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+.
Mini Review - Peterloo
Peterloo (out May 16) is the latest from acclaimed director Mike Leigh and looks at a curious, not-so-well known piece of British history - an economic downturn in 1819 that helped fuel an uprising against the government and its antiquated voting methods. The film deserves credit for trying to tackle complex issues but it struggles to create something that is interesting and engaging. Grade: B-.
Mini Review - Pokémon Detective Pikachu
Pokémon Detective Pikachu (out May 9) is based on the ridiculously successful franchise and is the story of a Pokémon trainer who teams up with a Pikachu to solve a series of mysteries. Fans of these characters should have fun but as a newcomer, I found it void of humour and intrigue. Grade: C+.
Mini Review - The Hustle
The Hustle (out May 9) stars Anne Hathaway and Rebel Wilson as two con-women trying to scam wealthy men out of big dollars. The problem with this film is that their scams are horribly unconvincing. Two decent actors but the script needed to be better. Grade: C+.
Mini Review - Poms
Poms (out May 9) is the story of a 70-something-year-old woman battling cancer who starts up a cheer leading group for fellow senior citizens. The script could have been sharper but it's an easy-to-watch, crowd pleasing comedy because of the strong comedic chemistry between its largely female cast (headlined by Diane Keaton and Jacki Weaver). Grade: B.
Mini Review - All is True
All is True (out May 9) is a largely fictionalised account of William Shakespeare's later years as he reflects on his work and mends rifts within his family. I struggled to see the point of this. Shakespeare is a boring character and the film gets bogged down in not-so-interesting diversions (such as his garden and obsession to have a male grandchild). Grade: C+.
Mini Review - The Extraordinary Journey of the Fakir
The Extraordinary Journey of the Fakir (out May 2) is the tale of poor man from India who flees his home country and goes on a crazy journey across Europe in search of wealth and romance. Based on a best-selling book, the characters have charm but the screenplay is odd, rushed. Grade: B-.
Mini Review - Long Shot
Long Shot (out May 2) is the story of a woman (Charlie Theron) in line to be the next U.S. President who hires a childhood acquaintance (Seth Rogen) to help give her speeches a little colour and humour. 1990s film such as Bulworth and The American President covered this material in a more convincing manner. There are a few laughs here but both the politics and the romance don't feel authentic. Grade: B-.
Mini Review - Top End Wedding
Top End Wedding (out May 2) is an Aussie romantic comedy about an Adelaide-based couple who head to Darwin for a quick-fire wedding but things get messy when the bride's mother goes missing. The film struggles to balance the tones between comedy and drama but it delivers in the final act with a heartfelt, emotional finale. Grade: B.