Mini Review - The Son
The Son (out Feb 9) is from Academy Award winner Florian Zeller (The Father) and is the story of an already fractured family trying to deal with a teenage son battling mental health issues. It avoids providing easy answers (that’s a good thing) and while it’s a little disjointed in the second half (the Anthony Hopkins cameo isn’t necessary), I believed in these characters and their actions. Grade: B+.
Mini Review - Spoiler Alert
Spoiler Alert (out Feb 9) is based on actual events and is the story of two gay men, their up-and-down relationship, and a health issue that will change their lives forever. The film has a few cool quirks (a dreamlike fake sitcom) and stars Jim Parsons and Ben Aldridge share good chemistry/banter. Grade: B+.
Mini Review - Corsage
Corsage (out Feb 9) is a slow-moving drama which follows a year in the life of a 19th century Austrian empress. It reminds us that “royalty” isn’t as glamourous as is often perceived. Star Vicki Krieps (Phantom Thread) is a very good but on the whole, it’s not particularly interesting. Grade: B-.
Mini Review - Knock at the Cabin
Knock at the Cabin (out Feb 2) sees writer-director M. Night Shyamalan take a big swing… and miss completely. He deserves credit for taking chances but, as he has done with several recent films, he’s struggling to create realistic characters, dialogue and reactions. The “news reports” we see in this movie are laughably bad. It’s the tale of a family on holidays in a remote forest who are visited by 4 unconvincing strangers on a world-changing mission. Grade: C-.
Mini Review - The Whale
The Whale (out Feb 2) is the tale of Charlie, a morbidly obese man trying to reconcile with the teenage daughter he walked out a decade ago. The film picked up first-time Oscar nominations for stars Brendan Fraser and Hong Chau but the film’s script is underwhelming. The missionary adds next-to-nothing, the caregiver’s complicity is barely questioned, and Charlie’s attitude is difficult to reconcile. Grade: C+.
Mini Review - What's Love Got to Do with It?
What's Love Got to Do with It? (out Jan 26) is a British romantic comedy which entertainingly highlights both the similarities and differences between societies when it comes to finding love. It's centred on two close friends - Zoe (Lily James) who uses dating apps and Kaz (Shazad Latif) who is being guided by his parents into an arranged marriage. Finds a nice balance between drama and humour. Grade: B+.
Mini Review - You Can Go Now
You Can Go Now (out Jan 26) is a straightforward documentary about the art and activism of Aboriginal Richard Bell. A nice tribute to a worthy man. Grade: B-.