The new releases are all about the romance this week, with a romantic drama and a romantic comedy taking centre stage. We also have one of the most unnecessary sequels of all time, and quite a lot of critic-bait.
Me Before You
Adapted from the bestselling novel by Jo Jo Moyes, ME BEFORE YOU tells the story of the unexpected relationship that blossoms between a contented small town Englishwoman and the wealthy, paralyzed Londoner who hires her as his caretaker. Theater director Thea Sharrock makes her feature directorial debut with this MGM/New Line Cinema co-production.
Me Before You is a chick flick, there’s no getting around that. However, thanks mostly to the strong performances and alluring chemistry between leads Emilia Clarke and Sam Claflin, it’s more than just your average romantic drama. It’s by no means perfect, far from it, but it has enough heart and refreshing charm to make you forgive the clichés.
Ice Age: Collision Course
Scrat’s epic pursuit of the elusive acorn catapults him into the universe where he accidentally sets off a series of cosmic events that transform and threaten the Ice Age World. To save themselves, Sid, Manny, Diego, and the rest of the herd must leave their home and embark on a quest full of comedy and adventure, travelling to exotic new lands and encountering a host of colorful new characters.
How many of these movies are they going to make before they just let this franchise die? Hopefully Collision Course is the last one because it’s just awful. As one reviewer put it, “[it] takes huge strides in the hotly-contested race to be 2016’s Most Irrelevant Sequel” – and this is the year that had My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2, not to mention The Huntsman: Winter War. Quit while you’re ahead and avoid this mess.
Hyperactive at the best of times, Martha (Anna Kendrick) has gone full-on manic since her latest breakup. She babbles, parties like a monster, cooks everything in sight – and is looking to do something terrible when she meets Francis (Sam Rockwell). To anyone else, Francis’s approach would come across as creepy, but Martha can’t help but be intrigued. They seem a perfect match: she’s bananas, he’s bananas… except he’s a deadly sort of bananas. He’s a professional assassin. Francis is a hitman with a cause: he unexpectedly kills the people ordering the hits. Just as Martha begins to realize her new beau wasn’t joking when he said he had to step out for a moment to shoot someone, things start heating up for Francis. His services are solicited by a dubious client who’s being sought by an equally dubious FBI agent (Tim Roth; Pulp Fiction, Reservoir Dogs). As the bodies pile up, Martha needs to decide whether to flee or join in the mayhem.
Even though the plot of Mr. Right is completely absurd, the chemistry between Anna Kendrick and Sam Rockwell is fantastic, and you can tell that both of them had an immense amount of fun with their roles. Sadly, the rest of the movie suffers from incredibly uneven pacing and disordered execution. That being said, if you’re looking for the antithesis of Me Before You, this is your winner.
Elvis & Nixon
On a December morning in 1970, the King of Rock ‘n Roll showed up on the lawn of the White House to request a meeting with the most powerful man in the world, President Nixon. The untold true story behind this revealing, yet humorous moment in the Oval Office forever immortalized in the most requested photograph in the National Archives.
Elvis & Nixon doesn’t delve too deep into the strange situation that led to the true life meeting between these two. Instead, it’s whimsical and wickedly funny, with sparkling dialogue and two great actors that give it their all. Spacey’s turn as Nixon is apparently one of the best portrayals of the erstwhile President, so it’s worth seeing just for that.
YOUTH is about two longtime friends vacationing in the Swiss Alps. Oscar winning actor Michael Caine plays Fred, an acclaimed composer and conductor, who brings along his daughter (Rachel Weisz) and best friend Mick (Harvey Keitel), a renowned filmmaker. While Mick scrambles to finish the screenplay for what he imagines will be his last important film, Fred has no intention of resuming his musical career. The two men reflect on their past, each finding that some of the most important experiences can come later in life.
There’s so much gushing over how sumptuously magnificent Youth is that I’m almost sceptical at this point. Critics are lauding practically everything about it, it’s charming, funny, visually stunning and movingly thoughtful. Combined with the two heavy-weight actors that lead the impressive cast, Youth is cinema at its most refined.
Book now at Ster Kinekor
In the midst of a dazzling and prolific career at the forefront of modern jazz innovation, Miles Davis (Don Cheadle) virtually disappears from public view for a period of five years in the late 1970s. Alone and holed up in his home, he is beset by chronic pain from a deteriorating hip, his musical voice stifled and numbed by drugs and pain medications, his mind haunted by unsettling ghosts from the past
Produced, directed by and starring Don Cheadle, who also shares writing credit, Miles Ahead stretches the imagination and doesn’t stick closely to what really happened. That being said, who cares? It’s a labour of love by Cheadle, whose performance is incredibly compelling, and the movie itself flows like a melodious jazz solo. It might be unconventional, but so was Miles Davis, so perhaps that’s exactly how it needs to be.
Book now at Ster Kinekor
Last Updated: July 8, 2016