Battle Royale poster

Battle Royale

by Kinji Fukasaku
Also known as
Batoru Rowaiaru
Specifics
Japan [2000] - 114 mins
Genre
Thriller, Action
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4.0*/5.0*

Rarely did a director have such a big impact with his very last film. Battle Royale is a cult classic, an amusing slice of mayhem that derives a lot of fun from its premise, but rises above itself with some very deliberate touches of absurdity. It's not the most refined film, but raw power, energy and wit more than make up for that.

The Unauthorized Bash Brothers Experience poster

The Unauthorized Bash Brothers Experience

by Akiva Schaffer
Specifics
USA [2019] - 30 mins
Genre
Comedy, Music
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3.5*/5.0*

Even not knowing the real life characters, this spoof is pretty great. The mix of straight comedy and parody is fine, but what makes The Lonely Island stand out from similar acts is that their music is genuinely catchy and actually believable as pop music. It's a tad short, but there's plenty to laugh and the execution is truly spot on.

Rocketman poster

Rocketman

by Dexter Fletcher
Specifics
UK, USA [2019] - 121 mins
Genre
Biography, Music, Musical
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3.0*/5.0*

A decent biography that doesn't restrict itself to telling the classic rise & fall story of a pop star. Instead Fletcher tries to inject the essence of Elton John into the texture of the film. The musical-inspired scenes are definitely helpful, Egerton's larger than life performance isn't too shabby either. Rocketman is an enjoyable film, even for people who aren't fans of Elton John's music.

Fear, Inc. poster

Fear, Inc.

by Vincent Masciale
Specifics
USA [2016] - 90 mins
Genre
Horror, Comedy
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2.0*/5.0*

A film that's a little too proud of its influences. The idea behind it is fun enough, but the constant horror and thriller references get stale real quick. The actors do a pretty poor job, the genre elements aren't fully realized and the constant ping pong between different realities is just too overwrought. Somewhat amusing, but not all that good.

The Creative Brain poster

The Creative Brain

by Jennifer Beamish, Toby Trackman
Specifics
USA [2019] - 52 mins
Genre
Documentary
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2.0*/5.0*

A doc that's just a little too inspirational for its own good. It the process the makers forgot to include more factual information and actionable knowledge. There are some interesting insights, but they are few and far between and hardly earth-shattering. What remains are some interviews with people praising human kind's creativity, many of which fall flat.

The Mystery Mausoleum poster

The Mystery Mausoleum

by Shen Jinfei
Also known as
Gui Mu Mi Deng
Specifics
China [2018] - 78 mins
Genre
Adventure, Horror
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1.5*/5.0*

A cheap and lazy tomb raider adventure with meagre horror elements. The problem is that setting, visual effects and actors are all pretty terrible and unconvincing. The genre is absolutely booming in China right now, that of course means that there's also lots of bad knock offs trying to hitch a ride on the hype wave. Better avoid this one, unless you're truly starved for Chinese adventure films.

The Navigator poster

The Navigator

by Donald Crisp, Buster Keaton
Specifics
USA [1924] - 59 mins
Genre
Action, Comedy, Romance
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1.0*/5.0*

A Keaton film that is mostly comedy and romance. The big stunts and ingenious action scenes are nowhere to be found, which makes it extra clear that Keaton's work is highly dependent on them. The Navigator is rather dull and lifeless, a film that offers little more than a tired old romance and some scruffy comedy routines. For me the worst Keaton film so far.

We Have Always Lived in the Castle poster

We Have Always Lived in the Castle

by Stacie Passon
Specifics
USA [2018] - 90 mins
Genre
Mystery, Fantasy
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3.5*/5.0*

Not familiar with the book, but this is a fun and playful adaptation by Passon. Nicely shot, mysterious and intruiging and although a little slow, never boring or dragging its feet. It's a shame Sebastian Stan doesn't really convince as the bad guy and Passon's direction is just a tad safe, but apart from that this is a pretty fine film indeed.

Black Magic poster

Black Magic

by Meng Hua Ho
Also known as
Jiang Tou
Specifics
Hong Kong [1975] - 93 mins
Genre
Horror
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2.0*/5.0*

Shaw Bros horror that is quite light on horror. Rather than go all out, Meng Hua Ho worked hard to produce a convincing narrative. Sadly it was all in vain, because the story isn't very enticing. The production might be pretty decent for a Shaw Brow film, but it comes at a severe price. Black Magic lacks the fun and energy that makes these films worthwhile.

Vampyr poster

Vampyr

by Carl Theodor Dreyer
Specifics
Germany, France [1932] - 75 mins
Genre
Horror
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1.5*/5.0*

Starts off moody enough, but can't really sustain its dark atmosphere. The horror elements are too shallow, the atmosphere is too light and most of the good parts are written down rather than filmed. Dreyer should've taken a hint or two from his German contemporaries, they were a lot better at bringing this kind of material to life.

Free Fire poster

Free Fire

by Ben Wheatley
Specifics
UK [2016] - 91 mins
Genre
Action, Comedy, Crime
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3.5*/5.0*

Wheatley doing a more light-hearted action film that offers plenty of smirks. A weapon's deal gone wrong, plenty of shady characters willing to cross each other and a whole bunch of killing going on. Free Fire isn't a film with a lot of depth, but it's pretty well-made and there's so much fun to be had that it's hardly an issue. Good fun alright.

Whistle and I'll Come to You poster

Whistle and I'll Come to You

by Jonathan Miller
Specifics
UK [1968] - 42 mins
Genre
Horror
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0.5*/5.0*

A drab and soulless adaptation of M.R. James' ghost story. The film is way too upbeat and meandering, whereas the horror (roughly five minutes at the end) is cheesy and almost laughable. For a film this short it's damning that it had trouble keeping my attention, I struggled to find anything worthwhile here but I just couldn't find it.

Tulip Fever poster

Tulip Fever

by Justin Chadwick
Specifics
UK, USA [2017] - 105 mins
Genre
Romance, History
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2.5*/5.0*

Slightly silly but amusing romance draped against the 17th century tulip mania. The setting is little more than an excuse to dress up some famous actors, but at least there's some decent intrigue keeping the romance interesting. Tulip Fever isn't a horrible film, but it's a little dull and expected, with very little to set it apart from its peers.