Mini Review - The Creator
The Creator (out Sep 28) is largely set in 2070 and is a sci-fi action flick centred on a war between East and West over artificial technology and its role in society. The themes are ambitious and the futuristic details are cool… but the story leans too heavily into familiar tropes and the characters aren’t all that interesting. Grade: C+.
Mini Review - Stylebender
Stylebender (out Sep 28) is an above-average documentary and much of the credit belongs with writer-director Zoe McIntosh. Firstly, she’s found an interesting person in UFC Champion Israel Adesanya but secondly, and more importantly, she’s maintained a significant level of creative control which allows her to look at the subject matter from multiple perspectives. Grade: B+.
Mini Review - It Lives Inside
It Lives Inside (out Sep 21) has a few lulls but it's still a decent horror-thriller centred on a teenager seeing strange, demonic things. Grade: B.
Mini Review - PAW Patrol: The Mighty Movie
PAW Patrol: The Mighty Movie (out Sep 21) is simple and effective… and brand-building. I am CLEARLY not in the target demographic, but I can respect this for what it delivers - cute characters, simple dialogue, and noble themes. Not much for adults but an ideal film for pre-schoolers. Grade: B.
Mini Review - Retribution
Retribution (out Sep 21) is reminiscent of the 1994 hit Speed. A businessman is driving his kids to school in Berlin when told there's a bomb under his seat which will detonate if he leaves the car. It’s hard to see audiences on the edge of their seats for this. The further it goes, the less sense it makes. Noma Dumezweni (as a police detective) gives the only above-average performance. Grade: C+.
Mini Review - Blue Beetle
Blue Beetle (out Sep 14) is the latest superhero flick and while it's not breaking new ground in terms of narrative and themes, it’s worth a look for its many positive qualities (worthy quotes, a charismatic lead performance, strong production values) and what it broadly represents for the Latin American community (the first live-action superhero movie with a Latino focus). Grade: B.
Mini Review - A Haunting in Venice
A Haunting in Venice (out Sep 14) is the kind of movie where you’re never bored… but you’re never blown away. It’s a ho-hum 1940s mystery that doesn’t offer up any shock-inducing twists and sticks to the well-worn mould. If you're a fan of whodunits, the Knives Out franchise is currently offering up more in terms of originality, humour, and characters. Grade: B-.
Mini Review - Last Film Show
Last Film Show (out Sep 14) is a well-intentioned Indian flick about a 9-year-old boy who develops a love for cinema. His newfound hobby provides an opportunity to make new friends, create mischief, and open his eyes to the world. Ending drags but a nice story. Grade: B+.