Mini Review - Child's Play
Child's Play (out Jun 20) is a remake of the 1988 original and not many details have been changed. It's the story of a boy who gets a hi-tech talking doll as a birthday present. Unfortunately, it is not the nice, sweet-talking doll as promised on the box. I like the idea of the film but the actions of some characters are head-scratching. Grade: B-.
Mini Review - Toy Story 4
Toy Story 4 (out Jun 20) is another funny, intelligent, sentimental movie within this successful franchise that will appeal to audiences of all ages. The terrific script is filled with great dialogue, cool new characters and exquisite metaphors. If you’re looking for a reason to smile, Toy Story 4 will provide. Grade: A.
Mini Review - Claire Darling
Claire Darling (out Jun 20) is a French drama that has something to say about the memories that connect people with household items. There's not much more to it however. It's centered on a wealthy, elderly woman battling dementia who holds a garage sale to dispose of all possessions. Grade: B-.
Mini Review - The Secret Life of Pets 2
The Secret Life of Pets 2 (out Jun 20) doesn't take many chances but it's still a simple, easy-to-enjoy follow up to the 2016 original. There are several storylines to keep young audiences entertained. Grade: B.
Mini Review - Never Look Away
Never Look Away (out Jun 20) tells the tale of Kurt Barnert (Schilling), a young painter who grew up in a Nazi-ruled Germany and now, following the cessation of World War II, is trying to find his artistic voice. A few may balk at the lengthy 188 minute running time but this an absorbing German drama that looks at the interaction between art and society. Grade: A-.
Mini Review - Men in Black: International
Men in Black: International (out Jun 13) is a disappointing action-comedy. In trying to act overly cool and funny, these new heroes (played by Chris Hemsworth and Tessa Thompson) come off as fake and boring. The weak, uninspired villains are just as bad. The one bright spark comes is Kumail Nanjiani who voices an alien who is small in stature but big on personality. Grade: C+.
Mini Review - Wild Rose
Wild Rose (out Jun 13) is a moving drama about a single mother who, fresh from a year-long stint in prison, must juggle the dream of becoming a country music star with the responsibility of caring for her two young children. 29-year-old Jessie Buckley is wonderfully good as the film's flawed protagonist. Grade: A-.
Mini Review - Tolkien
Tolkien (out Jun 13) delves into the schooling years of acclaimed writer J.R.R. Tolkien during the early part of the 20th Century. The wartime scenes are clumsy but this is still a beautiful told tale that shows the value of strong, supportive friends and how they can shape our lives, our decisions and our personalities. Grade: B+.