Die Nibelungen: Kriemhild's Revenge

Die Nibelungen: Kriemhilds Rache
1924 / 129m - Germany
Fantasy, Adventure
Die Nibelungen: Kriemhild's Revenge poster

More proof that Fritz Lang made his best films in Germany, during the 1920s. The scope and creativity of these films are unmatched for their time, and they're a far stretch from the more generic genre work Lang would deliver once he moved to the US. Kriemheld's Revenge isn't quite as good as Siegfried, but it's an interesting enough film.

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After Siegfried's dead, Kriemhild is determined to take revenge on Hagen, his executor. Her brothers side with Hagen, so Kriemhild is forced to come up with a more cunning plan. She marries the King of the Huns and tries to manipulate him to get rid of Hagen for her and her brothers.

130 minutes is a bit too long for a silent film, even though it is pretty epic. There are some very impressive scenes (the fires, in particular, look spectacular), and the styling of the film is well ahead of its time, it's just that the plot is a little simple and the pacing is a tad slow. Worth a watch though.

The Messenger: The Story of Joan of Arc poster

A pretty decent adaptation of Jeanne d'Arc's story. I'm not sure if this version is the most true-to-life one, the reason why I liked it so much is that Besson made it a bit "extra". Then again, this isn't a history lesson, it's cinema, so it's hardly a sin to take the cinematic route, even when historic characters are involved.

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Jeanne d'Arc is a simple peasant girl until she discovers God speaks to her directly. She is adamant about spreading God's message and doesn't mind acting as his vessel, so much in fact that the King of France shows interest in the girl's story. He uses her in his quest to drive out the Brits.

I'm not a big fan of historic films, but Besson's extravert style of direction makes it bearable. The performances are decent, the cinematography is pretty nice and the battles are actually engaging. The film's a bit long, especially for people already familiar with the story, but this was better than I expected.

Convenience Story

Konbiniensu Sutori
2022 / 97m - Japan
Fantasy, Mystery
Convenience Story poster

Satoshi Miki teams up with Mark Schilling to deliver one of his most unique films to date. Not as overtly funny as his other work, but every bit as weird and atmospheric. It's quite a shift in tone, but a strong cast, lovely cinematography, and an intriguing plot provide more than enough opportunities for Miki to flex his directorial muscles. It's not his easiest film and you have to be willing to go along with the plot twists, but if you're looking for something otherwordly, moody, and stylish, this is definitely a film worth seeking out. A very neat film.


1966 / 106m - USA
Sci-fi, Thriller
Seconds poster

The best Frankenheimer I've seen so far. It's a pretty solid and surprising film, especially for its age. It might've helped that my expectations were relatively low, but even then the film comes with a thick and oppressing atmosphere that is impossible to miss. It's a shame the second half didn't bring the explosive finale I was hoping for.

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Arthur Hamilton is living a pretty standard life. He yearns for change, but he's stuck in his ways. Until he receives a phone call from a deceased friend. Arthur knows something isn't right, but he is intrigued by the message his friend has for him, and so he seeks out the address given to him. There he has to make a life-changing choice.

The black-and-white cinematography is nice, the camerawork pretty impressive and the performances are good. The setup is also pretty thrilling, but then the second half fails to add that little extra. It's still a decent film, much better than most of its peers, I just wish it had a more fitting finale.

Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania

2023 / 124m - USA
Action, Adventure
Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania poster

The third in the Ant-man film series. I'm certain that I've seen the others, but I don't remember anything concrete, apart from not really liking them. In line with other recent Marvel films, this one transports its main superhero to an alternate dimension, where he once again saves the day.

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When an experiment goes wrong, Scott, Hope, and a handful of others are sucked into the Quantum Realm. While their main focus is on trying to find their way back home, it seems that Hope's mother has a history in the realm. And it's not the only familiar person they'll run into while being there.

The comedy is very unfunny, while the Quantum Realm looks incredibly cheap and gaudy (I don't understand why they spend so much money on the technical side but fail to invest in aesthetics and creativity). Ant-man is probably one of Marvel's least attractive franchises, and that's pretty damning. I can only hope this was the last one in the series.

Riverside Mukolitta

Kawapperi Mukolitta
2021 / 120m - Japan
Riverside Mukolitta poster

This was another fine Ogigami, but it's a little disappointing to see she that has abandoned her former taste for quirkiness in favor of pursuing more traditional drama. Japan has plenty of straightforward dramas already and Ogigami doesn't really do enough to stand out from the crowd.

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Yamada is a young boy who moves to a little rural town, trying to escape his troubled past. He finds a job in a fish factory, his boss hooks him up with a little apartment nearby. Yamada is a bit of a loner, but his neighbor Shimada won't have it and keeps pushing Yamada to socialize.

