In cinemas this week: The Nice Guys, Hunt for the Wilderpeople and Alice Through the Looking Glass.
The Nice Guys – Holland March (Ryan Gosling) is a down-on-his-luck private eye in 1977 Los Angeles. Jackson Healy (Russell Crowe) is a hired enforcer who hurts people for a living. Fate turns them into unlikely partners after a young woman named Amelia (Margaret Qualley) mysteriously disappears. Healy and March soon learn the hard way that other dangerous people are also looking for Amelia. Their investigation leads to some dark places as anyone else who gets involved in the case seems to wind up dead. Shane Black doesn’t quite recapture the form of Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, but Gosling and Crowe make a great hapless PI team, and it is consistently funny throughout, even if it doesn’t dig too deeply into the seedy ’70s California underworld. Further thoughts at the link.
Hunt for the Wilderpeople – Raised on hip-hop and foster care, defiant city kid Ricky gets a fresh start in the New Zealand countryside. He quickly finds himself at home with his new foster family: the loving Aunt Bella, the cantankerous Uncle Hec, and dog Tupac. When a tragedy strikes that threatens to ship Ricky to another home, both he and Hec go on the run in the bush. As a national manhunt ensues, the newly branded outlaws must face their options: go out in a blaze of glory or overcome their differences and survive as a family. Equal parts road comedy and rousing adventure story, director Taika Waititi (What We Do in the Shadows) masterfully weaves lively humour with emotionally honest performances by Sam Neill and Julian Dennison. Can’t wait to see this one. Taika Waititi’s films are always a treat, and Julian Dennison is a brilliant young actor.
Alice Through the Looking Glass – After slipping through a mirror, Alice (Mia Wasikowska) finds herself back in Underland with the White Queen (Anne Hathaway), the Cheshire Cat, the White Rabbit, Tweedledee and Tweedledum. Her friends tell her that the Mad Hatter (Johnny Depp) is depressed over the death of his family. Hoping to save his loved ones, Alice steals the Chronosphere from Time (Sacha Baron Cohen) to travel into the past. While there, she encounters the younger Hatter and the evil Red Queen (Helena Bonham Carter). An improvement on Burton’s dire effort, but a few of the performances and some inventive sets/effects aside, its pretty lackluster stuff. Sam’s review at the link.