Mini Review - Henchmen
Henchmen (out Dec 9) is a low-budget animated feature that explores a fun superhero concept. Rather than focus on villains, it is centred on the henchmen who do all the grunt work behind the scenes and dream of promotion to the big time. It doesn't make enough of the premise (particularly with the finale) but there's sufficient humour to warrant a look. Grade: B.
Mini Review - Dear Evan Hansen
Dear Evan Hansen (out Dec 9) is a film adaptation of the super successful Broadway musical which won the Tony Award in 2017. It's centred on an introverted 17-year-old high school kid (Ben Platt) who tells a lie which he cannot escape from. While there’s no true substitute for quality live theatre, director Stephen Chbosky does an admirable job translating the energy from the stage show and bringing it into the movie. Love the songs. Grade: B+.
Mini Review - The French Dispatch
The French Dispatch (out Dec 9) is the latest from director Wes Anderson and is both meticulously crafted and incredibly frustrating. It largely consists of three short stories involving journalists on quirky assignments. Despite non-stop narration and an abundance of flashy adjectives, you feel so distanced from the characters and their respective plights. Grade: B-.
Mini Review - The Hand of God
The Hand of God (out Dec 2) is from Oscar-winning Italian filmmaker Paolo Sorrentino (The Great Beauty) and is a semi-autobiographical tale about life as a shy 16-year-old growing up in Naples and his prank-loving, everything-out-in-the-open extended family. The opening half appears aimless but it comes together with a thought-provoking finale. Newcomer Filippo Scotti is terrific in the lead role. Grade: B+.
Mini Review - The Lost Leonardo
The Lost Leonardo (out Dec 2) is a terrific documentary that looks art and its perceived value - both financial and non-financial. Featuring a great collection of interviews, the film's focus is a recently discovered work from Leonardo Da Vinci. The auction scene at Christie's in New York will leave you shaking your head. Grade: A-.
Mini Review - Encanto
Encanto (out Dec 2) is an animated effort about a small Colombian community where everyone has magic powers except for a young woman who struggles to understand her purpose. The songs lack punch and it takes a long time to get to point… but the finale resonates. Grade: B.
Mini Review - Dune
Dune (out Dec 2) is as much an experience as it is a movie - an orgy of immersive visuals, music and sound that pull you into its enthralling world. Timothée Chalamet is front and centre throughout and his impassioned performance is another reason why audiences should invest their time in this. Grade: A-.
Mini Review - The Card Counter
The Card Counter (out Dec 2) is a tedious drama that create subplots and then doesn’t know what to do with them. It feels so aimless. The poker scenes are laughably unrealistic. Grade: C.