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Wednesday, January 31, 2018

[6.25/10] Brotherhood of Blades II: The Infernal Battlefield (2017)

Brotherhood of Blades II: Infernal Battlefield (2017)

Quick Review: Less action-packed than its predecessor, if every bit as pretty to look at, this sequel benefits mostly from the natural beauty of its shooting locations and slick camera work, and flaunts some masterfully-executed, if brief sword fights, but the uneven plotting and unfocused narrative prevent it to really involve the viewer deep enough in its solid, potentially great story. Chen Chang handles his main role well enough to cover some of its faults.

[6.50/10] Veronica (2017)

Veronica (2017)

Quick Review: Skillfully-crafted by one of "[REC]" creators, Paco Plaza, this protagonist-driven supernatural horror movie may be more ominous that frightening, but the dread-filled, constantly sinister tone it maintains is good enough to give you shivers. Very unpredictable, often twisty and revolving around the title character, played so believably by the likable Escacena, "Veronica" is one of the better Ouija-related genre films due to its not-so-obvious approach with a true sense of mystery.

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

[7.00/10] Only the Brave (2017)

Only the Brave (2017)

Quick Review: Telling an inspiring, yet gut-wrenchingly tragic real life story complemented by a couple of personal sub-plots to increase the dramatic impact and strengthen the bond between the viewer and the heroes it pays tribute to, "Only the Brave" is every bit as powerful and as it devastating to watch, and will surely make you admire and honor the tough, life-threatening job of the firefighters all of whom are acted so remarkably plausibly by the on-fire cast of big-name actors.

[6.25/10] God's Own Country (2017)

God's Own Country (2017)

Quick Review: A rarely genuine queer flick that won't appeal to mass tastes due to its sensitive subject matter and visual simplicity, "God's Own Country" is an enemies-turned-lovers story with a highly believable performances, whose murky setting contrasts dramatically with the raw, hidden, warm passion between the two protagonists. Plus, witnessing all the animals in the farm giving birth is just as emotional as the forbidden romance itself, and adds a further naturalism to the movie.

Monday, January 29, 2018

[6.50/10] Murder on the Orient Express (2017)

Murder on the Orient Express (2017)

Quick Review: With a classic, old- school narrative of murder mystery that matches the slickly retro looks beautifully, Branagh's slick rendition starts off in a playful and amusing manner that makes it a fun ride, but as soon as the investigation takes center stage, "Murder on the Orient Express" loses some of its energy due to a muddled plotting and lack of tension, and not even the stellar ensemble cast can keep it on trails the whole way through.

Sunday, January 28, 2018

[6.75/10] God of War (2017)

God of War (2017)

Quick Review: Straightforward, yet engrossing, and ruled by a powerful protagonist, who's strong presence match his martial arts skills, "God of War" juxtaposes two important Asian cultures in its non-combat scenes, emphasizing the differences in their mentality, while during the imposing battles, the film is fully focused on elevating the action on epic level, with the final fight being savagely intense. The sweeping imagery, and gorgeous cinematography make it a pure visual delight, too.

Saturday, January 27, 2018

[5.75/10] Maze Runner: The Death Cure [3D] (2018)

Maze Runner: The Death Cure [3D] (2018)

Quick Review: Grimmer, gloomier, grittier, and more mature than the last two, but also more joyless and lackluster in execution, "The Death Cure" is a mildly satisfying finale to the trilogy that intends to thrill with some immense set pieces, flawless visual effects, and a few surprises along the way, but the clue in the title gives away the big twist from the get go, plus, all the tragic events in the generally formulaic plot darken it further, if unnecessarily.

Friday, January 26, 2018

[5.50/10] Renegades (2017)

Renegades (2017)

Quick Review: Actually based on an original script by Luc Besson, this one wins several points for not being yet another sequel, prequel, or remake, but that said, an original script doesn't always mean a good one - pretty exaggerated and totally absurd from start to finish, if hardly ever boring, "Renegades" has a few exciting underwater scenes, but that apart, it's a corny, messy and loud adventure wannabe nonsense with a music score as painfully annoying as most of its characters.

