Mini Review - How to Please a Woman
How to Please a Woman (out May 19) is an odd Australian comedy about an unemployed woman who gets together a group of men to start a business which is part cleaning, part prostitution. Nothing about the storyline makes sense and it lacks eroticism and edginess (only rated M). Best part is when troubled characters open up but these scenes are few and far between. Grade: C+.
Mini Review - The Innocents
The Innocents (out May 19) is a disturbing Norwegian sci-fi thriller about kids who develop telekinetic and other superpowers but lack the maturity to deal with them safely. Intense, troubling, riveting. Great performances from the young actors. Grade: A-.
Mini Review - Everything Went Fine
Everything Went Fine (out May 19) is a French drama from director Francois Ozon. An elderly, wheelchair-ridden man requests an assisted suicide and his daughter must decide whether to help or hinder. It doesn’t shy away from the gravity of the situation (the man’s suffering is shown in detail) and the performances are very good. Moving. Grade: B+.
Mini Review - Pompo the Cinephile
Pompo the Cinephile (out May 19) is a Japanese animated feature about a young movie producer who provides life-changing filmmaking opportunities to her anxious, insecure assistant. The execution is too hectic and over-emotive but I enjoyed the broader narrative. Grade: B.
Mini Review - To Olivia
To Olivia (out May 19) recounts the marriage of author Roald Dahl and actress Patricia Neal and the aftermath of their 7-year-old daughter’s death in 1962. They may have been famous people but this is a standard, ho-hum drama which elicits very little in the way of emotion. Grade: C.
Mini Review - Father Stu
Father Stu (out May 12) is based on a true story and stars Mark Wahlberg as retired boxer who, after falling in love with a deeply religious woman, transforms his life by becoming a priest. It's a mildly interesting narrative but not sure Wahlberg was the best fit for the lead role. Grade: B-.
Mini Review - Firestarter
Firestarter (out May 12) is based on a Stephen King book (some will also remember the 1984 film) and revolves around a young girl with the power to create fire. It's surprising how little story there is here. Did a bunch of stuff get left on the cutting room floor? A very standard run-and-chase movie. Grade: C.
Mini Review - Operation Mincemeat
Operation Mincemeat (out Jul 12) isn’t fully satisfying but it’s still an interesting yarn to add to the memory bank. It's the story of an elaborate, borderline-farcical deception tactic orchestrated by the British military in the middle of World War II. The better scenes in the movie revolve around the idea's execution while the weaker stuff involves an unnecessary love triangle. Grade: B-.