Movies out today: Sci-fi, fantasy and false identities

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Three new films open in South Africa today, offering a mix of escapism and special effects.

Elysium:
This sci-fi actioner is South African writer-director Neill Blomkamp’s highly anticipated follow-up to his surprise smash hit District 9. In the future, everyone who’s anyone lives on a luxury space station, where Jodie Foster rules the roost. Everyone else – 99% of humanity – is stuck on a devastated, resource-stricken Earth. Matt Damon’s ex-con has a chance to change the unfair status quo with the aid of an exo-skeleton.

Sadly, Blomkamp’s sophomore effort evidently doesn’t reach the same heights as District 9. You can read Kervyn and Lourens‘s full reviews, but in short, while the action scenes, visual effects and Sharlto Copley stand out, the film is otherwise unnuanced in terms of plot, character and socio-political commentary. Internationally, Elysium has racked up an aggregrated Rotten Tomatoes review score of 69% Fresh. Critics have called it a visual, visceral treat lacking in a credible human element.

Elysium3

Percy Jackson: Seas of Monsters:
Screening in 2D and CONVERTED 3D is this second film in the oh-so-Harry-Potter-ish fantasy adventure series, based on the books by Rick Riordan. This time teenage demigod Percy (Logan Lerman) – the son of Poseidon – and his besties must find the Golden Fleece to protect the school these mythological offspring attend. Adults in the cast include Stanley Tucci and Nathan Fillion.

According to critics, you can do far worse than Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters. It’s fun, kids should love it and adults can appreciate the crisp special effects and pacing. Pity it suffers from Seen It All Before Syndrome.

percy

Arthur Newman:
Screening in limited release is this road-trip comedy drama about a former pro golfer (Colin Firth) who stages his own death to escape his disastrous life. He assumes a new identity, after which his path crosses that of similarly troubled thief Emily Blunt.

Offbeat Arthur Newman is apparently well acted but never really goes anywhere, or does anything particularly memorable. Just another indie effort about dysfunctional people learning important life lessons.

arthur

Last Updated: August 30, 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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