New Reviews - Progressing Users

The Balconettes

POMOThe Balconettes(2024) 

English A wacky feminist “horror” comedy with three hysterical women, a severed penis, a corpse in the refrigerator, the ghosts of dead men and sizable portions of blood and, mainly, female nudity, the amount of which we’re not used to seeing in the French mainstream (or elsewhere). That nudity interestingly enhances the openness of expressing femininity in the film, which is obviously a metaphor for the difficulty that suffering women have in dealing with men (swine). Though this almost hallucinogenically chaotic genre mish-mash is packed with admirable energy, it lacks functional dramaturgy, which would have made it an objectively good Film with a capital F. [Cannes FF]

Horizon: An American Saga - Chapter 1

POMOHorizon: An American Saga - Chapter 1(2024)

English A nicely outlined western epic with a large number of characters having a diverse palette of conflicts as well as family and romantic relationships. And of course natural locations from multiple corners of America that are a joy to see. Every inch of the film (including Debney’s music) gives us a sense of Costner’s love for the classic genre, which may seem almost kitschy to less knowledgeable young viewers. Horizon doesn’t aim for artistic achievements or creative innovations and is “only” a pure romantic western that, thanks to the planned lengthy runtime, can incorporate marginal scenes of everyday life from the given period, which are something that we have never seen in westerns before. That adds value to the film and – together with the “coming next” at the end – confirms that Horizon is rather a series in film form. Albeit a series in whose case it would be a shame not to see it on the big screen (which means that the spoilerish insert at the end is not a slap in the face). I’m not giving Chapter 1 a star rating for now, since it is only the first quarter of the project and the final impression will depend on the development, integration and outcome of the individual stories.

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children

NinadeLMiss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children(2016) 

English It was seemingly inevitable for the idea of Ransom Riggs to merge with Tim Burton's imagination. The series dedicated to Miss Peregrine is based on a collection of specific photographs that evoke many associations in people, and that's why Riggs' publisher suggested that he complement these photographs with a specific story. At that time, Burton was slowly reevaluating his permanent team and retained only Eva Green from Dark Shadows. The result is a rejuvenated Burton in a fantasy style, less authorial, and more responsive to the changing tastes of contemporary youth. Yes, some elements wink at the once-famous "Burton-touch," but this time it's more Burton in the service of Riggs, although we briefly encounter the classic California suburb and shrubs shaped like dinosaurs reminiscent of the clumsy Edward Scissorhands. It's not a loss, but it's a compromise. I preferred Big Eyes more because it was truly a step forward, not to the side.

Superman and Lois - Season 3

NinadeLSuperman and Lois - Season 3(2023) 

English The new series started off excellently. I even quite quickly accepted the new Jonathan (Michael Bishop), although I had gotten used to Jordan Elsass over the last two seasons, of course. However, the main storyline with cancer doesn't strike me as that great; it's only excellent in terms of the ambiguous triangle of who is whose (non)friend. The young characters are as authentically pathetic as always, and in the Steele household, there's the classic Shakespearean drama akin to "Romeo and Juliet"... Anyway, it's still a good show, and I don't regret the time invested in it.

The Day Will Come

EvilPhoEniXThe Day Will Come(2016) 

English At first, I wasn't too interested in this film, but from the opening minutes it draws you in, grabs you by the heart and makes you rage at the hideously unjust system that existed at the time. The two young leads are excellent, Lars Mikkelsen as the insidious sleazy bastard of the institution is played convincingly, but you also harbour a great deal of hatred for the rest of the educators from the start, except for the female teacher, who is the only one with any compassion. A very harsh and unpleasant spectacle in places. I do not envy the children. A great and powerful affair. 90%

The Game Changer

EvilPhoEniXThe Game Changer(2017) 

English I totally missed this one and out of nowhere an action gem from China appeared, showcasing the best of what has come out of Asia so far this year. From the opening minutes the film delivers an incredible action inferno accompanied by impressive cinematography, stunning visuals, stylish slow motion, plenty of blood and spectacular shootouts and fights. After 40 minutes, the film stagnates a bit and takes a break from the action, i.e. focuses more on the story, which is also interesting since the film is set in an older era, one could say that it is a gangster movie which is unusually refreshing for the action genre. It's gritty, stylish, old-school and at times so nicely over the top that I was pleased. Decent stuff that is very uncompromising in terms of characters. The protagonist is a bad-ass bastard at the end. 80%.

