Karsten has written 20 reviews for films rated ★★ .

  • Don't Look Up

    Don't Look Up

    ★★

    A toothless satire that barely gleans below the surface of the issues it addresses yet is so obnoxiously self-satisfied and actively condescending towards its audience. But even beyond that, there's still so little to actually gravitate towards in this film. The humor rarely lands, Adam McKay's direction is uneven as hell, and despite its star-studded cast, none of them (maybe with the exception of Jennifer Lawrence) bring much of anything to the table.

  • Sucker Punch

    Sucker Punch

    ★★

    Zack Snyder continues to frustrate me. I've repeated time and time again that I think the man is a genuinely talented and capable director with a fantastic ability to craft some of the most visually striking scenes put to film, and yet so often, this talent is wasted on just the dullest and most vacuous narratives imaginable; Sucker Punch is no exception. There is very little compelling about this film; it's essentially nothing more than a series of music videos…

  • Hannibal

    Hannibal

    ★★

    Despite the tremendous amount of talent behind this movie, from its director to its writers to its actors, all of that seemed to have amounted to nothing. An empty and flavorless slog of a film that fails to invite even the slightest bit of engagement or intrigue throughout its over 2 hour runtime. Having seen the excellently crafted The Silence of the Lambs just a few days earlier only further highlights how shitty this looks and feels, as well as just how much potential was wasted.

  • Cherry

    Cherry

    ★★

    It's honestly difficult to even get angry at a movie this thoroughly bland. Not to say that there was no potential in a story like this, as there have been plenty of great films made about substance abuse and the disenfranchisement of veterans in America. Unfortunately, this film never actually does anything interesting with its plot or even explores its themes in a meaningful way and mainly relies on shallowly emulating far better movies. Tom Holland might be the only…

  • I Care a Lot

    I Care a Lot

    ★★

    Tonally incoherent, shallow, and woefully inadequate as a piece of social critique. Pike and Dinklage are the only real noteworthy things about it, but even then, their performances are undercut by the utterly weak material.

  • Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice

    Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice

    ★★

    My first time revisiting this since it originally came out. I wasn't impressed with it back then, and I'm even less impressed with it now. For a film that tries so hard to be taken seriously, with all its shallow musings about religion and philosophy, and constant evocations of Christian iconography, so much of it is just flat-out ridiculous (see: the "Save Martha" scene or Jesse Eisenberg's entire God-awful performance). Even outside of those moments, this film still has very little to offer, as the plot is pretty unengaging, and the action sequences are deeply underwhelming and become downright tedious by the climax.

  • The Twilight Saga: New Moon

    The Twilight Saga: New Moon

    ★★

    An admittedly better looking film compared to the first, but aside from that there isn't much else in the way of improvement, and the story is just feels so much duller this time around, to the point of being unbearable at times.

  • Rocky Balboa

    Rocky Balboa

    ★★

    A flavorless and hallow husk of a film, coasting purely off of people's fond memories of much better films, and features what is easily the lamest fight sequence in the entire franchise. Frankly, this series should've stayed dead after Rocky V, if this is really all they had left to offer.

  • Rocky V

    Rocky V

    ★★

    After the overtop cheese fest that was Rocky IV, there was pretty much nowhere for this series to go but down. While this one certainly tries to shake things up by bringing in new characters and new dilemmas, and toning down the overall goofiness, the script is absolutelt lackluster, not helped by how worn out and passionless the main cast has become at this point. It's obvious that any fuel this franchise had left had already been exhausted; I can see why they decided to kill it off for a while after this.

  • The Midnight Sky

    The Midnight Sky

    ★★

    For as much as this film tries to be heartfelt and sentimental, there's so little in the way of actual depth or character that it all ultimately feels cheap and hollow. It also doesn't help how tedious and tonally inconsistent it is, with an A plot and a B plot that each feel like they're from entirely different movies, which becomes especially noticeable once the B plot basically takes over about mid-way through. Clooney's alright, I guess, but other than that, this isn't very good.

  • The Trial of the Chicago 7

    The Trial of the Chicago 7

    ★★

    Aaron Sorkin really had no business making a film about the Chicago 7 trial. Based on the few snippets I've seen of The West Wing, and considering Sorkin's own politics, I had no faith in him whatsoever to handle this subject with the insight or nuance it requires. I can say for sure, now having seen the film, that my distrust was justified, as it completely waters down and outright misrepresents left-wing and revolutionary ideas to have it fit within…

  • Psycho

    Psycho

    ★★

    I think of this in the same way, I think of the 2019 remake of The Lion King, in that I have no idea why it exists. Not only does the shot-by-shot nature of it add nothing, it arguably takes away much of the original film's mysterious charm and atmosphere, particularly in its use of color rather than black and white. Then, of course, there's Vince Vaughn, who is terribly miscast as Norman Bates, with an awkward and sometimes laughable performance that pales in comparison to Anthony Perkins' unsettling portrayal of the character.