The Eighth Day poster

The Eighth Day

by Jaco van Dormael
Also known as
Le Huitième Jour
Specifics
Belgium, France [1996] - 118 mins
Genre
Drama, Comedy
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2.5*/5.0*

Decent mix of drama and comedy, but the more straightforward execution of the story makes it the weakest of all van Dormael films. The film plays like a lesser version of Kikujiro, with some charming moments, but also quite a few misfires. Overall the drama just doesn't entice enough and the direction isn't as frivolous as it could've been.

Patriots Day poster

Patriots Day

by Peter Berg
Specifics
Hong Kong, USA [2016] - 133 mins
Genre
Thriller
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2.0*/5.0*

Recounts the Boston Marathon bombings and the hunt/capture of the criminals. The film isn't too interested in the background or surrounding issues of the events, instead it's a film about bravery, loyalty and keeping your head up in the face of terrorism. Decently made, but overly cheesy and sentimental.

Call Boy poster

Call Boy

by Daisuke Miura
Also known as
Shônen
Specifics
Japan [2018] - 119 mins
Genre
Drama, Romance
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4.0*/5.0*

Frank and direct drama about a boy who becomes a call boy in order to get a grip on his emotional life. Well acted, beautifully shot and intruiging from start to finish. Miura has been making interesting films for a while now, he finally took the next step and made a small masterpiece. Probably a bit too direct for some, but definitely a worthwhile drama.

Godzilla: King of the Monsters poster

Godzilla: King of the Monsters

by Michael Dougherty
Specifics
USA, Japan [2019] - 132 mins
Genre
Action, Adventure
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1.0*/5.0*

There's a good 2 hours of potential for something great to happen, but it never does. The CG is ugly, the monsters lack gravitas, the direction is a fluke, the acting is terrible and the melodrama is a total eyesore. I wished they had hired someone like Bay to direct this film, but alas. What remains is the worst kind of Hollywood crap imaginable.

Animal Farm poster

Animal Farm

by Joy Batchelor, John Halas
Specifics
UK, USA [1954] - 72 mins
Genre
Animation, Drama
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1.5*/5.0*

A very basic, animated version of George Orwell's famous book. I've never read the original, but I sure hope it's not as on the nose as this film, because this is overly moralistic even for a fairy tale. The animation is very limited, the voice acting is poor and the music is a little annoying. Definitely not the classic I'd hoped to see.

The Secret Life of Pets 2 poster

The Secret Life of Pets 2

by Chris Renaud, Jonathan del Val
Specifics
France, Japan [2019] - 86 mins
Genre
Animation, Adventure, Comedy
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1.5*/5.0*

Uninspired sequel that simply brings back the characters from the first film, adds a few new ones and tries to fill 90 minutes of film with no real story to speak off. The visuals are very colorful and some of the animal behavior is kind of cute, but the rest of it is a real train wreck. A poor USA CG animation, like there are so many already.

Once Upon a Time ... in Hollywood poster

Once Upon a Time ... in Hollywood

by Quentin Tarantino
Specifics
UK, USA [2019] - 161 mins
Genre
Comedy, Thriller
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1.5*/5.0*

Overly long and lacking direction, the first two hours are purely there to paint a portrait of an era. That's fine if you love the 60s, I couldn't care less really. The final 45 minutes are a small improvement, even so Tarantino isn't really wicked enough to pull it off. There are some decent scenes in there, but they fade way in a film directed by a man too in love with himself to make a proper cut.

Someone poster

Someone

by Daisuke Miura
Also known as
Nanimono
Specifics
Japan [2016] - 97 mins
Genre
Drama
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3.5*/5.0*

A post-coming-of-age drama that focuses on young adults and their hunt for jobs. While some of the featured Japanese hunting routines may be a bit alien to the rest of the world, the insecurities, doubts and emotions of the characters should feel familiar enough. A fine drama that lacks a little drive, but impresses nonetheless.

The Story of the Fox poster

The Story of the Fox

by Irene Starewicz, Wladyslaw Starewicz
Also known as
Le Roman de Renard
Specifics
France [1930] - 65 mins
Genre
Animation, Comedy
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1.0*/5.0*

A loud and childish rendition of the famous Reynard tale. The stop-motion animation is very limited, the voice acting is grating and the soundtrack overbearing. The story itself has been done many times already, often better. It's a film that no doubt was charming back in the day, but has lost pretty much all of its appeal since.

