Amityville, the origin story. A film that doesn't go the obvious horror route, but tells the story of the factual murders that happened inside the house. The actors do a decent job and the 70s vibe is pretty apt, but it takes a little long to get going and the pay-off isn't all that great. Still, this film is a lot better than most of the other Amityville episodes.
Light drama, light comedy. Struck by Lightning is a film that doesn't leave a bewildering impression, but is fun and amusing while it lasts. The cast is decent, the comedy is on point and the drama isn't overly destructive but does hits its mark. It's a small, sweet and pleasant diversion, especially since it doesn't overstay its welcome. Good.
Third part in the series, though not really a core Annabelle film. It feels more like a franchise crossroad, where Annabelle is used to introduce several new spin-off-ready curses. Dauberman does a good job setting up fake jump scares, but has considerable trouble with the pay-offs. It's not a terrible film, but at times it feels like a marketing ploy rather than an actual film.
A pretty run-of-the-mill Greengrass film. Think Matt Damon in an urban war zone, without the visual bravura of Bay or Scott. It's not a bad film if you like this kind of thing, the pacing is decent and the action is exciting enough, but I couldn't escape the feeling that I've seen this done a lot better before. Expensive genre filler.
A modern, fun and quirky variation on films like Mulholland Drive and Inherent Vice. A big, somewhat absurd quest in the middle of LA, submerging the main character in a shady world that lives right beneath the surface of everyday life. There are some slight pacing issues, but apart from that it felt very fun and refreshing.
Buñuel and Dalí doing a film together, it sounds a lot better than it actually is. There are some funny ideas here, but overall the comedy is pretty bland and even though the film only lasts 60 minutes, it starts to drag during the second part. Buñuel's technique is still quite amateurish and the surreal elements don't really have the intended impact. Not great.
Typical 90s Takashi Ishii film. With its roots firmly in the pinku genre, Ishii adds plenty of crime elements and gives the whole a nice polish. The cinematography is remarkable, the plot is interesting enough and the drama has actual impact. It's far from a masterpiece, but very entertaining and much better than you'd expect a film like this to be.
An interesting doc if you want to know more about the mysteries of Japanese pinku cinema. Its strict rules have allowed for more creative freedom, which in turn made it a perfect starting point for many famous directors. Interviews with Koji Wakamatsu and Kiyoshi Kurosawa underline the unique position of this Japanese niche in the film industry. A tad too long, but otherwise good fun for films fans.
Terribly cheesy action flick. The entire film is built around Steven Seagal, but his performance is dire. The action is bland, secondary roles are cringeworthy and the plot is dull. But the biggest problem is that the film takes itself way too serious, which just adds insult to injury. Crappy 80s action shelf filler, it's really not my thing.
A somewhat surprising film from Mari Asato, who is best known for her work in the horror genre. This is full-blown drama with a touch of mystery thrown into the mix. A quest of a couple of high school kids into the mysterious events that happened 33 years earlier. A low-key and calm little film that does just about everything right, but doesn't truly excel at anything.
More art project than documentary, even so this conversation between director Ming-liang Tsai and his protégé Kang-sheng Lee wasn't as dull as I had feared. It doesn't feel entirely natural and Tsai is a little too dominant, but it does offer a nice peek into the lives of two famous men who left an incredible mark on Taiwanese cinema. 135 minutes is just too long though.
A smooth and sexy crime thriller that looks slick, features a strong killer, discusses some relevant issues and is properly paced. There's a lot of material to go through, but since most of the first half is familiar territory the film is smart not to spend too much time on the obvious. Better than I expected and close to being a masterpiece.
A rudimentary comedy that doesn't get far beyond the obvious differences in physique. Both Schwarzenegger and DeVito fail to impress, Reitman's direction is pretty lazy and the crime plot that develops alongside the comedy isn't very interesting. It's an okay film as long as you don't expect too much of it, but it hasn't aged that well.
A pretty loud and annoying film by Jean Vigo. I kind of wished he would have made it a silent, because between the noisy kids and the bellowing soundtrack it started to get on my nerves very quickly. The film itself is trivial, with a bunch of school kids staging a revolt against their teachers. The pillow fight scene is kinda nice, the rest is terrible.
A basic romantic comedy that does things by the book, but manages itself pretty well within the accepted boundaries of the genre. The cast is decent, the gags are fun and the romance is acceptable. There's nothing particularly outstanding about this film, but it's amusing filler that holds its own.
Very simple mummy flick, featuring an amusing bag of rags that isn't very scary, nor does he look very lethal, but at least he gets the job done. The acting is a little stiff and the story is razor thin, but the pacing is decent and the film is short. It's hardly prime horror material, but it wasn't a total disaster.
