Accepted poster

Accepted

by Steve Pink

I'm not a big fan of college comedies, but this one was a welcome exception. Steve Pink doesn't confuse coarseness with comedy, Justin Long is perfect for his part and there is remarkably little in the way of drama and/or setbacks. It's just a fun little film, with a decent message and plenty of positivity to spare.

Film Socialisme poster

Film Socialisme

by Jean-Luc Godard

It's nice that some directors want to be experimental and explore new ways to push cinema as an artform. Godard used to be very good at it, but ever since he's been embracing new technologies his work has become so crude and blunt that it can be difficult to watch. The potential is there, the execution isn't.

The Truth Is in the Stars poster

The Truth Is in the Stars

by Craig Thompson

There are some nice bit here, about the importance of theoretical science, the current negativity in everything sci-fi and the adventurous nature of science. But they're spoiled by Shatner, Star Trek pimping and some truly worthless interviewees (Stiller and Goldberg?). Could've been so much better.

Mongol poster

Mongol

by Sergei Bodrov

Raw and impressive film that tells the story of Genghis Kahn, up until he moment he united Mongolia and became a part of history. Tadanobu Asano is amazing, Bodrov's direction is solid and the Mongolian scenery does the rest. I'm not a big fan of biographies or historic war cinema, this one is an exception.

Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials poster

Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials

by Wes Ball

A pretty decent sequel. There isn't much left from the original concept - very little maze running going on - and the new direction of the plot is hardly interesting, but the film can be surprisingly dark and it features some decent action . It's all still very young adult, but one of the better franchises amongst it peers.

Smokey and the Bandit poster

Smokey and the Bandit

by Hal Needham

Pretty fun action flick. At times it's just a little too "yeeha USA!" for my taste, but it's incredibly action-packed and it supplements that with some juicy comedy bits. The film doesn't really slow down, doesn't get too dramatic and doesn't try to be anything else but good fun. Others could learn a thing or two from that.

The C Word poster

The C Word

by Meghan O'Hara

Another one of those documentaries with "obvious" answers that the world isn't willing to see. There are some shocking bits here, but none that haven't been discussed in other docs. And the fact that living a healthier life reduces the risk of cancer isn't that big of a revelation. Still, I've seen much worse in this category.

The Jade Bow poster

The Jade Bow

by Hsin-Yen Chang, Qi Fu

Haven't seen too many 60s martial arts films yet that dabble in the fantastical, making this somewhat of a surprising watch. The pacing is nice, the sets look fine, sadly though the fight choreography is pretty bad. Lame effects and boring fights let the film down, but there is still some fun to be had besides the action.

The Island poster

The Island

by Bo Huang

Chinese comedian Bo Huang working in front and behind the camera. The beginning is a little shaky, but once they arrive at the island it becomes a decent film. The setting is interesting, the cinematography is nice and the plot is quite original. Not a big fan of the comedy, but that's only a small part of the film.

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 poster

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2

by Francis Lawrence

A feeble finale to the series. There isn't much left from the Battle Royale-like concept and children staging a revolution isn't that good a replacement. The acting is pretty poor, the film is way too serious and even though the budget was clearly sizeable, it just doesn't look that spectacular. Disappointing.

Munich poster

Munich

by Steven Spielberg

If Spielberg has one real skill, it's turning something decent into something hellishly boring, especially when he tries to make a serious film. The acting is below par, the film looks professional but lifeless and the story never really managed to get interesting. Just bland and boring Hollywood film making.

Patterns of Evidence: Exodus poster

Patterns of Evidence: Exodus

by Tim Mahoney

Doc that tries hard to be scientific, but when trying to prove that the exodus was a real event that validates religion, you're bound to make some leaps in logic. There are some interesting ideas here, but when it all gets tied together it looks like an answer in desperate search of proof rather than actual science.

Tony Robbins: I Am Not Your Guru poster

Tony Robbins: I Am Not Your Guru

by Joe Berlinger

Promo video for Tony Robbins' shows. There are few interviews to make it look like a doc, but it's mostly just a registration of what Robbins does on stage. If you feel the need to go to a motivational speaker this might be somewhat decent, but for others this is just completely pointless. Best to avoid this one.

Lost and Found poster

Lost and Found

by Chi-Ngai Lee

Surprisingly good film. '96 isn't a good year for Hong Kong cinema, but Lee shows it wasn't all bad. There's some traces of Kar Wai in here, but also a glimpse of Johnnie To's comedies. The film looks pretty good, the soundtrack is nice and the acting is solid. No standout elements, just overall fine.

