Minari (미나리)

Director: Lee Isaac Chung
Writer: Lee Isaac Chung
Cast: Steven Yeun, Han Ye-ri, Alan Kim, Youn Yeo-jeong, Noel Kate Cho, Will Patton

The subject of immigration is one that is constantly relevant and portrayed in multiple ways through films. Most films that tackle the subject usually revolve around someone/a family trying to fit in amongst people of a different culture and/or race in a country they don’t know much about except that it’s supposed to provide better opportunities and a better life than they’ve experienced in their home country. They often face a lot of challenges, such as prejudice, abuse and exploitation. Chung’s semi-autobiographical Minari sees the Yi family, originally from South Korea, move from California, where they had already settled into American life, to Arkansas, in pursuit of the patriarch of the family’s dreams. They understand how America operates, they’ve learned a decent amount of English, the children are making friends and they seem to fit in easily (perhaps more easily done when there’s already a small community of Koreans in the town in which they settle). But what happens when, after the seemingly hardest part of immigration has passed, the pursuit of the “American Dream” proves to be the hardest part of all?

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The Academy Awards 2021 Nominees & Winners

oscars21

What can we say about the past year in cinema that hasn’t been said already. It’s been challenging to be able to see movies, even more so to make them. But, luckily for us, many great films were made pre-pandemic and were able to make it to online/streaming services over the past few months. Others were made during the pandemic, with safety measures in place, thus providing us with some much needed escapism. Governments around the world may be trying to cut funding to many arts programs and such, but if the past year has taught us anything, it’s that we need cinema/TV/theatre more than ever.

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2021 BAFTA Nominees & Winners

In spite of all the goings on of the past year, including the shuttering of cinemas for the most part, it’s been an exciting time for film (believe it or not). There has been perhaps one big silver lining: for the first time in cinematic history, all films of any level and any language have had a chance to be seen thanks to online streaming services. There has been minimal fighting for big screen time, less concern over box office performance and, maybe, more emphasis put onto the quality of films and filmmaking. As such, this years awards, including the BAFTAs, have had access to a much more diverse pool to select from. While not all award nominations have reflected that this year, some, such as the BAFTAs, are showing a fundamental shift in representation that reflects different genders, races and culture (this will be partly thanks to a new voting system which ensures all voters of the BAFTAs see all long-listed films before casting their vote)

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Greenland – Review

3 STARS

 

Director: Ric Roman Waugh
Writer: Chris Sparling
Cast: Gerard Butler, Morena Baccarin, Roger Dale Floyd

End-of-the-world/apocalyptic/disaster movies have always been a stalwart of the movie world, even more so since computer graphics were introduced into filmmaking, and right now, with the current situation in the world, they feel that much more prevalent and relevant. It’s also no surprise really to see Gerard Butler helm yet another action/disaster film (he’s pretty much king of them at this point, though I feel the title of one of his previous disaster movies, Geostorm, would have been more appropriate for this movie than simply Greenland – whoever gave it that title needs to be fired). Put ol’ Gerry-B back together with his Angel Has Fallen director, throw in the writer of claustrophobic thriller Buried (you know, that one with Ryan Reynolds in a box), then I suppose you can chuck in a producer from the John Wick series (Basil Iwanyk), and you may have something fairly interesting on your hands. Is Greenland an edge-of-your-seat, end-of-the-world, entertaining type of blockbuster, or will you just be left high and dry as the world falls apart all around you?

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Malcolm & Marie – Review

Screenshot_2021-02-08 Malcolm Marie (2021)

3 STARS

Director: Sam Levinson
Writer: Sam Levinson
Cast: John David Washington, Zendaya

If you watch the trailer for Malcolm & Marie, you’re probably going to be thinking that it’ll be akin to dramatic minimalist indie films featuring two characters spurting out life-defining thoughts and paradigms to each other (a cousin to the likes of Richard Linklater’s Before trilogy, for example). You wouldn’t be far off in your assumptions, but neither would you be satisfied with the description. Written, shot, and released entirely during the coronavirus pandemic (with all appropriate precautions taken, we’re assured), the trailer for Levinson’s film boasts something of an intellectual nature (nobody does black and white upon initial release these days unless it’s to make a point), with some of the industry’s top talent performing at their absolute best. Does Malcolm & Marie scratch the existential itch that often comes with dialogue- and monologue-heavy indies, or are we just left scratching our heads?

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