Surprisingly fun. Didn't expect a whole lot from this one, but it was a lot better than I imagined. Superb monster design, solid effects and slick pacing make this film a fun diversion. It's nothing too remarkable and Vin Diesel is somewhat of a miscast, but that doesn't really stand in the way of the fun. I rarely like Hollywood fantasy, but this was a welcome exception.
Good to see Wen Jiang still has it. For the larger part Hidden Man is on par with Let the Bullets Fly, featuring that same, smirky light-heartedness that makes Jiang's post-2000 work such a delight. Superb cinematography, actors who are in on the joke and an amusing plot make this a fun watch, though not as exuberant as Let the Bullets Fly.
A fine drama that plays like a more sentimental version of Koreeda's After Life. Shinohara isn't as subtle, the drama itself has a clearer direction and some moments can be a bit much, but overall this is a sweet, loveable and slightly fantastical film that had little trouble convincing me of its qualities. Fans of '00 Japanese dramas won't be disappointed.
De Niro wants to do it right, but forgets to add any thrills to this bog standard espionage thriller. Looking at the cast, running time and sets, there clearly wasn't a lack of funding, but it never comes together to make an intruiging, exciting film. It's Hollywood at its most generic, a film that despite its deep pockets fails to be memorable.
A quirky comedy that turns a lot more serious towards the end. The turn to drama is a decent one though and doesn't feel as forced compared to many of its American counterparts. The romance is sweet, the comedy is amusing and surprising, even so the film itself is a bit too safe to be a true standout. Well recommended.
Not a direct sequel to the earlier films, but very much alike in tone and style. I don't think I've ever seen a haunted fish story before, but in the end that hardly matters. Devil Fish is an atmospheric, well directed demon flick that stands well on its own while paying homage to its predecessors. A prime choice if you're on the lookout for some good horror filler.
With a title like that and not an ounce of nuance to be seen, I was in for a rough ride. von Stroheim's Greed is a dreary look at mankind, a film that piles on the drama and goes on endlessly. In the end I figure it might have been better to watch the short version instead, this was overly long, overly simplistic and just plain boring.
With the Sushi Typhoon craze behind us, directors like Iguchi are left struggling to make something worthwhile. Ghost Squad has its moments, especially during the second half of the film, but the cheap look, bad acting and dull bits in between make it needlessly difficult to appreciate what is supposed to be fun and light-hearted entertainment.
Very poor and shallow film completely undeserving of all the hype. If you want to see films about crazy rich Asians, just watch some Asian films instead. The East vs West theme is weak, the characters are all horrible clichés, poorly portrayed and the comedy is pretty cringe. Apart from the lush setting, this was a complete waste of time.
Decent but long-winding and overly grave rendition of the Chernobyl disaster. It's incomprehensible they didn't go for Russian actors, but I guess that's still too big a hurdle for most people. The first episode is by far the best, from there on out it starts to drag and the last two episodes are little more than ordinary filler. Way overhyped.
I'm not familiar with the two Edgar Allan Poe tales that were mixed together here, but it's clear that Epstein was more interested in atmosphere than pure storytelling. The film looks nice for its age, the soundtrack was fitting and there were quite a few memorable moments. Outdated techniques held it down a little, but overall not a bad classic.
A solid thriller that has the basics down, but forgets to add anything of its own. The cinematography is nice, the actors do a good job and the story is interesting enough. The tension swells and subdues when needed, but in the end it all feels very much by the book and it's not a film I'll remember for very long.
A decent Western that is well-acted, looks stylish and avoids many of the typical genre pitfalls. Even so, I'm not a big fan of the genre and the characters, nor the events, managed to truly engage me. It's definitely one of the best films in the genre I've seen so far, but it's far from a film I'd count among my favorites.
Like most of Hiroki's films, this is small and delicate, but still manages to pack a punch. It's a very sweet, laid-back tale about moving away to a bigger city, saying goodbye to your childhood and your best friends. Things get a little trickier when secret crushes need to be confessed, but that drama is light and the mood is breezy. Very nice.
Mediocre adaptation of a superior manga/anime. Rodriguez has plenty of money to play around with, but safe some pretty vistas and decent CG little remains but a silly, somewhat cheesy Hollywood production. The acting is rather terrible, Alita herself looks goofy and the severity of the world never really translates to the screen.
A nice little thriller with minor horror influences. Somehow radio booth horrors tend to be quite interesting, Feedback is no exception. It's a pretty solid affair, nothing too original, but because of Marsan's fine performance and some genuinely gruesome violence the film maintains its appeal. Nice filler, though for genre fans only.
Fine but safe romantic fantasy that has an interesting premise, but doesn't do a whole lot with it. People hoping to see some of the old Boyle magic will be slightly disappointed, apart from Patel the casting is a little weak and the film has trouble making the premise 100% convincing. It's not a bad film, but with the material at hand it could and should have been better.