the weakest of all three films, and the most caricatural in terms of character design. Gray areas seem to have vanished here, a manicheism that would be corrected in the conclusive chapter (6/10). ” - Al Shiv
Red Riding: In the Year of Our Lord 1983 (2009 TV Movie)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
Plagued by guilt, a corrupt police official attempts to solve the case of a missing schoolgirl after seeing connections between her disappearance and a rash of prior abductions. (100 mins.)
Director: Anand Tucker
“ Whether in terms of narration, character design or cinematography, a complete success. Finally, the gray triumphs over black and white, with Morris the not-so-bad-after-all copper and the greasy soul man of a lawyer. A ray of hope pierces through all this darkness, and the epilogue is a splendor of survivor poetry. This is the North, and after all you can't do all you want (9/10). ” - Al Shiv
The Innocents (1961)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
A young governess for two children becomes convinced that the house and grounds are haunted. (100 mins.)
Director: Jack Clayton
“ Adapted by Truman Capote from a novel by Henry James, 'The Innocents' is a deceptive 'horror' classic. The horror, here, lies less in the ghosts than in the disturbed mind of the governess, projecting her repressed sexual fantasies on the children. A truly disturbing and beautiful film (10/10). ” - Al Shiv
Elite Squad (2007)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
1997, Captain Nascimento has to find a substitute for his occupation while trying to take down drug dealers and criminals before the Pope comes to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (115 mins.)
Director: José Padilha
“ With its quasi-documentary approach towards the infernal triangle between narcos, policemen and politicians, Tropa de Elite could be another piece of social cinema. But it is also an excellent action flick with breathtaking gunfights. (8/10) ” - Al Shiv
Elite Squad: The Enemy Within (2010)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
After a prison riot, former-Captain Nascimento, now a high ranking security officer in Rio de Janeiro, is swept into a bloody political dispute that involves government officials and paramilitary groups. (115 mins.)
Director: José Padilha
“ The rot deepens, and the plot thickens as a result. The best of the two opus, the darkest too. (9/10) ” - Al Shiv
The Bed Sitting Room (1969)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  
Set in post-nuclear-holocaust England, where a handful of bizarre characters struggle on with their lives in the ruins... (90 mins.)
Director: Richard Lester
“ An exercice de style in British surrealism, on the verge of boredom at times but generally quite poetic. (8/10) ” - Al Shiv
The Warriors (1979)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
In 1979, a charismatic leader summons the street gangs of New York City in a bid to take it over. When he is killed, The Warriors are falsely blamed and now must fight their way home while every other gang is hunting them down to kill them. (92 mins.)
Director: Walter Hill
“ The film has aged but it retains its innocence - the sign of pre-crack / pre-Uzi times. And the soundtrack is magnificent (7/10). ” - Al Shiv
Mongol: The Rise of Genghis Khan (2007)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
The story recounts the early life of Genghis Khan who was a slave before going on to conquer half the world including Russia in 1206. (126 mins.)
Director: Sergey Bodrov
“ Beautifully shot but terribly vain. Looking at the making of one of the world's greatest conquerors through the perspective of romance seems a bit lame, and Asano Tadanobu is both too old and too gentle for the role. Finally, the politics of Gengis Khan's 'national' unification are completely absent and the last part of the film is so elliptic it hurts... (4/10) ” - Al Shiv
When a Woman Ascends the Stairs (1960)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  
A middle-aged bar hostess, constantly in debt, is faced with numerous social constraints and challenges posed to her by her family, customers and friends. (111 mins.)
Director: Mikio Naruse
“ Magnificent. A moving, nuanced portrait of a woman on the edge, seeing her youth fly away while facing an uncertain future, coping with disappointment after disappointment. If only for the scenes where Mama climbs the stairs of the hostess bar where she works - and which symbolize her active contribution to her own alienation - this film is a masterpiece. (10/10). ” - Al Shiv
Warm Water Under a Red Bridge (2001)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  
A down-and-out businessman travels to a seaside town, where he meets a woman with unusual sexual powers. (119 mins.)
