Film Guide - November 22, 2013

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TO DETACHMENT1 (38170764) (38173192) . DISCONNECTED: Adrien Brody plays Henry Barthes, a teacher who gives needed refuge to prostitute Erica, played by Sami Gayle.

NEW RELEASES

 

Detachment: Adrian Brody explores the contemporary existential crises that is detachment from those around you in a world saturated with communication. *** TS

Enough Said: James Gandolfini and Julia Louis-Dreyfuss in a bitter-sweet, mature romcom with good support from Catherine Keener and Toni Collette. **** TS

Hunger Games 2: Catching Fire: Strong sequel brings back Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson and Woody Harrelson. Action-packed with some nifty designs. *** TS

Imogene aka Girl Most Likely: This witless and dull foray into sitcom territory strands the gifted Kristen Wiig with not much to say. ** WP

Justin and the Knights of Valor: Lazily animated kids’ film about a teenager on a quest to be a knight. No comic relief and little characterisation. At least it’s bright. HH TS

2 Guns: Gratuitously violent with an over saturated colour palette – must be based on a comic book. While the script is formulaic the chemistry between Denzil Washington and Mark Wahlberg keeps you glued. *** TS

 

ON CIRCUIT

 

A Late Quartet: It’s glorious ensemble acting from the likes of Philip Seymour Hoffman and Christopher Walken in a drama that plays like a fine piece of music. If you like theatre, this is for you. **** DdB

Arbitrage: Richard Gere gives a strong performance in this tense thriller about a New York hedge fund manager who appears to be the epitome of success. **** WP

As Jy Sing: Local musical starring Bobby van Jaarsveld, Bok van Blerk, Hanna Grobler and Karlien van Jaarsveld. (Not Reviewed)

Austenland: Alas, the fine cast cannot quite hide behind the clichés and slapstick gags. Honestly, who turns Austen into slapstick? ** WP

Baggage Claim: Flossy, glossy and uneven, this one hits all the right notes for a rom com, but it’s not exactly original. ** WP

Battle of the Year: Dream Team: Very little real dancing, a lot of bad lines and starring non-b-boys Chis Brown, Josh Halloway and Laz Alonso. ** HH

Behind the Candelabra: The Emmy Award-winning film about Liberace and his lover, Scott Thorson, hits the big screen. Starring Michael Douglas and Matt Damon. *** HH

Captain Phillips: Tom Hanks in a taut, finely crafted, superbly acted maritime thriller directed by Paul Greengrass. ***** WP

Diana: Naomi Watts is a bit too old and short to totally pull this off perfectly, but this is a love story rather than a biopic. *** TO

Gravity: Intense, anxiety inducing and visually arresting, this thriller in outer space is about the human spirit and the will to survive. **** TS

Grown Ups 2: Not for mature audiences. ** HH

Insidious: Rather short on the chills and spills that made its predecessor, also directed by James Wan and starring Patrick Wilson and Rose Byrne, so scary. HH HR

Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa: Bad film about a man and his grandson who take a roadtrip. It is shot with live unsuspecting people and their reac-tions worsen an already bad production. ** MV

Jobs: Ashton Kutcher does a great impression of the Apple founder, but the film never gets under his skin. ** TS

Khumba 3D: Local animated film about a zebra who earns his stripes. Cute, funny and with a bit of something for kids and adults alike. *** TS

Nothing for Mahala: Funny local comedy with a strong moral message and a great soundtrack. *** TS

Paperboy: Another Lee Daniels classic book adaptation about two journos who go on a quest to free a wrongfully accused man. They don’t like what they find in the end. **** MV

Paranoia: The stellar cast cannot lift this unoriginal techno-thriller out of a morass of clichés and no-thrills. ** HR

Redemption: Beautifully shot, but Jason Statham can only break so many bones before you lose interest in this script-lite action movie. ** TS

Riddick: Vin Diesel takes us back to basics for some broody sci-fi. Considering he actually makes this an engaging experience, imagine what he could do with something fresh and original? *** WP

Runner, Runner: Justin Timberlake faces off with Ben Affleck in this gambling drama which takes us from the US to the scenic Costa Rica. It is a fun but forgettable film. *** MV

Salinger: While the documentary about a fascinating person has its moments, it gets too bogged down in re-enactments and a lack of attention to the writer’s actual work. ** WP

The Bling Ring: Sofia Coppola paints a picture of the vacuity of Californean teenagers obsessed with celebrity culture, but never asks what makes these kids tick or why the world over castigates the idea, but loves it at the same time. *** TS

The Butler: The story of the metamophorsis of American politics from the 50s to date is told through an unlikely source. Another well shot memorable piece of work from Lee Daniels. **** MV

The Call: It’s a great premise, but because they relied only on the fear factor, it doesn’t give enough. What a waste of talent including Halle Berry and Abigail Breslin. HH DdB

The Company You Keep: Robert Redford’s age (75) shows both in directing and acting. Still, this slow-paced thriller with a cast that has serious firepower, will hold your attention if you’re not bothered by the pace that hardly breaks a sweat. *** DdB

The Family: Luc Besson’s film cannot quite decide what genre to settle on. Combined with the overly familiar set-up, it never really gels. ** WP

The Heat: Melissa McCarthy and Sandra Bullock make a great comedic team in this buddy cop movie which follows a clichéd storyline, but is saved by their presence. *** TS

The Conjuring: Unnerving and scary horror from director James Wan pays homage to 70s horror conventions while still scaring the popcorn right out of your hand. **** TS

The Reluctant Fundamentalist: Director Mira Nair has created a companion piece to her previous The Namesake, again interrogating contemporary immigrant identity within the American Dream paradigm, but this one is saying that experience is not all it is cracked up to be. *** TS

The Way, Way Back: An atmospheric coming-of-age story which makes good use of the talented cast and finely tuned script to create a charming film. *** HR

Thor 2: The Dark World: Fun and funny, this is a total comic book movie with a noble hero saving the day from villaineous bad guys – one of whom happens to be the good guy’s brother. *** TS

Vehicle 19: Paul Walker behind the wheel of a car, lost in Joburg. Should be fun. It’s not. * TS

Welcome to the Punch: If you’re in for the ride and don’t care much about the story, the boys led by James McAvoy and Mark Strong will sweep you along. Set against a fantastic backdrop of a sparkingly lit London, it’s a thrilling chase as you try to sort good from bad. *** DdB

We’re the Millers: Jennifer Aniston and Jason Sudeikis in a film about a drug dealer who creates a fake family so he can get marijuana into America. *** AP

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