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Thursday, December 3, 2020

[8.25/10] The Swordsman (2020)

The Swordsman (2020)

Quick Review: Subdued in tone, if refined in style and subtly ravishing, and with a simple key plot elevated by narrative intricacy and profound characters the ruthless villain and the mystically stone-cold, yet valiant protagonist having greater depth this Joseon-set Korean wuxia tale of heroism is dramatically riveting, but it is the snappy and sharply-staged swordplay that thrills it up, notably the kinetic first duel, the bloody Tae- Yul vs. the squad stylized mayhem, and the fierce final fight.

Wednesday, December 2, 2020

[6.75/10] Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey (2020)

Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey (2020)

Quick Review: Tad overlong, and dragging in places, yet fascinating, colorful, and vibrant, "Jingle Jangle" is a visually exuberant musical with cheerful numbers that captures the spirit of Christmas in an enchanting way, as well as a delightful fantasy filled with wondrous toy inventions brought to life by top-notch effects, but it's the heart it possesses, the uplifting message it brings, and the appealing characters that combined bring the biggest magic.

[6.75/10] Happiest Season (2020)

Happiest Season (2020)

Quick Review: Funny, warm, and daring, but also free of cheese and sugar-coating, and led by Stewart's charmingly low-key turn, "Happiest Season" puts a fresh queer spin on Christmas rom-coms, managing to do both - depict a lesbian love story in a genuine and brave way with all of its ups and downs, including the struggles of coming out, but also to work as a holiday dramedy loaded with cheer, fun, and domestic drama due to some crazy family dynamics and awkward situations.

Tuesday, December 1, 2020

[6.50/10] The Christmas Chronicles 2 (2020)

The Christmas Chronicles 2 (2020)

Quick Review: A little less fun than the first, but more dramatic, going in an unexpected direction with a dark edge, while also exploring the origin of Santa in a curious way, this one loses some of its Christmas magic, but thanks to the alluring presence of Russell and Hawn as Mr. & Mrs. Claus and some enchanting visuals such as the eye-candy village filled with live, joy, cheer, and thousands of cute CGI elves, "TCC 2" remains a sheer holiday delight.

[5.25/10] The Princess Switch: Switched Again (2020)

The Princess Switch: Switched Again (2020)

Quick Review: The gorgeous royal interiors and exteriors meshed with the lavish and exuberant Christmas decorations and highly enchanting holiday atmosphere make this one a big feast for the eyes, and give it a proper fairy tale feel, but that aside, along with Vanessa Hudgens' sweet, fun and versatile triple performance, "Switched Again" is a mildly amusing and fabricated sequel offering more of the same, comically, romantically, story-wise, or otherwise.

Monday, November 30, 2020

[4.00/10] Fatman (2020)

Fatman (2020)

Quick Review: Its 'angry kid wants Santa killed' premise may sound fun on paper, but execution-wise, there is nothing enjoyable in "Fatman" - a grim, unimaginative, humorless and overly realistic genre mash-up that take itself way too seriously to work as a black comedy, but at the same time it's too absurd to be a worthy crime action, and not even the great Gibson feels comfortable starring in this bleak, joyless bummer of a non- fantasy holiday flick as the shabby and miserable Mr.Claus.

Thursday, November 26, 2020

[6.75/10] Run (2020)

Run (2020)

Quick Review: Small in scare, yet giant in constantly creating tension throughout to the point of becoming edge-of-your seat suspenseful right to the twisty third act, "Run" has a plain premise, but the effective way in which it unveils the nasty mystery behind the caring mom, suspected by her sick, if determined daughter, along with the neat pacing, and the competent acting elevate this one into thrilling heights, culminating in a satisfying, vengeful, and darkly fun 'karma's a bitch' fashion.

[5.75/10] On the Rocks (2020)

On the Rocks (2020)

Quick Review: Coppola sticks to her plain style for better or worse, and it's hard to deny Murray's lurid charisma, and Jones' subtle allure, both sharing a solid dad-daughter chemistry, despite their on-and-off bond, but instead of being a drama about re-connection and marriage issues, "On the Rocks" plays it more like a softcore stalker dramedy, and the result is a rocky ride with barely any laughs or truly moving bits that nicely uses NYC as a backdrop to its so-so story, at least.