Director: Shôhei Imamura
“ Imamura remains my favorite Japanese director. He may seem more classical, formally, than some of his contemporaries, but his movies are less prone to age badly as a result. Moreover, Imamura is the great anthropologist of Japanese cinema, who constantly placed his camera 'down below', scrutinizing the sexual life of Japan's underclasses. On second sight, 'Warm water...' is as fresh, provocative and clever as ever. Imamura's last movie is also one of his lightest and funniest. Like (good) French wine, the best Japanese directors age well. (9/10) ” - Al Shiv
Hanzo the Razor: The Snare (1973)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
During the currency devaluation by the Edo treasury, officer Hanzo deals with a temple priestess who sells her pupils as prostitutes, and a notorious thief who plans to rob the mint. (89 mins.)
“ What a little gem of Japanese exploitation cinema. On second viewing, I found it even more exhilarating, a refreshing mix of chambara, ero-guro and jidai-geki, served by a psychedelic funky soundtrack and by uber-cool Katsu Shintaro. It's hard to believe that this is also a film by Masumura, though (9/10). ” - Al Shiv
Ip Man (2008)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
During the Japanese invasion of 1937, when a wealthy martial artist is forced to leave his home and work to support his family, he reluctantly agrees to train others in the art of Wing Chun for self-defense. (106 mins.)
Director: Wilson Yip
“ Fantastic kung fu scenes, wrapped up in a lot of BS Chinese nationalist propaganda. The first part is the best and things start going wrong, cinematically speaking, with the arrival of the Japanese. From then on, the movie loses its track and focus and drifts towards the lacrymal. That's too bad, as Ip Man could have been a true kung fu masterpiece. It's worth seeing for the fight scenes, though, which are beautifully filmed (6/10). ” - Al Shiv
Just Before Nightfall (1971)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
Charles Masson, an advertising executive, is having an affair with Laura, the wife of his best friend... (106 mins.)
Director: Claude Chabrol
“ The best of all Chabrol's films I've seen so far, devoid of the excesses of his other films of the period. Everything is perfect, from the actors (Michel Bouquet, François Perrier and Stéphane Audran are all stunning) to the direction (the opening murder sequence is visually stunning, a rare feat for Chabrol's usually timid camera work) and the script. A vitriolic moral tale, where the murderer aches for punishment while everyone around him would prefer to forget (rather than forgive), if only to preserve their comfortable bourgeois lives. (10/10). ” - Al Shiv
Map of the Sounds of Tokyo (2009)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  
A dramatic thriller that centers on a fish-market employee who doubles as a contract killer. (109 mins.)
Director: Isabel Coixet
“ After an excellent half an hour, the film falls flat. Too bad, because the photo is truly beautiful and the look at Japanese society is a thousand times more informed than 'LiT'. But the story -or lack thereof- is just plain dumb (5/10). ” - Al Shiv
House (1977)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
A schoolgirl and six of her classmates travel to her aunt's country home, which tries to devour the girls in bizarre ways. (88 mins.)
“ A visually stunning, inventive and delirious film. For most of it, I simply couldn't believe my eyes. Anyone with a taste for cute college girls, flesh-eating ghosts, experimental cinema and kawaii-ness should see this film. (10/10). ” - Al Shiv
Alice or the Last Escapade (1977)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.0/10 X  
Alice Carol leaves her husband one rainy night, telling him that she does not love him anymore. She... (93 mins.)
Director: Claude Chabrol
“ Dedicated to Fritz Lang, this forgotten gem by Claude Chabrol is in fact more reminiscent of Cocteau, with its poetry of liminal states between heaven and hell. Surprisingly, Sylvia 'Emmanuelle' Kristel does an excellent job (9/10). ” - Al Shiv
Chronicle (2012)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
Whilst attending a party, three high school friends gain superpowers after making an incredible discovery underground. Soon, though, they find their lives spinning out of control and their bond tested as they embrace their darker sides. (84 mins.)
