Badass Femmes is a bi-weekly column that I write on Crome Yellow about all the Badass Females in pop culture that has shaped my life.

We’ve all been there, overcome and desperately in need of that bright light of inspiration. I, for one, tend to look towards the women around me to find motivation, but also keep coming back to one of the first characters that encouraged me to embrace who I was. Surprisingly enough, that character was Elle Woods from Legally Blonde. Even though I was an angsty 13-year-old, like Elle, I too was labeled a supreme ditz with a disgustingly peppy attitude, a “blonde” who was not actually blonde. Sure, I wasn’t sporting her sparkly pink wardrobe, but her determination to be seen beyond a socially embedded stereotype ignited a power within me to basically embrace the “fuck the rest and do me” mantra. At such a young age where the odds seemed against us both, she was the light in my dark, long tunnel, proving once and for all, that women could have it all – brains and beauty. If Elle Woods could do it, then so could I.

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Another month, another Marvel film in the works and this time, it's Doctor Strange! And speaking of strange, I honestly didn't even know who Doctor Strange was till someone mentioned that Tilda Swinton was playing an Asian character. Even with that distasteful choice in casting, the premise doesn't sound too interesting. The film follows a brilliant but arrogant surgeon who gets a new lease on life when a sorcerer takes him under his wings and trains him to defend the world against evil after his career is destroyed. The trailer makes it seem like the films going be Inception + Karate Kid, which I'm not too hyped to see. Check out my reaction and let me know what you think!

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This came out of nowhere but glad it did! The trailer for Gareth Edwards' Rogue One dropped last week and just quenched everyone's thirst for anything Star Wars related with a punch! Rogue One is the first anthology Star Wars film to come out and by the looks of it, I am liking what I an seeing. It's a lot darker and seems less "space opera"ish than we're used to seeing. So Rogue One follows resistance fighters (Felicity Jones & Diego Luna), who embark on a daring mission to steal the Empire's plan for the Death Star. That is one hell of a premise! This film also has a diverse and killer cast consisting of Forrest Whitaker, Donnie Yen (OMGOMGOMG!!!), Riz Ahmed, Ben Mendelsohn, in addition to the fantastic Jones and Luna! December 16 needs to come now!

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In timely fashion, Nicolas Winding Refn dropped The Neon Demon trailer as soon as it was announced that the film was going to be premiering at Cannes Film Festival come May. Many may say that Refn hasn't been on his best game since after Drive but I think the contrary. It was actually Drive, that I did not like and his film thereafter, Only God Forgives where I started to become more intrigued by his new found style and themes. In The Neon Demon, the story follows Jesse played by Elle Fanning, an aspiring model who moves to Los Angeles, where her vitality and youth is the envy of a group of beauty-obsessed women who will use any means to obtain it. Oh man, this is so Hollywood. 



At this point, Refn's electric and candy-pop imagery paired with violently dark themes is singularly his style, that everyone by now should know what a Refn film will be like. All that glitter, beautiful women, and did I hear Keanu?! Yeah, I'm ecstactic and can't wait for it to premiere at Cannes despite that most of the old farts there gave him a big fat thumbs down when Only God Forgives premiered in 2013. And especially with his films, I truly cannot rely on other people's opinions because it's always a hit or miss for me so I shall see when it is released in June! Oh boy, it can't come soon enough! This year just got 100% more gory and nightmarish. Bring it on, Refn.

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Don't mistake Maya Vitkova's Bulgarian film, Viktoria for last year's one take heist thriller, Victoria! They may have the same film title, but they couldn't be more different from one another. After being 2014 Sundance hit film, Viktoria is finally getting released only in New York on April 29th, distributed by Big World Pictures

The official synopsis for Viktoria provided by Big World states that the film "follows three generation of women in the final years of the People's Republic of Bulgaria and the early years of the transition to democracy. The film focuses on reluctant mother Boryana and her daughter Viktoria, who is born without an umbilical cord. Unwanted by her mother, Viktoria is named the country's Baby of the Decade, and is showered with gifts and attention until the disintegration of the Eat Bloc. Despite throwing their worlds off balance, the resulting political changes also allow for the possibility of reconciliation."



