Mini Review - 21 Bridges
21 Bridges (out Nov 21) is a standard cop thriller about an NYPD detective (Chadwick Boseman) battling the clock to locate and arrest two criminals responsible for killing a group of fellow police officers. We’ve seen this storyline many times before and we’re likely to see it many times more. Grade: C+.
Mini Review - Farming
Farming (out Nov 21) is a confronting but also confusing drama set in 1960s London about a black African man who becomes part of a gang led by white supremacists. We see their horrible actions but the film struggles to explore their mindsets. Grade: C+.
Mini Review - Fisherman's Friends
Fisherman's Friends (out Nov 21) is a warm-hearted true story about a group of unknown fishermen from South West England who are approached by a music producer looking to take their sea shanties to a worldwide audience. It doesn't always move in the direction you may expect. Enjoyable and easy to like. Grade: B+.
Mini Review - Judy & Punch
Judy & Punch (out Nov 21) is a dark Australian comedy about murder, betrayal and puppeteers. A few parts of the story feel contrived (in trying to link them to the famous Punch & Judy tale) but the performances from leads Damon Herriman and Mia Wasikowska are very good. Grade: B.
Mini Review - Marriage Story
Marriage Story (out Nov 14) is centred around a separated couple going through an increasingly complicated divorce. Other films have covered this topic with more emotion and intensity (2017's Custody springs to mind) but it's still a strong drama with two (seemingly) natural performances from Scarlett Johansson and Adam Driver. The second act is the best. Grade: B+.
Mini Review - Official Secrets
Official Secrets (out Nov 21) recounts the true story of a 28-year-old British woman who blew the whistle on an illegal spying operation orchestrated by the UK and US governments. Keira Knightley is outstanding in the lead role as she grapples with the validity of her acts. The punchline in the final act is unforgettable. Grade: A-.
Mini Review - Charlie's Angels
Charlie's Angels (out Nov 14) is a disappointing attempt to reboot the film franchise which began in 2000. The action scenes are over-edited, the plot lacks credibility, and the jokes (for the most part) fall flat. It's trying way too hard to be fun. Grade: C.
Mini Review - I Am No Bird
I Am No Bird (out Nov 14) is a documentary that follows 4 very different women from around the world who are preparing to get married. It delves into their motivations, their expectations and their respective cultures. It's not offering any ground breaking insight (marriages have been explored in countless feature films from most countries) but it's still nice to meet these women and hear their stories. Grade: B-.
Mini Review - 47 Metres Down: Uncaged
47 Metres Down: Uncaged (out Oct 31) is a rubbishy, inferior sequel to the 2017 original (which I liked). This one is about a group of young scuba divers who get trapped in an underground cave system while being pursued by sharks. The direction is laughably bad - from the bizarre use of slow-mo to the over-the-top use of shaky cam. Grade: C-.