Seven new movies open in South Africa today, so there should be at least one flick to tickle your fancy.
Jurassic Park 3D:
Showing for a limited time only is this 20th Anniversary (doesn’t that make you feel old?!) re-release of Steven Spielberg’s 1993 classic – screening in converted 3D. Based on the bestselling novel by Michael Crichton, Sam Neill, Laura Dern and Jeff Goldblum are scientists invited to Richard Attenborough’s theme/game park, which features cloned dinosaurs. Naturally, nothing goes according to plan.
If you’ve never seen this fantastically entertaining blockbuster on the big screen, this is your chance. Mixing science fiction, action, horror, thrills and awe-inspiring adventure, this is a timeless, full package deal. And apparently the post-production 3D actually adds to the experience for once. 92% on review aggregator site Rotten Tomatoes.
For something more lighthearted – and local – catch South African buddy cop comedy Blitz Patrollie. Joey Rasdien and David Kau star in this tale of mismatched partners – a stressed family man and overzealous action hero wannabe – who stumble onto a massive drugs haul in the Johannesburg inner city. Scripted by top local comedian Kagiso Lediga.
Think of this one as a distinctly South African answer to Hot Fuzz and Bad Boys, mixing laughter, gunfights and crazy stunts. Critical opinion is unclear at this point.
Tina Fey and Paul Rudd star in this romantic comedy drama about a straight-laced Princeton admissions officer who finds her world turned upside down when she not only encounters a cute former classmate, but also the teenage son she put up for adoption many years ago. So much for all her carefully constructed rules. Also with Michael Sheen and Lily Tomlin.
You don’t get more effortlessly likeable leads than Fey and Rudd, and apparently Admission is consistently charming. It’ll probably be too bland for some though, and the plot is trite.
Dead Man Down:
The director of the original Swedish Girl with the Dragon Tattoo reteams with his leading lady from that film, Noomi Rapace for this crime thriller. Colin Farrell, Dominic Cooper and Terrence Howard all star in this tale about crime lords, murder and intersecting revenge motives.
Despite a strong cast and strong noir-ish atmosphere, Dead Man Down is apparently a thriller without any real sense of urgency. That’s great if you like the slow burn style; less satisfying if you don’t.
Lovers of glossy romances with beautiful settings and beautiful people, take note. Safe Haven is the latest big screen adaptation of a Nicholas Sparks novel. Julianne Hough plays a young woman who flees to a quiet coastal town to escape a dark secret. She starts a relationship with a handsome widower (Josh Duhamel), only for her past to catch up with her.
Apparently Safe Haven is the movie equivalent of a Hallmark card – pretty, saccharine and completely unrealistic. It’s pure silly escapism.
Screening in limited release is this Hitchcock-style psychological thriller from director Park (Oldboy) Chan-wook and scripted by Wentworth (Prison Break) Miller of all people. Mia Wasikowska is a complicated 18 year old with dark desires. The arrival of her uncle (Matthew Goode) to support her and her unstable mother (Nicole Kidman) forces her to deal with family secrets and embrace her own true nature.
Stoker made its debut at this year’s Sundance Film Festival,and Kervyn reflects the majority opinion that the film is both fascinating and frustrating. It’s strange but wonderfully atmospheric and stuffed with symbolism. Of course, some have found the flick to be a classic example of too much style over substance.
Also screening in limited release is this R-rated British-Indian production. Trishna transplants Thomas Hardy’s classic story Tess of the d’Urbervilles from 19th Century England to contemporary India. Freida Pinto is the title character, a loving daughter and aspirant young woman from a poor rural family. She becomes involved with the son (Riz Ahmed) of a rich property developer and tragedy is the result.
This 2011 release looks great and benefits from its clever updating of an old story. However, it’s all a bit too emotionally detached and relentlessly sombre to be entirely satisfying.
Last Updated: May 10, 2013