Director: Josh Trank
“ 'Chronicle' brings together two cinematic genres that I loathe: the (American) teen movie and the do-it-yourself-video-flick (DIYVF), Blairwitch/Coverfield/REC style. But 'Chronicle' twists these two genres so well, so far, that it becomes truly exhilarating. The first scenes where our three anti-heros discover their special powers and try them on unsuspecting supermarket customers are hilarious, while the flying sequences leave all other DIYVF miles behind. An excellent surprise (8/10). ” - Al Shiv
Salvatore Giuliano (1962)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
The unclear and complicate twists between governal powers, independentist party and Mafia in the Sicily of the '40s culminate with the death of Salvatore Giuliano. (123 mins.)
Director: Francesco Rosi
“ Sublime, for its photography but also for its construction around a 'bandit' never seen until he's dead meat. An exercize in de-mythification and a quasi-documentary approach towards the complex triangular relations between 'social' bandits, the mafia and the landed elites of Sicilia in the late 1940s, early 1950s. Salvatore Giuliano's conclusion is the opposite of the newspaper man's in John Ford's 'Liberty Valance': even when the legend becomes fact, you should still print (or film) the facts, however murky (10/10). ” - Al Shiv
Incendies (2010)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  
Twins journey to the Middle East to discover their family history, and fulfill their mother's last wishes. (139 mins.)
“ Incendies, which could have been subtitled 'My mother the terrorist', is not a bad film. Just a vaguely 'political' melodrama that never completely carries you away, despite all its tricks and gimmicks (6/10) ” - Al Shiv
The Serpent's Egg (1977)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  
Ingmar Bergman's The Serpent's Egg follows a week in the life of Abel Rosenberg, an out-of-work American... (119 mins.)
Director: Ingmar Bergman
“ Bergman meets Fassbinder. Filmed in the set of the later's 'Berlin Alexanderplatz', the film was one of Bergman's most 'commercial' ventures and features a David Carradine that seems out of place and out of time (why does he only speak English?). Compared to Fassbinder's 'Maria Braun' (which was released two years later), 'The Serpent's Egg' 's vision of 1930s' Berlin and its nightlife looks strangely sanitized. (6/10) ” - Al Shiv
The Last Samurai (1974)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
Toranosuke Sugi, a brave and loyal Samurai, fights to practice and preserve his master's teachings amid a civil war. With friends on both side will he cave to temptation, or stand on principle and for freedom? (159 mins.)
Director: Kenji Misumi
“ Misumi's last film can't compare with his exploitation gems (from Baby Cart to Hanzo). It's still a well above the average chambara - less the swan song of the samurai as a moral and social class than a pragmatic manifesto celebrating survival over heroism and martyrdom (7/10). ” - Al Shiv
Pater (2011)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.0/10 X  
Vincent Lindon and Alain Cavalier are pals. Like father and son. They sip port in bars dreaming of a film they might make... (105 mins.)
Director: Alain Cavalier
“ Though I have been reconnecting with French cinema in the last few years, 'Pater' almost made me reconsider this new found love. I'm not sure that either Cavalier or Lindon actually have something to say, but even if they did, the medium would bury the message under a pile of visually impaired videotaped boredom. (2/10). ” - Al Shiv
The Three Robbers (2007)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
Three robbers pilfer from the countryside until they are charmed by a young orphan girl. (75 mins.)
Director: Hayo Freitag
“ 'Children''s animes don't get much better than that. A landmark in the history of animation (10/10). ” - Al Shiv
5 Centimeters Per Second (2007)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
Told in three interconnected segments, we follow a young man named Takaki through his life as cruel winters, cold technology, and finally, adult obligations and responsibility converge to test the delicate petals of love. (63 mins.)
