25 Apr 2018

Batman Ninja (Junpei Mizusaki, 2018)

☼☼☼☼☼☼☼☼(☼) out of 10☼

Gathering all-star Gotham baddies from Poison Ivy to (sumo) Bane to Gorilla Grodd, following a campy no-brainer time-travelling screenplay based on 'rule of cool' and replete with cheesy one-liners, borrowing from just about every anime trope you could possibly imagine when thinking about the clash of feudal Japan with modern technology, and boasting sharp voice-acting, sweeping musical score and absolutely jaw dropping animation especially during the mid-section which perfectly mimics aquarelle art, Batman Ninja is the complete opposite of Junpei Mizusaki's earliest directorial effort (The Poem of Collected Sunlight, a meditative segment of 2005 omnibus Zoo) - it is a loud, invigorating, self-parodic, no-holds-barred and highly entertaining romp that bursts with colors and takes itself as seriously as the Joker.

24 Apr 2018

Dreamplosion Inside the Cloud of Skin

With my fourth article for EFS Publications, I open my mind wider and take a deep dive into the turbid sea of Maximilian Le Cain's and Vicky Langan's psychological inwardness, in an attempt to find representative artefacts and bring them to the surface. In other words, a few thoughts on Le Cain's solo feature debut, Cloud of Skin (2015), and his latest and most accomplished collaborative effort with Langan, Inside (2017). Read the full article here:

 
Still shot from Cloud of Skin (Maximilian Le Cain, 2015)

19 Apr 2018

Mary and the Witch's Flower (Hiromasa Yonebayashi, 2017)

☼☼☼☼☼☼☼☼(☼) out of 10☼

Part delightful coming-of-age story, part sly meditation on the fallible nature of science (or rather, scientists), and part self-reflexive parable about transition, studio Ponoc's debut feature more than compensates for the silence of its 'parent studio' Ghibli, boasting superb traditional animation, charming voice cast and sweeping musical score, proving Yonebayashi (The Secret World of Arrietty, When Marnie Was There) as a capable director and weaving familiar elements into an endearing and electrifying fantasy which seeps with magic from its every pore and features one of the craziest lines in the history of anime:

"If we call virtual reality worlds from the Interbaila language "turtle" and the approximate value of magic in the ancient Eltel language "crane", which of the two do you think is the more effective approach in the terms of Alphalabozome nucleic acid anti-Entatium reaction? The turtle or crane?"

18 Apr 2018

You Were Never Really Here (Lynne Ramsay, 2017)

☼☼☼☼☼☼ out of 10☼
 
Even though it delivers the astonishing visuals coupled with razor sharp editing and features a powerhouse performance by Joaquin Phoenix whose wide shoulders in rests upon, You Were Never Really Here is never really engaging during its short, but seemingly excruciatingly long running time, and not to mention that - in its relentless atmosphere of hopelessness and over-psychologization of the world-weary (anti)hero - it often feels a bit ridiculous, like some Steven Seagal-starring thriller attempting to be deep and poetic.

17 Apr 2018

Atoosa Pour Hosseini: The Art of Memory Weaving

"Iranian-born, Dublin-based visual and performing artist Atoosa Pour Hosseini could be called ‘a memory weaver’ of the Experimental Film Society. The ‘memories’ which she gently weaves into dreamlike, crystalline existence are as fragile and volatile as one might assume, yet they possess the undeniable quality of timelessness, whether they are ‘captured’ on 8mm tape or by a digital camera. Diving into the indefinite space formed out of their inner or rather, intrinsic luminosity gives the viewer a liberating sense of omnipotent illusion, and of being one with the vast otherness..."
 
 
 Still Shot from Antler (2018) 
Moving Image by Atoosa Pour Hosseini, Sound by Karen Power.
Produced by Experimental Film Society
& Funded by the Arts Council of Ireland.

14 Apr 2018

JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Diamond Is Unbreakable - Chapter 1 (Takashi Miike, 2017)

☼☼☼☼☼☼(☼) out of 10☼

The viewers unfamiliar with Hirohiko Araki's long-running manga JoJo's Bizarre Adventure or its many anime and video game incarnations are most likely to get lost in its first live-action adaptation, but the fans of Takashi Miike's prolific oeuvre will find at least a little something for themselves in his latest offering - an off-kilter, visually attractive blend of cool (and often violent) action, twisted humor, puzzling fantasy and contrived melodrama replete with the (decently portrayed) characters sporting the weirdest of hairdos and possessing the oddest of powers called 'Stands', from a carnivorous water 'parasite' (Aqua Necklace) to miniature toy soldiers in full gear (Bad Company).

13 Apr 2018

Reaching for the Stars

Reaching for the Stars,
mending the primordial scars,
deep inside he finds
just another dream
- the stream of lust.

 (click to enlarge)