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Sunday, September 20, 2020

[6.00/10] Stage Mother (2020)

Stage Mother (2020)

Quick Review: It's formulaic, dated and full of stereotypical characters, but this fish-out-of-water dramedy about a small town mother clashing with the drag culture in SF works in a crowd-pleasing fashion, as "Stage Mother" manages to be fun, sweet, funny, touching, and wild all at once, plus, it's a delight watching Weaver portraying the appealing Maybelline, who's insular at the start, but grows open-minded as the story unfolds, becoming big friends with everyone, including the audience.

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

[5.25/10] Irresistible (2020)

Irresistible (2020)

Quick Review: Woefully everything but irresistible, this one plays as a mild satire on politics by depicting a small Wisconsin town mayor election campaign as a rivalry between two cynical strategists, showing the ugly side of it all, and though Carell and Byrne live up to their roles, with the latter being the standout, bringing some wit and raunchiness in a dirty game they play, "Irresistible" is far from clever or genuinely funny, well, at least not until the well-conceived twist towards the ending.

Monday, September 14, 2020

[6.00/10] The Sleepover (2020)

The Sleepover (2020)

Quick Review: It is outrageously silly, a bit too convoluted, and totally ridiculous, but if you are looking for a family-friendly entertainment with brisk pacing, light humor, fun action and even heart, "The Sleepover" is definitely the right choice, as it fully embraces its goofy absurdity, and makes the best of its banal 'secret agent mom' concept and charming cast, who all seem to have the time of their lives, even if purely visually, the film has the values of a decent made-for-TV production.

Friday, September 11, 2020

[5.00/10] The War with Grandpa (2020)

The War with Grandpa (2020)

Quick Review: It has a solid cast and brightly crisp visuals, with the Christmas-birthday-turned-a-messy- disaster being gorgeously designed, but "The War with Grandpa" is your typical juvenile, harmless, silly, and predictable 'older vs younger' family comedy without any wit or edginess, and even though some of the tricks Ed and Peter play on one another are mischievously fun, but the film is never hilarious, let alone warm when it desperately tries to be.

[5.75/10] Corporate Animals (2020)

Corporate Animals (2020)

Quick Review: It hardly shines with any technical merits, and there are some moments so dumb, you might regret seeing it at some point, but purely as a metaphor on employer-employees relationship, "Corporate Animals" works on various levels as an offbeat and darkly funny satire with a gory twist and claustrophobic setting that offers glimpses of with a few solid laughs, and succeeds due to its amusing cast, with Demi Moore stealing the show as the vile, cruel, and stone-hearted boss.

Thursday, September 10, 2020

[6.00/10] The Secret Garden (2020)

The Secret Garden (2020)

Quick Review: Benefiting from its gorgeous scenery, with the lushness of the nature contrasting with the grimness of the mansion, this pretty, if needless rendition of "The Secret Garden" tells a sweet, moving and enchanting story about 'the magic of friendship', even if the backstories don't always blend in smoothly with it, and though Egerickx's spoiled, if adventurous character is not exactly likable at first, she grows a lot as the film progresses, complemented very well by Walters and Firth.

Wednesday, September 9, 2020

[5.00/10] The Secret: Dare to Dream (2020)

The Secret: Dare to Dream (2020)

Quick Review: Basically using its documentary precursor as gimmick, "The Secret: Dare to Dream" has an intriguing mystery up its sleeve that is not easy to predict, but that and the sleek looks and fine cast aside, this adaptation about a struggling single mother finding love neither works as a genuine romance, nor it conveys its 'think positive' message clearly, with the end result being a stodgy, sappy, and contrived drama with no emotional impact.

Tuesday, September 8, 2020

[5.75/10] Mulan (2020)

Mulan (2020)

Quick Review: Alternating colorful fantasy scenes with grimly grounded ones, "Mulan" is tonally uneven and lackluster, due to Caro's incoherent direction and unclear approach, but the film adds fresh elements to the fable, and offers vibrantly ravishing, if at times overly CGIed visuals, and flashy, yet never epic wuxia-inspired action, and though Yifei gives it her all in the lead, she's no Zhang Ziyi, and all the rest of the A-list Chinese cast, are either underused, or seem distant, besides Gong Li.