Wolves at the Door

EvilPhoEniXWolves at the Door(2016) 

English A very mediocre affair with not much to impress. The very short running time is a nice touch, but even so, nothing spectacular happens in 40 minutes. The gore is missing, the tension somehow works and the execution is not bad. 55%

Bed of the Dead

EvilPhoEniXBed of the Dead(2016) 

English Quite an anticipated thing by the trailers, but it unfortunately does not live up to the expectations despite an interesting idea. The idea of a bed that kills every time someone lies in it is pretty cool, but the way they conceived it makes it sound very uninteresting. I was secretly hoping to get a mix of Mirrors and Freddy, but in the end I got a 90s B-movie concoction that I'll forget about tomorrow. The detective storyline is uninteresting, the gore is bland, the effects, while practical, are sadly lackluster, and the actors are all unlikeable. 50%

Hatred

EvilPhoEniXHatred(2016) 

English For my taste, it's too long (not much happens in the first two hours and there are some very deaf passages), but the final half hour is literally like something out of another movie: intense, brutal, shocking with a devastating impact. Surprisingly, the Poles don’t pull any punches when it comes to children, toddlers, pregnant women and priests. I was sure of three stars the whole time, but for the strong ending and the fact that it is about our neighbours, I'm throwing in a fourth star. 70%

Let Her Out

EvilPhoEniXLet Her Out(2016) 

English A solid horror film from Canada, one of the better ones this year. Let Her Out is more or less body horror, psychological drama and part ghost story, which is very refreshing and works well. The main character is attractive and likeable, I found the explanation of why the main character is doing what she is doing intelligently and logically delivered, the scene in the metro and the finale are very intense. There are less nastiness compared to Contracted and Bite, but even this form suited me. 70%

Despicable Me

EvilPhoEniXDespicable Me(2010) 

English A nice funny fairy tale that is just for boys and made me younger by 10 years. The Minions are too infantile and the fact that they can't be understood irritated me. But the main character is great, the weapons are inventive to the point of being wacky, and there's a decent laugh to be had. The main villain bothered me a little, we was a bit of a weirdo. Still, great- 80%

Despicable Me 2

EvilPhoEniXDespicable Me 2(2013) 

English A notch weaker than the first one. It's much less fun and more infantile. The main character is more of a father than a villain and that didn't sit well with me. Still watchable with nice animation, but I won't be going back to it. 60%.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

EvilPhoEniXGuardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2(2017) 

English The sequel to Guardians of the Galaxy is more or less in the same vein as the first one, but it doesn't bring much new. It's decent fun no doubt. Drax and the raccoon are the funniest again, Starlord is a bit bland and didn't seem to have enough space, I didn't like Kurt Russell much and Stallone is only here for maybe two minutes, so there's not much to look forward to. The film is a bit too colourful and quite infantile in places for my taste, and the big finale is actually the weakest part, as it is nothing but a massive digital mess that you can't really absorb and you don’t really care how it ends. The highlight for me was the scene in the forest where the raccoon disarms his opponents with ingenious traps. I probably won't watch it again and would classify it as one of the more mediocre Marvel films. I suspect DC will kick Marvel's ass this year with Wonder Woman. 75%

Instructions Not Included

EvilPhoEniXInstructions Not Included(2013) 

English I first saw the French remake, which is one of the best that came out this year and the Mexican original is not even close to the remake. The plot is exactly the same, but the film lacks any emotion and humour and the acting is incomparably weaker. Another example where the remake is more better. 60%

