Mini Review - Fast & Furious 9
Fast & Furious 9 (out Jun 17) makes me think the franchise is worn out. Some will be entertained by the mindless, over-the-top, farcical action sequences but it's lacking ideas when it comes to narrative. We are at the point where the writers are bolting on illogical plot points to continue the tired theme of "being there for family". This needs a major refresh. Grade: C+.
Mini Review - A Family
A Family (out Jun 17) is a bizarre but engrossing drama set in the Ukraine about an isolated man who hires a bunch of actors to pretend to be his family. It’s hard to believe this is an Australian-made film. Doesn’t get much stranger than this. Grade: A-.
Mini Review - My Zoe
My Zoe (out Jun 17) is a drama about a separated couple fighting for custody of their only child. A tragedy then takes the film in a different direction. I didn’t buy into every plot point but it’s still an interesting exploration of fractured families and genetic science. First half better than the second. Grade: B+.
Mini Review - From the Vine
From the Vine (out Jun 17) gives off Under the Tuscan Sun type vibes. A Canadian lawyer experiences a mid-life crisis and travels to Italy to run his late grandfather’s vineyard with no experience. It’s corny, contrived and you always know where it’s heading. The fantasy elements (eg talking plants) get tired quickly. Grade: C+.
Mini Review - The Mole Agent
The Mole Agent (out Jun 17) is an Oscar-nominated documentary from Chile. It follows an 83-year-old man who becomes an undercover spy in a nursing home to see if its residents are being mistreated. You can see what director Maite Alberdi is trying to say but, despite the moderately interesting characters, it’s not particularly profound. Grade: B-.
Mini Review - Dream Horse
Dream Horse (out Jun 10) is based on actual events and is the tale of a Welsh woman who, looking for meaning in her life, convinces an eclectic group of townsfolk to start a horse racing syndicate. This film seems scared of conflict (it's all a bit too "nice") and is so stuffed full of sentimentality that it’s almost impossible to consume. Still, it's watchable thanks to the performances of the cast with Toni Collette giving it her all. Grade: B-.
Mini Review - Heroic Losers
Heroic Losers (out Jun 10) is a nice comedy about an eclectic group from a small Argentinian town who plan a creative heist to steal from a man who stole from them. It's the fun characters that make this work. Grade: B+.
Mini Review - Percy v Goliath
Percy v Goliath (out Jun 10) is based on actual events and is the story of a Canadian farmer sued by giant agricultural company Monsanto for illegally using their patented seeds. It’s well-intentioned but also over-simplified and hammy. Grade: B-.