Movies out Today: the downside of zef

5 min read
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Chappie is finally out today, but as we’ve already heard, it isn’t worth much of your time. I’m really sad that I was right about this.

  • Chappie

1251623 - Chappie

In the near future, crime is patrolled by an oppressive mechanized police force. But now, the people are fighting back. When one police droid, Chappie, is stolen and given new programming, he becomes the first robot with the ability to think and feel for himself. As powerful, destructive forces start to see Chappie as a danger to mankind and order, they will stop at nothing to maintain the status quo and ensure that Chappie is the last of his kind.

Well, we all kind of hoped this wasn’t going to happen, but we all kind of knew it was going to happen anyway. It turns out that Neill Blomkamp may have actually just been a one trick pony. After the acclaimed District 9 and the less than impressive Elysium, Blomkamp totally drops the ball with Chappie. Making the same mistakes as last time, with a dire script, paper-thin characters and moral grandstanding, once again Blomkamp proves that he’s got good ideas, he just doesn’t know what to do with them. As Kervyn so succinctly pointed out: here’s the problem with reaching the top – the only place left to go is down. Now I’m legitimately worried about him taking over the Alien franchise.

  • Focus

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A con artist (Will Smith) takes on an inexperienced apprentice in this crime comedy from the filmmaking duo behind CRAZY STUPID LOVE, Glenn Ficarra and John Requa.

According to Kervyn’s 4/5 star review, Focus takes you for a bit of a ride. See, you might be expecting that after his recent run of bad luck, Will Smith churned out another terrible movie. Instead, it turns out he’s completely back on form, providing a good foot in the door for his return to decent films instead of adding another one to his dud pile. Along with Margot Robbie’s top-notch acting, a delightfully twisty plot and all the drama, glitz and glamour you’d expect, Focus might con you into seeing it, but it’s a con you’ll be happy you fell for.

  • The Cobbler

the-cobbler-adam-sandler1

Max Simkin (Adam Sandler) repairs shoes in the same New York shop that has been in his family for generations. Disenchanted with the grind of daily life, Max stumbles upon a magical heirloom that allows him to step into the lives of his customers and see the world in a new way. Sometimes walking in another man’s shoes is the only way to discover who you really are.

Oh man, just reading the blurb made me roll my eyes. Here we have another Adam Sandler movie, where Adam Sandler plays an awkward caricature of Adam Sandler, through a story with a clever premise that goes nowhere and ends up feeling fake, forced and utterly fails at being funny.

  • The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby

THE DISAPPEARANCE OF ELEANOR RIGBY

Once happily married, Conor (James McAvoy) and Eleanor (Jessica Chastain) suddenly find themselves as strangers longing to understand each other in the wake of tragedy. The film explores the couple’s story as they try to reclaim the life and love they once knew and pick up the pieces of a past that may be too far gone.

Part poignant character study and part romantic love story, The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby is flawlessly acted and dreamily put together. It’s a pity that Jessica Chastain missed out on an Academy Award nomination, because by most accounts her performance was worthy of another Oscar nod.

  • The Gambler

THE GAMBLER

Jim Bennett is a both an English professor and a high-stakes gambler. He bets it all when he borrows from a gangster and offers his own life as collateral. Always one step ahead, Bennett pits his creditor against the operator of a gambling ring and leaves his dysfunctional relationship with his wealthy mother in his wake. He plays both sides, immersing himself in an illicit, underground world while garnering the attention of Frank, a loan shark with a paternal interest in Bennett’s future. As his relationship with a student deepens, Bennett must take the ultimate risk for a second chance.

Critics are so far divided on The Gambler, with some praising Mark Walhberg’s performance and Rupert Wyett’s pull-no-punches directing, while others lament the superficial tone and sometimes nonsensical screenplay. Falling sort of in the middle with 46% on Rotten Tomatoes, you’ll have to see it to make up your own mind.

  • Strange Magic

STRANGE MAGIC

STRANGE MAGIC, a new animated film from Lucasfilm Ltd., is a madcap fairy tale musical inspired by “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” Popular songs from the past six decades help tell the tale of a colorful cast of goblins, elves, fairies and imps, and their hilarious misadventures sparked by the battle over a powerful potion. Lucasfilm Animation Singapore and Industrial Light & Magic bring to life the fanciful forest turned upside down with world-class animation and visual effects.

While it isn’t even almost in the same league as Frozen, Strange Magic is visually stunning and charming in its own way, even if it is very far removed from its alleged source material. Most critics think it leans more towards the strange side than the magical side, but there are worse movies to watch.

Last Updated: March 13, 2015

Tracy Benson

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

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