billhsu has written 15 reviews for films rated ★★ .

  • A Tale of Two Sisters

    A Tale of Two Sisters

    ★★

    The initial 45 minutes or so is promising, with multiple unstable and unreliable characters, darkly ambiguous conversations, and some marvelously sustained social tension. But Kim's weakness for soap opera bombast and female hysterics gradually ruined this for me. The final sequence just seemed unbearably protracted, and surely we didn't need the extended flashback explaining what happened.

  • The Book of Vision

    The Book of Vision

    ★★

    I had high hopes for this, despite the mediocre rating on letterboxd: all the medical history paraphernalia, complete with the gallery of anatomical wax models, the dark enchanted Del Toro-esque forest with some magic scenes, and the two parallel stories, with actors playing characters in both. Unfortunately, this has more than its fair share of clunky costume drama moments, the kind that a director like Del Toro is always careful to avoid. And some of the modern day sequences I…

  • The Curse of Willow Song

    The Curse of Willow Song

    ★★

    I don't know why people keep going into that creepy basement room. But they do.

    (Part of Another Hole in the Head 2020.)

  • On the Floor

    On the Floor

    ★★

    Part of Another Hole in the Head 2020.

  • Carmilla

    Carmilla

    ★★

    Either the soundtrack was mixed for a sound system very different from mine, or I have some serious disagreements with the balance. How many times did we have to hear over-amplified pseudo insect sounds? I thought the music was pretty cliched too.

  • She Dies Tomorrow

    She Dies Tomorrow

    ★★

    Less choral music might have been helpful.

  • The Beach House

    The Beach House

    ★★

    Umm, Son of the Color Out of Space?

  • The Blackcoat's Daughter

    The Blackcoat's Daughter

    ★★

    There were moments of cryptic tension and visual interest. Then we had to have all the stabbing. And that exorcism! Argh.

  • Vampariah

    Vampariah

    ★★

    Could do worse on a Friday night!

  • Suburban Birds

    Suburban Birds

    ★★

    I can see the comparisons with Weerasethakul and maybe early Tsai Ming-Liang, but I miss the tension and darkness. The section with the kids is charming, but way too long and rambling. It's nice that this is getting some good press, but I'd much rather revisit (say) Anucha Boonyawatana's brilliant and disorienting "The Blue Hour" instead.

  • The Tempest

    The Tempest

    Problematic adaptation of a problematic play. How can I be so grumpy about a movie with Helen Mirren and Ben Whishaw? I can, sigh.

  • Rebel in the Rye

    Rebel in the Rye

    ★★

    Pretty hokey, though Nicholas Hoult is good.