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For the People

Two sides of the same coin
I have to admit: I really like the characters in this. And there are a couple of episodes that really had me going. It is because of the themes that they deal with. Something seems to be missing overall though to give it the extra nudge, the extra push this needed to make me go higher in the rating department.

Speaking of departments: you have two opposite groups of people ... but they only work for different bosses - well with different agendas too of course. But you get the human drama of it all. Sometimes it may seem too much drama - but overall there are so many good stories this tells, that you may not even care for the flaws this may show at times.

Acting wise I'm quite convinced - and giving us perspective ... and a different point of view or agenda. The show seems to know what it wants to tackle. And yet after two seasons all is over. If I were to rate only the character I reckon I would have gone higher ... I would think that is a compliment to the writing team and the actors too. Dialog is really fine too. And I guess this ends ... well sufficiently - mostly.

Tag X

Important issues
The movie has quite the important issue as a topic. Child abductions are not something to take on lightly. The pain and suffering parents go through ... I do not wish that upon anyone, friend or foe. That being said, the movie unfortunately deals with some issues of its own. One of them being ... cliche traps it falls into.

The other major thing the movie has to deal with - acting. Or rather the lack thereof. No offense to all involved, but there are some odd choices to say the least. So while the drama is high or should be - you may be quite distracted by the lack of real emotion in many scenes. Of course this also has other issues (script, directing choices and so forth) ... nothing that would make me say this is really bad - but you may see it that way. Depending on how much slack you are willing to cut and give the movie for being brave telling this story ... no matter where it ends ... or how it ends. Not that you can't see it coming.

Venom: Let There Be Carnage

PG Carnage that is
If you had issues with the first one and the (low) level of violence it had (PG13 and all that), do not expect this to be any better. This also is PG13. Since I am not too aware of Venom as he was depicted in the comics, I was free of that and quite enjoyed the first one.

And while the bonus scene in the end credits of the first Venom movie hinted at Woody Harrelson being the main bad guy in this one (with a now different look for no reason I can think of), he is quite underused to be honest. The main focus of the movie relies on the relationship of Venom and Tom Hardys character. The side story is the love story between Harrelsons character and a woman with an ability ... that should open quite a few doors emotionally and otherwise, but never gets fully explored ... because people have to fight and CGI and all that.

So the human drama only works between Hardy and Venom - everything else (even the cop) are side notes at best. Having said all that, the movie works if you don't mind those things too much and cut it some slack. It still feels like a step back from the previous entry.

That is until the ending. And I don't mean the end fight (although the CG is quite stunning all things considered) ... I am talking about the bonus scene in the credits. I am not going to tell you what happens and I really hope you can watch it without knowing. As with the looking into the future that the first Venom had in store for us ... this does too! But with quite the promise ... although depending on how you feel about ... certain things you may feel different than me. Still it has to be seen to be believed! Oh the hype is real - and that bonus scene almost made me give this a bigger/higher rating too ...

The Good Things Devils Do

Violent encounters
If you are a horror fan, some of the names included here will be very familiar to you. I reckon Kane Hodder is known by many, even the (some) non horror fans. The movie itself is low budget and you may have to cut this some slack in some regards.

If you are ok with a lot of violence and some humor mixed into it and don't mind the usual hiccups with horror movies of this kind, you will be entertained. Everyone else might want to steer clear and away from this ... something the characters should have done with ... well you'll know who/what.

Friend Request

Losing friends
The German title actually is Unfriend - which makes sense. Still I like the original title better. If you are into horror movies, you will buy into the premise of the movie. And the use of technology in this is rather good I might add.

The jump scares are well done and the acting is decent. Always considering the low budget and the genre this plays in. Because it has a similar title than a better known franchise film, I think I thought for quite some time that I had already seen this ... maybe it is the same for you.


(Not) reality TV
If it is the story or a quality of any narrating kind - this movie will not float your boat. Quite the opposite will happen. If you are ok with the movie being full of cliches and overacting, but care more for the really cool effects it has to offer - well let me tell you something ... actually I don't have to, just go ahead and watch it.

Having said that, always consider the low budget nature of the film, the underlying social commentary and a high grade of violence. Of course characters are paper thin ... maybe even less than that in some cases - and the movie overall is quite predictable. Not all "jokes" really fire or hit their target - no pun intended.

Brain Freeze

Vegan based
I reckon if you take one message from this movie, it has to be: only drink Coca Cola ... I'm kidding of course, but there is some movie truth in there. The brain freeze of the title does happen during the run time of the movie - of course it very likely is also a wordplay on what happens to many people in this.

