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8/10
Well executed
1 January 2020
It's possible to tell a story about the so-called negative aspects of a culture without belittling the group or individuals involved. This is something directors, particularly of African descent, seem to be lacking, imo. In other words, if there's no brutality depicted , then it's "not capturing the rawness of reality" ...Ms DuVernay defies this false notion and I've noticed she has be stealthily doing so for quite a while now. I would be proud to call her my daughter, sister, or partner if I had such a relationship with her. unfortunately, I'll just have to settle for a proud, admiring fan. The lesson here: It's all about humanizing the characters, not trashing their existence, Well done!.
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10/10
How did (does) she do it?
30 November 2019
There are a few stills on IMDB of from the film, one in particular where the lead character (played by Jeon Do-yeon) is sitting in a Church. I looked at that picture over a year after I watched the film and tears came to my eyes. This woman doesn't just play the role, she becomes it. There is no other way to explain the grief she expresses. You know when you are watching an incredible performance when for moments, if not the duration, you are hypnotized into believing you are watching someone truly experiencing what they are sharing in a performance. I can only imagine the potential traumas of "channeling" such a performance. In an interview by another actor (Michael K Williams), he talked about tools that are available to actors to allow them to comfortably return to reality without the stress (ptsd) from going in "too deep". Jeon Do-yeon's performance reminded me of that interview because I wonder how she did not "crack-up" after this film. You do not simply switch on and off without being affected unless you are extremely talented. I repeat, EXTREMELY talented. It is not enough to say Jeon Do-yeon is the best (that I am aware of) from South Korea; she is among the absolute best on this planet!
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Default (2018)
8/10
When a Tiger stumbles...
27 November 2019
If you are a global financial news/history enthusiast, then you'll enjoy this film. Though the film tends to oversimplify the actual events, it is still informative and entertaining. Very good production, good performances from key members of the cast, and well placed newsreels from the actual crisis give the film a realistic feel without coming across as a documentary.
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Shoplifters (2018)
6/10
interesting, but not special.
30 August 2019
This film provides a glimpse at a side of Japan we don't usually see on film. Yes, there is (petty) crime in Japan; yes, there are poor people in Japan; and yes, there is a welfare system in Japan. The impression of all is pristine and proper in Japan is dispelled, and we see a more realistic, human side of the culture. I'm not sure if the hype is what spoiled it for me, but I will say there are some very good performances here, but the story is nothing exceptional except for the fact that it's taking place in Japan.
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Parasite (2019)
5/10
This is not a good film!
17 August 2019
3 observations came to mind after watching this film:

When you have a film whose sole purpose appears to be to make some sort of metaphorical analogy of society, you will invariably find gaping holes in its plot, which the director will simply expect you to overlook.

There is no longer a "safe" outlet where one can find honest reviews of any sort, for any film, including forum sites, where people are supposed to share honest, unbiased opinions. And definitely not this site!

