The besties review
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Needs a second watch, but first thoughts are as follows: nicely paced, great camera work, dynamite ending. Wasn't sold on it until about halfway through, but really loved it after that.
Can we get some more B&W, Italian neorealism-inspired movies please? I loved the direction, score, and lighting so much, but most of all I loved Karuna Banerjee’s performance as Sarbajaya. Can’t wait to see her again in Aparajito.
Country: Hong Kong
Unremarkable cop movie plot + Chaplin-level physical comedy + God-level action and stunt work = Good time.
P.S. Props to Jackie Chan and the whole team for realizing that the pole slide was so good they had to show it three times.
P.P.S. There’s a bit right before the pole slide where one of the goons uses a motorcycle to sweep Jackie Chan's leg and all I could think about was that damn Gemini Man trailer smh.
Country: Hong Kong
"Did I leave the faucet running, or is the apartment getting more weepy?"
There is so much juxtaposition in this movie and boy did I love it. Specifically, I loved how Wong jumped between between sparse, naturalistic dialogue and philosophical narration. The script itself is simple, but deceptively so. The Criterion extra feature with David Bordwell claimed that that Wong filmed in order and wrote the day's dialogue each morning before shooting... which is incredible considering how great this film is.
I also really liked the cinematography (particularly in part two) and the use of American music. The incessant repetition of "California Dreamin'" by The Mamas & the Papas is the clear highlight, but the emotional weight of "What a Difference a Day Makes" by Dinah Washington offers a lot as well. It’s rare to see a movie where single songs are used to such great effect, so for that alone I applaud. 👏👏👏
P.S. That part where the Tony Leung character talks to the stuffed animals and inanimate objects in his apartment as if they are also grieving — hot damn did I feel that
In the Mood for Love
Country: Hong Kong
Damn. I was definitely in the mood for In the Mood for Love. I didn’t realize this was the second part of a pseudo-trilogy from Wong Kar-wai until afterwards, but it didn’t really detract from the experience. I basically loved everything about this movie— the cinematography, the performances, the costumes, the colors, the editing, the script (need I go on?). Between this and Chungking Express, it’s safe to say that I am a Tony Leung stan. I am really looking forward to his MCU debut as the real Mandarin in Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings.
Finally, I just want to say that if international films got the respect they deserved in America, this would’ve won all the Oscars.
What is 5 Film Film Festival (5FFF)?
In short, 5 Film Film Festival is an ongoing personal project to help me watch more classic films. For each mini “festival,” I will choose a random theme (be it a genre, actor, director, etc.) and curate five movies that fit that theme to watch for the first time. When I started this journey, I posted my brief, unpolished thoughts on Letterboxd. I like this more informal, less pretentious mode of watching older movies, so as I begin documenting the project here on the site, don’t expect a lot of in-depth analysis— every “review” will read more like a “first reaction.”
If you’re like me, and you have more than a few blind spots in your cinematic knowledge, then consider joining me on this lifelong endeavor. Watch along, recommend themes, and organize some mini festivals of your own!
David Merkle rules.