Grudge Match poster

Grudge Match

by Peter Segal
Specifics
USA [2013] - 113 mins
Genre
Comedy, Sport
More info on
1.5*/5.0*

Two old boxing champs get ready for one final match against each other. De Niro and Stallone don't quite cut it any more, whoever thought it was a good idea to throw Kevin Hart in the mix should be fired. The mix of sports drama and comedy simply doesn't work very well here, which makes the entire film a waste of time.

Impossibility Defense poster

Impossibility Defense

by Koji Shiraishi
Also known as
Funôhan
Specifics
Japan [2017] - N/A mins
Genre
Mystery, Thriller
More info on
3.5*/5.0*

Interesting thriller with supernatural elements to spice things up. There's also a series attached to this film, no surprises there, but Shiraishi makes enough of an effort to have this film rise above its roots. It gets a little too plot-heavy when the film is working itself to its finale, but all in all an entertaining diversion.

The Knight of Shadows: Between Yin and Yang poster

The Knight of Shadows: Between Yin and Yang

by Vash
Also known as
Shen Tan Pu Song Ling Zhi Lan Ruo Xian Zong
Specifics
China [2019] - 109 mins
Genre
Action, Fantasy
More info on
3.0*/5.0*

There's enough quality here, but you have to find it through a layer of crap CG and terrible attempts at comedy. The atmosphere is wildly inconsistent, which is a shame because if Chinese directors focus on their strengths the results can be magnificent. If you can stomach the weaker moments, this is still a decent film, but it could've been so much better.

Haunted School: The Curse of the Word Spirit poster

Haunted School: The Curse of the Word Spirit

by Masayuki Ochiai
Also known as
Gakkô no Kaidan: Noroi no Kotodama
Specifics
Japan [2014] - 105 mins
Genre
Horror
More info on
2.5*/5.0*

A pretty basic Japanese horror film that doesn't really attempt to push the boundaries. The nature of the ghost is somewhat original, but the hauntings feel very familiar and the cheapish look fails to give much weight to the horror. It's simple filler, amusing enough for genre fans but forgettable and lacking true ambition.

Ordinary Heroes poster

Ordinary Heroes

by Ann Hui
Also known as
Qian Yan Wan Yu
Specifics
Hong Kong, China [1999] - 128 mins
Genre
Drama
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1.5*/5.0*

Ann Hui doing social drama. I'm sure she means well, but she's just not very fit to direct these films. The actors aren't good enough (even Kang-sheng Lee disappoints), visually it's a complete graveyard and drama is too predictable and overwrought. The running time is the final nail in its coffin. A disappointing film, not Hui's best.

The Sweet Life poster

The Sweet Life

by Federico Fellini
Also known as
La Dolce Vita
Specifics
Italy, France [1960] - 174 mins
Genre
Drama, Comedy
More info on
1.5*/5.0*

The film is way too long and fails to be consistently interesting, but there are some moments that stand out. My fourth Fellini and the first one that could at least capture my attention, if not for the entire running time. There's a certain joy and vibrancy that brings some life to the party, but overall it's too noisy, too talkative and too one-sided.

Kasane poster

Kasane

by Yûichi Satô
Specifics
Japan [2018] - 112 mins
Genre
Fantasy, Horror
More info on
4.0*/5.0*

Japanese body horror with strong Black Swan vibes. Kasane is intriguing genre cinema with slightly artistic influences. Smart fantasy elements bring two faulty characters together in an attempt to create one perfect human being, but it's clear from the start that neither is very happy with the situation. A fascinating film.

Justice League poster

Justice League

by Zack Snyder
Specifics
USA, Canada [2017] - 120 mins
Genre
Action, Fantasy, Sci-fi
More info on
1.0*/5.0*

A feeble attempt to recreate the success of the Avengers. The super heroes are laughable, the tone is incredibly inconsistent, the bad guy is one of the worst yet. It's all so dull, almost cynical in its execution. Worst of all is the fact that Snyder seems to have lost all of his signature trademarks. I guess DC finally broke him. This is garbage cinema.

Dracula poster

Dracula

by Tod Browning, Karl Freund
Specifics
USA [1931] - 75 mins
Genre
Horror
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2.0*/5.0*

The Gothic setting is very nice, the relative silence (someone ironic since this is an early talkie) is also a big plus. But the acting is rather stiff, there have been way better adaptations of the story since and Bela Lugosi is simply ridiculous. I don't care how iconic his performance may be, he takes away from the atmosphere instead of adding to it.

