You Are My Destiny poster

You Are My Destiny

by Eric Tsang
Also known as
Yong Ai Zhuo Yi Ren
Specifics
Hong Kong, Japan [1987] - 90 mins
Genre
Comedy
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2.5*/5.0*

A decent Tsang film, although there's very little here that sets it apart from other Hong Kong comedies of that era. There's a lot of silliness, a negligible plot with romance, crime and drama influences and a can of actors who're not really out to win any prizes. It's short, easy and effective entertainment though.

Dead Slowly poster

Dead Slowly

by Rita Hui
Specifics
Hong Kong [2009] - 87 mins
Genre
Drama
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3.5*/5.0*

Dark and grim thriller that is uncharacteristically edgy for a Hong Kong film. In that sense it's not unlike the old Herman Yau horrors. The music is pretty cool and there is some great imagery here, but the film doesn't entirely transcends its budgetary limitations, which weighs on the film. Definitely worth a watch though.

Her Sketchbook poster

Her Sketchbook

by Masaya Ozaki
Also known as
Sekai wa Kyo Kara Kimi no Mono
Specifics
Japan [2017] - 106 mins
Genre
Romance
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3.5*/5.0*

A sweet little drama about a slightly dim girl who tries to make it in the real world. While her divorced parents have little confidence that she'll find a decent job, it turns out she has real talent for drawing. Well acted, nicely shot and dramatically on point, but it lacks some standout moments to become truly special.

Aloha poster

Aloha

by Cameron Crowe
Specifics
USA [2015] - 105 mins
Genre
Comedy, Drama, Romance
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1.5*/5.0*

Pretty poor and pointless comedy/drama. The actors aren't really to blame, they did their best, instead it's Crowe who fails to make anything worthwhile out of this film. The whitewhashing hype surrounding Aloha was a bit overblown, the problem is the quality just isn't there. A pretty forgettable affaire.

Generation Wealth poster

Generation Wealth

by Lauren Greenfield
Specifics
USA [2018] - 105 mins
Genre
Documentary
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1.5*/5.0*

A documentary that is a little to keen on delivering a doom message. Greenfield seeks out plenty of excesses, but her portrayal of this excessive wealth is pretty cheesy. There isn't much of a message here, except that some people lose themselves in search of money and power. That's hardly new ground.

Shoplifters poster

Shoplifters

by Hirokazu Koreeda
Also known as
Manbiki Kazoku
Specifics
Japan [2018] - 121 mins
Genre
Crime, Drama
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3.5*/5.0*

Decent Koreeda, though not quite justifying all the hype surrounding it. Koreeda is great at documenting everyday life, but I prefer it when his film are quieter and more introverted. Still, some great performances, fine camera work and a strong focus on the drama make this a worthy film. Just not exceptional.

Steak poster

Steak

by Quentin Dupieux
Specifics
France, Canada [2007] - 82 mins
Genre
Comedy, Sci-fi
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3.0*/5.0*

Early Dupieux. His style is starting to shine through here, although it isn't as mad or absurd as his later work. There are some funny ideas, the actors are doing a good job and Dupieux's soundtrack is a definite asset, but it lacks the refinement and originality of the films that would raise his cult status.

Armageddon poster

Armageddon

by Michael Bay
Specifics
USA [1998] - 151 mins
Genre
Action, Adventure, Sci-fi, Thriller
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3.5*/5.0*

Bay is the king of blockbusters. Don't expect his films to be reasonable or make any sense, just sit down and prepare yourself for lots of stuff blowing up. That's what Bay does best. There is some sentimentality to ignore (of course), but it comes in small doses and hardly gets in the way of the action. Good stuff.

Kind Hearts and Coronets poster

Kind Hearts and Coronets

by Robert Hamer
Specifics
UK [1949] - 106 mins
Genre
Comedy, Crime
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1.0*/5.0*

I wonder if cinema could get any more dustier than this. I guess a film like this is why they called it "the talkies" back in the days. They shouldn't even have bothered to film it, since every little bit of information is uttered in the most stuck up British dialect you can imagine. A dreadful watch, unworthy of its status.

Long Day's Journey into Night poster

Long Day's Journey into Night

by Gan Bi
Also known as
Di Qiu Zui Hou De Ye Wan
Specifics
China, France [2018] - 110 mins
Genre
Drama, Mystery
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3.0*/5.0*

The first hour is a big step up for Gan Bi, sadly the second part is a disappointment. Long takes are fine when they are wild and challenging, not when they're merely driving up the minute counts. The film pretty much lost me during the second half, but that doesn't mean it isn't worth watching for the first hour.