A nice little movie, with interesting leads. The main focus though (and not just because the director said it), is the baby of the movie. And while for some, babies in movies can feel cliche and annoying (I emphasize I am talking about movies, not the real world), the baby in this movie is amazing. I doubt it will get nominated for an Oscar/Academy Award, like the director suggested in his video message to us festival goers, but you can clearly see how good the little ones are (played by twins).

Other than that, you can expect the usual ... good effects overall though, well acted and edited too. Predictable and a bit of a let down when it comes to the ending (which is a bit cliche to say the least), but nobody is perfect, right?

Re dai wang shi

In the way
Sometimes things are in your way ... and those things make you do other things - I reckon if one thinks of butterfly effect it would be an apt description. One thing leads to another. In this case it is a cow laying on the road - our main character has to take a detour ... and that kicks everything off - no pun intended.

While that seems quite straightforward, the movie itself also does take a few detours ... or revisits scenes (like the one with the cow, to reveal new information for us the viewers). The slow pace may not be everyones cup of tea, but it is very well done. A thriller with heart and quite the unique characters in it. And while a lot of questions are answered, many more will be left up to the imagination of the viewer ... the slow pace does not mean, that this is not action loaded by the way! Quite a few scenes in this, that take the drama into quite the violent turn ...

Silent Night

Closing Night - at Fantasy Filmfest
This was the final film that played at the Fantasy Filmfest in Germany (and will be playing in a few more cities after Berlin and Stuttgart to be more precise, in the next couple of weeks) - and what a film it is. It reminded me of some really good slow paced and creepy horror movies I have seen - and a bit of Stephen King (in more than one way).

We got a foreword by the director and she sort of said ... well revealed something major - a twist that is. I will not do that, even though apparently the movie has been misused to spread a certain kind of message. To that I can only say: do not read too much into certain things! This is a horror movie and while it does have something to say overall, this is not (covid) pandemic related.

Great actors and if you are like me and do not read anything about this ... quite a few surprises coming your way ... with a lot of Christmas songs to counter the mood - but no Last Christmas or Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer ... in case you were wondering.

John and the Hole

Filling the ... hole
I am a bit surprised. I would have thought that this movie would resonate better with viewers. Having said that, I think some of the low scores actually speak of the quality of the movie in general and the lead performance specifically. You are not supposed to like the kid ... you really are not. You are not even really supposed to understand him. He doesn't understand himself. He is looking for something ... will he find it? Now that is the main course ... there is a side dish .. something that you may not understand or unable to connect to the main theme/story/arc.

That is sort of on purpose. I say sort of, because you can see a connection - but it is left up to you to decide if it actually means something. I would argue that it does ... but it also leaves a lot of things open ... you won't find too many answers here. Which to get back to my original point is frustrating - and therefor I reckon I understand the low rating overall.

The actors are really good and the pacing may be slow, but really works like a charm here. Remember the fact you do not understand and do not like the main character, does not mean the movie is bad ... of course it is understandable, if that means you just don't like it ...

Ku bei

Getting Crazies with it
If you've not heard yet, the movie is quite infamous. Because it goes places (especially visually) that may be a bit too much for some viewers. As others surely have pointed out, the idea is not new. And you won't really see too much of a story here. Actually you may wonder if what we learn from the relationship that our two leads have, was in any way essential or necessary.

But before the mayhem begins, it is always nice to have some ... well quiet time. Also the beginning clearly is a statement - to all the conspiracy theories and to how the world has gone mad. Quite a few stabs at things going wrong - politically but also socially speaking.

That is not the only thing you get though. Apart from the overall plot being lifted from something like The Crazies by Romero, you also have homages to a lot of other scenes from many different movies. Irreversible, Night of the Living Dead, Serbian Film and so forth ... I reckon a second viewing would reveal even more to me.

As it is, this is no holds barred, mostly practical effects violent splatter fest ... take it or leave, just don't judge for something it isn't.

De uskyldige

Kids ... playing
There are certain things that are just plain horrible. But not far removed from ... reality. I mean characters - or how certain kids act and react. Testing things out - doing stuff that can be considered evil by any moral compass and code.

Having said that, this takes this evil to another level. Not to mention that the movie is ... quite fantastical. There are things here - that kids fantasize about ... but never really happen (at least not in our universe). The kids are not all alright ... but they are phenomenal when it comes to the acting. Which is pivotal, considering they are the main actors here. Beautifully shot, edited and a really good sound design, help the movie to reach and hold the viewers attention ... and then some. Certain scenes may be too graphic - but also quite a punch in the gut for some viewers. The movie is relentless ... and does not hold back ...

The Feast

Much to digest
You can tell right from the start that something is off. You cannot tell what it is, but the vibe and the tension is there from the start. There is also a lot of humor or class division things in there ... the bike outside ... the general health craze and many other things. You could argue there are certain sins involved. Maybe a bit too subtle for some.

