New Blu-ray Releases Terminator Dark Fate

This latest round-up of new Blu-rays (and one DVD!) includes two films that drop on January 28, and two you can scoop up right this second. The two films destined for shelves next week are Terminator: Dark Fate and Very Bad Things. The others – well, see for yourself. These are the new Blu-ray releases you should check out this week and beyond.

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pain and glory clip

One of the best films of 2019 was Pedro Almodóvar‘s Pain and Glory, one of the acclaimed director’s most personal films. Antonio Banderas plays a filmmaker very much inspired by Almodóvar himself, who finds himself looking back at his past while reconnecting with people he hasn’t seen in years. It’s a beautiful, poetic film, and it’s hitting Blu-ray today, January 21. In honor of the Blu-ray release, we’re debuting an exclusive Pain and Glory clip featuring an interview with Almodóvar.

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Hoai-Tran Bui’s Top 10 Movies of 2019

hoai-tran bui's top 10 movies of 2019

I don’t remember a year where I struggled more to narrow down my favorite movies. It’s almost ridiculous how jam-packed 2019 was with excellent films: from stunning debut features to contemplative epics by masters of their craft, to character dramas that plunged into unimagined depths, to cozy family fables that unexpectedly cut like a knife, to the embarrassment of riches floating in from abroad. Movies had so much to say, and they said it brilliantly.

These are just a few of my favorite things, but even at the last minute I was shuffling this list around. So in honor of those movies that almost made the cut, here are my honorable mentions:  The Irishman, The Lighthouse, Us, Ad Astra, Marriage Story, Varda by Agnes, John Wick Chapter 3, Transit, Long Day’s Journey Into Night.

With that, here are my top 10 movies of 2019.

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5 Great Films From The New York Film Festival 2019

Best of NYFF 2019

The New York Film Festival has always played host to a multitude of perspectives, from its globe-spanning Main Slate, to its experimental Projections programme, to the more recent, virtual reality-centric Convergence. The 57th iteration of city’s premiere film event unfolded across two weeks at Lincoln Center, with this year’s proceedings dedicated to the late Agnès Varda, an NYFF mainstay (her final film, Varda by Agnès, was also featured). 

The crown jewel of the fest was undoubtedly its Opening Night selection, Martin Scorsese’s The Irishman. The ludicrously expensive Netflix production was so in-demand that even its press screening had to be moved from the usual location — the 268-seat Walter Reade Theatre — to Lincoln Center’s prestigious, 1086-capacity Alice Tully Hall. Netflix also held the New York premiere for Noah Baumbach’s Marriage Story (this year’s Centerpiece film) and Warner Bros.’ Joker even made its final festival stop after Venice and TIFF. However, lesser-known, unconventional works also found their way into the spotlight, like Catalan filmmaker Albert Serra’s sexually-charged Liberté and Minh Quý Truong’s experimental Vietnamese sci-fi doc The Treehouse.

As usual, the programmers — among them, retiring festival director Kent Jones — scoured every corner of the globe for unique points of view, and the results were astounding. Here are five films from around the world that exemplify the best of NYFF 2019. Read More »

New York Film Festival Main Slate 2019

I’ve heard from many a festival-goer that it’s possible to work through the entire New York Film Festival lineup – or at least its premier section, the Main Slate – given how the event spreads out manageably over the course of seventeen days all at Lincoln Center. But with schedule conflicts or lack of interest in certain titles, it’s a feat seldom seen or accomplished. Or, maybe given how gluttonous I feel after having done this myself, people choose not to brag about it if they do manage to pull it off.

While battling fatigue as well as exhaustion, plus countless instances of doubting if this was something I actually wanted to do, I managed to see all 29 films programmed in this year’s NYFF Main Slate. (If you’re the ranking type, I did just that over on Letterboxd.) I learned plenty about myself and some masochistic moviegoing habits after subjecting myself to this marathon of viewing contemporary cinema, but that’s a subject for another piece. It’s impossible to watch this incredible selection of films from across the globe and not have some larger takeaways about trends, patterns and parallels. Here are ten lessons from surveying the Main Slate in its entirety. Read More »

New York Film Festival 2019

In my six years of attending the New York Film Festival, I’ve grown increasingly appreciative of the unique position its organizers have carved out in the fall festival landscape. Ideally timed between the premiere frenzy of late August/early September and the mad dash for awards of November and December, NYFF keeps its focus solely on the films and their creators. For 17 days, the newly-branded Film at Lincoln Center invites New Yorkers to partake in a manageable, curated slate of favorites from across the global festival circuit. The 2019 edition of NYFF casts a particularly wide net, too — apart from the festival’s three big Friday night galas, the Main Slate features only one English-language feature.

But if you’re not going to be in New York to see these films, why not use the time to catch up on the back catalogues of the directors in the NYFF selection? This year’s Main Slate features both emerging international voices and widely recognized masters alike, presenting a unique opportunity to broaden your cinematic horizons. Below are ten films playing at the festival (some of which I’ve been fortunate enough to see prior to NYFF’s official kickoff) and ten films you can watch to prepare yourself from the comfort of your own home. Read More »

pain and glory review

Filmmakers – especially those who auteurs who shape the story of their respective films – often draw on personal experiences. It’s a time-honored tradition, with Federico Fellini’s 8 ½ being perhaps the most famous, respectable example. Pedro Almodovar‘s Pain and Glory is yet another prime instance, and there are times when watching the film that one wonders if it’s all too personal – turning the audience into true voyeurs, peering into the furthest recesses of another person’s heart and soul. In many ways, this is Almodovar’s most “normal” movie, but it’s also one of his best, a lovely, tender work of art that finds beauty in personal pain.

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