Mini-Reviews #27

Another round of mini-reviews for films and series that I found noteworthy enough to mention here…

Film

Jojo Rabbit
Liked this very much. It’s a weird mix of dark, wacky humor in Nazi-Germany, but also some tragic drama to it.
★★★★★ 5/5 stars
Murder on the Orient Express (2017)
A new film based on the novel of the same name by Agatha Christie. Can’t recall if I ever saw (knowingly) any previous adaptation. Was not really my cup of tea: The story didn’t grab me, the setting and production value was a kind of “glossy but cheap”, and the all-star cast was maybe filled with too many bored A-listers…
★★☆☆☆ 2/5 stars
Mission: Impossible III [Rewatch]
As I predicted the last time, when I reviewed part Two: This third instance gets all the hate, but I guess it was just colleteral damage after the terrible, terrible, terrible M:I-II. This one, in contrast, was great fun and already hinted at (and even had) some of the heights (as far as action movies are concerned) that the following parts would reach.
★★★★ 4/5 stars
Underwater
Very, very generic and bland.
★★☆☆☆ 2/5 stars
Gladiator [Rewatch]
A rewatch after many years. Well, I didn’t remember it as a masterpiece then, and I only think of it as quite OK now, too.
★★★☆☆ 3/5 stars
The Perfection
For a Netflix release (not production) not quite as bad as I feared; but also not really good. A psycho thriller with a twist and sadly also a major letdown in logic in the final act.
★★★☆☆ 3/5 stars
Parasite
“Don’t believe the hype!” – except when you should. It’s as good as they all say it is 😄
Highly recommended! (And the less you know about it before watching, the better. So skip trailers or detailed reviews.)
★★★★★ 5/5 stars
Ava
I like all of the actors, but the film itself is sadly a very generic action thriller. Not bad, not good, just mediocre.
★★★☆☆ 3/5 stars
The Beach House
Complete and utter waste of time. Garbage (with a capital G)!
☆☆☆☆ 1/5 stars
Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol [Rewatch]
Again, very much fun to watch. Of course, by now the franchise has found its groove and except for better and better (special) effects and stunts, nothing really earth-shattering or brain-teasing can be found here. But it’s a very good way to spend time if you like these kind of flicks.
★★★★ 4/5 stars
Near Dark
I’ve heard it’s considered a ‘lost gem of the 1980s horror’ by some. Well, I think it’s just crap with a 1980s patina on it.
☆☆☆☆ 1/5 stars
Prince of Darkness [Rewatch]
Again a case of “in my memory, it was better back then”. Well, it probably was, because at that time, hundreds of hours of other similar material did not yet exist and also I hadn’t known much horror. But now, with the passing of time and gained (media) experience: Not so great anymore.
★★★☆☆ 3/5 stars
Men in Black [Rewatch]
Reeks of 1997 summer blockbuster, in a bad way. One can watch it without feeling dirty, but my main impression of it nowadays is just: Meh…
★★★☆☆ 3/5 stars
Freddy vs. Jason [Rewatch?]
Found this one (and the Freddy remake) while browsing on Netflix. Ran mostly in the background.
☆☆☆☆ 1/5 stars
A Nightmare on Elm Street [Rewatch]
Can’t remember much of the orginal Nightmare (which I probably saw, as a cut version, back then on TV), but this one simply looks darker and more grim, but just doesn’t have any real identity of its own or charisma (if a film can have that…).
★★☆☆☆ 2/5 stars
Lucy
So, the downward spiral of Luc Besson continued: The first ten minutes or so of this botch are actually promising – but then it goes totally bonkers and off the deep end.
☆☆☆☆ 1/5 stars
Ferdinand
A family-friendly animated feel good movie. OK for what it it.
★★★☆☆ 3/5 stars
Hellboy II: The Golden Army [Rewatch]
And yet another case of “worse than I remembered it”. Even the character of Hellboy himself is not as much fun as I thought it was. The rest is also just so-so.
★★★☆☆ 3/5 stars
The Mortuary Collection
Now that was a pleasent surprise: Horror anthology films are almost always a mixed bag of quality, but this one actually is pretty good from beginning to end.
★★★★ 4/5 stars
Black Water [Rewatch]
Back then, I picked it up on late night television and was positively surprised. And now, after a second viewing, my verdict is this: Yes, nice, a low budget horror thriller – but unfortunately, with a couple of very bad decisions in the screenplay near the end. And through that, the “suspension of disbelief” is stressed simply too much for my liking. That brings the rating down from ‘good’ to ‘mediocre’.
★★★☆☆ 3/5 stars

TV

The Boys — Season 2
Of course, the wow-effect of the first season has worn off and this season also starts a bit slow (especially in regards to the actual Boys), but by the end, it was again a bloody fun.
★★★★ 4/5 stars
Gangs of London — Season 1
Very classy looking gangster-family series, with a good amount of action. In the last third of the season, a few weird decisions and developments happen, with which I’m not totally happy, but if this show gets another season, I’ll watch it.
★★★★ 4/5 stars
The Alienist — Season 1, Episode 1
I only watched one epsiode of it: Although I like the setting and time: The plot, the pace, the characters, the actors and everything else just felt off to me. Normally, I give a show more time (there are enough cases when something needs some time first to come to full bloom), but here the combination of all the negative points that I mentioned before was just overwhelming. And since there’s too much else on my watchlist anyway, this one had to go.
☆☆☆☆ 1/5 stars
The Expanse — Season 3 & 4
Funny, how some things evolve: I know that this show is highly praised by many SF geeks (but doesn’t seem to find a mainstream fanbase), and I could see why that is when I watched seasons 1 and 2 a while ago.

I did like it back then, but for some reason, I was not really hooked by it. So, I paused for a while after those two seasons. And now, a few years later, season 3 and 4 had been released in the meantime, and season 5 is now pending for publication in a few weeks. And what can I say: I more or less binge-watched those two recent seasons and am now totally hooked!

In my understanding, the show hasn’t changed that much to the first two seasons, so I guess it’s my state-of-mind, my mood, point in life, or whatever in comparison to before. *shrug*

Anyways, back to the show itself: Interesting story arcs and plot points, a rather dark/gritty/real setting. Almost all characters are drawn in shades of gray when it comes to motivation and ethics/morale; and they are not acting ‘dumb’ (I find that is often enough the case in “Hollywood Stories”: In many other films or shows, things only happen because the characters are written that way and don’t communicate properly).

So, I can hardly wait for season 5! Highly recommended!
★★★★★ 5/5 stars

The Politician — Season 1
It had a few nice ideas, but not enough for a full (but short) season and the absurd and dark humor also only briefly flashed up here and there (and less and less, as the show progressed). Also, the plot points didn’t seem to be thought out well enough or maybe the creators didn’t have enough material: The ‘political campaign’ is done after half of the season and then the second half of this brief season wanders off into nothingness.

After the last episode (which gave a insight into the second season) and reading a few reviews for season 2, I decided that this one was enough; good riddance!
★★☆☆☆ 2/5 stars