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"Thanksgiving" is an entertaining slasher but fails to innovate within the subgenre.
"Thanksgiving" has an excellent trailer, rave reviews and is a box office success, but it seemed a little overrated to me. I think the film would have been better if it had continued exactly with the atmosphere of the fake 2007 trailer. The product as a feature film has all the classic elements of the slasher, but with a script whose story becomes predictable and the identity of the murderer is easy to guess from the middle of the film, in addition the tremendous use of humor takes away the seriousness of the suspenseful scenes. Eli Roth's direction is decent, the performances do their job, the cinematography is good without offering anything spectacular, leaving it as a film that lacks more charisma. The best thing about this film is its tribute scenes to other slasher films such as "Halloween", "Happy Birthday to Me", "Friday the 13 Part 2", "Scream", "I Know What You Did Last Summer" and "I Still Know What You Did Last Summer", among others, in addition to the extremely successful gore scenes. "Thanksgiving" is an entertaining slasher but fails to innovate within the subgenre.
A film that manages to be good, but could have gone further with a better structured script in its final act.
"The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes" is a good film that, as a prequel, managed to interest me in its story without having first seen the other films or read the "The Hunger Games" novels. The production is of a spectacular level, the script divided into three acts is effective, the first is dramatic and manages to generate sympathy with the main characters, the second act has good action scenes and manages to have good tension that makes you worry about the characters, but the third and last act is weak, slow but has well-directed dramatic moments. The performances are good, highlighting Rachel Zegler who also shows off her voice in several songs, and Viola Davis brings to life a unique character. The cinematography is not excellent but it does its job. The music composed for the film is its greatest success, highlighting the dramatic, action and suspense scenes. A film that manages to be good, but could have gone further with a better structured script in its final act.
A simple but effective film.
"Wish" is a film that, without being excellent, turns out to be entertaining and worthy of celebrating Disney's 100th anniversary. The script provides a positive message and gives tribute scenes to Disney animated classics. The animation technique is a mix between current and past, the computer generated animation is well done and there are some backgrounds done with the old school hand animation technique, both mixed together masterfully. The musical themes begin with a soulless song but the next ones manage to stand out in lyrics and musical arrangements. The production achieved a good result but could have gone further. A simple but effective film.
All Fun and Games (2023)
An entertaining horror film without further pretensions.
"All Full and Games" has a boring trailer and when you watch the movie the result is better but not excellent either, it is just another entertaining and predictable movie. The leading actors give good performances, the cinematography stands out in lighting and together with the filming locations they achieve a gloomy atmosphere, although the camera movements are not innovative. The script tells a simple but effective story: a curse in Salem, Massachusetts and mixes the elements of supernatural cinema on the theme of witches and ghosts with also elements of the slasher subgenre. The digital special effects are bad, they look really unreal. An entertaining horror film without further pretensions, perhaps the fact that it was co-produced by three countries was the reason why it did not make it any further, there were probably disagreements between the production companies and the two directors who made it.
"V/H/S/94" is a film worth seeing, it has quality and nostalgia.
"V/H/S/94" is a film that surprised me, it is a good example of found footage. The prologue titled "Holy Hell" has good gore but is boring for most of its appearance.
The first segment titled "Storm Drain" is awesome, full of suspense and an excellent nineties setting. The script is really good, it takes elements of the urban folklore of the time, taking the idea of a creature in the style of the Chupacabra legend that became famous in Mexico and later reached the United States and the rest of the world. It also has tributes to "The Blair Witch Project" and even "Scanners" and "The Howling". It is worth highlighting its special effects and gore, which are of an extraordinary level.
The second segment "The Empty Wake" is extremely disturbing, full of suspense and with a well-written script, highlighting mainly the makeup effects and gore. In this segment there is also a notorious tribute to a famous scene from "The Blair Witch Project".
The third segment "The Subject" is the least successful of the film, telling a story with potential but that at no point provokes suspense or terror, nor does it give the impression of being realistic or set in the '90s. The special effects are computer generated and look quite fake, throughout its duration this segment looks like a video game. It's not totally bad but it does have lost potential.
