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Sunday, February 16, 2020

[4.25/10] Fantasy Island (2020)

Fantasy Island (2020)

Quick Review: A cheesy mess that fantasizes to be an effective fantasy horror genre hybrid, but it ends up being funny in all the wrong places, not only the otherwise good-looking "Fantasy Island" brings zero scares, but it feels like five different stories poorly merged into one, which gets worse in the third act, throwing one lame twist after another, making its nonsensical plot even more absurd and confusing than it already is, and its attractive, if silly characters more obnoxious and unlikable.

Saturday, February 15, 2020

[6.00/10] Sonic the Hedgehog (2020)

Sonic the Hedgehog (2020)

Quick Review: Yes, it's familiar, far from inventive, and too juvenile for adults to enjoy, but this live-action CGI mash-up VG adaptation is also a nostalgic throwback with energetic pacing, fun action, cute cartoonish effects, cheeky humor, and a playful plot with surprising amount of heart, and though the film seems harmless at first, the speedy blue alien Sonic stirs the pot further on, during the chase with the loony villain, played manically well by Carrey.

Thursday, February 13, 2020

[7.25/10] Ip Man 4: The Finale (2019)

Ip Man 4: The Finale (2019)

Quick Review: As devastating as it's thrillingly action-packed, this last chapter in the series is dedicated to the final days of Ip Man's life, who Yen embodies with equanimity and wisdom, as the master goes through a muted emotional journey, dealing with a fatal illness and struggling to reconnect with his son, while facing off ruthless enemies, who he battles with in rough and electrifying 'kung fu vs. karate' fights, choreographed deftly by Yuen Wo-ping.

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

[5.50/10] Charlie's Angels (2019)

Quick Review: The diverse filming locations really please the eye, and all of the three female leads are fun as the Angels, especially Scott, who captivates with appeal and comedic talent, but this despite having some sense of style, this pointless reboot suffers from questionable direction, unspectacular, poorly-edited action, uneven pacing, and a muddled, yet totally cheesy save-mankind-from-a- deadly-device plot-line, full of corny twists, not to say "Charlie's Angels" is thirty minutes too long.

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

[7.75/10] Birds of Prey (2020)

Quick Review: Vibrant in essence and harlequin-like colorful, yet gritty in feel, "BOP" is an unapologetically wacky, hecticly-plotted, and wickedly violent over-the-top superhero romp with boombastic score that not only captures the kooky nature of Quinn, played with gusto by Robbie, but it screams girl power every step of the way through the voice and actions of its badass heroines, who provoke utter havoc and kick some butts with style and skill, during the inventively bonkers fight set pieces.

Saturday, February 8, 2020

OSCAR post: My Reviews of the 9 Best Picture Nominees at Oscars 2020

 My Quick Reviews of the 9 Best Picture Nominees at Oscars 2020
[click on the title to read the quick review] 

[8.75/10] Ford v Ferrari
[7.25/10] The Irishman
[7.75/10] Little Women
[8.50/10] Marriage Story
[8.50/10] Parasite
[7.75/10] 1917
[8.00/10] Joker
[8.75/10] Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood

[7.25/10] Jojo Rabbit

Should win: Ford v Ferrari
Will win: 1917
Could win: Parasite / Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood

Friday, February 7, 2020

[7.50/10] The Gentlemen (2020)

The Gentlemen (2020)

Quick Review: Cunning, brilliantly- cast, stylistically flashy, and smartly- conceived, Ritchie's new film plays it more like a 'battle of the minds' than a straight action, utilizing its brainy script, cleverly intricate plot-within-a -plot structure and perky characters to amuse, startle, and involve, "The Gentlemen" gets cooler and funnier as it unfolds, peaking in a swanky, brutally violent, twist-riddled third act in which everything falls into place in witty fashion, with Grant and Farrell stealing the entire show.

Thursday, February 6, 2020

[6.50/10] 21 Bridges (2019)

21 Bridges (2019)

Quick Review: Yes the whole thing feels familiar, and even thematically outdated, but in terms of execution, the set-in-nighttime-Manhattan "21 Bridges" is a competently-shot and visually sleek cop thriller with plenty of tension and to keep you on your toes during the cat-n-mouse chase between the tough detective Davis, played so convincingly by Boseman, and the two on-the-run felons, even if the film loses some of its steam in the second half, leading to a twisty, if less effective final act.

