If you saw Guardians of the Galaxy last weekend (and possibly once or twice more during this week), you might be looking for something new to see this weekend. You have your choice of 6 new films, running the gamut from mythical action to Sundance ensemble fair, and almost everything in between. Or, let’s be honest here, you can always go watch Guardians of the Galaxy again. One of these days I’ll stop talking about that movie. Not today though.
Anyway! On with this week’s new releases!
From director Brett Ratner comes Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s latest muscle-bound epic, Hercules. Haunted by a sin from his past, the titular (heehee) Hercules has become a mercenary, travelling ancient Greece and using his legendary reputation to intimidate enemies, along with five faithful companions. But when the benevolent ruler of Thrace and his daughter seek Hercules’ help to defeat a savage and terrifying warlord, Hercules finds that in order for good to triumph and justice to prevail, he must once again become the hero he was and embrace his own myth.
Hercules currently has a decent 62% on Rotten Tomatoes, with critics saying you’re pretty much going to get what you expect, if what you expect is Dwayne Johnson in a loincloth. As Kervyn’s review said yesterday, Hercules is a guilt-free popcorn flick that’s good enough to while away 100 minutes or so.
Boasting a stellar ensemble cast, Chef is the tale of Carl Casper (Jon Favreau), a chef who suddenly quits his job at a prominent Los Angeles restaurant after refusing to compromise his creative integrity for its controlling owner (Dustin Hoffman).Trying to figure out what’s next, Casper finds himself in Miami, where he teams up with his ex-wife (Sofia Vergara), his friend (John Leguizamo) and his son to launch a food truck. Chef also stars Scarlett Johansson, Robert Downey Jr. and Oliver Platt.
Chef has completely flown under the radar for me, the first time I saw the trailer was last weekend, but I will admit that it looks quite interesting. It might be a nice change of pace from the action packed blockbusters of this time of the year. By all accounts it’s light hearted and unashamedly feel-good, with a solid 88% on Rotten Tomatoes.
Adult World is a satirical comedy about an eccentric young woman, Amy Anderson, (Emma Roberts) who has just come out of university, convinced she’s going to be a famous poet. Saddled with debt and unemployed she moves back in with her parents who force her to get a job. Desperate and armed with a poetry degree and not much else she takes the only job she can find, working in an adult book store called Adult World.
With nothing new to say or add to the admittedly tired coming-of-age genre, and a formulaic plot, Adult World is currently sitting with a rating of 53% on Rotten Tomatoes.
On the other side of the coin from Adult World comes Behaving Badly, a “ raunchy teen sex comedy” about socially awkward high schooler Rick Stevens (Nat Wolff), who is willing to do whatever it takes to win the heart of the girl of his dreams … and he does mean anything. But love’s a bitch (apparently), particularly when your sights are set on the most beautiful and popular girl at school (played by Selena Gomez).
Critics have basically panned Behaving Badly as at best half-hearted and at worst punishingly unfunny, with some going so far as to say it’s a contender for worst film of the year (That is to say until TMNT comes out). You might not want to waste your time with this one.
A local film also hits cinemas today. Alles Wat Mal Is is about Helena Joubert, who has lost herself somewhere between her Varsity love, the big, crazy wedding, and her two hyperactive kids. She and hubby Gustav exchanged their passionate relationship for a permanent seize-fire. The once uninhibited and vibrant journalist is now just a few fading photographs on the wall. And then, her world is shattered when Gustav apparently starts an affair with the very big investor who just might be the savior of his company – Elzaan Mostert.
Based on a short story by Deon Meyer and directed by Oscar nominated Darel James Roodt, Alles Wat Mal Is probably isn’t my cup of tea, but if Afrikaans romantic comedies are your thing, then this one’s for you.
Lastly, finally releasing on Cinema Nouveau this week is Volume I of Lars von Trier’s Nymphomaniac. Joe (Charlotte Gainsbourg), a self-diagnosed nymphomaniac is discovered badly beaten in an alley by an older bachelor, Seligman (Stellan Skarsgård), who takes her into his home. As he tends to her wounds, she recounts the erotic story of her adolescence and young-adulthood in graphic detail.
Nymphomaniac has amazed a lot of critics by being brave, honest, thought-provoking, and most surprisingly, quite funny. With a Rotten Tomato rating of 75% fresh, apparently Lars von Trier still has some tricks up his sleeve.
Last Updated: August 8, 2014