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Film Guide - April 26, 2013

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TO SW GuideRobot

A scene from Guide Robot.

NEW RELEASES:

Little One: Poignant local drama about the capacity of the human spirit to drive us forward despite the worst we can do to each other. Solid performance from Lindiwe Ndlovu. *** TS

People: It’s as much about Alan Bennett’s words as the splendid ensemble cast who should have you in stitches even when the playwright plays with serious issues. **** DdB

Silent Hill: Revelation: Mediocre even by vidgame to movie standards, this sequel features weak characters, an incomprehensible script and no scares. * HR

Trance: James McAvoy, Rosario Dawson and Vincent Cassel in the Danny Boyle-directed film about a thief who needs hypnotherapy to remember where he stashed a stolen painting. **** HH

ON CIRCUIT:

21 & Over: Too predictable, clichéd and unabashedly profane to reach the heights, or is that depths, of Hangover. ** AP

A Lucky Man: Fictional drama based on the life of local gangster Ernie “Lastig” Solomons. Narratively patchy and unevenly paced, it’s strongest in the last two minutes when the man himself puts in an appearance. ** TS

Anna Karenina: Style triumphs over substance in the Joe Wright-directed period drama featuring Keira Knightley, Jude Law, Matthew Macfadyen and a host of stars. *** TS

Argo: Understated, well-characterised thriller set in 1979 Iran. Director Ben Affleck keeps the tension high and the action engrossing without beating you over the head with a message. **** TS

Escape from Planet Earth (3D): A rescue mission for a hero astronaut from planet Baab turns sour when he becomes a prisoner on planet Earth. Now his family must save him. *** LN

Fanie Fourie’s Lobola: Funny local rom-com with original dialogue, great cinematography and a little bit of everything to keep most everyone amused. **** TS

Franscesca da Rimini: Set to Riccardo Zandonai's brilliant librettos, an arranged marriage doesn't go as planned. **** PB

G I Joe: Retaliation: Noisy, plotless, goof-filled. Must be a movie based on a toy franchise. Too bad it doesn’t have Michael Bay’s touch with the spectacle, though. ** TS

Hitchcock: Anthony Hopkins and Helen Mirren are Alfred Hitchcock and wife, Alma Reville, during the filming of the classic film Psycho. *** HH

Hyde Park on Hudson: Some sparkling acting by Bill Murray, Laura Linney and excellent ensemble cast in what could have played in the Lincoln genre but chose frothy romantic drama instead to look at some aspects of Franklin D Roosevelt’s life. *** DdB

Identity Thief: Melissa McCarthy’s brash wild card with an off-kilter sense of humour and Jason Bateman’s initially bemused but increasingly frustrated straight man are stuck on a cross-country road trip that goes nowhere. ** AP

Lincoln: Talk-heavy biopic by Steven Spielberg about the last four months of Abraham Lincoln’s life. Daniel Day-Lewis disappears into the role for an uncanny, Oscar-winning performance alongside a stellar cast. *** TS

Oblivion: Tom Cruise stars in another futuristic sci-fi flick where he is one of the last people on Earth who try to make peace with what is and what was. The concept art is breathtaking but the story is so slow it’s almost a lullaby. ** MV

Olympus Has Fallen: Typical action flick (though surprisingly entertaining) about a solitary hero saving the USA – and the world – from imminent demise. Gerard Butler as ex-special operative Mike Banning is the new John McClane (of Die Hard) in the making. *** LdM

Oz the Great and Powerful: A children’s morality tale pushing the idea that if you just believe, you can achieve. Beautiful scenery, but very simplistic. *** TS

Parker: This attempt to capture the sassiness of Out of Sight, where Jennifer Lopez and George Clooney took the rom-action movie to new heights, doesn’t quite have that one’s cachet and the clunky action sequences eliminate any drama. ** DdB

Robot and Frank: With a creative cast, this one takes a skewed look at ageing in a way that might be more palatable, but no less poignant than had it explored the topic more harshly. It’s a film that targets a specific market – those ageing or those caring for those who are ageing. **** DdB

Seven Psychopaths: Smart dialogue, eccentric characters and clever casting make this a savvy self-aware exercise. The retro soundtrack is cool, but beware the high violence quotient. **** TS

Sleeper’s Wake: A plodding plot and repetitive dialogue do not an adult thriller make. ** TS

Snitch: Dwayne Johnson and his muscles return to the big screen to play a dad who does anything to save his falsely accused and incarcerated son. A so-so effort that you will not remember next month. ** MV

So Undercover: Miley Cyrus as a PI, going undercover at the behest of the FBI. Seriously. ** TS

The Croods: An animated movie about a prehistoric family who leave their cave in search of a new world. Fiercely funny for adults and kids. **** HH

The Host: From the creator of the Twilight saga comes a boring story about a resilient girl who tries to fight off an alien parasite race. ** HH

The Last Stand: Arnie is back, a little bit older and he knows it and shows it. Helped by Luis Guzman and Johnny Knoxville, he still stands in the way of the bad guys though. *** TS

The Sessions: Tender story that proves it is possible to make a grown-up film about sex in Hollywood. **** WP

To The Power of Anne: It’s described as a mockumentary, but because they flit between fantasy and reality the issues they’re trying to deal with are unclear. Why not go for hard-hitting slice of ageing and being a performer? Now it feels as if we’re watching some of Anne Powers’ life and why? ** DdB

Warm Bodies: Funny, sweet zombie romantic story which concentrates on what makes us human, and not the sfx. *** TS

Won’t Back Down: Viola Davis and Maggie Gyllenhaal are two mothers who are on a quest to turn the failing public school system around. *** HH

Zero Dark Thirty: Kathryn Bigelow directs Jessica Chastain in a drama about the capture of Osama bin Laden, in a film which unwittingly (or not) supports the idea that torturing prisoners is ok. **** TS


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