Mini Review - Inventing Tomorrow
Inventing Tomorrow (out Mar 21) is a short, simple documentary that follows a group of teenagers trying to develop technology that will help save the environment while also winning awards at the ISEF - the "science fair of science fairs". Grade: B.
Mini Review - Destroyer
Destroyer (out Mar 21) features a stunning physical transformation from Nicole Kidman. It's certainly not stereotypical look that you’d expect for a cop. She plays a tired, forlorn member of the LAPD still trying to escape the aftermath of a Palm Springs bank robbery 15 years ago. It's a little uneven in places but Kidman's strong performance makes this an intriguing tale. Grade: B+.
Mini Review - The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part
The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part (out Mar 21) will be must-see viewing for fans of the 2014 release but it's thinner in terms of originality and storyline. Grade: B-.
Mini Review - Swimming with Men
Swimming with Men (out Mar 21) is an unnecessarily goofy comedy about a group of British guys who form a synchronised swimming team and enter a major competition. It's based on actual events but very little about the screenplay rings true. Attempts at humour (e.g. the guy with a criminal past) are just strange. Grade: C-.
Mini Review - Fighting with My Family
Fighting with My Family (out Mar 21) is based on the true story of a teenager from Norwich, England who tried to become a professional wrestler in the WWE. Writer-director Stephen Merchant was drawn to the story's many genres (comedy, drama, suspense) and it's easy to see why given the terrific finished product. This is a fun movie with a big heart and something to say. Grade: A-.
Mini Review - Sometimes Always Never
Sometimes Always Never (out Mar 14) focuses on a semi-retired tailor (Bill Nighy) who has never fully come to grips with the disappearance of his son roughly two decades ago. The interaction between the characters should serve as the film’s heart but given some of the scenarios are so odd and hard-to-believe (such as the finale itself), the emotional impact is lessened. Grade: B-.
Mini Review - Hotel Mumbai
Hotel Mumbai (out Mar 14) is spread across roughly 3 days and follows a group of people caught up in terrorist attack at a luxurious Indian hotel in 2008. Delving into the ways people react when faced with a life-threatening situation, this movie is both unsettling and inspiring. Grade: B+.
Mini Review - The House That Jack Built
The House That Jack Built (out Mar 7) is an almost unwatchable film from Danish director Lars von Trier. It's a 2.5 hour drama about an art-loving serial killer (played by Matt Dillon). It's graphically violent, tiring and pointless. Grade: C-.
Mini Review - Captain Marvel
Captain Marvel (out Mar 7) is a standard, kind-of-seen-it-before origin tale. We’ve got a hero learning about their abilities and we’ve got some one-dimensional villains who just want to be powerful and controlling. The most memorable scene is a 30-second end credits glimpse of how Captain Marvel will play a major role in the upcoming Avengers: Endgame. Grade: B-.
Mini Review - Everybody Knows
Everybody Knows (out Mar 7) is set in the latest from Iranian director Asghar Farhadi (A Separation). A crime is committed during a wedding in Buenos Aires and the fractured family members must come to grips with the messy aftermath. The final act doesn't offer a knockout punch but this is still a quality, slow-burn thriller. Grade: B+.
Mini Review - A Dog's Way Home
A Dog's Way Home (out Feb 28) is likely to win over dog lovers but it still has a flimsy story and unconvincing special effects. More for kids than adults. Grade: C+.