The fourth segment "Terror" starts slowly but increases in intensity, the story is about a group that appears to be white supremacists with a closed mind and hypocritical ideology about weapons and religion, in addition to showing racism in their comments. The acting is good and you really think you are watching a video about ultra-right double moralistic fanatics, but the script takes a turn and presents what these men face and it is not something racist or paranoid, it goes on the supernatural side. Its special effects are good and this segment manages to raise interest in the film again after the lackluster third segment.
"V/H/S/94" is a film worth seeing, it has quality and nostalgia. The first two segments are the best, turning out to be excellent horror stories. The third segment is weak, the least interesting of all and the fourth turns out to be good but inferior to the first two. A well-made film in the end.
The Jester (2023)
"The Jester" vaguely delivers, the film's potential is entirely wasted.
"The Jester" is a film with potential but fails to fully exploit it. The script is simple, in some scenes effective and in others it becomes ridiculous, but the final explanation of the relationship between the titular character The Jester with the protagonist and her father is interesting. The performances are accomplished but not excellent, for his part Michael Sheffield gives a good performance as The Jester, although it is inevitable not to relate him to Art the Clown who came out first, since they share the same body language and the character seems to be a carbon copy of the already mentioned clown. The cinematography delivers in the night scenes, mainly those filmed outdoors, giving a good Halloween atmosphere and highlighting the orange and purple colors, but in some scenes it looks amateurish. The special makeup effects are gore and done in old school style giving a touch of realism to the film. The director's work was decent but he did not fully exploit his artistic capabilities. "The Jester" vaguely delivers, the film's potential is entirely wasted.
The Marvels (2023)
One more Marvel movie without any news.
"The Marvels" is another generic superhero movie based on Marvel comics, the script is simple and unpretentious, it does not even seek to tell a quality story, the dialogues are mainly bad, seeking to use easy and bland comedy in most of the scenes. The CG special effects look fake for most of their appearance. The cinematography is conventional and a few visuals manage to stand out. The music composed for the film goes unnoticed. Nia DaCosta's direction is weak (she had achieved a great first feature film and now with her second film she fails to direct it). The acting is average, this is due to how poorly the characters are written. The only really fun thing in this movie is Goose the cat and something to highlight is the animation during the end credits, the rest is just a production that doesn't achieve anything special. One more Marvel movie without any news.
Señora Influencer (2023)
A powerful film, a masterpiece!
"Señora Influencer" is possibly the best Mexican film of 2023, for months the trailer showed a comedy (with a twist in the plot), the promotional ones, as well as the posters, highlighted that it would be comic, the result is a biting parody that touches current affairs, being an influencer, dealing with trolls and haters on the internet, fame and superficiality shown in different characters, emphasizing depth in the protagonist Fátima Ferreira (also known as FatiFerri). The script touches on these elements with an elegant but biting, sincere parody and also leads us to tension by adding thriller elements that are also excellently executed by its director. The performances of the entire cast stand out, but the protagonist Mónica Huarte achieves a unique character full of nuances and who is charismatic. The production design is tremendous, it is worth highlighting the work of the cinematographer with such a vivid color palette, the music excellently coupled to the image and that highlights each scene and an avant-garde editing that gives power to the story. A powerful film, a masterpiece.
"Confesiones" is easily described as a masterpiece
"Confesiones" is a film with an excellently written script, full of intrigue and surprises. As the name of the film indicates, the confessions are tense and intense and are accompanied by a couple of uncomfortable scenes. Carlos Carrera's direction is effective and masterful. The cast is first class, starring the wonderful Claudia Ramírez who gives one of her best performances of her career, Luis Gnecco gives a wonderful performance and says one of the most impressive monologues in the history of cinema, Juan Manuel Bernal plays his character masterfully and comes to be liked and Emilio Treviño demonstrates talent and that he is one of the best young actors of the moment in Mexico. The cinematography is well done, offering an atmosphere that intensifies the suspense scenes and the production design is top-notch. "Confesiones" is easily described as a masterpiece, a current classic and the best Mexican film of 2023.