Director: Makoto Shinkai
“ Beautiful but so very cheesy. The first story can still claim some poetry but the other two are just ridiculous. Very disappointing (4/10). ” - Al Shiv
Classe Tous Risques (1960)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
Abel Davis is a criminal, hunted in Italy. The police are closing in, so he and his pal Raymond arrange to flee back to France with Abel's wife... (110 mins.)
Director: Claude Sautet
“ Sautet could have been another Melville. Too bad he chose another path, as this forgotten gem deserves to be listed among the ten best French film noir ever (9/10). ” - Al Shiv
Super (2010)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  
After his wife falls under the influence of a drug dealer, an everyday guy transforms himself into Crimson Bolt, a superhero with the best intentions, but lacking in heroic skills. (96 mins.)
Director: James Gunn
“ Not much to write home about, except for the hilarious sequences with the Christian fondo sup' and those with 'Boltie', Frank's hysterical kid sidekick (6/10). ” - Al Shiv
Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (2011)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
In the bleak days of the Cold War, espionage veteran George Smiley is forced from semi-retirement to uncover a Soviet agent within MI6. (127 mins.)
Director: Tomas Alfredson
“ Excellent directing for a rather atmospheric film. I didn't read Le Carré's novel but the plot is certainly a bit too muddled for viewer's delight, though (7/10). ” - Al Shiv
The Stool Pigeon (2010)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  
Policeman Don Lee often works with informants but numerous too-close calls and failed missions cause him to see the world as one betrayal after another - then he meets Guy, and is given a new chance to change his views. (113 mins.)
Director: Dante Lam
“ The best film of Dante Lam I've seen so far, if only for its hallucinatory melodramatic twists and fantastic finale (7/10). ” - Al Shiv
Battle for Haditha (2007)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.0/10 X  
An investigation of the massacre of 24 men, women and children in Haditha, Iraq allegedly shot by 4 U.S. Marines in retaliation for the death of a U.S. Marine killed by a roadside bomb. The movie follows the story of the Marines of Kilo Company, an Iraqi family, and the insurgents who plant the roadside bomb. (97 mins.)
Director: Nick Broomfield
“ A docu-fiction looking at a massacre from all possible angles - the civilians, the Jihadis, the Marines - with some mitigated results (the depiction of the civilians' dilemmas makes the best scenes of the film). A bit too didactic too and not as elaborate formally as De Palma's 'Redacted' (6.5/10). ” - Al Shiv
Shotgun Stories (2007)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
Shotgun Stories tracks a feud that erupts between two sets of half brothers following the death of their father... (92 mins.)
Director: Jeff Nichols
“ Excellent, possibly even better than 'Take Shelter'. While being deeply rooted in its time and place (the American Midwest of the early 21st century), 'Shotgun Stories' evokes Greek tragedies with its family feuds 'imposed' on the protagonists (9/10). ” - Al Shiv
The Raid: Redemption (2011)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
A S.W.A.T. team becomes trapped in a tenement run by a ruthless mobster and his army of killers and thugs. (101 mins.)
“ Probably the most impressive action flick I've seen recently. The first half of the film is literally breathtaking, with its no holds barred fight scenes and stunning direction. At some point, the film becomes a bit repetitive, though, as if it had run out of ammo. Still, 'The Raid' will remain a landmark, if only for propelling Indonesian cinema on the world map (7.5/10). ” - Al Shiv
House of 1000 Corpses (2003)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.0/10 X  
Two teenage couples traveling across the backwoods of Texas searching for urban legends of murder end up as prisoners of a bizarre and sadistic backwater family of serial killers. (89 mins.)
Director: Rob Zombie
“ Terrific. Starting as a gently freaky parody of 70s grindhouse films and experiments in redneck terror, Rob Zombie's debut film ends up in a baroque underground finale, more reminiscent of Lovecraft than Tobe Hopper. (9/10) ” - Al Shiv
Tatsumi (2011)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
A story based on the life and short stories of Yoshihiro Tatsumi, a mangaka known for his gekiga style of alternate Japanese manga. (96 mins.)