As you can see just by the trailer, the gorgeous cinematography does all the talking. Even if we don't know what the film is about just by the trailer, every single shot provides provides the highest caliber of visual poetry that makes us want to know more! Vitkova wrote, directed, and produced the film, which was the first Bulgarian film to screen at Sundance. It's such an interesting premise that combines family struggles with political allegory. I sadly missed my chance to watch this film when it came to AFI FEST last year but I'm glad to hear at least New Yorkers get to feast their eyes on this glorious film! Hopefully it comes to LA soon!

EDIT (4/13/16): HOOOLLLLLYYYYY MOTHER. Queen Maya Vitkova herself shared and commented on this post saying that Viktoria will be coming to LA on June 10th! I'll definitely see you there Maya! <33



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Year: 2016
Director: Karyn Kusama
Writer: Phil Hay, Matt Manfredi
Cinematographer: Bobby Shore
Cast: Logan Marshall-Green, Emayatzy Corinealdi, John Carroll Lynch, Michiel Huisman, Tammy Blanchard
Country of Origin: USA
Time: 100 min.


Crome Yellow and I went to Beyond Fest and one of our favorite films was Karyn Kusama's The Invitation! While attending a dinner party and his former home, Will (Marshall-Green) thinks his ex-wife Eden (Blanchard) and her new husband (Huisman) have other sinister intentions for him and the guests. I have been a huge fan of Kusama's earlier works like Girlfight and Jennifer's Body but The Invitation is by far her most masterful work yet! She crafts this suffocatingly tense thriller with such precision and  artistry, the results will make you completely rethink dinner parties for good! Drafthouse Films is releasing the film next April which cannot come soon enough! 



This post was originally posted 12/9/15
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I've been waiting all year for this year's "wackiest & wtffff" film and it seems like it has arrived. The directing duo Daniels aka Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert's Swiss Army Man starring Paul Dano and Daniel Radcliffe is getting intense buzz and being dubbed as the "farting corpse film" (just watch the trailer). It premiered at this year's Sundance Film Festival where it went on to claim the Best Directing award in the U.S. Dramatic category which is not too shabby for their first feature! Hank (Dano) is on the verge of committing suicide when he finds a corpse (Radcliffe) washed up to shore and together they go on a surreal adventure to get home. Sounds like it's going to be a wiiiiild ride.



There's no denying the spectacularly surreal trailer filled with exhilarating, quirky, and humorous moments that makes Swiss Army Man one of my most anticipated films of this year! The two Daniels are the mastermind behind award-winning music video, Turn Down for What by Lil Jon & DJ Snake which is so outrageously hilarious and bonkers, I don't expect anything less from these two. Whether it is Dano using Radcliffe's body as a rapid-fire machine gun or a racing speedboat, there lies a deeper message of the beauty of life that guts us right in our feels. Larkin Seiple's intensely rich and luscious cinematography boasts vibrancy and sincerity in every shot to bring this farting dead body story to life (literally)! A24 has our backs and is releasing Swiss Army Man to theaters on June 17th. I'll see you guys all there with my very own Bernie by my side!


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Year: 2016
Director: Dan Trachtenberg
Writer: Josh Campbell, Matthew Stuecken, Damian Chazelle
Cinematographer: Jeff Cutter
Cast: John Goodman, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, John Gallagher Jr.
Country of Origin: USA
Rating: PG-13
Time: 103 mins.



Just when we didn't think we needed another sequel, 10 Cloverfield Lane proves that another rendition of the same material can work with a razor-sharp script and powerhouse performances. I had not watch the first Cloverfield film but as I've heard, 10 Cloverfield Lane is more like a cousin film rather than a sequel. Set in the same realm, Michelle (Winstead) wakes up after surviving a horrible accident, to find herself trapped in a cellar by a doomsday prepper (Goodman) who insists that he saved her life from the apocalyptic catastrophe that is occurring outside. It's a true nightmare when you have to decide which version of the a nightmare is more bearable, the human or extraterrestrial form?



10 Cloverfield Lane is one hell of a directorial debut feature by Dan Trachtenberg who utilizes his knit-tight and well-paced script to its full potential. It's clever, grounded, and one exhilarating ride that keeps you guessing till the very end! It's been a while since I've left a theater thinking "What a fantastic and well-done movie!". You have never seen John Goodman this good and he will seriously scare the pants off of you! And of course, the lovely Mary Elizabeth Winstead is incredible to watch as she commands every scene to escape this very dangerous situation by any means possible! (She's my hero!) This is one of the better films to have come out in 2016 and I can't wait to see what Trachtenberg does next!

