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"Maybe not an upgrade, but still crazy Indian sci-fi action."
3 stars
Jay Seaver says... "The long-awaited sequel to Shankar's "Enthiran" is in some ways a lot more conventional than its predecessor; with no musical numbers and no romantic comedy subplots, it's less likely to cause the sort of severe whiplash suffered by people who had never seen this sort of masala film but were looking for a big sci-fi action movie. It's still pretty bizarre for folks who don't know what they're getting into, and a lot of fun, if not the insane, jaw-dropping roller coaster its predecessor was." (more)
"Science fiction made messy with care."
4 stars
Jay Seaver says... "A lot of independent science fiction films like "Prospect" hit the genre film festival circuit - mostly as shorts, but sometimes as features - and truth be told, many aren't very good despite the clear love for the genre and impressive effort put into creating a world with what they can find and build. What makes this one stand out is the same as what made the short version pop four years ago - not just being a notch better at creating a dingy analog future, but finding an impressive cast and building some tension there." (more)
"A growing-up cartoon."
4 stars
Jay Seaver says... "I'm guessing that a great many of us older siblings are going to watch "Mirai" and be amazed that our parents did not justifiably murder us. We almost certainly had it coming, even if we were toddlers at the time, and I don't know of many other movies that have focused so strongly on that particular stage of growing up, certainly not with the charm and visual whimsy that Mamoru Hosoda brings to this one." (more)
"Court And Sparks"
5 stars
Peter Sobczynski says... "At first blush, “The Favourite” may strike most viewers as the kind of typically well-appointed example of Oscar bait that tends to flourish during the last weeks of the year. The period trappings, the killer cast top-heavy with award winners, hell, even the British-influenced spelling of the title all suggest something very serious and high-toned and presumably similar to too many other examples of previous cinematic museum pieces to mention here—some excellent and some—okay, many—that feel more like enormously expensive dioramas than anything else. After a few minutes of watching, however, it quickly becomes evident that this is not going to be that sort of movie after all and that viewers are going to be in for a much funnier and fascinating ride that adroitly juggles cheerfully bizarre and delightfully rude humor, moments of genuinely felt emotion and stellar performances from three wonderful actresses in an acerbic meditation on power, greed and jealousy that proves to be one of the most engagingly odd and compelling films of the year." (more)
"The tabby cat report is good."
4 stars
Jay Seaver says... "SCREENED AT THE 2018 FANTASIA INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL: "The Traveling Cat Chronicles" was the first film to play the festival lineup on this day, and it was a canny bit of scheduling not just because this was a more family-friendly movie than what makes up the bulk of this genre-heavy schedule, but because it's unapologetically sentimental in a way few other movies playing the event are. So, fine, let's get the day's crying done early and have fun with the rest of the movies; it's not like that will be unearned." (more)
"An unconventional but intriguing bit of Taiwanese art-house cinema."
4 stars
Jay Seaver says... "Huang Hsin-yao's "The Great Buddha+" seems like a movie that could use a little more context to be truly appreciated outside its own region, whether by seeing how it fits in with Huang's documentary work, what it adds to his short film "The Great Buddha", or just knowing a bit more about the part of Taiwan where it takes place. Taiwan's submission for the Academy Awards is an interesting bit of work, but likely richer with a bit more background." (more)
"Not a Single Laugh to be Found"
1 stars
Jack Sommersby says... "Came out the same year as "Swing Shift," which Hawn fared much better in." (more)
"Twice as crazy."
4 stars
Jay Seaver says... "SCREENED AT THE 2018 FANTASIA INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL: "Kasane" is not exactly subtle with the archetypes it plays with, announcing them in big, bold capital letters as the title character progresses from one stage of the film to another, giving the audience whiplash and making them pause to say "wait, what?" multiple times. But a fantasy that takes place in and around the theater can work with melodrama, and this one certainly does. It feels like it could become a huge cult film if it can get in front of people." (more)
"An online experience nearly as good as that in the arcade."
4 stars
Jay Seaver says... ""Ralph Breaks the Internet" may not be quite as delightful as "Wreck-It Ralph", but that's probably because its clever bits are more likely to poke fun at the present rather than dip into nostalgia, with the Disney jokes maybe a little more self-serving than self-deprecating. That was easy goodwill for the first movie, and the second has to try a little harder. Fortunately, it manages what it needs to just as well, getting a lot of laughs even as it makes a bit of an unexpected turn." (more)
"Could have been great, winds up a mess."
2 stars
Jay Seaver says... "For all the ways that this version of "Robin Hood" has been easy to mock since previews started appearing, I find myself respecting where it comes from. The filmmakers want to draw as direct a line as they can from the rich and powerful he stole from to the present day, and while they have to wreck the legend in some ways to try and make it work, and never quite gets there, good on them for tapping into it as socially-relevant mythology rather than something tame and regurgitated. They absolutely have the right idea. Too bad they keep screwing it up." (more)

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