Becky

Becky (2020)

Becky first published by Through The Trees After a prologue – in fact a scene from the chronological end of the film – in which 13-year-old Becky Hooper (the amazing Lulu Wilson, Ouija: Origin of Evil, 2016) is being interviewed by a police detective and a psychologist about an incident involving some men and her…

Of Honor

Graveyard(s) of Honor (1975/2002)

Graveyard(s) of Honor (1975/2002) first published by Little White Lies, as part 111 of my Cinema Psychotronicum column “Rikio Ishikawa, the hero of this film, was born in Aug 6, 1924.” So reads the text that opens Kinji Fukasaku’s Graveyard of Honor (Jingi no Hakaba, 1975), as we see black-and-white photographs from the very real…

Made In Hong Kong

Made in Hong Kong (Heung Gong jai jo) (1997)

Made in Hong Kong (Heung Gong jai jo) first published by Little White Lies, as part 112 of my Cinema Psychotronicum column “The world is moving much too fast. So fast, that when you finally get to fit in with it, it’s become another brand new world!”  So says Mid-Autumn (Sam Lee), the young skinny…

Every Single Someone

Every Single Someone (2021)

Samuel Marko’s Every Single Someone opens with a potential explanation of its title. As impressionistic handheld footage shows Denver sophomores Lee (Luke Krogmeier) and Arlis (Megan Elisabeth Kelly) enjoying a date out on the town together and sharing their first kiss, we are witnessing two single folk becoming a couple. Yet by the time, moments…

Bad Match

Bad Match (2017)

Bad Match first published by SciFiNow At the beginning of Bad Match, Harris (Jack Cutmore Scott) is in a bar, texting on his phone, when Rachel (Christine Donlon), his latest hook-up from a Tinder-like website called Head Over Heels, arrives for their first date. As part of his flirtatious schtick, Harris slickly pretends to read…

Yes

Yes (2004)

Yes first published by Movie Gazette, 27 June, 2005 Whether it is Mike Nichols’ tight focus on lovers’ first advances and final splits in Closer (2004), or John Curran’s exclusive concentration on the awkward middle years in We Don’t Live Here Anymore (2005), whether it is François Ozon’s use of five reverse-order episodes to deconstruct a lengthy marriage in 5×2 (2004),…

Barking

Barking Dogs Never Bite (Flandersui gae) (2000)

Barking Dogs Never Bite (Flandersui gae) first published by Little White Lies “What a nice day!,” says Ko Yoon-ju (Lee Sung-jae), looking out his apartment window at the beginning of Barking Dogs Never Bite. “I’d like to go hiking and take a nap on the mountain.” A lazy, broke humanities grad overlooked for tenure, and…

Penny Black

The Penny Black (2020)

“I like to be honest, I like being straightforward.” The speaker of these words, Will Cassayd-Smith, prides himself on his honesty. In Joe Saunders’ The Penny Black, of which Will is the principal subject, he boasts repeatedly of his candour and his allegiance to telling the truth. Perhaps it his his way of dissociating himself…

Grit

True Grit (2010)

True Grit first published by EyeforFilm There is a strange sequence in the middle of Ethan and Joel Coen’s latest film, True Grit. Headstrong 14-year-old Mattie Ross (Hailee Steinfeld) and her hired lawman Deputy Marshall Reuben ‘Rooster’ Cogburn’ (Jeff Bridges) are riding through the Choctaw Nation in search of Tom Chaney (Josh Brolin), the man…

Marathon

Marathon (2021)

According to legend, in 490 B.C.E. a messenger ran without stopping from Marathon to Athens to report as quickly as possible the improbable victory of the Athenian army against the overwhelming numbers of an invading Persian force, and dropped dead after giving the news to the Assembly. This 26-and-a-half-mile dash would become the model for…

Trust

Trust (2021)

Trust opens with an impressionistically glimpsed and artfully effaced couple having panting, passionate sex, while a series of increasingly urgent incoming text messages (“You OK?” “Call me back.” “Call me!”) is ignored. Next we see Brooke Gatwick (Victoria Justice) returning with a suitcase to her New York apartment, where she greets Owen Shore (Matthew –…