Mini Review - The Stranger
The Stranger (out Oct 6) is an Australia drama loosely based on the elaborate police sting which led to the confession of the man who killed 13-year-old Daniel Morcombe in 2003. It takes a narrow approach (focused on the sting and nothing else) and deftly highlights the emotional toll on the undercover detective (Joel Edgerton) forced to befriend the suspected killer (Sean Harris) over several months. Grade: B+.
Mini Review - Don't Worry Darling
Don't Worry Darling (out Oct 6) creates a scenario oozing with promise during the opening act but the intrigue fizzles away with a sluggish middle and a rushed climax (which is easy to poke holes in). It's centred on a young woman (Florence Pugh) living in a remote community who senses something is amiss with their overly idyllic lifestyle. Grade: B-.
Mini Review - Under Cover
Under Cover (out Oct 6) is an Australian documentary that looks at the increasing number of women, particularly those aged 50 and above, who are experiencing homelessness in this country. It's not offering a lot of solutions but it does an admirable job highlighting the issues. Grade: B.
Mini Review - Smile
Smile (out Sep 29) is, for the most part, an effective horror-thriller about an experienced therapist haunted by a smiling "presence" after a new patient commits suicide. I wasn't fully convinced of every action taken by the protagonist (she's too frazzled given her background) but I enjoyed the film's fresh premise. Grade: B.
Mini Review - The Humans
The Humans (out Sep 29) marks the feature film debut of director Stephen Karam and is based on his Tony Award winning stage play from 2016. In the same vein as August: Osage County, it's about a family who come together (this time for Thanksgiving) and secrets spill into the open. Solid performances but slow in patches. Grade: B.
Mini Review - See How They Run
See How They Run (out Sep 29) is about a real murder set in the middle of a fake murder. Set on London's West End in the early 1950s, the actors performing Agatha Christie's stage play The Mousetrap are caught up in their own mystery when a Hollywood screenwriter is murdered. It works as a credible whodunit with stars Sam Rockwell and Saoirse Ronan (who play the investigating detectives) the best of the cast. Grade: B+.
Mini Review - Hunt
Hunt (out Sep 22) is a solid South Korean flick set in the early 1980s about agents within the Korean Central Intelligence Agency trying to identify a North Korean spy who is leaking information to destabilise the country. There's a bit too much going on at times but I still enjoyed enjoy this as an interesting thriller where agents use a variety of curious tactics to help weed out the mole. Grade: B+.
Mini Review - Ticket to Paradise
Ticket to Paradise is a corny, cheesy, formulaic romantic comedy about two bickering divorcees (George Clooney and Julia Roberts) who travel to Bali to stop their 20-something-year-old daughter from getting married to a guy she just met. I like the cast and the setting (it was made here in Queensland) but the misadventures of these characters have been poorly conceived. Grade: C+.