The Other Side of Gentleman poster

The Other Side of Gentleman

by Ringo Lam
Also known as
Jun Zi Hao Qiu
Specifics
Hong Kong [1984] - 93 mins
Genre
Comedy
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2.0*/5.0*

An old Ringo Lam comedy. Clearly a training film for Lam. You won't recognize much of his typical style, there are no real crime elements and the grittiness is almost completely absent. It's a typical 80s Hong Kong comedy, not great but passable and somewhat entertaining. Hard to recommend, unless you're a completist.

Behind the Curve poster

Behind the Curve

by Daniel J. Clark
Specifics
USA [2018] - 96 mins
Genre
Documentary
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3.0*/5.0*

Doc on Flat-earthers. The nice thing is that the doc shows both sides of the story, with a surprisingly modest stance of the scientists doing the talking. The doc loses its focus in the second part, when it becomes more about the Flat Earth congress, but there are some very interesting bit in here. Worth a watch.

Deepwater Horizon poster

Deepwater Horizon

by Peter Berg
Specifics
Hong Kong, USA [2016] - 107 mins
Genre
Action, Drama, History, Thriller
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3.5*/5.0*

Berg does a great job with this disaster film. The build-up is tense and exciting, but even more surprisingly, so it the actual disaster. Most of its peers tend to lose it there, but this film keeps the tension strong until the very end. Hollywood cinema at its purest. Nothing deep or profound, but extremely entertaining.

November poster

November

by Rainer Sarnet
Specifics
Estonia, Netherlands [2017] - 115 mins
Genre
Drama, Fantasy, Horror, Romance
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3.5*/5.0*

Very interesting film from Estonia. The cinematography is drop dead gorgeous, sadly the rest of the film isn't quite as good. Some beauty is lost in the editing, but ultimately it's the tone of the film that isn't entirely on point. Even so, there is plenty to enjoy here, as long as you can stomach the strange folklore.

Safety Last! poster

Safety Last!

by Fred C. Newmeyer, Sam Taylor
Specifics
USA [1923] - 70 mins
Genre
Comedy, Thriller
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2.0*/5.0*

Passable. A lot of the comedy is dated, especially during the middle part when the girlfriend is visiting, but luckily the stunts are still quite impressive. Harold Lloyd is a fun actor and pulls off the slapstick routines with ease. The finale is a rightful classic, the rest of the film not really on the same level though.

The Predator poster

The Predator

by Shane Black
Specifics
Canada, USA [2018] - 107 mins
Genre
Action, Adventure, Sci-fi, Thriller
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1.5*/5.0*

Pretty bad Predator reboot that falls into the same traps as the Alien franchise. Silly creature mutations and dumb narratives bog down an otherwise fun concept. Add to that some very poor attempts to recreate the 80s vibe and what you got is a film that should've been an easy win, but fails on almost all accounts.

Our Sister Hedy poster

Our Sister Hedy

by Ching Doe
Also known as
Si Qian Jin
Specifics
Hong Kong [1957] - 113 mins
Genre
Drama
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1.0*/5.0*

Classic Hong Kong dramas, I'm really not all that surprised Hong Kong decided genre cinema was a smarter choice. The acting is extremely overdone, the drama is uneventful and the film is at least 30 minutes too long. Add a grating soundtrack and poor cinematography and there's really nothing here.

While We're Young poster

While We're Young

by Noah Baumbach
Specifics
USA [2014] - 97 mins
Genre
Comedy, Drama, Mystery
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2.5*/5.0*

A film that loses itself in the terrible clichés it puts on display. While I felt Baumbach tried to say something profound with this film, the ridiculous characters and their stupendous behavior make it very difficult to take any of it serious. The film works best as a comedy, sadly it isn't trying very hard to be funny.

Ash Is Purest White poster

Ash Is Purest White

by Zhangke Jia
Also known as
Jiang Hu Er Nv
Specifics
China, France [2018] - 136 mins
Genre
Drama, Romance
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2.5*/5.0*

Jia doing Jia. There isn't much here that sets it apart from his other films. The slight crime influences are quite recent, but apart from that it's just another film on rural China turning urban. America's cultural influences, horrid fashion and the contrast between old and new. I have to say it's all getting more than a little stale.

