SEOUL SEARCHING (2015)

Written & Directed By: Benson Lee Cinematography: Daniel Katz Editor: Steve M. Choe

Cast: Justin Chon, Jessika Van, In-Pyo Cha, Teo Yoo, Esteban Ahn, Rosalina Leigh, Albert Kong, Hee Jun Han, Crystal Kay, Nekhebet Kum Juch 

During the 1980s, the Korean government created a special summer camp for “gyopo” or foreign-born teenagers where they could spend their summer in Seoul to learn about their motherland. While the intentions of the program were honorable, the activities of the teens were not. The program was eventually canceled after a few years because the government simply could not control the youth. Seoul Searching is a teen comedy and coming of age film, based on a true story about one of the summer camps that took place in 1986.


While this is a fun nostalgic coming-of-age movie exploring the usual themes of finding oneself and their own identities. While growing up. This film is also about culture and trying to find it. As you are misplaced. As first-generation Americans coming to grips with your heritage and history. While managing to be both.

The film would be admirable if it could have stayed on that path and for the most part it does m. As a kind of John Hughes homage as most of the characters learn something and prove to be more than the cultural identities they came with.

Most characters seem lost between their American-style selves and who they are supposed to be back in their home countries. 

Then the film runs into a similar problem John Hughes was called on later in His career. Having little to no minorities in his films and the few he did playing into stereotypes and caricatures in his films. Notoriously long duk dong in SIXTEEN CANDLES and just like that film this one would have been near perfect if not for some unfortunate stereotyping. 

This is interesting considering that this is a film that is about a foreign culture but liberally uses the n-word and other derogatory names for dark-skinned characters and a group of characters who have chosen to identify with rappers and hip hop. Who is more played for laughs.

As the film is set in the 1980s some of the defense might be. Oh it was a different time, but still, the one mixed character not only barely gets any screen time but when she does she is treated at first as beautiful than as a bitch and disposable. 

The rapper wannabes are the ones mostly using the n-word, but their characters are treated as buffoons and comic relief. They are the few characters who get no dramatic epiphany and are gone before they can wear out their welcome. Meanwhile, the sexist, Racist good ole boy character who uses mostly racially charged derogatory terms amongst other bad behavior gets a chance to explain himself and get the audience to have sympathy for him. Which still runs the audience the wrong way. If not for that this film could be a total success, instead of wallowing in The same problems as the films that inspired it. 

As it has an original cultural story. An ensemble cast who each get character arcs and times to shine. Romance and even a mentor figure in their chaperone and teacher who has his own dark secrets and a drinking problem. 

It’s a worthwhile film if not for some dark clouds around it. As it does expose the audience to the culture and price of history they might not have known and gives a lesson for teenagers and foreign characters to identify with.

GRADE: B-

BLOOD RED SKY (2021)

Directed By: Peter Thorwarth  Written By: Peter Thorwarth & Stefan Holtz  Cinematography: Yoshi Heimrath  Editor: Knut Hake 

Cast: Peri Baumeister, Dominic Purcell, Carl Koch, Alexander Scheer, Kai Ivo Baulitz, Kai Setti, Roland Moller, Gordon Brown 

A woman with a mysterious illness is forced into action when a group of terrorists attempts to hijack a transatlantic overnight flight.


This film becomes entertaining throughout because it starts with what could have been a ridiculous yet simple plot of a vampire versus terrorists and keeps twisting the tale so that there are new challenges to keep you interested. Luckily the film Stays pretty dark and not cookie-cutter or some kind of superhero flick.

If anything it refreshingly uses vampire lore and manages to give us something unexpected with it.

The film is filled with action and horror. While it feels a bit long. You are never quite bored of anything. It shocks with taking out a character you expected to last longer and be the biggest foe. Instead the true villain is the live wire of the terrorists. He kind of displays his worst behavior early on before being neutered a bit but then coming back strong.

This story could have easily been a supernatural DIE HARD and instead actually comes through with an identity of its own. Though with just as much action and complications. Though this film is definitely more gory with less humor along the way. 

Smart in a Way as the film uses perceived prejudice to its advantage in certain situations and though the terrorists are bad one character proves to be the evilest as he is the catalyst later for all the horribleness that happens to the passengers. 

The film does offer a heroic character in a Muslim Passenger who always at least tries to do the right and most moral thing.

While at times it feels ridiculous the film does manage to keep you invested. 

In The end it does emphasize a mother’s love for her child. While not making the vampire immortal or barely have any weaknesses. 

