Archive for 2019

115 posts from 07 January to 18 December 2019.

  • Charlie Countryman

    The indie equivalent to the superhero film: trite and treading well worn paths. Usually when filming on a backwater (from Hollywood’s POV), at least one of the lead is local so that colonialism parallels are less apparent. Even that is ignored here, accents are tactically deployed to hide this!

  • Watchmen

    Hooked by the intro, this hits the floor running but runs out of steam in the middle part. The perils of having to explain the origin stories of all characters, and the mandatory sex scenes.

  • Woman at War

    This is a very funny comedy, attuned to the Thunbergian times we live in (despite being done before that). Quirky, but full of heart.

  • Shame

    What a shame that this doesn’t rise above smut.

  • The Butterfly Effect

    Got to be one of the most depressing films ever. Not only the shaggy dog stories pile up, the resolution takes the cake as one of the vilest endings ever. Not what a I expected from the directors of The Final Destination, starring Ashton Kutcher.

  • Blackhat

    Kowloon Vice, with “hackers”. Hackers done badly.

  • Confidence

    The old style caper, the genre killed dead by Ocean’s Eleven. This is nicely done, but ironically rides on its coattails. Dustin Hoffman, Rachel Weisz (what a shitty role for her), Paul Giammati, Andy Garcia (how ironic), and a bunch of nobodies fart out a competent ripoff from the big thing two years before.

  • By the Grace of God

    Simple but powerful treatise into Church sexual abuses in Lyon. Sometimes, just reading the allegations suffices.

  • A Hidden Life

    The closest Terrence Malick gets to insulting Trump. By making a 3h-long bucolic meandering through rural Austria, right after the Nazi invasion. The unbreakable shield of (Catholic) Christianity meets the unstoppable force of Nazism. Only innocents perish.

  • Adults in the Room

    A seemingly faithful diorama of the 5 months in which Varoufakis lead the Greek finance ministry, until being ostracised by the European institutions that turned Tsipras into his own anathema. ευχαριστώ.

  • Tropa de Elite

    Bait and switch. Starts off as a nihilist critique of Brazilian society before going off the rails into full blow fascism. Remarkable in every other way though, a true Triumph of the Will.

  • Good Bye Lenin

    A satirical look at the transition from late-stage decadent DDR into unified Germany, by way of complete exhaustion. Should always be accompanied by Das Leben der Anderen for a more complete picture.

  • Terminator Genisys

    Come with me if you want more money.

  • Hammer of the Gods

    A surprisingly deep medieval Bildungsroman, comprising a lot of gruesome deaths but also mental thrashings: disappointment, grief, betrayal. Moving from defeat to defeat, until the final “victory”.

  • The Grudge

    The single-word American remake of a scarier Japanese horror film. Tasteful usage of fade to black all through the film softens the blow for the hardest hitting stuff.

  • The Face of an Angel

    Random hodgepodge of stuff about Meredith Kercher, a Briton murdered in Italy. Based on a tabloid writer’s book, so you get what you pay for.

  • Até Que o Porno nos Separe

    A crazy premise leads to a massive tear jerker. Nuts! No cockups here, I was unable to maintain a stiff upper lip.

  • Only God Forgives

    More Refn weirdness, dedicated to Alejandro Jodorowski. Bangkok Dangerous-ly dark.

  • The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift

    The beginning of the superhero-fication of Fast and Furious.

  • The Dictator

    Gross out comedy, not very funny. The big palace is just Sevilla’s Grand Square with added Golden domes. This is a Francoist building, fitting.

  • Parasite

    A masterful story, breaking the ice with black comedy, but leading to chilling societal commentary.

  • A Herdade

    The fictional biography of Ricardo Salgado, by way of Os Maias. Direct political answer to Raiva. Visually, it’s almost 3 hours of people chain smoking and gobbling litters of whisky.

  • Ad Astra

    Mad Max, Gravity, Space Cowboys (Donald Sutherland even!) and Moon stuffed in a blender.

  • Elizabeth Harvest

    An old-school sci-fi horror B-movie, which turns out to be an adaptation of Bluebeard. The wetware Ex Machina.

  • The Neon Demon

    Refn does Mullholland Drive, replacing the noir references by body horror, and with a discernible plot. Random cameos by Keanu Reeves too, for some reason. Special thanks to Alejandro Jodorowski…

  • Little Miss Sunshine

    The core point is kinda taken away when you find out the little girl wore a fat suit during the film. That’s American cinema for you!

  • Das Boot

    Alaaaarm! One of the greatest epic films, stands besides Seven Samurai and Saving Private Ryan as an eerie depiction of war.

  • The Fog

    Carpenter’s followup to Halloween. The music is almost the same.

