Birds of Prey: And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn
This is how I like my superhero films. Silly, colorful and over-the-top. So much better than all those failed attempts at dark and gloomy that have ruined this genre. I could've done with Robbie's accent (she was otherwise perfect though) and the soundtrack felt a bit flat, but I had a lot of fun with this one. Solid entertainment.
A very stylish mystery/thriller, sporting some powerhouse performances, amazing cinematography and a neat little plot than kept me engaged from start to finish. Not the most original of films, but the execution was so terrific that it didn't bother me at all. Midi Z does Taiwanese cinema proud.
Surprising Zeze. An X-Men vs X-Men story that pits too groups of youngsters with superpowers against each other. Not really the kind of film you'd expect Zeze to direct, but he does surprisingly well. Not all the actors were on point and the film needed a few more spectacular scenes, but overall this was pretty interesting.
The Wild Goose Lake
Chinese arthouse may be doing well on the international arthouse stage, I feel it's in a big old rut. The Wild Goose Lake is another good example. The violence looks a bit off, the neon shots are pretty sloppy and the story seems to combine the worst elements of crime and arthouse cinema. It's not a terrible film, but it is disappointing.
Decent drama with some telling and powerful moments, but overall a bit too Dardenne-esque for my liking. The camera work is fine, performances are decent and some of the sets are really stunning, even so the drama itself left me pretty cold and the quality wasn't very consistent. The potential was there, but film didn't always cash in on it.
A mediocre thriller. Performances are decent and there are a few tense moments, but the plot isn't all that interesting and the drama fails to impress. Though short, the film is basic and struggles to keep the attention. It's been a while since Nakata made anything worthwhile, this film isn't doing much to fix his faltering reputation.
A pretty basic Cheh Chang film. Not nearly enough action to be a stand-out entry in his oeuvre, but fans of the Shaw Bros films will find that the studio's usual charm is fully present. It's short and the pacing is decent, but for an 80s film I expected a bit more. Not the worst thing he's ever done, but rather forgettable.
Manages to muster up quite a decent atmosphere, but the actual horror bits are rather cheap and cheesy. It's always a bummer when the best moments in a horror film are the set-ups instead of the pay-offs. The mediocre acting doesn't help, but it's the poor creature designs and crappy effects that let Phantasm down.
Gillespie's return to form, after some lackluster projects. Well-acted (with a stand-out part for Janney), funny, endearing and sporting some impressive figure skating routines. It's a bit long maybe, but this is a film with its heart in the right place. Not Gillespie's best work and not quite as memorable as its reputation might have you believe, but this was a good, solid film.
Urusei Yatsura 6: Always My Darling
Pleasantly insane and over-the-top. Exactly what you hope for when putting on a Urusei Yatsura film. Nothing too serious, fast-paced and entertaining. The animation is a bit limited and it's really just more of the same, but that's not really a bad thing if you like the franchise. Good, but only when you're already familiar with the series.
An interesting mix of romance and sci-fi like only anime can deliver. The premise is pretty basic, but the execution is something else. Spectacular use of CG, a really detailed sci-fi plot and some memorable moments. Just a bit too cheesy at times to be a real classic, but worth your time if you're into Japanese animation.
The Wrong Missy
A simple but fun and effective Happy Madison production that harks back to the old success formula. A bunch of familiar comedians, a tropical location, a bit of romance and tons of silliness. Nothing too heavy-handed or serious, just 90 minutes of light entertainment, perfect for a lazy afternoon.
Puppet Master III: Toulon's Revenge
Quite disappointing. The setting never feels genuine and the backstory of Toulon is completely worthless. It takes up valuable time and gets in the way of the horror, of which there isn't much to begin with. We get one new puppet, and that's about it. I'm surprised this is considered the best of the Puppet Master films by many.
Professor Marston & the Wonder Women
Interesting biography on the creator of the Wonder Woman comics. The story definitely received a Hollywood treatment, still it is intriguing to see what triggered the creators of the comics and how little of that has remained over the years. Wonder Woman still lives, but only after the American/cultural sanitation did its job.
Not the most interesting Zeze. A pretty static and slow pinku that feels like it was dragged down by the strict rules of the genre. It lacks the creativity of its more infamous peers and offers little in the way of drama or story. As a springboard for young directors the pinku genre deserves respect, but it didn't always result in good films.
Funny. Something I didn't immediately expect up front, usually these kid comedies are pretty safe and predictable, but this one turned out to be a welcome exception. The kids do a good job (Williams in particular), the jokes are on point and even though the ending is a little lame, it doesn't take away from the rest of the film. Fun.
The Lost City of Z
A solid adventure film, that turns a bit too much to the dramatic side during the second half. Gray's direction is nice, but a little heavy-handed. Performances are good and the Amazon scenes are fine, but there's a bit too much filler in between and the family drama feels a bit pointless and drawn out. Good, not great.
A very solid sequel that shuffles things around (with an entirely new cast for one), but offers the same thrills as the first film. In other words, expect undercover police work and tight action scenes. Koo, Yam and Leung are on a roll here, the film looks slick and the pacing is perfect. Not a future classic, but extremely entertaining.
Unique and intriguing short that's as much a tech demo as it is an actual film. Because of that, the narrative feels quite disjointed and the running time can't really do justice to the story and characters, but the art style and atmosphere more than make up for that. Not for everyone, but a must for anime fans.
Decent but standard Sandler/Coraci collaboration. A couple of funny jokes and some memorable moments, but for the most part it's a pretty basic romantic comedy that brings exactly what you'd expect. There's enough chemistry between Barrymore and Sandler and some loveable secondary characters, but there's also quite a lot of cheese. Average.