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Friday, December 31, 2021

[8.25/10] Encanto (2021)

Encanto (2021)

Quick Review: Just as vigorous in spirit, as it's vivid in looks, "Encanto" dazzles with its crazy-bright colors, depth of graphics, and attention to detail, and manifests the richness of Hispanic culture with a vibrant visual creativity, complemented by uplifting Latino rhythms and cheerful songs, but the biggest wonder here is the hearty Mirabel in her determination to 'save the miracle', protect her home, and fix the domestic cracks, conveying the film's touching 'family is true magic' message.

Thursday, December 30, 2021

[5.00/10] A House on the Bayou (2021)

A House on the Bayou (2021)

Quick Review: The isolated rural house location and the intimidating intruders add up to the film's 'creep factor', along with some gruesome scenes later on in the story, but this demonic-ish take on family-reunion-gone-wrong tries too hard to shook by delivering one bonkers twist after another, instead of fleshing out its otherwise well-portrayed characters, besides, the anti-climatic conclusion doesn't do "A House on the Bayou" any favors at all, either.

Wednesday, December 29, 2021

[6.50/10] Don't Look Up (2021)

Don't Look Up (2021)

Quick Review: Too halfwitted to be taken seriously, yet too grim to be funny, "Don't Look Up" is a tonally obscure and darkly amusing blend of a scientific disaster drama and a black comedy that gets the satire right in the thought-provoking way it depicts modern society as careless, shallow, cynical, and conspiratorial, that's alarming to say the least, and though the script far from sharp, the star-studded cast do their very best to add edge to the whole 'end of the world' drained scenario.

[4.50/10] Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City (2021)

Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City (2021)

Quick Review: After a slow, banal and tedious first half, devoid of any thrills, horror, and action, it picks up the pace to deliver some watchable zombie sort-of terror, but in the end the '98-set "WtRC" is still a pointless and fun-free reboot with lazy writing, all-too-dark visuals and dodgy CGIs in which nothing new or even semi- frightful happens, and although the cast is fine, it's not the same without Jovovoich, let alone with a direction as insipid as Roberts' is.

Saturday, December 25, 2021

[6.00/10] The Emperor's Sword (2021)

The Emperor's Sword (2021)

Quick Review: Although it borrows creative ideas from modern genre films, "The Emperor's Sword" is still a prettily-shot wuxia flick with a fairly simple, easy to follow plot, plenty of gorgeous locations, and some well-choreographed fight scenes which are nearly ruined by the overuse of dramatic slow-mo, but sadly none of the characters excel and hardly any of the 'cool' camera tricks, utilized to shake up all the action, achieve the effect they are meant to.

Thursday, December 23, 2021

[6.75/10] The Matrix Resurrections (2021)

The Matrix Resurrections (2021)

Quick Review: Epilogue-y, built on déjà-vus and ultra-meta, "M4" offers a fresh take on 'what is real', inserts cool new bots, and cleverly reunites Neo and Trinity to deepen their love story and throw a debatable twist at the end, but it neither has the flair, style, looks, brains, nor the startling action of the first, despite the use of flashy motion tricks, ending up as a less cerebral and visually imposing, yet daring sequel that mocks itself, society and film industry.

Wednesday, December 22, 2021

[11/10] The Matrix (1999) – [22nd Anniversary Re-Review]

The Matrix (1999)

Quick Review: A deftly-conceived, thought-provoking mind-bender with a level of depth as ingenious as its groundbreaking 360° 'camera spin' shooting techniques, innovative use of slow-mo and 'bullet time' effects, expertly-staged kung fu action, and exceptional stunt work, "The Matrix" is revolutionary for the sci-fi genre, and one of the most conceptually and technically accomplished films in cinematic history, led by a trio of adept actors, born to play their out-of-this-world characters.