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Badass Femmes is a bi-weekly column that I write on Crome Yellow about all the Badass Females in pop culture that has shaped my life.

As a woman in a male dominated world, it’s easy to feel helpless and preyed upon, having most of our opinions sidelined and our bodies served as eye candy. Needless to say, it’s an idea our media is happy to uphold, and one that Tim Burton’s iconic Batman Returns brings to light so well through Selina Kyle. Played by Michelle Pfeiffer, Kyle is the epitome of a working class woman, combating patriarchy and sexual harassment on the daily. It’s only when she hits rock bottom that she transforms into the resilient and powerful Catwoman, awakening a side of herself she never knew existed. Reborn as the lethal femme fatale, she fights against the very system that made her who she is – it’s a poignant, tragic transformation, one that’s too important to ignore

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Polish director Krzysztof Kieslowski is one of the most influential and visionary auteurs of all time. He has created some of the most lush, powerful, and resonating films of his era and still till this day is regarded as the most important pieces of cinema. His revolutionary Three Colors trilogy has been very dear to my heart and have singularly inspired my own work as a filmmaker. He taps into the beauty of human nature and show it in all it's raw, poignant, and transcendent essence. 

The people over at Bandb have put together a tribute documentary titled, Memoirs of an Angel, which provides a comprehensive and dynamic portrait of the unparalleled artist. Using footage from his films and documentary as well as interviews from Krzysztof Kieslowski: I'm So-So, I can't wait to watch this and more of his films. 


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It's safe to say that Jeremy Saulnier's Green Room is my most anticipated film of 2016. There's already been a two trailers released: the first trailer and the red band one. And before you say that it's already three too many trailers, you surely won't regret watching the new one which really amps up the intensity to a solid 110%. With impeccable anxiety-inducing editing, the trailer shows another glimpse of how relentless this film experience will be. Saulnier's not going let us go that easily. Especially with Patrick Stewart at the helm of this neo-nazi group that will stop at nothing to kill every last member of this punk-rock group. Breathe breathe breathe, grabs weapon tighter. Can it be April 15 already?!



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There are some things in life that you just can't unsee. THIS IS ONE OF THOSE THINGS! Samantha simply wants to be like every other girl and post up a selfie on Instagram but she can't because she was born with a butthole for a mouth. Yes, A BUTTHOLE FOR A MOUTH. Eduardo Casanova's grotesque yet endearing Spanish short film, Eat My Shit, takes a look at a girl who was  born different and it sends a direct and unforgettable message. It's one of the most outlandish, brilliant, and downright barf-inducing shorts I've ever witnessed (and survived) but you will be fantastically transfixed by it all! (Tbh, I'm scarred, horrified, & everything in between. Abort! Abort!) Eat My Shit is screening at SXSW in the Midnight Shorts Competition. I don't think anyone will ever be ready to see something like this so now is a good a time as any!

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"I'm not on a mission. I'm not trying to start a revolution." In MissMe: The Artful Vandal, renowned Montreal-based artist MissMe quit her successful job at one of the world's top advertising agencies and became an underground street artist. Director Mohammad Gorjestani crafts a beautifully shot and enthralling portrait of MissMe who simply just want to provide a counter-voice to the objectification of women in mainstream advertising. Although she has no intentions of starting a revolution, her work and voice is a powerful testament to the cause itself. MissMe posts up images of iconic and influential women like Nina Simone, Frida Kahlo, and even herself in her unmistakeable mouse mask. She's the kind of modern day superhero I've been waiting for. MissMe: The Artful Vandal premieres at SXSW in the Documentary Shorts competition.


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For those freaking out about the new revival of the beloved Ghostbusters film, I am right there with you! We live in an age of reboots and remakes so it's no surprise that they would make another Ghostbuster film and this time with women! Seemed like the only logical thing to do especially at the hands of Paul Feig and the stellar cast, I can already sense how amazing it'll be. Kristen Wiig, Melissa McCarthy, Leslie Jones, and Kate McKinnon are the four ghostbusters and they are not messing around! For those complaining about it featuring an all female cast, stop whining and make your own version then! For the meantime, the rest of us are going to enjoy this new rendition that is equally nostalgic as it is super duper fresh! Ghostbusters comes out July 15 so get ready world cause these exact kind of Ghostbusters we called for!

