Mini Review - Green Book
Green Book (out Jan 24) is set in 1962 and chronicles the (supposedly) true story of a renowned black pianist and the friendship he forges with his white driver/bodyguard as they go on a road trip through Southern America. It's predictable but it's still a warm-hearted crowd pleaser that achieves its mission thanks to the two stellar performances from Mahershala Ali and Viggo Mortensen. Grade: B+.
Mini Review - Storm Boy
Storm Boy (out Jan 17) is the second film to be based off Colin Thiele's children's book (the original came out in 1976) and it's a dull, overly simple drama about a boy who befriends three pelicans. The worst of the subplots involves a wealthy old man (played by Geoffrey Rush) and an odd business deal. Grade: C+.
Mini Review - The Kid Who Would Be King
The Kid Who Would Be King (out Jan 17) puts a current day spin on the famous story of King Arthur. A young boy, who is bulled at school, pulls a sword from a stone and then teams up with friends to save the world. There's a fun performance from Angus Imrie (who plays Merlin) but there's not much else that will get the heart pumping. Grade: C+.
Mini Review - Loro
Loro (out Jan 17) is the latest from director Paolo Sorrentino (The Great Beauty) and dissects the life of wealthy Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi. The music and visuals leave an impression but it's a long slog (2 hours, 30 minutes) that gets repetitive in sections. Grade: B.
Mini Review - Glass
Glass (out Jan 17) is the third film in the M. Night Shyamalan superhero series and it's essential that you've seen the first two - Unbreakable and Split. I'm a fan of his approach (trying to create more realistic, self-aware superheroes) but what's intriguing in the early scenes becomes tired by the end. Grade: B-.
Mini Review - Mary Queen of Scots
Mary Queen of Scots (out Jan 17) feels like two hours of pointless power games. Mary has her eyes on the English crown but Elizabeth is quick to rouse her supporters and prevent an uprising. The film’s problem is that we don’t know what either side is about, aside from differing religious views, and so it’s hard to work out who to cheer for. Grade: C+.
Mini Review - Instant Family
Instant Family (out Jan 10) is the story of a middle-aged married couple who adopt 3 foster kids. The film struggles with tone. There are some mean-spirited moments where the film is pushing for laughs... but it doesn't gel with the more dramatic scenes. Grade: B-.
Mini Review - Pick of the Litter
Pick of the Litter (out Jan 10) is a documentary that follows 5 young guide dogs (and their handlers) as they get put through a series of tests with the hope of graduating. It's repetitive and there's no ground-breaking reveals but that said, it's hard to dislike a film with so many cute dogs! Grade: B.