Film Guide - October 4, 2013

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

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

RIPD: Trying to be MIB with dead people, this comic book turned film isn’t funny or dramatic. ** TS

Rush: Chris Hemsworth drops Thor’s hammer and some weight to portray a real-life Formula One driver, James Hunt, from the 1970s. A good adrenalin rush for Formula One and Hemsworth fans. *** MV

The Audience (only four screenings for National Theatre Live series): Dame Helen Mirren royally embodies Queen Elizabeth II for a second time in a play that covers her weekly meetings with the 12 Prime Ministers who have faced these audiences through her reign. It’s theatre of the heart and mind, spellbinding from start to finish. **** DdB

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 (Little Miss Sunshine all grown up). ** DdB

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

Bakgat 3: Every once in a while you are forced to sit through something that’s not on your radar. As these go, for the target market it hits the sweet spot. *** DdB

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

Elysium: Neill Blomkamp directs a sci-film film which satirises the artificial divide between rich and poor, pitting Matt Damon as an Everyman character against Sharlto Copley’s souf effriken soldier of future. *** TS

Felix: Local film for teens about a township kid who learns his dad used to be a cool musician, but doesn’t quite know how to persuade his mom of the righteousness of following the same path. *** TS

Great Expectations: If you want to familiarise yourself with the story or refresh your memory, this is a good fit, if a rather pedestrian version. Delight in Ralph Fiennes as Magwitch in a performance that shimmers. *** DdB

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

Midnight’s Children: Deepa Mehta’s adaptation of Salman Rushdie’s celebrated book is luscious to behold, with a gorgeous soundtrack from Nitin Sawhney, but it sprawls all over the place with little point. *** TS

Molly & Wors – The Movie: The name says it all. If you don’t know the popular Afrikaans TV series, this movie won’t appeal. It’s about a fat family who focus on the ordinary things in life, says the writer/director/actor. ** DdB

Now You See Me: A heist caper movie with a magic twist boasting a stellar cast, but with a plot you can pop a rabbit through. *** TS

One Direction: This is Us 3D: Bright and happy documentary about the very popular English/Irish boy band. Totally aimed at fans, but at least parents will learn something about the band. *** TS

Pain & Gain: Michael Bay directs Mark Wahlberg, Dwayne Johnson and Anthony Mackie in the most surreal true-life diss of 1990s search for the American Dream. *** 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

Planes: Disney’s take on the world created in Cars gives us a cropduster who wants to be more than he was built to be. Totally aimed at kids, with little for the adults. *** TS

RED 2: Old Bruce Willis is back with the usual suspects in this fast-paced comic book adaptation. Expect bigger guns and larger explosions, but not much of a story. *** MV

Red Tails: Cliché-ridden characters and banal dialogue mar what should have been an epic story – the tale of the first African American combat pilots to fly in WWII. ** TS

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

Smurfs 2: If you have been suffering from Smurf withdrawal, this will satisfy small children, but it is largely unambitious and charm-free. ** HR

Song for Marion: It’s another weepy tale of ageing as people battle with the horrors of life while not adequately equipped to deal with everything thrown their way. But the director has gathered a magnificent cast including Terence Stamp and Vanessa Redgrave and found a way to capture the imagination and the heart. **** DdB

Thanks for Sharing: More rom than com and heavy on the drama, this story of sex addiction is saved by strong performances from Mark Ruffalo, Gwyneth Paltrow and Josh Gad. *** TS

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 lines that show on his face and the pace that hardly breaks a sweat. *** DdB

The East: Well-meaning tale about eco-activists who could also be seen as eco-terrorists. The well-paced spy thriller pits corporate espionage against anti-capitalists. *** TS

The English Teacher: Starring Julianne Moore, the title suggest that it’s a more serious film than is the case. It’s wonderfully wacky and with Moore in transcendent mode, it’s worth the ride. *** DdB

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: A familiar but atmospheric coming-of-age story which makes good use of the talented cast and finely tuned script to create a charming film. *** HR

Turbo 3D: From the makers of Kung Fu Panda and Madagascar comes a tale about a snail who wants to be faster than a race car. *** HR

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 out of Mexico and into America. *** AP

World War Z: Think Resident Evil, but with Brad Pitt as a family man trying to save the day. *** TS

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