Author: Harris Dang

MIFF Review: Portrait of a Lady on Fire is a brimming, hot-blooded and passionate romance at its best

August 5, 2019

French director Céline Sciamma is one of the best writer/directors in French Cinema working today. She specializes in coming-of-age dramas and this reviewer has been a fan of her work ever since he saw her film Tomboy. From fantastic directorial work like her directorial debut Water Lilies and her prior film Girlhood to stellar screenwriting […]

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Film Review: Ophelia fails to make the most out of its interesting revisionist premise

August 3, 2019

Filmgoers have always mused upon the fact that there are formulas in cinema that have been explored over and over. Cliches and tropes, if you will. In the case of this review, the formula that has been explored numerous times is the adaptations of the works of renowned English writer/playwright William Shakespeare. What makes Shakespeare’s […]

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Film Review: Stuber is an Uber-amusing three-star ride

July 11, 2019

Buddy comedies are a dime-a-dozen these days. And much like romantic films, they rely on the chemistry of the leads to succeed. An original plot? Unimportant. Solid acting? No need. If the chemistry works between the leads, then it should offset a lot of the film’s flaws. Case in point, Michael Dowse‘s action-comedy Stuber, a […]

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Film Review: Booksmart is so damn good, you’d want to rub your face in it

July 10, 2019

The fact that the existence of another raunchy teen comedy — jam-packed with sex, drugs and alcohol — may not mean much but it has been a very long time since I have heard this much hype for a comedy such as Booksmart. Ever since its premiere at this year’s South by Southwest, it has […]

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Film Review: Parasite is a spectacularly insidious film you would want to latch on to

June 26, 2019

Director Bong Joon-ho is one of cinema’s most eclectic filmmakers working today. What makes his work stand out so much is his assured directorial hand in mixing genres that usually do not associate with each other and yet somehow, he executes them brilliantly. But no matter what genre he works in, he always manages to […]

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Melbourne Documentary Film Festival Review: Singled [Out] is too brief to make a true impact, but it is still worth a look

June 22, 2019

Singled [Out] is a new documentary by directors Mariona Guiu and Ariadna Relea; and the premise is what really struck out to me, as we follow the lives of five women (under 30) of different backgrounds (Australia, Turkey, Spain and two women from China), and how they live their lives with their choices, whether they […]

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Sydney Film Festival Review: Pain and Glory (Spain, 2019) is one of Pedro Almodovar’s best films

June 15, 2019

Viva Almodovar! If that opening didn’t clue you in, I am a huge fan of the work of acclaimed Spanish film director Pedro Almodovar. His filmmaking is an extravagant blend that is both wondrously idiosyncratic and entertainingly melodramatic; capped off with a colourfully vibrant eye. Even his supposedly disappointing films have won me over time, […]

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Sydney Film Festival Review: The Souvenir (UK, 2019) is one of the best films of 2019

June 11, 2019

Before I start off this review, it must be said that I have not seen any of the works by director Joanna Hogg. It wasn’t due to any prior indiscretions, rather my personal ignorance. But upon hearing the massive amounts of praise from festivals and critics all over the world for her latest film, The […]

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Film Review: Happy as Lazzaro (Italy, 2018) is magical realism par excellence

June 11, 2019

Over the recent years, it has come to my attention that some of the most problematic films that have attained a lot of critical derision have come from films that explore the trope of magical realism. Recent efforts such as Collateral Beauty, Life Itself and The Book of Henry have tried to be life-affirming by […]

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Sydney Film Festival Review: The Third Wife (Vietnam, 2018) is an entrancing, haunting and sensual experience

June 11, 2019

It feels absolutely wonderful to see a Vietnamese film in this year’s Sydney Film Festival. Of course, there have been many Vietnamese film in film festivals before but, with a stronger focus on genre-centric cinema over the recent year, it feels invigorating for a Vietnamese critic such as myself. This year, we have Ash Mayfair‘s […]

