Methodical in its formal approach and more twisted than the salacious details of the crimes it combs over, Kei Ishikawa's Traces of Sin probes ingenuously into the various connecting threads of a murder case, not for the sake of pointing fingers, but more for a want of a full picture.
The concern over the utter aimlessness and disaffection of Japan's youth has proven to be a topic of abundance for the country's transgressive cinema. Whether we are talking the carefree Sun Tribe films of 1950s, the politically charged student activist films of ’60s and ’70s, or the nihilistic films that followed the burst of the economic bubble in the late ’80s, the nation's cinema was always worried about its future working force maturing in the wrong ways.
Aside from its goofy title and uniquely strange villain, Alan Lo’s Zombiology: Enjoy Yourself Tonight plays out like numerous other zombie comedies that we’ve seen over the last decade or so, making for a slightly enjoyable, yet familiar, experience despite some of the ideas on display.
Another restoration is slated for the screen, this time premiering at Quad Cinema this July 14th, by way of Rialto Pictures, is Andrzej Zulawski’s L’important C’est D’aimer from 1975 in what is being billed as the “U.S. Theatrical Premiere Engagement of the film.” Up until this point in time, the best way in which to view this particular Zulawski would be an imported copy from Mondo Vision paired with an all-region player.
Combining tropes from classic Hong Kong vampire comedies of decades past with more contemporary vampire tales, Sin-Hang Chiu and Pak-Wing Yan’s Vampire Cleanup Department is a fun concept but lacks any real lasting power, falling short of laughs and plot.
Mixing animation with live-action photography is a consistently compelling tactic in contemporary filmmaking. Whether it’s in comedies like Who Framed Roger Rabbit and Space Jam or in action films like Kill Bill Vol. 1, the additional work required to mix the two modes demands an artistic intention that makes the animation mean something more than what could be done with either mode on its own.
Perhaps one of the most divisive – if not the most divisive – issue in modern American politics is that of abortion. Interviewing advocates from both sides of the reproductive health debates, Birthright: A War Story looks at the history of abortion, recent and ongoing legislation, and the ways in which bureaucracy is wedging itself into the private lives of American citizens.
Derek Tsang's Soul Mate is an interesting, if never fully compelling, romantic drama about the love and friendship shared by Ansheng (Zhou Dongyu) and Qiyue (Sandra Ma), two Chinese women who meet at age 13 and grow up, apart and back together.