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Monday, November 11, 2019

[6.75/10] Doctor Sleep (2019)

Doctor Sleep (2019)

Quick Review: A visual homage to Kubrick's film that also applies some new 'dark fantasy' elements to be in contrast with it, "DS" is overcrowded and muddled, as its narrative jumps back and forth between the many characters' split stories, which along with the random editing kill the pace, but the superhero-esque direction it takes in is fresh and surprising, the True Knot brings soul-sucking terror that merges eerily with the somber, blue-shaded imagery, and the three leads shine in their roles.

[6.50/10] Dolemite Is My Name (2019)

Dolemite Is My Name (2019)

Quick Review: Eddie Murphy lives and breathes his role as the colorful Rudy, giving a truly outstanding and lively performance that alone makes the film worth-seeing, plus, the vivid recreation of 1970s LA is real feast for the eyes, thanks to the authentic art direction, stylish costumes, and classy retro looks, but the otherwise groovy, perky, and unapologetically black biopic "Dolemite Is My Name" is hardly ever as inspiring, engaging or funny as it thinks it is.

Friday, November 8, 2019

[5.50/10] Countdown (2019)

Countdown (2019)

Quick Review: Blending diabolical ancient mythology with present-day technology by throwing mean spirits, curses, apps and smartphones all in one place, "Countdown" has a silly, if fun concept, a few effective jump scares, eerie demons, nice heroine, and even some clever bits here and there, but the sheer absurdity, lame writing, lack of logic, and pointless romance make this otherwise tense and decently-executed supernatural tech horror a nonsensical mess with unsatisfying conclusion.

[6.75/10] The Nightingale (2019)

The Nightingale (2019)

Quick Review: Bleak, beautiful and brutal, "The Nightingale" is not for the fainthearted as it shows scenes of unbearable cruelty, savagery and rape, which define its grimness, and although it's often sluggish and too dragged in parts, this period thriller, taking place in XIX century colonized Australia and set in the bush, works as both a gritty, untamed and violent story of vengeance, but also a road trip drama about an unlikely amity, driven by Franciosi's Clare and her fierce thirst for revenge.

Thursday, November 7, 2019

[8.25/10] Luce (2019)

Luce (2019)

Quick Review: With multi-layered, complex characters that are hard to define who's right or wrong, good or bad, frank or deceitful, all portrayed with equal weight, persuasion, and credibility by the excellent ensemble cast, and a cleverly-written, thought- provoking script that hazes the real true of its powerful story, leaving it free-to-interpret, "Luce" is a brainy, gripping, and stimulating illustration of deception and manipulation that utilizes delusion to rise its suspense to an un-bearable level.

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

[6.75/10] The Art of Self-Defense (2019)

The Art of Self-Defense (2019)

Quick Review: Grimmer than you'd might anticipate, if amusing enough to balance out its offbeat darkness, "Art of Self-Defense" does not fulfill the potential of its original ideas, but for a karate-led comedy about toxic masculinity, it pulls a punch, if yellow belt one, to make you care about its awkward and precarious protagonist and his comforting way to deal with trauma, not to mention the shocking twists and turns in the third act bring some solid thrills as well.

[6.00/10] Tall Girl (2019)

Tall Girl (2019)

Quick Review: Yes, its concept is kinda gimmicky, yes, the characters are terribly stereotypical, and yes, the romantic twist in the end is more than obvious, and yet, "Tall Girl" is still a sweet, charming, and easy to watch dramedy about insecurities, lack of self-esteem, and learning to love yourself as you are, depicting the high school life of a teen misfit, who thinks her tallness is her curse, with Ava Michelle being fascinating as Jodi, and all the rest - amusing in their very colorful roles.

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

[4.50/10] Wounds (2019)

Wounds (2019)

Quick Review: A nicely-conceived, yet poorly executed tech horror with a real unique concept, but unfulfilled potential, "Wounds" seems like the first half of a two-part film, due to its incomplete, patchy plot, unexplained mystery, and lack of coherence and sense, plus, in spite of having few clever ideas up its sleeve, a steady creep factor, and a well-known cast to benefit from, the whole thing is so perplexing, vague, unclear and with loose ends, it's hard to care for the characters, or the story.

Monday, November 4, 2019

[6.25/10] 47 Meters Down: Uncaged (2019)

47 Meters Down: Uncaged (2019)

Quick Review: The claustrophobic, waterlogged ancient cave alone will leave you gasping for air, the nasty blind sharks attack abruptly, fusing the water with tons of blood, and the lead is easy to root for, but despite some bits of aquatic suspense and gore galore, "Uncaged" is mostly a brainless, predictable and over-the- top, if fun-to-watch sequel that lacks the sheer tension, realistic feel, and unbearable thrills of the first, hence fails to sink you into fear.

Friday, November 1, 2019

[7.00/10] Terminator: Dark Fate (2019)

Terminator: Dark Fate (2019)

Quick Review: Paying a nostalgic, yet fun tribute to "T2", without much novelty, but plenty of thrills, action, and sarcastic humor, "Dark Fate" is a technically-skillful sequel boasting with top-notch CGI work, exhilarating chases, hard-hitting fights, and out- of-this-world stunts, but its strength remains the female-led cast, notably Hamilton's badass return, as well as the characters' stirring backstories, which tie all loose ends, and add an emotional weight to it all.

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)

Hero (2002)

Quick Review: Highly extraordinary in its eye-popping use of color, drop -dead dazzling imagery, picturesque cinematography, spectacular ballet- like swordplay, and elaborate battle set pieces, all impeccably helmed by Yimou's imaginative direction, which utilizes an inventive plot structure to narrate the enigmatic, intricate, epic and mesmerizingly poetical fable of deception, love and betrayal, "Hero" is a sublime 'wuxia' masterpiece with stellar cast that complements the sly artistry of its aesthetics.