Movies out Today: 18 March 2015

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From animated pandas kicking ass to not-another-young-adult-novel-to-movie-adaptation, here’s what’s out on cinema to keep your kids (and you) entertained this long weekend.

  • Kung Fu Panda 3

When Po’s long-lost panda father suddenly reappears, the reunited duo travels to a secret panda paradise to meet scores of hilarious new panda characters. But when the supernatural villain Kai begins to sweep across China defeating all the kung-fu masters, Po must do the impossible-learn to train a village full of his fun-loving, clumsy brethren to become the ultimate band of KUNG FU PANDAS!

I’ll admit, the Kung Fu Panda franchise is one that I have not kept up with. I saw the first one and that was it, and it was honestly news to me that not only have they made two sequels, they’re apparently both incredibly good. Beautifully animated with an irresistible script that doesn’t disappoint in terms of the laughs and the life lessons, Kung Fu Panda 3 gets an well-deserved 85% on Rotten Tomatoes and will definitely please the fans.

  • Sleeping with Other People

Jason Sudeikis and Alison Brie star as two romantic failures whose years of serial infidelity and self-sabotage have led them to swear that their relationship will remain strictly platonic. But can love still bloom while you’re sleeping with other people? Writer/director Leslye Headland’s (Bachelorette) sexy romantic comedy co-stars Amanda Peet, Adam Scott, and Natasha Lyonne.

Yeah, one look at that trailer and you know exactly how it’s going to end. Despite that, Sleeping with Other People is a fantastically entertaining movie, with smart, relatable lead characters and a sharp script. It might not break out of the tropes of the rom-com genre, but with 64% on Rotten Tomatoes it’s certainly doesn’t do it any disservice.

  • The Divergent Series: Allegiant

After the earth-shattering revelations of INSURGENT, Tris (Shailene Woodley) must escape with Four (Theo James) and go beyond the wall enclosing Chicago. For the first time ever, they will leave the only city and family they have ever known. Once outside, old discoveries are quickly rendered meaningless with the revelation of shocking new truths. Tris and Four must quickly decide who they can trust as a ruthless battle ignites beyond the walls of Chicago which threatens all of humanity. In order to survive, Tris will be forced to make impossible choices about courage, allegiance, sacrifice and love.

Hey, another franchise I haven’t been paying attention to. Unlike Kung Fu Panda though, The Divergent Series has gone from bad to worse, starting with a disappointing 40% with Divergent, continuing on to an even worse 29% with Insurgent, and now ending up on an abysmal 17% with Allegiant. Somehow even more convoluted and less plausible than its predecessors, Allegiant only serves to underscore how much of a Hunger Games knock-off this series really was.

  • Remember

Remember tells the story of Zev Guttman (Academy Award (R) Winner Christopher Plummer), a 90-year-old struggling with memory loss who is living out his final years in a serene retirement home. A week following the death of his beloved wife Ruth, he suddenly gets a mysterious package from his close friend Max (Academy Award (R) Winner Martin Landau), containing a stack of money and a letter detailing a shocking plan. Both Zev and Max were prisoners in Auschwitz, and the same sadistic guard was responsible for the death of both their families-a guard who, immediately after the war, escaped Germany and has been living in the U.S. ever since under an assumed identity. Max is wheelchair-bound but in full command of his mental faculties; with his guidance, Zev will embark on a cross-continental road-trip to bring justice once and for all to the man who destroyed both their lives.

Remember is a morally complex thriller that’s held together by Christopher Plummer’s masterful performance. In fact, Plummer’s performance is really the only thing critics have praised. Mostly competent, Remember gets 65% on Rotten Tomatoes, despite the plot’s increasingly ludicrous cop-out twists.

  • Risen

The first forty days after the Resurrection of Jesus Christ is told through the eyes of an agnostic Roman Centurion charged by Pontius Pilate to investigate rumors of a risen Jewish Messiah and locate the missing deceased body of Jesus of Nazareth in order to subdue an imminent uprising in Jerusalem. During Centurion’s mission, his doubts of such a supernatural occurrence peel away as he encounters the Apostles and other historic biblical characters and bears witness to the legendary storied events that followed the Resurrection. A great mystery unfolds during Centurion’s quest to find the body and he is deeply affected by his first-person investigation, as his previous beliefs on the matter are forever altered based on what he’s now witnessed.

What did I say last week about faith-based movies just in time for Easter weekend? Well, unlike The Young Messiah, Risen looks like it’s actually good. You’ve got an interesting take on the story of the Resurrection, alongside the star power of Joseph Fiennes and the relatively bold decision to stick with accuracy and cast Cliff Curtis, an actor of colour, in the role of Yeshua. For a faith-based film, Risen isn’t patronising or preachy, and gets an almost-Fresh 56% on Rotten Tomatoes.

  • Sink

Rachel, a Mozambican domestic worker living in Johannesburg, is forced to make a life-changing decision after her daughter tragically dies whilst under the care of her employers: return to poverty stricken Mozambique or continue working for the people responsible for the death of her child. Things become even more complicated when she finds out that her employers are expecting their first child.

Until the subtitles, I honestly wouldn’t have thought this was a local movie, and that’s high praise. Not to say that our local movies are always badly done, but Sink looks like it will definitely raise the bar. Based on the novel Rachel Weeping by Brett Michael Innes, who also directs and adapted the screenplay, Sink won a ton of awards last year and will hopefully take the box office by storm.

Last Updated: March 18, 2016

Tracy Benson

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

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