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Tuesday, December 31, 2019

[9.00/10] Togo (2019)

Togo (2019)

Quick Review: Set in 1925 Alaska, a setting as harsh as pretty, not only "Togo" captures the chilling scenery sumptuously, and with a bleak touch that matches the extreme situations, but Core masterfully narrates a taut, thrilling, and adventurous underdog tale, mixed with a sweet and moving backstory, to bring this soul-stirring canine legend to life, with the bond between the bold, brave, and lively Togo and his tough, yet kind owner, acted lovably by Defoe, being at the heart of the heroic fable.

[7.00/10] Portrait of a Lady on Fire (2019)

Portrait of a Lady on Fire (2019)

Quick Review: Fairly slow-moving, yet paced with exquisite elegance, deeply saturated with quiet passion and sexual tension, and often pretty as a picture to look at, "Portrait of a Lady on Fire" beautifully depicts a moving, affecting, and sensual story of art, talent, and doomed romance in heartfelt fashion, captivating your attention with the genuinely strong bond between the wonderfully-acted and voluptuous heroines.

Monday, December 30, 2019

[4.25/10] Rambo: Last Blood (2019)

Rambo: Last Blood (2019)

Quick Review: The last 20 minutes are drenched in gory violence and extreme brutality that will raise your adrenaline, but that aside along with Stallone's okay attempts to still look as tough and intimidating as Rambo after all these years, "Last Blood" is basically a dull, generic, uninspired, bone-tired and incredibly lackluster conclusion to the franchise, whose poorly-conceived script doesn't treat the cherished character with all the respect it deserves, nor it contains any brains, or originality.

Sunday, December 29, 2019

[6.50/10] A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood (2019)

A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood (2019)

Quick Review: Showing one of the most sweet, caring, endearing, and kind-hearted protagonists in recent memory, portrayed so delicately by Tom Hanks, you can't help but love, this one is all about human relations whether good or bad, but also about forgiveness, understanding, as well as giving a chance, which it teaches through its contrasting stories - one about an unlikely friendship and one about reconnection, both equally as frank and heart-rending.

[5.00/10] Villains (2019)

Villains (2019)

Quick Review: It captures the eye with its vibrancy, stylish sleekness, and color saturation, besides, every single one of the four performances has its moment of acting highlights, all ranging from goofily over-the-top to amusingly wacky, but for a dark comedy with horror thriller elements, "Villains" is neither funny or bright, nor bloody or grisly enough to live up to its grotesque nature, bringing nothing new to the table, apart from a few eccentric bits, nutty situations, and cuckoo characters.

Saturday, December 28, 2019

[7.75/10] The Two Popes (2019)

The Two Popes (2019)

Quick Review: As informative and revealing, as it's absorbing, the wise and witty "The Two Popes" narrates the bumpy, yet sincere and moving real-life bond between the current and future popes, who build a true friendship, in spite of their opposite personalities, while also focusing on a grim backstory about Bergoglio's flawed past, with the apt, intelligent, sharp dialogues and bravura turns by Hopkins and Pryce making this a captivating and heartfelt 'true story' of faith and commitment.

Friday, December 27, 2019

[5.75/10] Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker [3D] (2019)

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker [3D] (2019)  

Quick Review: With its grandiose intergalactic imagery, stellar effects, and imposing action, especially the flashy lightsaber swordplay, Episode IX is technically immaculate, but in its attempts to please the fans and 'fix' what "TLJ" did wrong, it follows the same tired formula, without any imagination put into the unexciting, mostly contrived story, filled with lots of cheesy, even senseless moments and overdone twists, and lacking in soul, thrills, and novelty.

Thursday, December 26, 2019

[9.00/10] Knives Out (2019)

Knives Out (2019)

Quick Review: A brainy, dexterous, sharp-witted, smartly-conceived and brilliantly-executed Agatha Christie- esque murder mystery, whose twisty, pattern-like plot is so well-structured every turn makes perfect sense at the end, the unpredictable, creative, wildly entertaining, and thrillingly fun "Knives Out" not only brings out the best of its top-notch ensemble cast and their eccentric characters, but it demonstrates superb sense of style through its vintage feel, cool setting, and tasteful aesthetics.