GRADE: C+

SYSTEM CRASHER (2019)

Written & Directed By: Nora Fingscheidt
Cinematography: Yunus Roy Imer
Editor: Stephan Bechinger & Julia Kovalenko

Cast: Helena Zengel, Albrecht Schuch, Gabriela Maria Schmeide, Lisa Hagmeister, Melanie Straub, Maryam Zaree 

She is small but dangerous. Wherever Benni ends up, she is immediately expelled. The wild 9-year-old girl has already become what child protection services call a “system crasher”. And she is certainly not looking to change her ways. Because Benni has one single goal: to be back at home with her mommy. But Bianca is scared of her own daughter. Mrs. Bafané from child protection services is trying her best to find a permanent placement for Benni. She hires the anger management trainer Micha as Benni’s school escort and suddenly there is a seed of hope. Will Micha be able to succeed where all others despaired?


At first, wasn’t sure what to expect from this film. Seems basic at first watching a girl go through the Foster care system, but she is particularly violent and disruptive.

The film soon starts to show its hand with a character new to the case and situation. Who is tough yet caring but like the main character can’t seem to save her from herself. Even as he continuously tries and makes progress. 

When it comes to this film what is so heartbreaking is that every time it looks like the young female main character will be saved. Circumstances end up making the situation worse. 

Where it happens so many times it could almost be a running joke. Though each time it is presented it seems to be at a different level of desperation and rising emotional unraveling.

She is the major problem most times in all of these situations, but she is just a child, but more than A handful and violent who can’t seemingly calm down or manage her emotions. She is more a product of her environment and where she has been pushed by the adults in her life. 

We see what maybe inspires her. In her mother’s overwhelming false promises and keeps on taking in the obviously wrong men. Who seems more important to her than her kids.

This movie takes you on a journey with her, an emotionally raw one by the end you feel worn out and exhausted.

The only Person she bonds with is her Walker who had an anger problem himself and after some success, she eventually becomes too much for him a grown man. Though we learn more about her through their time together. He is constantly trying to protect her though he isn’t that conventional himself 

Throughout the film, it is a wild ride. As always there seems to be hope and some peace. Through a parent or savior, something goes wrong, usually through the behavior of the child. That she ends up living up to the title of the movie as her file. Where despite the many phases and programs for different types of children meant to save her. She fails through them all and is too young for others even the rock bottom last resort she seems too strong for.

Even though she can be innocent and charming. Like with her school walker’s wife. Soon enough she presents her scary angry side. This ends up leading to one of the more nail-biting scenes of the soon 

The film presents an ending that is ambiguous but seems like she will never stop or learn her lesson. As what starts out as a tantrum shows she kind of takes joy in causing trouble.

Grade: A-

SERVICE (SERBIS) (2008)

Directed By: Brillante Mendoza 
Written By: Armando Lao 
Story By: Armando Lao & Boots Agbayani Pastor 
Cinematography By: Odyssey Flores 
Editor: Claire Villa-Real 


 Cast: Gina Pareno, Jaclyn Jose, Julio Diaz, Kristoffer King, Dan Alvaro, Coco Martin, Mercedes Cabral 


A drama that follows the travails of the Pineda family in the Filipino city of Angeles. Bigamy, unwanted pregnancy, possible incest, and bothersome skin irritations are all part of their daily challenges, but the real “star” of the show is an enormous, dilapidated movie theater that doubles as family business and living space. At one time a prestige establishment, the theater now runs porn double bills and serves as a meeting ground for hustlers of every conceivable persuasion. The film captures the sordid, fetid atmosphere, interweaving various family subplots with the comings and goings of customers, thieves and even a runaway goat while enveloping the viewer in a maelstrom of sound, noise and continuous motion.

This is like Italian neo-realism only in the Philippines. The film-making is seamless almost like a documentary. The reason you know it’s not because little plot threads all come together in one day. The fact that the film takes place over one day doesn’t help.

As the movie goes I can’t say that you learn to like the characters. You Deal with them and see what they go through since they are the main protagonists.

The film Is about a family that runs a rundown porno theater that doubles as a place for hustlers to pick up a d be picked up. We more follow the in’s and outs of the duties and responsibilities that each member of the family must deal with which seems non-stop

Now, this is a true torture porn movie and it only Runs 85 minutes. It’s not a bad film, but after a while, it becomes hard to sit through all the hustle and bustle. They have to deal with and they manage to survive, but you have to remember. This is just an average day. Not like in horror movies where if you survive his you are safe or at least death comes eventually and relieves you of your pain.