  • Fantastic Mr. Fox

    Wes Anderson translates his style to stylistic “bad” stop motion. It works as well as his human-starring films, the emotional rollercoaster remains.

  • Down Periscope

    A weird animal. A ZAZ-less ZAZ-lite, playing the serious parts seriously, gunning for the Navy recruitment propaganda shtick. But it works, particularly after literally making Rob Schneider walk the plank. Arrr!

  • Snakes on a Plane

    Hyper-sexualized snakes on a 747.

  • Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

    A series of vignettes about 60’s Hollywood, very loosely based on what happened, with the reenactments being played by Brad Pitt and Leonardo DiCaprio. Psycho Tarantino fans get a couple of scenes of blood and gore to put butts in seats.

  • The Young Karl Marx

    Firebrands Talking at Rallies: The Movie. Tout le Welt parle eine hodgepodge of Zentral Europpéan languages, trés cosmopolitain.

  • The Exorcist

    The best film that contains the utterance: “Your mother sucks cocks in hell”.

  • The Blair Witch Project

    The grand-daddy of all found footage films. Squeezes emotional blood out of stones, creeks and tree trunks.

  • Flatliners

    Joel Schumacher does the atheist’s take on near death experiences. It’s all about what we do in life.

  • Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within

    This makes Japanese thematic bingo: atomic bomb metaphors, tentacles attacking nubile girls, high tech flying military machines. The fight between good and evil is embodied by Earth Gaia and Alien Gaia fighting for domination over Earth.

  • The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus

    God wants, Gilliam dreams, the Film is shot. Like stretching The Brothers Grimm into the present and into the religious.

  • RPG

    Rutger Hauer’s Paid Getaway. Ruins, Porking, Gloating. Standing for “Real Playing Game” is a sick joke.

  • Cirque du Freak: The Vampire's Assistant

    The protagonist is such a such a charisma black hole, he is billed third, and the “sidekick” was capable of playing both roles. The amount of squandered talent is staggering.

  • A Beautiful Mind

    Yet another anodyne Ron Howard film, one that the fictional Nash from the film would describe as having “not a single seminal or innovative idea” in it.

  • eXistenZ

    Remember, it’s written like that: capital X, capital Z. eXistenZ. It’s new, it’s from Cronenberg, and it is here.

  • Airplane!

    Surely a classic, just don’t call me Shirley. Roger, Clarence, Victor, Oveur.

  • The Lion King

    Nants ingonyama bagithi Baba.

  • Her Smell

    The Shampoo Film: Two in one. Birdman on loads of coke, but also sweet redemption decades later. Damn rad, grrl!

  • Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter

    What would it happen if Timur watched Van Helsing and thought “This is too demure, I’m turning it to 11”? Probably the first step towards this batshit insane series of images. Crosses the line twice into crazy awesome territory.

  • Sideways

    Supreme writing about writing (and wine). Life, the Universe, Everything. Touching yet outrageously hilarious.

  • You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger

    A classic crisscrossed cheating conundrum. Everyone gets out of it worse than it entered. Mostly…

  • Body of Evidence

    50 Shades of anti-noir. Sneaks up on you when you are not expecting, wearing a fedora and trenchcoat, talking gruff, then it turns out the femme fatale gets killed by a previous lover, and love prevails.

  • The Graduate

    Despicable, egregious, disgusting philanderer elopes with impressionable young lady, after publicly and privately humiliating her for months. “I hate you and don’t want to see you again” really means “I want your babies”… You know, comedy!

  • King Arthur

    Another nail in the coffin of a timeless story, eternally retold. Jammed into an anachronistic hodgepodge of Hollywood-esque action sequences and verbal quips.

  • Paterson

    Über-hipster slice of life
    of a bus driver who is nice,
    writes poems about his wife
    and their bulldog has no lice.

  • The Dead Don't Die

    Meh-ish Jarmusch lighthearted romp. Some incredibly funny skits. Like a good version of Zombieland.

  • The Legend of Tarzan

    Lawrence of Congo, but with animals! And America as the anti-colonial force, oh the irony.

  • The Lego Movie

    Another ensemble Intellectual Property lollapalooza like Wreck It Ralph, but with Lego. Pretty funny series of gags, but a mediocre film, something like a worse Airplane!.

  • Friday the 13th

    An horror classic, spawned an enormous amount of sequels, but this is the origin story. The twist ending was never brought back, for some reason.

  • The Circle

    Poe’s Law strikes again. The ambiguous ending only makes the satire more biting. As an extra, there are some Abu Dhabi logos at the start, making it a textbook case of The Man sticking it to The Man. Plus a dig at China! A triple whammy!

