Category B- Reviews

The Grandmaster (Wong Kar-Wai, 2013)

Compared to his first wuxia film, 1994’s overlooked Ashes of Time, Wong Kar-Wai’s The Grandmaster is straightforward and simple; indeed, this might be the director’s most accessible offering not named Chungking Express, thanks to a dose of character-identifiers and expository title cards. Where Ashes of Time was painted with bold impressionist strokes, unfolding more like […]

Metropolitan (Whit Stillman, 1990)

Looking back on Whit Stillman’s directorial debut Metropolitan, it is clear that reports of the death of the urban haute bourgeoisie—upper class, rich snobs, spoiled kids, whatever you want to call them—have been greatly exaggerated. Perhaps because of all its intentional witticisms, it’s hard to see Metropolitan as anything besides a Manhattan-esque satire, but Stillman […]

Kill Bill: Vol. 1 (Quentin Tarantino, 2003)

In a review of Django Unchained, Mike D’Angelo stated that “there are precious few truly great straight-up exploitation flicks, though, and by taking on their license [director Quentin Tarantino] also takes on their inherent limitations.” That’s true of Django, but the same comment applies doubly so for Kill Bill: Vol. 1, which cares even less […]

Pacific Rim (Guillermo Del Toro, 2013)

In addition to directing films, Guillermo Del Toro has tried his hand at the video game market before, with a canceled project called Sundown, a Hellboy game, and the halted, developing Insane. You don’t have to watch Pacific Rim, his first directorial effort since Hellboy II: The Golden Army, for long before you see the […]

Time of the Wolf (Michael Haneke, 2003)

A couple years before Cormac McCarthy published his Pulitzer-Prize winning, family-themed, fire-symbolized post-apocalyptic novel The Road, Michael Haneke gave us a similar story with Time of the Wolf. The fire in Haneke’s film is not as overtly symbolic, his characters are much less sympathetic (and much higher in number), and the originality is not quite […]

Much Ado About Nothing (Joss Whedon, 2013)

Adapting Shakespeare is hard. He wrote some of the greatest works of fiction that mankind has ever produced. Imagine if it was your job to take one of those works and bring something new to it, alter its medium, and maintain an admirable level of quality. It’s not impossible, as works by Kurosawa, Godard, and […]

Paradise: Faith (Ulrich Seidl, 2013)

NOTE: This is the 2nd installment in a thematic trilogy. My review of the first film is available here. My review of the third film is here. Paradise: Faith doesn’t take long to affirm that it is indeed the spiritual sequel to Paradise: Love. Faith doesn’t open quite as unexpectedly as Love—it takes a minute […]