Movies out Today: 02 October 2015

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This week, Matt Damon gets lost in space, N.W.A. teach us the history of rap, the kids get an early Halloween treat, two local films generate some buzz and Nicholas Cage does what Nicholas Cage does best… star in a terrible movie.

  • The Martian

During a manned mission to Mars, Astronaut Mark Watney (Matt Damon) is presumed dead after a fierce storm and left behind by his crew. But Watney has survived and finds himself stranded and alone on the hostile planet. With only meager supplies, he must draw upon his ingenuity, wit and spirit to subsist and find a way to signal to Earth that he is alive. Millions of miles away, NASA and a team of international scientists work tirelessly to bring “the Martian” home, while his crewmates concurrently plot a daring, if not impossible rescue mission. As these stories of incredible bravery unfold, the world comes together to root for Watney’s safe return.

Oh man, oh man, I am excited for The Martian! Based on Andy Weir’s best-selling and allegedly ‘unadaptable’ novel, Ridley Scott has completely blown expectations out the water. It’s surprisingly funny, the characters are real and oh-so-fallibly human, and best of all it’s filled with science that isn’t brain-twistingly high-brow, nor woefully stupid. Kervyn is most definitely impressed with what he calls “Ridley Scotts tour de force return to form”, giving The Martian 4.5 / 5 stars.

  • Straight Outta Compton

In the mid-1980s, the streets of Compton, California, were some of the most dangerous in the country. When five young men translated their experiences growing up into brutally honest music that rebelled against abusive authority, they gave an explosive voice to a silenced generation. Following the meteoric rise and fall of N.W.A., STRAIGHT OUTTA COMPTON tells the astonishing story of how these youngsters revolutionized music and pop culture forever the moment they told the world the truth about life in the hood and ignited a cultural war.

If you were wondering why people kept making “Straight Outta [insert something here]” memes a little while ago (this one being my personal favourite), it’s all thanks to this movie – the music biopic about the birth and meteoric rise of the group N.W.A. The soundtrack is obviously excellent, the cast is dynamic and alongside Alwynne’s 4/5 star review it also gets a stellar 90% on Rotten Tomatoes… but most critics warn that you should take it with a pinch of salt. Some of the more rough parts of N.W.A.’s history have been smoothed over, seeing as two of the original members are producers, so it may not be as ‘real’ as it claims to be. But its enthusiasm is infectious and the fist-pumping rags-to-riches story means you will walk out of the cinema feeling like a gangster.

  • Hotel Transylvania 2

Everything seems to be changing for the better at Hotel Transylvania… Dracula’s rigid monster’s-only hotel policy has finally relaxed, opening up its doors to human guests. But behind closed coffins, Drac is worried that his adorable half-human, half-vampire grandson, Dennis, isn’t showing signs of being a vampire. So while Mavis is busy visiting her human in-laws with Johnny – and in for a major cultural shock of her own – “Vampa” Drac enlists his friends Frank, Murray, Wayne and Griffin to put Dennis through a “monster-in-training” boot camp. But little do they know that Drac’s grumpy and very old, old, old school dad Vlad is about to pay a family visit to the hotel. And when Vlad finds out that his grandson is not a pure blood – and humans are now welcome at Hotel Transylvania – things are going to get batty!

As most sequels tend to go, Hotel Transylvania 2 is definitely not as good as the first movie. That being said, your kids probably won’t care, as it’s still the right amounts of zany and funny to keep them entertained. It’s also probably the best thing Adam Sandler has been involved with in a long while. 52% on Rotten Tomatoes should see the little monsters through their Halloween sugar high.

  • Pay the Ghost

One year after his young son disappeared during a Halloween carnival, Mike Cole is haunted by eerie images and terrifying messages he can’t explain. Together with his estranged wife, he will stop at nothing to unravel the mystery and find their son – and, in doing so, he unearths a legend that refuses to remain buried in the past.

Damn it, Nicholas Cage, what did I literally just say? I just… ugh. Never mind. You’re determined to keep appearing in awful movies and apparently no one is going to stop you. So, go ahead, star in another incoherent and idiotic pile of **** that is barely worth 6% on Rotten Tomatoes, see if I care.

  • Ayanda

Against a backdrop of unspoken love, a young woman navigates her path in a world, where everything shifts except the thing that really needs to.

This local movie directed by Sara Blecher is making serious waves overseas. Described as a movie “for women, by women”, it has garnered some high praise from Ava DuVernay (director of Selma), who stated “Ayanda does its own thing with defiance and elegance” and that “as a film, Ayanda defies every limit that the old school of cinema has forced upon us.” Having won the Special Jury Prize at the Los Angeles Film Festival in June, it’s also going to screen at the Vancouver International Film Festival, The BFI London Film Festival and the Cambridge African Film Festival. Let’s hope it does as well locally as it has been doing overseas.

  • While You Weren’t Looking (Limited Release)

South Africa led the world with its all-embracing Constitution, granting homosexuals unprecedented freedoms and rights. This feature, produced by The Out In Africa Gay & Lesbian Film Festival, takes a look at South Africa through the lives and experiences of a cross section of Cape Town queers.

While You Weren’t Looking is a drama about the struggles in the relationship of an affluent, middle-aged mixed race lesbian couple and their daughter’s discovery of her own queerness in a relationship with a girl from the townships, encompassing the tension between liberal bourgeois ideals and working-class realities. So we have a study of race, privilege, class and sexual orientation in one movie… sounds like a lot to take in. And while the only review I could find said that it’s not without flaws, it still does a lot with its interesting characters and intriguing plot.

Last Updated: October 2, 2015

Tracy Benson

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

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