Toto the Hero poster

Toto the Hero

by Jaco van Dormael
Also known as
Toto le Héros
Specifics
Belgium, France [1991] - 91 mins
Genre
Comedy, Drama
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3.5*/5.0*

A rather dark and sullen drama, but executed with a lot of glee. What could've been a pretty depressive affair becomes a frivolous and joyous little film that charms from start to finish. Nicely directed, well acted and full of cheeky details. With a bit of extra visual polish this could've been a masterpiece, luckily van Dormael himself would fix that in his more recent work.

Sita Sings the Blues poster

Sita Sings the Blues

by Nina Paley
Specifics
USA [2008] - 82 mins
Genre
Animation, Comedy, Musical
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2.0*/5.0*

A film that mashes Indian folklore and religion with Paley's own relationship woes, for the most part supported by simple Flash animations. While intriguing enough for 20 minutes or so, the charm quickly wears off and constant switching between stories gets somewhat annoying. Not bad, but there's not enough here to support a feature-length film.

Birdboy: The Forgotten Children poster

Birdboy: The Forgotten Children

by Pedro Rivero, Alberto Vázquez
Also known as
Psiconautas, los Niños Olvidados
Specifics
Spain, Japan [2015] - 76 mins
Genre
Animation, Fantasy, Horror
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3.5*/5.0*

A stylish and surprisingly dark animation that has a lot to offer. The art style is amazing, the characters are intruiging and its universe is a treat to explore. But the animation itself and the visual direction are a little too bland for a film of this calibre. It's definitely a film you'd want to see if you're an animation fan, but the film's potential isn't used to its fullest.

The Flying Luna Clipper poster

The Flying Luna Clipper

by Ikko Ono
Specifics
Japan [1987] - 55 mins
Genre
Animation
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2.0*/5.0*

An 8-bit animation fully developed on an MSX. The idea sounds nifty enough and for a while it is fun to watch, but the film itself is pretty dull and the 8-bit charm wears off way too fast. Watch it for the novelty value or simply because you love the 8-bit look, but as a feature film it struggled to keep me engaged all the way through.

Nekrotronic poster

Nekrotronic

by Kiah Roache-Turner
Specifics
Australia [2018] - 99 mins
Genre
Comedy, Horror
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3.5*/5.0*

Amusing mix of comedy, horror and sci-fi that felt like the next, logical step for director Roache-Turner. Think Pokemon meets Ghostbusters. The film has some pacing issues and the acting is rather poor (even veterans like Bellucci seem to have trouble finding the right tone), but there's plenty of fun to be had and that's clearly what the makers were after.

The Pied Piper of Hamelin poster

The Pied Piper of Hamelin

by Jirí Barta
Also known as
Krysar
Specifics
Czechoslovakia, West Germany [1986] - 53 mins
Genre
Animation, Fantasy
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2.0*/5.0*

The woodcut stop-motion look is quite unique, but that's about the only thing that makes this animation worth watching. The plot is stale, the animation and camera work are very limited and the music is disappointing. It's a shame Barta wasn't able to create something more appealing from all this, because the potential was clearly there.

Exam poster

Exam

by Stuart Hazeldine
Specifics
UK [2009] - 101 mins
Genre
Mystery, Thriller
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3.5*/5.0*

A nifty little single-room mystery that doesn't aim to innovate, but executes its genre elements with lethal precision. The acting is solid, the mystery is upheld for the entire running time and the tension is ever present. While it lacks something to truly set it apart from a legion of similar films, it makes for an amusing 90 minutes of film.

The Mind's Eye poster

The Mind's Eye

by Jan Nickman
Specifics
USA [1990] - 40 mins
Genre
Animation
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0.5*/5.0*

A collection of short segments that explores the possibilities of computer animation. Not only has this film aged terribly, the lack of aesthetic appeal and the horrendous soundtrack make things infinitely worse. It might have turned some heads back in the day, but apart from historic relevance there's really no reason to watch this one in our day and age.