Film Review: Mortal Engines

Written By: Riyan Bajric

The latest contrivance from Peter Jackson, Mortal Engines is a post-apocalyptic action thriller on wheels. The film was penned and produced by Jackson with newcomer Christian Rivers making his feature film directorial debut under Jackson’s wing. The concept of Mortal Engines is set thousands of years ahead of our time. After what was known of the “Sixty Minute War”, the Earth’s crust has shattered resulting in a large loss of the earth’s surface area and natural resources. The loss of resources is the main motivating factor behind entire cities transforming their societies into moving war machines. Their only goal; strategizing towards conquering one another for resources. These concepts do not stray far from our own political climate in its current state. The amped up and glamorized special effects make these concepts of moving beasts of cities a fantastic steam-punk fuelled spectacle that gets your gears going.  Continue reading

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Film Review: Shoplifters

Written By: Riyan Bajric

Shoplifters by Hirokazu Koreeda is one of the most beautiful portraits of the family household and its elements ever graced on-screen, and yes, that is how I am starting this review. While the last little while has been an array of firsts, experiencing a Koreeda film, I found myself recalling immortal auteurs like Yasujiro Ozu with his “seasons” series of melodramas, chiefly revolving around domestic trials and tribulations of man and humanity itself. At times I found it played like a Vittorio De Sica film, sprawling with driven poverty and poetic synthesis, proving on being a companion piece to his infamous Bicycle Thieves. While this film is already in the company of great films, winning the Palme D’Or at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, Shoplifters is absolutely spellbinding! It’s a film that is reviving the idea that modern cinema can move and transcend audiences in the most simplistic and organic of settings and motions.  Continue reading

Film Review: The House That Jack Built (Unrated Director’s Cut)

Written By: Riyan Bajric

My relationship with Lars von Trier can be described best in one word; boundless. Luckily for myself, although my relationship only began a few days ago with this passionate and highly cynical director, I’m sure glad that a relationship flourished at all. While his name had been mentioned to me in passing countless times, I never really sat down and truly experienced a von Trier film, that is, until I watched The House That Jack Built. Yet, not like most, I experienced von Trier on a different level most people would, attending a very exclusive and rare unrated director’s cut of Jack. To say the least, it is with all honesty and truth, I can say that it wasn’t until I watched this film that I truly understood how far the boundaries of cinema can be pushed. Continue reading

Film Review: Clara

Science fiction is a highly inventive and audacious genre of film to tackle, especially at the indie level of filmmaking. For the most part, successful science fiction films with bold visuals, even bolder visions and stories, as well as ballsy revelations are either done with huge budgets backed by studios who’s deep pockets help drive narratives and give life to outer world creations or are given to established filmmakers to see through their visions of the greater unknown. With the likes of Christopher Nolan and Steven Spielberg saturating the science fiction film market, indie filmmakers rely heavily on interesting, unique and mind-blowing narratives to help their science fiction dreams become a reality. In recent memory, some of the more memorable indie science fictions films to come in the last decade have come from independent wonders like Make Cahill, who’s low-budget science fiction films I, Origins and of course Another Earth shook Sundance and the independent society on their head thanks to never before realized stories of identity, mortality and space set in world’s not too far from our own. With Clara, our very own Cahill-esque filmmaker Akash Sherman, hailing from our native Toronto, Canada, tackles the very tricky indie/science fiction territory with love, grace, and an emotionally driven narrative.  Sherman, who at twenty-three years old, thought of the story of Clara while in class with a friend, fleshed out the basis of his sophomore feature film on the basis of two polar opposites falling in love, even despite the fact that each of their worlds is crashing right before their eyes.  Continue reading