Mini Review - Bad Boys for Life
Bad Boys for Life (out Jan 16) is a tired, formulaic, seen-it-all-before buddy cop movie. It's the kind of movie that will make a little money and be all but forgotten about in a few weeks. Our two heroes (Will Smith and Martin Lawrence) argue about nothing, struggle with a case a blind monkey could solve, and are helped at just the right moments by a team of personality-free "young guns". Grade: C.
Mini Review - Bombshell
Bombshell (out Jan 16) delves into the final months of Roger Ailes tenure as the CEO of Fox News in 2016. The film succeeds in illustrating the toxic culture that can exist in the workplace. Stars Charlize Theron, Margot Robbie and Nicole Kidman have created interesting characters. Hopefully the film will get people talking. Grade: B+.
Mini Review - My Spy
My Spy (out Jan 9) is a silly, nonsensical family flick about a not-so-smart spy who teams up with a 9-year-old girl as part of his latest assignment. Young kids may enjoy the story but from an adult perspective, it's hard to overcome the lack of humour and sizeable plot holes. Grade: C+.
Mini Review - True History of the Kelly Gang
True History of the Kelly Gang (out Jan 9) is a poetic, part-fictionalised tale of Ned Kelly that goes down unexpected paths. It's less about Kelly's criminal activities and more about the fractured/peculiar relationships involving his mother, siblings, lovers and friends. Strange but intriguing. Grade: B.
Mini Review - A Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon
A Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon (out Jan 9) has been created using stop-motion animation and plasticine characters. Just like the 2015 original, it features no dialogue but these cute animals and their human owner, are able to convey emotion and tell a story in the same vein as great silent actors from the early 20th century. Easy to like. Grade: B+.
Mini Review - 1917
1917 (out Jan 9) is a a tense, immersive filmgoing experience. The vision of director Sam Mendes was to create a World War I movie, complete with battle sequences, that looks like it’s been shot in a single continuous take with no edits. The script is “stagey” and romanticised in places but this is still a powerful film that makes effective use of visuals, sound and music. Grade: A-.
Mini Review - Spies in Disguise
Spies in Disguise (out Jan 1) is animated feature about a brilliant but arrogant "world's greatest spy" (Will Smith) who learns a few important lessons after being turned into a pigeon by a young scientist (Tom Holland). It's a little too forceful with its messaging (e.g. the disadvantages of fighting fire with fire) but it's still a fun tale. Grade: B.
Mini Review - Little Women
Little Women (out Jan 1) is an exquisite drama about art, wealth, family, sisterhood and unrequited love. The performances are flawless and I love the openness and affection shown by these characters towards each other. Saoirse Ronan brings a beautiful spirit to the role of Jo, Florence Pugh is outstanding as the envious Amy and Timothée Chalamet (complete with pitch-perfect hair) is adorable as the love struck Laurie. Grade: A.