Movies out Today: 11 March 2015

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Oh my word you guys, I’m kind of still buzzing from last night’s Captain America: Civil War trailer. I know I shouldn’t be wishing my life away, but seriously, why can’t it be May 6 yet?

  • Zoolander 2

In this sequel to Zoolander, it is ten years later and Derek Zoolander and his old friend Hansel McDonald find themselves on a mission in Europe. When the world’s most beautiful people are systematically assassinated with former famous male model Derek Zoolander’s iconic ‘Blue Steel’ look on their faces, Interpol recruits Derek and Hansel to infiltrate a new and different world of high fashion in order to put a stop to it. Meanwhile, Derek’s rival Jacobim Mugatu is set free to enact his revenge.

I know that Zoolander was a fun spoof, silly and random and immensely quotable, basically it was enjoyable while it lasted. But just because a movie has some really funny lines that you may or may not still use, doesn’t mean it should get a sequel, especially fifteen (!!!) years after the fact. In an attempt to recapture what made the first one great, Zoolander 2 is once again filled with crazy cameos, over the top situations and joke after joke (after joke… after relentless joke). Just this time, it doesn’t really work, because we’ve heard this joke before and it’s not that funny the second time around. Die-hard fans of the first might look past the 2.5/5 star rating from Kervyn, but Zoolander 2 is unlikely to win over anyone new.

  • Knight of Cups

Knight of Cups is the latest film from visionary director Terrence Malick (Days Of Heaven, The Thin Red Line, The Tree Of Life). The storyline centres around Rick (Christian Bale) who is a comedy writer living in present-day Santa Monica. Rick longs for something other, something beyond the life he knows, without knowing quite what it is, or how to go about finding it.

Even though he has a comparatively small body of work, director Terrence Malick has an instantly recognisable style. Unfortunately too recognisable, as Knight of Cups seems to repeat the work he did to much better effect in The Tree of Life, which makes the former just come across as less meaningful and more pretentious. Being incredibly unique is one thing, being derivative of yourself is another thing entirely. Knight of Cups is still intriguing and existential and all the epithets that would usually apply, but it’s also hollow and faded, and with only 47% on Rotten Tomatoes, even hard-core Malick fans might struggle.

  • Triple 9

In TRIPLE NINE, a crew of dirty cops is blackmailed by the Russian mob to execute a virtually impossible heist and the only way to pull it off is to manufacture a 999, police code for “officer down.” Their plan is turned upside down when the unsuspecting rookie they set up to die foils the attack, triggering a breakneck action-packed finale tangled with double-crosses, greed and revenge.

With such an incredibly impressive and talented cast of Woody Harrelson, Kate Winslet, Casey Affleck, Chiwetel Ejiofor and Anthony Mackie, you’d expect Triple 9 to be much more than it is. But the whole isn’t greater than the sum of its parts, when the cast has to tackle an overly complicated plot and vie for even screen-time. But, as unfocused and overstuffed as it may feel at times, Triple 9 doesn’t falter on the action side of things, delivering some pulse-pounding scenes without pulling punches. All in all, Triple 9 holds itself together long enough to get 54% on Rotten Tomatoes.

  • Sonskyn Beperk

Anya du Plessis leaves her boyfriend in New York to reconnect with her estranged father back in South Africa, who believes his new beer brewing hobby is the answer to their financial crisis. When a charming young man enters the fray in search of a winning beer recipe, it seems Anya’s the only thing between him and craft beer glory.

With a synopsis like that, I would have expected this Afrikaans rom-com to be far heavier on the comedy side than the romance side, but based on the direction the trailer went, it seems more like a drama. Sure the love triangle aspect looks super predicable and the plot devices that throw these characters together look cheesy as hell, but at least it it’s taking a more serious tone and it’s not descending into slapstick. Throw in what looks like some beautiful scenery and solid acting, and you’ve probably got a decent movie.

  • Safe Bet

Frank and Khaya, two longtime buddies, try to pull off a get-rich-quick scheme by betting all of Frank’s boss’s money on a fixed boxing match. When Khaya’s “sure bet” backfires, they risk their friendship and prison time in a desperate attempt to get the money back.

The opposite of our other local release this week, Safe Bet looks like it’s thrown itself wholeheartedly into the slapstick side of things. I want to say it looks like a South African take on Snatch, and you can tell the influence is strong, but I doubt it’s going to be anywhere near as good. But, watch it if you want to, I’m not your mom.

  • The Young Messiah

Inspired by Biblical accounts of Jesus’ childhood, The Young Messiah tells a rare and unique story of Jesus and his family as they come to a fuller understanding of his nature and purpose.

There aren’t many accounts of Jesus’s childhood in the Bible, in fact there’s really only one mention of him at 12 years old in one of the Gospels, so this is basically a “what-if” of the childhood of the Messiah. Which, based on the trailer, looks like it’s going to be all inspirational and lovely and Chicken Soup for the Christian Soul, just in time for Easter Weekend.

  • The Other Side of the Door

After the tragic death of her son, a young mother travels to an ancient temple to perform a ritual that will give her a chance to say a final goodbye. However, she inadvertently opens the door between life and death, unleashing a sinister being in the form of her boy.

With a predictable plot and jump scares aplenty, The Other Side of the Door does nothing to stand out in the horror genre. It would have done well to stay a thriller, following the fears and anxieties of a grieving mother, but once the supernatural is mixed in it becomes repetitive and mechanical. We’ve all seen this story before, just with Haitians or Native Americans instead of Indians. It’s not too terrible though, with 45% on Rotten Tomatoes horror fans will like it just the way it is.

  • Eye in the Sky

High-ranking U.S. military officials order a drone missile strike on a group of terrorists in Nairobi, Kenya. When the already dire situation escalates from “capture” to “kill”, the mission is complicated even further for their drone operator when a little girl enters the kill zone.

I saved the best for last! The only one of our movies this week to crack ‘Fresh’ on Rotten Tomatoes, Eye in the Sky is a taut, dramatic, edge-of-your-seat look into war, drones and all the moral complexities involved. Tense and political, it might not be everyone’s cup of tea but it’s definitely going stick with you afterwards. 94% on Rotten Tomatoes for the most intense movie you’ll see about people staring at computer screens.

Read  Rooney Mara and Joaquin Phoenix star in first trailer for Biblical drama Mary Magdalene

Last Updated: March 11, 2016

Tracy Benson

All about movies, board games, cider, sci-fi, fantasy and geek culture.

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