The goal of the army of "recruited" reviewers is to get you, the consumer, to watch the film. Period.
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Mrs. Wilson (2018)
6/10
Boring!
6 May 2019
I got through an episode and a half before caving in. I just couldn't tolerate the (overplayed) lead any longer.
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The Lizard (2004)
8/10
Leave your political opinions of Iran at the door...
2 May 2019
I wanted to rate this film a 7 at first, mainly due to an inexplicable anger I felt toward Iran. I am not American, neither am I European, but I have lived in both parts of the globe to have been brain washed enough into perceiving Iran as one of the "evil ones". And it wasn't until I saw this film that I came to realize my biases. I kept judging the socio-political structure of the country, as if it is my position to do so. This a funny film. period. The cultural nuances make it a bit quirky at times, but if you are well traveled or a fan of foreign films in general, then you should be equipped to deal with the quirkiness. Either way, it's a positive cultural revelation of Iran on some levels. I would have given it a higher rating if the pace wasn't a bit slow for my liking.
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Burning (2018)
5/10
2 good looking dudes....
8 October 2018
...is the only explanation for the initial rave reviews for this dull wannabe-artsy gen-z film, with very little substance whatsoever. I kept on waiting for a climax that never arrived. The director obviously has the clout to bring together top Korean talent, but that's about it. The script, based on a short story (that appeared in The New Yorker) by Haruki Murakami (equally boring), is beyond what I would call weak, and the only consolation when it was all said and done, for me, was that I didn't pay to see it!!!
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7/10
More a 7.5 than a 7
10 September 2018
This film's weak point is the seemingly predictable slow place. A presumptuous viewer, like myself, would draw conclusions and either walk-out or doze off. The script, for the most part, simply lacks engagement. Luckily I sat it through. What'll seem to be a stupid plot will prove otherwise if you can summon the patience until about the last 10 minutes. Despite a very good performance, Choi Ming-sik still needs to find a script with a Korean director (or otherwise) who can tap into his reserves, of the likes of past reminiscent performances, which we saw in Old Boy, I saw the Devil, Failan, etc. I still remain a HUGE fan though!
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Wood Job! (2014)
7/10
Quirky!
21 August 2018
An education on Japanese rural culture with a touch of comedy. There are a few silly, dull moments, but overall the film is quite enjoyable.
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Little Forest (2018)
4/10
Hubris!
20 August 2018
Hubris is the only explanation I could come up with as to why anyone would want to attempt to "improve" on a version that is already quite good, if not perfect. Watch the Japanese version instead!!
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8/10
The minimalistic lifestyle most of us crave.....
6 July 2018
Beautiful, poetic, ethereal. I started watching this late one night, and called it quits in the middle (from fatigue, not boredom), and the main character appeared in my dream. Get this, when I awoke early the following morning, I immediately returned to complete the film, went back to sleep after, and dreamed about the main character again. This would usually happen if I had left the film on and dozed off, but that was not the case. It was off. The beauty of the experience of watching this film was soo great that it permeated my dreams. And that's all I have to say about this gem.
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Steel Rain (2017)
6/10
Dull
27 March 2018
Implausible depiction of events combined with terrible acting. There are a few Koreans in the film who obviously cannot speak English, forcing the fact, and producing what sounds like pure gibberish! Foreigners based in Korea should be speaking to the natives in their tongue, not the other way around! This is not a terrible film, but it's also not a good one.
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7/10
A good account of events, but....
27 March 2018
Warning: Spoilers
Way too long! By episode 4, boredom starts to set-in based on predictability, even though I was unaware of the story, which prompted fast-forwarding. Also, there turns out to be a 40 minute documentary on Youtube with a lot more information than what Netflix presents in over 5 hours!

As far as the actual content goes, in my opinion, Sheela is probably the most genuine of them all. Her position as secretary (manager/assistant) is clear from the onset and she pretty much stays true to that role throughout. She simply worked for Bhagwan and was not one of his followers. Bhagwan basically betrayed her when she decided to leave, and if she had, in fact, stolen the amounts he had claimed, I doubt she would have done the Stern Magazine interview.

