some quotes....

I just want to tell you, I'm the one who was supposed to take care of everything. I'm the one who was supposed to make everything okay for everybody. It just didn't work out like that. And I left. I left you... And now, I'm an old broken down piece of meat... and I'm alone. And I deserve to be all alone. I just don't want you to hate me.

-Randy 'The Ram' Robinson, The Wrestler

lundi 28 novembre 2016

One sentence reviews (9)

Phần 5
Phần 6
Phần 7
Phần 8

01. Noble (2015): 2.5/5

Hey, Vietnamese media, a major film about Vietnam, with Vietnam as principal setting! Anyone? I was surprised finding reading synopsis of this random film in the list of in-flight entertainment list, as I had no idea about the existence of this film or the benevolent lady named Christina Noble (her contribution deserves more attention from Vietnamese media). Her life is indeed extraordinary - a devoted [Catholic] Christian (just as her name) who, despite many, many heart-broken instants in life, still open her heart to the poor children of Vietnam without asking for any official recognition. But the film told her stories with a poorly-written script, full of unnatural moments, amateurish treatment of character development, shallow touch on the critical moments in Ms. Noble's life. The script is so sub-part that even the excellent production value and the decent cast could not prevent the film from being a total disappointment. Too bad for Ms. Noble, her noble life deserves a better film than this.

02. Self/less (2015): 2.5/5

A film with so much potential yet performed so poorly. Decent futuristic pretext, likeable cast, straightforward script, this film has all the ingredients to be at least an interesting sci-fi action like "In Time" (a severely under-reviewed film). But the film turned out to be a totally forgettable film of the B-movie calibre with nothing outstanding, nothing worth being remembered (which is really a pity given its simple yet solid and logic plot-line). The superb visual of Tersem Singh, which was showed off in all of his previous films, is also nowhere to be found - the film is so colourless, so unstylish, so monotone that one can hardly believe that this film is directed by the one who created magnificent works of colours and styles like "The Fall" or "Immortals". This film is actually exactly like the career of Ryan Reynolds - so many potentials, so many chances, yet fail every time (except for "Buried", maybe, as I have not watched that one yet, and I doubt that he can deliver in the much-anticipated "Deadpool").

03. Man Up (2015): 3/5

The ending is a really good one but the whole film is rather a "Meh". Simon Pegg still excelled as Simon Pegg, but the pure rom-com environment of this film, without much hints for creativity, did not give him a chance to shine, especially given his poor chemistry with the equally-unimpressive Lake Bell. Not worst of a film, but a totally forgettable one (85% fresh from RT, seriously?!).

04. Macbeth (2015): 4/5

A visually extraordinary and literarily beautiful film, which is an extremely authentic adaptation of Shakespeare's play. The cinematography is especially awesome, maybe to the level of Roger Deakins or Robert Elswit, with a colour palette so striking, so stylistic it felt more like a "moving classical painting" than a "motion picture". However, the strict adherence to authenticity, especially in term of dialogue, made the film a little bit too unreal, too detached, too "stage-like" to the modern audience, made them wonder what are the real meanings of such tragically epic but somehow dated words? Anyway, a technical marvel able to surpass the "style over substance" issue (like "300" or other Zack Snyder's films) by retaining its script's substance is already a rare film these days (sadly enough).

05. Timbuktu (2015): 4.5/5

The only bad thing I can think of this film is the fact that it is way too sad for a second-time watch. On the other hand, the football-match-without-a-ball sequence may be one of the most beautiful, tragic, and humanist sequences I have watched in recent years. The film might be too simple, and a little bit confused to be considered a "masterpiece". But its layered allegoric meanings and very, very relevant subject of extremism are enough for the audience to appreciate this film more than ever, in the wake of the Sinai bombing and Paris attack.

06. Hakase no aishita sûshiki (The Professor and His Equations) (2006): 4/5

The beauty of this film lies in the faithful adaptation by the director (and the writer) of the wonderful book by Yoko Ogawa. The simple and charming storytelling of the book was entirely transferred into the film, so were the affecting relationship between the characters, and the love between them and mathematics. Mathematics is often regarded as an emotionless and alienated subject, yet, this film proves that mathematics can be loved, and should be loved, since it is the gift from the nature for the sake of our enlightenment.

