By: Henry J. Fromage –
Another week gearing up for the New York Asian Film Festival- full reviews to come on pretty much all of these.
144. Cars 3
This is exactly the Pixar Cars sequel you expect it to be- but instead of following up on the oddly Bond-themed, Mater-heavy antics of the first, this one wisely hearkens back to the relative successes of the first film. It’s just too bad that they feel the need to trade in on the nostalgia that Paul Newman and his soon thereafter passing imbued that film with. Disney’s getting too comfortable with this actor resurrection business for my tastes.
145. Ordinary Person
This Korean film follows a dirty cop as he investigates what may be Korea’s first serial killer and finds that the official interest in the case may open doors to him he never thought possible. Everything comes with a price, though, and he’ll need to weigh whether this newfound privilege is worth what soul he has left. Solid Korean genre fare with an interesting historical setting- near the fall of the military dictatorship that ruled it for decades.
146. A Quiet Dream
This is a capital ‘A’ Art film, the kind of black and white, conversation-driven, director-worshipping near plotless and opaque critical darling that populates film festivals the world over. This one happens to be Korean, opening the Busan Film Festival last year, and despite reviews from Variety and the Hollywood Reporter, I have a hard time distinguishing it from its Art film brethren. Pretty forgettable.
147. After Last Season
Less forgettable is this purely bizarre new entry in the ‘So Bad Its Good’ canon. After Last Season is every bit as shoddy, nonsensical, cheap, and singular as your Fateful Findings or Birdemics, but more of a mindfuck than a laughfest, as cardboard box and paper MRIs and cheap Casio soundtracked chairs on strings and post-it note computer chips gild an incomprehensible sci-fi plot that appears to be going for Tron meets Minority Report meets an abandoned cardboard box factory advertisement. Just… awful.
148. Vanishing Time: A Boy Who Returned
As with many of these Korean flicks, I’ve gone in complete cold and been flabbergasted at each bizarre tonal shift and big plot twist until, roughly halfway through, I figure out what kind of movie it’s trying to be. Vanishing Time is the absolute pinnacle of this, and I’m just going to drop a Stranger Things meets Inception tagline and leave it there. Is it good… I think so? Is it goddamn audacious and original? Absolutely.
Orange is the New Black: Season 5
Some folks call this season a misstep, but I for one don’t see it. Entirely focused on the riot that broke out at the end of Season 4, Season 5 does an excellent job developing a host of characters it’s barely touched for a few years, even making Piscatella a goddamn tragic figure somehow. It’s really quite amazing what this creative team can do with such an incredibly diverse and talented cast (with Tasha Jefferson’s Taystee firmly cementing herself as the MVP- an Emmy or bust for this woman, please). I will keep watching this show as long as they keep putting out another season of the most singular and surprising show out there in my opinion.