Sitting here watching this film you remember that things are bad In Third-world countries like this and these people will most likely live their whole lives like this. And then pass it to the next generation. That is the true horror and nightmare of the situation.

The film. Is filled with gratuitous sex. Though that is clear in its background it is not the film’s focus. This is not a film that offers any hope or chance for some kind of change. It has a few, very few lighthearted moments.

The film gives you a glimpse into a foreign land and lifestyle that is gripping, but reminds you to be happy with what you have as it could be worse.

 Grade: B+

ALL MY FRIEND’S ARE DEAD (2020)

Written, Edited & Directed By: Jan Belcl 
Cinematography: Cezary Stolecki 

Cast: Julia Wieniawa, Adam Turczyk, Nikodem Rozbicki, Aleksandra Pisula, Monika Krzywkowska, Szymon Raszak, Michael Sikorski, Paulina Galazka, Adam Bobik

During the New Year’s Eve party of a bunch of friends, a series of crazy events brings out secrets, breaks hearts and leads to a shocking ending.


This film plays out like a 1980’s party film where a horror film finally starts to come into play in bits and pieces. Due more to the more macabre deaths and subject matter.

Even the soundtrack has nothing but purely 1980’s music on it. 

The film is supposed to be horror or advertised that way. This plays more like a bleak comedy of errors and misunderstandings.

The film is sex-filled with acts and/or talk of it that leans a bit into the exploitation zone, but it doesn’t feel as dirty or tawdry here. 

At first, you in the audience are waiting and looking at what will set everything off abs start the killings. As the opening Lets us know the aftermath. So that the film is one big flashback. 

The opening doesn’t make the film look too promising. As it is a totally different tone from the eventual film. 

The film is an ensemble following different characters. Each character here is more of a type then it feels fully dimensional. Mroe set up to be a piece in the game that This film seems to want to play.

The film is vulgar and juvenile. The kind of film the filmmakers seemed to aim for and the film that the characters all resemble. As it definitely has energy but is not for everyone. As at times it is very lowbrow but takes you by surprise. 

It feels more like a male fantasy then anything else. As there is plenty here that feels like it belongs in a sex comedy with most of the female characters willing or looking for sex. 

Each character and situation seem to influence each other as they cross paths. Making this a truly crazy and deadly house party. 

The last act where everything goes bonkers abs becomes officially a bloodbath. Where as what starts it all off makes this grill like an extended TALES FROM THE CRYPT episode. Never exactly going where you expect it to. 

This is a more audience-pleasing blockbuster that lacks depth but tired to appear to have some at times.

I know I might sound down on the film but actually, it’s a simple film with a good follow-through that keeps you interested and enthused. 

GRADE: C+

THE UNTAMED (2016)

Directed By: Amat Escalante 
Written By: Amat Escalante & Gibran Portela 
Cinematography: Manuel Alberto Claro
Editor: Fernanda De La Peza & Jacob Secger Schulsinger 

Cast: Ruth Ramos, Simone Bucio, Jesus Meza, Eden Villavicencio, Oscar Escalante, Bernarda Trueba 


It’s a film that has to be seen to be believed. Though you are impressed with what it pulls off.

The film is told more visually than through dialogue. Letting the images tell the story, makes it feel not only more cinematic but makes the material feel more enriched and an experience for the audience.

A story of connection and a kind of love rectangle.  As separate stories eventually converge. That is simple in its own way. Only enhances with a fantasy element.

That involves a dysfunctional family drama element. 

The film is highly erotic and very sexual. So much so that there is even a brief scene of an animal orgy (with other animals, no Beastiality) 

For instance, The opening scene is a sex scene that sets off the tale abs looks like it could have come from. Numerous hentai anime. As the film itself could be lazily described as live-action hentai porn with a plot. This film focuses more on characters in a domestic drama and the stories of how they end up meeting this monster more graphically.

As every character here has a secret though it comes across more like a fantasy, with the monster lurking inside that brings pleasure and pain. But don’t tell anyone about never revealing true selves. As the monster could easily be a physical manifestation of their secrets that are eating them up inside but brings momentary happiness but ultimately is destructive. Though at least by the end they all find and show their real selves. 

Some get by in life, some are a slave to their addictions and end up victims. Some of their strength at times of tragedy. 

It’s a little bizarre that there is not much of the monster. So if you come to this movie expecting that you will be disappointed. This is more like a science fiction novel where the stories come first. Usually are a parable that uses the science fiction element to make it grander. This is ultimately an empowerment story with a final girl of sorts. 

