Beginners poster

Beginners

by Mike Mills
Specifics: USA [2010] - 105 mins
Genre: Comedy, Drama, Romance
More info on :IMDb
3.0

Decent drama, sporting a nice mix of comedy and romance elements. The cast does a good job, the different genres don't erode each other and Mills direction is interesting. The film is a little one-note though and while it has very few lows, it doesn't have too many highs either. Solid filler, but it lacked a spark.

Prey poster

Prey

by Dick Maas
Specifics: Netherlands [2016] - 107 mins
Genre: Comedy, Horror
More info on :IMDb
3.0

Cheesy and silly, but solid horror fun. Maas' films aren't to be taken too seriously, Prey is no exception. Larger than life characters, a big old CG lion and a few nifty kills. It's not really scary or tense, but there are a few good laughs and the film is over before you know it. One of the best films he's made so far.

Tropic Thunder poster

Tropic Thunder

by Ben Stiller
Specifics: USA, UK [2008] - 107 mins
Genre: Comedy, War
More info on :IMDb
3.5

So very crude and over-the-top that it's difficult not to laugh. A couple of stellar performances, catchy one-liners and insane jokes make this one of Stiller's best comedies. The film should probably come with a trigger warning, but at least Stiller sticks to his guns and keeps it funny from start to finish. Very rewatchable too.

The Lovebirds poster

The Lovebirds

by Michael Showalter
Specifics: USA [2020] - 86 mins
Genre: Comedy
More info on :IMDb
3.0

Fine comedy that has a pleasant, dark edge. There are some good jokes here and the chemistry between Nanjiani and Rae is perfect. Add some sly parodies and you have all the ingredients for 90 minutes of pure entertainment. Not the sharpest or most original film, but a lot of fun nonetheless.

The Inventor: Out for Blood in Silicon Valley poster

The Inventor: Out for Blood in Silicon Valley

by Alex Gibney
Specifics: USA [2019] - 119 mins
Genre: Documentary
More info on :IMDb
2.5

The psychology behind Holmes' change in character is much more interesting than the lies and deceit, sadly the latter is what this doc seems to focus on. Too many overly dramatic and uninteresting people telling their story, but for those who have been following the Theranos story it's a pretty decent recap.

The Trip poster

The Trip

by Michael Winterbottom
Specifics: UK [2010] - 112 mins
Genre: Comedy, Drama
More info on :IMDb
3.0

Pretty interesting comedy where Coogan and Brydon play themselves, going on a culinary trip through the north of England. The chemistry between the actors is nice, the imitations are pretty funny and the boundary between film and reality feels ever so thin, but it's a bit too long and the drama isn't that strong.

Hakuchi: The Innocent poster

Hakuchi: The Innocent

by Macoto Tezuka
Specifics: Japan [1999] - 146 mins
Genre: Drama, Fantasy, War
More info on :IMDb
4.5

Spectacular mix of fantasy, drama and war. A unique blend of pop elements, poetic drama and urban fantasy that feels like a breath of fresh air. Asano and Hashimoto are spectacular, the drama is on point and stylistically this film is like no other. Liked it better the second time around, one of Japan's hidden gems.

In a Valley of Violence poster

In a Valley of Violence

by Ti West
Specifics: USA [2016] - 104 mins
Genre: Western
More info on :IMDb
3.0

Not a big Ti West fan, not a western fan at all, liked this film though. Not sure what exactly made the difference, but Hawke in the lead surely helped and the qualms between the two sides made for a simple but tense and entertaining battle. It's never going to be my favorite genre, but this was much better than I expected it to be.

Nights Of A Shemale: A Mad Man Trilogy 1/3 poster

Nights Of A Shemale: A Mad Man Trilogy 1/3

by Dennis Law
Specifics: Hong Kong [2020] - 100 mins
Genre: Drama, Crime
2.0

Dennis Law does Herman Yau, but even more openly. The crime elements are solid, sadly the drama doesn't really work. Rather poor performances and a lack of clear focus really drag the first half of the film down. Things get a little better during the second half, but not so much as to save the film.

Genpin poster

Genpin

by Naomi Kawase
Specifics: Japan [2010] - 92 mins
Genre: Documentary
More info on :IMDb
2.0

Doc about some women who prefer to give "natural" births. Kawase focuses on the characters and some occasional drama, but with a topic like this it's a bit odd to ignore the science. That's probably the point of this documentary, but what is shown hardly convinced me this was an overall better way of bringing babies into this world.

