In the Heart of the Sea poster

In the Heart of the Sea

by Ron Howard
Specifics
USA, Australia [2015] - 122 mins
Genre
Adventure
More info on
3.5

A surprisingly strong and capable film by Ron Howard. Not a big fan of the man's work, but the camerawork here was well above average, the actors did a really fine job and the adventure itself was quite a thrill, though a tad long. The film lacks something to make it truly stand out, but it's by far the best thing I've seen from Howard so far.

Kingdom poster

Kingdom

by Shinsuke Sato
Also known as
Kingudamu
Specifics
Japan [2019] - 134 mins
Genre
War, Action
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3.0

Sato has worked himself up as one of the leading blockbuster directors of Japan. Kingdom underlines that reputation. A fun and well-made film that features a couple of impressive action scenes, but is held back by a lackluster middle part and the lack of something definite that could set it apart from its peers.

Noelle poster

Noelle

by Marc Lawrence
Specifics
USA [2019] - 100 mins
Genre
Comedy, Fantasy
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1.5

Modern-day Christmas movie that tries to work in too many woke issues. There's a female Santa, some gender role challenges, soulless tech threatening to kill Christmas and a crazy amount of Apple product placement. Would've been a lot better if it just tried to be a jolly Christmas comedy, but clearly that was asking too much.

Downsizing poster

Downsizing

by Alexander Payne
Specifics
USA, Norway [2017] - 135 mins
Genre
Drama, Comedy
More info on
3.0

Starts off pretty well, with some fun and surprising observations regarding the basic premise of the film. The first half works well as a drama, a sci-fi and an adventure film. But the film starts to meander during the second half and it all becomes quite aimless and pointless. A real shame, because the potential to be something more was clearly there.

Tell Me Who I Am poster

Tell Me Who I Am

by Ed Perkins
Specifics
UK [2019] - 85 mins
Genre
Documentary
More info on
2.0

While the presentation is quite nice, the documentary itself feels a little too structured and foreboding. I also wondered what kind of people would actually agree to such a big, dramatic reveal, right in front of a bunch of cameras. It left a somewhat sour aftertaste, especially considering the gravity of the material.

King of the Children poster

King of the Children

by Kaige Chen
Also known as
Hai Zi Wang
Specifics
China [1987] - 106 mins
Genre
Drama
More info on
3.0

A nice and solemn little drama about a teacher moving to a small mountain commune in order to tutor the local kids. The pacing is rather slow, but the setting is beautiful, the cinematography is on point and the actors do a solid job. The token social critique isn't very subtle, but the film had enough other qualities to keep me engaged.

Raigyo poster

Raigyo

by Takahisa Zeze
Specifics
Japan [1997] - 75 mins
Genre
Drama, Thriller
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3.5

A rather grim and often impenetrable mix of drama and thriller elements that would make a nice companion piece to Imamura's The Eel. Zeze uses the pinku format to his advantage, honouring the rules of the format but not letting it interfere with the drama. Well acted, properly shot and a decent kick in the gut. This is quite the calling card.

House poster

House

by Steve Miner
Specifics
USA [1985] - 93 mins
Genre
Horror, Comedy
More info on
2.0

A somewhat silly 80s horror that ever so slightly redeems itself by not taking itself too serious. The effects are pretty blah, the Vietnam scenes are terrible and the first half of the film is rather boring, but once the film gets going there is some fun to be had. As a horror it's a complete failure, but the cheese is good for a couple of smiles.

A Day in the Country poster

A Day in the Country

by Jean Renoir
Also known as
Partie de Campagne
Specifics
France [1946] - 40 mins
Genre
Romance
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0.5

Not sure what to make of this. Could be a romance, but is one rapey kiss really enough? Could be a love letter to the countryside, but was the grim black and white cinematography truly the best choice for that? And what about the farcical performances? At least it's short, but that's hardly a consolation when the rest of the film is beyond redemption.

The Funhouse poster

The Funhouse

by Tobe Hooper
Specifics
USA [1981] - 96 mins
Genre
Horror
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1.5

Tobe Hooper's precursor to the current "extreme haunt" hype. If you're big on 80s cheese then there's a lot to like here, if not this is mostly a very cheap and badly acted horror flick that is low on scares and features some hideous practical effects. The intro is somewhat interesting, but once the real horror starts it gets iffy real fast.

Angel Whispers poster

Angel Whispers

by Carrie Ng, Shirley Yung
Also known as
Hua Jie Liu Xiang
Specifics
Hong Kong [2015] - 85 mins
Genre
Horror
More info on
4.0

Very moody and stylish horror flick. It's the kind of film you'd expect Herman Yau to make, as it is set in a rundown whore house and features quite a few gruesome murders. Not your typical HK film in other words. This female-led slasher somehow remained under the radar, but fans of Asian horror cinema would do well to seek it out.

Portals poster

Portals

by Gregg Hale, Liam O'Donnell, Eduardo Sanchez, Timo Tjahjanto
Specifics
USA [2019] - 85 mins
Genre
Sci-fi, Horror
More info on
3.5

A fun mix of sci-fi and horror that blends the boundaries between feature film and anthology. The film plays like a mini-Cloverfield, following a few different angles surrounding the same event. The film is tense, the horror is pretty decent and the mystery is upheld until the very end. Some very find genre film making.

Haunt poster

Haunt

by Scott Beck, Bryan Woods
Specifics
USA [2019] - 92 mins
Genre
Horror
More info on
3.5

Fun and creepy haunt house attraction flick. This little horror niche has been on the rise since a few years, most of them are released around Halloween, for obvious reasons. This is one of the better ones in the genre, with a cool setting, creepy masked villains and some rather nasty kills. Nothing original, good fun nonetheless.

Dead or Alive: Final poster

Dead or Alive: Final

Specifics
Japan [2002] - 89 mins
Genre
Comedy, Crime
More info on
4.0

A great way to end a totally bonkers trilogy. Aikawa and Takeuchi return put an end to their endless fighting, this time in a futuristic version of Hong Kong. There are some great action scenes, some solid dramatic interludes and a couple of vintage Miike moments. Fans of the series won't be disappointed, others do best to watch part one and two first.