Robot Carnival poster

Robot Carnival

by Atsuko Fukushima, Hiroyuki Kitakubo, Hiroyuki Kitazume, Koji Morimoto, Takashi Nakamura, Yasuomi Umetsu, Manabu Ôhashi, Hidetoshi Ômori, Katsuhiro Otomo
Also known as
Robotto Kanibaru
Specifics
Japan [1987] - 90 mins
Genre
Animation, Anthology, Sci-fi
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4.0*/5.0*

A fine selection of shorts. There are one or two flukes here, but the rest is so unique and special that they're easy to forget. It's one of those animation anthologies that gives you a wide variety of styles, moods and stories in a very short span of time, exactly why I love these types of films. Robot Carnival is a classic, deservedly so.

The Blind Side poster

The Blind Side

by John Lee Hancock
Specifics
USA [2009] - 129 mins
Genre
Biography, Drama, Sport
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2.0*/5.0*

An overly decent sports film, based on a true story. A white family takes in a black boy, grooms him to become a football player and in the end ... well, if you've seen one you've seen them all. Decent acting, dull cinematography, sentimental through and through. Not the worst film of its kind, but nothing special either.

Kite poster

Kite

by Yasuomi Umetsu
Also known as
A Kaito
Specifics
Japan [1998] - 50 mins
Genre
Animation, Action, Crime, Drama, Thriller
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2.5*/5.0*
The Scorpion King poster

The Scorpion King

by Chuck Russell
Specifics
USA, Germany [2002] - 92 mins
Genre
Action, Adventure, Fantasy, Thriller
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1.5*/5.0*

A very cheesy and pretty lame adventure flick. Johnson was still adjusting as an actor, the film looks rather cheap for a blockbuster affaire and the plot is silly as hell. At least the pacing is on point and the film doesn't overstay its welcome, but it's beyond me how this spawned a handful of sequels. It's just not very good.

A Dog's Purpose poster

A Dog's Purpose

by Lasse Hallström
Specifics
USA, India [2017] - 100 mins
Genre
Drama, Family, Adventure, Comedy, Fantasy
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3.0*/5.0*

Simple but sweet feel-good film. It tells the story of a reincarnating dog as he ponders the reason of his existence. There's a little drama, but it never gets too sour or downbeat. The film looks nice and dreamy, the dogs are cute as hell and even though it doesn't leave that big of an impression, it's not a bad way to spend 100 minutes.

Us poster

Us

by Jordan Peele
Specifics
USA [2019] - 120 mins
Genre
Horror, Thriller
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3.0*/5.0*

Not bad, but after two films it's becoming increasingly clear that Peele isn't very good as a horror director. He's a fine writer, he has interested ideas and he's pretty funny, but building up tension really isn't his strong point. There are some fine scenes, the mystery is intriguing, but I never reached the edge of my seat.

Romantics Anonymous poster

Romantics Anonymous

by Jean-Pierre Améris
Also known as
Les Émotifs Anonymes
Specifics
France, Belgium [2010] - 80 mins
Genre
Romance, Comedy
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3.5*/5.0*

A very sweet and cute little film. Poelvoorde in a somewhat atypical role, but he handles it very well. Carré is pretty much perfect too. The story of two overly sensitive people crossing each other's paths is endearing, the film looks charming and the romance hits all the right notes. A very lovely surprise indeed.

The Constant Gardener poster

The Constant Gardener

by Fernando Meirelles
Specifics
UK, Germany [2005] - 129 mins
Genre
Drama, Thriller, Mystery, Romance
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1.5*/5.0*

A movie with a message. I'm not too familiar with Meirelles' oeuvre, but clearly his approach is way less effective in Africa. The film felt forced, sentimental and pushy. The thriller elements aren't very exciting either, in the end I felt this subject would've worked a lot better as a documentary. Pretty disappointing.

The Green Fog poster

The Green Fog

by Evan Johnson, Galen Johnson, Guy Maddin
Specifics
USA, Canada [2017] - 62 mins
Genre
Experimental
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0.5*/5.0*

Very cheap, lazy and half-arsed cut and paste job. It reminded me of Herzog's Wild Blue Yonder, but the execution is so excruciating that it has to be seen to be believed. Add to that a soundtrack that is completely nerve-wrecking and some terrible attempts at comedy and you have a film that repulses from start to finish.

The Girl on the Train poster

The Girl on the Train

by Tate Taylor
Specifics
USA [2016] - 112 mins
Genre
Thriller, Drama
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2.5*/5.0*

A rather plain thriller. It starts out well enough, but Taylor is too quick to reveal all the important plot points and the puzzle itself really isn't all that interesting, not to say predictable. The actors do a decent job and the film looks nice enough, but the second part of the film is just too by the numbers.

Coco before Chanel poster

Coco before Chanel

by Anne Fontaine
Also known as
Coco avant Chanel
Specifics
France, Belgium [2009] - 105 mins
Genre
Biography, Drama
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3.0*/5.0*

A solid biopic on the early days of the famous designer. Tautou does a fine job, but she's easily outclassed by Poelvoorde. When he disappears from the stage, the film starts to drag a little. Still, a pleasant enough watch that doesn't adhere to the classic rise and falls structure of biopics. That alone is laudable.

Sea of Love poster

Sea of Love

by Harold Becker
Specifics
USA [1989] - 113 mins
Genre
Crime, Drama, Mystery, Romance, Thriller
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1.5*/5.0*

A very basic, lifeless thriller. The film puts all the weight on Al Pacino's shoulders, but he doesn't really get beyond his trademark performance. It feels like tried and tested material, executed with very little passion and conviction. It's not a horrible film, but even as filler it doesn't do that well of a job.

Lifeboat poster

Lifeboat

by Alfred Hitchcock
Specifics
USA [1944] - 97 mins
Genre
Drama, War
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1.0*/5.0*

A very typical Alfred Hitchcock production. Put a couple of people in a small boat and let the story play out. But the writing is predictable, the acting is stiff and the thrills are few and far between. In theory this could've been a nice film, in reality it's tepid, dull and boring. Like most of Hitchcock's films really.

Mirai poster

Mirai

by Mamoru Hosoda
Also known as
Mirai no Mirai
Specifics
Japan [2018] - 100 mins
Genre
Animation, Drama
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4.0*/5.0*

Mamoru Hosoda is back on track. His previous film didn't really do it for me, luckily Mirai is a big step up again. A fine balance between drama and fantasy, subtle when it needs to be, completely magical just a few moments later. Lovely animated, well-paced and very touching, this is the Hosoda I love to see.