The performances are decent, Ogigami makes good use of the setting, the drama is light but poignant and the emotional beats don't miss their target. It's just that nothing really stands out too much, and knowing the films Ogigami made before, it feels like she's just not living up to her full potential. It's a good film, I just expect more from her.

The Tank

2023 / 100m - New Zealand
The Tank poster

A fun and capable creature flick from New Zealand. It seems this particular niche is gaining in popularity once again, I for one am not complaining. Simple as they may be, a well-made creature flick is always a treat, combining chills and horrific designs to create a little piece of horror magic.

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A young couple inherits an estate after the man's mother passed away. It's the first they hear of the estate, so they take a little time off of work to visit the place. Not only do they find a bit of hidden family history there, but a mysterious creature is also lurking in the water tank nearby, and it's hungry for human meat.

The build-up is solid, but a tad long. It takes a while before all the pieces are in place, even though the premise is extremely simple. Luckily, the creature doesn't disappoint. Walker is smart to keep it out of view for the first half of the film, slowly introduce it, and deliver some convincing full frontal shots during the finale. Nothing too original, but very good genre fare.


2003 / 108m - Japan
Comedy, Crime
Kakuto poster

A fun first directorial attempt by Iseya. This is clearly a film by a younger director, bristling with youthful energy. The plot is pretty simple, the finish is a little crude, and it's obvious he pulled in some favors to get the cast he wanted, but the result is pretty damn entertaining. Not quite as good as I remembered, but still cool enough to revisit.

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A group of friends loves to hang out and get into trouble occasionally. They don't get mixed up in serious stuff until their token leader befriends a local Yakuza, who wants to cut him into a drug deal. Before he can sell anything he loses the gear, which puts a big target on his back. He'll need the help of his friends to get out of this situation unscathed.

Kakuto isn't too serious, keeping the tone light. The film sports an impressive cast, the cinematography is playful and the score still feels pretty modern, even though the film is two decades old. It's a fun crime romp that shows Iseya's talent as a director, sadly he never really pursued that career path with as much dedication as his acting career.

It Cuts Deep

2020 / 77m - USA
Comedy, Horror
It Cuts Deep poster

An odd, dark comedy. It's not often that I run across a comedy (or a film in general really) that still manages to surprise me, but It Cuts Deep did just that. Not that it's a wholly original film, as the mix of cringe comedy and thriller/horror elements has been done before, it's just that the execution was spot on.

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Sam and Ashley take a little vacation to visit Sam's hometown. Ashley wants Sam to commit to their relationship, but he's a jokester who doesn't seem too concerned with settling down just yet. When they run into Nolan, Sam's childhood friend, things start to spiral out of control and Sam's old demons resurface.

Gould is the real treasure here. I'm not even sure if he's a good actor or just incredibly well-cast, but he's one of the most terrible characters I've ever seen on screen, and he's just perfect for this type of dark comedy. The film is daft but funny, the soundtrack is a surprising ally of the comedy, the finale is lovely and the runtime is perfect. It's just the overall presentation that felt a bit cheap, but other than that, I had a great time.

Super Mario Brothers: Great Mission to Rescue Princess Peach

Sûpâ Mario Burazâzu: Pîchi-hime Kyushutsu Dai Sakusen!
1986 / 60m - Japan
Comedy, Adventure - Animation
Super Mario Brothers: Great Mission to Rescue Princess Peach poster

With the new animated Mario Bros film making big bucks these days, I figured it would be fun to seek out one of the older animated attempts. Rescue Princess Peach is at least way more in line with what I expected from a Mario film. It's incredibly simplistic, but filled to the brim with typical Mario tunes and references.

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The plot might even be more barebones than its current incarnation, so be warned. Mario is looking for the Triforce, which will help him save Princess Peach from the nefarious Bowser. He kidnapped the princess because he wants to marry her. The princess isn't the least bit interested and relies on Mario to save her from this predicament.

The animation is pretty basic, and so is the plot, but as the film is only 60 minutes long that's not too much of an issue. The pacing is slick, the retro charm is full-on present and there isn't an 80s pop soundtrack just to appease some or other Western audience. It's clearly not the greatest film ever made, but people looking for Mario nostalgia might actually be better off watching this one.

Stormy Night

O Noapte Furtunoasa
1943 / 66m - Romania
Stormy Night poster

Classic Romanian comedy. I wasn't even aware such a thing existed before watching this film, but there you are. A cinephile is never too old to experience new genres and niches. Not that I discovered my next big love in cinema, Stormy Night isn't exactly the type of film that makes me laugh.

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Dumitrache doesn't trust his wife and fears she is two-timing him with someone else. He talks to his confidant Chiriac, hoping he wants to keep an eye on her. Chiriac agrees reluctantly, what Dumitrache doesn't realize is that Chiriac is the very one who is having an affair with his wife.