07. The Little Prince (2016): 1.5/5

THE MOST ANNOYING FILM I HAVE WATCHED THIS YEAR SO FAR. Poor "Le Petit Prince", one of the most iconic novels of the 20th century, one of the most beloved literary works for children was exploited as a background for a half-assed animation - half art-house, half Pixarized. Whereas "Le Petit Prince" has the most adorable characters, "The Little Prince" has the most annoying set of characters with one of the evillest mothers I have ever watched in films. They even dared to relegate the heroic pilot - a literary image of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry himself, into a crazy old man on the verge of life and death, how dare they! I respect the "Pixarized" artistic choice of visual style (the stop-motion sequences are excellent, but they were butchered and dwarfed by those Pixarized 3D scenes), I understand the philosophical implication of contrast between fantastic childhood and repetitive adulthood, between freedom of mind and constraint of reality. But of all the child novels, why do they have to choose "Le Petit Prince", a novel so pure, so enjoyable it really hurt watching it destroyed by poor character development, layers of clichés, and utterly boring script? They even took out the best quotes of the novel and put them in the cheesiest moments of the film! And the half-assed "homage" to French culture through some soundtracks and the original pages of "Le Petit Prince" (they used French for those pages, and made the characters read them out loud in English, what kind of inconsistency is this???) only added to the film's insult to the original novel. I really cannot understand why it had to be "Le Petit Prince" instead of Hans-Christian Andersen, Grimm Brothers, anything else? Why?!

08. Mr. Holmes (2015): 3.5/5

Ian McKellen is excellent as the "Old Holmes" (reminded me of Metal Gear Solid 4's "Old Snake"), but the film in overall is only above average due to the lack of true climax and twist-and-turn as a true "Sherlock Holmes film". The supporting cast is pretty disappointing due to a somewhat lacklustre script (even Laura Linney's talent could not help it, and hey, "the hot girl" from Mission Impossible V was also here, in an even smaller role) and confusing structure of three overlapping stories of presence, flash-back, and dementia-induced fantasy. The revelation of "the investigation" is decent enough, with an excellent scene by McKellen and Hattie Morahan, but the film in a whole felt a little bit boring, despite its effort of over-complicating the storyline. Still, it is very difficult to make a "thrilling" film out of such tepid subject of "being old", thus this film deserves commendation for its effort to shed a new light on the rather one-sided life of the famous detective.

09. Steve Jobs (2015): 4/5

A film with very, very unfortunate destiny. It reminded me of "Carnage", another very solid film with Kate Winslet, but flopped miserably in the box office. "Steve Jobs" is a fascinating film with powerful characters, subtle dialogue that reveals just enough for the audience to grab its meaning but requires them way more time to understand its subtext. The first "act" is kind-of slow, but the rest is simply exploding, especially the last confrontation between Jobs and his daughter (played by no other than the daughter of "Kill Bill"'s The Bride, who has grown up beautifully!). A very well-done film that deserves way more attention.

10. Listen To Me Marlon (2015): 4.5/5

Simply put, fantastic film, with many layers, from an "audible" memoire by Marlon Brando, to an incredible biography about the screen legend, and an in-depth monograph about cinema and the art of acting. The lack of "new" information is a set-back, but too tiny to be noticeable. An essential film for cinephiles.

11. Me and Earl and the Dying Girl (2015): 3.5/5

The film has a very interesting premise and opening with quirky but likeable characters, charming environment, and promising set-up. But the last two acts, especially the last one, are so conventionally melodramatic that they almost cancel out the uniqueness of the film. All in all, I prefer this film to "The Fault in Our Stars", but not by a mile. Kind of disappointing that such brilliant ideas were not maximized to make the film stand-out of the rest (teen comedy-drama).

12. Brooklyn (2015): 2.5/5

I have absolutely no idea why this film got 98% (8.6) in Rotten Tomatoes, not a single damn idea. This film is terribly predictable, characters and plots were terribly under-developed, and the message is terribly simple and naive (in short, the equally terrible trailer of this film already spoiled the WHOLE film, not a single surprise left). Even the much-praised role by Saoirse Ronan felt terribly short (in comparison with her sublime presence in "Atonement" almost ten years ago), nothing surprising, nothing breakthrough from the role. Of course, the film's optimism is much appreciated, especially in the context of a new USA where immigrants are no longer "liked" or a new Europe where immigrants are no longer "welcome". Thus, I absolutely do not hate this film. Its simplicity only wasted my time (yes, that is simplicity, not cinematic minimalism or any similar euphemism).

