Butter

by Jim Field Smith
Specifics
USA [2011] - 90m
Genre
Comedy
More info on
rating
3.0*/5.0*
Butter poster

A solid comedy that draws a lot of humor from its incredibly silly setup. Performances are good across the board and there are some fun jokes here, sadly the film loses some steam towards the end. It would've been better if they'd simply stuck with the comedy, but it's not the first film to fall into that trap.

The Wretched

by Brett Pierce, Drew T. Pierce
Specifics
USA [2019] - 95m
Genre
Horror
More info on
rating
3.0*/5.0*
The Wretched poster

Decent horror flick. Didn't really care for the teeny summer vacation nonsense, but the horror bits were quite effective and the creature designs were on point. Would've been better if this had been a more straight-forward horror film because the potential for creepy and disturbing was there, but overall it didn't really disappoint either.

Anger Management

by Peter Segal
Specifics
USA [2003] - 106m
Genre
Comedy
More info on
rating
2.0*/5.0*
Anger Management poster

Not my favorite Sandler film. I actually prefer Nicholson in slightly more subdued roles, the chemistry with Sandler is somewhat off, performances of the secondary cast are mediocre and the number of jokes that truly land are few and far between. There are a couple of memorable scenes though, just not enough to carry the entire film.

Endings, Beginnings

by Drake Doremus
Specifics
USA, South Korea [2019] - 110m
Genre
Drama, Romance
More info on
rating
3.0*/5.0*
Endings, Beginnings poster

Not the best Doremus. His style is as dreamy and captivating as ever, but the characters and the story didn't really grab me this time around. It's just little details that make the difference, but the romance lacked sparks and the actors failed to make a big impression, leaving all the hard work to Doremus.

The Purge: Election Year

by James DeMonaco
Specifics
Japan, USA [2016] - 108m
Genre
Horror, Thriller
More info on
rating
3.0*/5.0*
The Purge: Election Year poster

A Halloween for adults, as the film calls itself. There are incidentally also the best bits of the franchise, the silly/creepy dress-ups are what makes these films so much fun. The action and thriller elements and the plot keep it from reaching greater heights. Pretty cool in parts, but there's too much unused potential.

The Beast of Yucca Flats

by Coleman Francis
Specifics
USA [1961] - 54m
Genre
Sci-fi, Horror
More info on
rating
1.5*/5.0*
The Beast of Yucca Flats poster

Amusing for 15 minutes or so. As long as the voice-over keeps cranking out weird, unrelated commentary there's some fun to be had, but once you get used to that there just isn't much else to it. And then there's still a while to go, even though this film is less than an hour long. It's a bit weird, but not weird enough to be enjoyable.

Dreamkatcher

by Kerry Harris
Specifics
USA [2020] - 85m
Genre
Horror
More info on
rating
2.5*/5.0*
Dreamkatcher poster

A fair attempt to make a moody and atmosphere slowburner of a horror film, but the result appears a little dulled and soulless. All the ingredients are there for a good horror film, but somehow it never really materializes. Nothing particularly wrong with this one, except that it left me pretty cold.

The Goddess

by Yonggang Wu
Also known as
Shen Nu
Specifics
China [1934] - 85m
Genre
Drama
More info on
rating
2.5*/5.0*
The Goddess poster

True Chinese classic. I was surprised how serene and subtle this film was. Western classics tend to be quite overstated and busy, this felt more intimate. The actors do a good job and I liked the score (which I suspect was a more modern composition), the drama on the other hand was basic, which made the film somewhat dull and too long.

The Delinquent

by Cheh Chang, Chih-Hung Kuei
Also known as
Fen Nu Qing Nian
Specifics
Hong Kong [1973] - 100m
Genre
Action
More info on
rating
2.5*/5.0*
The Delinquent poster

Pretty fierce film. The drama doesn't work at all and the direction is so over-the-top that it almost feels like a parody of itself. But the action scenes do stand out and there's so much energy and drive that the film did win me over in the end. Not one of Chang's best, but one of his better films in a contemporary setting.

Zillion: Burning Night

by Mizuho Nishikubo
Also known as
Akai Kodan Zillion Utahime Yakyoku
Specifics
Japan [1988] - 45m
Genre
Sci-fi, Adventure, Animation
More info on
rating
3.0*/5.0*
Zillion: Burning Night poster

A bit random if you're not familiar with the franchise, but the animation and art style are pretty cool and the constant barrage of action makes for a very fun 45 minutes. The musical focus doesn't really add much (but is somewhat typical for that era) and it's hardly a landmark animation, but in the end I had a pretty good time with this one.

Urusei Yatsura 3: Remember My Love

by Kazuo Yamazaki
Also known as
Urusei Yatsura 3: Rimenbâ Mai Rabu
Specifics
Japan [1985] - 93m
Genre
Comedy, Fantasy, Animation
More info on
rating
2.0*/5.0*
Urusei Yatsura 3: Remember My Love poster

It's clear that the post-Oshii Urusei Yatsura films are a big step backwards, though that's hardly surprising. There is some fun to be had here, but overall this third film feels way too serious and there isn't quite enough material to fill the entire 90 minutes. The animation is pretty poor too. Only for fans of the franchise.