The Tree of Blood poster

The Tree of Blood

by Julio Medem
Also known as
El Árbol de la Sangre
Specifics
Spain [2018] - 130 mins
Genre
Romance, Thriller
More info on
3.0*/5.0*

I used to be a big Medem fan, but somehow I lost track of his work. The Tree of Blood carries Medem's signature, but it's not without fault and only occasionally matches the genius of his earlier work. The story is a little too overwrought and the narrative frame is somewhat of a nuisance. This is not a bad film, just too focused on the narrative.

Captive State poster

Captive State

by Rupert Wyatt
Specifics
USA [2019] - 109 mins
Genre
Sci-fi, Thriller
More info on
3.5*/5.0*

After a quick look around, I'm clearly not the only one thinking this could've been part of the Cloverfield universe. A rather serious, grim and technical sci-fi/thriller that isn't afraid to leave questions unanswered and adjust its pacing according to the story's needs. There's more than enough material left for a successful sequel, hopefully the disappointing box office won't stand in its way.

Last Letter poster

Last Letter

by Shunji Iwai
Also known as
Ni Hao, Zhihua
Specifics
China [2018] - 114 mins
Genre
Drama, Romance
More info on
3.5*/5.0*

Shunji Iwai in China. Last Letter is certainly better than his American adventure, but it doesn't quite match his prime Japanese work. The drama is fine, but there's a little too much intrigue and not enough time to delve into the core drama. The acting is great though and there are some pretty shots scattered throughout the film. A solid entry in Iwai's oeuvre, but he's made better films.

The Birds poster

The Birds

by Alfred Hitchcock
Specifics
USA [1963] - 119 mins
Genre
Horror, Thriller
More info on
1.0*/5.0*

An incredibly talkative film that is high on conversation, low on thriller and horror elements. I'm not a big Hitchcock fan to begin with, The Birds only strengthened that opinion. Slow, dull and poorly written, with some terrible (often unnecessary) effects and empty characters. One of Hitchcock's poorer attempts, I'm at a loss how this film upheld its reputation.

Yumeji poster

Yumeji

by Seijun Suzuki
Specifics
Japan [1991] - 128 mins
Genre
Biography, Drama
More info on
3.5*/5.0*

One of Suzuki's better films. It's what more poetic than your average biography, leaning on beautiful imagery, a strong soundtrack and some trademark Suzuki weirdness. There's a little too much dialogue at times and the quality isn't entirely consistent, but there's plenty to like here, especially if you're a fan of Suzuki's more experimental side.

Shadow of the Wraith poster

Shadow of the Wraith

by Toshiharu Ikeda
Also known as
Ikisudama
Specifics
Japan [2001] - 117 mins
Genre
Horror, Mystery
More info on
2.5*/5.0*

A film split in two. The first part deals with the wraith and the murders surrounding it, the second part shows the post-murder events as a new family moves in to a haunted house. It's a bit long, the horror isn't quite creepy enough and the split story doesn't do the film any favours. It's not bad filler, but only if you're desperate for Japanese horror.

Mortal Engines poster

Mortal Engines

by Christian Rivers
Specifics
USA, New Zealand [2018] - 128 mins
Genre
Fantasy, Sci-fi
More info on
2.0*/5.0*

The setting and fantasy elements are pretty cool, the budget was clearly there, but the direction falls completely flat. A dull story, boring action scenes, terrible dialogues, lame characters and a complete inability to make something of this rather intruiging universe. It's a pretty disappointing conclusion, but Rivers wasted a lot of good potential here.

Three Ages poster

Three Ages

by Edward F. Cline, Buster Keaton
Specifics
USA [1923] - 63 mins
Genre
Comedy
More info on
2.0*/5.0*

Though largely focused on comedy, the three eras offer the needed variation to keep this film interesting. There are some stunts, and while well executed they don't really hold up against Keaton's best work. The comedy on the other hand ranges from passable to cheesy and outdated. Three Ages is rather short and at times amusing, but also a little repetitive and outdone by Keaton's better films.

