2018: Another Year of Cinema Come and Gone

This year was a real game changer for a person like myself. To kick things off, it was the first year in which I was able to attend TIFF as a press member rather than as any other audience member. It was a defining moment for myself, though I don’t want to brag a little too much about what happened there. It was just a good year for cinema in general. That’s all I can really say, and I want to bring more attention to the many films that I absolutely loved this year – and so many of them came around this year and so forth. We’re already nearing the end of a decade, and through the good and the bad, the cinema has always been able to provide nothing but the greatest pleasures through and through. Although as we look through the films that have come to define 2018 as a whole, there were many surprises that came along the way just as there were disappointments – all of which came in between the very best and the worst in cinema through the year. So without further ado, let us begin. Continue reading →

Shoplifters Review: A Heart-Wrenching, Beautiful, Morally Complex Tale of a Family’s Togetherness Amidst Poverty

Hirokazu Kore-eda has often said that he preferred being compared to a filmmaker like Ken Loach as opposed to Yasujiro Ozu, and with Shoplifters, it’s easy to see why. But just like the British realist filmmaker at his very best, Hirokazu Kore-eda’s ability to craft a story about a group of people trying to overcome the very worst that their life has set in stone for them with such empathy is also what makes for an endearing experience. I knew from watching a film about such people trying to survive in a world that is built by nothing beyond dreary cynicism would already be depressing, but Hirokazu Kore-eda presents every moment of Shoplifters in such a way that hits incredibly close to home. These could be people you know up close, people who are desperate to survive because they cannot find jobs. These are people who you recognize as real, inside a world that you inhabit. No matter how much you would want to believe that this isn’t something that you could see such people stooping down to, you only have one instinct running through your head – you simply want them to survive. To say the least, this is where the power of a tragic tale lies within, and a whole lot more.

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2017: A Year in Review

Another year is complete, but not without having talked about the wonderful experiences we’ve had at the cinemas. Together with the not-so-wonderful films. But alas, this has been an extraordinary year for films for the highlights still managed to stick their landing inside of our minds – and the inevitable “what about such and such?” will come but I will remind you that it would have been outright impossible for me to have been able to catch virtually every movie that had come out the previous year to make sure I wouldn’t forget other highlights that may not have made it.
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2016: The Standouts

It’s inevitable that after a passing year one must go about with talking upon what they’ve witnessed while time had gone on and with 2016 gone, a great year of cinema has indeed passed upon us and we’re only hoping for even more with a new one. In this blog entry, what I wish to cover are some of the best and worst films that I caught all throughout 2016 as of February 25, 2017. Continue reading →

After Life – Review

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Although within subsequent years he has continued to provide audiences with heartbreaking family dramas within Still Walking and Nobody Knows, nothing under Hirokazu Kore-eda’s own filmography has ever matched what he has provided in After Life – a deeply philosophical film about what happens the moment after one’s passing. Within subsequent years, Hirokazu Kore-eda has already proven himself to be one of the most thoughtful filmmakers working today and with After Life, it is easy to see where such roots have emerged. After Life represents a sort of cinema that rings close to every last one of my sensibilities – and it moves me deeply.

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Still Walking – Review

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When I first saw Hirokazu Kore-eda’s Still Walking, the first thing that would have come to mind from my own experience with it was none other than the work of Yasujiro Ozu. My own love for the work of Ozu was something that only compelled me to watch Still Walking for my first time and on many subsequent revisits, it retains that power – for in the simplest actions it manages to become something all the more profound. I’ve read somewhere that Hirokazu Kore-eda is not fond of the Yasujiro Ozu comparisons (he said he would much rather be linked to the likes of Ken Loach) but with a film like Still Walking it feels irresistible. About as close as we can get to modern day Ozu.

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Nobody Knows – Review

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I’ll apologize beforehand in regards to what one will find themselves reading if it drives away from the film itself, but the moment a thought comes by when I want to talk about the impact of Hirokazu Kore-eda’s Nobody Knows upon myself, I cannot help but tear up, and within a word I write about what has been captured here, and it affects me in a manner that almost felt so personal to myself. But before I start rambling, it is already hard enough trying to find where I should begin when I want to talk about Nobody Knows, one that I find so difficult to revisit because these feelings pain me so much. Whenever I come back towards my favourites of Kore-eda’s pieces, I always find something to them that provokes such a response and it is never easy for myself to recap what the experience does for me. Nobody Knows is yet another film reminding me of these pains. Continue reading →