Megalopolis

IviDvoMegalopolis(2024) 

English Francis Ford Coppola's Megalopolis brings us to a futuristic, decadent and antiquely stylized New York, New Rome. I found this combination of ancient culture (clothes, names, entertainment) with a futuristic vision of the world very appealing, and the entire film is punctuated with quotes from ancient thinkers, which only underscore their timelessness in how they still apply to today. They highlight the absurdity of certain aspects of modern times, especially the fact that we are still the same people (animals) as in the days of ancient Rome, we are just playing at being a civilized and advanced society. This is portrayed brilliantly in the film, but that's probably the end of all the pros of this "masterpiece". I should also mention that although my favourite of the entire cast is Adam Driver (who was excellent as usual), the biggest praise should go to Shia LaBeouf, who once again shows something completely new, and proves that he can still surprise. Megalopolis had a lot of potential, a lot of great ideas that deserved to be fleshed out more. The huge disappointment for me was that the main character may have the power to stop time, but he doesn't make any use of it, I thought that would have been much more meaningful or impactful to the development of the film. As it is, the whole thing just comes across as a critique of society hoping for a brighter tomorrow, coupled with a simple family drama without much transcendence, which I find very insufficient. At the end of the film, I wondered if I had accidentally fallen asleep during the screening, that I must have missed something... Or maybe I just didn't understand the whole thing. [Festival de Cannes 2024]

Holy Cow

IviDvoHoly Cow(2024) 

English Holy Cow is in my opinion a very successful feature film debut of director Louise Courvoisier, which immerses us in the environment from which the director herself comes. It depicts the ordinary lives of young farmers, teenagers and the everyday worries they have to deal with, whether it's the daily grind, love troubles, hangovers or the loss of a loved one. A great thing in the the film for me is that the protagonists are real-life, hitherto non-actors, farmers, chicken and cow keepers, which adds a certain authenticity to the story. The most endearing thing about the film is how ordinary and real the story is. There is plenty of injustice and despair, but also truth, love and tenderness, so that the viewer is left with a warm feeling at the end of the film. [Festival de Cannes 2024]

Kinds of Kindness

IviDvoKinds of Kindness(2024) 

English Yorgos Lanthimos is one of the most distinctive directors of our time and his unconventional work entertains, shocks and divides into two camps. I'm a huge fan of his recent Poor Things and probably less of a fan of Kinds of Kindness. I really like the concept of three different stories with the same and excellent actors in different roles, but it lacks more coherence between them, and as a result it's just three more or less bizarre stories side by side. I'm not saying it’s bad, I think there's a lot of truth in the absurdity too, and some scenes are chilling in their realism, others are shocking in their rawness and cruelty, while there's a lot of humour, but as a whole it's kind of disjointed. The film is accompanied by the now very typical and recognisable soundtrack (if you can call it that) by Jerskin Fendrix, which adds to the bizarre and mysterious atmosphere. Despite the fact that I wasn't as impressed with this Lanthimos film as some of his previous ones, I will always look forward to his future work. [Festival de Cannes 2024]

Killers

StanislausKillers(2010) 

English A typical American chill-out film with a good portion of clichés, which they tried to wrap in a new packaging. Add an annoying Katherine Heigl and a bunch of “hitmen” who really got on my nerves towards the end, and you have Killers. Fortunately, I wasn't expecting much from the film, so I'm not disappointed. One big plus for me was the perpetually pissed Catherine O'Hara.

Kung Fu Panda Holiday Special

StanislausKung Fu Panda Holiday Special(2010) 

English After the Christmas special from Shrek and Madagascar comes the Kung Fu Panda special, which offers nothing new and falls short of the three stars due to a lack of humour and an excess of sentimentality. It could have been better, but it could have been worse.

Fred Claus

StanislausFred Claus(2007) 

English An average Christmas affair with an above-average cast, wrapped in a layer of clichés. In short, a film that doesn't impress but doesn't offend either.

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