Mini Review - Aladdin
Aladdin (out Mar 23) is a perhaps unnecessary remake of the 1992 Disney animated feature. It’s remarkable how little they’ve changed in terms of characters, storylines and songs. There’s a superficiality about the characters that’s hard to shake but it’s still light, humorous and appealing for younger audiences. Not sure about the older crowd. Grade: B.
Mini Review - The Reports on Sarah and Saleem
The Reports on Sarah and Saleem (out May 23) is a terrific drama about a Palestinian man and an Israeli woman who have an affair. In concealing their relationship, they set off a chain of events that threatens the lives and reputations of those around them. This is a complex, fascinating film that is inspired by actual events. Grade: A-.
Mini Review - Brightburn
Brightburn (out May 23) is a horror-thriller about two parents and their 12-year-old son is doing really, really strange things. There are some dumb moments (e.g. the parents' opinion of their son fluctuates too much) but it holds your attention because it's different and you're never quite sure where it's going next. Grade: B+.
Mini Review - The Heiresses
The Heiresses (out May 23) is a Paraguayan about two elderly women who are forced to reassess their affluent lifestyle after developing financial problems. There's a beautiful lead performance from Ana Brun (in her first ever acting role) but it's a slow paced drama that doesn't strike enough emotional chords. Grade: B.
Mini Review - 2040
2040 (out Mar 23) is an Australian documentary from writer-director Damon Gameau that looks at technology that’s readily available today to envisage where society could be in 21 years’ time if it makes the right decisions in addressing climate change and sustainability. There are some corny dream-like sequences from the year 2040 but the interviewees and topics covered provide great food-for-thought. Grade: B+.
Mini Review - The Least of These: The Graham Staines Story
The Least of These: The Graham Staines Story (out May 16) recounts the true life story of an Australian missionary and his two sons who were killed by fundamentalists in India in 1999. It's a sad story but this is a strange movie filled with forced, unnatural dialogue and weird slow-mo flashbacks. Grade: C.
Mini Review - The Realm
The Realm (out May 16) is a Spanish drama-thriller about a corrupt politician who is exposed in the media and then goes on a frantic quest to cover his tracks and keep his good name. It's a little long but I love the fast-paced style and film score. Grade: B+.
Mini Review - John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum
John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum (out May 16) is a little stale (it's the same stuff we saw in the earlier movies) but I'm still a fan of the franchise and director Chad Stahelski. The action scenes are not over-edited and the characters are memorable (particularly Asia Kate Dillon as the Adjudicator). Grade: B+.