The comedy is pretty frantic and loud, with few genuine laughs, let alone anything that resembles smarts or wit. The plot is also very simplistic and the performances are exaggerated to the point of annoyance. But at least the film was short and not overly slow. Slim pickings, but it's something.


2018 / 96m - USA
Delirium poster

A simple but decent enough horror film. The mindfuck premise is extremely simple, the addition of the brother is a bit bothersome and by far the weakest part of the film, but other than that it was a properly executed genre exercise, with some solid twists and decent thrills.

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After spending 20 years in a mental institute, Tom is allowed to leave, albeit under supervision. He has inherited the estate of his father, but he feels very much alone in the huge mansion. A few days in, his brother suddenly appears on his doorstep. Tom fears his mind might be slipping again.

Grace is pretty decent, the build-up adds plenty of tension and the reveals are on point, though not exactly unpredictable. There's nothing terribly original here and the scenes with the brother do hold up the film (a rewrite without this character would've been pretty easy), but it's good fun if you like this type of thing.

Circle Line

2023 / 80m - Singapore
Circle Line poster

Singapore goes horror. Not too many films make it out of this small country, I'm afraid Circle Line won't do much to change that situation. It's a very basic horror flick, thin on plot, but also thin on delivering scares, gore, or any other horror-related thrills. That makes it a tough sell for genre fans, or anyone pondering to watch this film really.

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The underground lines in Singapore aren't running as smoothly as should be, and the company overseeing the transportation is in a bit of a bind. When one of their trains goes off the grid entirely, they are stumped. The train ends up in an abandoned part of the tunnels, where a strange and dangerous creature roams, protecting its offspring from potential attackers.

The setup isn't too bad, and I'm always game for a creature flick, but the creature itself is rather bland, it's introduced in full way too fast and the CG is just amateurish. The short runtime and solid pacing make this film bearable and the performances are okay. It's not bad horror filler, just don't expect anything more from it.


1968 / 114m - USA
Action, Crime
Bullitt poster

A precursor to the cinema of the 70s. Gritty, and somewhat more intense, while also having that little dash of experimentation that made the 60s an interesting era for cinema. Bullitt isn't a typical action film, it's way too controlled and stylized, it's just that I didn't really care for Yates' choices here.

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A hardened detective is assigned to a key witness in a Mafia case. In no time, there's a hit on the man. Bullitt wants to track down the assassins, but he also wants to know who leaked his location, suspecting there's a mole. In order to lure the killers back to him, he has to make sure his witness stays alive.

There's not much dialogue, a lot of the work is done by the cinematography and the score. I appreciate the idea, but the score was quite grating and the dull colors and static camera work weren't the most appealing. Still, it's a lot better than similar attempts from that time. Slightly better than expected.

The Rebirth

Ai no Yokan
2007 / 102m - Japan
The Rebirth poster

A somewhat barren Kobayashi. He isn't the loudest or most expressive of Japanese drama directors, but he has a knack for elevating dry visuals into a more stylized package. A skill not fully on display in The Rebirth, I was sad to find out. There's still enough dramatic intrigue to keep things interesting, but I expected a little more.

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A middle school girl kills one of her classmates. A traumatic experience that leaves the victim's father all alone, and the mother of the killer with a tremendous feeling of guilt. The father moves away to start his life again, and the mother follows him around. Though they share a dark history, they never connect with each other.

The performances are good and the premise is pretty interesting. I also liked the minimalistic approach but would've loved a tad more attention to the styling. There's an almost documentary-like feel to the film that was just a little too bare-bones for my taste. Not a bad film, but far from Kobayashi's best.

The Tesseract

2003 / 96m - Thailand
Action, Crime
The Tesseract poster

Oxide Pang trying to force an international breakthrough. It's an interesting enough attempt, with some stand-out scenes and memorable moments, but the quality is not consistent enough and the second part of the film doesn't quite live up to the promise of the first half.

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In a little rundown hotel in Bangkok, the lives of four people are about to cross each other, changing their destinies forever. A British drug dealer, a female psychologist, a poor orphan, and a skilled killer get tangled up in a messy drug deal. They can only rely on each other to escape their predicament.

The presentation is pretty cool, Pang leaves no option untouched to pimp the film, but he runs out of steam halfway through, which hurts the second half. The crime plot isn't the most interesting and the performances are a bit doubty. It's a fun, flashy film, just not the future classic I once hoped it could be.

Little Blue

Xiao lan
2022 / 96m - Taiwan
Little Blue poster

A sweet and tender Taiwanese drama. A bit more explicit than most of its peers, as the theme is the sexual exploration of a teen girl, though it's done very tastefully and without any explicit nudity. It's been a while since I watched a good Taiwanese teen drama, they seem to be quite rare these days, with more attention going to glossy romances and comedies.

