Out of Africa
Expectations were pretty low going in, even then I came out incredibly disappointed. The performances are weak (Streep's accent is atrocious), the romance is wooden, the drama uneventful and the whole is just incredibly sappy. Sitting through nearly three hours of that, without any care for any of the characters, was hell.
Tokyo X Erotica
There's a pretty interesting film hidden in between the pinku scenes, sadly they overshadow the entire production. Because of the format it's all very stop-and-go and the pinku scenes feel bland and lifeless. It's pretty difficult to keep yourself engaged when the film itself can't even manage that.
A pretty decent adaptation from Gans. It's often reminiscent of Woo's heroic bloodshed films, with stylish gunfights, slick slo-mos and high body counts. It's a shame the acting is a bit shady and story is a little sluggish in places, because the cinematography is fine and the film has several memorable moments. Not bad.
A strange little film that is both quirky and mysterious. Even though there's a pretty straight-forward plot, it's still quite difficult to figure out what exactly is going on. Then again, that's probably a good sign for a mystery. Noteworthy cinematography, solid performances and a weird soundtrack make this a fun diversion.
Completely retarded, also very funny. I might have lost a few extra brain cells watching this, but at least I lost them while laughing. The comedy isn't going to be everybody's cup of tea, but I loved to commitment to some spectacularly silly and crazy ideas. It's short, totally mad and very refreshing between the gazillion dramedies that parade as comedies nowadays.
Song at Midnight
A Chinese adaptation of Phantom of the Opera. That may sound intriguing, but the film turned out to be a pretty big dud. Poor acting, an abundance of Chinese songs (still not a fan) and an excessive runtime made this film quite sluggish and tiring. It might've been quite the novelty back in the day, but I found it pretty hard to watch.
A little lighter on fantasy compared to Your Name, which isn't that bad really. The animation is stunning, the music (i.e. the J-Pop) an acquired taste and the budding romance pretty much expected. Weathering with You is another great Shinkai film, not his best work but fans won't be disappointed.
A fine but somewhat inconspicuous drama. The kids are pretty adorable and the cinematography is well above average, even so the drama felt a little too expected. Little Cheung kept my attention and there are some moments where the quality spikes, but overall I wasn't too invested, which isn't ideal for this type of film.
Long Live the Missus!
A romance that is mostly dialogue-driven. Endless talking and bickering makes up most of the film. There's hardly a soundtrack to speak of (which is probably a good thing) and the characters are quite stereotypical. It's way too long for the material at hand, but at least it's a bit better than those early Chinese musicals.
Bride of Deimos
Pretty cool and short horror film by Rintaro. The animation is a bit limited and a little more context about the characters and settings would've been appreciated, but the art style is nice, the horror elements are mysterious and the film oozes atmosphere. Well recommended if you're looking for a shorter anime.
A fun horror/comedy that serves thick, British stereotypes, plenty of gore and some solid laughs. It's not really the most subtle of films, then again this is not the genre for subtlety. It's 90 minutes of loudmouth men battling it out with hungry zombirds, spilling plenty of blood, guts and limbs in the process. Nice.
An illustrated film written, painted and directed by Yoshitaka Amano. The art style is stunning, the otherworldly fantasy plot is captivating and the voice acting is on point. But the animation is a bit limited (even for this kind of film) and the soundtrack a bit too expected. A very cool short film though, well worth watching for fans of alternative anime.
Chronicle of My Mother
A very solid drama. The title is pretty self-explanatory, Harada aims for a film that falls somewhere in between the work of Yamada and Koreeda and succeeds rather well. A strong cast, pretty cinematography and nice, subdued drama turn this into a quality production. Nothing you haven't seen before, but prime filler.
Hapax Legomena I: Nostalgia
Very conceptual and experimental, but a complete drag to watch. A man talks about photographs while they're burning up, but the narration and images never match up. I'm sure it's deeply moving and meaningful to some, to me it felt more like an art installation meant for a museum I'd rather never visit.
In a World...
A rather lifeless comedy that fails to find its voice (bad pun). The romance doesn't really work, the comedy is never all that funny and for a film about voice acting, there's a surprising amount of mumbling going on. And the token digs at the movie business aren't all that great either. Not terrible, but very forgettable.
The Smurfs 2
I'm not a big fan of the original Smurfs cartoons, so there's no grudge there. Even then this is one of the dumbest, most annoying and most irritating films I've seen in a long time. The acting is atrocious, the modernized Smurfs are completely unlikable and the Paris setting makes no sense. A terrible, terrible film.
Mediocre dramady about forced retirement and the difficulties some people have with the change of pace. Japanese work culture is a bit different from ours, but it shouldn't be too hard to follow. Sadly the performances aren't that great, the comedy is rather weak and Nakata isn't the best drama director. Not terrible, but very forgettable.
Fun horror/comedy that's a little light on both to be truly special, but does manage to be entertaining from beginning to end. It's all very British, which definitely helps the comedy, the horror could've done with some extra screen time. I'm not surprised this film didn't do very well, but it's not so bad that it deserves to be buried. Amusing.
The Big Sick
A solid romantic comedy with plenty of dramatic padding. The fact that it is based on Nanjiani's own life gives it a little extra, but it's not quite as sharp, romantic or relevant as I'd hoped. It's also a bit long and lacking real stand-out moments, but overall it's a pretty sweet and likeable film that feels genuine.