Mini Review - Tár
Tár (out Jan 26) is an engrossing drama about a renowned, EGOT-winning musician/conductor. She's relied on hard work and talent to earn her success but her arrogance and other behind-the-scenes weaknesses threaten to upend her career. Cate Blanchett turns in one of the most memorable performances of the past year. The ending is pitch perfect. Grade: A.
Mini Review - What's Love Got to Do with It?
What's Love Got to Do with It? (out Jan 26) is a British romantic comedy which entertainingly highlights both the similarities and differences between societies when it comes to finding love. It's centred on two close friends - Zoe (Lily James) who uses dating apps and Kaz (Shazad Latif) who is being guided by his parents into an arranged marriage. Finds a nice balance between drama and humour. Grade: B+.
Mini Review - You Can Go Now
You Can Go Now (out Jan 26) is a straightforward documentary about the art and activism of Aboriginal Richard Bell. A nice tribute to a worthy man. Grade: B-.
Mini Review - Babylon
Babylon (out Jan 19) is a no-expense-spared epic about the creation of Hollywood in the late 1920s. It offers lengthy set pieces (like the making of an early "talkie") which are interesting and humorous. I wasn't as convinced by the character development which, for a 3-hour movie, is limited. It's also a little preachy in places. You'll remember the ending! Grade: B.
Mini Review - M3gan
M3gan (out Jan 12) is a horror flick about a young girl who, in need of support after the death of her parents, bonds with a highly sophisticated robot doll. It's predictable but also fun. Certain songs generate laugh-out-loud moments. Grade: B.
Mini Review - Operation Fortune: Ruse de Guerre
Operation Fortune: Ruse de Guerre (out Jan 12) is the latest from director Guy Ritchie and is an action-comedy about off-the-record spies trying to stop a mysterious object falling into the hands of a billion dollar arms dealer. It's overcomplicated at times but the cast are great. The interplay between Hugh Grant and Josh Hartnett was the highlight for me. Grade: B.
Mini Review - Emily
Emily (out Jan 12) is the directorial debut of Australian actor Frances O'Connor (Mansfield Park) and is a semi-factual, semi-imagined look at the upbringing of acclaimed 19th century writer Emily Brontë. The romantic subplot is a tiresome and cliched but thankfully, the film is better when exploring Emily's introverted nature and "hot and cold" family dynamics. Grade: B.
Mini Review - The Amazing Maurice
The Amazing Maurice (out Jan 12) is an animated feature about a mischievous cat who teams up with a pipe-playing kid to con folks out of their money. In visiting one particular town, he stumbles across a perplexing mystery. I liked this more than I expected. Hugh Laurie has just the right voice for the title role. Grade: B.