• The Autopsy of Jane Doe

    The Autopsy of Jane Doe

    ★★★

    Basements give me the creeps and imagine you go to work in one every day! Intriguing mystery. The payoff was decent, just not as strong as the amazing build-up. Good actors even if I didn’t quite buy them as father and son due to cordial dialogue. A few forced story beats (the storm, phone situation), otherwise it ends sooner. Requires suspension of disbelief, especially in the last half, and I struggled with taking it as seriously as the actors. But…

  • The Power of the Dog

    The Power of the Dog

    ★★★★½

    What a great comeback by Jane Campion! Adapted from a 1967 novel by Thomas Savage. Set in 1925, a compelling story, encouraging the audience to continue watching and learn more. Sparse dialogue and limited exposition works in the film's favor. Emphasis on character-driven drama, not an action heavy western. The scenes involving the piano and stage fright are affecting. Unsettling to watch a bully who has free rein, used to having their own way. Without giving anything away, rewards repeat…

  • Strange Days

    Strange Days

    ★★★★

    Futuristic Blade Runner-like cyber-punk world set in 1999, dazzling colors and street backgrounds catch your eye. A story that predicted Black Lives Matter movement and police brutality, taking its cues from the 92 LA street riots. Exploring the evolution of home entertainment into Youtube reality TV. A cautionary tale confronting us with dubious voyeurism, “visual drugs”, the implications of technology, and pre-millennium fears.

    Strange Days is undoubtedly admirable for its ideas and visuals. The characters are a challenge to care…

  • The Lodge

    The Lodge

    ★★★

    While watching, there was an overlap of wind howling outside my window and in the movie! English language psychological horror by the Austrian filmmakers of Goodnight Mommy (2014).
    Relies on atmosphere, distrust, and eerie isolation to build tension. Jump scares are at a minimum. A slow burn in the vein of Hereditary (2018), also dealing with grief, unreliable point of view, family drama, and a doll’s house acting as a coping mechanism. Apparently the script pre-dates Ari Aster's film, so…

  • This Life

    This Life

    ★★★½

    Based on a true story from WW2. Period drama of bravery among civilians, set during the German occupation of Denmark. I wanted to know if the group’s dangerous activities ultimately paid off in the resistance effort. Clearly the scope of the film was not about sabotage operations, but the patriotic middle men and delivery of weapons and explosives, fighting for a better future and the freedom of all Danes. Good performances and the scenes at the inn (which I once visited) are very cosy and Danish. A sequel will soon be released in cinemas which hopefully will expand on things.

    Question: best foreign language WW2 films?

  • Better Watch Out

    Better Watch Out

    ★★½

    I watched in December for my Christmas marathon and forgot to log. No spoilers but I will say the twist is shocking and took me by surprise. Props for originality and social commentary. Unfortunately I just couldn’t get on board with the writing and acting. Good premise but soulless characters. Perhaps a film that takes a second viewing to appreciate, once I have come to terms with the controversial plot. Best to go in blind, without watching the trailer beforehand.

    Christmas films (ranked)

  • Black Christmas

    Black Christmas

    ★★

    Unlike the 1974 original, a remake that fails to be scary or funny. Goes for a new MeToo angle to the story, has been described as a “feminist slasher”, confronting campus date rape. The revenge song “Up in the Frat House” is the best thing about the movie, performed by the female students in Santa outfits. A reimagining of the Christmas classic “Up to the Rooftop,” written by Benjamin Hanby in 1864.

    The ominous phone calls from the 70s version…

  • The Flying Deuces

    The Flying Deuces

    ★★★½

    Sweet instead of hilarious. The story is well-told. For a Laurel & Hardy buddy comedy, darker than I expected. Several iconic scenes; the shark, laundry day, jail drama, and of course the airplane. In Danish known as "Tossede Piloter".

  • Con Air

    Con Air

    ★★★★

    Trashy and over the top, yet wonderfully quotable so-bad-it's-good action thriller. You can't take your eyes off John Malkovich who's on top form as the bad guy, while the sentimental How Do I Live scene could be the biggest tonal shift I've ever seen in a movie! I guess Steve Buscemi's character is the only person who knows the fate of the little girl? Still debating whether it's technically a prison film or not. Nic Cage must have an obsession with Las Vegas.

    Quote: "Put the bunny back in the box"

  • Don't Look Up

    Don't Look Up

    ★★★½

    Great cast and an important message but something is off when I only recall cracking a smile once the entire runtime. Definitely not a funny ha ha comedy. The movie was so intense and jam-packed with detail that I barely had time to chuckle? The end of the world is hardly a laughing matter and the editing of the movie is poor, jarringly cutting off big moments like Leo’s newsroom meltdown and Ariana Grande’s performance. I prefer Melancholia (2011) for…

  • Excalibur

    Excalibur

    ★★★★

    Recommended by JSlattery

    Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975) is the funniest screen version of the King Arthur tale. John Boorman’s 1981 rendering I’d describe as picturesque and ambitious, many images are like beautiful paintings. Alex Thomson, the film's cinematographer, was nominated for Best Cinematography at the 1982 Academy Awards. If you watch films for the cinematic aspects, you won’t be disappointed. Preferring seriousness over spoof, Excalibur is a different beast to Python. I haven’t yet seen Disney’s Sword…

  • The Father

    The Father

    ★★★½

    Disorientating storytelling takes you inside the mind of an elderly father (Anthony Hopkins) with dementia, no wonder he's confused. Tough to handle for the relatives too, his daughter Anne (Olivia Coleman) bravely sticks around amidst the distrust and cruel remarks. Great acting.
    The manipulative conversation at the 30 min mark when the father meets Laura (Imogen Poots) echoes the best scene in A Simple Plan (1998) when the three men are at Lou’s house.