Mini Review - Ford v Ferrari
Ford v Ferrari (out Nov 14) follows two key characters (played by Matt Damon and Christian Bale) who helped design a Ford racing car to take on the powerful Ferrari team in the mid-1960s. The story is over-romanticised in places and there's a weak, one-note villain (Josh Lucas) but aside, this is compelling viewing that held by attention throughout. Quality performances, edge-of-your seat racing sequences, and it all adds up to an interesting true story! Grade: B+.
Mini Review - The Report
The Report (out Nov 14) is centred on a former FBI employee asked to lead a Senate investigation into the CIA's “enhanced interrogation” techniques in the years following the September 11 attacks. There’s a lot to take away from this movie. It has something to say about the use of torture, the mental strain of being an investigator, and the role of government and subsequent accountability. Great performances from Adam Driver and Annette Bening. Grade: A.
Mini Review - The Irishman
The Irishman (out Nov 7) is a crime/mobster flick from director Martin Scorsese. It's not a tale that will blow you away (we've seen this sort of stuff before) but Scorsese is a great storyteller. It's more about the characters and how they interact (lots of "Chinese whispers") than about what ultimately happens to them. Joe Pesci the pick of the outstanding cast. Grade: A-.
Mini Review - Last Christmas
Last Christmas (out Nov 7) is an underwhelming romantic-comedy about a neurotic young woman (played by Emilia Clarke) who meets the ultimate nice guy (played by Henry Golding) and then reassesses her selfish nature. She’s a tough character to like and that’s part of the reason why it’s hard to buy into her transformation. A rare misstep from director Paul Feig. Grade: C+.
Mini Review - Emu Runner
Emu Runner (out Nov 7) is an Australian drama about a 9-year-old Indigenous girl who bonds with an emu in the remote outback following the unexpected death of her mother. The acting could have been stronger but it's still nice to see quality Aussie tales on the big screen. Grade: B.
Mini Review - Arctic Justice
Arctic Justice (out Nov 7) is yet another animated feature set in a world of snow/ice and is about a fox trying to land his dream job as a mail deliverer. The messages are genuine but there's not a lot of complexity or nuance to the storyline. Grade: C+.
Mini Review - Pain & Glory
Pain and Glory (out Nov 7) is the latest from Pedro Almodóvar and is the tale of an ageing director with many things on his mind. Antonio Banderas is fantastic in the lead role. It's a beautiful story about the way we look back on our lives and reflect on the choices we've made. Grade: A-.
Mini Review - Doctor Sleep
Doctor Sleep (out Nov 7) is a horror flick that's trying to offer more than darkened basements, possessed kids and cheap jolts. Based on the Stephen King sequel to The Shining, it's an intriguing tale involving psychic beings, childhood trauma and a group of nomads who "eat screams and feed off pain". With lengthy dialogue-free sequences, director Mike Flanagan makes great use of music and sound. Grade: B+.
Mini Review - 47 Metres Down: Uncaged
47 Metres Down: Uncaged (out Oct 31) is a rubbishy, inferior sequel to the 2017 original (which I liked). This one is about a group of young scuba divers who get trapped in an underground cave system while being pursued by sharks. The direction is laughably bad - from the bizarre use of slow-mo to the over-the-top use of shaky cam. Grade: C-.