Ascent

by Fiona Tan
Specifics
Japan, The Netherlands [2016] - 80 mins
Genre
Drama
More info on
rating
2.0*/5.0*
Ascent poster

A doc on Mount Fuji could have been fun, but this collection of photographs and poetic(-sounding) monologues is a little meagre for an 80-minutes long documentary. There are some nice impressions of the mountain and some mildly interesting folklore, but I feel actual moving footage would've been preferable.

Taipei Story

by Edward Yang
Also known as
Qing Mei Zhu Ma
Specifics
Taiwan [1985] - 119 mins
Genre
Drama
More info on
rating
1.5*/5.0*
Taipei Story poster

Another disappointing Yang. It's fun to see Hsiao-hsien Hou act I guess, apart from that Yang's characters, his somewhat plain style of direction and the tepid drama simply don't do it for me. The film just hobbles along, and while never truly horrible or irritating it completely fails to capture my attention.

Crime or Punishment?!?

by Kera
Also known as
Tsumi Toka Batsu Toka
Specifics
Japan [2009] - 110 mins
Genre
Comedy
More info on
rating
4.0*/5.0*
toplist position
Crime or Punishment?!? poster

Wacky, absurd and zany comedy that is so thoroughly Japanese that it may be a hard sell on those not used to their particular kind of comedy. If, on the other hand, you appreciate their peculiar style of drawing laughs, then there is a lot to like here. Somewhat of a lost gem, this one, so make sure you don't let it slip by.

Linda Linda Linda

by Nobuhiro Yamashita
Specifics
Japan [2005] - 114 mins
Genre
Drama, Music
More info on
rating
2.0*/5.0*
Linda Linda Linda poster

Somewhat tepid and dire school club drama from Japan. The music as well as the direction is terribly mediocre, the acting is okay but not quite noteworthy. There are a few half-decent moments, but not enough to fill almost two hours of film. I'm usually a big fan of Japanese dramas, but this was pretty disappointing.

Walk with Me

by Ryon Lee
Specifics
Hong Kong, Malaysia [2019] - 92 mins
Genre
Horror
More info on
rating
3.0*/5.0*
Walk with Me poster

A decent but extremely expected and predictable Asian horror film. There are some decent scares and the film looks appropriately bleak and moody, but there simply isn't enough here to set it apart from a pile of similar films. It's solid horror filler, but don't expect it to make a big or lasting impression, or you'll come out disappointed.

Denshinbashira Eremi no Koi

by Saku Sakamoto
Specifics
Japan [2009] - 45 mins
Genre
Romance, Animation
More info on
rating
3.5*/5.0*
Denshinbashira Eremi no Koi poster

No doubt one of the strangest and most unlikely love stories ever told. The animation is minimal and the art style betrays the film's limited budget, but the details are so loving and delicate that it hardly matters. A very charming and heart-warming short that is an easy recommend for fans of stop-motion animation.

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer

by Larry Roemer
Specifics
USA, Japan [1964] - 47 mins
Genre
Fantasy, Animation, Family
More info on
rating
2.5*/5.0*
Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer poster

The stop-motion animation is extremely limited and the designs are simplistic, but it would be unfair to deny the charm and glee of this sweet little film. The story is familiar and the film is very much aimed at younger children, but people with a soft spot for stop-motion animation would do well to give this Christmas classic a fair chance.

Saludos Amigos

by Wilfred Jackson, Jack Kinney, Hamilton Luske, Bill Roberts
Specifics
USA [1942] - 42 mins
Genre
Fantasy, Musical, Animation
More info on
rating
3.0*/5.0*
Saludos Amigos poster

Fun anthology that holds 4 shorts inspired by a trip through South-America. The interesting part is that you see the Disney crew enjoying their little vacation and making some sketches based on their impressions, accompanied by the shorts that evolved from them. It's short, charming and amusing, definitely one of Disney's better efforts.

The White Girl

by Jenny Suen, Christopher Doyle
Specifics
Hong Kong [2017] - 97 mins
Genre
Drama
More info on
rating
4.0*/5.0*
toplist position
The White Girl poster

A Rainy Day in New York

Specifics
USA [2019] - 92 mins
Genre
Comedy, Romance
More info on
rating
2.0*/5.0*
A Rainy Day in New York poster

Cookie cutter Allen film. Another love letter to New York, another romance between some neurotic young ones, another bombardment of cultural reference. Only the cast is slightly different. Chalamet is decent but not remarkable, Fanning is a complete fluke, Gomez is surprisingly decent. One of Allen's less relevant films.

Prancer

by John D. Hancock
Specifics
USA, Canada [1989] - 103 mins
Genre
Fantasy, Family
More info on
rating
2.5*/5.0*
Prancer poster

A pretty decent Christmas film, that suffers from a cast of insufferable characters, but somehow finds a way to sneak in a hefty portion of digestible Christmas spirit. Maybe because it isn't as sugary or fake-wholesome as so many other films in the genre, the rather poor TV-level presentation doesn't do it much good though.

Double Tap

by Chi-Leung Law
Also known as
Cheung Wong
Specifics
Hong Kong [2000] - 89 mins
Genre
Action, Thriller
More info on
rating
3.0*/5.0*
Double Tap poster

Pretty solid HK action/thriller, with good performances by Cheung and Fong, some fine action scenes and a couple of cool stand-offs. It's definitely not the most original film ever, it's also not the most memorable one either, but it's more than decent filler that doesn't overstay its welcome. A good start of Law's directing career.

Lady and the Tramp

by Charlie Bean
Specifics
USA [2019] - 103 mins
Genre
Romance, Adventure
More info on
rating
2.5*/5.0*
Lady and the Tramp poster

A solid update of the original, with some decent CG work and a cosy, moody setting. Some changes have been made compared to the original, but none that matter all that much. It's just a slightly longer retelling for a younger/modern audience. If you really loved the old film it's probably safer to just skip this one though.

The Lorax

by Chris Renaud, Kyle Balda
Specifics
USA, France [2012] - 86 mins
Genre
Fantasy, Adventure, Animation
More info on
rating
2.5*/5.0*
The Lorax poster

Dr. Seuss' worlds make for nice animation material, but skill-wise the Illumination studio wasn't quite ready to tackle it. There are glimpses of creativity and a few interesting moments, but overall it felt too much like some generic US animation feature, with some subpar musical bits and rather poor voice acting.