Wednesday, February 5, 2020

[6.25/10] Troop Zero (2020)

Troop Zero (2020)

Quick Review: Filmed with a sense of vintage vibrancy, this cutesy and quirky dramedy conveys its 'it's okay to be different' message throughout, never forgetting to remain amusing and pleasurable, and though "Troop Zero" lacks the emotional depth that would've made it really special, it is the earnest acting by Grace as the misfit Christmas, and the equally as superb supporting performances by Davis and Janney and their funnily conflicting characters that add vigor, charm, and heart to it all.

Tuesday, February 4, 2020

[6.75/10] Just Mercy (2019)

Just Mercy (2019)

Quick Review: A gut-wrenching, if inspiring true story dealing with legal injustice and racial prejudice, told in a compelling, soft-toned fashion and visually recreated with an authentic 80s vibe, "Just Mercy" is powerfully driven by the empathetic advocate Stevenson, acted with conviction by Jordan, and finely complemented by Foxx's fragile supporting turn, but it is the characters' mixed emotions of frustration and determination during their battle against the system that make the biggest impact.

Monday, February 3, 2020

[4.75/10] The Sonata (2019)

The Sonata (2019)

Quick Review: A diabolical mystery that attempts to mix classical music, mental illness and occultism, if with disappointing results, "The Sonata" appears eerie and enigmatic at first, and it benefits from its haunting old-fashioned main setting, but instead of exploring the dark ground of its satanic revelations, it decides to go in a dull and cheesy direction and throw all its potential out the window, delivering cheap scares on its way to the lousy climax and very abrupt and unsatisfying ending.

Saturday, February 1, 2020

[6.00/10] Waves (2019)

Waves (2019)

Quick Review: Separated into two distinctive stories, the first of which follows the dramatic collapse of one black family, after a terrible incident, and the second - the consequences of it, "Waves" is a devastating and tragic domestic affair about how the actions of our beloved ones affect our lives, but after a strenuous and vividly-shot first half, the film lose its style as well as its impact, turning into a tiresome melodrama that fails to live up to its themes of pain, loss, sorrow, and forgiveness.

Thursday, January 30, 2020

[4.25/10] Playing with Fire (2019)

Playing with Fire (2019)

Quick Review: Okay, the kids are sweet and adorably irritating, plus, this otherwise brainless and foolish movie even manages to grow some heart in its third act, ending up on a poignant note, but the again, from its fake fire depot setting and phony props, to the largely moronic bunch of adult characters, and terribly dim-witted script full of lame jokes and painfully unfunny slapstick comedy, "Playing with Fire" entirely crashes and burns, instead of lighting up its audience with laughter.

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

[7.25/10] Queen & Slim (2019)

Queen & Slim (2019)

Quick Review: A Bonnie & Clyde- esque and stylishly gritty first-date- turned-a-dramatic-escape-from-the- law fugitive thriller that's equally as raw, tense, touching, and unsettling, "Queen & Slim" is both a powerful commentary for cop cruelty, lack of justice, and racism, filled with anger, but also a bittersweet love story with tragic ending, driven by the thriving bond between the runaway couple, which strengthens and deepens as the urgent, unpredictable, grueling, and thrilling plot unfolds.

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

[5.25/10] A Fall from Grace (2020)

A Fall from Grace (2020)

Quick Review: Right until the daft and nonsensical if effective final act, Perry's latest legal thriller mixed with late age romance feels so pointless and looks so TV quality-like crummy, it is absolutely frustrating to watch, being as inane as it's convoluted, in spite of the decent acting from Fox and Webb, sympathetic characters, and the plot's lack of predictability, but after the shocking 'big reveal', "A Fall From Grace" starts to make more sense, even though the payoff is absurdly exaggerated.

[6.50/10] Svaha: The Sixth Finger (2019)

Svaha: The Sixth Finger (2019)

Quick Review: Blending mystery, mythology, religion and horror, this Korean crime thriller kicks off in a creepy fashion with a truly terrifying opening scene, but soon after that loses its focus, as it jumps from one sub-plot to another, with the final result being a muddled and hard to follow, if still intriguing, atmospheric, and eerie story that avoids cliches, even if it never actually culminates into something staggering, in spite of its macabre potential.

Monday, January 27, 2020

[5.75/10] Honey Boy (2019)

Honey Boy (2019)

Quick Review: Split in two parallel stories of then and now, the first of which follows the dysfunctional bond between a young stunt boy and his troubled father, and the second one depicting the consequences on Otis' brain, "Honey Boy" is loud, sweary, shouty, depressing in tone and feel, and not very pleasant to watch, but it offers an uncommon perspective on the delicate, yet bleak ghosts-of-the-childhood subject, and benefits from LaBeouf's wildly anxious, often hysterical performance.

