Karsten has written 49 reviews for films rated ★★½ .

  • Being the Ricardos

    Being the Ricardos

    ★★½

    Admittedly, there is some potential in a story like this that could've been better realized in the hands of a more talented director, but due to Sorkin's typical blandness, the material is robbed of any zest or gravitas needed for it to leave an impact. Ultimately, the actors wind up doing a lot of the heavy lifting, and even then, they are not always up to snuff.

  • Spider-Man: No Way Home

    Spider-Man: No Way Home

    ★★½

    I'll give the film this much; I respect how ballsy it gets in regards to certain plot turns. It's certainly not what I would've anticipated given this franchise's propensity for formulaic writing. But at the end of the day, it suffers from the same issue I have with so many of these MCU films, and it's that while they may be competently made and even somewhat enjoyable (in the moment), they are so fundamentally lacking in soul or personality that…

  • tick, tick...BOOM!

    tick, tick...BOOM!

    ★★½

    Much of the heavy lifting falls upon Andrew Garfield, who to his credit manages to bring a considerable amount of charm and personality to the material, but it unfortunately can't compensate for how uninspired and almost amateurish the filmmaking often feels.

  • Frankenstein

    Frankenstein

    ★★½

    I'll admit that reading the novel beforehand had somewhat tarnished my view of this film, as it doesn't have nearly the same level of sophistication or depth. But even if I were to take it as a cheesy monster flick, it's far too underwhelming to get any real enjoyment out of, save for a handful of scenes.

  • The Ghost of Yotsuya

    The Ghost of Yotsuya

    ★★½

    Pretty dull for about the first half-hour or so, only really gaining steam once the more horror-oriented elements come into play about midway through, and even then, aside from some cool and geuinely creepy imagery, it still mostly struck me as underwhelming.

  • Consuming Spirits

    Consuming Spirits

    ★★½

    There's a lot that I admire about Consuming Spirits; from its ambitious mixing of various unique animation styles to its melancholic tone to its layered intertwining narratives, it's certainly one of the most singular animated features out there. That said, I can't say that I personally enjoyed this overall as an experience, as I often found myself unengaged for large portions of the film, which is already running at a hefty 2 hours and 11 minutes.

  • The King of Pigs

    The King of Pigs

    ★★½

    While at times intriguing and even ambitious in its exploration of classism and the cycle of violence, the film is ultimately weighed down by a repetitive plot and poor pacing. It also doesn't help that the animation often ranges from sub-par to downright terrible.

  • Tatsumi

    Tatsumi

    ★★½

    I'll give the film this much; watching it has definitely made me interested in checking out Yoshihiro Tatsumi's work, as the portions adapted from his mangas are quite fascinating and honestly seem like the type of thing I'd enjoy reading. However, for as great as the individual shorts are, the same can't really be said about the film as a whole. Despite being structured as a biopic, meant to give insight into Tatsumi's life and personhood, I hardly felt as…

  • Alois Nebel

    Alois Nebel

    ★★½

    On a conceptual and thematic level I think it's pretty intriguing, as it explores the lasting psychological impact of war, and illustrates this via a non-linear structure blending memories with present events with dreams. However, as much as I understand and appreciate what it's going for, it doesn't always quite work, as this disorienting structure makes it somewhat difficult to latch on to the narrative. As for the animation itself, while I find the noir-inspired art style to be pretty evocative, the use of rotoscoping does very little for me, as I'm becoming increasingly less impressed with it the more I see.

  • Mind Game

    Mind Game

    ★★½

    Incredibly all over the place, narratively and stylistically, to the point of incoherence. While I do appreciate much of the ambition and creativity of certain moments, the various clashing elements make it somewhat difficult to fully engage in the experience, and once we hit the middle section of the film, in which it loses a lot of the momentum built up during the earlier portions, I start to lose interest altogether.

  • Faust

    Faust

    ★★½

    There are admittedly some intriguing elements present throughout the film, and of course I have to give kudos to the excellent puppetry and claymation, but otherwise, I found my experience with this rather tedious, and Švankmajer's particular brand of surrealism just doesn't do it for me.

  • Fear Street: 1978

    Fear Street: 1978

    ★★½

    I didn't get nearly as much enjoyment out of this as I did Part One, which for all it's flaws, at least had a fun cast of characters and a fair bit of energy. Without that, what we're left with is a dull and painfully by the numbers slasher movie. Hopefully the next installment is an improvement.