Film Guide - March 1, 2013

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6 Bullets: The ageing Jean Claude Van Damme returns with impressive kicks in a story about saving a little girl from the jaws of a human trafficking syndicate. You have seen this story somewhere, just not this way. *** MV

Beyonce: Life is But a Dream: Before she embarks on The Mrs Carter world tour, this R&B popstar shows us what it’s like to be Beyonce Knowles. *** HH

Cirque du Soleil: Worlds Away 3D: A woman gets the front row treatment to some Cirque du Soleil acts as she travels through circus tents in search of a topless aerialist. Strictly for the hardcore Cirque du Soleil fans. *** HH

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

The Impossible: An impressive story about a family beating the odds after a terrifying natural disaster. The story is a little too perfect but it still works. *** MV

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

A Good Day To Die Hard: A senile John McClane bravely returns to action in Russia without his walking stick. Great action scenes framed by a non-existent plot. ** MV

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

Beautiful Creatures: Teen urban fantasy with spellcasters and star crossed lovers. Good dialogue and soundtrack even if the plot is obvious. At least there aren’t sparkly vampires. *** TS

Dino Time: Animated film about three children who travel back in time to the days when dinosaurs roamed the Earth. (Not reviewed)

Django Unchained: Quentin Tarantino’s beautifully shot but controversial film about a slave-turned-bounty hunter who is in search of his wife. Starring Jamie Foxx, Leonardo DiCaprio and Samuel L Jackson. *** HH

Flight: Denzel Washington and Don Cheadle star in this film about a pilot who gets a rude awakening about sobriety and accountability. **** HH

Hansel and Gretel: Witchhunters: Boring wanna-be steampunk version of what happened after the Grimm fairytale kids killed the witch. Ho-hum dialogue, uneven pacing and no jokes. ** TS

Klein Karoo: Rom-com set in Oudtshoorn, which may follow a clichéd formula, but does give some idiosyncratic characters who will amuse greatly. *** TS

Les Miserables: Tom Hooper directs a stellar cast in the West End musical, except this looks like the real deal with gorgeous outdoor sets, lavish costumes and extreme detail. **** TS

Life of Pi: Ang Lee creates a gorgeously rendered 3D world on the high seas as a young boy struggles to survive in the company of only a Bengal tiger. **** TS

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-nominated performance alongside a stellar cast. *** TS

Mama: drawing heavily on producer Guillermo del Toro’s touch with the fantastical, this is a scary horror, even if the storyline is predictable. *** TS

Maria Stuarda: In this second opera in Donizetti’s Tudor trilogy, SA soprano Elza van den Heever makes her Met Opera debut, while Joyce DiDonato is riveting in her vocal portrayal of the title role. **** PB

Movie 43: Puerile waste of time. * TS

Playing for Keeps: Despite the star-studded line-up, this tale about a jobless former soccer star trying to win back his ex, is nothing more than an incoherent, cringeworthy attempt at a sweeping romance. H DT

Quartet: First-time director Dustin Hoffman takes a gentle look at ageing, but with Maggie Smith leading the charge, it’s always one to cherish. Add to that the setting – a retirement home for musicians which presents all kinds of explosions. **** DdB

Silver Linings Playbook: Director David Russell’s sensitive direction of a talented cast keeps the film on a tricky thematic tightrope which straddles romance and mental illness. **** AP

Searching for Sugarman: Narratively satisfying, Swedish director Malik Bendjelloul’s canny documentary tells the tale of the search for Detroit-born Mexican musician Sixto Diaz Rodriguez. **** WP

The Intouchables: A feel-good movie about a distinctly feel-bad subject, quadriplegia. *** WP

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

Verraaiers: Local war drama that is surprisingly PC in presentation, considering it is about a nasty, gritty kind of time. A strong cast, directed by Paul Eilers, tell a story about traitors during the Anglo Boer war. *** TS

Wreck-It Ralph: Stepping into the world of video arcade games, Disney manages to create a sophisticated story about humanity, using cgi characters. **** TS

Zero Dark Thirty: Kathryn Bigelow directs Jessica Chastain in a suspenseful 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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