Movies opening today: From sci-fi remakes to Sugar Men

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Opening wide in South African cinemas from today are the following 3 movies:

Total Recall:
The classic Arnie and Paul Verhoeven sci-fi actioner receives the 21st Century remake treatment. This time Colin Farrell is the disgruntled blue-collar worker of the future who gets more than he bargained for when he signs up for memory implants. Suddenly our hero is revealed as a spy (or is he?) on the run from the likes of Kate Beckinsale and Bryan Cranston. Fortunately he has rebel Jessica Biel on his side. Loosely based, like its predecessor, on Philip K Dick’s short story. From the director of Underworld and Die Hard 4.

While Total Recall 2012 doesn’t insult fans of the original (makers of the RoboCop reboot, take note!), it’s evidently only so-so in quality. Fantastic action sequences and an excellent first hour of world-building can’t make up for the film’s general blandness, as it lacks both heart and humour. Rated 31% Fresh on review aggregator site Rotten Tomatoes.

Madea’s Witness Protection:
And they just keep coming! Witness Protection is the seventh film in writer-director-producer-star Tyler Perry’s series about a hot-tempered mountain of feistiness who teaches life lessons while frequently breaking the law. In this comedy, Madea is forced to take Eugene Levy, Denise Richards and co. under her roof after they’re blamed for a Ponzi scheme, which in reality was set up by the mob.

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Madea’s Witness Protection apparently feels slapdash and lazy. It may be Perry’s most broadly appealing and accessible Madea film, but he still hasn’t quite found a balance between sweet and sour. Some good laughs, but the movie sags whenever bolshie Madea is off-screen.

Tinker Bell: Secret of the Wings:
Disney’s beloved fairy Tinker Bell embarks on some same-sex experimentation in this CGI-animated adventure… Alright, maybe that’s not really true. Utilising characters from the popular Disney Fairies franchise, Secret of the Wings sees Tink (voiced by Mae Whitman) meet her frost fairy equivalent, Periwinkle, in the forbidden Winter Woods.

Secret of the Wings is releasing straight to DVD overseas in October, but the film is receiving a 3D cinema release locally. Fairy-loving little girls should dig this fourth Tinker Bell film, but I doubt there will be appeal for anyone else. File this one under “cutesy, safe and generic.”

Meanwhile, screening in limited release from today are:

This Must Be the Place:
Nope. As horrific as the image below is, Sean Penn isn’t playing a drag queen. In this indie comedy-drama he’s a retired (and very bored) goth rocker who decides to hunt down the Nazi who tormented his father at Auschwitz. Cue a character-stuffed, mind-expanding road trip. Also with Frances McDormand.

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A hit on the film festival circuit, This Must Be the Place is apparently all over the place, but still manages to charm with its great soundtrack, many striking moments and surprisingly understated performance from Penn.

Searching for Sugar Man:
A feature-length documentary about the lengths to which 2 South African fans went to find out what happened to 70s folk musician Rodriguez – combined with an examination of the influence this mysterious, but cultishly popular musician has had around the world.

Searching for Sugar Man has won several Audience Awards at film festivals across the globe. It has also received glowing reviews from critics, who have called it a fascinating, fresh look at the clash of artistic talent and soul-sapping commerce. 95% Fresh.

Last Updated: August 31, 2012

Noelle Adams

Sometime Tomb Raider. Full-time Pop Culture fanatic and Geekaissance Woman. Most often spotted outputting Pop Culture opinion pieces, writing fanfic and original genre fare, cosplaying and bringing the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu smackdown. Editor of the Comics and Toys section.

  • I’ve been looking forward to This Must Be The Place. Anything in which Sean Penn is doing something different is worth watching.

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