[5.75/10] Let It Snow (2019)

Let It Snow (2019)

Quick Review: Possessing enough holiday spirit and festive feel to be seen as a Christmas movie, but also having enough heart and sweetness to work as a romance, and even a few silly bits here and there, not to be taken so seriously, "Let It Snow" may be a cliched and familiar rom- com focusing on various youngsters and their personal love stories, as well as the friendship between them, but the appealing cast and snowy, yet cozy small town setting make it a fairly pleasurable watch.

Wednesday, December 25, 2019

[7.50/10] The Lighthouse (2019)

The Lighthouse (2019)
Quick Review: Hauntingly bleak, built on symbolism, and inspired by Greek mythology, which adds up to its straightforward, but fairly original and provokingly schizophrenic story of isolation, insanity, conflict, identity issues, domination and submission, "The Lighthouse" is a highly visceral psychological horror leaning on its grim tone and eerie tone instead of frights, flashing two of the best male performance this year, and favoring from its grim b&w looks and foggy, soggy, muddy backdrop.

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

[4.75/10] Jade Dynasty (2019)

Jade Dynasty (2019)

Quick Review: Ranging from super cheesy to absolutely gorgeous, this one boasts with some striking shots, elegant no-gravity wirework, and a few inventive action sequences, but for an wuxia movie, Siu-Tung's latest extravaganza lacks apt swordplay to suit the genre, not to say that "Jade Dynasty" kicks off as a 'cartoonish' fantasy comedy with fun effects, but further on turns into a sentimental, overdramatic, yet often goofy clutter with muddled plot, bland characters, and rather shoddy CGIs.

Monday, December 23, 2019

[7.00/10] By the Grace of God (2019)

By the Grace of God (2019)

Quick Review: Truly disturbing and real-life terrifying, if overly talky and with a straightforward approach that makes it less effective, Ozon's quiet shocker dealing with child abuse and the emotional consequences of the victims centers on three male characters and their very traumatic experiences in the past and fight for justice in the present, telling their separate stories filled with pain and anger through an episodic narrative and in a doc-like fashion.

Sunday, December 22, 2019

[5.50/10] Ready to Mingle (2019)

Ready to Mingle (2019)

Quick Review: A not-too-mawkish rom-com that plays it as a spoof on the genre, than replicating familiar themes and tropes, "Solteras" deals with the obsession of marriage by focusing on a wannabe bride and her desperate attempts to put a ring on her finger, accompanied by a few wacky, similar in destiny secondary characters, with the result being a semi-funny and semi-romantic affair with some silly humor and awkward situations, whose charming heroine saves it from total failure.

Saturday, December 21, 2019

[6.25/10] A Rainy Day in New York (2019)

A Rainy Day in New York (2019)

Quick Review: The glaring effect gives it a nearly fairy tale-like feel and look, plus, the urban beauty of NY is captured so finely on camera, and though it's far from Allen's best work, "A Rainy Day in New York" is a sweet and whimsical, if far-fetched 'break-up' rom-com devoid of any meaning or substance, which pays more attention on its setting then on its dull male protagonist, leaving its over-excited and over-acted female one to evoke some vigor.

Friday, December 20, 2019

[4.75/10] Uncut Gems (2019)

Uncut Gems (2019)

Quick Review: Shockingly plotless, direction-less and totally improvised crime thriller with no thrills or tension which feels all over the place, and is further let down by its stereotypical characters and a distracting score that is painful to sit through, "Uncut Gems" showcases a whole new side of Sandler and his dramatic skills in an unusual role as a greedy jeweler gambler obsessed with money, but even his solid efforts can't make up for the pointlessness of this lousy, loud, and irritating mess.

[6.00/10] Shaft (2019)

Shaft (2019)

Quick Review: Thematically dated, yet delightfully old school in feel and look, this late, real pointless sequel revolves around a murder mystery that is way too muddled to keep you intrigued, but what makes "Shaft" watchable is Jackson's 'too cool for school' turn as the titular character, whose swag, confidence, and crazy sense of humor are to be admired, the bumpy yet moving re-connection with his mannerly son, and the tons of nostalgic pop culture references from the good old times.

Thursday, December 19, 2019

[5.50/10] Freaks (2019)

Freaks (2019)

Quick Review: Very limited in both characters and setting, the film bets on a 'less is more' visual approach, which it compensates with a creative concept that blends sci-fi, fantasy and horror in equal measures, but despite its ambitions, bold ideas and Kolker's great central turn, "Freaks" remains a mixed bag of a hybrid that rises many questions during its over perplexing 'real or imaginary' style of plotting, but provides answers to very few of those, getting totally lost in its own cerebral chaos.

