Without Name (2016)

Without Name
Director: Lorcan Finnegan
Writer: Garret Shanley
Cast: Alan McKenna, Niamh Algar, James Browne,
Part of: /slash Filmfestival
Seen on: 6.5.2017
[Review by cornholio.]

Plot:
Eric (Alan McKenna) is a land surveyor who is sent to measure a remote forest. Exactly what he measures the forest for is unclear to Eric, but he doesn’t really care as it affords him the perfect opportunity to get away from his family for a bit. Which is particularly attractive because Eric is accompanied by his student and assistant Olivia (Niamh Algar) with whom he is having an affair. But instead of romantic seclusion, what they find is strange occurrences in their hut and in the forest itself.

Wow. Without Name absolutely blew me away. The film, its strangeness and above all its atmosphere really got under my skin. I’ve thought often about it since I saw it, and I get goosebumps every time I do.

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Nova Seed (2016)

Nova Seed
Director: Nick DiLiberto
Writer: Joe DiLiberto, Nick DiLiberto
Cast: Joe DiLiberto, Nick DiLiberto, Shawn Donovan, John Jellinek, Julie Kirkelos, Joel MacMillan
Part of: /slash Filmfestival
Seen on: 6.5.2017
[Review by cornholio.]

Plot:
In a crumbling world, a NAC – Neo Animal Combatant, a mix between lion and human – is on a mission: he has to free, and protect, the Nova Seed. It is an incredibly powerful being that can create or destroy, depending on the hands that control it. And currently it is very much in the wrong hands – the hands of Doctor Mindskull.

As the passion project of one guy – who drew every single frame of this animated film by hand – I expected Nova Seed to be much more unconventional than it was. Unfortunately the story behind the film is better than the story in the film.

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Another WolfCop (2017)

Another WolfCop
Director: Lowell Dean
Writer: Lowell Dean
Sequel to: WolfCop
Cast: Leo FafardYannick BissonAmy MatysioJonathan CherrySerena MillerDevery JacobsKris BlackwellAlden Adair
Part of: /slash Filmfestival
Seen on: 6.5.2017
[Review by cornholio.]

Plot:
Lou Garou (Leo Fafard) is a cop in the small town of Woodhaven, but also an alcoholic and a werewolf. Even though he likes to spend most of his time alternately getting drunk and nursing hangovers, crime doesn’t sleep. And when a mysterious, probably alien plot unfolds in Woodhaven, that involves a impregnating beer from a microbrewery, it’s up to Lou to save everybody.

I wasn’t particularly taken with the first WolfCop and this one repeated all the mistakes of the first film and had the additional disadvantage of not being a new idea anymore.

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Prevenge (2016)

Prevenge
Director: Alice Lowe
Writer: Alice Lowe
Cast: Alice Lowe, Gemma WhelanKate DickieTom DavisJo HartleyKayvan NovakMike WozniakTom Meeten
Part of: /slash Filmfestival
Seen on: 5.5.2017
[Review by cornholio.]

Plot:
Ruth (Alice Lowe) is seven months pregnant and rather lonely. Also, of course, nervous. When the midwife (Jo Hartley) tells her that there’s no need to be nervous, the baby will let her know what she has to do, Ruth listens. And her baby does speak to her, telling her to kill. And Ruth listens to that as well, going on a rampage that should get finished before her baby is actually born.

I really loved Prevenge. It’s funny, cleverly and surprisingly understated, has a great concept and an excellent performance by Lowe in all the many jobs she did for the film.

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El bar [The Bar] (2017)

El bar
Director: Álex de la Iglesia
Writer: Jorge Guerricaechevarría, Álex de la Iglesia
Cast: Blanca SuárezMario CasasCarmen MachiSecun de la RosaJaime OrdóñezTerele PávezJoaquín ClimentAlejandro Awada
Part of: /slash Filmfestival
Seen on: 5.5.2017
[Review by cornholio.]

Plot:
In a small bar in Madrid run by Amparo (Terele Pávez) and her cook Sátur (Secun de la Rosa), a group of people comes together who couldn’t be more different. They all plan to go their separate ways when a shot rings out in the streets, striking down one of the customers who just left. A rescue attempt also ends deadly. As they don’t dare to leave anymore, they try to figure out what is going on inside the cafe which quickly leads to them turning on each other.

When I saw El Bar at the festival, it hit me at a bad time and I slept a lot during the film. The parts I saw weren’t really to my liking, and my track record with de la Iglesia is spotty to put it mildly. Nevertheless when I saw that the film had hit netflix, I decided to give it another try. Just to be fair. I shouldn’t have bothered.

[SPOILERS]

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Ron Goossens, Low Budget Stuntman (2017)

Ron Goossens, Low Budget Stuntman
Director: Steffen HaarsFlip Van der Kuil
Writer: Steffen Haars, Flip Van der Kuil
Cast: Tim HaarsBo MaertenMichiel RomeynHenry van LoonMaartje van de WeteringWaldemar TorenstraTygo GernandtDennie ChristianThomas Acda
Part of: /slash Filmfestival
Seen on: 5.5.2017
[Review by cornholio.]

