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Thursday, October 31, 2019

[5.75/10] Sweetheart (2019)

Sweetheart (2019)

Quick Review: Set entirely on a desolate tropical island, featuring a single person in its first half, hence, totally devoid of any dialogue at all, the inaptly titled "Sweetheart" might be challenging for some to get into it, even if Jenn's survival routine and the nice scenery are nearly enough to hold your interest, but as soon as the savage sea creature shows up, the film becomes a tense, gory, and nightmarish human vs. monster fight that's entertaining and well-crafted, yet never really frightful.

[4.00/10] Ip Man and Four Kings (2019)

Ip Man and Four Kings (2019)

Quick Review: A 1950s-set Ip Man spin-off with flimsy plot that clumsily blends ill-fitting comedy, sappiness, goofy humor, and dowdy action with uninspired choreography and blunt usage of slow-mo, "Ip Man and Four Kings" suffers from lack of style and sub-par execution that put it in a TV movie-like class, and that along with the sudden tone shifts, bad acting, and terrible dialogues, turn it into a second rate kung fu flick that Tang's likability can't even save.

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

[6.00/10] Them That Follow (2019)

Them That Follow (2019)

Quick Review: Quietly disturbing in its understated approach, relying on mood, muted suspense, and sense of uneasiness, yet sluggishly paced, uneven, and too carried away by its own oddness, "Them That Follow" is a visually captivating set-in-a-small- town slow-burn religious thriller with a touch of doomed romance, whose poisonous nature, capable cast and tense-as-a-serpent-twisted-around- your-neck final act sort of make up for the numb vagueness during the uneventful 1st two-thirds.

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

[7.25/10] Queen of Hearts a.k.a. Dronningen (2019)

Queen of Hearts (2019)

Quick Review: Stylish in its visual simplicity, yet incredibly daring in its approach, this profoundly intriguing and smartly-executed Danish erotic 'adultery' drama about lust and guilt is driven by Anne, whose character shifts from thriving professional and mother to raunchy cheater to cruel manipulator to regretful wreck, and that truly shocking transformation is portrayed effortlessly by the brilliant Trine Dryholm, who is also not afraid to take part in some truly graphic, outrageous sex scenes.

[5.00/10] William (2019)

William (2019)

Quick Review: Daring to explore a controversial, if sensitive subject of cloning, with a prehistoric twist, but doing so in a heavy-handed, clumsy way, without giving the needed in- depth details of the med process, focusing on the human drama, and social side of it instead, "William" is a missed opportunity of a fictional drama with some thoughtful ideas, and a bunch of solid performances that fails to touch, intrigue, provoke, or provide a proper scientific weight of its melodramatic story.

Monday, October 28, 2019

[6.25/10] The Dead Center (2019)

The Dead Center (2019)

Quick Review: A proof that a tiny budget can't ruin a solid horror idea, what "The Dead Center" lacks big in great special effects and expensive production design, it makes up with morbid atmosphere, sense of dread and uneasiness and an eery asylum setting, and though it never reveals the mystery behind the malevolent force it deals with, this solidly-acted, low-key little chiller delivers effective visceral scares, psychological thrills, and an unnerving mood without any cheesiness whatsoever.

Friday, October 25, 2019

[8.00/10] Pain and Glory (2019)

Pain and Glory (2019)

Quick Review: Mirroring its creator personal life as human and artist by telling the deeply intimate story of a suffering, fragile, and exhausted film director, whose depression, clouded personality, and loneliness contrast with the film's vivid visual artfulness and pop of color, "Pain and Glory" is moody and melancholic, yet playful, humorous, and nostalgic flashback, built up to a clever final reveal that ties the past and present deftly, but what affects profoundly is Banderas' subtly powerful focal role.

Thursday, October 24, 2019

[11/10] Ying Xiong a.k.a. Hero (2002) – [Director's Cut]

Hero (2002) [DC]

Quick Review: Extraordinary in its eye-candy use of color and scenery, drop-dead dazzling cinematography, spectacularly exquisite ballet-esque swordplay, and elaborate wire-fu set pieces, all masterly put into effect by Yimou's imaginative direction, which utilizes an intricate plot structure to narrate this enigmatic and poetical, yet epic fable of deception, love and sacrifice, "Hero" is a sublime 'wuxia' masterpiece with mesmerizing score and stellar cast that complement the artistry of its aesthetics.