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OMG yes! The first full trailer of Karyn Kusama's latest film, The Invitation, is finally here and I can't wait for everyone to see this film! We got to see a glimpse of impending insanity within the film in the teaser a month ago but now, we get to see what the hell is actually going on in this film, at least a little more. When Will (Logan Marshall-Green) gets invited to his ex-wife's Eden and her new boo, David's dinner party, he suspects that they have set up a sinister plan for him and the guests. I don't think I'll ever see a Hollywood dinner party the same ever again.



I was fortunate enough to watch this film at last year's Beyond Fest and I was completely blown away. I have always loved Karyn Kusama since Girlfight (Badass Femme Certified!), but The Invitation has got to be her most sophisticated and refined piece of work to date! Crome Yellow and I gush about our love for this film in our full review (See review) and I don't think we're still over it! Accompanied by suffocating tension and gripping paranoia, The Invitation is a exquisite and well-crafted showcase about loss and grief. Drafthouse Films is releasing the film on April 8th so don't forget to RSVP to this party from hell! This is not only going to be one of the best films of this year but one dinner party you surely won't forget. 

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Badass Femmes is a bi-weekly column that I write on Crome Yellow about all the Badass Females in pop culture that has shaped my life.

Nowadays, there aren’t enough films about female friendships – at least not the ones that represent real women, hustling through life, singular interactions intact. This is why I keep coming back to F. Gary Gray’s iconic film, Set It Off, starring the some of the most prestigious black women of our time – Vivica A. Fox as Frankie, Jada Pinkett as Stony (before she was a Smith), Queen Latifah as Cleo and Kimberly Elise as Tisean. In truth, I could’ve written an entire Badass Femmes focused on Pinkett’s beautiful and resilient Stony, but these women individually are even more special as a whole. It’s who they are with and without each other that drives the film’s story. The results are an immaculately fleshed out and emotionally resonating film, showcasing the daily hustle of the working woman when faced with brutally real moments of economic crisis. These ladies represent the many real-life women out there who fearlessly make hard decisions when their backs are against the wall, reflecting a harsh reality that rings true today more than ever.

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The Girl Talk Series is back and this time it is Teen Edition in It's a Love & Hate Relationship.16-year-old Adriana and Vishwa discuss growing up in the digital age and their love & hate relationship with social media. It's hard enough being a teen but with the whole world at your finger tips, it's difficult not to be fazed by the immense pressures of judgement and anxiety that come with publicly sharing your life with everyone. As young as they may be, they share incredible insight on the inner turmoil of the effects of social media as well as the positive aspects of it. As the first generation to truly grow up in the digital age, they have mastered the ins and outs of social media and understand the protocol for the various platforms ranging from Instagram to Facebook to Snapchat to Vine. Their words and thoughts may transport you back to your own teenage years as they paint a picture of their world but underneath it all, their message is a universal one.


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As a daughter of a liquor store owner, I instantly become attached to stories of the race tensions that are still prominently present within the Los Angeles communities since the LA Riots. So it's no surprise that Macgregor aka Miguel de Olaso's short film, Los Angeles 1991 about exactly that, hits so close to home. Set in Los Angeles, the story is based on a real-life shooting that occurred at a local liquor store. It's a powerful drama about the intersecting lives of four different people whose presence and ethnicity are incessantly stereotyped and pit against one another. As much as we've seen this story before, the narration by Gordon Capps adds more context and richness to each character, even if it seems like from an outsider's perspective. In the end, it does make you wonder if there will ever be an end to this exhausting race war. Take a look.



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It's been three years since I was introduced to Ben Wheatley from Beyond Fest and I haven't looked back! He goes 0-100 from his previous film, the simplistic A Field in England to his most decadent piece of work yet in High-Rise starring the most beautiful cast -- Tom Hiddleston, Sienna Miller, Luke Evans, Elisabeth Moss, and Jeremy Irons. Based on the book by J.G. Ballard, the story follows Laing, a young doctor who joins a community in a luxury building that start to spiral out of control. I'm definitely getting some Snowpiercer vibes with the social commentary on the structure of classism. But knowing Wheatley, he's got something up his sleeve that will blow our brains out. 