Director: Eric Khoo
“ A complete success, whether graphically or from the narrative point of view, all the more surprising as it comes from non-animation Singaporean director Eric Khoo. The film owes much of its success to its construction -which encompasses the work as well as the life of Tatsumi, without limiting itself to 'A Drifting Life'- and its choice to remain as close as possible to the original drawings. Then, this is Tatsumi, so expect a good amount of darkness - including phantoms of the nuclear Holocaust, incest, and murder. All in all, a must see for anyone interested in Tatsumi's brilliant work and in the history of adult manga in general (10/10). ” - Al Shiv
SR: Saitama no rappâ - Rôdosaido no toubousha (2012)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 2.6/10 X  
The upcoming Japanese director Yu Irie gained acclaim in Japanese cinema with his realistic portrayal of frustrated youths... (70 mins.)
Director: Yû Irie
“ The Japanese B-Boys answer to 8 Mile, 'Roadside Fugitive' is the second installation of a series of films known as '8000 Mile' on an improbable hip hop crew. This is amateur cinema at its best - sincere, energetic, messy - and at its worst (some scenes seem endless, the sound is far from perfect and the cheap video image sometimes makes it look like the work of a third grade debutant). (6.5/10) ” - Al Shiv
Milocrorze: A Love Story (2011)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  
A mish-mash of past and present; A childlike man, a counselor, and a one-eyed ronin are all connected.
“ 'Austin Powers' meets 'Sakuran'. Sometimes it works - the first half an hour is pretty hilarious - but most of the time it doesn't and even the critically acclaimed sequence shot of the sword fight is a bit long. (5/10) ” - Al Shiv
Sex Jack (1970)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
During violent manifestations in late 1960s in Japan, a group of students who called themselves the Rose Colored Regiment hide in the house of a mysterious young man, and have sex with the same girl while waiting for new instructions. (70 mins.)
Director: Kôji Wakamatsu
“ One of Wakamastu's most accessible films of his revolutionary period, mixing with more humor - and less violence - than usual sex and politics. (8/10) ” - Al Shiv
Il se peut que la beauté ait renforcé notre résolution - Masao Adachi (2011 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
Grandrieux pays an homage to Masao Adachi, a Japanese filmmaker with a turbulent past and now a recluse in his homeland, creating a portrait of this man always faithful in its very own way. (73 mins.)
“ Grandrieux remains Grandieux in the 'documentary' format. Ferociously experimental and completely trippy, his approach of Masao Adachi's life, cinema and radical politics tears apart the very concept of a 'portrait'. A fascinating reflection on cinema as a form, discourse and sensorial experience. (9/10) ” - Al Shiv
Death for Sale (2011)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  
In Tetouan, at the northern edge of Morocco, three young men decide to rob a jewelry store. The heist goes awry, and their destinies part drastically. (117 mins.)
“ I went to see this Moroccan film at the Osian festival in Delhi to get an idea of what was coming up in North African cinema and was rather disappointed. I expected a punchy heist movie with a social touch but, instead, found a visually impaired, dull, slow and at times utterly ridiculous cheap flick (the encounter with the whore would fit well in a Bollywood film and the Indian audience was indeed quite at home). (2/10) ” - Al Shiv
Guilty of Romance (2011)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  
A grisly murder occurs in Maruyama-cho, Shibuya, Tokyo - a love hotel district - a woman was found dead in a derelict apartment... (144 mins.)
Director: Sion Sono
“ It's my second viewing of Guilty of Romance in the last 6 months and though it cannot compare with Sono's masterpiece, Love Exposure, I found it, once again, to be a beautifully complex film, which lends itself to multiple readings. The performance of the two lead actresses is truly impressive, whereas the photography is probably the most inspired of all Sono's films, culminating in a riot of colours. Too bad the film doesn't close on the memorable scene of Izumi relieving herself in front of the two kids, as the last scene abruptly reintroduces mainstream morality (lost women don't end up well) into a film that so brilliantly evaded it until then. (9/10) ” - Al Shiv
Children Who Chase Lost Voices (2011)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
A coming of age story involving young love and a mysterious music, coming from a crystal radio left as a memento by an absent father, that leads a young heroine deep into a hidden world. (116 mins.)
