Mini Review - Snake Eyes
Snake Eyes (out Jul 22) is the latest entry in the G.I. Joe franchise. The action scenes are well choreographed (for the most part) but it's a dull, empty story... and the characters could be described the same way. Grade: C+.
Mini Review - Old
Old (out Jul 22) is an M. Night Shyamalan thriller about several folk on a beach who finds themselves aging super rapidly. There's a decent punchline but the lead-up is frustrating and tedious - partly because it's hard to give this idea credibility and partly because the script isn't sharp enough. Grade: C+.
Mini Review - Rosa's Wedding
Rosa's Wedding (out Jul 22) is a Spanish comedy about a 45-year-old single mother who, feeling underappreciated by her family (rightly so), curiously decides to marry herself and set her life on a new path. It's an offbeat idea that works thanks to the lead performance of Candela Peña who brings the right mix of confidence and insecurity to the character. Nominated for 8 Goya Awards. Grade: B+.
Mini Review - Gunpower Milkshake
Gunpowder Milkshake (out Jul 15) is a fun action piece that doesn't take itself too seriously. It's about a group of female assassins forced to defend themselves against a powerful, influential male gang. It's loaded with style (lots of distinctive imagery and music) and while the dialogue needed a bit of work, it's well above average for the genre. Grade: B+.
Mini Review - Space Jam: A New Legacy
Space Jam: A New Legacy (out Jul 15) is 99% commerce and 1% art. Almost every creative decision (casting, other movie references, the film itself) feels like it’s been made for box-office/promotional reasons as opposed to crafting a fun, engaging, creative storyline. Don Cheadle isn’t too bad as the villain. Grade: C.
Mini Review - Nine Days
Nine Days (out Jul 15) is a curious drama about a mysterious man from the afterlife (or somewhere similar) who interviews people to decide which souls are worthy to be born in the real world. It’s a great concept but there’s a lack of tension, meaning in the film that prevented me from fully latching on. Grade: B.
Mini Review - Black Widow
Black Widow is a mixed bag. The villain is a "nothing" character, the laughs often miss, and the over-the-top action scenes smother the story. Thankfully, David Harbour and Florence Pugh elevate the material and create characters worth rooting for. Grade: B.
Mini Review - The Sparks Brothers
The Sparks Brothers (out Jul 8) is terrific. While most music documentaries tend to focus on artists with massive highs and massive lows, this one looks at a gifted duo who have spent over 50 years in the business with middling success. Director Edgar Wright extracts oodles of humour from the many interviewees. Grade: A-.