13. Carol (2015): 4.5/5

One of the best and most emotional 2015 films I have watched so far. The contrast between the depressing mood of the film and its (surprisingly enough) overall uplifting tone is really interesting. The acting is simply top-notch with Cate Blanchett delivering maybe her best performance in the career so far, way more humanistic and charming than her dominant role in "Blue Jasmine", whereas Rooney Mara proving again that the discontinuation of the "Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" trilogy (in which she played the lead) is indeed a big mistake. It is really surprise to me that the best romances I have watched these recent years are all about lesbian love, lesbian feelings - with "Blue Is the Warmest Colour" and "Carol" - their depiction of love, one deeply raw, innocent, and touching ("Blue"), one very light (as in "The Unbearable Lightness of Being"), full of struggles, and heart-warming. But both are even superior than that, both are "coming-of-age" stories about how people choose their lives and fight for that choice, about how love and happiness, as well as hear-broken moments and sadness, can form our characteristics, can make us stronger. This is the kind of film, and the kind of performances, that should win the Oscars.

14. The Big Short (2015): 4.5/5

Holy hell, one of the best films I have watched this year (actually last year, since it is 2016 already). The story is thrilling, the cast is awesome, even the "cameos" are incredibly fun and involving. Kudos to Brad Pitt, who once again produces a film just so he can be cast in a "God-like" role with plenty of awesomeness yet next-to-none significance. Maybe the second most entertaining film I have watched this year, only behind Mad Max that is.

15. Joy (2015): 3/5

Not as bad as I thought - speaking from whom hates David O. Russell's pretentiousness. At least, it seems that Russell really had fun making this film, a very entertaining one despite its discrepancy and out-of-nowhere deux ex machina. JLaw is also as good as ever, I do not really like her lack of subtlety, but by and by, she is, still, a great actress no matter what.

16. Room (2015): 4.5/5

Terrific film! Oh my... what a wonderful year for cinephiles like me! The best emotion rollercoaster I have seen recently. Normally a film can be either uplifting or heartbroken, not both, but "Room" is both! The film is so nicely made that I felt deeply enlightened watching this despite the confined space of the plane where I had to spend half a day up in the air. Except for a few confusing minutes at the beginning and the low energy of the middle part, the film is through and through excellent - perfect casting, perfect performance to the point that I totally forgave the quasi-pretentious voice-over of the son (who was terrifically played by Jacob Tremblay - he deserves at least an Oscar nomination this year, if not the golden statue itself). What a lovely film!

17. The Revenant (2015): 4/5

This is way more than a "Leonardo DiCaprio's film". This is an allegory about the tragic tale of the proud native people in America, who lived, and perished in their own land fighting to their last breath against the vastly superior Western white people, who care about nothing but the eternal wealth of the land. This is also a tale of the lost and found of the Christian belief in the land of wildness, of inhumanity, of craziness. I hope that people can appreciate this film more for what it is, not for the fact that this is another Leo's gamble for the golden statue. A terrific, and extremely beautiful film.

18. Mustang (2015): 4.5/5

One of the best films this year, a "2015 Timbuktu" that is. An extremely beautiful film that anyone can easily tell from its subtle yet heart-breaking poster. Youth and innocence are often excellent materials for cinema, but to mix these two ingredients with all those terrible subjects like religious inhumanity, sexual abuse, or absurdity of back-ward tradition is never an easy task. And this film is a masterful work that not only achieved such feat, but also deliver all those feelings in a thrilling and unforgettable way. I really hope that this film would win the Oscar to break the prize's monotony and to show people that a film can still be good, even excellent, with all the cultural and ideological restraints - the filmmakers only need to dig deeper, and think harder.

19. Godfather, The, 1902-1959 - The Complete Epic (1981): 5/5

Some people concern about the artistic continuity of this "compilation". I am not one of them, since I was absorbed during the whole 7 hours and 30 minutes of this compilation by the grandeur of the film in a whole, the legendary performance by every single one of the cast (Talia Shire a little less, I suppose), and the melancholic sentiment of the film. If you want to feel the power of cinema, this is definitely a right choice for you. Maybe it will take a very long time, if not never, for another film that can achieve such level of artistic perfection.

20. Anomalisa (2015): 3.5/5

Strange film, difficult to enjoy (as usual). Kaufman really needs a director with down-to-earth philosophy and superior visual like Michel Gondry to simplify his idiosyncratic complexity for the general audience.

21. Spotlight (2015): 3.5/5

Given its interesting context, this is simply a boring film without much contents. Subtlety is definitely there through emotional tensions, but the lack of actual substance and character development is disappointing considering the film has a very solid cast. Let's hope that we will not have one of the most forgettable Oscar for Best Picture with this film.