Director: Makoto Shinkai
“ It took me a while to get into it, but once Asuna and her teacher step into the underworld of Agartha, Shinkai's inspiration knows almost no boundaries. A tribute to Miyazaki, 'Children who chase lost voices from deep below' still carries Shinkai's own touch, in the palette of colours in particular (with a predilection for pink and purple tones). After my dissapointment with '5 cm per second', 'Children...' definitely reconciled me with Shinkai's work, which seems to be maturing film after film. (9/10) ” - Al Shiv
Alois Nebel (2011)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  
A train dispatcher encounters a mute stranger who appears out of nowhere, and finds himself mysteriously involved with a murder in Poland. (84 mins.)
Director: Tomás Lunák
“ One of the most beautiful animes of the last few years. The story's a bit thin but the animation is truly breathtaking, particularly as far as it rendition of light is concerned. (9/10) ” - Al Shiv
Shutter (2004)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
A young photographer and his girlfriend discover mysterious shadows in their photographs after a tragic accident. They soon learn that you can not escape your past. (97 mins.)
“ Disappointing. Or maybe I'm just not really into Asian horror. Too predictable, and thus not really scary after the last 10 minutes. Only the last minutes save the film from being a total flop. (4/10) ” - Al Shiv
Ryakushô renzoku shasatsuma (1969 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
(86 mins.)
Director: Masao Adachi
“ A bit demanding, for its lack of dialogue and excessive length, 'AKA Serial Killer' is still an interesting piece of truly experimental cinema, as free as the jazz that accompanies it. (8/10) ” - Al Shiv
The Anabasis of May and Fusako Shigenobu, Masao Adachi and 27 Years Without Images (2011 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.0/10 X  
May, the daughter of a Japanese terrorist, and Adachi, an activist film-maker, tell the story of their lengthy exile in Lebanon. A reflection on the relationship between life, politics and cinema. (66 mins.)
Director: Eric Baudelaire
“ Not as stunning as Grandrieux's own film on Adachi, Eric Baudelaire's doc on the last insurgent of Japanese cinema and the most mysterious character of modern Japan - Fusako Shigenobu, the head of the JRA - is still a fascinating testimony on a bunch of dreamers turned terrorists. (8/10) ” - Al Shiv
Elena and Her Men (1956)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  
Polish countess Elena falls in love to a Frensh radical party's candidate, a general, in pre world war I Paris, but another officer pines for her. (95 mins.)
Director: Jean Renoir
“ The weakest of Renoir's 'Stage and Spectacle' series, 'Elena..' is still a pleasant comedy, enlightened by Ingrid Bergman's luminous presence. (7/10) ” - Al Shiv
Only Angels Have Wings (1939)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
At a remote South American trading port, the manager of an air freight company is forced to risk his pilots' lives in order to win an important contract. (121 mins.)
Director: Howard Hawks
“ Worth rediscovering, 'Only Angels...' is a concentrate of Hawks' themes. Death, fate, friendship, love, adventure: it's all there and even if Cary Grant is a bit too classy and effeminate for the role, the film has aged pretty well. (8/10) ” - Al Shiv
Showgirls (1995)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4.6/10 X  
Nomi, a young drifter, arrives in Las Vegas to become a dancer and soon sets about clawing and pushing her way to become the top of the Vegas showgirls. (128 mins.)
Director: Paul Verhoeven
“ Probably Verhoeven's weakest film, though this has more to do with Elizabeth Berkley's exasperating performance than with Verhoeven's directing per se. And since this is a film about sleaze, one cannot really blame Verhoeven for having delivered a sleazy, trashy flick on sleazy, trashy girls. And a movie with Kyle MacLachlan can't be completly bad. (6/10) ” - Al Shiv
The Secret World of Arrietty (2010)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
The Clock family are four-inch-tall people who live anonymously in another family's residence, borrowing simple items to make their home. Life changes for the Clocks when their daughter, Arrietty, is discovered. (94 mins.)