Tuesday, December 21, 2021

[9.00/10] Spider-Man: No Way Home [3D] (2021)

Spider-Man: NWH (2021)

Quick Review: Every Marvel freak dream-come-true, "NWH" integrates the Multiverse in a deftly nostalgic, if crowded way by reviving a bunch of our beloved villains to deliver one of the most elaborate, soul-stirring and surprise-filled MCU flicks so far, but also the darkest and most dramatic Spider-Man film yet, which balances out the emotional moments with light humor, rare, albeit epic-level grand action set pieces and stellar effects, though the starry cast arouses the biggest excitement here.

Friday, December 17, 2021

[4.50/10] Encounter (2021)

Encounter (2021)

Quick Review: What kicks off as a 'virus' sci-fier about mind-controlling bugs, using some superb close-up opening shots, quickly turns into a 'road movie' involving a disturbed father on-the-run with his two sons, and it doesn't take long until you realize it's all in Malik's head, and though Ahmed is very convincing as the paranoid ex-prisoner, you can't help but feeling misled by the whole 'mental illness' twist and let down by the inevitably generic finale, and the actual waste of Spencer.

[5.75/10] A Castle for Christmas (2021)

A Castle for Christmas (2021)

Quick Review: Yet another holiday rom-com, this time about an author, whose getaway to Scotland takes a romantic turn, "ACfC" is corny and easy to predict, but its festive feel, cheerful nature, and lush scenery, along with the adorable characters, and the chemistry between the two leads make the whole enemies-to-lovers scenario more charming and amusing than it is supposed to be, not to say how poignant is Sophie's bond with the local guys.

Thursday, December 16, 2021

[6.25/10] The Unforgivable (2021)

The Unforgivable (2021)

Quick Review: Bleak in tone and depressing in feel, this flashbacks-riddled re-telling of the UK series of the same name aims to contain its complex plot in under 2 hours with mixed results - opposite to Bullock's convincing turn in an untypical role, a lot in the story comes across as implausible, and the film neglects its two sub-stories and side characters, and yet "The Unforgivable" still pulls some heartstrings in a murky drama about pain, sacrifice, justice, sibling love, and tough outsets.

Tuesday, December 14, 2021

[6.00/10] Antlers (2021)

Antlers (2021)

Quick Review: A cross between a dreary drama about trauma with an attempt at commentary on bullying and child abuse, and a creepy folk horror heavy on eerie atmosphere, "Antlers" often struggles to balance those out, and picks not to dig into the myth behind the ghastly horned monster, which comes across more as lazy rather than mysterious, but the film makes up for its indecisive nature with proper sense of dread, gore, grit, grisliness, and some solid acting to back them up.

Monday, December 13, 2021

[6.75/10] A Writer's Odyssey (2021)

A Writer's Odyssey (2021)

Quick Review: A dual tale about a novel that affects reality, "A Writer's Odyssey" blends a personal drama with political undertones and a world of mythological fantasy in inventive way, and although the dad-daughter story is not as moving as it aims to, the film succeeds in its fantasy bits, thanks to the adventurous nature of the plot, superb CGI work with vivid use of color, and thrilling action, with Redmane's grandiose final fight and the bloody 'village massacre' being the most epic set pieces.

Sunday, December 12, 2021

[6.50/10] The Advent Calendar (2021)

The Advent Calendar (2021)

Quick Review: Yes, the mythology behind it remains a mystery, and it doesn't fully fulfill the potential of its interesting concept, but this French holiday chiller gets tenser, creepier and gorier with each next little door getting opened by the terrified Eva, whose dread, paranoia, and moral conflict Derouand portrays with utter conviction, and yet, underneath its horror surface, "Le calendrier" is an emotional drama about loneliness, desolation and sadness.

Thursday, December 9, 2021

[4.50/10] Silent Night (2021)

Silent Night (2021)

Quick Review: An unconventional sort-of Christmas horror with a 'last supper' premise, which attempts to cleverly play it as a relevant social commentary, but never succeeds to, "Silent Night" is a loud, talky, tonally ambiguous, over-acted, and under-explained apocalyptic family drama full of irritating characters, swearing kids, and forced tension that never bothers to uncover the eerie threat outside, enclosing itself in a bubble, and making you care less and less who dies, when and why.