Plot:
Ron (Tim Haars) didn’t amount to much in his life. He does have a wife, Angela (Maartje van de Wetering), he at least used to like at some point, but by now his life mostly consists of getting drunk and getting involved in a dangerous stunt while inebriated. But when one of his stunts is filmed, put online and becomes a viral sensation, Ron finds himself in high demand as a stuntman who costs little and risks a lot. When Ron discovers that Angela slept with pretty much everybody and isn’t interested in him anymore, he wants to try everything to get her back. So Angela tells him he needs to prove his manliness by seducing Bo Maerten (Bo Maerten), the biggest filmstar around.

Ron Goossens, Low Budget Stuntman is the kind of film that should leave you laughing while you ponder the tragedy of Ron’s existence. But that concept didn’t really come together for me, so the film fell a little flat, despite quite a few strengths.

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XX (2017)

XX
Segment 1: The Box
Director: Jovanka Vuckovic
Writer: Jovanka Vuckovic
Based on: Jack Ketchum‘s short story
Cast: Natalie BrownJonathan WattonPeter DaCunhaPeyton Kennedy
Segment 2: The Birthday Party
Director: St. Vincent aka Annie Clark
Writer: Roxanne BenjaminSt. Vincent aka Annie Clark
Cast: Melanie LynskeySeth DuhameSanai VictoriaSheila VandLindsay Burdge
Segment 3: Don’t Fall
Director: Roxanne Benjamin
Writer: Roxanne Benjamin
Cast: Casey AdamsBreeda WoolAngela TrimburMorgan Krantz
Segment 4: Her Only Living Son
Director: Karyn Kusama
Writer: Karyn Kusama
Cast: Christina KirkKyle AllenMike Doyle
Part of: /slash Filmfestival
Seen on: 4.5.2017
[Review by cornholio.]

XX is a strong and very entertaining anthology film that I enjoyed a lot. I particularly loved the animated transition sequences between the segments by Sofia Carrillo that turned into its own small story in the end.

But of course, there was also much to like about the actual segments of the film – I talk about each individually after the jump.

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Shin Gojira [Shin Godzilla] (2016)

Shin Gojira
Director: Hideaki AnnoShinji Higuchi
Writer: Hideaki Anno, Sean Whitley
Cast: Hiroki HasegawaYutaka TakenouchiSatomi IshiharaRen Osugi
Part of: /slash Filmfestival
Seen on: 4.5.2017
[Review by cornholio.]

Plot:
The coast guard inspects an abandoned yacht just outside Tokyo when they are attacked by something. Viral footage of the incident quickly makes the rounds and reaches Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Rando Yaguchi (Hiroki Hasegawa). As the cabinet tries to figure out what exactly happened and what next steps are necessary, Yaguchi puts forward the theory that it looks like an animal attack. When he is proven right – there is an massive animal wreaking havoc and that makes its way onto land, where it evolves -, Yaguchi is tasked with figuring out this creature.

Shin Godzilla brings a couple of (to me) fresh ideas to the kaiju movie genre, but it still didn’t manage to win my kaiju-averse heart over.

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Nong hak [Dearest Sister] (2016)

Nong hak
Director: Mattie Do
Writer: Christopher Larsen
Cast: Amphaiphun PhommapunyaVilouna PhetmanyTambet Tuisk
Part of: /slash Filmfestival
Seen on: 4.5.2017
[Review by cornholio.]

Plot:
Nok (Amphaiphun Phommapunya) travels to Vientiane, the Lao capital, to be with her sister Ana (Vilouna Phetmany) who recently turned blind and needs help. Nok, who so far has lived in a small village in relative poverty, is impressed by the rich lifestyle of her sister, who married the white, shady businessman Jakob (Tambet Tuisk). The relationship between the sisters is contentious, and Nok tries to use her new position mostly for her own gain, even at the cost of others. But it appears that Ana is still able to see something – only what she sees may not be exactly on this plane of reality.

Dearest Sister (which I actually crowdfunded, so it was a double pleasure to see it in cinemas here) was engaging throughout, although I did have a couple of issues with it and it didn’t quite blow me away. Still, it was a good watch.

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Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017)

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
Director: James Gunn
Writer: James Gunn
Based on: Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning‘s comic
Sequel to: Guardians of the Galaxy
Cast: Chris PrattZoe SaldanaDave BautistaVin DieselBradley CooperMichael RookerKaren GillanPom KlementieffSylvester StalloneKurt RussellElizabeth DebickiChris SullivanSean Gunn, Seth Green, Michael Rosenbaum, David HasselhoffVing RhamesMichelle Yeoh, Jeff GoldblumStan Lee
Part of: Marvel movies
Seen on: 3.5.2017

Plot:
Peter (Chris Pratt), Gamora (Zoe Saldana), Drax (Dave Bautista), Rocket (Bradley Cooper) and Baby Groot (Vin Diesel) have made quite a reputation for themselves. People have even started to ask them for help. But it’s not easy to leave your old habits behind and when Rocket not only helps but also steals, one thing leads to another and the group find themselves crashing on a planet where they meet Ego (Kurt Russell) and Mantis (Pom Klementieff). This is not a coincidence: Ego tells Peter that he is his father, throwing him for quite a loop. But trouble has only just begun.

I was not a fan of the first Guardians of the Galaxy movie to begin with, and I thought that Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 was even weaker. At least Baby Groot was cute.

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