The Age of Stupid

by Franny Armstrong
Specifics
UK [2009] - 92m
Genre
Documentary
More info on
rating
1.0*/5.0*
The Age of Stupid poster

An eco-documentary that feels dated and does little more than illustrate the lack of impact these things have. It would've been better if this film had been more focused, if they had dropped the Postlethwaite bits and if the material had been better substantiated. What remains are some tired conclusions.

Asian Three-Fold Mirror 2016: Reflections

by Brillante Mendoza, Kulikar Sotho, Isao Yukisada
Also known as
Asia Sanmenkyô
Specifics
Japan, Philippines [2016] - 118m
Genre
Drama
More info on
rating
3.0*/5.0*
Asian Three-Fold Mirror 2016: Reflections poster

Decent anthology, though based on the talent involved here, expectations were slightly higher. Three solid shorts, but it's all a bit expected and safe, i.e. socially conscious drama without visual excess. It's not the best use of the anthology medium if you ask me. Still, not a bad trio of shorts.

Skyfire

by Simon West
Also known as
Tian · Huo
Specifics
China [2019] - 97m
Genre
Action
More info on
rating
3.5*/5.0*
Skyfire poster

West follows the money and ends up in China. Turns out that wasn't the worst decision, because with a hefty budget to his disposal he cranks out a pretty amusing disaster flick. The CG isn't perfect and there is some cheesy melodrama, but the action is riveting and the pacing is splendid. A pretty nice surprise.

Spring in a Small Town

by Mu Fei
Also known as
Xiao Cheng Zhi Chun
Specifics
China [1948] - 98m
Genre
Drama, Romance
More info on
rating
2.5*/5.0*
Spring in a Small Town poster

It's easy to see why this became a Chinese classic. A very calm and moody film that takes its time to tell its story, which is not something you often see in pre-50s cinema. The problem for me is that it felt completely upstaged by Zhuangzhuang Tian's remake, making it a little redundant. Not bad though.

The Flowers of Evil

Also known as
Aku no Hana
Specifics
Japan [2019] - 127m
Genre
Drama, Thriller
More info on
rating
3.5*/5.0*
The Flowers of Evil poster

Surprisingly mature and serious film from Iguchi, best known for his crazy horror shlock. This manga/anime adaptation is a pretty typical Japanese coming of age drama, though it fosters a darker side that brings an interesting edge to the film. Well acted, solid visuals and intriguing characters make for a fine film.

Perils of the Sentimental Swordsman

Also known as
Chu Liu Xiang Zhi You Ling Shan Zhuang
Specifics
Hong Kong [1982] - 87m
Genre
Fantasy, Adventure
More info on
rating
3.5*/5.0*
Perils of the Sentimental Swordsman poster

One of Chor's best. The film is quite short and to the point, contains some nifty action sequences, some stand-out fantasy elements and it benefits tremendously from Chor's trademark colorful and atmospheric cinematography. It's everything a great Shaw Bros film should be, and it delivers in spades.

Onward

by Dan Scanlon
Specifics
USA [2020] - 102m
Genre
Fantasy, Adventure, Animation
More info on
rating
1.0*/5.0*
Onward poster

Another bland Pixar film about a world that flips expectations and a protagonist that is out of his comfort zone. They just keep rehashing the same old formula. The characters are drab, the jokes aren't funny and the drama is sappy. At least there's some technical innovation here, but that hardly redeems the gross laziness.

Kung Fu Panda 3

by Alessandro Carloni, Jennifer Yuh Nelson
Specifics
USA, China [2016] - 95m
Genre
Comedy, Fantasy, Animation
More info on
rating
1.5*/5.0*
Kung Fu Panda 3 poster

Third time's the charm, but not for this franchise. Another dull entry that might've been something, if only it had dared to be different. It's clear that the art style could've been pushed further and that the story could've been expanded into a more action/martial arts focused direction, but alas, it turned out to be just another CG comedy animation for kids.

Detective Chinatown 2

by Sicheng Chen
Also known as
Tang Ren Jie Tan An 2
Specifics
China [2018] - 121m
Genre
Comedy, Mystery
More info on
rating
3.0*/5.0*
Detective Chinatown 2 poster

Silly and over-the-top, sometimes a little annoying, but overall quite entertaining. Even though the film is 2 hours long, the pacing is incredible and there's hardly a dull moment. Baoqiang Wang's performance is crazy loud, then again it does fit this kind of film. Just some blockbuster buffoonery.

Saw

by James Wan
Specifics
USA [2004] - 103m
Genre
Horror, Crime
More info on
rating
4.0*/5.0*
toplist position
Saw poster

Time hasn't been kind to certain aspects of Wan's breakout hit, but the scenes that matter haven't lost any of their shine. Some mediocre performances and a rather plain criminal investigation cannot derail this film, especially not when the famous games start running their course. It's still a great horror flick.

Enter the Fat Dragon

by Kenji Tanigaki, Aman Chang
Also known as
Fei Lung Gwoh Gong
Specifics
Hong Kong [2020] - 96m
Genre
Comedy, Action
More info on
rating
3.5*/5.0*
Enter the Fat Dragon poster

Amusing nonsense. The CG is pretty sloppy and the comedy is hit-and-miss, but this one is all about the action and that's where it delivers. Donnie Yen is great, the action choreography is impressive and there are some pretty amazing stunts. It's short, silly and inconsequential, but pretty good entertainment regardless.