Mini Review - John Wick: Chapter 4
John Wick: Chapter 4 (out Mar 23) is more of the great stuff we saw in the first three movies. The story makes no sense... but who cares when you've got action scenes as good as this? The locations this time around include a boutique hotel, a pumping nightclub, a long set of stairs, and the famous Arc de Triomphe in Paris. Bill Skarsgård is a fun new villain, and 58-year-old hero Keanu Reeves continues to defy Father Time. Grade: B+.
Mini Review - Of an Age
Of an Age (out Mar 23) feels like an Australian version of Barry Jenkins' Oscar-winning Moonlight. Mostly set in 1999, it's centred on a 17-year-old who meets his friend's gay brother and opens up about his own sexuality. Offering humour, romance and sorrow, this is one of the best Aussie movies we’ll get the chance to see this year. Grade: A-.
Mini Review - Shazam! Fury of the Gods
Shazam! Fury of the Gods (out Mar 16) is a sequel to the 2019 original and sees Zachary Levi reprise his role as the caped hero. I like the cast but it's a very safe, generic storyline. The laughs are a mixed bag (for every joke that works, there's two jokes that don't). Grade: B-.
Mini Review - Pearl
Pearl (out Mar 16) is a sequel to last year's above-average horror-thriller X. This is a different style of movie (fewer characters, unusual "scares") and while I don't think the script is as interesting as the original, it's to be seen for Mia Goth's lead performance and the use of facial close-ups and long takes. Grade: B.
Mini Review - Living
Living (out Mar 16) is an English remake of a 1952 Japanese film directed by Akira Kurosawa (Ikiru). It's the tale of a dull, humourless, London Council bureaucrat who, after being diagnosed with terminal cancer, takes time away from work and embraces new activities. It would be easy to overplay the role but Bill Nighy, in his Oscar nominated role, is near-perfect as he extracts just the right dose of sympathy from audiences. Grade: A-.
Mini Review - 65
65 (out Mar 9) is a limp sci-fi flick which is best described as a topsy-turvy Jurassic Park. Instead of dinosaurs coming into the current day, the film is set 65 million years in the past where a human fights off dinosaurs. The sound effects ain't too bad but the script is a snooze-fest. Grade: C.
Mini Review - Scream VI
Scream VI (out Mar 9) shows there’s life in this franchise yet. It makes the most of locations (like subways) in its New York City setting, and it will keep audiences guessing throughout. No one acts in a rational manner but, because of the film’s spoof-like nature, this makes it all the more fun and entertaining. Grade: B+.
Mini Review - Till
Till (out Mar 9) is a very good 1950s drama about an African American mother seeking justice after her 14-year-old is brutally murdered while visiting cousins in Mississippi. This is well told and well acted. Can't ask for much more in generating the necessary emotions. Grade: A-.