Burning (버닝) – Review

burning

4 STARS

Director: Lee Chang-dong
Cast: Yoo Ah-in, Steven Yeun, Jun Jong-seo

The nominees in the Best Foreign Language Film category of this year’s Academy Awards are all very strong contenders, from Alfonso Cuarón’s Roma to Pawel Pawlikowski’s Cold War. Despite making the short-list, and being the first Korean film to do so, Lee Chang-dong’s Burning couldn’t quite reach the finals. However, it says a lot that it even made the semis, an unsurprising achievement after its success at the Cannes Film Festival last year. At the very least it provides audiences with a good reason to part with their money in order to see this adaptation of Haruki Murakami’s short story Barn Burning. Although it’s been garnering much in the way of critical acclaim over the past year or so, how does Burning really fare from a regular audience perspective?

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Alita: Battle Angel – Review

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3 STARS

Director: Robert Rodriguez
Cast: Rosa Salazar, Christoph Waltz, Jennifer Connolly, Mahershala Ali, Keean Johnson, Ed Skrein

Whenever a film comes along that has some kind of new technological advancement behind many of the effects, you can almost always guarantee that James Cameron is involved. Chances are he’s also been waiting a couple of decades for the technology to catch up with his imagination. Alita: Battle Angel is just one of those films that’s been waiting in the wings since before Titanic (the film, not the actual 1912 sinking, though perhaps it feels that long to Cameron). Having given up directorial duties and handed the reins to fellow top filmmaker Robert Rodriguez and stepping back into a producing role while he works on the abundance of Avatar movies, Cameron has once again pushed the boundaries of visual effects in filmmaking. But have he and Rodriguez created an all-rounder, or does the story lack where the effects triumph?

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Mary Poppins Returns – Review

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2 STARS

Director: Rob Marshall
Cast: Emily Blunt, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Ben Whishaw, Emily Mortimer, Pixie Davies, Nathanael Saleh, Joel Dawson, Julie Walters, Colin Firth, Meryl Streep

In 1964, Walt Disney bestowed upon the world one of his best-loved films of all time that has been a classic for decades since: Mary Poppins. Based on the books by P.L. Travers, it starred the wonderful Julie Andrews as the titular nanny and the ever-entertaining Dick Van Dyke as jack-of-all-trades and friend to Mary, Bert. Fifty-four years later (and now holding the record for the longest amount of time between a film and its sequel) we have Mary Poppins Returns, in which Emily Blunt takes over the role of Mary with Lin-Manuel Miranda as Bert’s somewhat counterpart Jack. With the ’64 film being such a beloved film amongst people of all ages, is the return of Mary Poppins every bit the spoonful of sugar the original was, or is it much less than supercalifragilisticexpialidocious?

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What’s On – February 2019

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Now we have all the Golden Globes out of the way and the BAFTA and Academy Award nominations out in the open, it’s time for mainstream audiences to catch up on what all the fuss is about surrounding particular movies, movies that may not have otherwise had a wider release without their awards buzz. Award-worthy movies aside, there’s a lot of seriousness going on in this month’s releases, with only a handful of lighter films to take the edge off. This month’s top three to-see movies have all received at least one nomination in a particular category, so something about them must definitely be worth the watch, despite their not-always-so-lighthearted storylines.

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Glass – Review

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2 STARS

Director: M. Night Shyamalan
Cast: Samuel L. Jackson, James McAvoy, Bruce Willis, Sarah Paulson, Spencer Treat Clark, Anya Taylor-Joy, Charlayne Woodard

Movies about superheroes are ten-a-penny these days. With Marvel and DC battling it out continuously alongside lesser-known publishers such as Dark Horse (Hellboy, Sin City), particularly using characters that were created nearly a century ago, it can’t be easy for any newcomers to make their mark. But damn it, they will try. Enter M. Night Shyamalan, a writer/director known for his darker themes and often interesting twists. Shyamalan has spent the better part of the past twenty years pulling his own universe of heroes and villains together through 2000’s Unbreakable and 2016’s Split, and it has resulted in Glass, the third of an originally unintended trilogy. Despite all this time creating his characters and setting the foundation for their world, has he actually succeeded in creating something new that sets itself apart from the likes of Batman and Gotham City or Iron Man and the Avengers?

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