Dumplin' poster

Dumplin'

by Anne Fletcher
Specifics
USA [2018] - 110 mins
Genre
Drama, Comedy
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1.5*/5.0*

A somewhat sheepish and light-hearted drama that deals with body issues. Expect troubled teens, life lessons and an upbeat ending. Oh, and plenty of Dolly Parton. I feel I've seen this type of film too many times before, and without any stand-out performances or witty comedy there just isn't much for me here.

Guava Island poster

Guava Island

by Hiro Murai
Specifics
USA [2019] - 55 mins
Genre
Music, Crime
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1.5*/5.0*

They built a film around Donald Glover, which might be nice if you're a fan of the man, but it's all quite flimsy and pointless. A meagre story, too much focus on the music, some bad acting and an annoying aspect ratio make this a very forgettable affair. On the one hand it's good the film is short, on the other hand it makes it even shallower.

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies poster

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies

by Burr Steers
Specifics
USA, UK [2016] - 108 mins
Genre
Horror, Action
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3.0*/5.0*

Amusing mishmash of genres and elements that don't quite belong together. While the idea is fun, the execution is a little random and the film never really figures out how to blend everything together effectively. There are some funny moments and memorable scenes, but it never really comes together to create a great film.

The Shadow Play poster

The Shadow Play

by Ye Lou
Also known as
Diyu Lianren
Specifics
China [2018] - 125 mins
Genre
Thriller, Crime
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4.0*/5.0*

The Shadow Play sees Ye Lou return to his former glory. The bold style will surely put some people off, but I'm glad he said farewell to the more classical arthouse fare he's been making for the past couple of years. A fun crime flick brought to life with strong colours, shadowy figures and pumped up camera work. This was quite a thrill.

Notes on Blindness poster

Notes on Blindness

by Peter Middleton, James Spinney
Specifics
UK [2016] - 90 mins
Genre
Documentary, Drama
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1.5*/5.0*

Interesting peek into the life and mind of a man who turned blind, at least in theory. While I don't mind a stylized doc, there's a cheesiness to the mix of the soft-voiced, semi-poetic voice-overs and the meandering visuals. It's like watching a corny romance, which really couldn't have been the intended effect here. Not very good at all.

The Grandmother poster

The Grandmother

by David Lynch
Specifics
USA [1970] - 34 mins
Genre
Horror, Experimental
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3.0*/5.0*

A dark and experimental film that shows the budding talent of David Lynch. While definitely a little rough around the edges, the gritty cinematography, challenging sound design and disturbing animations are sure to appeal to fans of Lynch's later work. The Grandmother didn't get better over time, but it's still an interesting watch.

Room for Rent poster

Room for Rent

by Tommy Stovall
Specifics
USA [2019] - 81 mins
Genre
Thriller
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1.5*/5.0*

While the potential for a twisted and nifty little thriller is definitely there, the poor acting and almost amateurish director ruin a lot. There are quite a few uncomfortable scenes, but I never quite figured out whether it was the atmosphere or the poor execution that did it. This just isn't a very good film, unless you're extremely forgiving.

The Nutty Professor poster

The Nutty Professor

by Tom Shadyac
Specifics
USA [1996] - 95 mins
Genre
Comedy
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0.5*/5.0*

Shallow and simplistic comedy that's little more than a hacky cut-and-paste job hinging on the performance of Eddie Murphy. Sadly he's not good enough to save the film, so all that's left is 90 minutes of lazy, predictable jokes. It's been a while since I watched a comedy this bad, I guess that's also an accomplishment.

Braid poster

Braid

by Mitzi Peirone
Specifics
USA [2018] - 82 mins
Genre
Horror, Mystery
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3.5*/5.0*

Mitzi Peirone impresses with her very first feature. While just a little too on the nose and derivative at times, Braid still convinces as a dark, twisted and slightly puzzling little horror/mystery. Well acted, beautifully shot and pleasantly confusing, Braid is a film that gradually reveals its true identity and does so rather boldly. Good stuff.

Warda poster

Warda

by Hadi El Bagoury
Specifics
Egypt [2014] - 76 mins
Genre
Horror
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1.5*/5.0*

Egypt with its own take on Paranormal Activities. I've never been a big fan of the series, Warda doesn't fare much better. The horror is rather dull, the tension is mostly absent and the haunting are dire. There are some cultural elements that add something fresh to the formula, but it's simply not enough to make it interesting or stand out.

A Home with a View poster

A Home with a View

by Herman Yau
Also known as
Gaa Wo Maan Si Ging
Specifics
Hong Kong [2019] - 92 mins
Genre
Comedy
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3.5*/5.0*

Yau's latest starts out as a pretty jolly farce, but turns pleasantly dark and grim towards the end. Familiarity with the Chinese sense of humour definitely helps, but the themes are universal enough to appeal to a more international crowd. A Home with a View is another striking Yau film that stops just short of being genius.

Aquaman poster

Aquaman

by James Wan
Specifics
Australia, USA [2018] - 143 mins
Genre
Fantasy, Adventure
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1.0*/5.0*

Oh my. James Wan transitioned well from horror to action, but superhero material clearly isn't his thing. Aquaman is a red-hot mess, a bunch of over the top nonsense that lacks the self-awareness and humour that could've redeemed it. The designs are atrocious, the characters are ridiculous and the plot is dumb beyond belief. Poor DC. Poor Wan. Poor me.

The Wandering Earth poster

The Wandering Earth

by Frant Gwo
Also known as
Liu Lang Di Qiu
Specifics
China [2019] - 125 mins
Genre
Sci-fi, Action
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3.5*/5.0*

Slightly more action-packed and a bit more stylish compared to its US counterparts, but The Wandering Earth is everything you'd expect from a big budget blockbuster. The action is impressive, the sci-fi setting elaborate and the effects are grand. Plot and characters are second in line, but most importantly they don't get in the way of the fun.