• The Red Ghost

    The Red Ghost

    Just when they thought his wrath ended with the First World War... the Red Baron flies again! ...I apologize to Manfred von Richthofen's descendants for that, especially considering that this is finally a WWII horror movie where the literal monsters aren't the Germans, and they're not some type of damn zombie. The Nazis are bad enough on their own, as a team of Soviet Red Army soldiers narrowly escape a gruesome ambush that separates them from the rest of their…

  • Chernobyl: Abyss

    Chernobyl: Abyss

    ★★★½

    Well, someone at least had to answer for the Warner Bros. "Chernobyl" not even casting Danila Kozlovsky. Rest assured that Kozlovsky is working hard to avoid politics in this movie for the sake of what prospects a Russian movie star can have in the West, but Russian audiences may be offended by him turning this subject into another of his action-packed rescue blockbusters. It's 1986, Pripyat, and Alexey Karpushin's preoccupation with his work and ego as a firefighter continues to…

  • The World Champion

    The World Champion

    Because so many chess movies culminating in a match with a Russian, we need a reminder on why that's a big deal. Sure enough, it's the improbably true story of chess being livened up (Sounds improbable already) by an epic saga of obsession and companions becoming enemies... which, yup, is to say that even the opponent in this movie is Russian. It all starts with Ivan Yankovsky's Anatoly Karpov flourishing in the game by the 1970s, with a bit of…

  • White Snow

    White Snow

    Talk about your "icebreaker" there, Nikolay Khomeriki! I will give Russia's incessant sports biopic industry credit for waiting this long to share a movie that's not about a snow sport, but there's not much athletic prestige in a title that, at best, makes you think about eating an apple and taking a nap. After appearing in so many biopics, Olga Lerman finally stars as Yelena "Lena" Välbe, destined to win a staggering 14 gold medals as a symbol of a…

  • A Dog Named Palma

    A Dog Named Palma

    As if "A Street Cat Named Bob" weren't schmaltzy enough, now apparently there's a dog version. Hey, it's been a long time coming for Russian audiences to have a boy-and-his-dog movie that isn't three hours long and depressing, though my fellow Americans will appreciate how this deals with the evils of airport bureaucracy. In 1977 (Yup, the same year "White Bim Black Ear" came out), a bright and loving German shepherd is all set to start a new life with…

  • Gerda

    Gerda

    Okay, with all the adaptations of "The White Queen" that have been geared toward kids lately, I should let parents know that this isn't about that Gerda. That is probably what Russians are most familiar with through this name, because, let's face it, Scandinavians, it ain't a very attractive stripper name abroad. Anastasiya Krasovskaya's Lera is a Sociology major at college, so, yeah, she may as well get started on a career in dancing at a strip club under the…

  • The North Wind

    The North Wind

    So much for "Rita's Last Fairy Tale", Renata Litvinova! Okay, this title did give me more vibes of Aesop's Fables, but whatever became of the sun, the son is the more novel disappearance. The mystical, era-bending realm of the Northern Clan has long been under the control of women of exceedingly decadent wealth, leading the land in wisdom, power... and constant yearning for husbands. The shaky feminism is further compromised by the clan matriarch having only a male heir, currently…

  • Major Grom: Plague Doctor

    Major Grom: Plague Doctor

    Forget Benedict Cumberbatch; if there's any superhero we need in 2021, it's a plague doctor! ...Well, this cat's more like the superhero we got in 2021 as a cop who beats up the plague doctor, but I'm sure Disney had to preemptively apologize to their Russian market for "Black Widow". Tikhon Zhiznevsky's Major Igor Grom is a decent and ingeniously combative Saint Petersburg police inspector who always gets his man, albeit with considerable collateral damage. He's at least much more…

  • The Last Warrior: A Messenger of Darkness

    The Last Warrior: A Messenger of Darkness

    Come on now, the only message I'm in at this point is "The Last Last Warrior". Nah, these movies have been fun, but it's really time to wrap things up now that what effects budget Disney allowed this to have is drying up (Spoilers for "Root of Evil" coming up). With the mystical realm of Belogorie once freed from great evil by its unlikely Earth champion, Viktor Khorinyak's Ivan Ilyich Naydenov and Mila Sivatskaya's Vasilisa finally marry, but of course…

  • Couple From The Future

    Couple From The Future

    Well, a White man and a White woman might be a couple from the future as far as Russian audiences know. My Western high-horsing aside, despite his select optimism, Aleksey Nuzhnyy is quietly acknowledging that his country's social policies are probably only gonna get less progressive for a while. By 2040, divorce has become too expensive to be an a option for Sergey Burunov's Evgeniy "Zhenya" Kurkov and Mariya Aronova's Alexandra "Sasha" Zolotareva. It is during one of their daily…

  • The Relatives

    The Relatives

    Yup, as in this road trip is lousy even relative to family comedy movie road trips. My lame semantics jokes aside, I do appreciate this film's candor about just how cute Clark Griswald's impulsivity and temper would be in real-life... and in Russia. Sergey Burunov's Pavel Kornaukhov has a bad habit of taking out his failed dreams on his wife, three children and daughter-in-law, his bleak middle-class middle-life now reaching the natural punchline of a brain tumor. Though it is…

  • Russian South

    Russian South

    Read carefully, folks, because this is way north of "A Russian Youth" as far as mood. I'd expect this to also be a better holiday for Semyon Treskunov than "The Relatives" if he's taking it with Stasya Miloslavskaya, but 1960s Hollywood beach and naval comedies had enough romantic rivalry without this crossing them over for some reason. Treskunov's Artem Dudin is a mediocre student and perpetually naive little dweeb, so he's helpless in his courtship of Miloslavskaya's Ksenia "Ksyusha" Gordeeva,…