  • State of Play

    An old-school political thriller that screws everything up at the eleventh hour. It wrapped everything up cleanly, but then in the last scenes pulls a fast one, and turns the plot around. Why?

  • Repo Men

    A very derivative sci-fi action movie, but in a good way. Rips off the best parts from other films, and blends it with a inspired soundtrack. Perfect film to be introduced to the genre, particularly for an impressionable teenager like myself.

  • Godzilla: King of the Monsters

    Rah rah, variably sized monsters run amok. I’m just here for Ziyi Zhang, not just a cameo at least! And she doesn’t die at the end.

  • John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum

    More Wick, plain and simple. This is the greatest hits of close combat action films, now with added Halle Berry. Eat your heart out, Bond!

  • Olympus Has Fallen

    Red Dawn (2012) meets White House Down, except before, and by Antoine Fuqua. What the hell is this?

  • Jennifer's Body

    Bog standard high school horror film, of course it’s a thinly veiled selection between those who have sex, and those who want to. Not sure why I even bother…

  • Hotel Império

    Über hipster tale of real estate speculation, smoky clubs where not-hookers hook up, and massage parlous, with requisite happy endings. Fuggedaboutit, it’s Macao.

  • Solum

    A low rent Alex Garland film with lower budget and amateurish acting, brought to you by The Hot Jesus.

  • Spy Kids

    What. Robert Rodriguez does a live action Incredibles, using comparable amounts of CGI.

  • White House Down

    An “improved” Independence Day, with more “political” content as a plot clothesline. A two hours long diatribe against the military-industrial complex, brought to you by the DoD, Raytheon, and Boeing.

  • Hail, Caesar!


  • Rumble in the Bronx

    A batshit insane old-school Jackie Chan film, but with a larger budget. The freaking hovercraft…

  • Tomorrowland

    Brad Bird turns another Disney theme park into a very fun and joyful film, with a small essay into political themes interspersed in some scenes.

  • Seventh Son

    Bog standard fantasy action flick, featuring Jeff Bridges as drunk Gandalf/warlock Rooster Cogburn and Julianne Moore as evil half witch, half dragon. For some reason Kit Harrington appears in a cameo, Olivia Williams in a bit part, and Alicia Vikander as the good kind of witch. A CGI fest all around, completely skippable.

  • After Earth

    Shamamalama directed this? A hamfisted metaphor for Jaden Smith himself, leading him to scream at his father for being absent and treating him like shit. Will Smith himself played the ultra stoic warrior, so he wears a single constipated facial expression. I’d hate to be at those Christmas parties…

  • Up in the Air

    Oh, American comedies. Predictable as ever, emotionally manipulative, gratuitous nudity. Still, this is quite charming, like a puppy that wags the tail at you while you can see the poop in the distance.

  • Diamantino

    Shaolin Soccer meets Bourne, featuring Mediterranean refugees. Never thought that last sentence could ever make sense.

  • The French Connection

    Merveillouse. A classic for good reasons.

  • French Connection II

    The difficult second album syndrome strikes again. Actually, this suffers from a lack of editing: remove the War on Drugs element in the middle and you get a solid action film, a low rent Bourne meets Hardcore Henry, of all things.

  • Locke

    An actual and metaphorical journey come together. Simple, but effective.

  • The Fifth Estate

    A bird’s eye view on the beginning of Wikileaks, told from the anti-Assange point of view. The best part about the whole thing is re-viewing the “Collateral Murder” video, still as strong as ever.

  • Snowden

    A pointless film since Citizenfour exists. Boils down to a study on Snowden’s sex life.

  • Paprika

    Dreams are more addicting than any drugs. They can make a fat child-like slob believe he has a chance with Dr. Chiba, a hyper competent professional woman. And in the end, mind over matter. Suck it, police detective!

  • Tokyo Godfathers

    An adult version of Ice Age. Three hobos who make for a strange family find an abandoned baby in the trash and go on a self-imposed quest to deliver them into her family. They eventually deliver themselves into their old estranged families…

  • Immortel, ad vitam

    Better than I remembered. A classic noir tale of Egyptian gods meddling with human (and mutant, and alien) affairs, with the protagonists being jerked around, railing against the gods for free will.

  • Millennium Actress

    An actress tells her life story to a fanboy interviewer (and his cameraman), and the recollections are so life-like they are transported into diorama-like versions of it. In a stroke of genius, her story and her films are one and the same, and their plots span a millennium (hence the title).

  • Call Girl

    The bog standard story of a high-class prostitute who hoodwinks her clients and the cop to run away with a suitcase full of cash to Brazil. Her real name is Mary, surname had to be Sue.

  • Perfect Blue

    The distillation of all fame-related works mixed with a psycho-thriller, and there’s even time for a story within a story.

