Movies out today: more Oscar contenders, and other silliness

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The last of the Oscar-bait movies are coming to our cinemas in drips and drabs, but other, less serious movies are starting to come back as well. Thank goodness we can get a chance to turn our brains off and indulge in some mindless entertainment again!

The Theory of Everything

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This is the extraordinary story of one of the world’s greatest living minds, the renowned astrophysicist Stephen Hawking, who falls deeply in love with fellow Cambridge student Jane Wilde. Once a healthy, active young man, Hawking received an earth-shattering diagnosis at 21 years of age. With Jane fighting tirelessly by his side, Stephen embarks on his most ambitious scientific work, studying the very thing he now has precious little of – time. Together, they defy impossible odds, breaking new ground in medicine and science, and achieving more than they could ever have dreamed. The film is based on the memoir Travelling to Infinity: My Life with Stephen, by Jane Hawking, and is directed by Academy Award winner James Marsh.

You can definitely see why Eddie Redmayne won his Academy Award, and likewise why co-star Felicity Jones was nominated as well. As far as Oscar-bait biopics go, this is a good one, but you may be let down by the film’s mixed focus. Surprisingly little time is spent exploring Hawking’s thoughts, motivations, and scientific achievements, instead making it very much a love story.  Ultimately, it’s still an uplifting movie with incredible acting, which will make it worth your while. Nick gives it a solid 3.5/5.

Wild

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With the dissolution of her marriage and the death of her mother, Cheryl Strayed has lost all hope. After years of reckless, destructive behavior, she makes a rash decision. With absolutely no experience, driven only by sheer determination, Cheryl hikes more than a thousand miles of the Pacific Crest Trail, alone. WILD powerfully captures the terrors and pleasures of one young woman forging ahead against all odds on a journey that maddens, strengthens, and ultimately heals her.

Powerful and nuanced, Wild has garnered an impressive 90% on Rotten Tomatoes, with the majority of praise being heaped on Reese Witherspoon’s moving, emotional, poignant, buzzwordy, Oscar nominated performance. Besides for that, the scenery is gorgeous, the directing is top-notch and it’s just an all-round inspiring story.

Shaun the Sheep the Movie

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When Shaun decides to take the day off and have some fun, he gets a little more action than he bargained for. A mix-up between the Farmer, a caravan and a very steep hill lead them all to the Big City, and it’s up to Shaun and the flock to return everyone safely to the green grass of home.

While the humour and the story might be more geared towards little kids, Shaun the Sheep the Movie still doesn’t disappoint. As you’d expect, it’s charming, delightful and quintessentially British, with enough heart and warmth to make it worth your while.

Dying of the Light

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Evan Lake (Nicholas Cage), a veteran CIA agent, has been ordered to retire. But when his protégé (Anton Yelchin) uncovers evidence that Lake’s nemesis, the terrorist Banir (Alexander Karim), has resurfaced, Lake goes rogue, embarking on a perilous, intercontinental mission to eliminate his sworn enemy.

Damnit Nic Cage, stop making movies! I would say you should quit while you’re ahead, but we are way past that point now. According to critics, Dying of the Light is a case of good idea, bad execution – it’s rushed, incoherent and was apparently butchered in post-production, but even a director’s cut won’t redeem Cage’s uneven performance. 10% on Rotten Tomatoes. Dude, just stop already.

Read  Movies out Today: 24 August 2018

Mortdecai

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Juggling some angry Russians, the British Mi5, his impossibly leggy wife and an international terrorist, debonair art dealer and part time rogue Charlie Mortdecai (Johnny Depp) must traverse the globe armed only with his good looks and special charm in a race to recover a stolen painting rumoured to contain the code to a lost bank account filled with Nazi gold.

There’s not a heck of a lot of praise out there for Mortdecai. Critics are calling it tired, flat, dull, overlong and unfunny, with my favourite quote so far being “I have no idea for whom this movie was made.” I guess the only positive is that for once we actually get to see Johnny Depp’s face instead of layers of crazy make-up – ridiculous moustache notwithstanding.

Hear Me Move

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The son of a famous street dancer tries to discover the truth about his father’s tragic death 12 years prior. When he joins forces with his father’s dance partner, he finds himself embroiled in a bitter rivalry that pushes him to his limit.

Hear Me Move is South Africa’s first sbujwa dance movie, indeed I think South Africa’s first dance movie in general. Following in the style of most dance movies, there’s a semi-contrived plot and lots of random drama, but based on the trailer it actually looks pretty decent (be warned, the trailer is quite spoiler-y). Normally I don’t like South African movies in general, production quality tends to be low and the acting can seem like it’s straight out of a soapie, but I didn’t get that impression from Hear Me Move. You can tell a lot of love and respect went in to making this film, so I’m oddly intrigued.

The Remaining

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A group of close friends gather for a wedding, but the celebration is shattered by a series of cataclysmic events and enemies foretold by biblical end-times prophecies. The Remaining – Dan, Skylar, Tommy, Jack, Allison and Sam face a horrifying, uncertain future as they fight for their lives. Who will survive?

The Remaining is a typical horror movie with a faith based twist, but I don’t know if I’d buy into it. Firstly, it’s another semi-found-footage film, but who found the footage if the freaking Rapture happened? Secondly, it’s just another horror movie, put any other supernatural force or disaster in place of the Rapture and it would still be a totally average movie. Lastly, the whole concept of the Rapture isn’t even biblically accurate, so whatever. 56% on Rotten Tomatoes, for those of you were interested enough to read all the way through.

Last Updated: February 27, 2015

Tracy Benson

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

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