Play or Die poster

Play or Die

by Jacques Kluger
Specifics
Belgium [2019] - 89 mins
Genre
Horror
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3.0*/5.0*

A pretty decent variation on the escape room craze that's currently sweeping through horror land. There's a clear European vibe that sets it apart from its American counterparts, the film is gory enough when it needs to be and the plot is entertaining, though nothing too original. Play or Die is a fun little filler flick, nothing more, nothing less.

The Battery poster

The Battery

by Jeremy Gardner
Specifics
USA [2012] - 101 mins
Genre
Horror
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1.0*/5.0*

A tedious zombie flick, featuring two slackers, very few zombies and little in the way of action and/or horror. It's just these two guys trying to get by in a world that's been overrun by the dead. The actors are terrible, the direction is bland and the themes are so overdone that it's quite a challenge to get to the end of the film. Pretty horrible.

Journey of the Doomed poster

Journey of the Doomed

by Chuen-Yee Cha
Also known as
Shui Er Wu Shi
Specifics
Hong Kong [1985] - 93 mins
Genre
Action
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2.5*/5.0*

A decent Shaw Bros film that is a bit edgier than its peers, but fails to keep things interesting during the middle part. The beginning and ending are pretty fun and action-packed, but the film slows to a crawl halfway through. It's a shame because it's nice to see these films mess about in the margin, but the result wasn't that great.

Night and Fog poster

Night and Fog

by Alain Resnais
Also known as
Nuit et Brouillard
Specifics
France [1956] - 32 mins
Genre
Documentary, History, War
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1.5*/5.0*

A documentary that has lost a lot of its initial impact. The core story remains chilling of course, but it has been told so many times, in so many ways, often better too, that is hardly adds anything for people who are just getting around to it now. If you're completely unaware of the atrocities that happened in the Nazi camps during WWII, this doc is a decent start, but nothing more.

Toy Story 4 poster

Toy Story 4

by Josh Cooley
Specifics
USA [2019] - 100 mins
Genre
Animation, Adventure, Family
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1.5*/5.0*

A trivial sequel that feels like a feeble add-on rather than a core addition to the Toy Story franchise. Technically it's not another step forward, there are also some individual moments that are decent enough, but I pretty much disliked all the characters and just can't appreciate Pixar's sense of humor. Not a fan of the franchise, this episode didn't do much to change that.

The Garden of Sinners - A Study in Murder: Part 2 poster

The Garden of Sinners - A Study in Murder: Part 2

by Shinsuke Takizawa
Also known as
Gekijô Ban Kara no Kyôkai: Satsujin Kôsatsu
Specifics
Japan [2009] - 120 mins
Genre
Animation, Horror, Crime
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3.0*/5.0*

A decent but somewhat expected ending. All the elements of the previous episodes were combined into one final showdown. Because it's a two-hour film it gets a little too talkative and the animation suffers, but the actual finale is pretty cool. I would've loved to see a different resolution though, this was a little too convenient.

I Am Mother poster

I Am Mother

by Grant Sputore
Specifics
Australia [2019] - 113 mins
Genre
Sci-fi, Thriller
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2.0*/5.0*

Somewhat disappointing sci-fi that gets bogged down by an ingenious combination of boring social critique and uninspired tech doom. The sci-fi elements are simplistic and mostly just there to support the plot. The acting is subpar, the only thing that saves the film from complete failure is a decent budget, but that's hardly something to look forward to.

Carnival of Souls poster

Carnival of Souls

by Herk Harvey
Specifics
USA [1962] - 78 mins
Genre
Horror, Mystery
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1.5*/5.0*

A film that starts out well enough, but as Harvey tries to make things more explicit it becomes very silly and flat. Hilligoss' performance is okay as long as she isn't required to act, Harvey doesn't use the potential of the locations at hand and the finale is a real dud. There's some good mystery hidden below some subpar attempts at horror, sadly that isn't enough to save the film.

Eddie the Eagle poster

Eddie the Eagle

by Dexter Fletcher
Specifics
UK, Germany [2015] - 106 mins
Genre
Comedy, Sport
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3.0*/5.0*

A film that suits its protagonist. Fun, endearing and likeable, but also a little simple and limited. Fletcher, Egerton and Jackman make the best of it. The director is fresh and upbeat, the film never gets too dramatic and Egerton's performance is a little over the top, but never a true caricature. It's a fun diversion, especially on a hot summer night.

Revolt poster

Revolt

by Joe Miale
Specifics
UK [2017] - 87 mins
Genre
Action, Sci-fi
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2.5*/5.0*

A pretty basic sci-fi action exercise. Mediocre alien designs, doubty performances and a less than original plot stand in the way of greatness. But the pacing is decent enough and if you're looking for an action-packed alien invasion flick you could do a lot worse. Simple genre filler, not amazing but it serves its purpose.

Bob Lazar: Area 51 & Flying Saucers poster

Bob Lazar: Area 51 & Flying Saucers

by Jeremy Kenyon Lockyer Corbell
Specifics
USA [2018] - 97 mins
Genre
Documentary
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1.0*/5.0*

Oh well. Fun because most conspiracy stories are, but apart from that it's the same old, same old. The documentary pretends it's doing serious research into the subject, but it's little more than smoke and mirrors that's meant to confuse. I would be surprised anyone would change his mind about UFOs after this, but you never know. Sorry Bob.

Submarine poster

Submarine

by Richard Ayoade
Specifics
UK, USA [2010] - 97 mins
Genre
Drama, Comedy
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3.5*/5.0*

Funny, dry and endearing little coming of age story. Ayoade shows himself a capable director, Craig Roberts is perfect in the lead. The drama and comedy is well-balanced, the direction is solid and perfectly captures the mood and the actors do a more than splendid job. It's not the most original of films, but it's quality filler.

The Red Balloon poster

The Red Balloon

by Albert Lamorisse
Also known as
Le Ballon Rouge
Specifics
France [1956] - 34 mins
Genre
Drama, Fantasy
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2.5*/5.0*

A decent classic that still manages to stir up a sense of wonder, but is a little too repetitive to be truly captivating. The red balloon remains a striking image and its friendship with a Paris kid is genuinely endearing, but the moral of the story is a little too on the nose and the story's just a little thin for 30 minutes of film.

Nightmare Cinema poster

Nightmare Cinema

by Alejandro Brugués, Joe Dante, Mick Garris, Ryuhei Kitamura, David Slade
Specifics
USA [2018] - 119 mins
Genre
Horror
More info on
3.0*/5.0*

Nightmare Cinema serves a prime selection of horror directors, but none of them were able to deliver their best work. Still, there's enough variety to keep things interesting and there are no stinkers either. Like most anthologies, the sum is bigger than its parts and if you're a horror fan, this film should have enough to keep you entertained.