Mini Review - Crawl
Crawl (out Jul 11) is about a young woman and her father who get stuck in a basement with giant alligators during a hurricane. It sounds ridiculous but there are some decent individual scenes that create genuine thrills. Other stuff (such as the continual references to her swimming abilities) is dumb and corny. Grade: B-.
Mini Review - Diego Maradona
Diego Maradona (out Jul 25) is a terrific, narration-free documentary that uses grainy video tapes from the 1980s to explore the life of the infamous football star. It shows us the power of sport and the way it can inspire the masses. It also has something important to say about the perils of wealth and success. Oscar winning director Asif Kapadia (Senna, Amy) has delivered again. Grade: A-.
Mini Review - The White Crow
The White Crow (out Jul 18) is directed by Ralph Fiennes and delves into the life of Soviet ballet dancer ballet dancer Rudolf Nureyev who rose to fame in the late 1950s. The film struggles to provide insight into Nureyev's abrasive personality, his weird relationships, and the threats from the Soviet government. Grade: C+.
Mini Review - Apollo 11
Apollo 11 (out Jul 18) is a tight, terrific documentary that marks the 50th anniversary of man first stepping foot on the moon. There are no re-enactments, face-to-face interviews or narration. It effectively uses actual footage and audio recordings to show how it all unfolded over an 8 day period. Matt Morton's film score adds to its power. Grade: A-.
Mini Review - The Lion King
The Lion King (out Jul 17) offers cute, life-like characters but the film lacks heart and passion. It’s as if we’re watching the same movie from 1994 and the filmmakers have been too scared to make any huge creative choices. Seth Rogen (as the warthog) and Billy Eichner (as they meerkat) win laughs but it all feels very stale and tired. Grade: C+.
Mini Review - Spider-Man: Far From Home
Spider-Man: Far From Home (out Jul 1) starts like a tired formulaic superhero flick but a neat twist at half way mark sets the stage for an interesting second hour. Grade: B.
Mini Review - Booksmart
Booksmart (out Jul 11) is a very funny comedy about two studious teenage girls who, on their final day of high school, decide to attend an alcohol-fuelled graduation party and get out of their comfort zone. I laughed a lot! Great performances and the humour is both edgy and surprising. Grade: A-.
Mini Review - After
After (out Jul 4) could be the worst movie of 2019. It's a corny, poorly acted romantic drama about a young, innocent college girl who falls in love with a guy from "the wrong side of the tracks". The film was inspired by One Direction fan fiction and that pretty much says it all. Grade: C-.