Yet another public holiday in South Africa means the vast majority of the week’s new film releases are out from today – Workers’ Day. And there are seven of them.
3 Days to Kill:
Kevin Costner plays a terminally ill CIA agent in this action espionage thriller, written by Luc Besson and directed by McG. Costner’s character wants to reconnect with his estranged family, while working to capture a ruthless arms dealer. Also with Amber Heard, Hailee Steinfeld, Connie Nielsen and Richard Sammel.
Evidently 3 Days to Kill was intended to be Costner’s Taken, although by the sounds of things it ended up more like his Crank. It’s a goofy, action-packed treat if you’re a Besson fan, but the stylish stuntwork and set pieces don’t quite balance with the domestic drama. 32% Fresh.
It’s taken over a year for this sci-fi horror flick to reach our cinemas. It’s set in the near future where a Big Freeze has set in and humanity is approaching extinction inside underground bunkers. The story kicks off when one of these colonies, headed by Laurence Fishburne and Bill Paxton, receive a distress call from another colony.
A strong premise with big ideas is wasted on a B-grade, completely formulaic execution. Far from terrible, but nothing special. 16% Fresh.
The Other Woman:
For your cynical romcom kicks there’s this film starring Cameron Diaz as a woman who discovers her boyfriend (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) is married. Unusually, she forms a bond with his wife (Leslie Mann), and a second mistress (Kate Upton), and the three women set out to get revenge.
The Other Woman offers nothing unexpected; certainly nothing insightful. It’s all familiar, silly gags and slapstick pranks with a mean-spirited edge. However, as a superficial female empowerment fantasy, it delivers.
Tinker Bell and the Pirate Fairy:
The fifth film in the Disney Fairies series is hitting the big screen today in 3D. In this animated family adventure, Tinker Bell (voiced by Mae Whitman) and her friends have a run-in with a pirate crew, headed, surprisingly, by another fairy (Christina Hendricks). Tom Hiddleston is young Hook.
It turns out The Pirate Fairy is actually pretty good for something intended as straight-to-DVD. It’s completely innoculous, but it has a positive girl power message and ramped-up action. Even adults should enjoy this one.
Ek Joke Net 2:
South Africans love a good, or even not so good, homegrown candid camera film, and here’s another local effort. In this sequel to the 2011 original, a band of young comedians set out to prank the unassuming South African public.
You can think of this one as the South African version of The Best Man… right down to the logo. College friends reunite after 7 years at an upmarket game lodge, and old secrets and romantic tensions surface. With Thapelo Mokoena, Amanda DuPont, Siyabonga Radebe and Dumisani Mbebe.
Ain’t Them Bodies Saints:
Screening in limited release is this oddly named romantic crime drama starring Casey Affleck and Rooney Mara as an outlaw couple on the run in the 1970s. This indie production won the Best Cinematography Award at last year’s Sundance Film Festival.
Ain’t Them Bodies Saints features a fairly standard narrative, but is elevated by its excellent performances and poetic, intimate approach. Non-art house enthusiasts may find it a bit too depressing however.
Last Updated: May 1, 2014