Friday, September 4, 2020

[7.25/10] Tenet (2020)

Tenet (2020)

Quick Review: A time-twisting sci-fi mind-bender that trickily clashes the past, present, and future via loops, bridges, parallel universes, and time inversion, "Tenet" is as high-concept as it can get, and further enhanced by Nolan's astonishing vision, sleek looks, and thrilling action set pieces, featuring a wow 'inverted' technique, but what detracts its ingenuity is the excessive intricacy, no sense of fun, over usage of sound and score, and devoid-of-depth characters, despite the stellar cast involved.

Thursday, September 3, 2020

[6.25/10] Work It (2020)

Work It (2020)

Quick Review: Sure, it's formulaic, with no surprises along the way, and the romance is as corny as it can get, but all cliches aside, "Work It" is a fresh, sweet, and spirited comedy focused on what it should be -- the dancing, and the later is energetic, fun, and upbead, and boosted by the talent of professional dancers Koshy and Fisher, while Carpenter's charming and likable character, who picks passion over ambition, drives the film which, same as her, refuses to take itself seriously.

Tuesday, September 1, 2020

[4.75/10] La Llorona (2020)

La Llorona (2020)

Quick Review: A family drama with political undertones and a touch of folklore mystery, but never a proper thriller, let alone a straight-up horror as it lacks chills, thrills, and frights, relying on an obscure tone instead, "La Llorona" deserves kudos for its more grounded approach, telling a story of sorrow, revenge and karma in a way so understated, it's nearly impossible to get involved due to an excruciatingly slow pacing, dull plot, and supernatural climax that barely fits in with the rest of it.

Monday, August 24, 2020

[6.00/10] Magic Camp (2020)

Magic Camp (2020)

Quick Review: In a typical Disney fashion, this one is sweet, harmless, feel-good, and full of family-friendly humor and adorable children, telling an 'underdog' story of togetherness and support, but "Magic Camp" not only has some magical tricks up its sleeve that will make you fall in love with the little underdog magicians and their ability to entertain as well as impress, but it also demonstrates some big heart along the way, and especially during the touching even tear-jerker of an ending.

Friday, August 21, 2020

[5.50/10] Mortal (2020)

Mortal (2020)

Quick Review: Bleak in tone, grim in feel, yet stylish, and emphasizing the splendor of Norwegian scenery, "Mortal" is too slow, uneventful, and surprisingly lackluster for a fantasy dealing with an ordinary man who gains stormy God-like superpowers, and Nat Wolff looks uncomfortable in the lead, and yet director Øvredal redeems himself in the unveling final act, manifesting his inspiration and admiration for the Norse mythology, even if the abrupt ending makes the movie seem incomplete.

[6.50/10] Yes, God, Yes (2020)

Yes, God, Yes (2020)

Quick Review: The most raunchy faith-based movie you will ever see, but also the wittiest, "Yes, God, Yes" is a sweet and charming, yet horny and naughty coming-of-age drama about adolescent female desire, led by Natalia Dyer's alluring turn as the modest, but sexually curious Alice, who discovers that no belief beats our nature, with the hilariously ironic approach taken by director Maine being the film's biggest strength, as it satirizes religious hypocrisy in a sincere and playful way.

Thursday, August 20, 2020

[5.50/10] An American Pickle (2020)

An American Pickle (2020)

Quick Review: Displaying sense of quirk by using pickles as a main plot device, this one is just as creative as it is ridiculous, and it juxtaposes the charms of the old times and the chaos of present nicely, but purely as a comedy "An American Pickle"  doesn't work, as it lacks not just wit, but proper humor as well, it gets sillier and sillier as the story unfolds, the overall commentary is clumsily delivered, and Rogen's double turn often gets too much, but at least it shows heart in the end.

Tuesday, August 18, 2020

[7.00/10] Sputnik (2020)

Sputnik (2020)

Quick Review: Taking place in '83 USSR, this Russian sci-fier captures authentically the grim bleakness of the Soviet era, and sets a somber tone for its barely original, yet clever and effective story that explores the bond between a wicked alien and its human host with visceral depth, and though "Sputnik" is very toned-down in its approach, it offers some sheer creature terror, grisly gore, and true frights, but above all suspense, with Akinshina's gripping character being the movie's driving force.

[5.00/10] Swimming for Gold (2020)

Swimming for Gold (2020)

Quick Review: From the formulaic and predictable a champion-turned- loser-turned-winner plot and typical teen drama to the cheap humor and dodgy acting, this AU sports comedy is an example of lame film-making, and yet, the appealing characters, light, bright, breezy looks and feel, refreshing Queensland setting, and smooth pacing make "Swimming for Gold" a sweet, often enjoyable, feel- good, easy to watch movie that aims to be more of a guilty pleasure than a gold medal competitor.

