Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them poster

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

by David Yates

Nice to see this spin-off that doesn't pay too much attention to its big bro, but apart from that it's still the same, somewhat childish, drivel. The world of Fantastic Beasts isn't very interesting, the beasts themselves lack charisma and the plot is too long-winded. Oh, and they should've just left it at one film.

Jane Got a Gun poster

Jane Got a Gun

by Gavin O'Connor

A very plain and typical Western. It's really not my genre and this film does little to change that. Grumpy characters, tame gun slinging and an incredibly depressing setting. The film looks nice, with its warm, sepia glow, but the rest of it is way too standard for me to find anything worthwhile. Nice poster though.

The American Meme poster

The American Meme

by Bert Marcus

Finally a more serious doc on modern stardom. YouTube, Instagram and Snapshat replaced the old celebrities, but it's clear that these modern stars are unaware of what drives their own success. It's an honest look into a world that remains hidden for most adults, but is influencing young kids across the globe.

Shadow poster

Shadow

by Yimou Zhang

A true master of color, Yimou Zhang surprises with this near black and white martial arts drama. It's amazing what he accomplishes with almost no colors to work with, Shadow is a true feast for the eyes. The story is amusing, the action spectacular, but this is above all a visual marvel like only Zhang can make them.

Laplace's Witch poster

Laplace's Witch

by Takashi Miike

Miike doing a more restrained film. 2018 has been a quiet year for him, with just a single release on the tables. There's still some weirdness of course, but it's the blend of science and fantasy rather than the characters and events that stand out here. Well-made, entertaining and amusing, but not a Miike classic.

You Might Be the Killer poster

You Might Be the Killer

by Brett Simmons

Brett Simmons isn't the best and brightest horror director and his latest is little more than renewed confirmation of that. There are a couple of smart ideas here, but for a horror/comedy the comedy is more than a little predictable and the horror is tried and tested material. Borderline okay as empty genre filler.

My Stinking Kid poster

My Stinking Kid

by Tsai Ming-liang

Tsai's TV work is clearly not as great. The story of a kid suffering from a rare disease has potential, but the execution is plain. We see the boy as he struggles through school, while his mom tries to educate the world about the nature of his disease, but apart from some well-scored moments the film lacks impact.

Maquia: When the Promised Flower Blooms poster

Maquia: When the Promised Flower Blooms

by Mari Okada, Toshiya Shinohara

Beautifully animated fantasy anime. The art style is quite unique (not that detailed but refined and lushly animated) and the film wrestles with some interesting themes, but the lore is a little overwrought and the film lacks subtlety. It's definitely worth watching, but there are some small details keeping it from a higher score.

Broken Embraces poster

Broken Embraces

by Pedro Almodóvar

Typical Almodóvar. The story isn't bad and the film as a whole is entertaining enough, but he simply lacks the stylistic finesse to make it something more. He tries though, but those attempts are just awkward and distracting. It's a decent enough film, but very forgettable and not really worth the 120+ running time.

The Magnificent Nine poster

The Magnificent Nine

by Yoshihiro Nakamura

Amusing tale about a village that comes up with an ingenious plan to lend money to its landlord in order to prosper again. Most of the film is spend getting the money needed to pull of the plan. There's little to dislike here, but it's not a very notable film and Nakamura only does the bare minimum in order to get the story told.

Identity poster

Identity

by James Mangold

Pretty standard post-Scream horror/thriller flick. The plot twists are hardly noteworthy and the familiar but decidedly second line cast does little to elevate the film. It's quite amusing and there are a handful of promising moments, but overall the film didn't age that well and it had a tough time keeping me engaged throughout.

What Keeps You Alive poster

What Keeps You Alive

by Colin Minihan

A very solid genre film. What Keeps You Alive isn't very original. It's a cut and paste job from a trillion other films, but Minihan knows what he's doing. There's just enough playing with genre element to keep the tension alive and what it lacks in originality, it makes up for with execution. Fun and entertaining.

Smallfoot poster

Smallfoot

by Karey Kirkpatrick, Jason Reisig

A complete and utter fluke. Horrible voice acting, intolerable characters, atrocious music and unbearably unfunny. It's one big, ADHD-fuelled mess that fails to add anything original to the US animation scene. For some reason stuff like this sells, but damned if I know why. I just hope there won't be a sequel.

The Fountain poster

The Fountain

by Darren Aronofsky

A stunning and original fable spanning three different eras. At the core of The Fountain lies a very simple dramatic/romantic trigger, but Aronofsky builds an elaborate story around it and succeeds in giving it the necessary visual flair. It's not very subtle, then again Aronofsky's films rarely are. Exceptional film making.

Slender Man poster

Slender Man

by Sylvain White

Basic horror flick. The negative hype surrounding this film is a little exaggerated, but that's what you get when you try to sell a standard genre flick as something high profile. Slender Man is moody and atmospheric, but fails to be tense or original. It's decent horror filler for sure, just don't expect anything more.