Hans Christian Andersen poster

Hans Christian Andersen

by Charles Vidor
Specifics
USA [1952] - 112 mins
Genre
Musical, Family
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1.5*/5.0*

Fair and upbeat Kaye musical. It's not an Andersen biography, rather the life of Andersen reimagined as one of his own stories. That means that the plot acts more like a faire tale rather than an actual drama, which works better for the musical format anyway. Not really my kind of thing, but as oldskool musicals go this wasn't the worst one I've seen.

Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil, and Vile poster

Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil, and Vile

by Joe Berlinger
Specifics
USA [2019] - 108 mins
Genre
Thriller, Drama
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3.5*/5.0*

Interesting take on the Ted Bundy story, that illustrates how a serial killer could charm his way through life. Berlinger (he also directed the 4-part doc on Bundy) is clearly familiar with the subject, Efron does a stellar job as Bundy and stylistically the film is on point. A challenging and strong take on a subject that's been done to death.

Monster Party poster

Monster Party

by Chris von Hoffmann
Specifics
USA [2018] - 89 mins
Genre
Horror, Thriller
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3.5*/5.0*

Hoffmann clearly had a lot of fun directing this one. Monster Party possesses that self-conscious stylishness that betrays a director who is confident that he can add something unique in a well-established genre. This is a fun, devious and clever little horror flick that delivers. Probably a little too niche for the masses, but horror fans should have plenty of fun with this one.

Memories of Matsuko poster

Memories of Matsuko

by Tetsuya Nakashima
Also known as
Kiraware Matsuko no Issho
Specifics
Japan [2006] - 130 mins
Genre
Musical, Drama
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4.5*/5.0*

If you care for contrast, this film delivers. An extremely tragic and depressing story is told in the brightest, most colourful and upbeat way possible. Nakashima's style is striking, the characters are happy and chirpy, but the spiral of negativity is inescapable. A strange and unpredictable film, but it is all the better for it.

Solo poster

Solo

by Hugo Stuven
Specifics
Spain [2018] - 91 mins
Genre
Adventure
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3.0*/5.0*

Simple but attractive survival film about a surfer who gets stuck on a deserted beach with a broken pelvis. Based on true events (as these films usually are), there probably isn't much here you haven't seen before. But a nice soundtrack, fine cinematography and a stunning setting make this an easy watch.

Fighting with My Family poster

Fighting with My Family

by Stephen Merchant
Specifics
UK, USA [2019] - 108 mins
Genre
Sport, Drama
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3.0*/5.0*

Pretty decent biographic film about a wrestler family who make it big. It's a typical rags-to-riches story, then again it's based on real people so it's a little hard to fault the film for it. The actors do a good job, Merchant's direction is solid, but the film fails to rise about itself. It's fun and decent filler, but nothing more than that.

Avengers: Endgame poster

Avengers: Endgame

by Anthony Russo, Joe Russo
Specifics
USA [2019] - 181 mins
Genre
Action, Adventure
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1.0*/5.0*

Finally! It took 21 films to get to this point, even so I still had zero emotional investment in any of the characters. The drama is hilariously bad, the writing is shit and the action is clunky. Luckily the film has a decent budget, so it wasn't all terrible, but it's beyond me how Marvel managed to pull it off. I've seen them once, never again.

Pegasus poster

Pegasus

by Han Han
Also known as
Fei Chi Ren Sheng
Specifics
China [2019] - 98 mins
Genre
Sport, Comedy
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3.5*/5.0*

Starts off as a mediocre Chinese comedy, but as the film turns more serious and gets more enveloped in the rally drama, things get a lot better. Some really cool rally footage make the final 30 minutes tense and engaging, something I didn't really expect 30 minutes in. Han Han can do better, but this wasn't half bad really, especially for a sports comedy.

Midnight Run poster

Midnight Run

by Martin Brest
Specifics
USA [1988] - 126 mins
Genre
Action, Crime
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2.0*/5.0*

A simple combo of action and crime cinema, with a predictable role for De Niro and some basic banter between the protagonists. Maybe if the characters had been a bit cooler, or if the plot had been a bit more inventive? Maybe if the comedy had actually worked? It's not a terrible film, but it's little more than forgettable filler.

Bugs poster

Bugs

by Jia Yan
Also known as
Shi Ren Chong
Specifics
China [2014] - 82 mins
Genre
Horror, Comedy
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2.0*/5.0*

A typical US creature flick, made in China, on the cheap. The actors are terrible, most if not all of the horror is CG-based, the monster reveal is right there at the very beginning of the film and the story is flat. The pacing is alright though and the film is quite short, but because of the terrible CG the impact is practically zero. Slightly amusing, but not very good.

Something Evil poster

Something Evil

by Steven Spielberg
Specifics
USA [1972] - 73 mins
Genre
Horror
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1.0*/5.0*

Very early Spielberg. Duel was a decent thriller, sadly Something Evil is a big step down. Its TV roots are way too apparent, the horror bits are laughable, the acting is dull and emotionless. There's not much positive to say here, apart from the fact that it's rather short, but even then that time isn't spent very well.

May the Devil Take You poster

May the Devil Take You

by Timo Tjahjanto
Also known as
Sebelum Iblis Menjemput
Specifics
Indonesia [2018] - 110 mins
Genre
Horror
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3.5*/5.0*

Tjahjanto goes back to his roots and delivers another fine horror flick. While just a little too long, the film manages to be pretty tense and atmospheric. The ghostly apparitions aren't exactly original, neither is the story, but the horror beats are effective and the styling is just right. A very solid genre film.

The Garden poster

The Garden

by Martin Sulík
Also known as
Záhrada
Specifics
Slovakia, France [1995] - 99 mins
Genre
Drama
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2.5*/5.0*

A surprisingly light-hearted arthouse drama that plays with absurd elements to keep it from becoming too sullen. While there are some memorable moments here, on the whole the film didn't really deliver as the cinematography and soundtrack simply weren't good enough. An interesting curiosity, but nothing more.

And So It Goes poster

And So It Goes

by Rob Reiner
Specifics
USA [2014] - 94 mins
Genre
Drama, Comedy
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2.0*/5.0*

A somewhat scruffy and tepid comedy about a cranky old man who softens up when he gets to meet his grand daughter for the first time. It's pretty much what you'd expect from a Rob Reiner film headlined by Michael Douglas. It's not terrible, it passes the time, but it's so safe and expected that it's hardly memorable.

Golden Swallow poster

Golden Swallow

by Cheh Chang
Also known as
Jin Yan Zi
Specifics
Hong Kong [1968] - 89 mins
Genre
Action, Martial Arts
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3.0*/5.0*

Fine Cheh Chang film that looks surprisingly well for its age. It's a true Shaw Bros production, except for the many scenes that were shot on location. The martial arts is decent, the plot is nice enough and Chang sneaks in some pretty shots. Pretty much what you can expect from a decent SB film, only a tad more stylish.

The Festival poster

The Festival

by Iain Morris
Specifics
UK [2018] - 98 mins
Genre
Comedy
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3.0*/5.0*

An unofficial Inbetweeners spin-off with Nick as an older version of Simon. The rest of the cast was swapped out, but with surprisingly little consequence. The comedy is more or less the same, the characters are quirky and fun and even though there's some cringe (the DJ performance for example), the overall upbeat feel makes is a nice, amusing little diversion.