Mini Review - Maleficent: Mistress of Evil
Maleficent: Mistress of Evil is a weak follow up to the 2014 original. Michelle Pfeiffer plays the villain this time around but she’s all bluster and no depth. Why couldn’t they give her a more intriguing backstory? Angelina Jolie remains the “pick of the bunch” as Maleficent but that’s largely because she’s the only character required to make tough choices and hence, the most interesting. Grade: C.
Mini Review - Maiden
Maiden (out Oct 17) is a documentary that shines light on a fascinating piece of sporting history that few will be familiar with. In 1989, a group of women tried to become the first all-female yachting crew to complete the Whitbread Round the World Race. The less you know going in, the better. Grade: A-.
Mini Review - Locusts
Locusts (out Oct 17) is an Aussie crime drama that features some dodgy, loudmouth folk talking a big game in search of wealth and power in the outback. It's the kind of movie that keeps you interested without doing anything original or special. Grade: B.
Mini Review - Strange But True
Strange But True (out Oct 17) is a poorly conceived drama about a young woman who becomes pregnant in strange circumstances. This is a bizarre film with everyone running around in circles and avoiding obvious questions to deliberately prolong the narrative. Grade: C.
Mini Review - Judy
Judy (out Oct 17) delves in a period in the life of 46-year-old Judy Garland when she travels to London in 1969 to perform a series of stage shows. There are small weaknesses in the script bu these are negated by the stunning performance of Renée Zellweger. The casting is perfect and she does a wonderful job capturing Garland’s blend of egotism and insecurity. A worthy character study. Grade: B+.
Mini Review - The King
The King (out Oct 11) is an adaptation of William Shakespeare's plays (Henry IV and Henry V) and is the story of a reluctant English prince drawn into war with France. The themes are relevant in today's world and Timothée Chalamet is excellent in the lead role. Directed by Australian David Michôd. Grade: A-.
Mini Review - Hustlers
Hustlers (out Oct 10) is an appealing drama with strong performances, genuine laughs and a winning soundtrack. Based on a true story, it follows a group of strippers who, as part of a plan to get rich, engage in criminal behaviour to fleece male customers. It's a film that will get people talking. Grade: B+.
Mini Review - Working Woman
Working Woman (out Oct 10) is an Israeli film about a married mother who takes on a job in real estate and is subjected to harassment from her sleazy boss. Director Michal Aviad does a great job putting the audience in the mother's shoes. Grade: B+.
Mini Review - Gemini Man
Gemini Man (out Oct 10) sees director Ang Lee use the latest in visual effects to pit a 51-year-old Will Smith against a 23-year-old Will Smith. The storyline doesn't make a lot of sense but credit to Lee for trying to create something different (including the higher frame rate). Grade: B.