Movies out today: intergalactic sci-fi and down to earth romance

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From romance to drama, there’s something for everyone this week, but if you don’t watch Interstellar, Kervyn won’t be your friend any more.

Interstellar

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I’ve been trying to avoid information about Interstellar for as long as I can, because I want to go into it without any expectations. But, I had to read Kervyn’s review and now I’m on the hype train. So I’m glad that it’s finally opening and I can go watch it!

Without spoilers, Interstellar is about a team of explorers undertaking the most important mission in human history; traveling beyond this galaxy to discover whether mankind has a future among the stars. Or, as I’ve been telling people, it’s Matthew McConaughey… in space!

If you like old-school sci-fi and grew up on a diet of Isaac Asimov, Arthur C. Clarke and the like, then Interstellar is the perfect movie for you this weekend. The visuals are gorgeous, the acting is top-notch, and while there are some corny moments, ultimately it’s an epic sci-fi masterpiece.

What If

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We just can’t get enough of Daniel Radcliffe at the moment can we? After the black comedy/thriller Horns, Radcliffe now stars in What If as medical school dropout Wallace.

Wallace has been repeatedly burned by bad relationships, so while everyone around him seems to be finding the perfect partner, he decides to put his love life on hold. Only then does he meet Chantry (Zoe Kazan), an animator who lives with her long-time boyfriend. Wallace and Chantry form an instant connection, striking up a close friendship. Still, there is no denying the chemistry between them, leading the pair to wonder, what if the love of your life is actually your best friend?

While What If might be entertaining but forgettable and its plot ultimately predicable, What If’s main draw-card is the easy going and down to earth chemistry between Radcliffe and Kazan, complemented by snappy dialogue and quick pacing. With 69% on Rotten Tomatoes, it’s a good bet if you’re looking for a heartfelt rom-com this weekend.

Blood Ties

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New York, 1974. Fifty-year-old Chris (Clive Owen) has just been released on good behaviour after several years in prison following a gangland murder. Waiting for him outside the gates is his younger brother, Frank (Billy Crudup), a cop with a bright future. Chris and Frank have always been different, and their father, Leon (James Caan), who raised them alone, seems to favour Chris despite all his troubles. Yet blood ties are the ones that bind, and Frank, hoping that his brother has changed, is willing to give him a chance — he shares his home, finds him a job, and helps him reconnect with his children and his ex-wife, Monica (Marion Cotillard). But Chris’ inevitable descent back into a life of crime proves to be the last in a long line of betrayals, and after his brother’s latest transgressions, Frank banishes him from his life. But it’s already too late, as the brothers’ destiny is bound together, forever.

Despite solid performances by the cast, with Owen’s role as Chris being the most stand-out in particular, Blood Ties ends up stumbling under the weight of its own ambition. According to critics its unfocused, sprawling and overly long. But, if you’re a major fan of character driven crime dramas and loved the 70’s, then don’t let the 53% on Rotten Tomatoes deter you.

The Good Lie

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They were known simply as “The Lost Boys.” Orphaned by the brutal Civil war in Sudan that began in 1983, these young victims travelled as many as a thousand miles on foot in search of safety. Fifteen years later, a humanitarian effort took 3 600 lost boys and girls to America. This is the story of their survival and triumph in life.

Even though Reese Witherspoon might have top billing, The Good Lie is a masterful story that belongs to the four Sudanese actors Arnold Oceng, Ger Duany, Emmanuel Jal and Nyakuoth Weil. As actual war refugees themselves, their performances can’t be more authentic, poignant and moving.

The Prince

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Jason Patric, Bruce Willis and John Cusack face off in this action-packed thriller about a retired assassin who is drawn back into the life he gave up when his daughter is kidnapped. To rescue her, he must confront his former rival.

Information about The Prince is thin on the ground, but from what I can gather it’s basically a Taken retread, with no passion, no originality and no charisma. Wholly paint-by-numbers with actors that are just there to cash a paycheque, unless you need a large dose of machismo for medical reasons, you might as well skip this one.

Last Updated: November 7, 2014

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