The Greatest Showman poster

The Greatest Showman

by Michael Gracey
Specifics
USA [2017] - 105 mins
Genre
Musical
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2.0*/5.0*

Some nice decors and fine cinematography, but boy were those songs grating. I'm not a very big fan of musicals to begin with, but the music and lyrics here seemed to be squarely aimed at children. The rest of the film is decent, though predictable and fleeting. Not a terrible film, but bring earplugs if you can't stand cheesy pop music.

Snatched poster

Snatched

by Jonathan Levine
Specifics
USA [2017] - 90 mins
Genre
Comedy, Adventure
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2.5*/5.0*

A passable comedy that is a little too dependent on Amy Schumer's particular style of cringe comedy to be truly good. The pacing is solid, there are some decent jokes and the film doesn't take itself too serious, but there are also plenty of comedy bits that fall flat. It's decent comedy filler, but a little hard to recommend unless you're a big Schumer fan.

LOUDER! Can't Hear What You're Singin', Wimp! poster

LOUDER! Can't Hear What You're Singin', Wimp!

by Satoshi Miki
Also known as
Onryô wo Agero Tako Nani Utattennnoka Zenzen Wakannendayo
Specifics
Japan [2018] - 106 mins
Genre
Comedy
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4.0*/5.0*

After a long hiatus, Miki returns with a new film. The music-based plot isn't all that great, but a superb cast and some typical Miki weirdness elevate the film to prime entertainment. It isn't very subtle and maybe not as deadpan as his earlier work, but it's nice to see Miki is still getting some work done, and he clearly hasn't run out of good ideas.

Long Shot poster

Long Shot

by Jonathan Levine
Specifics
USA [2019] - 125 mins
Genre
Comedy, Romance
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3.0*/5.0*

A pretty solid romantic comedy that features a level of political nuance well above accepted expectations. Rogen and Theron make a surprisingly fun couple, the comedy is decent and even though the finale is quite predictable, Levine makes it work. Far from a masterpiece, but some solid good fun nonetheless.

Tornado Girl poster

Tornado Girl

by Hitoshi Ône
Also known as
Okuda Tamio ni Naritai Boy to Deau Otoko Subete Kuruwaseru Girl
Specifics
Japan [2017] - 100 mins
Genre
Comedy, Romance
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3.0*/5.0*

Romantic comedy that turns a little darker toward the end. While there is enough interesting material here, director Hitoshi Ône keeps things a little too clean and poppy. The film has a solid cast and looks pretty enough, but my overall impression was that the film is a little too fleeting and light-weight. Decent filler, but nothing more.

Trespassers poster

Trespassers

by Orson Oblowitz
Specifics
USA [2018] - 88 mins
Genre
Thriller, Horror
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3.0*/5.0*

A decent invasion flick that suffers from a slow start, bad drama and poor acting. It takes way too long before the actual horror starts, which is a shame because once it gets going it turns out that Oblowitz is pretty apt at raising tension and throwing blood around. The second part of the film is pretty great, it just takes a while to get there.

Girl Sparks poster

Girl Sparks

by Yuya Ishii
Also known as
Gâru Supâkusu
Specifics
Japan [2007] - 94 mins
Genre
Drama, Comedy
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3.5*/5.0*

Quirky Japanese drama that mixes the slightly odd with the darkly dramatic. It's a coming of age film in the truest sense of the word, but Saeko's transition from girl to woman is a tough one. Her dad is struggling to keep his business afloat, Saeko hates school and doesn't have any real friends to fall back on. A typical Ishii film: solid, but stops short of greatness.

The Flying Dagger poster

The Flying Dagger

by Cheh Chang
Also known as
Fei Dao Shou
Specifics
Hong Kong [1969] - 103 mins
Genre
Action
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2.5*/5.0*

Very run-of-the-mill Shaw Bros production. Good versus evil, a basic plot that revolves around revenge and some martial arts action to resolve everything. Shaw Bros fans should know what to expect from Cheh Chang's films, others do well to seek out more prestigious Shaw Brow directors first.

Beautiful Boy poster

Beautiful Boy

by Felix van Groeningen
Specifics
USA [2018] - 120 mins
Genre
Drama
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3.5*/5.0*

A dark and loaded drama that isn't without its moments of joy and beauty. Felix van Groeningen finds a great balance, forgoing the typical spiral of tragedy for something a bit more realistic, though without losing any dramatic punch. Well acted, solid soundtrack, very nicely shot. It lacks something to truly set it apart, but Groeningen did very well for himself.

9th Company poster

9th Company

by Fedor Bondarchuk
Also known as
9 Rota
Specifics
Finland, Russia [2005] - 139 mins
Genre
War
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2.5*/5.0*

Russian war flick that conforms to Kubrick's Full Metal Jacket. We meet the boys, we go through the drill training with them, and we follow them into battle. The action scenes are decent and it's nice to see something else than the American wars for a change, but the film's too long and I'm no fan of the classic war film template, so this still felt a little too familiar.

Rififi poster

Rififi

by Jules Dassin
Also known as
Du Rififi chez les Hommes
Specifics
France [1955] - 118 mins
Genre
Crime, Thriller
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1.5*/5.0*

A very basic and expected heist flick. It feels like a blueprint for many heist films that would follow, the problem is that this takes away most of the tension as it is all so predictable. Technical qualities are mediocre, acting is decent, the plot is a little long-winded. I'm sure it might've been a decent film in its time, but very little of that original shine remains.

Tokyo: The Last Megalopolis poster

Tokyo: The Last Megalopolis

by Akio Jissoji
Also known as
Teito Monogatari
Specifics
Japan [1988] - 135 mins
Genre
Horror, Fantasy
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3.5*/5.0*

A pretty great genre film that made me think of Carpenter's dark fantasy work. Jissoji is clearly the better director though, with strong camera work, great lighting and some solid special effects he delivers a film that is not only good fun, but also looks surprisingly beautiful, even to this day. Quite the discovery this, I'll have to look into Jissoji some more.