“ A second-rate Ghibli production, 'Arietti' still carries the imprint of master Miyazaki (in the depiction of nature and its fauna, in particular) but without the touch of darkness that made his masterpieces so unforgettable. A confirmation that Studio Ghibli's on the decline, outpaced by the new star of Jap animation, Makoto Shinkai. (6/10) ” - Al Shiv
Gangs of Wasseypur (2012)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  
A clash between Sultan and Shahid Khan leads to the expulsion of Khan from Wasseypur, and ignites a deadly blood feud spanning three generations. (320 mins.)
Director: Anurag Kashyap
“ The best Indian film I've seen recently, and without any doubt Kashyap's best. Raw and epic, constantly reflecting on the influence of cinema on the poses, language and imaginings of its protagonists, 'Gangs of Wasseypur' is one of these rare Indian films for which I don't need to say 'for an INDIAN film, this is a pretty good flick'. Nope: 'Gangs...' is an excellent film, full stop. (9/10) ” - Al Shiv
Once Upon a Time in Anatolia (2011)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
A group of men set out in search of a dead body in the Anatolian steppes. (157 mins.)
“ A dark, surreal ride into the Anatolian night. Slow-paced but never tiresome, carried by magnificent actors and a superb photography, 'Once upon a time in Anatolia' is one of the most brilliant films I've seen recently. Some scenes are simply unforgettable, such as the apparition of the daughter of the mayor carrying tea to her guests, her angelic face dimly lit by a petrol-lamp. Duly rewarded with Cannes' Grand Prix, 'Once upon a time...' is the most accomplished work of one of the most important directors of our times. (10/10) ” - Al Shiv
The Devil's Rejects (2005)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  
The murderous, backwoods Firefly family take to the road to escape a vengeful police force which is not afraid of being as ruthless as their target. (107 mins.)
Director: Rob Zombie
“ A sequel to 'House of 1000 corpses' but with a complete change of tone - more grindhouse than its baroque predecessor. The comedy parts - around the vengeful redneck cop in particular - don't really serve the film, which never quite seems to find its rhythm until the nihilistic 'Free Bird' finale. But then what a finale! Peckinpah would have been proud to see that his legacy didn't get lost (8/10). ” - Al Shiv
Headhunters (2011)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
An accomplished headhunter risks everything to obtain a valuable painting owned by a former mercenary. (100 mins.)
Director: Morten Tyldum
“ A fairly decent Norwegian thriller, full of surprises and with occasional moments of brilliance. Too bad the characters aren't more developed and the main storyline is sacrificed to the twists of the plot. All in all, a bit too clever for its own good (6.5/10). ” - Al Shiv
Kill List (2011)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  
Nearly a year after a botched job, a hitman takes a new assignment with the promise of a big payoff for three killings. What starts off as an easy task soon unravels, sending the killer into the heart of darkness. (95 mins.)
Director: Ben Wheatley
“ Terrific. A long nightmare culminating in a neo-pagan carnage paying tribute to Brit horror classics such as "The Wicker Man". The aural environment is as important as the visuals in instilling a climate of sheer terror, while the numerous ellipsis only contribute to the perplexity of the audience, reflecting the growing mental disorder of the lead protagonist. (9/10) ” - Al Shiv
The Skin I Live In (2011)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
A brilliant plastic surgeon, haunted by past tragedies, creates a type of synthetic skin that withstands any kind of damage. His guinea pig: a mysterious and volatile woman who holds the key to his obsession. (120 mins.)
“ One of Almodovar's best, "La piel que habito" balances with maestria a "classical" mise en scène - in the good sense of the term: the photography is splendid - with a delirious storyline. It all culminates with this immortal line, the best I've heard in a movie for a long time (watch out: SPOILER!!!!!): "I'm Vincente. I've been kidnapped. They gave me a sex change. I had to kill two people to get away". (10/10) ” - Al Shiv
High Heels (1991)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
A girl's mother returns after 15 years to find her daughter has married one of her (the mother's) old boyfriends... (112 mins.)