  • Ripley's Game

    Half of Dangerous Liaisons, with a not so tragic ending. Not that it ends happily…

  • The Young and Prodigious T. S. Spivet

    Jeunet does a lightweight book adaptation, and it’s still as fabulous and magical as his other films. Zut alors!

  • Belle

    Can’t believe it is not a BBC production. A straightforward historical background cum classic romance story, featuring upper class people in fancy dresses.

  • Eclipse em Portugal

    A failed attempt to make a sort of remake of Braindead, without the budget or the script. It has heart, but no guts.

  • Balas & Bolinhos

    A crappy no-budget The Hangover years before that. Just like that popular “film” devoid of content, it spawned a franchise. Yet another proof that there is no God.

  • Prisoners

    Random guy tries to take justice into his own hands, fails spectacularly. Buying shit off Alex Jones is no substitute for community.

  • Spectre

    A “modern” Bond spiked with most of the stupidity of old Blofeld shit. Retcons all the previous villains into a sinister organisation, retroactively ruining them.

  • Mary, Queen of Scots

    A good biopic, sexually charged but not too much. Good, but not Oscar material.

  • The A-Team

    Not preposterous enough to raise above mediocrity. I forget this was so topical. The team is in Iraq (Baghdad), the bad guys are the CIA and the Blackwater expys.

  • The Lady Vanishes

    The 1979 version. This was a remake of a Hitchcock classic, and was trashed by critics.

  • Jackie

    A slow motion descent into a personal hell, courtesy of Jacqueline Kennedy. This is painful to watch, the slow pacing helps to imagine how terrible those first hours post JFK assassination must have been.

  • Capharnaüm

    Really puts a human face into the so called “economic migrants” we hear so much about. If this can’t shift policy, nothing can.

  • Daughter of God

    Stars off as a simple “Ana de Armas in many costumes” drama, but starts progressively weirder until it clicks, and from there you can see the ending, which is fucked up.

  • The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies

    LotR with dwarves! The payoff where the party splits up, fights loads and loads of battles, and resolves are tested and found not wanting.

  • The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

    LotR with dwarves! The climax, where the party reaches their goal, awakens the dragon, and resolves are tested again.

  • The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

    LotR with dwarves! The setup, where the party is assembled, information is gathered, and the resolves are tested.

  • The Equalizer

    John Wick for even more middle-class middle-aged men. The big showdown is in a Home Depot, for crying out loud. He even turns a whore into a wholesome girl.

  • Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan

    Bare chested villain attempts (and fails) to exact REVENGEE! on Kirk. Khan has a truly preposterous outfit. Pretty ballsy to kill off Spock on the second film…

  • Parkland

    The Passion of Christ: American Edition. JFK’s death is treated with more reverence than any other event human in history. This is a liturgical film, much more religious than everything Mel Gibson has directed, except the religion is American Exceptionalism.

  • The Salvation

    Oily western that doesn’t let its amateurish CGI brighten its dark soul. Nearly everybody dies, and the living are left broken beyond words.

  • The Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists!

    Victoria Regina is part of a secret society of world leaders (most of them are actually her vassals) aiming to eat meat from all endangered species. Darwin is trying to curry favour with Vicky, ‘cause he wants poontang. Pirates who don’t do anything have a pet dodo. Will it blend?

  • Star Trek: The Motion Picture

    “The Motionless Picture” is an apropos nickname. Even the action sequences are slow paced. It seems to be a direct sequel to the show, so they know you know what they know; I don’t know.

  • Rollerball

    The 2002 remake. Po-faced ultra-violent silliness. It’s not even a metaphor for NFL, however thinly veiled. The audience uses vuvuzelas, GTFO.

  • Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex* (*But Were Afraid to Ask)

    Basically a series of sketches with a larger budget. Curious, most of them involve Woody Allen playing himself fondling woman’s breasts…

  • Ender's Game

    Just like The Dark Tower, this seems like a peek into an entire universe, ending on a cliffhanger. It seems the epic sci-fi standalone story is a thing of the past now, it’s all vignettes now.

  • Os Maias: Cenas da Vida Romântica

    A faithful adaptation of the seminal XIX century story, but poor in production values and plot. The important plot beats are presented in a matter-of-fact way, for such emotionally powerful moments.

  • Always Shine

    Just another Mulholland Drive with extra twists and less budget. Mackenzie Davis can’t make omelettes without eggs.

  • Cutthroat Island

    Who would have thought, Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl is a mere variation on this epic tale of piracy.

  • The Favourite

    Ace cast with an inspired script and visually gorgeous.

  • City Slickers

    Daddy Issues: The Film. Should have been directed by Spielberg.