Wednesday, December 8, 2021

[7.50/10] A Boy Called Christmas (2021)

A Boy Called Christmas (2021)

Quick Review: An appealing and adventurous old-fashioned fairy tale with elves, trolls, pixies, and talking animals, set against an enchanting snowy scenery that contrasts nicely with the colorful village of Elfhelm, but also an emotional fable of loss, hope and kindness, about a boy on a quest of finding his dad, not only "ABfC" captures the holiday spirit in a fantastical 'magic is real' fashion, but it also touches with an emotional family story at its center.

Tuesday, December 7, 2021

[6.75/10] 8-Bit Christmas (2021)

8-Bit Christmas (2021)

Quick Review: A sweet, charming, and nostalgic holiday caper about the Nintendo craze in the '80s that also feels relevant to nowadays big obsession with technology, but also has an emotional side about itself, being a dad-son relationship story at its core, "8-Bit Christmas" is on one hand a lively, passionate, crazy fun 'retro vibe' kids comedy full of action and laughs, and on the other -- a poignant story about grief and loss, balanced out with some heart-melting family memories.

[6.50/10] Bergman Island (2021)

Bergman Island (2021)

Quick Review: A proper love letter to cinema, and a homage to Ingmar Bergman's body of work, set in the lush island the director has lived on, "Bergman Island" is as much about creative process inspirations as it is about damaged relationships, both themes driven by Krieps and Roth's lead characters' dynamics, but what makes it oddly mesmerizing is Chris' script-comes-to-live story within the main plot, which gently starts to blur the line between reality and fantasy until the feel-good finale.

Monday, December 6, 2021

[6.25/10] Belfast (2021)

Belfast (2021)

Quick Review: A deeply intimate look at the director's childhood and the struggles of growing up in '60s Northern Ireland in poverty amid an ethnic conflict, that also celebrates the joy of carefree adolescence and family bonds, "Belfast" is as simple as its black-and-white, yet detailed imagery, and depicts Branagh's vast nostalgia in a sensitive way, but in the end, its story is too personal to relate to or make an impact, despite some moving bits, conveyed heartily by the outstanding cast.

Friday, December 3, 2021

[5.25/10] Single All the Way (2021)

Single All the Way (2021)

Quick Review: A hackneyed gay Christmas romance in which every single character is smiley, positive, amusing, and wildly likable, which is cheesy enough in itself, "Single All the Way" is without a doubt a very pleasurable and feel-good holiday rom-com about a small town queer in search of a proper relationship, but the whole scenario is so corny, mawkish and painfully predictable, it will rather make you roll your eyes, rather than melt your heart, despite its utterly charming cast.

Thursday, December 2, 2021

[6.75/10] The Last Duel (2021)

The Last Duel (2021)

Quick Review: An unusual chivalry tale of conflict, sacrifice, cruelty, but above all a battle of egos, told from various perspectives in a repetitive, but skillful plot structure, "The Last Duel" may be a bit draggy, cold, and at times hard to keep track of, but its medieval imagery is imposing in its grittiness and somber tone, the action scenes -- savage and deftly-staged, notably the ultraviolent final duel, and the acting rather brilliant, with Comer dominating the screen, and Affleck standing out.

Wednesday, December 1, 2021

[3.75/10] Willy's Wonderland (2021)

Willy's Wonderland (2021)

Quick Review: Watching Nic Cage beating the sh*t out of a bunch of big bloodthirsty fluffy mascots under colorful neon lights in a dark space and accompanied by a crazy loud soundtrack may sound like tons of fun and even 'artful' in a way, but "Willy's Wonderland" turns out to be a real excruciating experience that feels more like a hard rock music video rather than a proper horror feature, which tries too hard to be stylish, and forgets all about acting, dialogue and characters.