BAD MOMS 2 (MA15+) Just as funny with twice the not-so-nice US, 104 min
This swiftly assembled sequel works as a crowdpleasing comedy because the hit-to-miss joke ratio is moderately high. This time, the foundation trio of Bad Moms — Amy (Mila Kunis), Kiki (Kristen Bell) and Carla (Kathryn Hahn) — must go head-to-head with their own bad mothers. As it is Christmas, Amy’s controlfreak mom Ruth (Christine Baranski), Kiki’s clingy mom Sandy (Cheryl Hines) and Carla’s trailer-trash mom Isis (Susan Sarandon) will be doing their best to ruin this hallowed holiday for all.
BEATRIZ AT DINNER (M) For the main course, eat her words US, 82 min
Salma Hayek gives a career-best performance in the title role of a no-nonsense Mexican masseuse invited to a dinner party hosted by two rich clients. Beatriz is the only person seated at the table who isn’t worth millions. But that isn’t about to stop her calling out the insensitive and self-centred ways of her fellow guests. Such fiery, spirited stuff is particularly apt in an era where Donald Trump is US President, and class divides are widening all over the globe. [Exclusive to Warrina.]
CONOR MCGREGOR: NOTORIOUS (M) Pulls too many punches to truly kick off Ireland, 90 min
This flashy sports doco gets you up close and impersonal with mixed martial arts superstar Conor McGregor. As can often be the case when the subject of a doco is also a producer, the film is very selective. The controversial Irish fighter’s improbable rise from lowly plumber’s apprentice to high-flying UFC champ is definitely a story worth telling, and when the filmmakers stick to the key facts and crucial fights, it makes for riveting viewing. However, an unseemly proportion of running time is given over to feeding McGregor’s monstrous ego. The man’s incessant need to remind everyone of his ability to crush opponents and make the big bucks is tiresome beyond belief. Hard-line UFC devotees will relish the deep focus on two landmark stoushes: McGregor’s UFC Featherweight title triumph in 2015, and his equally astonishing loss of the same belt less than a year later. (That heavily hyped recent Floyd Mayweather bout is briefly dealt with in the closing credits.)
THE FOREIGNER (MA15+) Revenge a dish best served old US-China, 110 min
They killed Jackie Chan’s daughter. Now they’re gonna have to pay. But first, old Jackie has to work out exactly who “they” are. After losing his only child in a London terrorist bombing, Quan (Chan) has a hunch the IRA (and their man in British Parliament, played by Pierce Brosnan) might be in it up to their ears. So runs the seen-it-all-before premise of The Foreigner, a no-frills action-thriller as old school as this kind of fare can be.
GEOSTORM (M) Cloudy, with a chance of meatheads US, 109 min
A D-grade disaster movie where the world’s weather has turned suspiciously malicious. Our only hope rests with the Daniel Day-Lewis of dumb action flicks, Mr Gerard Butler. Gezza must zoom up to the International Space Station to shake his fists and throw some spanners at a ring of weather-controlling satellites that have gone rogue. Butler and a grimacing, vein-popping cast play it way too straight in a movie fundamentally telling all conventional logic to go and get bent.
HOME AGAIN (M) Whatever they say, Reese is the word US, 97 min
Eager-to-please (and-even-more-eager-not-to-offend) rom-com escapism depicting a situation incredibly hard to believe, yet very easy to sit back and take in. Reese Witherspoon stars as Alice, who after a big night bemoaning her 40th birthday, takes in three young aspiring filmmakers as lodgers. Wouldn’t you just know it? The combined traits of this well-behaved pack of guy-candy amount to everything her exhusband (Michael Sheen) should have been. Costars Candice Bergen.
JIGSAW (MA15+) The eighth cut is not the deepest US, 92 min
A belated eighth instalment to the Saw franchise. You know the drill here. There’s a quartet of young miscreants being held against their will. To escape, they might have to part company with an organ, limb, or a substantial percentage of their lifespan. Meanwhile, a cabal of clueless cops and morticians wonder aloud if this is all the work of the notorious mastermind Jigsaw, seemingly still hard at work despite dying at the end of Saw 3.
JUNGLE (M) Desperate climes demand desperate measures, Australia, 111 min
That high-profile Harry Potter gig is the monkey that needs to be prised off Daniel Radcliffe’s back if he is ever to achieve legitimate recognition as a grown-up actor. While he still has some way to go, D-Rad is beginning to show a certain something in movies that suggests he will indeed go the distance. While Jungle isn’t the ideal showcase for any actor — the scripting is wispy and the pacing is inordinately slack — Radcliffe gives everything a red hot go from start to finish. He plays Yossi Ghinsberg, a naive young Israeli adventurer who finds himself helplessly stranded deep in the rainforests of Bolivia in 1981. Deprived of any useful resources, Ghinsberg gradually finds himself making a series of survivalist choices that would have allterrain tough guys like Bear Grylls changing underwear repeatedly. The man-versus-nature stuff rarely raises pulses, but it is convincing due to Radcliffe’s unshakeable determination to make it so. A true (ish) story, if that floats your boat. Directed by Greg McLean ( Wolf Creek).
THOR: RAGNAROK (M) Hammer comes down, humour goes up US, 129 min
The third big-screen solo outing for Thor sees the big burly bearded bloke in his best form yet. While the movie supplies the kind of sprawling action spectacle Marvel is renowned for, it is also a sly, dry comedy packed with deadpan punchlines and absurd sight gags. The goodnatured goofiness to the fore is definitely the handiwork of New Zealand filmmaker Taika Waititi, fresh off his 2016 global sleeper hit Hunt for the Wilder people. When Waititi and an openly enthusiastic cast — led by Australian duo Chris Hemsworth as Thor, and Oscar-winner Cate Blanchett as his evil older sister Hela — get the laughs going on a roll, the movie’s charm is irresistible. Co-stars Tom Hiddleston, Tessa Thompson, Mark Ruffalo.
THREE SUMMERS (M) Perfectly unseasonable Australia, 102 min
A lifeless Australian comedy from go to whoa to no, lethargically collecting all the sketchy caricatures, redundant stereotypes and crass cliches writer-director Ben Elton can think of. After Elton applies a heart-hardening grasp of modern romance, then makes several lifeshortening lunges at levity, what remains is just a dumpster fire with dialogue. The plot stretches a multitude of thin storylines across three successive stagings of an annual folk music festival. Characters who have initially got it wrong about how to be a good parent, a good spouse, a good lover, a good kid or a good multicultural citizen will eventually come to their senses and get it right. But not before a viewer’s patience — or goodwill towards an appealing homegrown cast which includes Michael Caton, Deborah Mailman and Magda Szubanski — has been vaporised. A love story between two unlovable types merely prolongs the inert, inane agony of it all.