Mini Review - Nitram
Nitram (out Sep 30) is an Australian drama that delves into the life and mindset of Martin Bryant before he committed the worst mass shooting in modern Australian history in 1996. Others will disagree... but the delicate subject is well-handled by director Justin Kurzel (Snowtown) and I'm fine with the questions it asks of audiences. Judy Davis is the best of the cast (as Bryant's mother). Grade: B+.
Mini Review - Diana's Wedding
Diana's Wedding (out Sep 23) is an odd Norwegian comedy that follows roughly 30 years in the life of a married couple. Plenty of ups, plenty of downs (as you might expect) but there's not a lot of insight on offer here. Grade: C+.
Mini Review - Persian Lessons
Persian Lessons (out Sep 23) is a World War II tale about a Jewish man who convinces a leading German officer than he's Persian to avoid a certain death. I wasn't convinced by everything that happens in this movie but warmed to the leading character (particularly in the second half). Grade: B.
Mini Review - The Alpinist
The Alpinist (out Sep 23) taps into the success of Free Solo and is another interesting documentary about a gifted/crazy mountain climber, Marc-André Leclerc. It chronicles his insanely difficult climbs while also delving into his mindset. Grade: B.
Mini Review - Joe Bell
Joe Bell (out Sep 23) is based on a 2013 true story and follows a father (Mark Wahlberg) going on a trek across the contiguous United States to raise awareness about bullying. It's a moving drama but curiously, Joe Bell is the least interesting character. Reid Miller is excellent as his 15-year-old gay son and Connie Britton is just as good as the mother trying to hold the family together. Grade: B+.
Mini Review - The Killing of Two Lovers
The Killing of Two Lovers (out Sep 16) is an intense, simply-told drama about a husband and wife undertaking a trial separation and the impact it has on them and their four children. With long takes, striking cinematography (e.g. camera kept at a distance), and a powerful climax, this film leaves an impression. Grade: A-.
Mini Review - Palazzo Di Cozzo
Palazzo Di Cozzo (out Sep 16) is an Australian documentary about successful Victorian furniture salesman Franco Cozzo. Not sure there’s enough material to justify a full-length feature but I like what is has to say about changing times and dying businesses. Grade: B-.
Mini Review - Die in a Gunfight
Die in a Gunfight (out Sep 16) is a lame, exaggerated, narration-heavy, modern day knock off of Romeo and Juliet. Forget this and revisit Baz Lurhmann’s masterpiece with Leonardo DiCaprio and Clare Danes from 25 years ago. Grade: C.