Written by his real-life and film partner in crime, Amy Jump (Kill List, Sightseers), this is not going to be your average film about class systems. Everything about this trailer oozes with luxury and opulence that I feel like I'm literally swimming in a pool of $100s as we speak. I mean, look at that production design! The 17th century costumes! And all the beautiful white people that are about to embark in the battles of their lives! It is truly going to be a dazzling and exquisite spectacle especially by Wheatley standards. And if you don't know what I mean by that, do yourself a favor and watch my favorite film of his, Kill List. I would also like to take the time out to thank Wheatley for showing Tom Hiddleston in all his naked glory. I can't wait to see it allllllll (;D) when High-Rise comes out  on April 28th!

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Jeremy Saulnier is back and he's going harder than ever with his new film, Green Room. Starring an all-star cast consisting of Anton Yelchin, Alia Shawkat, Imogen Poots, and Patrick Stewart, the story follows a punk rock band who find themselves trapped in a secluded venue after witnessing a horrible act of violence! Normally, I don't see Patrick Stewart as a bad guy but seeing him in this trailer as the ringleader of the neo-nazis that the band is up against, sends intense chills down my spine! Macon Blair who has been with Saulnier's from the very beginning (ie: Murder Party) and the lead of Blue Ruin (See Review) returns with his head shaved and ready to rumble! Green Room is my most anticipated film of 2016 so I'm ecstatic that A24 is releasing it on April 15th! Get your weapons ready!


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After the tremendous success of Sean Baker's film, Tangerine, it was only natural that he would be getting offers left and right. But it was only in my wildest dreams that one of my favorite fashion powerhouses, the Japanese-Parisian line, KENZO would ever tap Baker to make their next short film. Introducing their collab short film, Snowbird features the KENZO Spring-Summer 2016 collection from Creative Directors Humberto Leon and Carol Lim. The story follows Young Theo (Abbey Lee), a young woman living in a remote desert community. Entirely shot on the iPhone, the story showcases a beautifully universal story that is equally whimsical as it is real. If there's anyone that can capture the gritty sweetness of real life, it's Sean Baker. 


I was fortunate enough to be invited to the Snowbird Premiere party this past Tuesday. It was incredibly delightful to see it on the big screen as it should be experienced with the music blasting through the speakers. I did not expect to see so many celebrities and fashion bloggers and while I am usually not starstruck, the sight of Carrie Brownstein made me squeal like a little piggy! 

But above all, Snowbird is one of my favorite things Sean has done yet! He continues to make refreshing and ground-breaking stories that are built around real people and communities and this time, in Slab City, CA. Accompanied by Stephonik Youth's kickass tunes, Snowbird hits all the right notes and even gives you a little extra with its surprising ending that'll have you reaching for the nearest tissue. I can't wait to see what he does next! But in the meantime, check out Tangerine (See Review) if you haven't!


(L-R: KENZO Creative Directors Humberto Leon and Carol Lim, Abbey Lee, & Director Sean Baker)
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Badass Femmes is a bi-weekly column that I write on Crome Yellow about all the Badass Females in pop culture that has shaped my life.

Raze doesn’t mess around, namely because it showcases a woman’s greatest fear (dying at the behest of a man), and strips its female characters of their freedom, showing who they are at their most feral, primal and unhinged. The premise of Raze is simple, exhibiting women who are survivors first and foremost, thrown into a ring and forced to fight their fellow female in a fight to the death – and all for entertainment. It’s the ultimate betrayal of each characters’ identity and worth, but also a celebration of women and sisterhood, as our heroines rise above their shitty circumstances to beat the system in the ultimate act of perseverance and sacrifice.

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Did someone say a new Sion Sono film?!?! If you happen to look at his IMDB page, apparently he has six films listed for 2015 including a tv movie. I don't know how the man does it but I am not complaining at all, quite the contrary! I am ecstatic to present another film by this idiosyncratic auteur who keeps tackling new genres in a visionary way only he can and this time, he brings us The Whispering Star. Starring his wife/actress Megumi Kagurazaka, plays Yoko, a robot deliverywoman who delivers packages to people around the galaxy on a floating house. But she begins to wonder what is in these boxes and more importantly, what it means to be human. 



I've loved his previous films like the bat-shit crazy Why Don't You Play in Hell (See review) & the swagged out Tokyo Tribe. And with The Whispering Star, he seems to be tackling another genre in a breathtaking way. Shot in b&w with a simplistic set design, this sci-fi feels reminiscent to the dreamy works of Fellini and a dash of Spike Jonze's Her. But we all know that once we see it, it'll feel 100% like a Sion film. The Whispering Star screened at TIFF '15 and although, it has no U.S. release date yet, I bet it'll get picked up in no time! I mean, someone's got to! It's SION SONO! 