[6.25/10] I See You (2019)

I See You (2019)

Quick Review: Sure, it suffers from an identity crisis, as it doesn't know if wants to be a crime mystery, family drama, or home invasion thriller at first, but as the moderately gripping plot unfolds, "I See You" manages to tie the pieces together by revealing one twist after another, so all the events and conflicting elements to makes sense and connect, which it achieves capably and suspensefully enough, thanks to the daring script, taut direction, and convincing acting from Hunt, and the rest.

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

[5.75/10] Zombieland: Double Tap (2019)

Zombieland: Double Tap (2019)

Quick Review: Slightly less fun, a lot less stylish, but just as bloody as the first, "Double Tap" doesn't feel as fresh, and it's obviously cheaper-looking due to some dodgy CGI and practical effects, not to mention it's far from snazzy in its execution, but it's so cool to see those four reunite again, with a few fresh faces joining them in the party-vibed, excessively gory zombie mayhem of a survival, filled with goofy humor, comic thrills, and nasty kills, if no bite.

Tuesday, December 17, 2019

[6.25/10] Jumanji: The Next Level (2019)

Jumanji: The Next Level (2019)

Quick Review: Sure, it's level down from the first one, and it takes quite some time to load and get into game mode, despite the fresh twist it puts, but when it finally picks up, this fun caper of a sequel offers a creative change of scenery, a few perky set pieces, namely the 'mandrills' scene and the fortress combat, and even a moving climax towards the end, with both the new and known characters delivering laughs, thrills, action, and hilarious role–switching.

[7.75/10] Kingdom (2019)

Kingdom (2019)

Quick Review: Not only it wins big points for originality, being the first Chinese epic made in Japanese, but "Kingdom" mixes history and fantasy by recreating the legendary union of Warring States in ancient China in a modern 'manga' style done with JP flair, but what this spectacular romp impresses the most with is the edgy choreography, samurai-like frenetic swordplay, and overall hectic editing of its cool, hard-hitting action, which compensates for the overacting and some slight script issues.

Monday, December 16, 2019

[5.25/10] Code 8 (2019)

Code 8 (2019)

Quick Review: Putting a fresh spin on 'superpowers', if hardly matching its ambitions in terms of execution, "Code 8" kind of avoids most tropes we have used to see in comic book films of this genre, and yet, despite its potential, well-conceived futuristic scenario, a fairly engaging lead turn from Robbie Amell, and basic if neat plotting, whose rather dramatic story even packs some emotional punch, this low-on-action sci-fi crime thriller is so vanilla, you can barely taste its bland 'superhero' flavor. 

Sunday, December 15, 2019

[5.50/10] 6 Underground (2019)

6 Underground (2019)

Quick Review: A loud, overblown, over-edited and incoherent mayhem that flashes some impressive stunts, spectacular parkour sequences, big explosions, and nifty, often bonkers car chase set-pieces, all executed in a typically over-the-top Michael Bay fashion, "6 Underground" entertains with its swanky style and ultra-frantic action, but the deficit of brains, wit, sense, constancy, and rational plot, turns into an eccentric mess, whose excessive absurdity even Reynolds appears to struggle with.

Saturday, December 14, 2019

[6.50/10] The Report (2019)

The Report (2019)

Quick Review: It's heavily political, overwhelmingly talky, and rather too thematically weighty to be pleasant, yet involving, revealing and credible in its 'cold' approach, "The Report" revolves around some pretty dark events, depicted in a dry and factual fashion which, along with the film's narrative and pacing issues, lack of dense suspense, and brutal torture scenes, make it a difficult to watch, if rather thought-provoking post-9/11 thriller with great performances from both Driver and Bening.

Friday, December 13, 2019

[4.50/10] Girl on the Third Floor (2019)

Girl on the Third Floor (2019)

Quick Review: It puts a fresh spin on the 'haunted house' genre by focusing on the morality of its vague story and its sinful protagonist, while ably avoiding worn-out tropes, plus, the use of practical effects is often impressive, but this supposed-to-be a slow-burn horror flick fails to build the tension it aims to, being way too sluggish for the most part, and then drastically culminating in a final act that is confusing, nonsensical, and really difficult to process.