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

[4.75/10] Vanguard (2020)

Vanguard (2020)

Quick Review: Your run-of-the-mill modern Chinese action with generic premise, "Vanguard" captures the eye with its light and bright looks, and pretty locations, and it features some thrilling, if hardly creative fight sequences with loads of wirework, but what ruins the fun here is the over-complicated plot, rocky pacing, poorly-executed CGIs with cartoony effect, and ill-fitting humor, although its real downfall is the under-use of Jackie Chan, who barely stands out from the busy big crowd.

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

[6.25/10] Kindred (2020)

Kindred (2020)

Quick Review: Putting its own grim spin on pregnancy horror, "Kindred" may disappoint everyone expecting some sort of sinister events, grisly images, and jump scares, as it has a more 'real life horror' approach, but this British mystery thriller works on a psychological level, effectively questioning the common sense of both sides -- the 'captive' and her 'carers', besides, the whole 'locking someone up against their will' thing is disturbing enough to make you feel real uncomfortable.

Friday, November 20, 2020

[6.75/10] The Mortuary Collection (2020)

The Mortuary Collection (2020)

Quick Review: The tasteful use of lens filters adds style to the visuals and create an eerie tone, along with the atmospheric settings, but apart from its looks, this horror anthology has 4+1 superb-to-decent, if hardly scary segments in it, with the first one being the most fun, the second the nastiest and freakiest, but also the most edifying of all, the third -- the spookiest, and the last the most conventional one, all glued finely by the creepy frame story.

Thursday, November 19, 2020

[5.25/10] Words on Bathroom Walls (2020)

Words on Bathroom Walls (2020)

Quick Review: Though imaginative in its visualization of schizophrenia as a condition, "Words on Bathroom Walls" struggles to find the balance between 'mental illness' drama and teenage romance, being too bright in feel, yet never inspiring, uplifting or feel-good, apart from the corny finale, and the end result is tonally uneven coming-of-age story about tough adolescence that can't cope with its sensitive subject matter well enough to touch deeply.

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

[6.50/10] Summer of 85 (2020)

Summer of 85 (2020)

Quick Review: One of Ozon's less controversial films, "Summer of 85" might seem like a lightweight queer romance with easy-breezy feel and fresh retro vibe at first, but it grows into a grim story of love, loss, grief, despair and death -- and it's fair to say the director handles the tonal shift of the film rather smoothly, and that combined with the naturalistic acting and truly genuine chemistry between the two male leads make this one an emotional descent into the darkness of sorrow.

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

[6.25/10] Unpregnant (2020)

Unpregnant (2020)

Quick Review: Unoriginal, if undull, unpretentious and utterly unforced, "Unpregnant" works equally as good as both an amusing and eventful road trip buddy comedy as well as a dramatic 'unwanted pregnancy' teen romance, and though this 'faraway escape to secret abortion' is full of surprises enough to keep you glued to the screen, it's the fiery chemistry between Richardson and Ferreira that drives the whole film, with the latter often stealing the show with her eccentric character.

Monday, November 16, 2020

[4.00/10] Spell (2020)

Spell (2020)

Quick Review: It intrigues with a very promising first act, but after the whole voodoo hocus-pocus kicks in, "Spell" quickly becomes a repetitive bore that desperately wants to be a "Misery"-like captive horror thriller with 'black magic' twist, but it fails to work as such, as it never manages to generate any suspense, let alone proper scares, despite some freaky and disturbing images in parts, not to mention how off-putting its tone is, and how poorly-made technically the whole thing really is.

Friday, November 13, 2020

[6.75/10] Love and Monsters (2020)

Love and Monsters (2020)

Quick Review: A love quest during monster apocalypse that turns into a crazy adventure filled with battles of life and death with giant mutated animals, "Love and Monsters" loses its steam here and there, falling into sentimentality, and the third act isn't that satisfying, but it's an enjoyable romp that balances exciting action with moving moments, and benefits from the energetic turn of O'Brien, whose bond with Boy the dog is the heart of the movie, whilst Greenblatt delivers the most laughs.

[5.00/10] Holidate (2020)

Holidate (2020)

Quick Review: It deserves credit for its fairly original 'no commitment, no sex dating' premise, its plot has a festive feel and 'jumpy' structure, as it leaps from holiday to holiday, and Roberts' charisma lights up the screen every time she appears, but sadly her chemistry with Bracey is rather questionable, and the whole sweetness of their slowly developing yet fun-driven romance is ruined by some crude sexual jokes that never fit in, plus "Holidate" ends in a corny and predictable fashion.