Monday, August 17, 2020

[5.75/10] Project Power (2020)

Project Power (2020)

Quick Review: It gets messier and messier as the busy, if undercooked story unfolds, the visuals are vastly overstylized, and it never unleashes its full power, but "Project Power" is still a fun and energetic mix of sci-fi-infused cop action, revenge thriller, and teen drama with swag, all glued together with some shot-term, albeit catastrophic superpowers to shake things up, and thanks to the terrific cast, fancy looks, flashy CGIs, and some cool rapping involved, the end result is kinda satisfying.

Friday, August 14, 2020

[7.50/10] Double World (2020)

Double World (2020)

Quick Review: With more layers of depth than a regular martial contest flick, but also satisfactory in terms of action, offering some inventive set pieces and thrilling battles, this is on one hand an engaging story about fellowship, vengeance, and genesis, driven by dignity and determination, but purely as a fantasy film, "Double World" is a spectacular visual feast jam-packed with warriors, creatures, fights, chases, blood, cool weapons, and flashy CGIs, boasting with top- notch production design.

Thursday, August 13, 2020

[3.75/10] Seriously Single (2020)

Seriously Single (2020) 

Quick Review: More like seriously hackneyed and even more seriously desperate, this by-the-numbers rom -com features every genre cliche, and doesn't even hide it, but when you add same lame dialogues, over- the-top acting, dumbass humor, and obnoxious, if occasionally charming characters, the result is a sparkly, yet tasteless romance full of shallow social media gimmicks, with the only good thing about it being the cool Cape Town setting, since "Seriously Single" is South African.

Tuesday, August 11, 2020

[5.25/10] #Alive (2020)

#Alive (2020)

Quick Review: It features a likable protagonist you can't help rooting for in his fight for survival, but that and some gory zombie mayhem in the end, this Korean 'virus' horror is not only extremely limited in setting, taking place mostly in an apartment building, but sadly it's largely lacking in originality, action, and execution, adding little to nothing to the genre, with all the practical effects on the undead looking as cheap and tacky as it gets, which makes them more amusing than horrifying.

Monday, August 10, 2020

[6.50/10] Black Water: Abyss (2020)

Black Water: Abyss (2020)

Quick Review: All the relationship drama between the mostly dull and irritating characters is as pointless as it is distracting, and the daylight- set third act takes away from the strain, but the dark, tight and soggy water cave location is aquaphobic and claustrophobic enough to make you feel uneasy, the creature itself is authentic and menacing, and the sudden croc attacks are gruesome and nasty, plus, "BW:A" creates firm suspense during the finely-shot in- the-muddy-water scenes.

Friday, August 7, 2020

[5.00/10] Greyhound (2020)

Greyhound (2020)

Quick Review: Visually grim, grey, and soggy, and entirely taking place on a crowded warship in open sea, "Greyhound" honors U.S. Navy and their valor, courage, and struggles by recreating an inspiring true story, and it displays very well technically executed action scenes, but frankly, it is a surprisingly trite and tedious effort, consisting mostly of shooting and shouting, that's more loud and chaotic than thrilling, and even the always great Hanks gets swallowed by all the busy mayhem.

Thursday, August 6, 2020

[6.00/10] Palm Springs (2020)

Palm Springs (2020)

Quick Review: Essentially, a loopy nonsense of a sci-fi rom-com, yet on the other hand - a playful time travel romance with goofy nature, "Palm Springs" feels fairly familiar, as it is basically a mash-up of various well-known films, but then again, it's an oddly refreshing take on the genre that has too much fun with its wacky concept, building up a zany, cliche-free love story about two oddball strangers with fiery chemistry stuck in a time wrap, even though it tries a little bit too hard doing it.

Wednesday, August 5, 2020

[6.25/10] Host (2020)

Host (2020)

Quick Review: Extremely gimmicky, yet relevant to the current situation in the world, this quarantine-inspired 'desktop' horror done completely via computer screen windows does take time to warm up, appearing a bit too simplistic and familiar at first, but for its just hour-long runtime, not only "Host" delivers enough creepiness, supernatural mystery, and effective jump scares, but also hints on the uncertainty of our future, plus, you'll never look at Zoom online meetings the same way ever again.