Mini Review - Smurfs: The Lost Village
Smurfs: The Lost Village (out Mar 30) is an animated reboot of the Smurfs franchise. The story involves Smurfette discovering a new community of Smurfs and in the process, finding answers to key questions. It's a thin narrative and it's hard to argue this is an improvement on the recent live action version with Neil Patrick Harris. Grade: C.
Mini Review - Land of Mine
Land of Mine (out Mar 30) recounts a fascinating piece of post-World War II history. It follows a group of young German prisoners of war who had to locate and disarm more than 150,000 land mines on a Danish beach. Unlike traditional war films, the tension comes from moments that are eerily quiet (as opposed to big action sequences). The moral is as relevant today as it's ever been. Grade: A-.
Mini Review - A Man Called Ove
A Man Called Ove (out Mar 30) is a Swedish film about an elderly widowed man who seemingly has a grudge against everyone. That changes when a new couple move in across the street. Similar in a way to Clint Eastwood's Gran Torino, it hits its emotional notes at the end but it's a slow in the lead up. Grade: B-.
Mini Review - Life (2017)
Life (out Mar 23) is a slick sci-fi thriller about a group of astronauts on a space station who find a new life form. We've seen similar storylines in the past but this film earns points for its creepy alien and plausible premise. A handful of surprises too. Grade: B+.
Mini Review - Power Rangers
Power Rangers (out Mar 23) is part cheesy teen drama, part superhero flick. While I don't mind the approach, the screenplay is choppy and rushed. It seems more suited to a TV series where details can be fleshed out. The film's action finale is the weakest element. Grade: C+.
Mini Review - The Boss Baby
The Boss Baby (out Mar 23) is the latest animated feature from Dreamworks. It takes a bit of time to set up the complex scenario but comes together surprisingly well. It taps into the theme of sibling rivalry and has fun with a "cuteness" war between babies and puppies. Grade: B+.
Mini Review - A Cure for Wellness
A Cure For Wellness (out Mar 16) is a hot mess of a film. It's a great concept but it's disjointed and doesn't flow well (big gaps between certain scenes). Dane DeHaan plays a young corporate guy who travels to a strange "wellness centre" in Switzerland to meet with his boss. Grade: B.
Mini Review - Beauty and the Beast
Beauty and the Beast (out Mar 23) is a live action remake of the 1991 original. Staying faithful to the material, director Bill Condon has created an epic in terms of sets, costumes and visual effects. It's a little long but the many supporting characters fill the gaps nicely. Grade: A-.