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

[7.50/10] Wonder (2017)

Wonder (2017)

Quick Review: Truly poignant and heartfelt, yet feel-good and uplifting, and conveying a powerful message about kindness and accepting the different, "Wonder" has a clever way to introduce and develop each of its main characters in details by telling its story from various perspectives in the most natural, easy-going, and unforced way possible, but staying true to its source material, and the big emotional impact it leaves is so genuinely powerful, it makes it one wonder of a film, indeed.

[6.00/10] The Envelope (2017)

The Envelope (2017)

Quick Review: A Russian horror thriller done in a Hollywood fashion for better or worse, "The Envelope" has a clever premise, an intriguing concept and an intricately loopy plot structure that keeps you guessing along the way, but what prevents it to achieve greatness is the not very capable execution, and the overlong explanation during the final act. The scares are mostly nonexistent, but at least the movie has an enigmatic atmosphere that suits its ambiguous albeit confusing nature.

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

[6.25/10] Mom and Dad (2018)

Mom and Dad (2018)

Quick Review: From its hilariously twisted 'killer parents' premise and darkly metaphorical approach to the sharp editing, frenetic execution and chillingly effective score, "Mom and Dad" is basically the 'battle royale' of the generations presented in a way that is simultaneously disturbing and comic. Embracing its demented concept and taking advantage of its two main stars raging performances, with Blair's metamorphosis being the best bit, this sick flick is pure violent fun, if hardly that special.

[5.50/10] November Criminals (2017)

November Criminals (2017)

Quick Review: Part teen romance, part harrowing murder crime thriller, "November Criminals" is low-budget indie flick that relies entirely on its two talented leads to maintain the audience's attention, and while the chemistry between Ansel Elgort and Chloe Moretz is definitely there, and proves to be the film's driving force, the mystery behind the tragic plot is not intriguing or stirring enough, nor the investigation behind it works in a fairly plausible manner.

Sunday, January 21, 2018

[7.00/10] Den of Thieves (2018)

Den of Thieves (2018)

Quick Review: Each character is too smart to be credible, there are a few elements that seem borrowed from classic heist films, and some of the flaws are obvious, but "Den of Thieves" makes up with a cleverly-conceived and compelling plot-line with enough mystery, intrigue, and twists to keep you on your toes, a very skillful technical and directional execution that fits its gritty essence, and a precisely-picked cast led by Butler's superb performance as the wicked, cocky, sassy cop.

Saturday, January 20, 2018

[4.50/10] The Open House (2018)

The Open House (2018)

Quick Review: This family tragedy-turned-home invasion terror has an interesting premise that suggest big thrills, but instead of providing such, "The Open House" chooses to be a slow burner that builds tension more than 2/3rds of its run time, but apart from a few odd moments, it fails to generate any suspense whatsoever, revolving around the up-and-down mother-son relationship, and when it finally enters the horror territory, the idea behind the mysterious intruder becomes truly pointless.

Friday, January 19, 2018

[6.00/10] Beyond Skyline (2017)

Beyond Skyline (2017)

Quick Review: Slightly superior to the original in terms of execution, "Beyond Skyline" amazes with even slicker CGI and practical effects that are simply too good for its budget, and even though the often messy plot ranges from cheesy to absurd, it's much more thrilling than the one of the first film, especially during the frenetically action-packed final act. Grillo is suitable for the lead role, but the best part of the cast are Iko Uwais and Yayan Ruhian, because of their great fight skills.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

[5.25/10] Wolf Warrior 2 (2017)

Wolf Warrior 2 (2017)

Quick Review: Written and shot by Wu Jing, who also plays the likable protagonist, who's bravery and fight skills contrast with his kindness and sympathy, "Wolf Warrior 2" is fairly over-the-top in terms of action -- brutal hand-to-hand combats, crazy stunt work, massive shootouts, tank battles, big explosions -- it has it all. That said, there's too much going on about it: alternating melodrama and romance with non-stop action and graphic ultra-violence, this one is pure chaos plot-wise.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

[6.50/10] The Disaster Artist (2017)

The Disaster Artist (2017)

Quick Review: Following the whole making of the infamous-turned-cult classic film "The Room" by Wiseau, "The Disaster Artist" is an amusing, oddly fascinating, and occasionally touching movie-about-a-movie with tons of unexpected cameos, which succeeds mainly because of James Franco's talent behind and in front of the camera - with a truly sensitive approach as a director, and a fairly eccentric, yet accurate portrayal as an actor, he delivers a biopic that is as flawed as it's genuine.

