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Pee Mak is a hilarious and heartwarming comedy that blends horror, romance, and slapstick humor with Thai folklore. The story follows a group of friends who return from war to a remote village, only to realize the village folks now fear Mak’s beautiful wife, believing she is now a ghost. The film's clever and witty dialogue and its eerie and suspenseful moments create a unique and memorable experience. Even with all of its cliche horror-comedy tropes, it’ll be hard not to enjoy all the heartfelt ridiculousness pulled off so well.

Genre: Comedy, Drama, Horror, Romance

Actor: Davika Hoorne, Jongruay Somjinna, Kantapat Permpoonpatcharasuk, Mai Davika Hoorne, Mario Maurer, Nattapong Chartpong, Nimit Luksameepong, Pongsatorn Jongwilak, Pongsatorn Jongwilas, Sean Jindachot, Wiwat Kongrasri

Director: Banjong Pisanthanakun

Rating: N/A

Even with its morale apparent early in the film, Fireworks marries its mental health/loneliness discussion with a "locked room"-type mystery and the cosmic loop of a group suicide attempt gone wrong. It does take care not to glamourize suicide (or needlessly persevering through struggles), but it teeters between virtue signaling and the sincere reminder to reach out to others for help. With anxiety, hopelessness, grief, and redemption at its core, the film still tugs on the heart even though it pulls away from ruminating on the more intense emotions and thoughts that aren't easily dismissed in a single (even if endless) encounter. 

Genre: Drama, Science Fiction, Thriller

Actor: Donny Damara, Hanggini Purinda Retto, Imelda Therinne, Marsha Timothy, Vino G. Bastian

Director: Herwin Novianto

Blue Bayou is a powerful film about a Korean-American man threatened with deportation from the only country he has ever known. Antonio LeBlanc is a hard-working mechanic living in a small town in Louisiana with his wife, Kathy, and their young daughter Jessie. Blue Bayou is a beautifully made film with compelling performances from Chon, Vikander, and the rest of the cast. The film is heartbreaking and hopeful, offering a powerful message about the importance of family and belonging. Justin Chon's direction is assured and confident as he captures the beauty of the Louisiana Bayou and aptly conveys Antonio's isolation and loneliness. He brings a strong sense of empathy and humanity to the material.

Genre: Drama

Actor: Alicia Vikander, Altonio Jackson, Emory Cohen, Geraldine Singer, Jim Gleason, Justin Chon, Linh Dan Pham, Mark O'Brien, Martin Bats Bradford, Renell Gibbs, Rhonda Johnson Dents, Sydney Kowalske, Sylvia Grace Crim, Tyler Henry, Vondie Curtis-Hall

Director: Justin Chon

Charming and heartfelt, Caramel captures the spirit and beauty of Beirut and its diverse and complex society. The story follows a group of women who work at a beauty salon as they navigate their relationships, dreams, and struggles in a changing and often restrictive environment. The film's lush and colorful visuals, rich cultural references, and strong performances create a warm and intimate atmosphere that invites the audience to connect with the characters' joys and sorrows. Although the ending feels listless, it is a delightful and empowering celebration of women's friendship and resilience.

Genre: Comedy, Drama, Romance

Actor: Adel Karam, Nadine Labaki, Yasmine Al Massri

Director: Nadine Labaki

Directed by Roma auteur Alfonso Cuarón, this sexually charged, coming-of-age road trip film traverses the landscapes of Mexico while interspersing social commentary on the socio-economic realities of the 1990s. The film follows the adventures of two young friends, Julio and Tenoch, who embark on a trip with an older woman named Luisa. As they explore the beautiful and complex tapestry of their country, their own desires and identities are laid bare. As expected, Cuarón's interpersonal yet political storytelling uniquely captures the raw emotions and conflicts of youth with a mix of intimacy and societal critique. 

Genre: Drama, Romance

Actor: Ana López Mercado, Andrés Almeida, Arturo Ríos, Daniel Giménez Cacho, Diana Bracho, Diego Luna, Emilio Echevarría, Gael García Bernal, Juan Carlos Remolina, María Aura, Maribel Verdú, Marta Aura, Mayra Sérbulo, Silverio Palacios, Verónica Langer

Director: Alfonso Cuarón

In the world of excavation and wonderous breakthroughs, Unknown: The Lost Pyramid is a refreshing take on archaeology by showing the discoveries of Egyptian history from native Egyptian archaeologists. Following Dr. Hawass and his mentee, Dr. Waziri, as they race against the elements of the desert, the documentary uses their passion and egos to spearhead the narrative. Thus, every step closer feels both prideful and invasive with the constant reminder that they're excavating 2000+-year-old tombs. Comprehensive explanations and illustrative cinematography illuminate the meticulous labor that goes into Egyptology.

Genre: Documentary, Drama

Actor: Zahi Hawass

Director: Max Salomon

The latest installment in Netflix'S “Unknown” docuseries, Unknown: Killer Robots puts the evolution of artificial intelligence under an ethical microscope. Although the title could be misleading, it does cover the possible dangerous applications of AI as it forces us to question the growing divide between human morality and machine efficiency. With advances in war and medicinal applications, the capabilities of AI to heal, save and destroy are terrifying and awe-inspiring in equal measure. Like the previous films in the series, it is hyper-concentrated to an almost-stifling degree, but it’s also powered by the passionate subjects on either side of these advancements. Forgoing sensationalism, this digestible documentary questions intention over the technology itself. 

Genre: Documentary, Drama

Director: Jesse Sweet

King of Clones tells the story of Hwang Woo-suk, a South Korean scientist once praised as a national hero for his pioneering work in cloning. However, Hwang's reputation was shattered in 2006 when it was revealed that he had falsified data in his research. The documentary follows Hwang's rise and fall, and it provides a fascinating glimpse into the world of scientific research and the ethical challenges that it raises. Through simplified explanations and testimonies from beneficiaries and journalists that exposed his fraudulent activities, the film remains accessible without losing its narrative. It also opens the conversation on the progress of cloning technology and the implications of not having ethics that can be agreed upon among the scientific community and the general public. 

Genre: Documentary

Actor: George W. Bush, Hwang Woo-suk, Jung Ho-seok, Kim Dae-jung, Kim Jong-il, Kim Tae-hyung, Park Ji-sung, Roh Moo-hyun, Son Heung-min

Director: Aditya Thayi

Rating: PG-13

Vive L'Amour is a slow-building film that dives deep into the loneliness and longing of urban life, weaving together the lives of three lost souls searching for connection and meaning in a bustling city. Though the film's slow pace and minimal dialogue brilliantly convey the characters' inner turmoil, there are times when the (probably purposeful) lack of direction doesn't quite land. You might also find that director Tsai Ming-liang's evocative cinematography does not hold up this sparse yet bloated plot. Still, Vive L'Amour encapsulates the signature solemn air of Taiwanese cinema, presenting a contemplative exploration of human relationships and urban alienation. It may be polarizing, but one thing is for sure: it will leave you introspective and moved by its profound examination of the human condition.

Genre: Drama

Actor: Chen Chao-jung, Lee Kang-sheng, Lu Yi-Ching, Yang Kuei-Mei

Director: Tsai Ming-liang