Movies out today: 25 September 2015

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This week at the movies an old man goes back to work, teenagers run away from stuff, Ghandi turns into Deadpool, some Aussies get dusty and a local movie about youth gets some awards love!

  • The Intern

Jules Ostin (Anne Hathaway) is the young founder of a very lucrative online fashion business. As part of a community outreach program, she hires, against her better judgement, 70-year-old widower Ben Whittaker (Robert De Niro) to be her new intern. However, as this odder-than-odd couple get to know each other, she soon realises that what Ben lacks in up-to-dateness, he more than adequately covers in life lessons from which she herself can learn.

I’ll be honest: I completely passed on watching the press screening for The Intern as it looked like the movie equivalent of mash potatoes, despite the fact that it stars Anne Hathaway and Robert De Niro. It appears I was only half right, as the general consensus is that while the film itself is a bit undercooked (and who would like raw mash potatoes?), Hathaway and De Niro have some delightful chemistry that definitely still keeps things watchable. It’s sitting on 54% on RottenTomatoes.

  • Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials

In this next chapter of the epic “Maze Runner” saga, Thomas (Dylan O’Brien) and his fellow Gladers face their greatest challenge yet: searching for clues about the mysterious and powerful organization known as WCKD. Their journey takes them to the Scorch, a desolate landscape filled with unimaginable obstacles. Teaming up with resistance fighters, the Gladers take on WCKD’s vastly superior forces and uncover its shocking plans for them all.

If you enjoyed the first Maze Runner, then there’s a fairly good chance you will enjoy this YA sequel. It may completely lack the intrigue and mystery that it’s predecessor had, but The Scorch Trials turns up the entertaining action scene quotient. With 51% on Rotten Tomatoes though, just don’t expect anything more that that. Still a better love story than Twilight.

  • Self/less

In this provocative psychological science fiction thriller, an extremely wealthy man (Academy Award winner Ben Kingsley) dying from cancer undergoes a radical medical procedure that transfers his consciousness into the body of a healthy young man (Ryan Reynolds). But all is not as it seems when he starts to uncover the mystery of the body’s origin and the secret organization that will kill to protect its cause.

Ryan Reynolds has not had a good track record with movies lately, and this is definitely not the movie to change that. With just 20% on Rotten Tomatoes, Self/Less has been criticized for squandering both its potentially intriguing premise and its talented cast for a lacklustre sci-fi flick. Deadpool can’t get here quick enough.

  • Strangerland

New to the remote Australian desert town of Nathgari, the Parker family is thrown into crisis when Catherine and Matthew discover that their two teenage kids, Tommy and Lily, have mysteriously disappeared just before a massive dust storm hits the town. With Nathgari now eerily smothered in red dust and darkness, the locals join the search led by local cop David Rae. With temperatures rising, and the chances of survival plummeting with each passing day, Catherine and Matthew find themselves pushed to the brink as they struggle to survive the uncertainty of their children’s fate.

It would appear that the theme of today is Waste the Potential of Your Cast and the latest offender is Strangerland, an Australian production that features the talents of Nicole Kidman, Hugo Weaving and Joseph Fiennes and nothing much else, except sloppy melodrama. It has 35% on Rotten Tomatoes.

  • Necktie Youth (Cinema Nouveau)

In the anniversary of the violent Soweto Youth Uprising of June 16th 1976, an affluent group of adolescent friends living in the city of Johannesburg, South Africa are shocked by the live streamed suicide of a young girl in her parent’s family home. A year and some months after the incident, two disillusioned new generation Zulu youths, Jabz and his best friend September rummage through the sleepy manicured northern suburbs of Johannesburg in search of answers, drugs, distraction and salvation.

Easily the most critically praised movie release the week, director-actor Sibs Shongwe-La Mer’s bleak and raw Necktie Youth has been winning accolades on the film festival circuit around the world, including at our own Durban International Film Festival. The black and white film may not be for everybody though with its difficult themes and cyclical narrative, but if you want a reprieve from the usual Hollywood blockbuster fodder and want to see local cinema at its most provocative, then this is definitely the one for you. Just note that it will be limited to a Cinema Noveau release.

Last Updated: September 25, 2015

Kervyn Cloete

A man of many passions - but very little sleep - I've been geeking out over movies, video games, comics, books, anime, TV series and lemon meringues as far back as I can remember. So show up for the geeky insight, stay for the delicious pastries.

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