And while you see that thing as something obvious, there is much more behind it. And when ... well the dirt hits the fan ... things might get a bit too much for some viewers. Remember this is not easy to watch from a certain point forward. If you are easily offended and "squirmy" ... better think twice before you watch it.


Explosive Car ride
This is the third version I watched ... and I heard there will be a Hollywood version as well. So there we go. I can't imagine it getting better than the spanish original. But I would say that the other versions do have certain things that work - not just locally. The police thing was better handled in the German version, the family and father interaction is a bit better in this Korean version.

But as you can imagine and as I already sort of stated, stick with the original movie if you can - and if you either speak spanish or do not have issues with subtitles. All in all this is decent, but I've seen better thrillers from Korea. Technically you cannot fault it at all - and the actors do their best too.


No substitute
There are certain things that can not be explained. And then even if they are explained - you do not get the full explanation. You just get an answer to one question - but there are so many other questions that open up. One thing that is for sure, as our two main characters do not question certain things, you shouldn't either - you will likely have less fun, if you try to depict things that happen and the sense they may or may not make.

Yes even in the realm of the world the movie is playing in. There is not much dialog here, but the sound design and the cinematography make up for that - and for the movie being slow paced. You have to be into that sort of films to consider watching this. I had no idea what the movie would do - and I would say I was kind of shocked by certain reveals. But it does make sense - if you think of the beginning and where it ends. Even if you may have wished a different one ... just don't start asking ...


Conspiracy truths
The filmmaker sites quite some classics (the Conversation with Gene Hackman) not just as inspiration but as a tentpole. A movie this is trying to match one might say. The lead performance is really engaging and tight to say the least. Apparently he is a star of some sorts (influencer or youtube or something, I never had seen him before - but he's really good in this) - don't hold it against him.

There are certain hickups and if you are not into film editing, you'll either appreciate learning more about it (also the rendering and buffering times, that seem to play out in real time - you still have to have a good PC for this to work) ... but the main thing is: cover ups and conspiracies ... are they real? Well the movie surely answers that definitively - whether that says something about other stuff going on currently or not, will be up on how you view it. I'd say no ... but as I said, you might feel differently.

Blood Conscious

Inner truth
There are certain themes and plot points that are interesting here. Actually I would even argue that the movie or the idea behind it, is more than worthwhile. Having said that though, the realization does not match the goals this set out to accomplish.

One of the things that will bug you, is how characters react and act ... especially when it comes to cell phones and their ... well use. Very frustrating to say the least. And not making much sense - except to keep the suspense and story going. Add to that some unconvincing scenes ... and ups and downs when it comes to acting (choices) ... Again, a shame, because there was a good movie here ... maybe some will still see it "shine" through.


After a movie that had a blind girl front and center (See for me), the Fantasy Filmfest gave us a movie that puts a deaf girl (and her mother) in the main role(s). I am expecting this to be remade in the near future. I do not expect it to reach the level and quality of this effort though.

Having said that, there are certain scenes where you have suspend your disbelief ... a lot. But the movie works overall well. Acting, editing, sound design, script .. everything works nicely together. And the twists keep coming. Certain things may feel over the top ... but they still work in the overall scheme of the movie. Another South Korean winner ...

OSS 117: Alerte rouge en Afrique noire

The other spy
Now I could be referring to Bond and OSS117 or I could be referring to the new member of the OSS team (1001). Or maybe both of course. But let's be clear, this movie does not care if you are offended - something that I would like to believe the Bond movie would not agree with. They tried to let the character grow - for better or worse. And whether the viewers liked what they saw or they didn't.

OSS on the other hand - he remains ignorant, sexist and racist. And yet Jean Dujardin fills the role with such an amazing performance and charisma, you kind of feel for the guy. Even when he says the most horrible and cringe worthy things - and believe he says quite a lot of those. You will not find just a few reasons to be offended here.

Apart from immature jokes, there are some political jokes too though. The role of France as colonials, but also Politicians of the 80s and communism ... you may not feel that they did the best job in handling certain themes, but you at least might want to give the movie kudos for even tackling them ... and while it does not reach the heights of the first two movies (it's been 12 years already since Part 2 came out?), it still is more than a solid movie right here. Still haven't watched the older OSS movies ... gotta push them up my watch list.

Boys from County Hell

Would Bram Stoker be amused?
The end credits are not really shining a light on that one - even if the estate of Stoker had no involvement here, it doesn't mean he might not find it at least appealing or interesting what is being done here. On the other hand, fans either go with the flow or may be offended on how things are depicted here.

And a Netflix show recently did quite an awesome job with a similar "bloody" theme, but more church related. Won't spoil the name of the show just in case, but those who have seen or are interested, Mike Flanagan was responsible for it.