[6.00/10] Broken Sword Hero (2017)

Broken Sword Hero (2017)

Quick Review:  It is no "Ong-Bak", and it would have worked better as a pure martial arts film rather than one with ill-fitting comedy and goofy score, but "Broken Sword Hero" is still worth-watching for the smoothly color-muted cinematography, exotic scenery, and the pretty impressive and never manipulated Thai boxing combat scenes and wooden sword dueling, plus, the charming Buakaw Banchamek does a solid job as the determined maverick in his quest of becoming a great fighter.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

[7.50/10] I, Tonya (2017)

I, Tonya (2017)

Quick Review: Driven by Robbie's true emotional roller coaster ride of a role that equals the triumph of her character's triple axel achievement, and well-accompanied by Janney's determined portrayal of her harsh, cruel, overambitious mom, "I, Tonya" tells its outrageous fact-based story with passion, dark sense of humor, and profound emotion, and the end result is an exciting, yet bittersweet doc-like sports biopic with a trashy vintage vibe that is just as edgy as the blade of an ice skate.

Monday, January 15, 2018

[5.50/10] Devil's Gate (2018)

Devil's Gate (2018)

Quick Review: With its ominously dim, sepia-toned color scheme, neat cinematography, and good-to-great practical and CGI effects, this well-made indie flick is a fine example of how to execute good visuals with a limited budget, and though "Devil's Gate" seems like an inventive blend of horror, sci-fi, and drama in the first half of its eerily intriguing alien -themed plot, delivering some solid chills, it becomes a hot mess during its third act, with the cheesy payoff being another let down.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

[7.25/10] The Greatest Showman (2017)

The Greatest Showman (2017)

Quick Review: Enjoyable, magical, and always dazzling to look at, "The Greatest Showman"'s formulaic plot barely matches its gorgeous period production design, and remarkable visual artistry, but the film's catchy, pretty spectacular musical numbers, and the tastefully-chosen cast with brilliant singing and dancing skills, headed by Hugh Jackman in a role that was meant for him, make this original musical an absolute treat for the eyes and ears alike.

Saturday, January 13, 2018

[6.50/10] The Commuter (2018)

The Commuter (2018)

Quick Review: Yes the whole thing is a little too far-fetched and often absurd to be any probable, but that barely makes the intricate plot less intriguing or twisty, in spite of all its flaws, which Liam Neeson's strong presence will help you overlook. Set mostly on a train, "The Commuter" is hardly impressive visually, and yet Serra's untypical directing decisions and technical tricks give the film an underground stylishness that goes well with its rough feel, high tensity, and hard-hitting action.

Friday, January 12, 2018

[7.50/10] Paddington 2 (2017)

Paddington 2 (2017)

Quick Review: One of the very, very rare cases in which the sequel does surpass the original, from the wonderfully-executed fully animated opening sequence to the emotional finale, this one is a pure delight to experience -- sweet, vigorous, witty, and never losing its exciting sense of adventure, "Paddington 2" blends live-action and animation to deliver an entertaining family-friendly story, revolving around the adorable CGI titular character, to whom the movie owns all of its big charm.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

[6.25/10] Ferdinand (2017)

Ferdinand (2017)

Quick Review: With its adorable protagonist, who's hugeness equals the gauge of his heart, "Ferdinand" might not have the deepest, more emotional or memorable story, nor it's particularly laugh-out-loud funny, but thanks to its beautifully-made, cutesy animation, brisk pacing, and sympathetic animal characters, it's a delightful entertainment for all the younger audiences. The dance off midway through is the true highlight, and the energetic goat Lupe easily steals the entire movie.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

[5.75/10] Bleeding Steel (2017)

Bleeding Steel (2017)

Quick Review: Ranging from pretty action packed, especially during the thrillingly long opening sequence, to overly dramatic, and literally goofy, Chen's latest sci-fi caper suffers big time from identity crisis as it shifts tones quite chaotically, which makes it inconsistent, along with the messy plot, but in terms of entertainment, "Bleeding Steel" is a brainless fun, worth seeing for the exciting stunts, fast-paced fight scenes, cool special effects, and the fantastic shooting locations in Sydney, AU.