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Xiao Lan is not as outgoing and social compared to her classmates. When she finally hooks a boy, she falls in love with him. The interest is mutual, but only for a short while. When he finally dumps her, Lan looks online for suitable men. There are plenty who want to meet and hook up, but truly connecting with someone is a lot harder.

The presentation is stylish, the performances are strong and the core theme is properly explored. Little Blue is one of those films that is very good across the line, but it doesn't really excel at anything in particular. It's a really nice drama, but Taiwan already has plenty of those, and the truly good ones end up being a bit more memorable.

Some Like It Rare

2021 / 87m - France
Comedy, Horror
Some Like It Rare poster

Comedy first, horror second, but I didn't really mind. It's been a while since I've seen a real smirk-worthy comedy and Some Like It Rare certainly delivered. Quite bold, pretty silly, often goofy, and with a pitch-black edge, it's the type of humor that is right up my alley, though it might not travel particularly well.

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A struggling butcher's couple takes their revenge on a vegan after he destroys their shop. Uncertain about what to do with the body, his meat ends up in the shop, and people love it. So much in fact that their business begins to flourish again. The only problem is that they need fresh meat to keep the customers happy.

The premise is reminiscent of Delicatessen, but the execution is quite different. There are more contemporary themes and the fantasy elements are replaced with more direct horror moments. The performances are great, the comedy is fun, the horror relatively brutal and the runtime just perfect. Lovely filler.

UN-GO: Inga-ron

2011 / 45m - Japan
Fantasy, Mystery - Animation
UN-GO: Inga-ron poster

A prequel to an anime series by Bones. Not my favorite studio, and based on this short film it's not a series I'd wish to watch. As a stand-alone film, it's still pretty decent, although it's clear it's far from the most original premise. A smart detective taking on cases with supernatural elements feels like familiar territory, and UN-GO makes litter effort to counter that impression.

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A wannabe private investigator travels the land, looking for jobs. When he runs into an old classmate, he learns about a very peculiar case where a band member split off from his band to become an ominous cult leader. Members of his cult often die during a monthly ritual, but even undercover agents can't get to the bottom of the story.

The art style isn't very attractive and the animation isn't all that special either. The plot is pretty basic, the intrigue is mostly lacking and it's easy enough to see how the series will develop. It's all just very generic, which is okay for a 45-minute prequel, but it would certainly start to grate if it would've lasted any longer. A pretty typical Bones project in other words.

Broadcast News

1987 / 133m - USA
Drama, Romance
Broadcast News poster

Bland drama on top of uninteresting characters. I'm not really sure how films like this worked up the reputation they have, but clearly, something must've clicked with people back then. While the film does its best to mix different themes and storylines together, not a single one of them was interesting.

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Two reporters are trying to make a career at a TV network, one is self-obsessed and handsome, the other qualified but dull. A female producer falls in love with the handsome one, while the dull one has a thing for her. It's a pretty classic love triangle against the backdrop of a news organization.

None of the actors do a good job, their characters are pretty one-dimensional and the drama that befalls them feels very scripted. The direction is bland, and the runtime is excessive, but at least the pacing is somewhat decent. Just a very generic 80s drama, not something I'll remember fondly.

Before the Devil Knows You're Dead

2007 / 117m - USA
Drama, Crime
Before the Devil Knows You're Dead poster

Sidney Lumet ended his career on a high note. This is by far the best film I've seen from him so far, so maybe I should give him another shot (beyond watching his most prestigious films that is). The plot's a little simple, but the presentation, structure, and performances make it into something quite memorable.

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Two brothers are in dire need of cash. They plan a heist on the jewelry store of their parents, knowing that the insurance will cover their losses. But the operation doesn't go as planned. The mother ends up in the hospital with gunshot wounds, one of the robbers is shot dead, and the two brothers will need to clean up their mess.

Hawke and Hoffman make for a great duo, the many time jumps add to the appeal of the plot and the presentation is classic but stylish. The film is a tad long maybe, and the premise is pretty generic, but Lumet did a great job working around those limitations. A pretty cool surprise.

Bus 174

Ônibus 174
2002 / 122m - Brazil
Documentary, Crime
Bus 174 poster

Decent, albeit cheapish documentary about a famous bus hold-up in Brazil. There's actual footage of the event, which is clearly the main selling point of this documentary. There are many interviews that try to add context, but they're too fluffy and they end up being mostly padding.

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On June 12, 2000, an armed man enters a bus in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and holds all the passengers hostage. What starts off as a small incident becomes a televised event, with a deadly conclusion. With the ample footage shot that day, Padilha and Lacerda set out to make a documentary.

You're getting front-row seats to the hostage situation, which is quite gripping, but the documentary built around it is not quite as interesting. You'd think that hearing from the passengers would add a lot of value, but ultimately there's just too much padding. A 90-minute film would've been better.