“ 'Tacones lejanos' has aged, and not so well. Every scene with Marisa Paredes retains its magic, though, eclipsing those with Victoria Abril. A mid-range Almodovar, after all. (7/10) ” - Al Shiv
Faust (2011)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  
A despairing scholar sells his soul to Satan in exchange for one night with a beautiful young woman. (140 mins.)
“ Way too chatty, but visually stunning, with some moments of otherworldly beauty (the bath scene with the devil, in particular). With Bela Tarr and Terence Malik, Sokurov remains of the last, and possibly the greatest formalist of contemporary cinema (8/10). ” - Al Shiv
Moonrise Kingdom (2012)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
A pair of young lovers flee their New England town, which causes a local search party to fan out to find them. (94 mins.)
Director: Wes Anderson
“ Witty, funny and completly devoid of any form of spontaneity, Anderson is back in full gear. His take on pre-teen romance is both daring and touching and his direction reaches new heights, if always on the control freak mode. His best movie after 'Life Aquatic'? (8/10). ” - Al Shiv
Prometheus (2012)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.0/10 X  
Following clues to the origin of mankind a team journey across the universe and find a structure on a distant moon containing a monolithic statue of a humanoid head and stone cylinders of alien blood but they soon find they are not alone. (124 mins.)
Director: Ridley Scott
“ It's always saddening to see an aging director repeat himself, only to turn his newer work into a parody of his older and better stuff. But then there is that self-caesarian scene, the most unbelievably brutal and disturbing moment I've seen in a movie recently, which almost saves the movie with its visceral horror. Damn, it must hurt... (6/10) ” - Al Shiv
881 (2007)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  
The story is about two good friends who grew up with genuine love for the Getai culture, a form of art with stage and song performances... (115 mins.)
Director: Royston Tan
“ Saw this movie during a Singaporean film fest in Delhi. The director was there and explained to Anurag Kashyap, who was interviewing him, that he shot that movie so that his mom could understand at least one of his films. He then went on to say that his main cinematographic references were 'video clips' and Bollywood films. Need I say more? (4/10) ” - Al Shiv
Flying Swords of Dragon Gate (2011)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.0/10 X  
Set three years after Dragon Inn, innkeeper Jade has disappeared and a new inn has risen from the ashes - one that's staffed by marauders masquerading as law-abiding citizens, who hope to unearth the fabled lost city buried in the desert. (122 mins.)
Director: Hark Tsui
“ A bit like Ridley Scott, Tsui Hark repeats himself with this remake of his much better 'Dragon Inn'. But then this is Tsui Hark and there s always something savagely enjoyable about his films, however mediocre. Here, it comes in the shape of the Tatar fury girl, one of the most energetic characters ever invented by Master Tsui. (7/10) ” - Al Shiv
The Cabin in the Woods (2012)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.0/10 X  
Five friends go for a break at a remote cabin in the woods, where they get more than they bargained for. Together, they must discover the truth behind the cabin in the woods. (95 mins.)
Director: Drew Goddard
“ Brilliant. Can't really say more without spoiling, so will keep it at that. Sometimes, the key to genre renewal lies in revisiting the classics. The other trick is to forget all concerns for moderation and good intentions till the last minute - especially at the last minute (9/10) ” - Al Shiv
Killer Joe (2011)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  
When a debt puts a young man's life in danger, he turns to putting a hit out on his evil mother in order to collect the insurance. (102 mins.)
“ This film made me want to discover William Friedkin's filmography urgently. It's hard to believe 'Killer Joe' was made by such an old-timer, whom I associated with more conventional and commercial stuff. This is neo-noir gone mad dark, culminating in a finale unparalleled, in its symbolic and physical violence, in recent American cinema (10/10). ” - Al Shiv