Hell or High Water- Black Comedy Road Movie with Heart: 100 Word Review

Hell or High Water is Thelma and Louise meets No Country for Old Men with a splash of Blues Brothers. Two brothers, part of the white trash underbelly of American society, rob a chain of banks, hunted by gruff yet canny retiring Texas Ranger (Bridges). Pine’s morally steadfast Toby adds complexity to the deplorable criminal…

Moana: Endearing Pacific Island Disney Flick- 100 Word Review

In Ancient Polynesia, bright-eyed future chief Moana sails out on a quest to save her dying island, accompanied by cheeky demigod Maui. The dialogue slightly overloads on the rhetoric of self empowerment and forging identity. Fortunately Manuel Miranda’s catchy music makes this cliched message easier to swallow. The storyline’s predictable and plods familiar territory in…

The Man from U.N.C.L.E.- 100 Word Review

Ritchie’s remake of the Cold War television show is a highly entertaining, action-packed romp. A CIA Agent, a KGB Agent and a nuclear scientist’s daughter, Gaby, unite to combat an international terrorist organisation led by the wicked Victoria. Like Sherlock Holmes, Ritchie directs the action with fast, energetic pace. The art design captures the style…

Slumdog Millionaire: Captivating and Heartwarming- 100 Word Review

Slumdog Millionaire’s a gritty and compelling drama about the power of destiny. A poor slum kid’s horrific childhood leads to his remarkable success on a TV quiz show. Boyle skilfully navigates the plot through three different time periods, each with compelling stories. The swift editing and exhilarating music shows the chaos of hustling Indian life….

Hacksaw Ridge: Gritty Sentimentalism- 100 Word Review

In Gibson’s true story Hacksaw Ridge, Staunch Christian Desmond Doss (Garfield) enlists to fight in WW2, but refuses to kill. Initially criticised by fellow soldiers and superiors, his awe-inspiring heroics are inevitably praised by all.  HR’s beautifully shot with evocative sound effects in battle scenes. There’s many strong Australian performances, but the writing restricts characters…

Four Weddings and a Funeral a Loveless Affair- 100 Word Review

Newell’s rom-com flounders in this lengthy and predictable comedy about a bachelor finding love. Grant brings his usual bumbling appeal, however is ill-countered by the charmless MacDowell. Scott Thomas and Callow have some funny moments, however the dialogue doesn’t grant the supporting cast enough room to play, as in Notting Hill. Curtis’ writing lacks the…

Jason Bourne-100 Word Review

The tagline ‘You Know His Name’ sums it up: Jason Bourne is a stock-standard action flick made purely to sell tickets to loyal fans. It’s CIA versus the little guy, if the little guy is an aging yet buff Matt Damon on a nondescript quest for knowledge about his past. Vikander is impassive and collected,…

Hunt for the Wilderpeople a Comic Gem- 100 Word Review

Waititi’s wacky adventure comedy has humour and heart. Faced with an unloving foster system, Ricky Baker choses instead to elope into the wilderness, accompanied by his foster-dad Hec. Their escapades are comic gold, exhibiting a distinctly NZ sense of humour. Wittily written and directed by Waititi. Dennison thrives as badass youth, and has great chemistry…

Sweeney Todd: Gore, Guts and Melody- 100 Word Review

Burton’s adaption of the eerie musical has more blood than guts, with an unsatisfying ending. Sweeney Todd spends his days slitting the throats of his customers to be baked by his pie-maker neighbour Sweeney Todd spends his days slitting the throats of his customers to be baked by his pie-maker neighbour Mrs Lovett. Depp satisfies…

The BFG- a Sweet and Faithful Adaption

Spielberg’s take on Dahl’s childhood classic is a faithful adaption with magical special effects. Young orphan Sophie is snatched by the BFG and taken to giant-country, where they become friends and form a plan to defeat the evil man-eating giants. Barnhill’s Sophie is sweet and lively, while Rylance’s BFG perfectly captures the endearing tongue-tied hero…

Woman in Gold lacks Sparkle- 100 Word Review

Curtis’ film is a slow telling of a true story, with flashbacks more interesting than the central plot. Years after fleeing persecution in WWII, Jewish Maria (Mirren), attempts to reclaim family art that was stolen by the Nazis. Mirren is her usual tenacious self and Reynolds good as passionate young lawyer. Among numerous legal scenes…

Beyond Thunderdome balances Max’s Madness with eccentric storyline- 100 Word Review

Miller’s third post-apocalyptic outing has the craziness of its predecessor with a unexpectedly comprehensible plot. Road Warrior, Max (Gibson) is enlisted by Thunderdome’s ruler to kill a rival in a gladiator-style arena. A subsequent banishment introduces him to a gang of children dreaming of the mythical Tomorrow-Morrow land. When their expedition fails, only Max can save…