Movies out today: kid-friendly cinema and a horrible week for Jason Bateman

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Everything comes in two’s this week. Two great kid’s movies, two not-so-great Jason Bateman movies, and two South African films to boot.

The Boxtrolls

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From Laika, the studio behind Coraline and Paranorman comes The Boxtrolls – a community of quirky, mischievous creatures who have lovingly raised an orphaned human boy named Eggs in the amazing cavernous home they’ve built beneath the streets of Cheesebridge. When the town’s villain, Archibald Snatcher, comes up with a plot to get rid of the Boxtrolls, Eggs decides to venture above ground, “into the light,” where he meets and teams up with fabulously feisty Winnifred. Together, they devise a daring plan to save Eggs’ family

Unconventional and quirky, The Boxtrolls is another fantastic film from Laika and a must for fans of the claymation studio. While it might not be their best work to date, it’s still wonderfully strange and refreshingly unique, with 75% on Rotten Tomatoes.

The Penguins of Madagascar (Imax 3D)

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A spin-off from the highly successful Madagascar films, Penguins of Madagascar is here to show us that super spy teams aren’t born… they’re hatched. Discover the secrets of the greatest and most hilarious covert birds in the global espionage biz: Skipper, Kowalski, Rico and Private. These elitists of the elite are joining forces with a chic undercover organization, The North Wind. Led by handsome and husky Agent Classified (we could tell you his name, but then…you know), together they must stop the villainous Dr. Octavius Brine from destroying the world as we know it.

Penguins of Madagascar isn’t terrible, but it is definitely aimed at the kids. It’s frantically fast paced with non-stop gags and humour, but only mildly entertaining to adults. Still, with 67% on Rotten Tomatoes, if your kids have been bugging you to take them to the Imax theatre, this is the movie to go see.

Horrible Bosses 2

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Horrible Bosses 2, the sequel (duh) to the 2011 comedy, follows the original trio of Nick, Dale and Kurt who, fed up with answering to higher-ups, decide to become their own bosses by launching their own business. But, a slick investor soon pulls the rug out from under them. Outplayed, desperate, and with no legal recourse, the three would-be entrepreneurs hatch a misguided plan to kidnap the investor’s adult son and ransom him in order to regain control of their company.

While Horrible Bosses was surprisingly funny and rather original, Horrible Bosses 2 is… not. I mean, the plot’s about a kidnapping. Again! While the main cast are still their affable selves, you’ll be left with the sense that this sequel didn’t really need to happen. Only scraping together 35% on Rotten Tomatoes, Horrible Bosses 2 is not likely to keep you interested for very long.

The Longest Week

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Affluent and aimless, Conrad Valmont (Jason Bateman) lives a life of leisure in his parent’s prestigious Manhattan Hotel. In the span of one week, he finds himself evicted, disinherited, and… in love.

According to critics, director Peter Glanz tried so hard to emulate Woody Allen and Wes Anderson that he sort of forgot to tell a story along the way. Filled with vapid characters and snarky monologues, The Longest Week has an abysmal 11% on Rotten Tomatoes. Definitely not a good week for Bateman then.

Leading Lady

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From director Henk Pretorius comes Leading Lady, the story of an aspiring British actress, Jodi Rutherford, who persuades Kobus Willemse, a South African farmer (boer) from Brandfort, to prepare her for a role in a major film as an Afrikaans war heroine. In return Jodi undertakes to arrange and direct the annual concert at the Willemse farm.

Leading Lady doesn’t have any reviews out yet, so I wouldn’t be able to give you a general consensus. But the teaser trailer honestly looks quite cute, and I’d hazard a guess that this will be more unique than your usual South African film.

Spud 3: Learning to Fly

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As Spud Milton continues his awkward stagger through adolescence, he learns one of life’s most important lessons: When dealing with women and cretins, nothing is ever quite as it seems.

With the usual cast returning for the adaptation of John van der Ruit’s highly popular novels, Spud 3: Learning to Fly is probably a must see for fans of the movies. Coincidentally, it’s the only one of the Spud books I read and, I’ll be honest, I didn’t think it was all that great. Make of that what you will.

Last Updated: November 28, 2014

Tracy Benson

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

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