Category Archives: Films & Television

Mountains May Depart (2015)

Director Jia Zhangke seems to be hot stuff in China at the moment. I’ve tried for ages to get a hold of a decent copy of the well known Still Life but it seems almost impossible. This one is a more recent release and duly made it onto the usual lists of the year’s most notable films. Unfortunately while I liked the director’s previous release A Touch of Sin, I found this one to be very mediocre.

Continue reading Mountains May Depart (2015)

Midnight Cowboy (1969)

After the awfulness of Jackie, it was delightful to watch the opening shots of Midnight Cowboy and immediately realize that this is the work of a competent director. I don’t recognize many titles from director John Schlesinger’s filmography but I certainly will be adding more of them to my usual list. When this film was made Dustin Hoffman was already a huge star due to the success of The Graduate but I believe that this is the first time I’ve watched Jon Voight in any serious film and I was blown away by how good he is here.

Continue reading Midnight Cowboy (1969)

Jackie (2016)

Whatever this film’s other merits, or lack thereof, you have to admit that its poster is distinctive and iconic. Reviews for this are a bit all over the place but in the end as its Rotten Tomatoes rating manages to hover around the 90% mark, I thought I’d give it a shot. Its director Pablo Larrain is a virtual unknown but it does have some serious names behind and particularly seems like it could be the ideal vehicle for Natalie Portman to transition to more mature roles.

Continue reading Jackie (2016)

The Second Mother (2015)

As usual this was a pick gleaned from various critics’ lists of the world’s most notable films. I’m pleased that after only a few years of watching and writing about cinema seriously I’ve watched enough Brazilian films to actually have a general opinion of them. The Second Mother in particular conforms to the pattern I’ve noted previously about Brazilian films that while grounded in society relies too heavily on the feel-good factor to be a truly serious film.

Continue reading The Second Mother (2015)

Miss Hokusai (2015)

This is a Japanese animated feature that, unusually, has at least some historical basis. Like many such projects, it’s an adaptation of a manga. The central character is Katsushika Ōi, nicknamed Sarusuberi, which is the Japanese title for the film. Her father is called Tetsuzo in the film but he is better known as the famed Japanese artist Katsushika Hokusai. Even if you think you don’t recognize this name, I guarantee that you only have to google some images of his paintings to realize how famous they are.

Continue reading Miss Hokusai (2015)

The Unbearable Lightness of Being (1988)

Obviously I’ve heard of the novel by Milan Kundera but not being the type to read serious literature, I’ve never read it. Nevertheless this is a very highly regarded adaptation and I’ve loved both of the films directed by Philip Kaufman that I’ve watched so far so I added it to our watch list. It’s worth noting that while Kundera himself served as a consultant for this project, he did not consider it to be a faithful adaptation of his novel so it’s probably best to see it as its own thing.

Continue reading The Unbearable Lightness of Being (1988)

Wonder Woman (2017)

The so-called DC Extended Universe films have been so badly reviewed that I haven’t any of them since the mediocre Man of Steel. What I’ve seen from the promotional campaign for upcoming Justice League film doesn’t fill me with much confidence either. I wasn’t going to watch this one as well but the excellent word-of-mouth and reviews changed my mind. I have to say that there’s also some meaning in supporting the first solo female superhero movie in a good long while.

Continue reading Wonder Woman (2017)