Bhagwan's lawyer, though a nice guy, is just another devotee with strong principles of loyalty. I like him as well, but not as much as Sheela.
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Time of Eve (2010)
8/10
To fall in love with a database?
26 March 2018
A very interesting perspective on the human-robot relationship of the future. Sophisticated computers (databases) masqueraded as robots or androids based on a few humanoid features. So how does one emotionally bond with a machine (database)? I cried toward the end of this film, so that alone is telling of the question for which the answer is not so cut and dry. I guess the mind of the human of the future will be more accepting or open to the idea of a machine satisfying all their emotional needs (we know the physical is already possible. wink, wink)
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9/10
Well done!!!
27 February 2018
I'm going to have to agree with a previous reviewer who called this "Hong Sang-Soo's first is his best" and add the words "to date". And if you are someone who has only watched his latest films (post 2010), you are in for a treat and will also understand what all the fuss is about this brilliant director. Once again, he proves that the simple the approach, the better the outcome. I consider myself a Korean film buff, to the point where I traveled to Seoul to get a first hand feel of the people and the environment I have seen in so many films. This film, though relatively old, captures more of what I saw while in Seoul than all the recent hollywood-esque films, which companies like CJ entertainment have been churning out. Maybe that's because, in part, plastic surgery wasn't the in-thing in Seoul in 1996. I would love to ask the director how he goes about casting his extras because I just can't figure out how he gets them to behave so naturally in front of the camera. No spoilers here....Go watch the film and enjoy!!
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Pieta (2012)
5/10
BAD
24 February 2018
I place myself on the average scale when it comes to patience, but I could only tolerate the first 5 minutes of this waste before switching it off and deleting the file from my hard-drive forever! Good riddance!
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8/10
Universality and complexity of human relationships
16 February 2018
The director has a knack for dissecting (or exposing) the human psychology, especially when it comes to sexual or relationship encounters in general. The nuances that we all experience intimately, but rarely discuss, are ever-present in his films, which is an aspect I enjoy. I also enjoy his minimalist approach to film making. Again, the meat of the story is about the relationships between people, so make-up and stunts are almost non-existent. I read somewhere that the director really likes the idea of spontaneity, and this is especially evident when he casts the extras. Watch how the extras look and behave like "normal" people. In other words, their roles are not contrived or over-played. If you enjoyed other works of this director (Sang-soo Hong), then this is a must see.
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L'amour fou (1969)
2/10
The word BORING doesn't justify...
18 December 2017
4 hours+ to tell a dull story! Chain smoking french men and women rehearsing for Greek play, and some weak-ass relationship drama on the side. That's it!!! I started fast forwarding after 40 minutes, and I can believe I actually endured that much. A complete waste of time, so don't bother!
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Marshland (2014)
6/10
Dull
7 December 2017
So many unnecessary characters and scenes in a film that runs out of steam before the finish-line. Also, it seems the director has a childish fascination with silly drone shots...Again unnecessary. This film was trying to make so many points that it ended-up making none. Watching this became tiresome after the first 15 minutes.
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Le Trou (1960)
8/10
Pure Authenticity
30 October 2017
Without a doubt, the authenticity of this film lies in the fact that the director chose to use real players of the actual event. Needless to say, this is a very well crafted piece of art, and as another reviewer put it: "The God is in the details". The acting is not top-notch, but this weakness simply exposes the real genius of the director. The situation itself overshadows all the individual players, and that's what the audience is compelled to focus on.

Thank you and RIP Jacques Becker!!!
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8/10
Step aside Sherlock Holmes!
13 August 2017
After all the hype for any film has settled, it's true worth is often, but not always, revealed in the IMDb ratings. I picked this film purely based on its high rating of 8, and it delivered just that - an 8! Very well executed, and you don't know what's coming at you until the very end. The production and acting is almost flawless; the hour and 45 minutes contain no dull moments.
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L'attesa (2015)
6/10
You will find yourself asking the same question
7 August 2017
Warning: Spoilers
Juliet Binoche's master-class skills as an actress are unequivocal, but the gargantuan task of convincing one into understanding why her character just couldn't bring herself to tell the truth was one that escaped me. I kept banging my fists on any solid object close by, saying "tell her!". Perhaps that was the intention of the director, or maybe it's because I'm a male, who has had no children, and probably never will, that made it difficult to understand the intensity of a mother's grief. Either way, I found the overall experience annoying, and only felt obligated to complete this film because of my loyalty to Ms.Binoche. I empathized (and cried)at the end when the long hug took place, but still didn't understand or accept the mother's behavior.
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Schizopolis (1996)
8/10
Audacious!
7 August 2017
A disjointed series of episodes in which Mr Soderbergh displays his talents as a writer, director and actor. Yes, as an actor too! There are, of course, going to to be some who just won't get this the thrust of humor because, frankly, it's not for everyone. But, if you are among the lucky few, in-tune with what this master of cinematic entertainment is trying to convey, you will enjoy the experience immensely. Once again, thank you Mr Soderbergh for sharing this very humorous vision with the world!
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8/10
Be patient
7 August 2017
I started watching this film a few years ago, and didn't finish it because my mind was saying, "There are only a few predictable scenarios here, so why bother!" And so I skipped it almost midway. I decided to give it a go again because I actually forgot I had seen it before, and I must say I was impressed all around. I gave the film 8 stars instead of 7 because of the ending, which is exactly why others may find it unsatisfying. A well written, and very plausible thriller, if you are patient enough to stick with it.
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