Z

by Brandon Christensen
Specifics
Canada [2019] - 83m
Genre
Drama, Horror
More info on
rating
3.0*/5.0*
Z poster

A decent psychological horror film. Not the best actors and some of the special effects were a little iffy, but the scares were pretty effective and Christensen does well when building up tension. A good mix of drama and horror, with some memorable scenes, though it lacks the finish to be truly special.

The Square

by Ruben Östlund
Specifics
USA, France [2017] - 151m
Genre
Comedy, Drama
More info on
rating
1.5*/5.0*
The Square poster

Pretty bland and pointless. It felt like a film that had many things to say, but none one single thing hit home. The direction was mediocre, the critique or the art world tired, the social critique obligatory and the comical tone felt quite out of place. No clue what other people saw in this film, but this was just a waste of time.

Inheritance

by Vaughn Stein
Specifics
USA [2020] - 111m
Genre
Mystery, Thriller
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rating
3.0*/5.0*
Inheritance poster

A decent mystery/thriller. It just a shame the first hour is the most effective, while the finale is a bit of a letdown. Some twists and turns, but nothing too unexpected and the ending lacks punch. The acting is solid, so is the direction, but apart from Pegg's part there's nothing very memorable about this film.

Darken

by Audrey Cummings
Specifics
Canada [2017] - 82m
Genre
Fantasy
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rating
3.0*/5.0*
Darken poster

Urban fantasy is a tough genre to do on a budget, so props to Cummings for giving it a fair shot. If I get nitpicky I can find quite a few things wrong with Darken, but the fact that this type of film is so rare and that Cummings shows plenty of promise makes it that I don't find it too hard to overlook many of its shortcomings. One for the fans.

The Big Road

by Yu Sun
Also known as
Dalu
Specifics
China [1935] - 104m
Genre
Comedy, Drama, Musical
More info on
rating
1.5*/5.0*
The Big Road poster

Not my cup of tea. The film starts with a lengthy segment of a baby crying, which made me realize I might just prefer Chinese silents when it comes to their classic cinema. Too noisy, the acting isn't very convincing, the songs are terrible and the drama/comedy rarely works. One of the lesser Chinese classics.

Jason Bourne

by Paul Greengrass
Specifics
USA, China [2016] - 123m
Genre
Action, Thriller
More info on
rating
1.5*/5.0*
Jason Bourne poster

A sequel that feels utterly pointless. It's as if the sole reason this reboot existed was to test the waters for people's interest in more Bourne. The actors are static, action scenes are dull (except the car chase in Vegas) and the plot is generic. For a film that no doubt cost a lot of money to make, it's subpar on almost every level.

Bodyguard Kiba: Combat Apocalypse 2

Also known as
Bodigaado Kiba: Shura no Mokushiroku 2
Specifics
Japan [1995] - 74m
Genre
Action, Crime
More info on
rating
2.0*/5.0*
Bodyguard Kiba: Combat Apocalypse 2 poster

A lot of incomprehensible English dialogue makes this film much harder to appreciate than necessary. Far from Miike's best work and there is quite a bit of pointless filler, on the other hand the film does feature pretty decent action scenes and some small hints of the craziness that would make him famous. For fans only.

Urusei Yatsura 5: The Final Chapter

by Satoshi Dezaki
Also known as
Urusei Yatsura 5: Kanketsuhen
Specifics
Japan [1988] - 85m
Genre
Comedy, Sci-fi, Animation
More info on
rating
3.0*/5.0*
Urusei Yatsura 5: The Final Chapter poster

One of the better films in the franchise. It's nonsensical, silly and random, but that's exactly when Urusei Yatsura is at its best. The animation is decent, the tone is light-hearted (regardless of the impending apocalypse) and there are some memorable scenes. Nothing exceptional, but pretty fun nonetheless.

Elephant

by Alan Clarke
Specifics
UK [1989] - 39m
Genre
Crime
More info on
rating
2.0*/5.0*
Elephant poster

The inspiration for Van Sant's Elephant, though I was exponentially more impressed with the latter. Clarke's version is pretty repetitive and while it does drive its point home, it only needs half the time for that, the rest is just unnecessary filler. A nice idea/concept that would've been better if the execution was on the same level.

37 Seconds

by Hikari
Also known as
37 Sekanzu
Specifics
Japan [2019] - 115m
Genre
Drama
More info on
rating
3.5*/5.0*
37 Seconds poster

A surprisingly nice drama about a girl with cerebral palsy. While her condition dictates the direction of the plot, the film isn't all that focused on the disease and gives the characters room to breathe. Well acted, nicely directed and sporting some nice dramatic moments, without ever becoming overly sentimental.