The Search for Freedom poster

The Search for Freedom

by Jon Long
Specifics
Canada [2015] - 92 mins
Genre
Documentary
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1.5*/5.0*

Thoroughly American doc on extreme sports. It's framed as a quest for freedom, but that's just because it's a film where only the winners do the talking. There is some impressive footage here, but the message is muddy and the point of the film didn't hit me as very deep or essential. Like most docs, it tells only half a story.

A Cool Fish poster

A Cool Fish

by Xiaozhi Rao
Also known as
Wu Ming Zhi Bei
Specifics
China [2018] - 109 mins
Genre
Comedy, Crime
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3.5*/5.0*

A pretty nice mix of comedy, crime and drama. Slick cinematography, interesting characters and a somewhat convoluted story that comes together in a satisfying way make this worth your while. There are one or two standout moments, which is one or two short of being a truly great film. Well recommended though.

Revenger poster

Revenger

by Seung-Won Lee
Specifics
South-Korea [2018] - 101 mins
Genre
Action
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2.5*/5.0*

The idea behind Revenger is pretty cool, but the action choreography doesn't quite cut it. There aren't many spectacular moments and once you're past the interesting concept the film doesn't have much to add to it. It's a pretty standard action flick, nothing too fancy but it passes the time. Basic filler in other words.

Batman: Mask of the Phantasm poster

Batman: Mask of the Phantasm

by Eric Radomski, Bruce Timm, Kevin Altieri, Boyd Kirkland, Frank Paur, Dan Riba
Specifics
USA [1993] - 76 mins
Genre
Animation, Action, Crime
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0.5*/5.0*

Not quite sure what makes this one stand out, but apparently it's a fan favorite. Terrible animation, silly characters and dull action scenes makes this a complete failure though. At least it was short, but when a film can't even grab your attention for a single minute even that isn't worth much. A horrible film.

Venom poster

Venom

by Ruben Fleischer
Specifics
China, USA [2018] - 112 mins
Genre
Action, Sci-fi, Thriller
More info on
1.5*/5.0*

Cheesy and lame, even though it tries to be cool and tough. Venom is a terrible superhero, Hardy's performance feels conflicted and the special effects don't really cut it. There are some decent action scenes, but that's about it really. Another disappointing superhero flick, just throw it on the pile.

The Wild Wild Rose poster

The Wild Wild Rose

by Tian-Lin Wang
Also known as
Ye Mei Gui Zhi Lian
Specifics
Hong Kong [1960] - 128 mins
Genre
Musical
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1.5*/5.0*

Old Carmen-based Hong Kong musical. Grace Chang was a big star back then, but her singing isn't all that spectacular and as an actress she falls prey to overstated performances. It's no surprise then that the drama doesn't really work and that the film, with its 128 minute running time, is grossly overstaying its welcome.

Perfect Education: Maid, for You poster

Perfect Education: Maid, for You

by Kenta Fukasaku
Also known as
Kanzen Naru Shiiku: Meido, for You
Specifics
Japan [2010] - 100 mins
Genre
Drama
More info on
2.0*/5.0*

Cheap pinku with some decent drama, but not enough so to really elevate the film. Maid, for You offers a decent glimpse into one of Japan's stranger sub cultures, but production values are low and Fukasaku didn't bother to do much polishing. There are some solid twists and turns, but they can't save the film.

Climax poster

Climax

by Gaspar Noé
Specifics
France [2018] - 96 mins
Genre
Drama, Horror
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4.5*/5.0*

Gaspar Noé and Benoît Debie are finally reunited again. Climax isn't quite as intense as Noé's best films, but it's far more intense that most of the other films out there. A great soundtrack, mad cinematography and a dire descent into madness make this a film that needs to be experienced rather than understood.

Chicago poster

Chicago

by Rob Marshall
Specifics
USA, Germany [2002] - 113 mins
Genre
Comedy, Crime, Musical
More info on
2.0*/5.0*

For a Rob Marshall film it's pretty decent. There are some fun musical numbers, but the story is pretty lame, the acting is mediocre and Gere is a total miscast. Setting and montage are pretty good though, which at least saves this film from being a total misfire. Not great, but musical fans might get a kick out of it.

Edtv poster

Edtv

by Ron Howard
Specifics
USA [1999] - 122 mins
Genre
Comedy, Drama
More info on
2.0*/5.0*

Light-hearted social commentary on reality TV. A cast filled with famous faces, some romance, some drama, some overstated morality. It's all rather plain and overdone, but if you look beyond the social commentary there's a pretty passable film underneath. Not great, but not the worst thing either.