The Peanut Butter Falcon – 4/5
There’s a difference between being a good person, and being a ‘good guy’. This is a notion stumbled upon in Tyler Nilson and Michael Schwartz’s debut feature of escapism, purpose and washed up professional wrestlers. Managing to balance heartfelt-ness, captivating performances and subtle humour, the film, in a Mark Twain fashion, is a touching romp from beginning to end. While Shia LaBeouf’s Tyler takes up most of the screen time, the real gem here is Zack Gottsagen as Zak, a 22-year-old with Down syndrome who escapes the old folks’ home he’s been placed in to train with his idol, 80’s pro wrestler The Saltwater Redneck (Thomas Haden Church). There’s brilliance in the timing of his performance, which is key in creating the great onscreen chemistry he has with Tyler.
Little Monsters – 4/5
A film that should have no trouble bringing in a wide audience, Abe Forsythe’s latest feature is a surprisingly wholesome and fun zombie comedy. Little Monsters is centred around Dave (Alexander England), a typical man child whose dreams of becoming a metal musician are getting him nowhere, and his abrupt decision to chaperone his infant nephew’s school trip to the zoo mainly because of beautiful teacher Audrey Caroline (Lupita Nyong’o). What ensues is a classic zom-com situation, but this time with a class full of school children, an idiot uncle and kids T.V. star Teddy McGiggle (Josh Gad). While the action is rather boilerplate, the performances, particularly those of England and Gad are certain to bring out belly laughs. Little Monsters works with what is quite a sharp script, never really sagging or boring the audience, and has clear attention to detail.
Monos – 3/5
Sure to go down as one of the year’s best looking films, Alejandro Landes’ epic charts the existence of a small band of teenage soldiers high in the mountains, as part of ‘The Organisation’, who are in possession of American hostage ‘La Doctora’ (Julianne Nicholson). This dark mystery keeps its audience at arm’s length for the majority of its runtime, opting to display the rituals and daily boredom of the teens in an Apocalypse Now fashion. Never failing to provide us with incredible technical filmmaking and a jaw-dropping visual style, the first two acts really draw you in.