Maniac

by Dwain Esper
Specifics
USA [1934] - 51m
Genre
Horror
More info on
rating
1.0*/5.0*
Maniac poster

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.

Bokura wa Aruku, Tada Soredake

Specifics
Japan [2009] - 74m
Genre
Comedy
More info on
rating
3.5*/5.0*
Bokura wa Aruku, Tada Soredake poster

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.

Destines

by Pu Zhang
Also known as
Hui Hou
Specifics
China [2019] - 98m
Genre
Comedy, Crime
More info on
rating
3.0*/5.0*
Destines poster

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

by Kôsai Sekine
Also known as
Ikiteru Dake de Ai
Specifics
Japan [2018] - 109m
Genre
Drama
More info on
rating
3.5*/5.0*
Love at Least poster

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.

Rattlesnake

by Zak Hilditch
Specifics
USA [2019] - 85m
Genre
Horror, Mystery
More info on
rating
2.5*/5.0*
Rattlesnake poster

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

by Gail Mancuso
Specifics
China, India [2019] - 109m
Genre
Adventure, Feelgood
More info on
rating
3.0*/5.0*
A Dog's Journey poster

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.

Criminal Lovers

by François Ozon
Also known as
Les Amants Criminels
Specifics
France [1999] - 96m
Genre
Horror, Crime
More info on
rating
3.5*/5.0*
Criminal Lovers poster

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.

The Room

by Christian Volckman
Specifics
France, Luxembourg [2019] - 100m
Genre
Drama, Mystery
More info on
rating
3.5*/5.0*
The Room poster

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!

by Clement Sze-Kit Cheng, Cho Kio Chong, Heiward Mak, Eric Tong Ka-wai
Specifics
Hong Kong [2016] - 94m
Genre
Drama
More info on
rating
3.5*/5.0*
Good Take, Too! poster

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.

Seeds

by Owen Long
Specifics
USA [2018] - 90m
Genre
Drama, Horror
More info on
rating
3.0*/5.0*
Seeds poster

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

by Kayoko Asakura
Also known as
Onna no Ko Yo Shitai to Odore
Specifics
Japan [2015] - 70m
Genre
Comedy, Horror
More info on
rating
2.5*/5.0*
Girls, Dance with the Dead poster

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.

Kooky

by Jan Sverák
Also known as
Kuky Se Vrací
Specifics
Czech Republic [2010] - 95m
Genre
Fantasy, Adventure
More info on
rating
3.5*/5.0*
Kooky poster

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.

Eli

by Ciaran Foy
Specifics
USA [2019] - 98m
Genre
Horror
More info on
rating
3.0*/5.0*
Eli poster

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.