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Don’t Worry Darling has been written about mostly in the context of major and minor on-set scandals lately, which is a bit of a shame that Olivia Wilde's new film doesn't deserve. She changed the genre dramatically after the fairly clever comedy drama Booksmart, and her new film certainly manages to impress. Matthew Libatique knows how to evoke the atmosphere of the 1950s as they may never have been, but as people want to see it through the filter of nostalgia. John Powell, on the other hand, has done one of his best soundtracks ever, and visually and musically there is nothing to fault the film. It manages to be mesmerising and then again a few seconds later very disturbing. Florence Pugh is excellent in the lead role, as is Chris Pine; in fact everyone here tries their best in front and behind the camera. It's just that they are being tripped up by the story, which, while not bad at all, unfortunately, as the runtime progresses, it becomes clear that Wilde doesn't have a new The Truman Show, Dark City, Inception or The Matrix in her hands, but just solid and functional material from which she can squeeze a technically brilliant film, but one that lacks emotion, surprise or any worthwhile message, especially at the end. The result is good, though exceptional, but I will certainly be happy if Olivia Wilde continues her directorial career.
After his last job in a small Mexican town, bounty hunter Christoph Waltz meets his old adversary Willem Dafoe, a powerful local magnate and his army, and a woman to die for. Walter Hill delivers a western that doesn't impress on the surface, looks cheap and almost ugly, but on the other hand, it's full of interesting heroes and anti-heroes, a pleasantly old-school atmosphere, and it can rely on some excellent actors. Of course, even the biggest fans of the genre will have to work hard at times to swallow the obvious cheapness.
General Nanisca leads a unit of women, and pretty tough ones at that. They're the ones who must protect the Kingdom of Dahomey from its aggressive neighbours, but little does Nanisca know that she'll also have to confront her own past. The Woman King is a brisk and entertaining film with good action, excellent actresses and an attractive setting. However, as soon as it tries to play with more serious themes, things tend to turn banal and clichéd.
Kevin Smith returns to Quick Stop, New Jersey, to make a film about making a movie there in the 1990s. While the meta elements aren't as wild as one might expect from the plot, it's still mostly a film for people who like this director's early work. It's just that the new Smith doesn't have much in common with the old one. The dialogue lacks the inventiveness and believability of those earlier films, and the actors sometimes downright suffer in scenes for which their skills are not up to the task. It's not until somewhere around the halfway point that Clerks III starts to feel like a confident film, rather than a nostalgia bet that works only halfway because Smith simply can no longer offer what he once won fans over with. It still works, give or take, but it's questionable whether that's thanks to the director-screenwriter, or instead in spite of his efforts.
I really don't want to watch this anymore. After Zack Snyder’s departure, I thought Warner wouldn't send these movies out anymore, but Black Adam actually looks exactly the same as the Snyder films, only that Jaume Collet-Serra uses about a third less slow motion. We still get more than an annoying amount of it though, and when the action starts, you don't really enjoy it because when it's not slow motion, it's either chaos or just golden-blue flashing. And there’s action more or less all the time, because there's nothing to stand on in terms of story, character depth, or anything else that could potentially engage, and they probably knew that. Black Adam is an emaciated over-colourful action flick that tries to be theatrically spectacular, but comes across as ridiculous and often even embarrassing (the skateboarding boy brings to mind the worst of 90s clichés). Dwayne Johnson stares and tries in vain to convince himself that he's playing Clint Eastwood, and getting through this collection of dull visual attractions, empty story and flat characters to the end credits is ultimately quite a chore. But it does have an advantage, an hour and a half after the screening ended, I remember nothing of Black Adam.
Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile is a simple children's film, where none of the makers obviously did much work. There are few songs, a boring story in which the same thing happens three times, an ugly digital protagonist and zero invention. It's watchable, but why anyone would do that, I really don't know.
Someone murdered a famous Hollywood director who was about to adapt a popular play based on Agatha Christie, and practically everyone had a motive. How will real detectives fare when they have to solve a crime that seems to have fallen from the pen of the queen of mystery novels? See How They Run is a playful retro crime comedy with a good cast that cleverly works with clichés from Agatha Christie's novels, but sometimes lacks the courage to be truly innovative or daring. But it will definitely please both fans of the genre and lovers of the famous writer's stories.
