Movies out Today: 19 August 2016

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Kubo and the Two Strings

Finally! I’ve been patiently waiting for Kubo and the Two Strings ever since the first trailer arrived back in March, and it looks like the wait has been worth it.

  • Kubo and the Two Strings

Kubo and the Two Strings is an epic action-adventure set in a fantastical Japan from acclaimed animation studio LAIKA. Clever, kindhearted Kubo (Art Parkinson) ekes out a humble living, telling stories to the people of his seaside town including Hosato (George Takei), Akihiro (Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa), and Kameyo (Brenda Vaccaro). But his relatively quiet existence is shattered when he accidentally summons a spirit from his past which storms down from the heavens to enforce an age-old vendetta. Now on the run, Kubo joins forces with Monkey (Charlize Theron) and Beetle (Matthew McConaughey), and sets out on a thrilling quest to save his family and solve the mystery of his fallen father, the greatest samurai warrior the world has ever known. With the help of his shamisen – a magical musical instrument – Kubo must battle gods and monsters, including the vengeful Moon King (Ralph Fiennes) and the evil twin Sisters (Rooney Mara), to unlock the secret of his legacy, reunite his family, and fulfill his heroic destiny.

Wow. According to Kervyn’s first 5/5 star review for 2016, everything about Kubo and the Two Strings is basically perfect. The style, the narrative, the magical world-building and engaging characters, it’s all just… wonderful. At this point, Studio LAIKA can do no wrong. They won my heart with Coraline but now they’re set to steal it for good.

TheMovies review score: 5/5 stars
Rotten Tomatoes: 91%
Metacritic: 81

Book now in 2D at Ster Kinekor
Book now in 3D at Nu Metro or Ster Kinekor

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  • Bad Moms

In this new comedy from the grateful husbands and devoted fathers who wrote The Hangover, Amy has a seemingly perfect life–a great marriage, over-achieving kids, beautiful home and a career. However she’s over-worked, over-committed and exhausted to the point that she’s about to snap. Fed up, she joins forces with two other over-stressed moms on a quest to liberate themselves from conventional responsibilities–going on a wild, un-mom-like binge of long overdue freedom, fun and self-indulgence–putting them on a collision course with PTA Queen Bee Gwendolyn and her clique of devoted perfect moms.

Like a grown up version of Mean Girls, Bad Moms is feisty and entertaining, with a little bit of truth mixed in with the middle-aged wish fulfilment. Even though Mila Kunis is presented as the star, it seems like Kathryn Hahn completely steals the show with her rude, crude, over-the-top, but completely believable performance.

Rotten Tomatoes: 62%
Metacritic: 60

Book now at Nu Metro or Ster Kinekor

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  • Cell

Stephen King’s best-selling novel is brought to terrifying life in this mind-blowing thriller starring John Cusack and Samuel L. Jackson. At the Boston airport, Clay (Cusack) witnesses a scene of chaotic mayhem when an electronic signal turns hundreds of cell phone users into rabid killers. Desperate to find his estranged wife and son, Clay teams with a train driver (Jackson) to battle the horde of murderous “phoners” as the city descends into apocalyptic madness.

I’m a huge fan of Stephen King, but even I’ve got to admit that the premise to Cell seems a bit, well, stupid. I think it would work as a book, but in movie form it sounds like “just another zombie movie”. And it seems like that’s exactly what they’ve made, and they haven’t even made it well. Cell just feels cheap, with its choppy editing, poor lighting and production design that leaves a lot to be desired. In addition, they’ve removed all the potential satirical commentary from the story, leaving a dull, witless and brain-dead plodding plot behind.

Rotten Tomatoes: 0% (that’s gotta hurt)
Metacritic: 37

Book now at Nu Metro or Ster Kinekor

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  • Pelé: Birth of a Legend

Pelé. A name known around the world, a sports legend who changed soccer forever, and a national hero who carried the hopes and dreams of a country on his back. But before he was an icon, he was a kid from the slums of São Paulo, Brazil, so poor that he couldn’t afford a real soccer ball. Charting his meteoric rise-from scrubbing floors to support his family to honing his electrifying playing style on the streets to leading Brazil’s national team to its first World Cup victory at the age of 17-Pelé vividly brings to life the greatest sports story of the 20th century. With Vincent D’Onofrio and Brazilian musical star Seu Jorge.

When I saw the trailer to Pelé, I thought it looked kind of… meh. I mean, I’m not a huge football fan, but I could see how it might appeal to those that are. Unfortunately, it looks like Pelé isn’t really going to appeal to anyone after all. It’s a painfully routine biopic that does nothing to add depth or interest to the Pelé story. Instead, basically all agency is removed from the main character, making him a plot point to manufacture drama around and churn inspiration from. Tedious and ham-fisted, Pelé is a let-down, and not what the legendary player deserved.

Rotten Tomatoes: 19%
Metacritic: 39

Book now at Nu Metro or Ster Kinekor

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  • Nerve

Industrious high school senior, Vee Delmonico, has had it with living life on the sidelines. When pressured by friends to join the popular online game Nerve, Vee decides to sign up for just one dare in what seems like harmless fun. But as she finds herself caught up in the thrill of the adrenaline-fueled competition partnered with a mysterious stranger, the game begins to take a sinister turn with increasingly dangerous acts, leading her into a high stakes finale that will determine her entire future.

Buoyed by charismatic performances by leads Emma Roberts and Dave Franco, Nerve is fast-paced, flashy and full of energy. Surprisingly, it works well as a teen action/thriller, even though the  it looks pretty superficial. The premise is a bit on the unbelievable side and the very obvious messages about social media, peer pressure and the desire for fame are driven home a little too well at times.  Thankfully, there’s enough going on to keep you sustained.

Rotten Tomatoes: 60%
Metacritic: 58

Book now at Nu Metro or Ster Kinekor

Last Updated: August 19, 2016

Tracy Benson

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

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