Phantasm II poster

Phantasm II

by Don Coscarelli
Specifics: USA [1988] - 97 mins
Genre: Horror
More info on :IMDb
3.0

Not as serious as the first part. More 80s kitsch, more graphic horror. It makes for a better film, because Coscarelli doesn't really have it in him to make a tense and/or frightening film. There are still some continuity errors and the actors are quite poor, but apart from that this sequel was a lot of fun.

San Pietro poster

San Pietro

by John Huston
Specifics: USA [1945] - 32 mins
Genre: Documentary, War
More info on :IMDb
0.5

A slice of American propaganda that doesn't have much interesting to tell. It's a short but flaccid reconstruction of a military operation in Italy, with less than convincing footage of the battle (probably because it was re-enacted) and a point you could figure out for yourself, without wasting 30 minutes of your life.

Nisekoi: False Love poster

Nisekoi: False Love

by Hayato Kawai
Specifics: Japan [2018] - 117 mins
Genre: Comedy, Romance
More info on :IMDb
3.0

Fun and perky anime adaptation. Nisekoi doesn't pretend to be much more than that and the film seems primarily aimed at people who want to relive the animation in live action, but apart from some questionable performances and a mediocre soundtrack, there was enough light-hearted silliness to keep me engaged.

The Sword Stained with Royal Blood poster

The Sword Stained with Royal Blood

Also know as: Bi Xie Jian
Specifics: Hong Kong [1981] - 104 mins
Genre: Action
More info on :IMDb
2.5

Run-of-the-mill martial arts flick from Chang. The action is solid, but the film is at least 15 minutes too long, not in the least because it's mostly just added dialogue. The drama is very limited and breaks up the film once too often, apart from that it's a decent but ultimately forgettable Shaw Bros production.

Circus of Books poster

Circus of Books

by Rachel Mason
Specifics: USA [2019] - 92 mins
Genre: Documentary
More info on :IMDb
3.0

The topic wasn't all that interesting, the Mason couple on the other hand steals the show. Inspiring people who aren't hardcore activists, just accepting and well-meaning people. The second half of the doc is a bit too much about the other members of the family, though the mom's struggle with her son's outing is nicely delivered.

Human Nature poster

Human Nature

by Adam Bolt
Specifics: USA [2019] - 95 mins
Genre: Documentary
More info on :IMDb
3.5

A very solid documentary on the history, possibilities and pitfalls of the CRISPR technology. This film doesn't serve simplistic tech doom, but a more balanced vision on how this technology might shape our future. The balance isn't quite perfect, but still a breath of fresh air compared to so many other documentaries. Well recommended.

Speed Angels poster

Speed Angels

by Jingle Ma
Also know as: Ji Su Tian Shi
Specifics: China [2011] - 111 mins
Genre: Action
More info on :IMDb
2.5

Simple race flick that is more than happy to stick to the genre clich├ęs. Ma brought together some Pan-Asian talent, but no real A-listers. The plot is very basic, the drama doesn't really work and the CG is a little distracting. The pacing is nice though and the film does have its moments, but in the end this is little more than random filler.

Suit Yourself or Shoot Yourself!: The Heist poster

Suit Yourself or Shoot Yourself!: The Heist

Also know as: Katte ni Shiyagare! Goudatsu-keikaku
Specifics: Japan [1995] - 81 mins
Genre: Comedy, Drama, Crime
More info on :IMDb
3.0

Fun and quirky little crime comedy. The Suit Yourself films may be developed for TV, but the acting talent is top-notch and Kurosawa's direction is on point. While essentially little more than simple genre exercises, the tone is just right and the mix of comedy and gangster business is pretty entertaining. Solid.

Booksmart poster

Booksmart

by Olivia Wilde
Specifics: USA [2019] - 102 mins
Genre: Comedy
More info on :IMDb
2.0

A somewhat meager attempt to make a female-driven version of Superbad. The performances are mediocre, the film isn't all that funny and instead of serving more comedy, Wilde puts in more heart and drama. Ultimately, that just made things worse. There is some potential here, but this just wasn't very good.

God of Gamblers poster

God of Gamblers

by Gao Feng
Specifics: China [2020] - 74 mins
Genre: Thriller, Crime
More info on :IMDb
2.5

A pretty bland reboot of the original series. The film lacks flair and attitude, not in the least because the actors don't feel at ease here. But the direction isn't all that either. There are some decent scenes though and because the film is very short it never gets dull, but it can't compare to it's Hong Kong ancestors.