We may be exiting the midyear blockbuster period but that doesn’t mean the number of cinema releases are slumping. Today 7 new movies open in South Africa.
All-star comedy meets sci-fi in this tale of a mismatched, buffoonish Neighbourhood Watch who must defend their Midwestern community from alien invasion. With Ben Stiller, Vince Vaughn, Jonah Hill and Richard Ayoade. Apparently this one suffers from a serious case of “All the best bits are in the trailer.” Our very own Kervyn called the film disappointing, unfunny and entirely seen-it-all-before. International critics agree – The Watch features good chemistry but otherwise is lazy and crass. The film has a dire aggregated Rotten Tomatoes rating of 16% Fresh.
Halle Berry seems to spend most of her time in a bikini for this thriller about a marine biology expert and “shark whisperer” who loses her nerve after an awful diving accident. An ex (Olivier Martinez) convinces her to get back in the water with Great Whites. … And she does!. Filmed partly on location in Cape Town, Dark Tide looks pretty (it comes from the director of Blue Crush and Into the Blue) but is apparently a complete, convoluted bore. 0% Fresh.
Oliver Stone’s latest outing as writer-director, based on the crime novel of the same name. Taylor Kitsch and Aaron Johnson are successful marijuana producers who receive unwanted attention from a jealous Mexican drug cartel. The ensemble cast of brutal underworld types and corrupt officials includes Benicio del Toro, Salma Hayek, John Travolta and Blake Lively. Savages can apparently be chaotic and frustrating, but it’s still energetic and entertaining, with the actors playing to their strengths.
French action auteur Luc Besson changes direction with this drama based on real-life events. Michelle Yeoh plays Burmese political activist, and Nobel laureate, Aung San Suu Kyi, whose peaceful efforts at reform have seen her subjected to over 15 years of house arrest by the military junta. David Thewlis plays her British husband. Although the performances are outstanding, Western critics have called The Lady a heavy-handed chore, too intent on bending history to the biopic formula.
My Afternoons with Margueritte:
Screening on the arthouse circuit is this French comedy-drama – and novel adaptation – about a semi-literate, 50-something failure (Gérard Depardieu) who finds his eyes opened to the transformative power of literature when he forms a bond with a well-read older woman (Gisèle Casadesus). My Afternoons with Margueritte is apparently VERY sweet and sentimental, but this character study is also so charming that it manages to move viewers regardless.
Based on the novel by Chris Barnard, this Afrikaans romantic drama (with English subtitles) depicts a love quadrangle that develops when South African poet and naturalist Eugene Marais, a dashing man with dark secrets, succumbs to malaria and is forced to recover on a farm in the early 1900s. Directed by Katinka (Fiela se Kind, Paljas) Heyns, Die Wonderwerker appears to be a “prestige” local production, starring Dawid Minnaar, Elize Cawood, Anneke Weidemann and Marius Weyers. Evidently this one is good enough to deserve Oscar attention.
Katy Perry: Part of Me:
Screening in 3D is this music documentary about the life, on-stage and off-, of pop superstar Katy Perry. The film charts Perry’s rise to fame from her days as a wannabe gospel singer and struggling music performer, and contains footage from her California Dreams world tour. Although the whole project reeks of the marketing process, apparently there’s no denying the electric showmanship of the concert footage. Fans should love it.
Last Updated: September 7, 2012