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After the Storm

-/5
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God this movie is good, in the best way a Japanese movie can be good. It’s quiet, but so well-crafted and smart. So damn smart. It’s directed by Hirokazu Koreeda, who has in the past made Like Father, Like Son and Nobody Knows (a big winner at Cannes the year it came out). Like most of Koreeda’s movies After the Storm is addresses family dynamics. Once a successful writer, Ryota is now a private detective who spends the little money he makes on gambling instead of paying child support. This further alienates his ex-wife and son, until one day, during a storm, they all find themselves trapped in Ryota’s mother’s house. Subtly touching on notions of inter-generational bond and tension – this is the kind of movie of which you’ll remember flashes long after you watch it.

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Hunt for the Wilderpeople

4.5/5
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Taika Waititi’s follow-up to the (also great) What We Do in the Shadows, is a pure delight and the perfect antidote after a bad day or a steady diet of too many sad movies. “Bad egg” Ricky Baker has been bounced out of more foster care situations than he cares to remember until he’s given his last chance with a couple living on a rural New Zealand farm. After tragedy strikes early in the film Ricky and his foster uncle (Hec) find themselves on the run in the bush while a nationwide manhunt is initiated on their behalf. Hip-hop enthusiast Ricky and crusty, cantankerous Hec make quite the inspired pairing; this is a very funny film full of the deadpan humor that has become emblematic of Waititi’s work (Flight of the Conchords, Boy) but it is also oddly touching and full of heart.

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