Niels has written 298 reviews for films rated ★★½ .

  • American Made

    American Made

    American Made is a pretty basic but enjoyable crime comedy. The kind you feel Liman would make as filler between the bigger projects. Not sure if that's the case, as there's clearly a hefty budget behind this project, it's just that pretty much everything in the film feels like it was directly lifted from another film.

    American Made tells the story of Barry Seal, a simple airline pilot who runs a little smuggling business on the side. He gets recruited…

  • Luca

    Luca

    Children of the Sea by way of Pixar. It's nice to see them finally switching things up a little. Director Enrico Casarosa goes for a more subdued, calmer atmosphere, citing directors like Miyazaki as a direct influence. The characters and themes are still very much Pixar, but at least it's progress.

    Luca is a young sea creature who lives his life away from humans. He dreams of exploring the world, but his parents are very protective of him and fear…

  • Mothra

    Mothra

    Godzilla is by far Honda's most popular property, but Mothra may very well have an even bigger cult following. I've seen the creature before in several Godzilla films, but never managed to catch the original one. While it fits very well within Honda's oeuvre, Mothra has a slightly different focus that may suprised seasoned Godzilla fans.

    The film is slightly more geared at adventure and spends quite a bit of time on the initial exploration of Mothra's island, including the…

  • Man of Iron

    Man of Iron

    Cheh Chang filler, though he got a little help from Hsueh Li Pao this time around. The plot is situated in a slightly more modern setting (at least, compared to most other Shaw Bros martial arts films), which usually doesn't pan out too well. But the film stays clear from too obvious contemporary influences, so it doesn't come off all that outdated.

    Man of Iron is a sequel to The Boxer From Shantung, with Shaw Bros legend Kuan Tai Chen…

  • The Kitchen

    The Kitchen

    DC's big gender battle movie. While the film doesn't have any obvious superhero motives, the simplistic characters, plot and themes betray the film's origin and source. At the same time, it brings a certain lightness that makes it more bearable than would it have been played dead serious.

    Three Irish gangsters are apprehended by the police, their wives are left behind. The other gang members don't really feel like helping them out, so they take matters in their own hands…

  • The Amusement Park

    The Amusement Park

    The Amusement Park is an old Romero film, once considered lost. The film was found again in 2017 and was fully restored, released for the first time in 2019. It's an odd little project about neglect and abuse of the elderly, with an absurd twist and some rather distressing images. Good fun, in other words.

    An old man walks into a waiting room, before entering an amusing park. Another man is already there, battered and disillusioned. He warns the first…

  • Dark Water

    Dark Water

    A rather tepid remake of Nakata's film. Salles tries to enhance the drama, but by doing so he takes all the creep and scares out of Dark Water. The result is a sluggish intro that drags well into the second half, with a more spectacular finale that lacks impact. Not what you want from a film like this.

    The plot has remained virtually unchanged. After her divorce, Dahlia moves with her daughter Cecelia into a new apartment. The place is…

  • Ten Tigers of Kwangtung

    Ten Tigers of Kwangtung

    One of the later Cheh Chang films. It shows that he was fully settled into the martial arts genre by then, probably a bit too much. Ten Tigers of Kwangtung is a decent Shaw Brow production, but also one that feels quite haphazard and repetitive, more like a best-of than an actual individual film.

    When the Kwangtung Tigers kill one of Tung's family members, Tung gathers all his nephews and vows to take revenge. The Tigers are a fearsome bunch…

  • Quantum of Solace

    Quantum of Solace

    A surprisingly action-packed Bond film. It's clear that there isn't much place anymore for Bond's goofy side in the modern films, but at least they cut out most of the narrative cruft that made Casino Royale such a tremendous drag. Not that Quantum of Solace is a return to form, but at least it was pretty decent.

    After being betrayed in the previous film, Bond his asked to keep his emotions out of his job. There's a bit more padding…

  • Haruka, Nosutarujii

    Haruka, Nosutarujii

    One of Ôbayashi's lesser films, coincidentally also one of his longer films. The film is a rather predictable drama that wallows in nostalgia (hence the title), but brings very little of Ôbayashi's trademark elements to set itself apart from its peers. The result was a bit too long and indistinct for me.

    Ayase is a popular writer who produces "ice-cream" novels (sweet and simple stories that melt away into nothing). He decides to return to his old town. Once there…

  • Aura Battle Dunbine: The Tale of Neo Byston Well

    Aura Battle Dunbine: The Tale of Neo Byston Well

    I don't think it's possible to stuff more clichés into a single anime even if you tried. That doesn't mean the OAV sequel to the Aura Battler Dunbine series is terrible, just that it's extremely anime, including giant mech fight, fantasy creatures and creepy villains trying to destroy the world.

    This OAV is set 700 years after the original series, sporting the lineage of the former cast. Shion Zaba and Reml Jilfried team up again to stop a giant nuclear…

  • Motherless Brooklyn

    Motherless Brooklyn

    Edward Norton's second attempt at directing a film. Slightly better than the first one if you ask me, but Motherless Brooklyn still fails to leave a sizeable impression. It's not a terrible film and doesn't show any immediate weaknesses, at the same time it's quite pedestrian and there's hardly any reason to recommend it.

    Lionel suffers from Tourette's Syndrome and doesn't have too many friends, except for the boss of the investigator firm where he is employed. When his boss…