22. Marguerite (2016): 4/5

An extremely strange film. Very beautiful, very nostalgic, profoundly emotional, but confusing and lack of focus at the same time. One can say that watching this film is similar to having a dream, where the story flows from one setting to a totally different one in a heartbeat, where the protagonist of the first few sequences is relegated to just a tiny role by the end, where the underlying message bounces back and forth to the utmost astonishment of us - the audience (yes, similar to "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind", in a way). Those form the film's uniqueness, but such confusing script also undermined the emotion build-up that the director and the excellent cast had tried the whole film. Still, a very beautiful and heart-breaking film, an excellent experience to open a new [Lunar] year.

23. The Man From U.N.C.L.E. (2015): 3/5

The film has its moments, but in overall not really an impressive one. It seems that years working in Hollywood have gradually destroyed Guy Ritchie's distinctive vision and humorous sense, as the film felt flat with its jokes, whereas its 1960-ish look did not really stand out. The beautiful cast does not help either with two extremely good looking but utterly uncharismatic male leads and one under-used female protagonist. A forgettable film.

24. Goosebumps (2015): 2/5

Given its above-average review score, this film is a total disappointment to me. Shallow script, weak cast with an under-used Jack Black and over-used young but generic actors, unattractive CGI, cheesy moments. In one of the worst years of Sony/Columbia Pictures, this film seems to be even worse than "Pixels".

25. Sicario (2015): 4/5

The first one-third is incredibly exhilarating with well-paced action sequences and adequate tension build-up thanks to mysterious (and thus interesting) characters, authentic-looked setting, and stylish minimalism in editing. But the rest is simply dwindling in comparison, with a seriously under-used Emily Blunt, an under-developed storyline, and an dissatisfying closure (it seems that such ending serves as "opener" for a sequence, but this film's premise is good enough for an excellent standalone, why did they have to try to grab money from such good film?). Del Toro is still reliable as ever, but both Josh Brolin and especially Emily Blunt do not have any moment to shine with their one-sided characters. As any other film by Denis Villeneuve, the film's technicality is impeccable, but the lacklustre second half really hurts its chance to win major awards. An entertaining film by any mean, but Mexicans' suffering due to the drug war deserves a better cinematic depiction than this.

26. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: Sword of Destiny (2016): 2/5

Predictably terrible. That's all.

27. Straight Outta Compton (2015): 3/5

Not bad, but not outstanding either. A so-so script with a so-so cast and so-so direction. The disconnection between the evolution of the N.W.A band and the socio-economic climate at that time is disappointing, as the LA riot is a much more significant to the US history than as depicted in this film. With such quality, this film is far from an Oscar contender, let alone winning one (especially for the ordinary screenplay).

28. The Hateful Eight (2015): 4/5

Brilliant film, a much better one than "Django Unchained" with layered script, outstanding set-pieces, excellent performances, and memorable cinematography. Still, the ending seems to be a little bit wacky and over-complexed in comparison with a much more refined conclusion delivered by "Reservoir Dogs". Nevertheless, as Quentin only promises us ten films, each should be cherished, and they are all deserved to be cherished for their excellent quality. The fact that this film won Maestro Morricone his first competitive Oscar is another great thing about "The Hateful Eight". Set aside its lack of appearance at the Oscars, set aside its box office flop, let us celebrate the joy of true film-making and film-loving.

29. Monster Hunt (2016): 2.5/5

The CGI is impressive, for a Chinese film, even though the art style of "the monsters" looks very "Pixar-ish". The plot is silly, but coherent and very suitable as an all-age film (no wonder why it earned so much money in the Chinese market). The acting is terrible, though, and the musical sequences are absolutely out of place and unnecessary. This film reminds me of Stephen Chow's "Journey to the West: Conquering the Demons", but with even less originality and fun. A passable film, no more, no less.

