Mini Review - Deerskin
Deerskin (out Aug 6) is a warped French horror-comedy about a stranger (Jean Dujardin) who arrives in a small town and convinces locals that he's filmmaker. The unsettling film score, odd characters and bizarre plot developments make it a film to remember. Grade: B+.
Mini Review - Black Water: Abyss
Black Water: Abyss (out Aug 6) is an Aussie thriller that serves as a sequel to the 2007 original. Two men and two women find themselves trapped in an underwater cave and attacked by a hungry crocodile. There's only so much you can make of the scenario and whilst there are a few good scares, there are also a few lulls. Grade: B-.
Mini Review - Unhinged
Unhinged (out Jul 30) has one-dimensional characters and lacks nuance but if you're looking for a simple thriller, it delivers. Russell Crowe, playing a character who is easy to root against, stars as a psychopath who targets a young woman and her family after a road rage incident. Grade: B-.
Mini Review - Litigante
Litigante (out Jul 30) is centred on a Colombian lawyer with a lot on her mind. She's frustrated by her unpleasant workplace, her stubbornly ill mother, and he inquisitive 4-year-old son. I'm not sure there's a lot to take away but it's still an engaging drama about a woman's search for happiness. Grade: B.
Mini Review - 23 Walks
23 Walks (out Jul 30) is the story of two elderly people who meet on a dog walk and forge a connection. It wants to be a feel good romantic flick but several parts feel staged, stiff (like how it spaces out basic questions they ask of each other). Has the appearance of a TV soapie with its cheesy subplots and faux drama. Grade: C+.
Mini Review - The House of Cardin
The House of Cardin (out Jul 23) is a concise documentary that chronicles the life of acclaimed fashion designer Pierre Cardin. It feels too much like a glowing love letter (i.e. it avoids anything too negative) but it's hard not to be wowed by his achievements across a range of art forms. Grade: B.
Mini Review - The Vigil
The Vigil (out Jul 23) is a simple thriller about a young man asked to watch over a corpse for a few hours as per Jewish custom. It's not offering much that we haven't seen before (and done better) in similar demonic spirit flicks. Grade: C+.
Mini Review - The Burnt Orange Heresy
The Burnt Orange Heresy (out Jul 23) is a disappointing drama-thriller about an art critic lured to the home of a wealthy collector with hopes of landing a big job. It's slow and tedious throughout. You think it might go somewhere interesting but it never does. The characters are poorly fleshed out and their actions lack explanation. Grade: C.
Mini Review - Babyteeth
Babyteeth (out Jul 23) is a great new Australian drama about an introverted teenager finding love for the first time in the arms of a 23-year-old drug addict. A lighter touch is applied to the first two acts but the emotions really hit home in the later stages. Strong performances from the four leading actors. Grade: A-.