This isn’t a film you will easily forget. 

Grade: B

GANGSTA (2018)

Directed by: Adil Elarbi & Bilall Fallah  Written by: Adil Elarbi, Bilall Fallah, Nabil Ben Yadir, Bram Renders, Kobe Van Steenberghe & Handrik Verthe  Cinematography: Robrecht Heyvaert Editor: Adil Elarbi, Bilall Fallah, Kobe Van Steenberghe & Thijs Van Nuffel 

Cast: Matteo Simoni, Junes Lazaar, Nora Gharib, Said Boumazoughe, Nabil Mallat, Paloma Aguilera valdebenito, Werner Kolf 

Antwerp. The lives of four dealer friends, who want to become real-life swaggers, spin out of control when they steal a shipment of cocaine. They trigger a full-out war between them, an Amsterdam drug lord and the ruthless Colombian cartels.


Looked forward to watching this film by the directors of BAD BOYS FOR LIFE. Their last film before that film almost seems like an audition reel. 

one can see why they were given directing reign of BAD BOYS FOR LIFE. As with this film. They prove they can handle Action and comedy that might be a little dark around the edges but not too bleak, but also a diverse cast.

Though when it comes to this film’s material, it often feels more cartoonish even though it tries to be really quite often. Like the characters, it feels too on over its head at times.

As every time the film seems to be sticking with a certain tone. The film withdraws and goes into another tone to throw off the audience and keep them guessing even when not needed.

This is close to being an almost Guy Ritchie movie except he keeps his tone light and has his characters a bit more defined,  it similarly Whimsical and usually in the criminal world

The characters are likable but rather thin so that they are more defined by characteristics and their individual ambitions than actually coming off as characters. They more Just live up to their nicknames except for the main two characters of the crew.

Though the film is filled with its colorful characters, the most entertaining is actually the criminal lawyers played by the directors more for humor, but are unscrupulous when it comes to protecting their clients.

The film Touches on subjects but Rarely fully Explores them except to occasionally bring them up like racism, growing up as an immigrant. Making something of yourself, when education really isn’t a choice. 

The film is a lot of things but never comes through with An actual decision that leads to it feeling all over the place. There is plenty of styles all over the place that is inventive in fact it feels like every scene and the shot is designed to keep moving and to always dazzle. 

Though even for the hardcore material and subjects that they tackle. The film feels lightweight and almost playful. As it never goes in too deep. It also feels way overstuffed and too long. As the film feels the need to explain every detail and then show it. Whereas if the film was cut down by fifteen minutes it wouldn’t Feel so monotonous by the end.

Just like the main character by the end of the film, it Doesn’t Seem to exactly want to commit.

The film is enjoyable and a fun time in general 

Grade: C

PRINCE (2015)

Written & Directed By: Sam De Jong Cinematography: Paul Ozgur  Editor: Mieneke Kremer 

Cast: Ayoub Elasri, Jorik Scholien, Oussama Addi, Achraf Meziani, Elise de Braun, Sigrid Tennepal, Olivia Lonsdale, Chaib Massaoudi 

A troubled teenager attempts to conquer the love of his life by becoming the baddest boy on the block.


This is a film I was expecting more from. Strangely Wasn’t totally disappointed. Though by the end felt a little thin. 

Considering the issues of the film. I didn’t expect it to stay so clean material-wise. So that by the end it felt like an after-school special with some adult themes.

It’s fine for what it is but was expecting something mroe hard-hitting. Especially for where it seemed to be going and what it introduces. 

The film tries to paint the neighborhood as thorny and a bit crime-ridden but was left wondering is this the worst they have in the Netherlands? As it seems a bit quaint.

The film really comes off as a coming-of-age tale. Nothing you have my seen before. In fact, still shocked at how innocent it seems to stay. Like a teenage version of a crime film that doesn’t involve so much crime but more themes of growing up. 

For instance, the scene where he is feeling grown up after a job well done after a night out. He celebrated by drinking milk like it’s an alcoholic drink.

How at first his problems are presented as worse than They actually are. Introduced to him more as immature. We notice throughout how he becomes more mature and responsible. Even as he gets more brand names and expensive designer clothes. As well as how they can. enticing and what is needed to keep them up.

The ending is the only place where it feels like a false note. As it is satisfying from the standpoint of liking the characters but it feels unrealistic when it comes to criminals and street rules. 

