Movies out today: Halloween thrillers and poignant dramas

6 min read
0

Annabelle

If you’re super eager to get your Halloween freak on a little early, the first of our new releases should be right up your alley.

Before The Conjuring, there was Annabelle. John Form has found the perfect gift for his expectant wife, Mia – a beautiful, rare vintage doll in a pure white wedding dress. But, Mia’s delight with Annabelle doesn’t last long. On one horrific night, their home is invaded by members of a satanic cult, who violently attack the couple. Spilled blood and terror are not all they leave behind. The cultists have conjured an entity so malevolent that nothing they did will compare to the sinister conduit to the damned that is now Annabelle.

Well, you can expect the usual horror clichés in Annabelle. It’s very same old, same old with some decent shocking moments scattered in between. While it’s not breaking any ground, it’s as good a movie as any if you’re looking for a cheesy Halloween flick.

annabelle

Eliza Graves

Otherwise known as Stonehearst Asylum, Eliza Graves is about a young doctor, Edward Newgate (Jim Sturgess), who arrives at Stonehearst Asylum in search of an apprenticeship, where he is warmly welcomed by Superintendent Dr. Lamb (Ben Kingsley) and a mesmerizing woman by the name of Eliza Graves (Kate Beckinsale). Edward is intrigued by Lamb’s modern methods of treating the insane until a series of unusual events leads him to make a horrifying discovery, exposing Lamb’s utopia and pushing Edward to the limits of his conscience.

Inspired by a short story by Edgar Allan Poe, by all accounts Eliza Graves should be a really good mystery thriller, but so far its left critics divided. Some have called it smart, subversive and effective, while others are calling it an off-brand Shutter Island. In any case, it might be a worthy addition to your Halloween movie watch-list, if you’re not scared off by the 55% average on Rotten Tomatoes.

elizagraves

204: Getting Away with Murder

Fraud. Corruption. Murder. 204: Getting Away with Murder is a South African documentary about the story behind the Brett Kebble shooting, as told by the killers themselves. The killers were granted full and permanent indemnity from prosecution in exchange for truthful testimony thanks to Section 204 of the Criminal Procedure Act, and this documentary poses questions around whether the 204’s were granted fairly, or if those involved in the case are literally getting away with murder.

Further than that, I don’t know anything about this movie, but you can watch the trailer here.

204

The Immigrant

Ewa Cybulski (Marion Cotillard) and her sister Magda (Angela Sarafyan) sail to New York from their native Poland in search of a new start and the American dream. When they reach Ellis Island, doctors discover that Magda is ill, and Ewa is released onto the streets of Manhattan while her sister is quarantined. Alone, with nowhere to turn, Ewa quickly falls prey to Bruno (Joaquin Phoenix), a charming but wicked man who takes her in and forces her into prostitution. The arrival of Bruno’s cousin Orlando (Jeremy Renner) – a dashing stage magician – becomes her only chance to escape the nightmare in which she finds herself.

Well, critics are certainly heaping praise on this movie. With 87% on Rotten Tomatoes, everything from Marion Cotillard’s mesmerising performance to James Gray’s masterful scripting and directing have been applauded. If you’re into serious, character-driven period dramas, The Immigrant is definitely your go-to movie this weekend.

theimmigrant

A Most Wanted Man

When a half-Chechen, half-Russian, brutally tortured immigrant turns up in Hamburg’s Islamic community, laying claim to his father’s ill-gotten fortune, both German and US security agencies take a close interest: as the clock ticks down and the stakes rise, the race is on to establish this most wanted man’s true identity – oppressed victim or destruction-bent extremist?

Based on the novel by John le Carre, A Most Wanted Man is a neat, stylish espionage thriller/drama, but most of the praise is reserved for Phillip Seymour Hoffman in one of his last completed roles. As the German intelligence officer Gunter Bachmann, Hoffman dominates the film with a performance that has been lauded as one of the best in his career. A Most Wanted Man is a fine swan song from one of the best and most versatile actors of his generation, scoring 91% on Rotten Tomatoes.

amostwantedman

Magic in the Moonlight

Grouchy and arrogant master magician Stanley Crawford (Colin Firth) has an aversion to phony spiritualists, and sets out to expose the alluring young clairvoyant Sophie Baker (Emma Stone) as a fake. What follows is a series of events that are magical in every sense of the word that send the characters reeling. In the end, the biggest trick is the one that fools us all.

Written and directed by Woody Allen, you kind of know what to expect. Whimsical and charming with a major age difference between the leading actor and actress, critics agree that it’s a sweet enough movie but hardly memorable. With 51% on Rotten Tomatoes, Magic in the Moonlight will appeal to the romantic-comedy-drama crowd.

magicinthemoonlight

Brick Mansions

A remake of the French film District 13, Brick Mansions is an action thriller set in a dystopian Detroit, where abandoned brick mansions left from better times now house only the most dangerous criminals. Unable to control the crime, the police constructed a colossal containment wall around this area to protect the rest of the city. For undercover cop Damien Collier (Paul Walker) every day is a battle against corruption. For Lino (David Belle), every day is a fight to live an honest life. Their paths never should have crossed, but when drug kingpin, Tremaine (RZA) kidnaps Lino’s girlfriend, Damien reluctantly accepts the help of the fearless ex-convict, and together they must stop a sinister plot to devastate the entire city.

This is the first I’m hearing of Brick Mansions, and after reading what the critics have to say, I’m not surprised. It should have been a fitting send-off for Paul Walker, but instead ended up suffering from poor directing, poor scripting, poor editing and poor pretty much everything else. And while David Belle’s parkour prowess is impressive – he helped invent the discipline after all – it’s not enough to sustain the full 90 minute run-time.

brickmansions

Last Updated: October 24, 2014

Tracy Benson

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

Check Also

Everything new coming to Showmax SA in February 2018

February's new additions on Showmax SA boasts everything from award-winning dystopian dram…