Thursday, November 12, 2020

[4.75/10] Nocturne (2020)

Nocturne (2020)

Quick Review: Part a musical teen drama about rivalry, pressure, and ambition, part a 'pact with the devil' supernatural horror, "Nocturne" has fine classical music and solid acting by Sweeney and Iseman as the two pianist sisters, but the very familiar "Black Swan"-esque concept, bland visual style, uneven narrative, and lack of thorough 'creep factor' take away from its goal to be something unique, concluding in an ambiguous manner that's too unsatisfying to be truly thought-provoking.

[6.25/10] The Paramedic (2020)

The Paramedic (2020)

Quick Review: Simple in premise, rather minimalistic in its approach, and limited in setting, yet capably- shot, well-written, visually sleek, and thoroughly successful in its attempt to be realistically disturbing, "The Paramedic" doesn't break any new grounds, since the whole 'captivity' thing feels pretty familiar, but Casas perfect embodiment of pure evil and sheer narcissism is what makes this slow-burning, terror-riddled Spanish thriller so spine-chillingly unsettling and nail-bitingly intense.

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

[4.25/10] After We Collided (2020)

After We Collided (2020)

Quick Review: Every bit as sappy and trite as its predecessor, yet a tad less cheesy, as it features some sex, partying, and bad language at least, "After We Collided" is more of the same 'they break up and make up, break up and make up' type of tainted romance with lots of fights and a few 'meh' twist, but the whole thing becomes so tiresome after a while, you start to care less and less how doomed this relationship is, in spite of how charming its two young protagonists really are.

Tuesday, November 10, 2020

[7.50/10] Clouds (2020)

Clouds (2020)

Quick Review: Deeply moving and truly inspiring, yet revolving around terminal illness, also inevitably sad, "Clouds" balances out the pathos with sense of humor, sheer passion for music, warm family relations, and sweet teen romance, paying tribute to the real Zach in an arousing way, as it tells his devastating true story with loads of heart and positivity, in spite of the painful circumstances, thanks to its heartfelt, earnest script and dedicated cast, with Fin Argus shining bright in the lead.

[6.00/10] I Am Woman (2020)

I Am Woman (2020)

Quick Review: Meant to inspire all women across the world, as it's all about equality, apart from being a musical, this Australian biopic about singing sensation  Helen Reddy and her breakthrough in the US doesn't exactly boast with amazing musical numbers, but it follows the struggles and successes of its star with great precision, emphasizing on women's empowerment throughout the way, and it does it with style, thanks to its authentic retro feel as well as some great production design.

Monday, November 9, 2020

[4.75/10] The New Mutants (2020)

The New Mutants (2020)

Quick Review: Neither particularly flashy to be a superhero fiesta, nor scary to work as horror, let alone as an effective mix of both, and further let down by an unpleasantly murky tone in contrast with cheesy effects, "NM" is as much limited in story as it's in setting, being about a bunch of troubled teens with [poorly-made] superpowers fighting their demons, with things getting out of control in the chaotic and comic third act, but the most unforgivable aspect about it is its vapid protagonist.

[5.50/10] The Secrets We Keep (2020)

The Secrets We Keep (2020) 

Quick Review: Noomi Rapace yet again dominates the screen with her tough, albeit vulnerable turn as the emotionally damaged Maja seeking for redemption, but that, along with the authentic and post-WWII setting and mellow retro visuals aside, "The Secrets We Keep" works better as a straight up abduction thriller than as a profound drama about trauma as an aftermath of war, but even as the first, it never surprises with anything unexpected or too twisty.

Friday, November 6, 2020

[4.50/10] Evil Eye (2020)

Evil Eye (2020)

Quick Review: It deserves credit for its Hindi-inspired concept, fresh change of settings, and rather solid acting by the Indian cast, plus it tells its story from an interesting cultural perspective, but purely as a horror movie, "Evil Eye" sadly never really elevates itself above a soap opera with supernatural elements, built on the paranoia of a ruling mother and the relationship with her daughter, but it all gets awfully tiresome after a while, not to say how predictably ludicrous the outcome is.