Awards season craziness is almost over! With the release of American Sniper and Whiplash, six of the eight nominees for Best Picture have now come to South African cinema. Unfortunately you’ll still have to wait a bit for The Theory of Everything and The Grand Budapest Hotel – but they will be out in the next month so I’m sure you can hold out until then.
From director Clint Eastwood comes AMERICAN SNIPER, starring Bradley Cooper as Chris Kyle, the most lethal sniper in U.S. military history. But there was much more to this true American hero than his skill with a rifle. U.S. Navy SEAL sniper Chris Kyle is sent to Iraq with only one mission: to protect his brothers-in-arms. His pinpoint accuracy saves countless lives on the battlefield and, as stories of his courageous exploits spread, he earns the nickname “Legend.” However, his reputation is also growing behind enemy lines, putting a price on his head and making him a prime target of insurgents. Despite the danger, as well as the toll on his family at home, Chris serves through four harrowing tours of duty in Iraq, becoming emblematic of the SEAL creed to “leave no man behind.” But upon returning home, Chris finds that it is the war he can’t leave behind.
Even though American Sniper has racked up an impressive 6 Academy Award nominations, it still has a few niggles. It works incredibly well almost the whole way through, with excellent performances by Bradley Cooper and Sienna Miller, and the accomplished directing we’d expect from Clint Eastwood. But, it does occasionally fall short, with a typical Hollywood-ization of the true story, and a slapdash anticlimactic ending, both of which very much detract from just how good the movie could be. Kervyn rates it worthy of 3.5/5 stars.
Andrew Neyman is an ambitious young jazz drummer, single-minded in his pursuit to rise to the top of his elite east coast music conservatory. Plagued by the failed writing career of his father, Andrew hungers day and night to become one of the greats. Terence Fletcher, an instructor equally known for his teaching talents as for his terrifying methods, leads the top jazz ensemble in the school. Fletcher discovers Andrew and transfers the aspiring drummer into his band, forever changing the young man’s life. Andrew’s passion to achieve perfection quickly spirals into obsession, as his ruthless teacher continues to push him to the brink of both his ability-and his sanity.
And another major Oscar contender, but this one might be more worth your time. Up for 5 Academy Awards, Whiplash is a dark, intense, uplifting, heart-breaking and emotionally exhausting movie with a towering performance by J.K. Simmons, who monopolizes every scene he’s in. Kervyn wholeheartedly endorses it with 4.5/5 stars, so you know it’s not to be missed.
Directed and produced by Tim Burton, BIG EYES is based on the true story of Walter Keane (Christoph Waltz), who was one of the most successful painters of the 1950s and early 1960s. The artist earned staggering notoriety by revolutionizing the commercialization and accessibility of popular art with his enigmatic paintings of waifs with big eyes. The truth would eventually be discovered though: Keane’s art was actually not created by him at all, but by his wife, Margaret (Amy Adams). The Keanes, it seemed, had been living a lie that had grown to gigantic proportions. BIG EYES centers on Margaret’s awakening as an artist, the phenomenal success of her paintings, and her tumultuous relationship with her husband, who was catapulted to international fame while taking credit for her work.
What? A Tim Burton movie that doesn’t star Johnny Depp OR Helena Bonham-Carter? This is… just… weird. Though not without its drawbacks, Big Eyes still gets generally favourable reviews, plus a surprise Golden Globe win for Amy Adams, totalling a decent 69% on Rotten Tomatoes.
CAKE follows the story of the acerbic, hilarious Claire Simmons (Jennifer Aniston), who becomes fascinated by the suicide of a woman in her chronic pain support group.
Well this is disappointing. Apparently, the only thing that makes Cake worthwhile is Jennifer Aniston’s incredibly strong and honest performance (critics agree it’s her best dramatic role to date), otherwise the movie comes across as artificial, directionless and generally wallowing in self-pity. And the trailer made it look so good too…
Based on the best-selling novel by Zane, ADDICTED is a sexy and provocative thriller about desire and the dangers of indiscretion. Successful businesswoman Zoe Reynard (Sharon Leal) appears to have attained it all – the dream husband she loves (Boris Kodjoe), two wonderful children and a flourishing career. As perfect as everything appears from the outside, Zoe is still drawn to temptations she cannot escape or resist. As she pursues a secretive life, Zoe finds herself risking it all when she heads down a perilous path she may not survive.
Written and acted like a daytime soap-opera, Addicted might manage to get some laughs out of you, but seeing as it’s supposed to be a drama, that’s not a good thing. Part steamy sexy thriller, part morality lesson, it could have worked as erotica if it didn’t take itself so seriously, but instead doesn’t take itself seriously enough to be a genuine look into sexual compulsion. Meh, it’s probably still better than Fifty Shades of Grey.
Last Updated: February 20, 2015