30. Ip Man 3 (2016): 3/5

The "neo-wuxia" flavour is a nice touch (family over kungfu, love over pride) but otherwise the film is pretty bland, no character development (the inability to express true emotions of Donnie Yen et al. is to be blamed, but act better they surely cannot), no kungfu spectacle (the fighting scenes in this film look tame and unoriginal in comparison with its two predecessors, especially the first one where Sammo Hung was, and always is, the best kungfu master in bringing out the essence of Donnie Yen's ability). Yet, the film's production value is top-notch, the feeling is authentic, and the storyline, however confusing, is easy enough for the audience to catch up. This is a very friendly film to the Western audience, given its much reduced dose of Eastern wuxia's philosophy, the appearance of Mike Tyson (and "Bruce Lee"), and (amazingly enough, but obviously for a PG-13 rating reason) no blood. In a way that is a good thing, as the Western audience now can have some McDonald-style film to appreciate the beauty of the wuxia genre. At the same time, such dilution of the "Ip Man films" is a sad new to hardcore wuxia fans, since they will have more and more bland film like this. Maybe the series should be stopped now, before it totally detaches from its Eastern root.

31. Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016): 3/5

Not great, but not THAT bad (Rotten Tomatoes bad). The first dozens minutes are boring, but the rest is really engaging, entertaining, and different (from every other superhero films these days). Its visual reminds me of "Sucker Punch", but the story is more concise, focused, and meaningful. Of course, the confusing lead is a huge setback, but it cannot negate the efforts of the cast and crew in a whole. I hope that this film will do decently in the box-office, as I need a new breath into the superhero genre, rather than watching again and again and again the McDonalds of superhero genre - "Marvel cinematic universe".

32. The Boy And The Beast (Bakemono No Ko) (2016): 4/5

What a lovely and pleasant film that is! Visually speaking, this film easily sits among the best anime I have ever watched with a photographic beauty that is comparable to any live-action film out there. And typically for a Mamoru Hosoda's film, this film is simply delightful to watch and appreciate with its heart-warming story, humanist characters (despite most of them being "beasts"), and predictable yet cheerful treatment of tensions and climax. This film very much reminds me of Hosoda's own "Summer Wars" - exotic characters' appearance, multiple twist-and-turn, mixture of real world and "virtual" world, and focus on characters' struggle with their own selves. It feels, though, that "The Boy and the Beast" is a little bit campy towards the end. However, the fact that this film is much more cheerful to watch (than "Wolf Children") is already a good news to me, as I really love Hosoda's colourful and positive style, it brightens up my day. With the retirement of both Miyazaki and Takahata and the sudden death of Kon, Hosoda now has to bear the burden to lead Japanese animation moving ahead. It will be a long and winding road, and a true masterpiece is what Hosoda is still developing, but I really hope that his fantastic visual and profound humanism will finally end up with something big, something that makes the whole world appreciate, again, the uniqueness of Japanese animation.

33. Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens (2015): 3/5

This film got 92% from Rotten Tomatoes? A wonderful example of how we should not trust RT for how good, or how bad, a film is, period. The film is definitely one hell of a show with strong production value, tremendous soundtrack (kudos to Mr. Williams), [almost] seamless editing, and easy-to-swallow plot. Yet, the film gets campier and campier towards the end, the CGI is mediocre (no wonder why its lost the Oscar for Visual Effects to a much more smaller "Ex Machina"), and worst of all, the acting is terrible. From the old faces like Ford or Fisher to the newbie like Ridley or Boyega, the whole cast appears to have B-level of acting capability, no one standing out, even the usually dependable Oscar Isaac. In summary, this is a decent film to watch, but I have no idea how they can drag this kind of mediocrity to a whole new series, even a cinematic universe, I have no idea.

34. Kung Fu Panda 3 (2016): 3/5

Still cute, but much less innovative, visual-wise and story-wise, than its predecessors. Not a bad film, by any mean, but watching the same storyline about "finding one's true self" for the third time in a row, with the same set of characters, same style of storytelling, less creative and effective visual, is really not a desirable experience.

