Historic oddity that is often named to be the first exploitation flick. I can imagine this making waves in the 1930s, but a bared breast, an eyeball and zealous overacting have very limited impact nowadays. It's short and to the point, but the quality is objectionable and the film is pretty dull and boring by modern standards. Not much to see here.
Hiroki and Ando combining forces means instant quality. Sadly neither of the two goes beyond to make this film truly special, but what remains is a very warm and touching drama with a few stand-out scenes. Ando's acting chops and Hiroki's aptitude for drama are unmistakable, an easy recommend if you're in the mood for a Japanese drama.
A colorful and upbeat crime comedy that tells the same story from 7 different angles. It's a familiar setup with few surprises, the comedy isn't very successful and the actors are mediocre, but the film looks nice and the film works as entertaining filler. Not a must-see, but definitely not the worst film is you need a breather.
Love at Least
Very strong and solid Japanese drama, that is a little heavy-handed at first but has an exceptional finale. It's a shame the first hour isn't quite as gripping as I'd hoped, but fans of the genre should find plenty to like here. Strong acting, fine camera work and an ending that lingers beyond the end credits.
Slightly disappointing film that does very little with an interesting premise. The execution feels a little light and the ethic conundrum isn't too satisfying, but apart that the film doesn't have any obvious weak points. It's just average filler that doesn't outstay its welcome, but hasn't anything valuable to add beyond that.
A Dog's Journey
Mancuso does a near-perfect Hallström impression. A Dog's Journey is an adequate but predictable sequel that gets a little sidetracked by the drama, but keeps an adorable, light-hearted mood throughout. Could have been a little shorter and slightly more focused, but if you're looking for a cute animal flick, this comes warmly recommended.
A slightly disappointing second watch. The strange blend of crime, torture porn and fairy tale still feels fresh and original, but there's some serious visual decay and knowing what is to come does take away some of the initial appeal. It's definitely not a bad film, but I just wasn't as impressed the second time around.
A surprise return for Volckman. The result is a neat, creative genre film that invests a tad too much in the dramatic side of the plot. With a French director leading a Belgian/Russian duo in an English language film, that's just asking for trouble. Even so, there's plenty to love here, I just wish Volckman had stayed clear of the extra drama in favor of a purer genre approach.
Good Take, Too!
The second part of the Good Take! anthology, this time around focusing more on drama and romance. It's a solid selection of films, but for an anthology it felt a bit too cohesive at times. These type of projects are prime opportunities for directors to shine and while they all deliver more than solid entries, as a whole the project misses some vibrancy and wonder.
A film that tries very hard to be moody and ominous. At times the attempts are spot on, other times they are perfectly adequate, but there are also some clear misses and some really awkward fails. Smarter use of the score and some better actors might have softened the blow, but nothing so bad that it ruined the film. The potential is there, Long's execution just needs some work.
Girls, Dance with the Dead
A light and shallow comedy/horror film that is little more than a promotional video for some or other Japanese idol band. Even so there are some surprisingly solid moments here, with director Kayoko Asakura displaying an aptness for dark comedy and even drama. Not a great film, but not as terrible as you might assume based on the premise alone.
A very quirky and charming stop-motion animation. The forest creatures are fun and creative, Kooky himself is an adorable lead. The adventure is mostly aimed at kids, but the quality of animation and the overwhelming charm make this film very much suited for adults too. If you're a fan of stop-motion, make sure you watch this one.
Foy's latest is solid horror filler, but not quite as good as I'd hoped. The first hour in particular feels a little uninspired, with some mediocre scares and wasted horror potential. It isn't until the finale that the film gets interesting. Eli is not a bad film, Foy simply can't hide his talent, but the first hour fell a little flat.