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Could this short film be Gareth Evans' next project after his wildly successful The Raid films? Who knows but over the weekend, he dropped an untitled short film/test footage on his YouTube of footage that would fit the PG-13/12A rating so he could potentially make something that his daughter could watch. The results is an incredible 5-minute, action-packed, samurai fight that embodies the same kind of style and pace as his previous works. Hannah Al Rashid, Yayan Ruhian and Cecep Arif Rahman star in this knit-tight and thrilling short film that would make a worthy successor to the beloved The Raid films!

Storyline: In a time of civil war, a young warrior is given the task of delivering a treaty between two rival lords. During her journey through the woods however, she finds herself hunted by two assassins intent on intercepting her message of peace in a bid to maintain the fear, instabilty and violent rule of their leader. 

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Just when I thought 2014 was an incredible year for film, 2015 rolls up and kills the game even further. There were a plethora of tremendously groundbreaking, forward-thinking, fresh films this year but I picked 10 films that truly resonated with me to my core, ones that transported me to another realm, and films that were made by the blood and soul of a cinephile. I've thought a tremendous amount about my top films so you already know that these 10 films are my ride or die babies and I will back them up 110%! So without further ado, here are my top 10 films of 2015!



Top 10


Mad Max: Fury Road (Dir. George Miller)

It’s been 30 years since the last Mad Max film was released and with the long wait and arrival of Mad Max: Fury Road, it surpassed even the wildest dreams of the most hardcore fans! George Miller returns with a bigger and badder vision of his previous films, embodying a visual spectacle so grandiose, he elevates the genre and shows us how action films could be just as poetic and exhilarating at the hands of a mastermind by telling his story solely through action. This adrenaline-pumped, feverish, and ferocious goose chase is revisioned with a modern-day feminist stance which breaths fire into this already technically flawless film. It’s one film where as soon as it ended, I wanted to experience it again and again! // Trailer Reaction


Mustang (Dir. Deniz Gamze Ergüven)

It seems like every year, there is that one film that is deemed as a “Feminist Film” and this year, it is the Turkish film, Mustang. And while I was able to check off everything that make the film that genre, it completely surpassed all my expectations and more. Gorgeously shot and brilliantly acted by unknown actresses, the film portrays the raw vibrancy of sisterhood even in its darkest moments. The showcase of their resilience over their constant struggle was refreshing to witness as they navigate and fight against their oppression. This is one hell of a first feature by Ergüven that is self-assured, irresistible, and ultimately a powerful film.


Tangerine (Dir. Sean Baker)

It's no wonder why Sean Baker's Tangerine is on all top-lists of 2015! He gives us an all access pass into the unseen world of Sunset Blvd where two transgender sex-workers are the centerpieces of this explosive revenge film. Riotously hilarious as it is poignantly tender, the film pulsates with authenticity through its vibrant cinematography and raw performances. Utilizing the iPhone 5s, trap music, and a refreshing story,  Tangerine is one hell of a monster of a film that will chew you up and spit you back out! It's already become a Christmas classic that'll have you swerving down Santa Monica Blvd and screaming, Merry Christmas Bitch! // Full Review


45 Years (Dir. Andrew Haigh)

It's a special moment when a film with a simple narrative can leave a mark and marinate in the deepest corners of your soul, rendering it to be a gem to be cherished forever. That’s what 45 years did to me and now, I am weak at the knees just by it’s mention. It's incredible how a subject as foreign and vast as a 45-year marriage can seem so relatable especially in the quiet struggle of unexpected news that rocks one harmonious marriage. It's the radically quiet yet nuanced performance by Charlotte Rampling that shows the depths of the emotional complexity and struggle that is singularly translated through just her facial expressions. 


The Diary of a Teenage Girl (Dir. Marielle Heller)

Adapted by Phoebe Gloekner autobiographical graphic novel, The Diary of a Teenage Girl tells a teenage girl's sexual odyssey with an acute and quirky observation that makes Minnie a quintessential voice to girls everywhere. Accompanied by an animated spirit of comic-book creator Aline Kominsky (via. animator Sara Gunnarsdottir), we bear witness to Minnie's journey through girlhood in all its awkward, embarrassing, and equally rewarding journey as she experiences the perils of first love and claiming her burgeoning sexuality. Marielle Heller's directorial debut is a powerful one that is crafted with precision and sincerity to truthfully represent the complexity that lies within a teenage girl's thoughts and emotion without judgement. 