35. Captain America: Civil War (2016): 3/5

Aside from traditional fight between good and evil, the modern superhero genre has been dominated by three major themes: The struggle against inner self/to find true self (Nolan's "Batman" trilogy, Singer's "X-Men"), anti-hero antagonists ("Spiderman 2"), and the philosophical question "Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?" - "Who will guard the guards themselves?" ("Watchmen"). It seems that "Civil War" tried very hard in all three aspects, with not much results except for some entertaining fighting sequences and a confusing climax. It really was a pity that the surprisingly deep theme of "Who watches the watchmen" at the beginning of the film was gradually replaced with the ever-boring story of a pseudo struggle against one's self of the superheroes with a Marvel-ish ending that shows the script's lack of depth, or the laziness of the writers, or the disregard of the audience's intelligence, or a combination of all three. Moreover, despite its epic name ("Civil War"), the film did not feel "epic" at all with the fight between twelve superheroes appeared to be lopsided, poorly coordinated, and confusingly edited (the filming and editing were so confusing that "Civil War" reminded me of the infamous fighting sequences in the "Transformers" series where no one can understand "what the hell is happening"). Of course, "Civil War" had sequences that were very well choreographed and executed, but they mostly involved a small group of characters and thus felt pretty disconnected from the "bigger picture" of the "Civil War". In this respect, "Civil War" is even less impressive than the much more criticized "Batman vs. Superman", where the feeling of epicness ("terribilità") prevailed despite the poor control of the storyline.The disconnection was also apparent in the timeslot reserved for each character, with Iron Man and Captain America had so many more emotional and memorable sequences and lines that the rest of the cast seemed to just line up in the far corner of the storyline in the size of an "ant man". And yet, if one tries to stitch those emotional moments together, one will see that there is no connection between them either, thus, by the end, the film with so many memorable scenes seemed to be so unmemorable (or at least it had the audience "try to remember" only to miserably fail to do so - "Try to Remember" is a key song in the film). All in all, an entertaining yet forgettable film - a new pinnacle of the "McMarvel" model. (Spider-man's much-anticipated appearance did not help either, since he was as annoying as his "counterpart" Ant-Man was despite lengthy on-screen time).

36. Deadpool (2016): 3/5

Based on the extreme hype of this film over Reddit, I thought that this would be a very innovative film that exploits its R-rate effectively, with style. And I was wrong. This is just like any other PG-13 Marvel film, with a lot of breaking the fourth wall and an obnoxious dose of Buzzfeed-ish details about pop culture and sexual innuendo. The script is not at all innovative, with boring villains, next-to-none character development even for its titular Deadpool/Wade Wilson, who stayed most the same throughout the film, and ordinary aka. poor treatment of secondary characters - another "idiotic" sidekick, another "damsel-in-distress" girlfriend, really (?!). To some people, Deadpool's idiosyncratic "breaking-the-fourth-wall" style may seem to be appealing and fresh, but to me, its total lack of connection with the plot and tempo in a whole makes such scenes more like a gimmick than a true innovative storytelling device. The R-rate violence and sex in the film are also surprisingly boring and unimpressive, which make the film even less a breakthrough that many claimed it to be. And in fact, for an excellent R-rate superhero film that is both entertaining and innovative, we already have "Kick-Ass" to look upon, rather than this poor attempt by 20th Century Fox. I almost gave this film three and a half stars for its recurring reference of "Careless Whisper" and "Nothing Compare 2 U" (which fascinated me when I was a kid), but then I realized that such reference is another poor attempt to make the film look "cool", without any true connection to the film's theme or ambience. So, three stars and a total oblivion of this film and its possible future sequels/prequels, that were all I could give "Deadpool". Sorry.

37. Ali (2001): 3/5

Not (too) bad, but not really good either. Smith's performance is disappointing, but the script and Mann's "spreading" direction also need to be blamed. A forgetful film about an unforgettable historical figure, what a waste.

38. Zootopia (2016): 4/5

The first half is very strong with solid characters, cheerful plot, creative visual with a bright palette of colours. The excellent "The Godfather" parody and the surprising spirit of "film noir" in a Disney animated work are probably the best highlights of this part, and of the film in a whole (it even reminded me of "L.A. Confidential", incredible enough). However, the last half is pretty formulaic with poorly-developed villains, and inconsistent character development for the protagonists. Nevertheless, the film's tempo is excellently consistent throughout the film, whereas the uplifting spirit and visual remains strong until the very last minutes. That is more than enough for a Hollywood animated blockbuster these days.

39. The Neon Demon (2016): 2/5

Style over substance, that's all I can say about this film. If "Only God Forgive " still gave me interesting characters, the character development is paper-thin with a subpar cast, especially the lead Elle Fanning. This film is more an artsy experience than a fully-developed cinematic work. I can only hope that with this step down, Nicolas Winding Refn will spend more time to nurture a better "skeleton" of script and characters for his "meat" - visual and soundtrack.

40. Kalinka (Au nom de ma fille) (2016): 4/5

A decent dramatization of one of the most dramatic legal affairs in Europe this century. The editing is a little bit questionable, the "villain" was not as strong as the protagonist in term of character development, and the supporting cast is not really outstanding, but the struggle of the father to fulfill his last promise to his daughter was perfectly depicted with superb performance from Daniel Auteil. Even though I know this fascinating story from front to back, the film is still a deeply emotional watch - a feat that not many cinematic works can achieve these days.