This return to the more traditionally constructed Marvel films of yesteryear is certainly welcome. It's nice Black Panther, except for a few moments, tries to look serious – within the confines of a superhero movie, of course – and doesn't make idiotic jokes like Thor. It probably wouldn’t been fitting, since mourning for Chadwick Boseman, or in this case T'Challa, is supposed to be one of the pillars of Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. And it's a bit of a problem. Because as we are mourning, we are introduced to quite a few new characters and an undersea civilization whose city we also have to look into. And while it's all nice and visually imaginative, the first half seems to forget that the film has to have a plot. The second Black Panther doesn't really get going until about an hour in, and unfortunately it comes too late, because by the closing credits Ryan Coogler doesn't have time to properly involve the new (and often old) characters in the plot and there's just too much going on. The moments when the film turns into a fine political thriller, at least for a while, or when the characters start to deal more with their emotions and traumas, are interesting. But having to deal with a huge amount of stuff and build up to the big finale, or rather the big finale and even bigger invasion of Wakanda in the middle, results in even the two and a half hours being simply too little to serve up everything they wanted to cook up. Not to mention that Letitia Wright unfortunately doesn't have the talent to pull off the lead role in such a complex story, and that Riri Williams, the future driving force, has so far profiled herself as more of a whiny sidekick than someone I'd want to see on screen more often.
Jennifer Lawrence returns home from war and tries to get back on her feet after a nasty injury, and finds she can't do it alone. When she meets James, a likeable mechanic, and they become friends, things finally start to look up. But even James has traumas he hasn't yet come to terms with. Can they help each other? Causeway is a not very original but well acted drama that doesn't push emotions unnecessarily and makes do with believable dialogue, likeable ordinary characters and a simple and understandable story. It's easily enough for an above-average drama.
An unexpected animated gem from Thailand! Lore, like from “Warcraft”, incorporated into a classic martial arts beat-down in the style of Ong-bak! This is exactly something for me. It has amazing visuals (revolutionary by Thai standards in fact), a captivating story, breathtaking action (the choreography of the fights is top-notch), and most importantly, it seamlessly transitions from one action scene to another, giving it a great pace and drive. Although there isn't much blood and it didn't strike me as particularly funny, the action, the visuals, and the creative villains more than make up for it. Very good and highly recommended. A fantastic 7.6 overseas! 8/10.
Feel my Wrath! I'm shocked what a gem Wrath of Man turned out to be. I was expecting a classic Statham action movie, but instead I got a well thought-out revenge-heist and gangster film with an atmosphere so dense, raw, and unpleasant at times that I was genuinely scared. There is less action than I expected, but considering the overall result, I forgive everything. The trailer showed maybe 10%, and I was shocked at how the movie turned out. I had no idea where it was heading. Jason Statham definitely has the best role of his career playing an angry, pissed-off boss with a cold expression craving revenge, but at the same time, he has character and doesn't kill people who are not against him. This is the dreamed badass protagonist I love, and I finally got to see him. The young Scott Eastwood impresses as well. He shows for the first time that he can act, playing a slimy, cold, and evil character flawlessly. The story is told retrospectively from multiple angles and perspectives, just the way I like it. There are a lot of tough guys who command respect, blood is not spared, neither are corpses. The final heist plan is as well-thought-out as in Money Heist, and the action-packed half-hour at the end is more than satisfying. The sound effects of the guns are stunning! (no muffled gun barrels). The whole movie is accompanied by a gripping and dark soundtrack that elevates it even higher. I must praise the realism and authenticity of the entire story. (the scene with the SWAT team, those guys commanded so much respect that I started to wish they would never come out of that car, otherwise they would take me away!). The final reckoning is among the sweetest revenge endings I've ever seen, and of course, there was one unexpected twist. A truly amazing manly feat loaded in all directions, and I'm looking forward to watching it again! I enjoyed it immensely. A contender for movie of the year! 9/10.