But back to this, that takes many myths and just smashes them - there is a lot of things that just don't work. There are other things that are not even being tried ... but that is easier said than done, when you fight for your life or when you just sit in a cinema seat and "complain" about what the movie or the characters could have done differently.

One thing that you could blame the movie doing, is how it conveniently bleeds some out and kind of lets our main character do their thing ... on the other hand, we wouldn't be having much of a movie, if that weren't the case, now would we?


Dance of the Squids
Many years ago, I saw a movie called Dance of the Dead. That movie had zombies as its main enemies ... and was funnier than this output. Now I'm not hating, I'm just explaining why I used the summary title. This is quite fun too - you just have to suspend your disbelief and go with the flow.

There are quite a few things that do not work as well as the filmmakers may have thought they do (or the actors for that matter - especially the times they talk directly to the viewer or at least half wink at them) - but if you are grumpy about it, you will not have much fun either. The Radu character will be the litmus test for the viewer - can you dig the silliness of him (also the actor is doing some other voice over work here, as you can see in the end credits) ... you'll be entertained.

It opens with intercourse on a beach and ends with a song during the end credits ... the song is funnier I'd say, but then again the beginning is also a ... highlight (no pun intended)

Modern Family

Family time
This was so succesful that it didn't just change television in America ... but it spawned a lot of imitators around the globe. You may have seen one in your native tongue/language. But if you can watch this effort, I would advice you to do so. It really is as good as TV can get. There are certain episodes (quite a lot of them actually), that made me think of going with a perfect score.

But back to the beginning ... which seems like ages ago. Not the time I started watching the show I must admit ... I only discovered it a few years ago, through my niece who told me how much she loved it. We then started watching it together and now that the final season was available for us to stream ... we finished it.

It is quite the journey you are about to embark. And while it does not need to be watched in one go (binged of sorts), it does not hurt or is not bad if you see more than a few episodes one after the other.

You grow up with this (dysfunctional) family - that is quite lovely to say the least. With a lot of guest roles added as bonus over the years. Still the core of the show is the (extended) family ... and they always have a story to tell ... or two/three per episode actually.

Really well written and even if you can figure out where certain things go, the show and the actors keep it fresh and entertaining. What a delight ... in more than one sense.

The Intruder

Home not sweet home
Whenever you can get Dennis Quaid in any role ... you better not hesitate and book him. Is this otherwise more or less by the numbers? Predictable to most viewers? The answer to both questions is yes ... but if you suspend your disbelief you may be able to get at least something out of this.

Even if it is only the performance by Quaid. Of course if you are a fan of either Michael Ealy and/or Meagan Goode ... there is also the aspect of the visual treat to consider. Nothing special, but not the worst I've ever seen (especially because it got quite the interesting location ... even if you may not have seen all of it and may be confused towards the end ... on the other hand, you may not care that you have not been properly introduced to a major set piece anyway).

Hunter Hunter

Hunting and hiding
First things first: I did not recognize Devon Sawa .. I remember him from Final Destination and other movies of that nature ... and I even saw him in an action movie recently (with Bautista I think), but this ... transformation ... wow. And his acting is more than rock solid too.

But there is more to this movie than just him - and by that I don't mean the other actors. Or rather not just the other actors who are also terrific and play their parts to perfection. No the cinematography and the sound design really work wonders ... you feel like you are in the middle of whatever is happening. Yeah from the comfort of my cinema seat I can pretend that I would do certain things differently ... but overall the things that are being done make a lot of sense.

Not to mention that the motivations of the characters really hit the spot/mark - no pun intended. The ending will sort of blow your mind ... and not because it is entirely surprising - there are more than a couple of hints to what this might conclude to ... but because of the implications - on so many levels - and because of the ... let's call it "visuals". You should be prepared that this might make you a vegetarian but also that you need quite the stomach for it.


Cages best friend
Can Pigs be Pets? Or are they more a "workforce" of sorts? On the other hand, one may argue here it is more the role of a friend that the pig inhabits. Which makes the relationship between Cage and his quite furry four legged friend interesting to say the least.

If you've read a sort of summary of what this is going to be ... I imagine there are things that are not covered. Things that may feel weird while you watch it. You may expect certain things to happen in this movie ... but the movie will not satisfy those needs or even wants. It will follow its own route/road and its own pace ... which is quite slow. A movie called something with Joe that Cage starred in, is one that reminds me mood and pace wise of this. Still way different overall - so I'm not comparing the movies. But Cages performance is as subtle and low maintance as it can be ... something that we may not be used to, especially lately. Curious to see how the Prisoners of Ghostland will compare to this ...

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