Mini Review - Those Who Wish Me Dead
Those Who Wish Me Dead (out May 13) is an action-thriller about a teenage boy fleeing some well-resourced hitmen. He teams up with a smokejumper played by Angelina Jolie to outrun them. It’s rare to be saying this but the best elements here are the villains. They’re smart guys and their detailed strategic discussions make for good listening. The rest of the film is a more formulaic hero story. Grade: B.
Mini Review - Spiral
Spiral (out May 13) is the 9th film in the Saw franchise and is centred on a police detective investigating the murder of a fellow officer. It may have a stronger-than-usual cast (Chris Rock, Samuel L. Jackson) but it's an unsatisfying film. It's just a rehash of earlier movies with several illogical plot points. Grade: C+.
Mini Review - Finding You
Finding You (out May 13) is a romantic comedy/drama about a violin-playing student who travels to Ireland and falls in love with a young Hollywood celebrity. Part of this is a superficial, unrealistic teen-girl fantasy but, thankfully, it’s somewhat redeemed in the second half by delving into the troubles and insecurities of the two leading characters. The cast have charm (despite the limitations with the script). Grade: B-.
Mini Review - The Man in the Hat
The Man in the Hat (out May 13) is an offbeat comedy that feels like it has more words in the soundtrack than the script. An unnamed man (Ciarán Hinds), who barely speaks throughout the entire movie, travels across France in a Fiat 500 and encounters an interesting assortment of people. If you just want to chill for 90 minutes, this could be for you. Grade: B.
Mini Review - Ema
Ema (out May 13) is a Chilean romantic drama about a souring relationship between two professional dancers. This is anything but conventional. The character development is sluggish in places but the distinctive cinematography, music and editing will ensure your focus never wavers. Grade: B+.
Mini Review - Carmilla
Carmilla (out May 13) is based on Sheridan le Fanu’s 19th century gothic horror novel and is about an isolated teenage girl who, in desperate need of a friend, meets a mysterious young woman who has a carriage accident outside her home. I enjoyed the film’s eerie, unsettling tone but it takes a little too long to warm up. Grade: B-.
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.