The new mainstream horror fil Unholy, produced by Sam Raimi, unfortunately isn't worth much. it's nothing but a consumerist mainstream film, relatively nicely shot, but boring. The film was released in cinemas in the USA, so it's nice to know that it's not a completely cheap affair and a few people might enjoy Jeffrey Dean Morgan, though his character doesn't particularly stand out. The music didn't interest me much, there was maybe only one good jump scare, the atmosphere doesn't really grab you (unfortunately, most of the time it doesn't even happen in the dark), so probably nobody will be scared. The appearance of the Virgin Mary's ghost, especially towards the end, is slightly creepy, so at least there's that if nothing else. It's a shame it didn't push the envelope more (the body count is low), there are not enough scares and they not very effective, and at times it drags on quite a bit. An hour after it ended, I don't even remember what it was about, so I'm lowering my rating. 4/10.
I like anthology horror films, but unfortunately this one doesn't measure up to The Mortuary Collection and Southbound. It's kind of cheap, but you can survive it without any harm to your health. The story takes place in a library, where five writers are tasked with telling a scary story in which they themselves appear, and it has a surprise ending. Unfortunately, none of the stories are particularly interesting. They don't offer an interesting plot or any twists, which I could overlook if they were at least functional from a horror perspective, but there's nothing there. There's hardly any gore, just a little bit of blood, but that won't really surprise anyone these days. There aren't any jump scares either, and the atmosphere didn't strike me as dark or gripping. Visually, it's average at best. I can't think of many reasons why I would recommend this horror film, but there are worse things to choose from. The most interesting part was probably the third story, which has some pretty nice make-up effects, but again, they were underdeveloped and not fully utilized. 4/10.
Oriol Paulo is a God, a genius, and Maestro all in one, serving one of the best crime-thriller TV series of recent years. I admit I was skeptical about The Innocent and put it off for three weeks, mainly because I had suffered through similar series of the same caliber that I had seen recently (The Serpent and True Detective), but finally I got a proper crime series without frills, one that isn't afraid of corpses, violence, and intense twists. Oriol Paulo has already surprised us four times with his filmmaking, and now he brings us the best of his career. It's a combination of The Invisible Guest and Sky Rojo, and it looks fantastic. Mario Casas is excellent once again in the lead role, delivering his typical standard, but the show is stolen by Alexandra Jiménez, who plays the detective with great style and I really enjoyed her appearances. She's a strong female character, and you can feel the respect she commands (she reminded me a bit of Rachel from Money Heist). I also really liked Miki Esparbé, who plays an exemplary pimp and steals most of the scenes for himself. The rest of the cast, of course, doesn't lag behind and they all excel. Paulo captivates from the beginning with a decent pace (the tempo may be slower, but it moves from scene to scene, so it feels relatively brisk), corpses are not spared, there are usually about two per episode (I praise the excellent autopsy scenes, where the creators weren't afraid to show the insides or demolished faces – it really shocked me!). The technical side is of the highest quality, and there are even some fights (a flashback from prison), the issues addressed are excellent. Not only is there classic investigation, collecting evidence, fighting for life, proving the truth, but also people trafficking, child prostitution, prostitutes, brothels, prisons, and more. There is something for everyone here, and I love and am interested in all of it, so Oriol really hit my taste. But the biggest praise goes to the screenplay, I don’t remember seeing such a well-thought-out story. There are like five twists per episode, everything is twisted, the unpredictability of the series is absolutely fantastic, and just when you think everything is wrapped up, another twist comes! Twist after twist and great dosing of information, where surprisingly you don't get lost at all. The highlight of the series is episode 5. It felt the most intense in terms of twists, and the ending took my breath away and tore me into pieces! It's a bit disappointing that the final episode is somewhat expected, but considering the previous onslaught of twists it's almost logical that it's impossible to shock so many times in eight hours, but even so, Paulo managed it better than any other creator. A great Spanish Renaissance masterpiece, which I recommend to everyone! 9/10.
