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A Drag of Quinn
6 March 2020
Watched for Rosie Perez. This is her debut in the boring and cringy film genre. I still love her. I also like Mary Elizabeth Winstead, who almost managed to be funny. And Ewan McGregor also did. Almost.

Technically though, it's typical corporate laziness. Never captured my interest, never made me care for anyone, not even the kid.

I have a zero-tolerance policy for boring villains. This movie is full of them.
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Yet another unwanted remake.
7 February 2020
And don't forget that Imdb is but an exemplar of corporate garbage service that censors reviews by silently disappearing them. What they censor is actual quotes from relevant movies, because we have obviously nothing better to do than rewrite reviews to provide free content that will pay the wages of some of the lowest form of human scum on Earth: censors.

Otherwise, watch the original, Les Valseuses, from the 70s. The Jesus Rolls is as pointless as they come.
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Advanced Shelters & Soldiers
6 February 2020
Watched despite the obvious partisan commendations, the fake ratings that mechanically keep many of us away from movies.

I stayed until the end, most likely because I dig RPGs. Broken Swords is like a filmed role-playing game session, an episode of a large campaign. We get glimpses of a coherent, well-developed fantasy world as background, with character classes, original magic spells, etc.

The makeups and costumes are great. Easily the highlight of the project.

The acting, very uneven. Some performers are good, others are ridiculous. Natural selection shall do its thing.

The narrative is decidedly "tell, don't show." That weighs heavily; it will lose many a viewer; it will lower the rating.

One thing I personally disliked, from the first seconds, is the characters talking like a contemporary military unit. Even touching their magical objects with today's gestures associated with very specific technologies.

To conclude, this is as close to a radio show as it is to cinema. Watch if you like your fantasy more talkative than visual.
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Shazam! (2019)
Mana half-full
15 May 2019
Why watch a flick about the one superhero possibly ridiculouser than Superman if you are over 10 years old and not a masochist? I did precisely because I hoped to get the fun parts of the genre, instead of the borefests and would-be-dramas we are sold 90% of the time.

Well, I did get some. This Corpollywood product fits the mold of "not-great with a couple of newish, entertaining scenes that can stick." Here, they are comedy parts.

What went wrong:
  • Main one first: hero and villain with similar powers. This trope is so common and so dull, I figure all has been written, said and yodeled about it already.
  • The teen is all serious, his adult version childish and goofy, often acting like a drag queen or a dolt or a toon or je-ne-sais-quoi. Not the same guy. Not such a big deal, but grating.
  • Gloom. There is colour, there is daylight, but the makers couldn't resist some Iron Age darkness. Wouldn't have cost much to paint the demons bright and the climax under the Sun, for example.
  • Annoying kid. I won't tell which one, but you might feel like shoving his crutch somewhere. Fine, for a film with so many juves, they didn't do bad here.

What went well:
  • The powers testing scenes are the shining ones. Kid-superheroes being kids first.
  • Simplicity. The story is straightforward, the motivations simple, the villain focused (though he would be dull if Mark Strong wasn't such a dependable young man.) In this genre, simplicity is a quality.
  • Adorable kid. I won't tell which one, but the two black girls who played her nailed it.

One last thing: This isn't a movie for 10 years old kids, despite being Shazam. The first 30 minutes are too seriously violent. Oddly.
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A Quiet Place (2018)
Cheap jump scares-ridden pile of boring stupidity with terrible music
11 April 2019
If you want a good film with blind monsters attracted to sound, watch Tremors.
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The Vanishing (2018)
Good old-fashion storytelling
7 January 2019
I watched The Vanishing because:
  • It's a period piece
  • I love lighthouses
  • Scotland is gorgeous
  • Lighthouses are even better on an island.
I got all of these, of course, in a classic tale that owes to authors such as Stevenson or Leroux. A pretty good story indeed.

Great cast. Including a very credible Scotsman played by that Greek actor, the one from Sparta.
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A 2h episode/prologue with 10 minutes of magical animals.
18 December 2018
Bloated, dark, boring, ugly, unimaginative, soulless, unfinished, etc. In short, your typical 21st century Hollowood turkey. That's what you get from corporate bureaucracies staffed with dozens of useless cascading "managers" instead of talented people.

Or maybe, it's just my fault for thinking it would be about Newt and fantastic beasts, whatever gave me that ridiculous idea...
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The Domestics (2018)
For B movie lovers (such as I)
22 November 2018
Take the gimmick of Walther Hill's 1979 classic The Warriors, add post-apoc elements from various places, notably a radio station a la Fallout games, use some spaghetti western recipes to pace character scenes and action scenes, have it served by a good cast, and you get a taste of old-school fun cinema.

