Mini Review - Loro
Loro (out Jan 17) is the latest from director Paolo Sorrentino (The Great Beauty) and dissects the life of wealthy Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi. The music and visuals leave an impression but it's a long slog (2 hours, 30 minutes) that gets repetitive in sections. Grade: B.
Mini Review - Glass
Glass (out Jan 17) is the third film in the M. Night Shyamalan superhero series and it's essential that you've seen the first two - Unbreakable and Split. I'm a fan of his approach (trying to create more realistic, self-aware superheroes) but what's intriguing in the early scenes becomes tired by the end. Grade: B-.
Mini Review - Mary Queen of Scots
Mary Queen of Scots (out Jan 17) feels like two hours of pointless power games. Mary has her eyes on the English crown but Elizabeth is quick to rouse her supporters and prevent an uprising. The film’s problem is that we don’t know what either side is about, aside from differing religious views, and so it’s hard to work out who to cheer for. Grade: C+.
Mini Review - Instant Family
Instant Family (out Jan 10) is the story of a middle-aged married couple who adopt 3 foster kids. The film struggles with tone. There are some mean-spirited moments where the film is pushing for laughs... but it doesn't gel with the more dramatic scenes. Grade: B-.
Mini Review - Pick of the Litter
Pick of the Litter (out Jan 10) is a documentary that follows 5 young guide dogs (and their handlers) as they get put through a series of tests with the hope of graduating. It's repetitive and there's no ground-breaking reveals but that said, it's hard to dislike a film with so many cute dogs! Grade: B.
Mini Review - How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World
How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World (out Jan 3) is the third and final instalment in this very successful franchise. This film is a little too chaotic in places but there’s more than enough heart and sentimentality, particularly during the finale, to win over audiences. It finds the right balance between action and story. Grade: B+.
Mini Review - Mary Poppins Returns
Mary Poppins Returns (out Jan 1) hasn’t improved on the original but director Rob Marshall has created something worthy to sit alongside. My mouth was sore from smiling so much and I was lured in by the songs and its nostalgic feel. There’s not a lot of nuance to the character but Emily Blunt is still wonderfully good in the title role. Grade: A-.
Mini Review - Holmes and Watson
Holmes and Watson (out Dec 26) is one of the worst cinema releases of the year. There are no laughs to be had as Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly fail dismally in trying to turn the story of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson into a riotous comedy. Grade: C-.