Niels has written 254 reviews for films rated ★½ .

  • Stranger on the Third Floor

    Stranger on the Third Floor

    Often cited as the first ever film-noir. I'm not versed enough in the history of the genre, but the genre elements are clearly there, so it's definitely not a miscategorization. The positives are that the film is short, barely crossing the 60-minute barrier. The negatives ... pretty much everything else.

    Ward is a reporter who witnessed a murder in a diner. It's his testimony that puts the culprit behind bars. Not much later, he has a dream where he learns…

  • Beauty on Duty

    Beauty on Duty

    Beauty on Duty is Jing Wong trying to revive the comedy he was known for at the very start of his career. Situational comedy, lots of overacting and simple formulas. The problem is that is comes off rather stale and uninspired, as if he wasn't really feeling it himself and was just going through the motions.

    Chung Oi Fong is a young cop who saves Fat Wai from hired killers on one of her first patrols. Fat Wai has information…

  • Men Suddenly in Love

    Men Suddenly in Love

    A somewhat surprising misfire from Wong. What you get here is his take on Ho-Cheung Pang's Men Suddenly In Black, but without all the wit and cinematic prowess. Maybe it's because Wong is a little too obvious with his references here, which makes his film come off that much worse.

    Five men organize a party for their old teacher. Five women join the party, but then their teacher collapses. He gives the men one last assignment: get their mistresses to…

  • Spectre

    Spectre

    Craig's Bond reign has been one big disappointment. Not because Craig's terrible, though I will say he doesn't really fit the profile of the Bond I prefer. Having seen all the films in the main series, it's clear that I thoroughly prefer the sillier side of Bond. Spectre doesn't do silly (well), it's mostly a very serious film.

    Though I've seen most of the Craig Bonds in a relatively short span of time, and recognize something of a story arc…

  • Raya and the Last Dragon

    Raya and the Last Dragon

    Disney's latest animation goes shopping for cultural inspiration in Asia. Don't expect too much of it though, in the end it's still an undeniably obvious American production, but at least it makes for a nice change of setting. Other than that, Disney is just repeating its same old formula.

    The land of Kumandra has been split into five different pieces. Raya's father tries to reunite the different clans, but his attempt fails and only makes things worse. His daughter sets…

  • Blue Thunder

    Blue Thunder

    A pretty dim 80s action flick that puts all its eggs in one single basket: its titular helicopter. It's a thing that probably looked quite futuristic in the early 80s, including its "amazing" capabilities, but it's little more than a bit of cheesy hardware nowadays. The same goes for the film itself.

    Murphy is a veteran Vietnam pilot who ends up becoming the test pilot of a new type of military surveillance helicopter. Though suspicious at first, he quickly learns…

  • Godzilla vs. Kong

    Godzilla vs. Kong

    The recent Kong reboots were surprisingly fun, the Godzilla reboot on the other hand was a big fluke. It's not the first time these two franchises crossed each other, but the old Kaiju films are hardly a reference for this blockbuster CG fest. Wingard in the director chair was a big question mark too.

    The plot is a lot of bollocks, but that isn't necessarily problematic. All this film needed to do was bring these two giants together and let…

  • The Man in the White Suit

    The Man in the White Suit

    A slice of rather simplistic social critique. While the film hides behind its central plot for a good 30 minutes, it quickly becomes apparent that everything has to make way for an "important message", as director Mackendrick shuns every form of subtlety to get his warning across.

    Stratton is an inventor who is looking for the perfect fabric: threads that don't break and repel dirt. He gets himself hired at various mills and does some lab work on the side…

  • The Phantom of the Opera

    The Phantom of the Opera

    The original film adaptation of Leroux' famous novel. The 1925 version is a pretty faithful retelling of the story. Not ideal for someone who has seen plenty of other adaptations already (including the stage play), but for a 100-minute silent it certainly wasn't as bad as I'd feared it would be.

    The famous opera singer Carlotta is seeing some serious competition from her understudy Christine. The girl is a rising star, a pupil of the infamous phantom of the opera.…

  • Guess Who's Coming to Dinner

    Guess Who's Coming to Dinner

    I guess if you're really generous, you could say this is one of those films that is still relevant today. On the other hand, the message here is so empathic and spelled out that it really starts to grate over the course of 110 minutes. The film starts out as a predictable but light drama, but goes completely off the rails in the second half.

    John and Joanna are an interracial couple. They want to get married, but haven't told…

  • The Parson's Widow

    The Parson's Widow

    A surprisingly light Dreyer film. With Jeanne D'Arc in mind I expected a much darker, heavier film, but the tone of The Parson's Widow is actually quite chipper. The film isn't without its portion of drama of course, but there isn't too much wallowing or deep despair here, which was quite the relief.

    A young man is traveling around with his fiance, looking for a suitable parish. When he finds a town that is looking for a parson, he has…

  • Ikarie XB 1

    Ikarie XB 1

    A little-known Czech cult sci-fi. A film that looked quite interesting on paper, especially for who like a fine space exploration flick, but the awkward mix of cheesy and lo-fi sci-fi with a more pensive, slow atmosphere really doesn't do the film any favors. I feel it would've been a lot better if Polák had gone for one or the other and had stuck with it from start to finish.

    A spaceship is carrying a group of settlers who are…