A film that manages to entertain with a good story.
"Hypnotic" is a film that, without being a masterpiece, ends up being good. The script is interesting and manages to be original within the genres it handles: action, mystery and thriller. The level of production sometimes feels weak, despite having had multiple producers and having been co-produced by 3 countries. The cast gives decent performances and Robert Rodriguez's direction is spot on. The cinematography manages to have a good level and the digital special effects are somewhere in the middle, since in scenes they look real and in others not so much. A film that manages to entertain with a good story.
Trolls Band Together (2023)
A passable film that falls below its predecessors.
After a fun second part, the third installment arrives: "Trolls Band Together", the weakest of the trilogy, with a simple script that tells of the family union in the form of the reunion of a pop group, the scenes fail to be dramatic or melodramatic, they are just bland, the villains are ridiculous and the musical scenes lack quality. The voice work of the actors is not outstanding, the musical themes fail to be memorable when listening to them in different scenes of the film and the design of the new characters is not innovative. The film manages to stand out thanks to its colorful animation with touches of glitter, gel objects, macrame and other materials related to crafts, achieving quality visuals. A passable film that falls below its predecessors.
Five Nights at Freddy's (2023)
A soft, fun and entertaining horror film.
"Five Nights at Freddy's" is a movie based on the famous video game saga of the same title. I have known its popularity since its inception but I have never played one of them but I have enjoyed this movie which is not really horror, but it is a light horror story that managed to thrill its fans and even me. The cast gives good performances, highlighting Josh Hutcherson and Matthew Lillard, as well as the young promise Piper Rubio. The cinematography is well done and the atmosphere is gloomy, the special effects and animatronics are excellently developed and the script tells a simple but interesting story from beginning to end. "Five Nights at Freddy's" is a fun and soft horror film that is reminiscent of "M3gan", a film released at the end of 2022 and which was a success at the beginning of 2023, now at the end of the year this new film arrives with the same charm.
An incredible film that qualifies as a masterpiece.
"Radical" is an endearing and excellently directed film, managing to tell a true story that happened in the 2011-2012 school year in Tamaulipas, Mexico. The script emphasizes the story of a very peculiar teacher and his students, all of whom manage to captivate with how excellently written they are. The story also touches on themes of children dropping out of school due to irresponsible parents or even crime. The cast gives dedicated performances that increase the dramatic factor. The cinematography is good and highlights aspirations, decadence and hope. An incredible film that qualifies as a masterpiece.
The Equalizer 3 (2023)
It's not a masterpiece but it is a good movie.
"The Equalizer 3" is a good action film that moves away from the falsehood of many films of this genre that have been released during the last two decades, in which characters perform physically impossible acts, scenes with flying cars and illogical decisions of its characters who remain unscathed in any implausible situation. In "The Equalizer 3" the action scenes are taken realistically and are not exaggerated in their execution, in addition to giving explicit gore scenes done in the old school style. A great success of the film is its cinematography, which is perfectly done and results in a visual delight in camera movements and lighting work, in addition to exploiting the beautiful filming locations. The script tells a story that is not so original but that manages to connect with the viewer. The performances are good, with the always incredible Denzel Washington standing out. A film with a story that is not so original but that manages to stand out and whose production is a first-rate job.
The Exorcist: Believer (2023)
A soulless sequel.
"The Exorcist: Believer" is a film whose trailer was better and which promised an old school style story but adding new elements, the result was not terrible but it was bad. The script starts without much interest, the scenes of the first symptoms of demonic possession were quite simple and did not create tension, the exorcism scenes fail to stand out and feel illogical, during this part of the film it manages to have a couple of good scenes. Using characters from the original film makes no sense, their participation is almost irrelevant but it is nice to see them again. Within the aforementioned script, an attempt was made to give it a new perspective with the theme of religions and a union with a common good, but it completely fails to innovate and they treat it in a simple way. The performances are average, the two possessed girls do not achieve the masterful performance that Linda Blair achieved in 1973. David Gordon Green fails miserably in his work as a director, the cinematography is decent, on the soundtrack it is appreciated to hear the legendary "Tubular Bells" although with certain changes that are not poorly achieved and the makeup effects look gloomy. The positive points are few and the negative ones are more, a soulless sequel.
