The Favourite poster

The Favourite

by Yorgos Lanthimos
Specifics
Ireland, UK [2018] - 119 mins
Genre
Biography, History
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3.5*/5.0*

Bold and frivolous take on the classic costume drama. It's a bit surprising, considering Lanthimos' earlier films, but he managed to turn this into a rather fun and extravagant affair that never ran out of steam. The visual trickery gets a little repetitive maybe, but that's hardly a negative for a genre that is otherwise quite stuffy and stagnant.

Summer of 84 poster

Summer of 84

by Fran├žois Simard, Anouk Whissell, Yoann-Karl Whissell
Specifics
USA, Canada [2018] - 105 mins
Genre
Adventure, Horror
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2.5*/5.0*

A film that tries a little too hard, a little too late. With the 80s revival hype winding down, I don't think we needed another ode to the "kids on a hunt in suburbia" genre. It's all very true to its 80s influences, but we've seen this so many times before that it's getting annoying. Kudos for the surprisingly bleak and mean ending though, that's something I didn't see coming.

The Fate of Lee Khan poster

The Fate of Lee Khan

by King Hu
Also known as
Ying Chun Ge Zhi Fengbo
Specifics
Taiwan, Hong Kong [1973] - 105 mins
Genre
Action
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1.5*/5.0*

A lesser entry in King Hu's oeuvre. It's clear by now that he loves remote inns, but without some decent fight choreography and with a strong focus on a storyline that fails to excite, it takes way too long to get going. It's all a little disappointing, especially since Hu has some decent entries in his oeuvre that predate this one by several years.

Showgirls poster

Showgirls

by Paul Verhoeven
Specifics
France, USA [1995] - 128 mins
Genre
Drama
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2.0*/5.0*

Showy and kitschy showbiz drama that has a little extra because of Verhoeven's over-the-top direction, but fails to excite beyond that. The acting is pretty bland, the story is boring and the film could've been 30 minutes shorter. It's not a terrible film, certainly not as bad as its reputation, but it's not very noteworthy either.

The Brand New Testament poster

The Brand New Testament

by Jaco van Dormael
Also known as
Le Tout Nouveau Testament
Specifics
Belgium, France [2015] - 114 mins
Genre
Comedy, Fantasy
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4.0*/5.0*

A superbly fun and charming mix of comedy and fantasy. Van Dormael creates a world that thrives on an endless stream of ingenious little details. The execution is terrific, the acting exemplary. Just a smidgen too repetitive during the middle part, but don't let that hold you back, because there is so much to enjoy here.

How to Become Myself poster

How to Become Myself

by Jun Ichikawa
Also known as
Ashita no Watashi no Tsukurikata
Specifics
Japan [2007] - 97 mins
Genre
Drama
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3.5*/5.0*

Fine coming of age drama, where two girls learn how to balance their individual and social personas. There's also a strong focus on digital communication, but since that is so ubiquitous nowadays it doesn't really make a big impression any more. There are plenty of similar dramas, but Ichikawa's direction does give it some added flair.

Wonderstruck poster

Wonderstruck

by Todd Haynes
Specifics
USA [2017] - 116 mins
Genre
Drama, Mystery
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3.5*/5.0*

Stylish and charming film that tells two parallel stories that neatly come together at the end. The film loses a little steam during the second part and the 20s segment is significantly better than the 70s one, but Haynes' direction is so delicate yet accurate that the good easily outweighs the bad here. Well recommended.

Saving Sally poster

Saving Sally

by Avid Liongoren
Specifics
Philippines [2016] - 94 mins
Genre
Animation, Fantasy, Romance
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3.5*/5.0*

Saving Sally is a fun, fresh and creative mix of live action and animation. The blend of both worlds isn't quite seamless and the romantic plot is a little too derivative, but look past that and you'll find an original film that should've made a bigger splash than it did. A great discovery, especially for fans of animation that dares to be a little different.

Discarnate poster

Discarnate

by Mario Sorrenti
Specifics
USA [2018] - 84 mins
Genre
Horror
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2.5*/5.0*

Solid camera work and fine creature effects make this horror film stand out. Sadly it gets bogged down by very poor performances and some muddled lore. Too much time is spent on the background of the creature, not enough time is spent exploiting the horror. It's not a bad genre flick, but it could've been so much better.

The Adventures of Prince Achmed poster

The Adventures of Prince Achmed

by Lotte Reiniger, Carl Koch
Also known as
Die Abenteuer des Prinzen Achmed
Specifics
Germany [1926] - 81 mins
Genre
Animation, Adventure, Fantasy
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2.0*/5.0*

Nice shadow puppet animation film that impresses because of its age, but becomes a little too repetitive after a while. The stories aren't too interesting and once you're used to animation style there isn't all that much to keep you engaged. Worth seeing though, if only because it's the first (preserved) full length feature animation .

Drunken Angel poster

Drunken Angel

by Akira Kurosawa
Also known as
Yoidore-tenshi
Specifics
Japan [1948] - 102 mins
Genre
Crime, Drama
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2.0*/5.0*

Okay film by Akira Kurosawa. I clearly prefer his drama over his genre work, I like his shorter films better than his longer ones and I'll take Shimura over Mifune every time. Hence, this film was pretty easy to get through. Sadly it didn't do a lot more for me. The drama is still a bit overdone and never really gripped me like a drama is supposed to.

Eerie poster

Eerie

by Mikhail Red
Specifics
Philippines [2018] - 101 mins
Genre
Horror, Mystery
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3.0*/5.0*

A pretty decent horror film that obediently adheres to the rules of Asian horror cinema. Eerie is not a very frightening film, instead it uses its horror elements to support the drama that lies at its core. Moody visuals and a plot doused in mystery make sure that it's a film worth watching, but it's little more than a solid genre film.

The Age of Innocence poster

The Age of Innocence

by Martin Scorsese
Specifics
USA [1993] - 139 mins
Genre
Romance, Drama
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1.0*/5.0*

Scorsese doing costume drama. The result is a sludgy and overworked affair that brings nothing new to the table and takes way too long to get its point across. The voice over slows things down even further and some questionable performances are the cherry on the cake. Another Scorsese fluke, I'm still on the lookout for that one film that might redeem this man's work.

Dangal poster

Dangal

by Nitesh Tiwari
Specifics
India [2016] - 161 mins
Genre
Sport
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1.5*/5.0*

A sports drama that does things by the book, or what else did you expect from a big budget Bollywood film. A couple of musical numbers, lots of exaggerated sentiment and an ending that comes way too late and offers no surprises whatsoever. Unless you're a big sports or Bollywood fan, you can easily skip this one.

Re-cycle poster

Re-cycle

by Danny Pang, Oxide Pang Chun
Also known as
Gwai Wik
Specifics
Thailand, Hong Kong [2006] - 108 mins
Genre
Fantasy, Horror
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4.0*/5.0*

Re-cycle is a fine blend of fantasy and horror, coming from the Pang Brothers. The film starts like a typical horror film, but as the plot thickens fantasy and drama elements take the lead, while never truly overshadowing the film's horror roots. Inspired imagery, an original fantasy world and solid acting make this another stand-out Pang production.