The script isn't tight around the characters, which limits my rating, but it's an enjoyable throwback, an easy watch with a rewatch value.
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Bad Cat (2016)
A curio
15 September 2018
(I watched the English-voiced version.)

Strange humour. It took me half the movie to start smiling.

Excellent technique though, great scenery, animation and sound.

Main flaws are pacing and continuity issues. The film would benefit from better writing or editing.
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Unfinished Worst
2 August 2018
I wan't planning to waste time writing how boring this overfed turkey is, but then, after hours of ugly nonsense, yawning, waiting for the ex machina that had to be the only possible resolution to this bloated mess, they didn't even bother to conclude.

It's a drokkin' episode.

I've been conned. I'll never spend a cent for Marvel ever again. After 20 years of iron age ennui, just when I fought they were finally bringing some silver age fun with Ant Man and Spiderman, they release their worst soulless product ever, and close it with a big middle finger to our faces.

Just let this company die out, you'll do the world a service.
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Reality Check
10 July 2018
Usually I wouldn't bother, but an animation movie that manages to make me give up after 15 minutes tops, that's exceptional indeed.

Terrible story-telling through terrible animation... what else need I say ? Most third-rate video games do better than that. Very, very and unexpectedly bad. It's sad, really, when an underdog reaches that low.
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How to build around a throne
15 June 2018
From the Gobelins animation school, which regularly gives us short pieces of entertainment, comes this tale of a king doing what kings do best : exploiting labour. I found the pace of this one a bit too fast, too frantic. I would have liked to see the castle a bit more for example, or at least a bit longer.

However, the end got me. First, because it's very funny, and second, because it shows very good story-telling indeed, explaining inconspicuous details while broadening the scope of the tale. Which is a tale with a moral, the old-fashioned way.
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43,000 Feet (2012)
No impact
30 November 2017
A man with about 3 minutes to live talks calmly for about 8 minutes.

Need I say more ? There is no emotion, no drama, no humour. According to me, nothing the protagonist says is remotely interesting. Let's just call it a perfect waste of a perfectly good premise. Technically very well done but a bore nonetheless.
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K. Dick-approved
3 October 2017
The story is Dickian in that it intensely blurs the line between the real world and the made up world. All K. Dick readers should watch and enjoy this.

The film is written. Well written. Rod Serling would also have approved. All Twilight Zone fans should watch and enjoy this.

It should equally appeal to the lovers of the prison escape subgenre. Specially to fans of McGoohan's The Prisoner, for its structure and for the fact that the protagonist's brain is his only weapon as well as the reason he is being secretly detained.

The minimalist stages and costumes are sharp and memorable. The dialogue is clear and smart, and I'm pleasantly surprised that it never is geeky, a trap into which many a movie writer falls as soon as computers are involved.

Infinity Chamber doesn't go for originality in its main story line, but is one of the very few that deliver it well. Going for quality, it shows a rare combination of impeccable acting and flawless logic. Originality is found in the details. Particularly enjoyable to me is an unusual romance that the writer cleverly manages to fit in.
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Fifty-fifty, maybe less
22 August 2017
The gorgeous images deserve that you watch this film.

The dreadful dialogues might ruin the moment for you, however.

Now I'll just develop a bit, so you can skip if it's TLDR : I don't know if the same person conceived the visuals and wrote the text, but the former are wonderful while the latter is unbearable. The maze's sets, effects, even costumes are imaginative and fantastic. They keep the promises that made you curious about watching the film.

The dialogue, on the other hand, is written by a slacker. It's the kind of film where the line you hear the most is "Are you okay ?" surrounded by countless other platitudes and a distinct lack of real emotion. Drivel, simply put. Vapid, out of place, lazy, oafish, and much, much less. That's what makes the story. That's also what makes the viewing an ordeal. Thus I can't be sure about the actors : I have a bud of an opinion, but in their defense they had to work with trash.

Likely, you can't predict if you'll endure the talking, which way it will tip your balance. I'm feeling generous, thanks to the handcraft, and I think Jim Henson would have approved.
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Recreation with week spots
21 August 2017
As science-fiction, this is pretty fine when it comes to technology, worthless when it comes to the story. This is because social and political elements are set as a plot device only, or maybe as an attempt to be Orwellian for the sake of being Orwellian, not as a coherent and clever vision of the future. Why a fascist regime, for example ? (With a parliament, to make it more awkward.) Why the checkpoints ? Why the repression but obviously no sensible measures to actually reduce births ? This world is all half-assed.

The best example is what the state (or is it a private company ? Not even clear) does to the children. Nonsensical, counterproductive in fact. The opposite of Logan's Run simple and clever take on the subject. Anything but what they do would make more sense, like sterilising parents after their first child, or killing them after their second and confiscating the babies. Or right after the first, why not ?