The Perfection poster

The Perfection

by Richard Shepard
Specifics
USA [2018] - 90 mins
Genre
Thriller, Horror
More info on
2.0*/5.0*

The potential is there. Bold use of colour, interesting ideas, not afraid to show a little gore when needed. But the film is scripted like a TV series recap, a rushed and senseless succession of plot points and reveals that makes you wonder where the advertising blocks were supposed to be. The boring and spineless bad guy didn't really help either.

Invasion of the Body Snatchers poster

Invasion of the Body Snatchers

by Don Siegel
Specifics
USA [1956] - 80 mins
Genre
Horror, Sci-fi
More info on
1.5*/5.0*

The original Body Snatchers is a rather simple and functional horror film. It's not very moody or scary, instead many things are dryly told and expressed. Apart from the soundtrack maybe, though volume seems to be its main weapon in a failed attempt to be engaging. There's not all that much to like here, unless you really dig classic horror fare.

See You Yesterday poster

See You Yesterday

by Stefon Bristol
Specifics
USA [2019] - 86 mins
Genre
Drama, Sci-fi
More info on
1.0*/5.0*

A film that loses itself trying to juggle too many things at once. Social commentary, time travel and kids drama, it's all there but nothing is working together. The result is a film that feels cheap, contorted and childish, though no doubt its intentions were honourable. It's one of those films you wish was better, but no amount of goodwill can save this wreck.

True Story poster

True Story

by Rupert Goold
Specifics
USA [2015] - 99 mins
Genre
Crime, Thriller
More info on
3.5*/5.0*

Better than expected. Hill and Franco put on strong performances, highlighting both the thriller elements as well as some harsh critiques on journalism. The film is deliberately slow, which gives the story the proper weight and drives up the tension between the protagonists. It's not a spectacular film, but it's one of the better films in its genre.

The Garden of Sinners - Oblivion Recorder poster

The Garden of Sinners - Oblivion Recorder

by Takahiro Miura
Also known as
Gekijô Ban Kara no Kyôkai: Dai Roku Shô - Bôkyaku
Specifics
Japan [2008] - 59 mins
Genre
Animation, Action, Fantasy
More info on
3.0*/5.0*

Another shorter part. Starts off surprisingly light-hearted and it had me worried after the first 15 minutes or so, but it turns pleasantly dark in the second half, making for an interesting contrast. The music is definitely a plus here, the animation is a little lacking, apart from the finale that is. The stand-alone episodes are clearly the best thing about Garden of Sinners.

Project X poster

Project X

by Nima Nourizadeh
Specifics
USA [2012] - 88 mins
Genre
Comedy
More info on
3.0*/5.0*

Ferris Bueller, move over. Project X is the party film for the new millennium. A film that ditches the 80s cheese and goes for a full-on, epic fantasy party that is more befitting modern times. The party itself is still a little lame, but the way it spins out of control, flamethrower included, is pretty damn amusing. I expected worse.

Deathgasm poster

Deathgasm

by Jason Lei Howden
Specifics
New Zealand, USA [2015] - 86 mins
Genre
Horror, Comedy
More info on
2.5*/5.0*

Cheesy but amusing splatter flick. The echoes of Peter Jackson's work are strong, though it's clear that Howden isn't quite the director Jackson was. The gore is nice and the camera work is vibrant, but the metal setting is a little lame and the effects are too cheap. It's a decent enough diversion, but it's not the comedy horror classic it aspires to be.

Into the Night poster

Into the Night

by John Landis
Specifics
USA [1985] - 115 mins
Genre
Crime, Comedy
More info on
2.0*/5.0*

A slightly amusing but very dated crime comedy. Goldblum and Pfeiffer do a pretty decent job, the rest of the cast isn't really on the same level. Landis' direction is mostly functional, trying to keep the momentum going and struggling to keep the plot sensible. There is some fun to be had here, but you have to dig pretty deep to find it.

The Garden of Sinners - Paradox Spiral poster

The Garden of Sinners - Paradox Spiral

by Takaaki Hirao
Also known as
Gekijô Ban Kara no Kyôkai: Dai Go Shô - Mujun Rasen
Specifics
Japan [2008] - 114 mins
Genre
Animation, Horror, Mystery, Fantasy
More info on
2.5*/5.0*

A longer episode in the Gates of Sinners film series. The extra time is used to develop a stand-alone story arc, next to scenes filling in some gaps from previous episodes. Sadly the setup doesn't work all that well. Part 5 looks a little cheaper compared to the other ones and the extra focus on plot and setting make it a little dull. Clearly this works better in smaller chunks.