Movies out today: Airplane action, Amazon adventures and All is Lost

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This weekend South Africans can catch a free TCM screening of Do the Right Thing as well as a decidedly old all-star concert flick 12.12.12., in addition to five other flicks that cover a wide spectrum of genres.

Non-Stop:
Your 2014 release in the unofficial “Liam Neeson as an unwilling but badass action hero” series is this thriller about an alcoholic air marshall who has to get to the bottom of a deadly threat on a flight between New York and London. Julianne Moore and Michelle (Downton Abbey) Dockery also star.

According to Kervyn in his TheMovies review, you could do a lot worse than Non-Stop. It falls apart in its third act, and wastes its supporting cast (Neeson is great as always), but it’s still a load of suspenseful fun. 59% Fresh on review aggregator site Rotten Tomatoes.

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Rio 2:
Screening in 2D and 3D is this sequel to the colourful 2011 hit. This time rare macaw Blu, his brood, and their buddies head off into the Amazon jungle to reconnect with their roots. Returning voices in this musical comedy adventure include Jesse Eisenberg, Anne Hathaway, Jemaine Clement, Tracy Morgan, George Lopez and many more.

If you enjoyed the first Rio, chances are you’ll feel the same about this similarly family-friendly follow-up. Apparently it tries to squeeze in too much in terms of characters and messages, but even with a lack of focus, it’s energetic, good-hearted and difficult to dislike. At the time of writing, Rio was sitting with a Rotten Tomatoes review score of 52% Fresh.

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That Awkward Moment:
This R-rated romantic comedy centres on three New York bachelors and best friends who are struggling with commitment issues. It stars Zac Efron, Miles Teller and Michael B. Jordan as the sex-obsessed twentysomething buddies.

The cast of That Awkward Moment is apparently likeable, but overall the film is highly contrived and flaunts some very dated perceptions of relationships as as novel thinking. Nothing smart nor special.

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The Forgotten Kingdom:
Your South African release for the week is this drama about a directionless, unemployed and selfish young man (Zenzo Mgqobe) who returns to Lesotho, the land of his birth, to bury his father. There he reconnects with his childhood friend (Nozipho Nkelemba) who is struggling with the impact of AIDS on her family.

The Forgotten Kingdom has been travelling the film festival circuit locally and abroad. This award-winner has been very well received as a beautifully shot tale about the role culture and traditions still play in modern life.

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All Is Lost:
Screening in limited release is this survival thriller. The title says it all – Robert Redford plays a man who suffers a series of misfortunes during a solo voyage on his yacht, and ends up lost at sea.

All is Lost has been very highly acclaimed, although it was kind of overshadowed by the tsunami of praise for thematically similar Gravity, which was released around the same time in the US last year. Thanks largely to Redford’s performance, it’s utterly compelling. As Kervyn says in his TheMovies review, the simple film is not afraid to be silent or understated, which may frustrate explosion-loving arthouse-haters.

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Last Updated: April 11, 2014

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