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Aloha

Aloha feels like several films at once, crammed together and sped up, with results that are emotionally hollow and narratively confusing.

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Tu dors Nicole

Funny, heartfelt, and gorgeously shot. This is an excellent film.

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Ballad of Narayama

"The Ballad of Narayama" is a Japanese film of great beauty and elegant artifice, telling a story of startling cruelty. What a space it opens…

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Monsieur Hire

Patrice Leconte's "Monsieur Hire" is a tragedy about loneliness and erotomania, told about two solitary people who have nothing else in common. It involves a…

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Seongyong Cho

Seongyong Cho

Seongyong Cho was born in Jeon-ju, South Korea. He did graduate work at the Korean Advanced Institute of Science
and Technology (KAIST) in Dae-jeon. His passion
for good movies continues its primitive rampage, which includes weekly pilgrimages
to the local multiplex. He started his blog in 2008 and writes nuumerous reviews. In the midst of that, he manages to find time for
books, music, exercise (usually treadmill and swimming), and corresponding
with other bloggers.

Deadly strangers on a train

"Transsiberian" is a Hitchcockian thriller decorated with icy wintry landscapes. It sets its tone right at the beginning, carefully developing an unstable feeling while loading the story. It steadily amplifies a sense of dread within its closed space. We sense something terrible will happen, and it does happen, but we are surprised because we suddenly find the movie rapidly accelerating on an unexpected course--and it never stops until it reaches to its finale literally approaching toward it from the opposite side.

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A nameless gangster in 2012's best South Korean film

Ik-hyeon is a sleazy piece of work you cannot help but look at with disgust and wonder. While he is corrupt, greedy, treacherous, opportunistic, vain, and foolish, he is also a wily scoundrel who may get away with his crimes and misdemeanors even when everything seems to fall down on him, and he is willing to win the game by any means necessary for his survival and advance in the system.

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A glory only for his father

Fathers are usually proud of their sons' achievements, but that is not the case with the orthodox scholar patriarch of the Israeli film "Footnote." His son's success adds another layer of envy and resentment to a lifelong grudge, and he hates when that happens. He has regarded his son and other prominent scholars as a bunch of superficial philistines who merely happen to be more popular than him, but he cannot help but envy their academic positions, and he desperately hopes for recognition as he stubbornly and solitarily sticks to his own uncompromising research methods deep in the library.

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A lonely day in August

Sometimes movies provide the moments I empathize with even though I am completely different from their characters. I remember how I sympathetically reacted to one particular scene around the end of "The Hurt Locker" (2008) because I would also be at a loss in its hero's circumstance unless my family or others accompanied me. Several months after watching that movie, I thought about that scene after wandering alone around the aisles of a big supermarket in the suburban area of Des Plaines, Illinois for at least more than 20 minutes until I settled on a loaf of white bread and a bottle of marmalade after lots and lots of hesitation.

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It's sometimes wise to call the cops

While he has been called "the Master of Suspense," Alfred Hitchcock has also been called "the Master of the Macabre," and that title is exemplified by his delightful black comedy "The Trouble with Harry" (1955). On the surface, it looks quite atypical compared to Hitchcock's more famous works, but this is a vintage story from a great director with a wry sense of humor, and it is also one of the most liveliest works in his exceptional career. Although somebody is dead, there is no suspense or danger or blond lady in the movie, and all we have to do is leisurely enjoy a pleasant walk with its funny characters as they try to deal with bizarre trouble on one fine autumn day in their ordinary peaceful rural town in Vermont.

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Sex, politics and dust-busting

When I watched "The Ides of March" (2011) early in this year, it took me back to my memories with Mike Nichols' "Primary Colors" (1998), which already told us almost everything the former wanted to tell. When I watched it in 1999, it looked like a sarcastic story inspired by Bill Clinton's first presidential election campaign in 1992, but now the movie looks more like a timeless political comedy drama which understands a lot about how politicians alternatively dazzle and disappoint us with their better and worse sides.

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One of the most disgusting horror films ever made

Some horror movies have mercy on uninformed audiences who have no idea about what they will get. The opening sequence of New Zealand horror film "Dead Alive" (1992), which is also known as "Braindead", is a good example because it kindly gives the audiences a very clear idea of what it about and how it is about. As the hero escapes from the natives of Skull Island (Southwest of Sumatra) with a mysterious creature dreaded by the natives, he accidentally gets bitten by the animal, hidden in a wooden crate. He says he's all right, but his local employees are suddenly frightened about that.

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The mysteries upon mysteries of Lisbon

A young boy curious about his birth. A priest with the long past behind him. A countess who gets involved in a doomed affair and then trapped in an unhappy marriage. A count who commits cruelty out of frustrated love. A criminal who accidentally gets the chance of lifetime to change his social status. A vengeful society woman who manipulates others to anger the man she is obsessed with. They might look like the characters randomly selected from several different books, but they are all the denizens of one labyrinthine tale which slowly reveals how their lives are intertwined with each other more than we thought at first.

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Once Upon a Time in Anatolia

Streaming on Netflix Instant.

It is quite a long night for them. They have been going around the wide area for hours, but they have not yet found what they are looking for. The sky gets darker, and they become more bored, tired, and frustrated in the deepening darkness. The wind blows ominously, the reeds on the field are shaken by the wind, and they begin to reflect on themselves as the search is being fruitlessly continued in front of their eyes.

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Through Glass, darkly

If you haven't heard about Stephen Glass, who was a former employee of the New Republic, you may think he is a nice lad who occasionally screws things up while you watch him at the beginning of "Shattered Glass" (2003). Sometimes it's not easy to be angry about him because he is so sweet and considerate to the people working with him. If it seems they find a problem or error caused by him, he quickly admits and apologizes to them while looking like he is nervous about whether they won't like him any more for that. He frequently asks to them as if he wanted to check that: "Are you mad at me?"

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