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Film Review: X-Men: Dark Phoenix is mutant X-Crement

June 6, 2019

It has been almost two decades since the X-Men franchise started and now it has finally come to an end. Over the years, we have had a series of generally positive outcomes from this franchise — a list of mostly great films and a handful of very bad ones. For every film like X2: X-Men […]

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All My Godzilla!: A Loving Retrospective

June 4, 2019

It’s pretty hard to believe that there are THIRTY FIVE (going on 36 with 2020’s Godzilla vs. Kong!) Godzilla films currently in existence. Especially when the premise of all of these films boils down to a giant creature roaming through large cities, causing havoc and destruction. How is it possible to stretch such a simple […]

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Film Review: Godzilla: King of the Monsters pays loving tribute to its forebears, with monster battles and throwbacks galore

June 3, 2019

It’s finally here! The Godzilla franchise continues with Godzilla: King of the Monsters! Previous director Gareth Edwards has been replaced by Michael Dougherty, best known for his horror efforts like the Halloween anthology film Trick ‘R Treat and the Christmas movie Krampus. With an all-star cast of acclaimed thespians, rising talents and franchise returnees and free reign […]

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Film Review: Triple Threat may not live up to its promise, but it is still an action-packed treat

May 27, 2019

If you were to see the cast of Triple Threat, which is jam-packed with talented martial artists/established action heroes, chances are that you would be overly excited. With this much talent in an action film, how can it possibly fail? We must consider the people behind the scenes. Triple Threat has director Jesse V. Johnson, […]

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Film Review: Little Woods is a remarkably assured directorial debut from Nia DaCosta, with two great lead performances

May 13, 2019

When one brings up the word “survival” in cinematic terms, usually some would think adventure stories in foreign environments like tropical islands, forests or jungles. Others would think of contained thrillers, where stories would be set in one small setting like a hostage situation in a building ala Die Hard, Under Siege or Speed. But […]

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Film Review: Fighting With My Family (UK, 2019) is a satisfying crowd-pleaser that will wrestle your funnybone as well as your heart

March 24, 2019

Based on a true story (well-documented in the Channel 4 documentary The Wrestlers: Fighting with My Family), born into a tight-knit wrestling family, Paige (Florence Pugh) and her brother Zak (Jack Lowden) are ecstatic when they get the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to try out for the WWE. But when only Paige earns a spot in the […]

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Film Review: Hotel Mumbai (Australia, 2019) is an intense but humane, white-knuckle thriller

March 22, 2019

Adapting tragic events of the world to the cinema screen can be a very risky proposition. There are many ways to get it wrong and very few ways to get it right. The wrong ways can lead the film to be considered exploitative, cheap, insulting, xenophobic and even laughable. It would also depend on the […]

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Alliance Française French Film Festival Review: Knife+Heart is an unashamedly queer slasher hybrid

March 18, 2019

What is it about slasher films that makes them stand out as one of the best horror sub-genres? It is just a person just killing people with a sharp object and that’s it, right? Yes, but, that’s also the very reason why it has succeeded so well. Unlike the other horror sub-genres that involve fantastical […]

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Film Review: Greta (Ireland/USA, 2018) is B-grade schlock elevated by A-grade credentials in all the right ways

March 5, 2019

If there’s a bias I have as a film critic, it is that I have an affinity for seeing established actors give unhinged performances in film that accommodate said performance. Most of these performances are usually in thriller genres, like the psycho-logical subgenre. Yes, the use of the hyphen is intentional, as those films delve […]

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Film Review: Everybody Knows (Spain, 2018) is an inferior, yet effective entry from director Asghar Farhadi

March 4, 2019

Iranian director Asghar Farhadi has made some of most critically acclaimed dramas in the 21st Century. Garnering awards from many festivals, including winning two Oscars for Best Foreign Film, it is a testament to Farhadi’s impeccable storytelling about the social, gender and class differences in modern Iran as well as his assured hand in telling […]

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