Lady Bird is a disarming, sincere coming-of-age film. The acting is solid, the main characters are likeable, and the plot both makes you laugh and delivers a few lumps in your throat. I also liked the fact that it takes place in 2002, when smartphones were not yet dominating everyday life.
I think Annihilation has some intriguing facets, such as the refraction of DNA causing creative mutations. But there were also a number of unconvincing elements, such as the plot: five women who barely know each other and are relatively inexperienced in combat go on an armed, suicidal mission into dangerous alien territory, and immediately risk their lives for each other (crocodile scene). And why isn't at least one of them constantly filming all the marvelous things they encounter?
I finally started watching Brazil after having it on my watchlist for many years, but it turned out to be too chaotic and arty farty to my liking, like an extravagant, absurdist rock opera. So I stopped watching it after about 15 minutes. Maybe I'll revisit it another time, when I'm more in the mood for a film like this, but I think I like the less abstract Gilliam films more, such as The Fisher King.
I generally prefer surrealism with a dark, moody flavor, like Eraserhead (1977), Donnie Darko (2001) and Enemy (2013).
Odd Thomas is one of those movies that urges me to start reviewing it while it's still running, to avoid falling asleep.
Odd Thomas is such a chaotic mess that it couldn't hold my attention for more than about half an hour. The characters are shallow and unlikeable, the odd humor didn't work for me, and the constant rapid-fire of uninteresting dialogues, nervously cut scenes and equally nervous music really started to tire me.
The CGI isn't bad though.
London to Brighton is one of those films with the kind of cold, nihilistic realism that leaves you feeling sort of dirty just for having watched it, similar to films like Naked (1993), Bad Lieutenant (1992), and Henry, Portrait of a Serial Killer (1986). The mentioned films left an even more bitter taste in my mouth though, as London to Brighton has some lighter moments as well. But this is definitely not a film to go and see with your mum and dad on Xmas Eve.
The China Syndrome is a solid film about the possible dangers of nuclear power, especially when money is considered more important than human safety.
One of the cool things about The China Syndrome is that it's actually quite prophetic, as it was created just before one of the most significant nuclear power plant accidents in the US: the 1979 Three Mile Island accident in Pennsylvania. And seven years later the Chernobyl nuclear disaster unfolded.
As far as I'm concerned, the star of The China Syndrome is Jack Lemmon. His performance is sublime, especially considering he is predominantly known for his comedic roles.
I liked My Friend Dahmer. No pun intended.
Based on a comic by an actual friend / classmate of Jeffrey Dahmer, the film paints a fascinating portrait of the years in which Dahmer developed into a serial killer.
I think it's an interesting approach to fully focus on the adolescent years of a famous serial killer, in stead of the violence that followed.
Ross Lynch gave an excellent performance as the troubled outcast that Dahmer was.
My Friend Dahmer loses…
The quality of Loveless surprised me. Russian films are often low-budget, extremely bleak portraits of poverty and decay. But Loveless has a production quality that feels like a reasonably high-budget Hollywood film. Particularly the cinematography impressed me — lots of beautiful shots with balanced compositions.
I also really liked the ironic contrast between the indifferent parents of the runaway child and the altruism of the volunteers who tirelessly searched for the child. Furthermore I loved the constant mobile phone distraction,…
The Ritual is an odd mix of British pub humor and supernatural horror. I'd describe it as a love child of Shaun of the Dead and The Blair Witch Project.
I found The Ritual reasonably entertaining in the first half, but as the end neared I had more and more trouble staying engaged, as the last bit of remaining credibility got lost in a The Hills Have Eyes wannabe.
Les Premiers Les Derniers is part of an interesting new wave of Belgian Noir. I was introduced to Belgian Neo Noir by watching the gloomy La Trêve series (a.k.a. The Break), which I liked a lot.
I'm less enthusiastic about Les Premiers Les Derniers than I am about La Trêve though. I liked the fatalistic, apocalyptic atmosphere in Les Premiers Les Derniers, effectively making use of the desolate rural landscape of Wallonia. Like La Trêve, Les Premiers Les Derniers also…
I hoped that O Matador would be an entertaining no-brainer featuring a heroic gunfighter and/or a charismatic villain, in the likes of Desperado (1995). But it turned out to be a boring watch with shallow, unlikeable characters and a dragging scenario. The movie length of about one and a half hour felt like three hours, and I fast-forwarded the last half hour to avoid falling asleep.
So the label 'Netflix Original' is not a consistent seal of quality, although so far I'm reasonably impressed by the majority of the Netflix Originals.