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.

Continue reading →