GRADE: B

TORSO (1973)

Directed & Story By: Sergio Martino
Written By: Sergio Martino & Ernesto Gastaldi 
Cinematography: Giancarlo Ferrando 
Editor: Eugenio Alabiti 

Cast: Suzy Kendall, Tina Aumont, Luc Merenda, John Richardson, Roberto Bisacco, Ernesto Colli, Angela Covello 

A string of appalling lust murders shocks the University of Perugia as a sadistic serial killer strangles to death beautiful college girls with a red and black scarf.


This film is bathed in sex and nudity more than expected. Even though at times the film tries to make it more artistic but still feels excessive.

This should be a teenage boy’s dream in the 1980s and 1990’s before the internet came forward. This is the type of foreign film you were hoping to catch on cable television that the TV guide said contained nudity and sexual situations but was usually more on the artistic side.

This film is more a murder mystery slasher where most of the characters who survive are suspects.

The actors playing college students in this movie all look way too old, but that is to be expected. 

In living up to the film’s title, the killer carved up their victims after death. The film makes it feel fetishistic. As the camera and the killers’ hands Roam the victim’s naked body

Usually the torso before dissecting it and poking out the eyes. (Trust me the violence sounds worse in the description than what is shown) other times the camera lingers on the actress’s beauty also bodies.

As a product of The Times when it was released the film is definitely misogynistic. As most of the victims are female and the male victims are either afterthoughts or killed more aggressively and gruesomely. The male characters’ attitudes towards women are just as gruesome.

The final reveal is so ridiculous. As usual with a bit of a far-fetched initial motive for the killer.

As the film seems to maleness the death scenes more iconic while the Women look to live up to the killer’s view of them As living dolls.

With a happy-go-lucky soundtrack and each death explained except for the one person of colors. Who the film leaves as more of a discarded accessory’s. As they all gawk and the female characters are mo resemble fashion models at the time.

The film also has the male characters have ugly attitudes towards women. So that each seems like they could be the Killer. No matter how minor the character. Though her crime might be that she is a lesbian also for the film.

It offers very fun surprises and almost seems to get tired of creating more elaborate Murders.

Also seems that some characters are added to only be victims and up the body count as well as seem fairer in the number of male viewers 

GRADE: B-

THE WHISTLERS (2019)

Written & Directed By: Corneliu Porumboiu
Cinematography: Tudor Mircea
Editor: Roxana Szel

Cast: Vlad Ivanov, Catrinel Martin, Rodica Lazar, Augustif Villaronga, Sabin Tembrea, Istvan Teglas, Cristobel Pinto, Antonio Buil 

Not everything is as it seems for Cristi, a policeman who plays both sides of the law. Embarking with the beautiful Gilda on a high-stakes heist, both will have to navigate the twists and turns of corruption, treachery, and deception.


A calm and composed film noir that is a slow burn throughout. That involves quite a bit of players even though it starts out more intimate. It grows with each new detail.

It’s a neo-noir that is not as comedic as presented within the trailers. While it has dark humor it is more a thriller. 

The film plays out non-linear at first but is presented and put together with different timelines as we flash forward, back, and then sometimes current time. Told lien this for the audience to get more intrigued and keep the story moving forward in a way that adheres to what the audience is familiar with. 

The film comes alive in the third act with twists and turns that allow for some surprises, but still never quite speeds along or leaves details by the wayside.

The film does offer a femme fatale abs one hell of a seduction scene. Even though other than that scene. It never quite explains why the two characters bond enough to overly look out for one another, especially her considering her position. 

The film offers more of a character study of sorts. Even though with so many characters it offers quirk in the language being studied abs used for this caper. Though seems more there to explore the situation and relationships more than being integral to the plot overall.

Though at first the film might be light shearers but have a tough attitude. It soon shows itself to be violent and dangerous also. Where no one Is truly safe or can be completely trusted.

As everyone has their own agenda here including the so-called good guys. While the film offers style it also seems at times to be overly artistic for such a simple premise.

Though we never quite get any answers for why the lead is so tightly wound or got so involved in the first place. As for its many introductions, the film seems only interested in the lead mostly. Who only really changes more out of circumstances. Not organically or emotionally compelled to.

The film is a great jaw-dropping modern interpretation of femme fatale in the form of actress Catrinel Martin still some questions or connection and plans of characters.

She has a great and strong entrance. Where she is illustrious and iconic, but through the rest of the film, he becomes more of a background character losing the Great strength she was shown as having only to become revitalized by the end. 

Definitely an inspired film. Not the action Oriented kind. Yet it keeps you invested.

Grade: B