Mini Review - The War with Grandpa
The War with Grandpa (out Dec 3) has a Home Alone-type vibe and is the story of a 6th grader who, after being kicked out of his bedroom and moved into the attic, gets revenge by playing practical jokes on his cunning grandfather. This is a film for kids and I think they'll enjoy it. The interplay between the leads, 77-year-old Robert DeNiro and 16-year-old Oakes Fegley, is great. Grade: B.
Mini Review - The Bee Gees: How Can You Mend a Broken Heart
The Bee Gees: How Can You Mend a Broken Heart (out Dec 3) is a fascinating documentary from start to finish. We begin with their upbringing here in Brisbane, we culminate with their final works, and in between we explore the brilliant music that saw them inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. There of lots of interesting subplots (e.g. the death of disco) and there really is something for everyone. Grade: A.
Mini Review - The Trouble with Being Born
The Trouble with Being Born (out Dec 3) is a provocative, thought provoking drama about a 10-year-old android girl and her connection with others. I'm fascinated by the issues explored here but it's overly ambiguous in places and therefore doesn't make the most of its premise. Certain to get people talking. Grade: B+.
Mini Review - How Do You Know Chris?
How Do You Know Chris? (out Dec 3) is a low-budget Australian drama about a man who invites a group of unconnected friends to a party for reasons they're not sure about. It doesn't stick the landing but I like the intrigue and the collection of good performances. Grade: B.
Mini Review - A Christmas Gift from Bob
A Christmas Gift from Bob (out Dec 3) is a disappointing follow-up to the 2016 original and is the tale of an ex drug addict and his cat who live in London. It's not advancing these characters in any way and several subplots are corny and dull. Grade: C.
Mini Review - Happiest Season
Happiest Season (out Nov 26) is a warm-hearted romantic comedy about a same-sex couple who visit one of their families for Christmas... except no one knows they’re a same-sex couple. It overcooks a few comedic elements but the wonderful performance of Kristen Stewart makes this a winner. She serves as the film's dramatic backbone and it allows those around her to overplay their eccentricities in search of laughs. Grade: B+.
Mini Review - Let Him Go
Let Him Go (out Nov 26) is an effective drama-thriller about an elderly couple travelling across North Dakota in search of their missing daughter-in-law and grandchild. The performances from leads Kevin Costner and Diane Lane are excellent and the tension really ratchets up in the later stages. Grade: B+.
Mini Review - In the Name of the Land
In the Name of the Land (out Nov 26) feels like the French equivalent of a Ken Loach film. It's the story of a middle-aged farmer who is struggling to pay the bills and can't catch a break. It starts to take on toll on the whole family. It's a touch slow to begin but the film's climax will leave an impression. Grade: B+.