God’s Own Country (2017): An Earnest, Affecting Depiction of Humanity

The 2017 British independent film God's Own Country is about the Yorkshire countryside, two homosexual men, plenty of sheep and a sense of nostalgia. Filled with the ambition of timelessness, the story, or a dreamy fairytale, does not happen in a specified time. Characters speak with a strong regional accent, and I struggle to catch every word. But that turns out to be a minor concern: the film does not demand its audience to catch every word; instead, it invites them for a visually intimate experience with two blessed young men falling in love, alongside an earnest, affecting depiction of humanity.

The Tree of Life (2011): Where are You? How Can I Endure This Frail Existence?

10/10 Every great story is a stroy of pain, and The Tree of Life is no exception. It is a story of unbearable and chronic discomfort: the pain of life, growth and death, or to put them together, the pain of mortal existence. It is difficult to reivew this movie in one short blog post, but I think it is worth a try, for the movie deals with the most fundamental pain of human existence, or should I say the worst kind of pain among all.

The New Cosmic Story by John Haught (2017): A Revival of Cosmic Optimism?

I find Haught's book a worthy addition to the literature dealing with religious awakening and its conflict with modern sciences and meaning in a cosmic perspective. The ambitious, exciting book would have been clearer if Haught can explain in details why he makes certain associations, and why those associations are indeed true besides their psychological and religious appeal.

13 Reasons Why (2017): Forgive the Wrong that I’ve Done

There has been enough consensus that teenagers are moody, hypersensitive kids who often overlook the ancient wisdom that actions have consequences. 13 Reasons Why seems to be a TV series precisely dedicated to that observation. No teenage drama would seem complete without a secret crush, a girl of the talk and dramatic miscommunications. 13 Reasons Why is no exception, and perhaps it even adds a few adventurous elements.

Westworld Season 1 (2016): Lies That Tell a Deeper Truth

“Artists use lies to tell the truth while politicians use lies to cover the truth up". Widely regarded as one of the most anticipated TV series of 2016, Westworld is inspired by the 1973 movie of the same name which narrates a story in the distant future when human beings are able to stimulate human minds (or consciousness?) for entertainment, or the pleasure of torture and killing. Boosted by stunning visual effects, an ambitious storyline and strong performances, HBO's Westworld greets the world with critical acclaim, scholarly debates and record-breaking ratings.

Manchester by the Sea (2017): Wounds that Can Never be Healed

Set in a pain-striking town near Boston, Manchester by the Sea narrates a simpler lifestyle, an affecting story and the complexity of forgiveness. I am often puzzled by people feeling better after watching a sad movie or listening to a sad song, and Manchester by the Sea does nothing but affirms that proposition. I assign the movie a 9/10 as it is one of the best movies I have watched in a year, for its authenticity despite its minimalistic direction, acting and storytelling, and for it captures the emotional subtlety that other contemporary work often struggles to balance.

Sherlock Season 4 (2017): How a Modern Detective Classic Becomes an Illogical Family Drama

I assign the season a 5/10, suggesting it to be average among all the work I have watched so far, be it on a television or a screen. I sense that the producers are relying on past successes and the loyal viewership for future profits, and I find that strategy problematic and very likely unsustainable.

Short Review: Ghostbusters (2016)

6/10 This 2016 reboot of the supernatural comedy franchise Ghostbusters has been much expected and almost bound to be a hit. Overall, the new installment does a decent job and, although not equally acclaimed, proves itself to be a worthy successor of the 1980s classic. Considering female empowerment as the social trend in the past few decades,… Continue reading Short Review: Ghostbusters (2016)

Amy (2015): Love Is A Losing Game

8.7/10 Amy Winehouse, perhaps best known for her problematic lifestyle instead of her music, died in her late twenties due to alcohol poisoning. Her last album, Back to Black, was the best-selling British album in the last decade. It was sold over twenty million copies worldwide and won five Grammy Awards including Record of the… Continue reading Amy (2015): Love Is A Losing Game

Short Review: Central Intelligence (2016)

5/10 Central Intelligence offers a comical and politically correct story that is perhaps best used to pass a boring afternoon. Its humorous, down-to-earth lines generally amuse the audience, and the funny chemistry between Kevin Hart and Dwayne Johnson proves that their first cooperation is a success and somehow combines the charm of the two. The… Continue reading Short Review: Central Intelligence (2016)

Me Before You (2016)

3/10 In a dark cinema theatre where the air-condition almost froze my blood vessel, an unrealistically good-looking man kissed his girlfriend on the screen, or should I say, their lips overlapped for ten seconds. I was sitting in between a large group of Secondary girls who took off their shoes and kept kicking their seats… Continue reading Me Before You (2016)

Breaking Bad (2008-2013): Making Choices and Living with Consequences

"Expertly written, virtuosic with its direction, and flawlessly performed, Breaking Bad is everything you could want in a drama. Critics will spend the next decade dissecting and arguing about what made it great, but the reasons are endless and already well documented." - Nick Harley Season 1: 7.5/10 Season 2: 8.0/10 Season 3: 9.0/10 Season 4-5(Part I):… Continue reading Breaking Bad (2008-2013): Making Choices and Living with Consequences

Interstellar (2014): Don’t Go Gentle into that Good Night

8/10 When you look into the dark, mysterious night sky, what are the thoughts and feelings that come to you? Fear, wonder, relief, solitude, or nostalgia? Christopher Nolan offers his unique answer in his well-received scientific fantasy Interstellar (2014) of which Nolan is the director, screenplay writer and producer. Contrary to many scientific fantasy directors,… Continue reading Interstellar (2014): Don’t Go Gentle into that Good Night

Room(2015): Another Chance to Know the World

8.5/10 In an era when movies overly feature celebrities, sometimes messy visual effects and exaggerated hormone-stimulation scenes, I should cherish movies like Room, where life-affirming inspiration and joyful tears stem from a simple, compelling story and authentic performances. It was my first time sitting in a cinema hall enjoying a movie alone, thanks to the timing.… Continue reading Room(2015): Another Chance to Know the World

Short Review: The Danish Girl

  6/10 Sadly, the psychological transition of main characters is unclear and unconvincing. The trailer basically contains all the interesting parts of the movie, and the story on the whole feels dull and unilluminating. The screenplay is too mediocre to engage the audience. The weak storyline is perhaps saved by the exquisitely vivid performances of Eddie… Continue reading Short Review: The Danish Girl