Mini Review - Locked Down
Locked Down (out May 6) is the first film I've seen where COVID-19 plays a key part. It follows an on-the-rocks couple and the drama in both their personal and professional lives while locked down in their London apartment. Oh... and there's also a crime. I enjoyed the banter between Anne Hathaway and Chiwetel Ejiofor but some scenes become repetitive and monotonous after a while (e.g. continual Zoom calls). Grade: B-.
Mini Review - Fatale
Fatale (out May 6) gets worse with each passing scene. It's a weak thriller about a married man who finds his life upended after sleeping with a clingy police officer. Something must have got lost in the editing room because the narrative is all over the place. Grade: C.
Mini Review - De Gaulle
De Gaulle (out May 6) is a drama that looks at the political battle fought by the famed French leader during the early days of World War II. The dialogue is overdramatised (particularly the stuff around board room tables) and it doesn't cover a lot of material. An odd ending too. Grade: C+.
Mini Review - June Again
June Again (out May 6) is an Australian film about a dementia-suffering woman who wakes up one morning with her memory fully restored and uses it to cause humorous chaos. There's too much going on at times but the family squabbles between stars Noni Hazlehurst, Claudia Karvan and Stephen Curry make this a winner. As unrealistic as the scenario sounds, you'll care about these characters. Grade: B+.
Mini Review - Wrath of Man
Wrath of Man (out Apr 29) is a Guy Ritchie directed action-thriller centred around a series of cash truck heists in Los Angeles. The fragmented style should keep audiences intrigued (jumbled timelines, multiple perspectives). A few elements are undeveloped (e.g. subplots involving Andy Garcia and Scott Eastwood) but on the whole, lead Jason Statham does a great job carrying the film to its big finale. Grade: B+.
Mini Review - First Cow
First Cow (out Apr 29) is an exquisite drama set in early 19th century America about two poor men who come up with a creative business idea to make a better life for themselves. This is simple, unusual and interesting. Grade: A-.
Mini Review - Land
Land (out Apr 29) is the story of a middle-aged, suburban woman (Robin Wright) who, after a tragic event, has shut herself off from the world in a dilapidated cabin in the Wyoming wilderness. Withholding her backstory works against the film (it would have helped us buy into her decisions along the way) but Land finds its feet in the second half thanks to the arrival of a hunter played by Demián Bichir. A simple but effective tale. Grade: B+.
Mini Review - Mortal Kombat
Mortal Kombat (out Apr 22) is a fast-paced, R-rated action reboot based on the popular video game series. For a movie which is mostly one-on-one fighting for 90 minutes, this is surprisingly entertaining. It doesn't take itself seriously, most jokes hit the mark, and the casting is great (Australian Josh Lawson is MVP). Grade: A-.