The Daredevils

Also known as
Za Ji Wang Ming Dui
Specifics
Hong Kong [1979] - 100m
Genre
Action
More info on
rating
3.0*/5.0*
The Daredevils poster

One of Chang's lighter martial arts films. Quite a lot of acrobatics and demonstrations in this film, with much of the actual fighting being saved for the lengthy finale. A true Shaw Bros production and a typical film for Chang, which makes it a perfect entry-level film for people not yet familiar with his work. Good fun.

The Hunger

Specifics
UK [1983] - 97m
Genre
Horror
More info on
rating
4.0*/5.0*
The Hunger poster

A very nice surprise. Atmospheric, strange, a little experimental even. I've always wondered where Scott's crazy mid-00 period came from and now I know. Also props for the sound design, in combination with the editing it makes for a film that still feels quite modern and relevant, almost 30 years later.

Bee Movie

by Simon J. Smith, Steve Hickner
Specifics
USA, Australia [2007] - 91m
Genre
Comedy, Adventure, Animation
More info on
rating
0.5*/5.0*
Bee Movie poster

Absolutely dreadful. The animation is poor, the dubbing horrendous, the plot is beyond stupid and even the life lessons feel muddled and confused. I have no idea what I've been watching, except that it was irritating from start to finish. In a niche that is hardly competitive, Dreamworks fails to be competitive.

Project Gutenberg

by Felix Chong
Also known as
Mou Seung
Specifics
Hong Kong, China [2018] - 130m
Genre
Thriller, Crime
More info on
rating
3.5*/5.0*
Project Gutenberg poster

Classic HK police thriller about a gang of counterfeiters. There are some explosive action scenes, some twists and turns and a lot of criminal appeal. The cast does a good job, the film looks stylish and though somewhat long, the pacing is fine. Nothing spectacular, but rock solid genre cinema.

The Unborn

by Tal Lazar
Specifics
USA [2019] - 70m
Genre
Horror
More info on
rating
3.0*/5.0*
The Unborn poster

It's a shame about the somewhat muddy lore and the cheap look, because Lazar clearly has the talent to make a great horror flick. There are some cool designs here, performances are decent and the build-up is pretty effective, but the overall execution is a little lacking. Lazar shows potential though, hope he'll get a bigger budget to work with next time.

Street Angel

by Muzhi Yuan
Also known as
Ma Lu Tian Shi
Specifics
China [1937] - 91m
Genre
Drama, Musical
More info on
rating
1.0*/5.0*
Street Angel poster

The kind of Chinese classic I was dreading. Very noisy, with plenty of annoying musical bits, poor drama and meager comedy elements. It's extremely unsubtle, the drama isn't engaging at all and the music constantly interrupts the film. I'm sure there's an audience for this, but I'll take the more subtle Chinese classics over this any day.

A Sun

by Mong-Hong Chung
Also known as
Yang Guang Pu Zhao
Specifics
Taiwan [2019] - 156m
Genre
Drama, Crime
More info on
rating
4.0*/5.0*
A Sun poster

Another mighty fine film by Chung, though probably his most commercial outing since his debut. More focus on conventional drama and a tad long, but there are plenty of gripping moments and the visual splendor of his earlier films is still very much present. A perfect entry point for those not yet familiar with Chung's oeuvre.

2012

by Takashi Makino
Specifics
Japan [2013] - 30m
Genre
Experimental
More info on
rating
2.0*/5.0*
2012 poster

Experimental short that didn't quite do it for me. I love abstract pieces in which visuals and sound reinforce each other, but that synergy is mostly absent here. Lots of organic drones combine with abstract hyper editing to create a decent mood piece, but not one that kept me engaged for 30 minutes straight.

The Lodge

by Severin Fiala, Veronika Franz
Specifics
Canada, USA [2019] - 108m
Genre
Horror, Mystery
More info on
rating
3.0*/5.0*
The Lodge poster

Psychological horror that takes the drama side just a little too serious and doesn't fully deliver as a horror film. Performances are good and there are some memorable scenes, but overall the plot was a little too obvious and the styling a bit too derivative. It's not a bad film and perfect filler is you love a slow burner, but I expected more from these directors.

The Howling

Specifics
USA [1981] - 91m
Genre
Horror
More info on
rating
1.5*/5.0*
The Howling poster

The start of the film is not so bad, somewhat mysterious and creepy. But once it becomes a full-on werewolf flick things get iffier by the minute. The special effects are poor, the acting is mediocre and the werewolf scenes look incredibly silly. Not my favorite genre to begin with, Dante couldn't do anything to change that.