It’s a big week for musical entertainers at the movies, with three new films opening in South Africa that fit this theme. Actually, it’s a big week for new movies in general, with seven flicks debuting locally today.
Justin Timberlake stars in this crime thriller about a Princeton student who is sucked into the highly profitable, if dangerous, world of online poker. He becomes the right hand man of unpredictable kingpin Ben Affleck. Also with Gemma Arterton.
Runner, Runner has yet to release in North America, but it’s currently sitting with an aggregated Rotten Tomatoes review score of 22% Fresh. It’s evidently not terrible, but it’s not compelling either, and none of the leads is able to generate any charm.
Metallica – Through the Never:
Catch the iconic heavy metal rockers in 3D. This movie blends concert footage with the surreal tale of a roadie (Dane DeHaan) who must complete a mission for the band while being pursued by a dark horseman. Directed by Nimrod (Predators) Antal.
You don’t want to do much thinking during Through the Never’s fantasy segments but according to reviewers the film is one of the most immersive concert films ever made… with the added benefit of trying to do something a bit different in the genre. The bigger the screen you can watch this on, the better!
One Direction – This Is Us:
Screening in 3D is this concert film centred on the British boy band sensation and their life on the road. Far, far less experimental than the competing Metallica flick, even if it is helmed by Morgan (Super Size Me) Spurlock.
This Is Us will certainly satisfy 1D fans, while more casual viewers should be entertained by the slick, if superficial, package. According to critics, it’s charming and lively but hardly a deep probing expose – i.e. file it alongside the Miley Cyrus and Justin Bieber pop promotional flicks.
Behind the Candelabra:
Michael Douglas stars as flamboyant pianist Liberace in this biopic from acclaimed director Steven Soderbergh. The film centres on Liberace’s secret affair with a much young man (Matt Damon). Also with Dan Akroyd, Rob Lowe and Debbie Reynolds.
Behind the Candelabra screened on HBO in the US and has just won 11 Emmys, including Best Miniseries or Movie, Best Director and Best Lead Actor. Masterfully directed and acted, the film is fascinating and entertaining, perfectly capturing the extravagance of the star’s lifestyle and the era in which the film is set.
Molly & Wors:
The South African TV series makes the leap to the big screen with this homegrown comedy. Family man Wors Visagie (Willie Esterhuizen) – married to Molly (Lizz Meiring) for 26 years – works at a Joburg Fitment Centre and is in the running for a coveted Best Salesman Award for the umpteenth time. The big question is whether possible success will wreck his marriage?
Molly & Wors is a dysfunctional blue-collar family sitcom on the big screen, in Afrikaans with English subtitles. Partially shot in the Netherlands.
Exclusive to Ster Kinekor theatres, Red Tails is a war movie that loosely tells the story of the Tuskegee Airmen – a group of African American fighter pilots who finally received the opportunity to prove themselves when assigned a dangerous escort mission. Terrence Howard and Cuba Gooding, Jr. headline with George Lucas producing and co-directing.
Red Tails is apparently an old-fashioned war film, for better or worse. It’s rousing and engaging, with spectacular aerial combat scenes. On the downside, it’s hopelessly simplistic and cliched, turning a true story into a far-fetched blockbuster.
Thanks for Sharing:
Screening in limited release is this indie comedy drama that premiered at last year’s Toronto International Film Festival. Mark Ruffalo, Tim Robbins, Gwyneth Paltrow, Pink and Joely Richardson star in this tale of people undergoing treatment for sexual addiction.
Performances in Thanks for Sharing are apparently excellent and the film offers a commendably nuanced take on a misunderstood topic. The positives outweigh the negatives but it does struggle to shift between lighter and heavier tones.