As entertainment though, the film works pretty good. Contrived but fun. I would give all the credit to the great Noomi Rapace, but several of the scenes are actually quite well shot, with fair bits of tension and suspense. The action becomes overdone, with fight scenes way subpar to others, while the story stops following its own silly rules (sneaking commandos soon replaced with an urban war zone.) However, time flies rather pleasantly.

The rest of the cast is forgettable, particularly Glenn Close who, in addition to looking freakishly out of place as the only old-timer seemingly left in the world, reprises her role from the excellent Girl with all the Gifts, possibly line for line. Here also, she tries to show some humanity. To justify her "hard decisions", hard to someone else of course. Unsuccessfully since her character is utterly insane, on top of being a paragon of unintelligence. A fine actress but a terrible character.
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Doctor Who: Extremis (2017)
Season 10, Episode 6
Timely glitches
24 May 2017
I don't want to comment when the level of writing is that bad anymore, but I couldn't resist mentioning one tiny little thing that I didn't find in any other review (I even thought all the useful writers of bad reviews had given up when I saw only praise for the amateurish, dreadful Knock Knock.) So here it is.

The Tardis doesn't translate Italian. A glitch, surely, just in time for a pope who doesn't speak English to show up. A secondary effect of this glitch is that the Italian translator, unlike any other alien in the universe including the Pompadour, has a strong non-English accent.

The glitch is very timely indeed, for when usually the Tardis comes near the Vatican's special library (which is not secret, by the way, only restricted, like a bank's vault,) anyone could read any book, in particular today's McGuffin in its forgotten language.

I'll say no more. I can resist laughing about the stupidity of the rest, in particular the VR BS. If it doesn't slap you right in the face, good for you.
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24 May 2017
Do not read spoilers because, for the vast majority of 2 hours, we have no idea where the story might lead us. It is true that towards the end, we see it coming, yet it doesn't remove anything from the thrill. It's probably by design. In fact, I suspect it is more terrifyingly enjoyable this way.

Summary for the reader who won't read further: Original, thrilling, intelligent, breathtaking, fascinating, with tons of awesome.

The first part, in space, is so enjoyable that I start to hope the entire story will stay on that line, that is of course until I remember that I came to see a monsters flick. What happens next has all the elements you would expect, and much new material. Ha ! There's even a real scream queen scene, sending me back to the 70s with a smile for a second.

The only reason that I don't rate higher this great theater moment is the last physical confrontation, which I find subpar to the rest, unoriginal on paper, unclear in execution, not engaging as a result. It's just one scene, but it's supposed to be a climax, so in my eyes it counts for more.

I was starting to think that nobody does SF cinema anymore, what with people paying to watch long toy commercials, predigested pointless brouhahas, adaptations of brain dead TV garbage, etc. So thank you Ridley Scott. And more congratulations for achieving greatness inside a franchise, usually the exemplar of film decay.
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Magic Dr Who vs Arcane MiB
20 January 2017
Written by Mrs Rowling, an author as successful as she is unimaginative, i.e., tremendously, this film happens in a city where wizards form a society of bureaucrats and Gestapo agents. Despite truly immense powers, they fear the non-magical, inferior race and hide from you mere humans, instead of teaching you and making babies with you. Anyway, I'm not sure how this works but I digress: the point is, the movie is full of Men in Black chasing illegal aliens throughout New York and lackadaisically wiping people's memories.

Here lands an odd but friendly British wizard with awkward manners and a luggage much bigger on the inside. He soon finds a companion and on they go travel-ling through time... no, I'm kidding... through New York, chasing harmless but troublesome creatures. Still, the protagonist is so reminiscent of the Doctor that it could explain why I rather enjoyed most of the film.

I really enjoyed the 4 main characters actually, the good guys; it's all fluff, well played and entertaining running and flirting. For the rest, well, it's not as if the writer plagiarised well known series so as to save her energy for other aspects of her craft: events more predictable than they come, dull villains, loose ends, amateur climax, endless epilogues... At the 2/3rd mark, the Beasts start to outstay their welcome.
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Arrival (II) (2016)
Clever, emotional, and patience-testing.
18 January 2017
Arrival makes me want to read the book on which it's based. The story is very good. It's the classic trope where extra-terrestrials land publicly and first contact is made. You brace yourself for a disaster since army men put themselves in charge as usual (a major reason why, in real life, aliens avoid Earth like the measles.) And where many writers failed to conclude their own take in a fulfilling manner, Arrival delivers the goods with a clever, emotional, yet simple narrative that explains all what we saw and still leaves a lot to our imagination.

