Movies out today: Sci-fi and spook spoofs

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It’s a big week for science fiction fans, with two major genre entries hitting South African cinemas in addition to a couple of comedies.

Star Trek into Darkness:
The big release for the weekend is undoubtedly this follow-up to the 2009 big screen reboot of the Star Trek franchise. Director J. J. Abrams is back, along with stars Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Zoe Saldana, Karl Urban and Simon Pegg as Kirk, Spock, Uhura and co. This time the young Starfleet crew must contend with the threat posed by Benedict Cumberbatch’s rogue commander.

You can read Kervyn and Lourens‘s full Star Trek into Darkness reviews of course, but in short, the sequel (screening in converted 3D and 2D) is a colourful and exhilarating midyear blockbuster… even if at times it seems more concerned with referencing classic Trek moments as opposed to advancing the plot. Internationally, the film has an aggregated review score of 87% Fresh on Rotten Tomatoes, with a big fat chunk of critical praise going Cumberbatch’s way.

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After Earth:
Real-life father-son duo Will Smith and Jaden Smith star in this sci-fi action adventure from M. Night Shyamalan (though written and produced by Smith Sr.). One thousand years after Earth is abandoned, the Smiths are a father-son pair of peacekeepers forced to rely on each other when they crash land back on humanity’s home planet.

The Madonna of filmmakers, Shymalan has become so universally hated it’s now actually difficult to tell if his films are really as terrible as critics say. With a Rotten Tomatoes rating of 12% Fresh, After Earth has been dismissed as a dull, all-too-serious Scientology fable with an uncharismatic teen lead and appalling special effects.

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A Haunted House:
Marlon Wayans produced and co-wrote this comedy, which satirises found footage horror flicks like Paranormal Activity and The Devil Inside. Essence Atkins and Cedric the Entertainer also star in this tale of a young couple who move into their dream home only to encounter a disruptive supernatural entity.

If you liked the R-rated mix of raunchiness and juvenile jokes of the Scary Movie series, you’ll probably get some giggles out of A Haunted House. Everyone else? Beware an endless series of fart and ghost rape gags.

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Stand Up Guys:
Al Pacino, Christopher Walken and Alan Arkin star in this crime comedy about a trio of retired mobsters and close friends who reunite when one is released from prison after nearly 30 years. Cue a series of “old folks” misadventures as the guys prove they still have it. Also with Julianna Margulies.

You’ll be watching Stand Up Guys more for its leads than anything else. Plotwise, it’s tired, meandering stuff but there’s still much fun to be had from seeing these major talents on screen together.

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Fly Me to the Moon:
Screening in limited release is this French film about a woman (Diane Kruger) who insists that, like others in her family, she must first endure a short lousy marriage before settling down with her Mr Right. So she tries to get a buffoonish travel writer (Dany Boon) to marry and swiftly divorce her in this globe-trotting screwball comedy.

It’s watchable, and Kruger is apparently pretty damn great as a romcom lead. However, at the end of the day Fly Me to the Moon – also known as Un Plan Parfait – is simply a cross-Atlantic cousin to the usual American romantic comedies: charming but convoluted.

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Last Updated: June 7, 2013

Noelle Adams

Sometime Tomb Raider. Full-time Pop Culture fanatic and Geekaissance Woman. Most often spotted outputting Pop Culture opinion pieces, writing fanfic and original genre fare, cosplaying and bringing the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu smackdown. Editor of the Comics and Toys section.

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