Sunday, January 26, 2020

[2.00/10] Cats (2019)

Cats (2019)

Quick Review: With awful musical numbers consisting of poor singing and even worse dancing, which fail miserably to make up for the lack of story, and featuring creepily carnal, human-faced, pawless, and dodgily CGIed cats who give them animals a bad name, "Cats" is an unbearable, awkward, joyless, and sloppily-made musical that stinks even worse than a litter box full of cat shit, and wins the award for biggest waste of talent in history, being an embarrassment to its A-list celebrity cast.

Saturday, January 25, 2020

[6.50/10] The Good Liar (2019)

The Good Liar (2019)

Quick Review: A problematic script makes the outcome a bit contrived and too far-fetched, hence absurdly implausible, and yet oddly effective and satisfying, even if you can smell the big twist from very early on, but "The Good Liar" is still an intriguing and confidently-crafted fraud thriller with a touch of elderly romance that pairs veteran UK actors Mirren and McKellen for the first time with stellar results, both portraying cunning and captivating main characters who are a real pleasure to watch.

Friday, January 24, 2020

[5.25/10] Monos (2019)

Monos (2019)

Quick Review: Its pretty aesthetics can't be denied, as it makes out the best of its gorgeous locations and lush scenery, but "Monos" could be either taken as a haunting look at human nature, and the juxtaposition of innocence and brutality, or simply as a bunch of savage commandos wannabe teens playing nasty games in the jungle, and sadly it feels more like the latter, despite the thought- provoking commentary, since it's too abstract and metaphorical to deliver the message it wants to.

Thursday, January 23, 2020

[8.00/10] Dark Waters (2019)

Dark Waters (2019)

Quick Review: Thought-provoking, eye-opening, and alarming, the film unveils the truth behind Teflon and its harm on health, by following the 20-year legal battle between a bold, assertive, if humane lawyer, played subtly powerfully by Ruffalo, and the chemical giant DuPont, but also how the case affects his family life, and it does it in such a gripping, shocking and unsettling way, you cannot take your eyes off, being also captivated by its murky in tone, toxically green- shaded cinematography.

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

[5.50/10] Motherless Brooklyn (2019)

Motherless Brooklyn (2019)

Quick Review: It has the required authenticity and vintage atmosphere of a neo-noir film, but its sleek looks aside, Norton's second directional effort is mostly a bloated, yet empty mystery with suspense levels below zero, whose muddled plot takes way too long to unfold, but it's the insipid payoff that really ruins the lengthy, sluggish, flaccid, and often parody- like comical "Motherless Brooklyn", which otherwise excels with a solid, gifted and versatile cast.

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

[7.75/10] 1917 (2019)

1917 (2019)

Quick Review: Groundbreaking in its 'single shot' technique, yet apart from its raw sense of urgency, quite mere in narrative, the tightly-scored "1917" follows the mission of pair of soldiers risking their all to deliver a lifesaving letter, with Deakins' keen, tireless, and masterful camerawork tracking the characters' every move against the harrowing backdrop of war wreckage, with thrilling results, even if the impact the story leaves is never as emotionally devastating as the hard-hitting imagery.

[5.50/10] Midway (2019)

Midway (2019)

Quick Review: It's shot with an old- fashioned vibe that fits the era, and though heavily digitized, the aircraft and warship fights are spectacular, if tad overblown, but despite its fairly thrilling action scenes, and its grand ambitions to recreate the historical battle with crashing effect, "Midway" ends up as an uneven, often messy naval war movie, overcrowded with undeveloped characters, the latter of which prevents any member of its ensemble cast to stand out, due to their limited screen time.

Monday, January 20, 2020

[7.75/10] Little Women (2019)

Little Women (2019)

Quick Review: A less patchier plot structure and silkier editing would've made it further refined, yet Gerwig's rendition is not only elegantly-filmed and subtly exquisite to look at, but it retells the March sisters' journey to womanhood with intelligence, grace, passion, and finesse, but above all with heart, as it's deeply poignant to see the affectionate bond and lively dynamics between the four siblings, portrayed so radiantly by the terrific cast, with Ronan and Pugh shining the brightest of them all.

Sunday, January 19, 2020

[6.75/10] Bad Boys for Life (2020)

Bad Boys for Life (2020)

Quick Review: Exhilaratingly Bay-less, fueled with high-octane action, packed with laugh-out-loud hilarious age, sex, and jokes, as well as some wit, and surprisingly stylish in looks with all its lurid colors, fancy lighting, and glossy production values, "Bad Boys for Life" successfully reunites Smith and Lawrence, whose mutual chemistry and charisma have really thrived with time, to deliver one fun, funny, energetic, explosive, if Santa Muerte-darkened sequel with thrills, twists, and even a heart.