The film thus owes most to its story. It does complement it with great visuals, and decent acting. On the other hand, it does suffer from being unnecessarily slow. Your patience will be tested at times, and is required for you to enjoy your candy at the end. As I said, it makes me want to read the source material much more than it calls for a future rewatch.
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Jason Bourne (I) (2016)
Even worse than usual Hollowood incompetence
10 September 2016
Amateurish filming, shaky camera work, retarded editing (of course worse during what they call action sequences,) this inexcusable mess looks like an alternation of office and corridor scenes from a banal sitcom, and blurry, epilepsy-triggering fight or chase scenes from any spastic turd (i.e., almost any Hollowood action flick) you can name that was made in the last 20 years.

Migraine-inducing. Unwatchable. Basically, it's just noise.

The writing is on par: Hollowood hasn't created anything new in decades, happy to adapt comics, video games, cheap novels, etc, or to produce unwanted remakes and sequels. Here it's a sequel of some sort, which is probably why it does nothing to introduce its characters. Not only I feel like I'm watching a bad TV series, but apparently I'm also supposed to have watched the previous episodes. Cinema fail 101.

Many of the other staples of Hollowood incompetence are present: they still believe that the CIA can operate freely on any foreign soil (when they don't push the joke to make it the FBI;)they still don't understand how computers and software work; they still show shots of gas pedals during chases... Name your pick for most annoying stupid trope and it's probably there.

Look, I'm just trying to save someone's money here, because this... thing... is so bad it doesn't even deserve a review, only a burial. Wait for the next real JB, the one with the double zero, maybe we'll be more lucky there.
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Quirks rebooted
11 August 2016
It took me quite a while to realise that this is a remake of The Little Death, an Australian film that I had seen just a year or so ago. That's how forgettable the original is. I avoid remakes like the plague, but this one caught me by surprise. I watched it until the end, fairly entertained, whereas the original quickly bored me.

Perhaps this is because The Little Death tried to be edgy and failed, when Kiki feels more natural, relaxed, and cute. Perhaps the Spanish acting is better, but I'm not going to rewatch the original to ascertain.

Anyway, it's still not good enough to recommend warmly, although it's possible that I would have rated it 1 point higher if it was not déjà vu. It didn't make me laugh, but it did make me smile plenty.
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Cell (I) (2016)
Intense start but lazy end
10 June 2016
This variation of the zombie apocalypse borrows from films like 28 Weeks Later or Kaufman's Invasion of the Body Snatchers. That is to say, it relies more on psychological tension than on graphic violence (but still contains some graphic violence.) The first act is pretty good, intense, sharp, adopting a fast pace that dispenses us of the genre's clichés. That won't last as it will turn into standard fare. Finally, in the 3rd act, the writer completely drops the ball and doesn't even bother ending his story properly. He just takes the easiest way out and deserves some boos for it.

Bad storytelling is enough to make a movie bad and a rating low. Here however, I balance it with the impressive beginning and the excellent visuals. Also worth mentioning is Samuel L. Jackson who, for the first time in 20 years, portrays a human being instead of his perpetual annoying caricature.
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Haoma (2008)
A superb piece, if graphically imperfect.
11 February 2016
This team effort for an ESMA school project might not impress you in the first seconds, because the art certainly lacks the polish of a professional work with an adequate completion time. It is most obvious in aspects like the lighting and shadowing, for example.

Do keep watching however. The design largely makes up for it. The visuals are greatly creative. The soundtrack is superb, all music, no words, gracefully telling the story along the characters' dances. It's a wonderful ballet. This told by someone who fondly dislikes ballets.

And most of all, you'll be treated to a terrific story. The cycles of life and love might feel a little too accelerated to some of you - it's a very short film after all - but it's truly epic in scope and emotion.
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Jungle Jail (2008)
Unconvincing Convicts
11 February 2016
One of the many ESMA school projects available to all viewers on the Web, Jungle Jail is one of the weakest ones. The team of four students (no idea what Stepaschka - mentioned by IMDb - stands for, as it is not in the actual credits) didn't include a talented writer, unfortunately.

The story is not told in an engaging manner. It fails to create any connection or emotion; no empathy; not even laughs when it tries to be funny. There might be a twist at the end, but if any it lacks clarity and again fails at humour. And actually, besides the bad delivery, the plot is not solid enough to begin with: a convict is being bullied by everyone, yet when the opportunity arises he becomes the worst of them.

The art is average, which isn't so surprising considering that the makers are beginners in their profession, but it doesn't help that the visuals aren't even remotely creative. I'm left with the feeling that these kids might be more suited for a technical career in video games.
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