The Creator (2023)
"The Creator" is a film whose script surrounds the current topic of artificial intelligence and mixes it with political and theological elements, achieving a pleasant surprise. The aforementioned script shows the human nature of wanting to destroy and dignifies the existence of artificial intelligence (ironically from a sympathetic human perspective) and although the story has some ups and downs, it manages to come out successfully. The technical part is well done with first-rate cinematography, a sound design that is great and filming locations that are exploited to the maximum. The acting is tremendous, especially in the dramatic scenes. "The Creator" is a great film with many positive points, and although its audiovisual narrative is somewhat slow, it is also effective in what it tells.
Saw X (2023)
"Saw X" is a film that tells a more personal story of John Kramer, the script successfully achieves this purpose and also provides an excellent change in the character of Amanda Young, giving her a lot of sympathy. Tobin Bell and Shawnee Smith excel in their characters not as villains, but as redeemers of troubled people and this theme is further deepened in this tenth part. The cast includes Norwegian Synnøve Macody Lund, and Mexicans Renata Vaca, Octavio Hinojosa and Paulette Hernández, all of whom give good performances. The cinematography is well done and the director's work is noticeable. Definitely this film co-produced by The United States, Mexico and Canada achieves great old school gore effects (except for a couple that are digital) and mainly shows that more human side of John Kramer and Amanda Young, resulting endearing. A great tenth part of this franchise!
Sobreviviendo Mis XV (2023)
A more complex story than it appears to be.
"Sobreviviendo Mis XV" is a film that may sound simple, but the script touches on a more complex story about what it takes to throw a quinceañera party in Mexico and the rest of Latin America, from debt to family problems and in other cases successful parties. This time the plot focuses from the perspective of a lower-middle class teenager whose family has risen to a high economic position and the clash of cultures she has with her traditional parents and her wealthy friends from her new high school. Her parents want a "naca" party (related to Kitsch) and her friends want something "fresa" (related to elegance), during the course of the film its protagonist has a metamorphosis from girl to woman, a change that is about finding yourself and being accepted as such. The worlds of the different social classes from their clash end up accepting each other, perhaps momentarily but they deal with the tastes of others and give Danae, the protagonist, her change to the life of a teenager who begins to mature as a human being. The performances fulfill their purpose, and it is worth mentioning that the cinematography goes through well-made processes and from there it is underplayed in some scenes, perhaps trying to portray the cultural clash of what is considered in bad taste and what is considered in good taste (or maybe it's just not so well done cinematography). In general, the film succeeds in entertaining in a more discreet but satirical way and touching on dramatic elements of the now obsolete quinceañera parties. A film that fulfills its purpose of existing and although it does not show it in its cinema trailers, it tells an interesting story from the most traditional perspectives of Mexico and the perspectives with American and European overtones that have also been adopted in Mexico.
A Haunting in Venice (2023)
A film that only deserves praise.
"A Haunting in Venice" is a splendid adaptation of the incredible novel "Hallowe'en Party" by the legendary writer Agatha Christie, the script being adapted by Michael Green resulting in a well-crafted suspense and mystery story full of good dialogue that give emphasis to the plot. Kenneth Branagh's direction hits the spot masterfully and his performance as Hercule Poirot is magnificent, definitely the best of the three films based on works by Agatha Christie that Branagh has directed and starred in. The cast is made up of famous quality actors, highlighting the performances of Tina Fey, Camille Cottin, Kelly Reilly, Michelle Yeoh and Jude Hill, the latter demonstrating that he has a promising career as an actor. The cinematography made by Haris Zambarloukos is a visual delight that achieves a gothic setting by taking advantage of the filming locations, in addition to the work he provides between shadows and chiaroscuros achieving a gloomy result and generating a perfect Neo-Noir aesthetic. The editing work deserves to be mentioned for how excellent it is, the production design is great, the costume design is of high quality and the soundtrack composed for the film is totally effective. A film that only deserves praise.