Jason and the Argonauts poster

Jason and the Argonauts

by Don Chaffey

If you like the work of Ray Harryhausen there are some good bit here, but at the same time it's a solid reminder I'm glad to live in the age of CG. The rest of the film is pretty boring. Acting is poor, the story is dull and the film is way too slow for an adventure. Watch it for the stop-motion, that's all there is to it.

Flower and Snake 2: Paris/Shizuko poster

Flower and Snake 2: Paris/Shizuko

by Takashi Ishii

Sequel to Ishii's earlier reboot. If you're familiar with Ishii (or the other films in the series), you'll know what to expect. Rather raunchy and risky material, but delivered with style. The film looks nice, the actors are solid and it's appropriately dark and moody. Some scenes go on too long, but apart from that pretty interesting.

Stir Crazy poster

Stir Crazy

by Sidney Poitier

A pretty silly comedy that relies on Pryor and Wilder to draw some laughs from the audience. Their style of seemingly improvised overacting isn't really my kind of thing though. The few funny bits that are there are actually ruined by the duo. Poitier isn't much of a director either and 110 minutes is just way too long.

The Limit of Sleeping Beauty poster

The Limit of Sleeping Beauty

by Ken Ninomiya

Magical and extravagant mystery drama that feels like a fever dream. Yuki Sakurai has a knack for picking interesting projects, Ken Ninomiya launches himself as a talent. The film looks absolutely stunning, the soundtrack is amazing and the level of creativity is through the roof. My kind of film.

Pet Fooled poster

Pet Fooled

by Kohl Harrington

Docs that start with a seemingly random event ushering in a question that already holds the answer. They call it documentaries but really it's just propaganda. There's a core of truth to Pet Fooled of course, the pet food industry is pretty dire, but this poorly constructed and leading film isn't the answer.

Narratage poster

Narratage

by Isao Yukisada

A typical Yukisada film. A solid mix of drama and romance, some tougher themes and soft styling. If you've seen some of his other films, you'll know what to expect. Good acting, fine camera work and some touching moments without becoming too sentimental. A bit too long though, but otherwise very good.

Concerto of the Bully poster

Concerto of the Bully

by Chi Keung Fung

A fine blend of comedy, drama, crime and romance. Fung doesn't alternate between the different genres but attempts and succeeds in a creating a homogenous mix. Acting is solid, the films looks great and even though the music is pretty poppy, it fits the film. Not masterpiece material, but overall pretty nice.

Tomb Raider poster

Tomb Raider

by Roar Uthaug

Lame and lifeless Indiana Jones copy. Vikander fails to impress, the action is tame, the traps and the adventure boring. Daniel Wu is quickly becoming the Ken Watanabe of China and for a film set in Japan, there's a remarkable lack of Japanese actors. Unless you're starving for more Indiana Jones-like films, avoid.

Horror of a Deformed Man poster

Horror of a Deformed Man

by Teruo Ishii

One of Teruo Ishii's most notorious films, based on the work of Rampo. I was only familiar with Ishii's more recent films but there really isn't that much of a difference. You can expect the same overstated performances, weird deformations and his typically morbid sense of horror. Not bad at all.

Spider-Man: Homecoming poster

Spider-Man: Homecoming

by Jon Watts

Excessively dumb and childish, as if you're watching a Nickelodeon superhero film. Holland is irritating, the humor is 100% cringe and the bad guy is terribly boring. Action scenes are dull too and all of that is stretched to a lousy 130 minutes. One of the worst Marvel films in a while and that's saying something.

Lessons from a Calf poster

Lessons from a Calf

by Hirokazu Koreeda

Koreeda's first stand-alone project. It's a short doc on a class that takes care of a calf and has its entire curriculum based on that experience. It's a disarming doc that shows kids can handle mature issues if handled properly. Koreeda's "show, don't tell" approach is already on display here, production values are low though.

The Mask You Live In poster

The Mask You Live In

by Jennifer Siebel Newsom

A doc on masculinity and the toxicity involved. It mentions social construct, videogames, bro code and whatnot. They threw everything but the kitchen sink at it and speak of tough social issues as if the answers are clear cut (and science-backed). A doc with an agenda in other words, this is just nasty propaganda.

Dawn of the Felines poster

Dawn of the Felines

by Kazuya Shiraishi

A fine acquaintance with Shiraishi. The film starts off exquisitely and for a while it looked like this was going to be an amazing drama, but after 15 minutes or so it gets a little quirkier. It's a shame because it doesn't quite fit the mood, but that doesn't take away from the amazing potential on display here.

A Farewell to Jinu poster

A Farewell to Jinu

by Suzuki Matsuo

Suzuki Matsuo features Ryuhei Matsuda and Fumi Nikaido in his latest comedy. The film itself didn't quite meet my expectations, but it's a fun and quirky movie regardless. Matsuo is truly one of a kind and the rural Japanese setting combined with slightly fantastical elements makes for a unique experience.