Magic Mike XXL (Dir. Gregory Jacobs)

Before you scoff at Magic Mike XXL, WATCH IT. Magic Mike XXL is one of the very few times the female gaze has been utilized and any use of it deserves praise and recognition! But even with that tremendous aspect, the film showed an honest and frank portrayal of brohood in all it's equally trivial and grandiose moments. Through the showcase of frank conversations of career aspirations, bromance, and female sexuality, the film exceeds all expectations and its predecessor. It’s one of the most fun cinematic experiences I’ve had in a while that had me hollering, wooing, and even in tears. It’s definitely one for the books. // Full Review


Victoria (Dir. Sebastian Schipper)

Victoria is an film that MUST be experienced.  It's a tour-de-force of a film and not just because of it's technical achievement of the 2.5 hour film being told all in ONE shot but because the film truly encapsulates the human experience in all its serendipitous moments and human connection, no matter how tragic. Taking place in real time and on the streets of Berlin, the story unravels steadily, taking us through a roller coast of emotions, a tender character study and ultimately showcasing one of the most audacious and ballsy cinematic experience yet. This is a MUST-SEE! // Trailer


The Revenant (Dir. Alejandro González Iñárritu)

You would think that Alejandro González Iñárritu would rest after winning his freshly pressed Oscar for last year’s Birdman but he did just the opposite and delivered an uncompromising film that is literally a tour-de-force of will in front and behind the camera. Reuniting up with visionary cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki once again, The Revenant transports you to another world with stunning visuals that creates an immersive and visceral experience through the story's rigorous content that emotionally and physically demands just as much from the viewer as it does from the lead character Hugh Glass, played by Leonardo DiCaprio. He gives an astonishing 200% commitment which only further proves why he's one of the best actors of the 21st century.


Sicario (Dir. Denis Villeneuve)

Denis Villeneuve is a master when it comes to telling stories of the human experience especially in relation to violence and crime so it's no surprise that Sicario is one hell of a blistering drug war drama that will undoubtably leave you high and dry. It is ruthless in content, immaculate in form, and sweltering in bleakness from start to finish. The film is a piercing reality check as we witness the cyclical and political engine of the drug war in America stronger than ever in this ceaselessly soul-crushing thriller. Emily Blunt as Kate, an idealistic FBI agent, delivers a nuanced performance that will surely haunt you for days after. Guarantee. // Full Review



Carol
(Dir. Todd Haynes)

Nobody can tell a 1950’s period piece quite like Todd Haynes can and Carol is proof of that. Adapted by Patricia Highsmith’s novel The Price of Salt, screenwriter Phyllis Nagy perfectly translates this love story with subtly and poise. Shooting on 16mm, every luscious shot by cinematographer Edward Lachman’s looks as if it should be framed and put up on The Louvre. It’s a love story as universal as it is realistic to the times. The performance by Rooney Mara shows the restrained and delicate nuances of the stirring and suppressed emotions of first love in a spectacular way. Every little detail down to the swoon worthy imagery to the sweeping music by Carter Burwell makes Carol one of the most decadent and moving love stories to date.

Honorable Mentions:

Runner Ups:
Ex-Machina

Festival Favorites:

The Tribe and Girlhood were also on my list last year but considering it's been making their rounds, I am mentioning them once again because they are fantastic!

Evolution
Sworn Virgin
Crush the Skull
My Love, Don't Cross that River
Out of my Hand
Twinsters

Documentaries:

The Wolfpack

Dior and I

Fiction:

Goodnight Mommy

Goodnight Mommy
Son of Saul

Furious 7
The Assassin
Spy

The Big Short
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My love for posters has grown tremendously over the years and so whenever a film comes out, I anticipate the release of the film poster because it truly is another extension of the film's visual language and the essence of the film. In addition to 2014's Best Posters, this year's roster of great film posters was nothing but outstanding! Whether it is the vibrant and eye-catching imagery of Iris, the beautifully sun-soaked snapshot of Tangerine, or the powerful and poignant poster of White God, each of these film posters translates their film so gorgeously, I can't help but marvel at their artistry. Enjoy!


    



Shout out to PosterPosse for always keepin' it 100.


   


    



   




   




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