[5.50/10] Stuber (2019)

Stuber (2019)

Quick Review: There's such a big contrast between the action scenes and the comedy parts, the uneven "Stuber" surely fails to blend the two genre well, with the end result being a mildly amusing and overly violent far-from-smooth ride that feels like a goofy 90-min Uber ad, despite the five-star chemistry between Nanjiani and Bautista and their very opposite equally as charming characters, and the valuable, albeit under-presence of Iko Uwais whose fighting skills are always exciting to watch.

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

[5.75/10] Fractured (2019)

Fractured (2019)

Quick Review: Clever in concept, if muddled in execution, this 'missing person' mystery could be seen as either brilliantly messed-up, or plain confusing, as it keeps you wonder if the events are real or imaginary by tossing (too) many twists and turns along the way, but then, not many of the curveballs it throws make sense, notably the 'shocking' ending, which makes "Fractured" a semi-intriguing thriller with little logic, bleak visuals, and a surprisingly emotional turn by the capable Worthington.

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

[6.25/10] Rabid (2019)

Rabid (2019)

Quick Review: It's unnecessary for sure, and many things do not make sense, notably the rushed recovery process, and all the virus spreading, but the Soskas' version of "Rabid" respects the original by keeping the same structure, whilst also adding some fresh elements of its own, plus the use of great practical and gore effects, a few blood-filled grisly kills, its directors' stylishly cold, neon-ish visual style, and Vandervoot's pretty looks make this one as eye-catching as it is oddly absorbing.

[5.00/10] Riot Girls (2019)

Riot Girls (2019)

Quick Review: Edgy, gritty, open- minded, bloody as hell, and with a cool punk vibe to it, "Riot Girls" tries its best to embrace its 'no adults' concept and step forward with some originality, but it's the pretty sub-par execution and questionable acting that prevent it fore being more than a semi-entertaining dystopian thriller with surprising amount of ruthless violence, some girl-to-girl romance, and okay action, but no thrills or any true sense of rawness, considering its 'fight for survival' plot.

Monday, October 21, 2019

[6.75/10] Eli (2019)

Eli (2019)

Quick Review: What starts off as a 'sick child' family drama changes its course as soon as it shifts its setting and becomes a creepy ghost story which owes its sense of dread to the sinister location and eerie tone, but it's the inventive twist in the third act that leads "Eli" into a truly diabolical direction you won't see coming, and transforms it from a generic spook- fest with enigmatic touch of mystery to a devilishly terrifying shocker that will validly prove you so wrong about how predictable it looks.

Sunday, October 20, 2019

[6.00/10] Maleficent: Mistress of Evil [3D] (2019)

Maleficent: Mistress of Evil [3D] (2019)

Quick Review: Alternating a vividly enchanting imagery bursting in color with darkly Gothic sets of fantastical obscurity, which contrast the same way the opulent, CGI-raised visuals do with the insipid script full of corny talks, "MoE" is an eye-candy sequel that benefits from Jolie's allure, the super cool Dark Feys, and a swanky final battle, but it's easy to foresee, sappy, either rushed or dragged out and wasting a villain who has vicious heart, but no real depth.

Friday, October 18, 2019

[6.75/10] Little Monsters (2019)

Little Monsters (2019)

Quick Review: A fascinating blend of Aussie-flavored humor, adorable kids, and blood-thirsty zombies, this is likely the cutest genre flick you'll ever see, due to the touching bond between Nyong'o's alluring, if tough 'superhero' nursery teacher and her lil' students, and England's warming maturation as Dave, which does not mean "Little Monsters" compromises on horror, as it offers tons of guts, gore, and body parts to balance out its heart and sweetness with some revolting gruesomeness.

[5.50/10] The Room (2019)

The Room (2019)

Quick Review: It earns credit for its sci-fied a 'room turns all wishes real' concept, surreal fun-turned-disaster approach, and the deep message it aims to deliver by telling the moral tale of a shallow, greedy and selfish couple and the results of their ugly actions, but the lesson which "The Room" tries to teach us gets lost in all the chaos, as it goes so out of control at some point that not even the leads' efforts, forced tension, or the cool, if limited setting, can't save the film's bold ambitions.

Thursday, October 17, 2019

[7.25/10] American Woman (2019)

American Woman (2019)

Quick Review: Funny, devastating, affecting, sad, dramatic, candid, and heartfelt all at once, and concerning love, loss, pain, despair and conflict, "American Woman" is an emotional roller coaster that follows the difficult life of a struggling, but strong single mother dealing with the vanishing of her daughter, the rocky relationship with her family, and her unfortunate love life, with Sienna Miller giving an award-worthy lead turn as the tight, crude and fierce, yet caring, alluring and very earnest Debra.

