By Original-Cin Staff
Another week, another bunch of movies hiding out in the corner cinemas where Avengers: Endgame isn’t playing.
Let’s start with The Hustle (Rating: C) which, sadly, is not based on the Van McCoy disco hit of the same title but a girl-power remake of the 1988 Michael Caine/Steve Martin buddy comedy, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels about competing English and American grifters. Does her-larity reign? Not exactly, says our reviewer Kim Hughes, who found the comedy squanders its promising gender-flipping concept.
Kim also reviews the predictable but femme-focused comedy POMS (Rating: B-) a retirement home cheerleader movie (oh, that again) with an ace cast (Diane Keaton, Celia Weston, Jacki Weaver, Pam Grier, Rhea Perlman) in which the veterans bring it against a younger team.
We have two biographical films this week, both about famous men before they were famous, and maybe not yet interesting. In Tolkein (Rating: C+), the young JRR (Nicholas Hoult) was an orphan, lover and friend, leading to his experiences in the First World War, in what reviewer Karen Gordon calls a serviceable but superficial drama. In the Ralph Fiennes-directed The White Crow (Rating: C+) we follow ballet great Rudolf Nureyev from his impoverished childhood to his 1961 defection in Paris in a drama that, says reviewer Liam Lacey, trips in its time-hopping structure.
Almost a dance movie, Shadow (Rating: A-) is a lustrous Chinese martial-arts drama inspired by the look of Chinese ink drawings. The film is a return to form China’s master of spectacle, Zhang Yimou, after the debacle of the Matt Damon-starring monster movie, The Great Wall.
What can we say about Pokémon: Detective Pikachu (Rating: C+) that makes any sense to those of you not familiar with the Japanese game’s complex mythology? Not much, says reviewer Thom Ernst, but for the initiated, the story of the yellow blob Detective Pikachu (ably voiced by Ryan Reynolds) on a quest to solve a crime is reasonably charming and the Blade Runner-like setting has a hallucinogenic effect.
For some closer-to-home disorientation, try the Canadian film Ordinary Days (Rating: C+) in which Ramona Barckert’s script is told in three episodes, with different directors in different styles, in what our reviewer Jim Slotek found an interesting idea that doesn’t quite work.
Finally, our podcast team have seen Christmases Futures until 2027 — a long strand of Avatars and Star Wars sequels. (Is the cross-over Starvatar inevitable?) Also, more thoughts on the furry, multi-generational universe of the Japanese toy franchise, Pokémon, which some of the unenchanted prefer to refer to only as “the P-word.”
Have a great weekend.