Mini Review - Rambo: Last Blood
Rambo: Last Blood (out Sep 19) is a limp, disappointing end to this Sylvester Stallone led franchise. It's amazing how little can happen (in terms of character development and action) inside of 90 minutes. Grade: C.
Mini Review - Ad Astra
Ad Astra (out Sep 19) is a space mystery starring Brad Pitt. I like the editing, the cinematography and the music. Director James Gray knows how to build intrigue. Unfortunately, it's lacking in terms of story. It's trying to sell a deep, profound message but I struggled to buy into it. Grade: B-.
Mini Review - Halston
Halston (out Sep 19) is a documentary about the acclaimed fashion designer but is more about the up-and-down nature of his business activities than his actual designs. Interesting but repetitive. Grade: B-.
Mini Review - Dora and the Lost City of Gold
Dora and the Lost City of Gold (out Sep 19) will entertain younger audiences. Taking Dora’s simplistic story and turning it into a live-action movie would have been a tricky assignment but the creators have taken a few chances (such as making Dora a 16-year-old) and been rewarded for their efforts. Isabela Moner deserves praise for her lead performance. Grade: B+.
Mini Review - Good Boys
Good Boys (out Sep 19) follows three 12-year-old kids who go on a series of misadventures as they prepare for their first "kissing party". The storyline doesn't flow as smoothly as it should (parts feel like unrelated skits) but these cute, foul-mouthed characters will win audiences over. It’s hard not to be amused as they misinterpret words and try to act older than they are. Grade: B+.
Mini Review - The Angry Birds Movie 2
The Angry Birds Movie 2 (out Sep 12) is targeted squarely at young kids. It follows our beloved birds and pigs who team up to defeat a new enemy. It's simple, colourful and easy to follow. That said, it doesn't offer much in terms of emotion or character development. Grade: B-.
Mini Review - Downton Abbey
Downton Abbey (out Sep 12) is the latest movie spin-off from a successful TV show. Set in 1927, this two hour movie is structured a visit from King George V and Queen Mary who are spending roughly 24 hours at the famed residence. The cast is superb and it’s no surprise to see 84-year-old Maggie Smith as the standout in a role that won her three Emmy Awards. The film captures the era and is jolly good fun. Grade: B+.
Mini Review - Freaks
Freaks (out Sep 12) is a futuristic sci-fi flick about a father (Emile Hirsch) who is shielding his 7-year-old daughter (Lexy Kolker) from the dangers of the world. Writer-directors Adam Stein and Zach Lipovsky withhold key information and while it builds early intrigue, I'm not sure the finale is worth it. Grade: B.