Movies out today: say goodbye to long weekends for a while

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After all the public holidays we’ve had recently, we’ve been spoilt with extra movie watching time. But sadly, all good things come to an end, and we won’t have another public holiday until mid-June. So hit the cinemas while you can!

  • Get Hard

Get Hard Movie

Will Ferrell and Kevin Hart headline this Warner Bros. comedy about a wrongfully convicted investment banker who prepares for prison life with the help of the man who washes his car.

You’d think the combination of two excellent comedians in one movie would be a sure-fire hit, but alas, this is not the case with Get Hard. Instead of reaching new heights, Ferrell and Hart sink to new lows with tired, overused gags, lazy stereotypes and toilet humour. Get Hard might get a few giggles out of you, but you’re more likely to walk away feeling disappointed, and probably offended.

  • The DUFF

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Bianca is a content high school senior whose world is shattered when she learns the student body knows her as ‘The DUFF’ (Designated Ugly Fat Friend) to her prettier, more popular friends. Now, despite the words of caution from her favourite teacher, she puts aside the potential distraction of her crush, and enlists Wesley, a slick but charming jock, to help reinvent herself. To save her senior year from turning into a total disaster, Bianca must find the confidence to overthrow the school’s ruthless label maker Madison and remind everyone that no matter what people look or act like, we are all someone’s DUFF.

Granted it’s been a while since I’ve seen a high-school teen comedy (I think the last one I watched was Mean Girls) but despite my knee-jerk eye roll at the blurb, The DUFF is apparently quite good. It’s smart, heartfelt, well acted and manages to avoid the worst clichés of its genre. While it might end up being pretty obvious, it’s still deserving of 71% on Rotten Tomatoes.

  • Beyond the Reach

beyond the reach

A high-rolling corporate shark (Michael Douglas) and his impoverished young guide (Jeremy Irvine) play the most dangerous game during a hunting trip in the Mojave Desert in this lean, mean cat-and-mouse thriller.

I didn’t get much from that blurb, and from the sounds of it you won’t get much more from the full movie either. Between paper thin characters and plot holes you could lose a Metro bus in, not even Michael Douglas’s valiant effort could save Beyond the Reach, which has ended up with a low 34% on Rotten Tomatoes.

  • Far from the Madding Crowd

Far from the Madding Crowd

Based on the literary classic by Thomas Hardy, FAR FROM THE MADDING CROWD is the story of independent, beautiful and headstrong Bathsheba Everdene (Carey Mulligan), who attracts three very different suitors: Gabriel Oak (Matthias Schoenaerts), a sheep farmer, captivated by her fetching willfulness; Frank Troy (Tom Sturridge), a handsome and reckless Sergeant; and William Boldwood (Michael Sheen), a prosperous and mature bachelor. This timeless story of Bathsheba’s choices and passions explores the nature of relationships and love – as well as the human ability to overcome hardships through resilience and perseverance.

If you’ve been wanting an epic romance with strong lead characters, minus modern cynicism and strange fetishes, Far from the Madding Crowd is the movie you’ve been waiting to see. With 84% on Rotten Tomatoes, critics are praising everything from the progressive plot and beautiful period set pieces to Carey Mulligan’s powerful performance.

  • Desert Dancer

Desert Dancer

During the volatile climate of the 2009 presidential election, where many cultural freedoms were threatened, Afshin Ghaffarian and some friends risk their lives and form an underground dance company. Through banned online videos, they learn from timeless legends who cross all cultural divides, such as Michael Jackson, Gene Kelly and Rudolf Nureyev. Afshin and Elaheh also learn much from each other, most importantly how to embrace their passion for dance and for one another.

The dancing is good, but if you like those kinds of movies, Desert Dancer isn’t a stand-out of the genre. Overly simplified, straying far too often into melodrama and about as subtle as a brick, Desert Dancer has not impressed critics, scraping together 32% on Rotten Tomatoes.

  • She’s Funny That Way

shes-funny-that-way-movie

A married Broadway director (Owen Wilson) implores a call girl to turn her life around while the star of his latest production (Rhys Ifans) makes a play for his wife (Kathryn Hahn) in this ensemble comedy from director Peter Bogdonavich. Jennifer Aniston, Cybill Shepherd, Will Forte, and Lucy Punch co-star.

There’s no critic consensus out for She’s Funny That Way, but from the trailer alone I can tell you it looks like almost every other ensemble comedy I’ve seen. I’m sure you can expect a lot of misunderstandings, contrived plot twists and “mad-cap” encounters, but I don’t know if it will come out with any depth and meaning.

Last Updated: April 30, 2015

Tracy Benson

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

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