The Russian fantasy film The Last Knight got a sequel and it's more or less on a similar wave as the first one, it won't disappoint fans of fantasy fairy tales. The first part intrigued with the idea of a hero from the present world entering the fairy tale world of mythical creatures, which is a great idea. And now, thanks to a magical sword, he has the ability to switch between worlds indefinitely, until he gets on the radar of a powerful witch. I'm a bit disappointed that The Last Knight is aimed more towards younger viewers, but the production design and the visuals are solid, the action is decent, and the fantasy creatures are once again interesting. I would definitely welcome something darker and more brutal, but considering the dying fantasy genre, I appreciate every attempt that is at least entertaining and nicely shot. There are a few very decent ideas (the cottages!). 7/10.
Finally something interesting in the horror genre after the last sad and dry two months. It is still on the edge and I hesitated a bit because it has a few things that bothered me, but I will slightly overrate it because why not. Sound of Violence has a pretty original story about a young girl who regains her hearing after the brutal murder of her family. She develops a strong fascination with different sounds and starts experimenting with them. It is nicely shot, the concept is original, and the two female leads are likeable. In the middle of the film, it transitions into a quite stylish slasher with very original torture and murders (four quite intensive and unpleasant gore scenes) and, above all, it has charm and feels refreshing within the genres. As for the downsides, the pacing is sometimes quite sluggish, because apart from those murders and decent music, the rest of the film stumbles and doesn't really have anything to dazzle with; the atmosphere and tension don't play a big role here. But for the original concept and genuinely unpleasant and stylish murders, I will gladly add an extra star. 7/10.
Simon Barrett, a screenwriter who has worked with Adam Wingard, is responsible for films such as The Guest, You're Next and V/H/S. Now he has decided to try directing for the first time, but unfortunately he should have stayed with writing. Seance reminded me a little of Ouija that turns into a slasher towards the end, but it's weak. In the 90s, this could have been a hit alongside Scream, but today it doesn't really have anything to offer. The story focuses on a new student arriving at a girls' academy, where unexpected deaths soon occur. It's relatively well shot, the girls are pretty, and that's about it. Most of the time, it deals with teenage girl problems, there is no real horror, not much blood, the killer is quite easy to guess, and it also features lesbians, it's some kind of new trend! For me, it's a pointless film that is neither entertaining, nor brutal, nor scary, so it's below average. Young teenage girls can add a star to it if they want. 4/10.
A stylish, smart, and very demanding mystery thriller from South Korea. The story focuses on a woman who suffers from post-traumatic stress and memory loss, and has disturbing visions of fatal accidents when looking at other people. It could have been a Korean variation of Final Destination, but the plot soon takes a completely different direction, and what seemed like the basic structure of the story turns out to be more of a link to something bigger. Undoubtedly, it is excellently and originally conceived, but all this thinking actually gave me a headache. Everything twists and turns constantly, the plot lines keep changing, and the twists are presented in a rather confusing, chaotic, and overly complicated manner. It really requires a great deal of attention, if you stop thinking for even five minutes, you get lost and can turn off the movie and start over. The basic concept can be understood, but the film definitely requires further viewings, similar to Tenet, in order to fully comprehend the whole puzzle correctly. I was quite annoyed by two male characters who were incredibly similar, and I admit that at times I got quite lost in what was happening. I believe that the film will end up with a red rating on FilmBooster and people who enjoy thinking and complex stories will be satisfied, but there was so much going on here that I couldn't fully enjoy it. 6.5/10.
Sammy Fabelman loves cinema. Together with his friends and family he makes small amateur films and dreams of becoming a director. But then, through his hobby, he uncovers a nasty secret from his loved ones that makes him rethink everything he's ever known. Steven Spielberg delivers a semi-autobiographical story that is moving, funny and above all believable. And while it's also nostalgic and melancholy, it never feels cloying. An honest and audience-friendly drama from a storyteller who understands his job damn well.
Morana, the goddess of winter, has decided to rule forever, and people are in for a bad time. Will the other Slavic gods, led by their ruler Svarožic and the goddess of spring Vesna, be able to make things right? They will. This is a fairy tale, but one that's best avoided. This film will first make you laugh with its dodgy costumes and make-up effects, then it will throw you into a depression with how poorly the story is told, and finally it will poisons you with unimaginative direction, stupid jokes and general dullness, boredom and amateurism. Go see something else. There's nothing here besides a nice open-air museum.