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

[5.25/10] Low Tide (2019)

Low Tide (2019)

Quick Review: Revolving around a bunch of teenage burglars in New Jersey neighborhood, this low-key drama hardly makes any impact on emotional level, despite the genuine performances from the young cast, and the romance it attempts, nor it provides any surprises to make its story exciting, and even though it's reasonably well-shot, "Low Tide" still has the feel of your Saturday night TV film, which along with the simple script makes it worth-seeing only for its two leads' fine acting.

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

[6.00/10] El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie (2019)

El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie (2019)

Quick Review: All fans of the show will be raving about it, as it follows the events after the TV series finale, but those unfamiliar with it might find this epilogue a bit too dragged out and far from that significant, though, even non-fanboys will appreciate its tensity, brutal violence, solid writing, and gritty neo-noir looks, but above all Aaron Paul's powerful lead turn, thanks to which he carries the slow-burning, interesting, if unmemorably ordinary 'get away' plot.

[4.00/10] The Gallows Act II (2019)

The Gallows Act II (2019)

Quick Review: A bit better than the hideous original, yet still a poor act that has no place on any stage, "Act II" take its 'urban legend' idea on a whole new level of cheesiness, and develops into a lousy nonsense of a horror with zero proper frights, logic, or humor, further let down by a fishy twist ending that's rather laughable than shocking, and centering on the otherwise sweet and lovely Youtube star wannabe Auna, who's so naive, rash, shallow, and foolish, you never really care for her faith.

Monday, October 14, 2019

[6.50/10] The Wolf Hour (2019)

The Wolf Hour (2019)

Quick Review: Set in a messy flat with low light, grim feel, and trashy interior, "Wolf Hour" finely captures the sense of isolation of its anxious, agoraphobic, broke, and disturbed protagonist, portrayed brilliantly by the remarkable Naomi Watts, whose devoted 'one woman show' turn as the struggling author June make this subtle, yet riveting mental journey so affecting, although the 'buzzing intercom' mystery remains unsolved, and the ending comes across wtoo surreal to fit properly in.

Sunday, October 13, 2019

[5.50/10] Gemini Man (2019)

Gemini Man (2019)

Quick Review: The 'motor chase' and the 'catacomb fight' prove that Lee knows how to shoot a frenetic, fast-paced action, and the de-aging effects are "B.Button"-level brilliant, but not only the film never lives up to its a secret-agent-stands-against- his-younger-self potential, but minus the fictional bit, "Gemini Man" feels like a derivative, dated, and ho-hum clone of other B-actioners, in which not even Will Smith's appeal, or the interesting settings can compensate for the uninspired script.

Friday, October 11, 2019

[6.75/10] Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark (2019)

Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark (2019)

Quick Review: Doing justice to its source material by being faithful to it and recreating it with slick execution and tasteful visuals, enriched by an atmospheric vintage vibe and spot- on practical effects, "Scary Stories" is a lightweight, campy, and slightly juvenile, yet delightfully creepy and at times pretty tense horror flick with solidly-portrayed, likable characters, riveting story with very dark mystery behind it, and fearful creatures that will give you some chills.

Thursday, October 10, 2019

[7.00/10] The Gangster, the Cop, the Devil (2019)

The Gangster, the Cop, the Devil (2019)

Quick Review: A taut, fast-paced, riveting, and nifty Korean thriller with as much savage fights, thrills, and chases as sense of humor, this one centers on the uncommon team-up between an ambitious police officer and a ruthless mob, who join forces in a killer hunt, and grow a twisted love-hate bond that drives the plot, and though it avoids to reveal the butcher's motives, the film remains a darkly fun and bloody violent affair until the satisfying finale.

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

[5.50/10] Depraved (2019)

Depraved (2019)

Quick Review: It deserves kudos for putting a fresh spin on a classic story, but apart from some macabre imagery and decent practical effects aimed to cause disgust, this semi- disturbing modern Frankenstein film has little to offer in terms of thrills or frights, as its 'playing God' plot lacks dramatic tension, and its tone is too tacky to be able to fabricate any sense of true eeriness, but at least the dime-looking "Depraved" boasts with acting that is very good for this caliber of indie b-horror.