Swept Away poster

Swept Away

by Guy Ritchie

Poor Ritchie. I guess we'll never really know how this film came to be, but it's clear that he never felt comfortable doing this. The acting is atrocious, the plot is dumb and the comedy never hits. But at least the setting is nice, the film is short and it's so blunt that some bits are quite funny. That doesn't save it though.

Granny poster

Granny

by Devashish Makhija

A dark, moody and morbid rape drama with strong thriller elements. Granny is a great reminder that India doesn't equal Bollywood and that there are some very capable directors working there. Nicely shot, perfectly scored and well acted, Ajji is a film that stuns and leaves a strong impression. Good stuff.

The Devil and Father Amorth poster

The Devil and Father Amorth

by William Friedkin

Friedkin should've been the ideal director to make a doc on exorcisms (after all, he directed The Exorcist), but the result is laughable. Conversations are amateurish, the exorcism footage is lame and the final reconstruction is something C-grade horror films would be ashamed of. Friedkin should stick to fiction.

Chicken and Duck Talk poster

Chicken and Duck Talk

by Clifton Ko

Hong Kong comedy with lots of local appeal. There isn't any martial arts to draw in international audiences, this is Hong Kong comedy at its purest. There are some funny bits, but overall it's just a lot of mediocre and predictable jokes. Luckily the pacing is okay and the film doesn't last too long, but great it ain't.

Tonight, at the Movies poster

Tonight, at the Movies

by Hideki Takeuchi

A romance with fantastical touches that hopes to please fans of classic cinema. In the hands of Takashi Yamazaki this could've been great, but Takeuchi isn't the man for this kind of film. The romance is a little stale and the fantasy elements don't quite work. It's not a bad film, just a little boring and by the numbers.

Guardians of the Galaxy 2 poster

Guardians of the Galaxy 2

by James Gunn

Same old, same old. Some misfits save the universe from a madman, Marvel bad guys really are the dumbest, most incapable creatures alive. Cue some gruesome classic pop hits, lots of colorful scenery, poor action scenes and a very questionable sense of humor. Nopes, this is just another Marvel failure.

The First Purge poster

The First Purge

by Gerard McMurray

Fourth film and first prequel in the Purge franchise. Starts off rather well, especially those first hours into the purge. There's a cool and creepy horror vibe that gives the film some bite. Sadly the finale turns full on action, which isn't really McMurray's strong point. Still, four films in and this series is still pretty decent.

Fatal Move poster

Fatal Move

by Dennis Law

Very amusing Triad film. A mix of gun action, martial arts and Triad drama, in Law's typical no-nonsense style of directing. Law isn't the greatest director, but he knows how to make an entertaining genre film. It's a bit more extreme than most of its peers, hence the Cat III rating, but apart from that it's pure genre material.

Presenting Princess Shaw poster

Presenting Princess Shaw

by Ido Haar

I've been looking for a good YouTube doc for some time now, but this one clearly wasn't it. Boring and self-absorbed ego-doc that is little more than a promo video for the featured artist. If you look really hard you can see some of the sadness that lives behind these videos, but clearly that wasn't the point of this doc.

My Heart Is That Eternal Rose poster

My Heart Is That Eternal Rose

by Patrick Tam

A film that reminded me of Wong Kar-Wai, Johnnie To and John Woo. Quite a handful, sadly Tam isn't as great a director. The terrible score, mediocre performances and lack of slick editing downgrade this film from what could've been a masterpiece. The potential was there, the execution was a little lacking though.

Brain on Fire poster

Brain on Fire

by Gerard Barrett

Pretty basic drama that does a decent enough job recounting the story of Susannah Cahalan, but shows very little spirit. It's a pretty functional film, whenever Barrett tries to do something more creative it falls flat though. Moretz is okay and the build-up is somewhat decent, but it's a pretty forgettable affair.

Bleeding Steel poster

Bleeding Steel

by Leo Zhang

It's time for Jackie Chan to rethink his career. While the start of this film is still somewhat okay, the sci-fi elements make no sense at all and are super cheesy. The only reason this nonsensical mix of genres half-works is because the film itself doesn't take itself too seriously. Not terrible, but not very good either.

Deadpool 2 poster

Deadpool 2

by David Leitch

Slightly better than the first one. A little smoother, with a higher percentage of funny jokes. It seems like Reynolds has grown into his characters and while at times the story does get in the way of the film, it never gets too stale. The ending is pretty lame, but I guess that's a given with Marvel films. Pretty fun.