The Dive (2023)
A decent film.
"The Dive" is a film with a simple story that feels like you've already seen it, but the script manages to interest you to a certain degree and the suspense is much better in the surface scenes than in the underwater ones. It is worth mentioning that the mix between drama and suspense provides a good touch, generating concern for both main characters. The performances of the protagonists are good, the sound design manages to be of quality and the cinematography is very good, achieving great aquatic shots. A decent film that, without being excellent, manages to tell a story that sometimes becomes suffocating.
The Nun II (2023)
Better than "The Nun" (2018) but this sequel also fails to stand out.
"The Nun II" is a superior film to the first part released in 2018, but not outstanding, only vaguely better. The script has positive and negative moments, the film starts well but from the middle it becomes tedious except for a couple of scenes, the most notable scene is somewhat unnecessary and out of place in the story, this aforementioned scene is that of the devil in the form of a goat that manages to capture interest, on the other hand the short scene of the Warrens does not add anything to the plot and also includes an illogical and not very credible ending. The cinematography is good, the atmosphere is gloomy and it takes advantage of the filming locations in that abbey turned into a boarding school. The music composed for the film does not achieve tension and goes unnoticed. The cast puts in good performances. The work of the director of the film could have been better. A strong negative point are the digital effects that look unrealistic and poor quality. A film with a promising beginning but then it goes into a tailspin, managing to give one or another salvageable scene.
"Retribution" is a movie whose trailer caught my attention but made me doubt the quality of the script, seeing it completely exceeded my expectations. The script is based on the movie "El desconocido" (2015) which has already had other remakes in recent years. "Retribution" for being a remake manages to have a lot of quality, the action and mainly the suspense are present throughout the film. The cinematography is good and manages to have daring camera movements. The performances are excellent, Liam Neeson and Embeth Davidtz show their great acting skills, for his part Jack Champion shows that he is no longer a young film promise, he has already fully established himself as an actor with three films released in less than a year and where he demonstrates his talent, and Lilly Aspell at her young age gives an incredible performance. It's good to see Neeson again in a quality movie like "Retribution."
Funny irreverent comedy film!
"Strays" is a black humor film with a script that goes beyond its irreverent jokes and situations, achieving quality comic moments, also the script is not just a story of acid jokes, it also has messages about the dignity of dogs and that they should have love and a decent home. The voice work of the main cast is perfectly suited to their canine character. The computer generated special effects are effective without being totally realistic, the cinematography is well done without being wonderful, the music composed for the film goes unnoticed, and the editing does the job. A film whose technical part is not new but whose script is highly funny in an irreverent way.
A slasher with some good moments but fails to be innovative.
"Rupintojelis" is a slasher film with an unoriginal plot, being one more version of the many that exist of the classic "Friday the 13th", the script of this film is full of clichés that are absurd, only innovating with a protagonist who is annoying but whose character is quite unusual within the attitudes that he presents to the situation experienced, being an egoist who goes in counterpart to the good final girl or the young man who fights for the protection of his friends. The deaths are silly and only a couple become realistic. The performances are good but none really stand out. The cinematography looks like something out of a cheap 2000's TV movie. The music composed for the film does not attract attention and goes unnoticed from how ordinary it sounds. A slasher with some good moments but fails to be innovative.
A modern horror classic perfect for Halloween.
"Cobweb" is a movie with a wonderful old-school style, the script, although at times it feels predictable or you have the feeling of "I've seen this before in another movie" is masterfully brought to the screen, achieving gloomy scenes but above all suspense scenes. The performances are excellent, the soundtrack is incredible and the cinematography is perfect, a visual delight full of chiaroscuro and shadows. The design of production is great, giving an extremely realistic autumnal atmosphere that takes you to Halloween night, at times it gives a seventies air although obviously the film takes place in the current era. A modern horror classic perfect for Halloween.