Featured Post

September Film Favorites

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.

Read more »
READ MORE

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! 

Read more »
READ MORE

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. 

Read more »
READ MORE

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
Read more »
READ MORE

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.


   


    



   




   




Read more »
READ MORE