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Film Guide - October 5, 2012

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BBC Last Night of the Proms: Filmed version of the very popular last concert in the Proms series, recorded live on September 8 at the Royal Albert Hall. Strictly for fans of classical orchestral music and British flag waving. **** TS

Five-Year Engagement: A bit long, but leads Jason Segal and Emily Blunt have an easy chemistry and the funny script is surprisingly deep. *** WP

Premium Rush: Adrenalin-fueled action film which has a bike messenger race across Manhattan ahead of a corrupt cop. Engaging characters and great action sequences make up for the predictable plot. *** TS

How I Spent My Summer Vacation: Mel Gibson does Prison Break in Mexico, where action and violence are the order of the day. *** TG

Wolwedans in die Skemer: Initially suitably atmospheric, this radio serial doesn’t quite make the transition to the big screen, relying too much on dialogue to further the plot. ** TS

A Thousand Words: Eddie Murphy should just have said no to this tired, formulaic comedy. * HR

Bourne Legacy: Jeremy Renner is suitably intense as he picks up where Matt Damon left off, but there’s too much science talk, too little action and then it ends. *** TS

Damsels in Distress: The observational humour of writer/director Whit Stillman will surely appeal to fans, but non-fans will find him insufferably self-conscious. He specialises in chronicling the lives of young people whose journeys of self-discovery take place amid the artifacts and rituals of WASP culture and old money. *** WP

Dark Tide: Halle Berry swimming with the sharks in Cape Town means great boob shots and bad Xhosa. * HH

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days: This third film in the franchise sticks to its dollops of humiliation for humour. *** WP

Die Wonderwerker: Katinka Heyns directs a stellar cast of actors in a period piece about Eugene Marais which paints a picture of the man, not the icon. **** TS

Dredd: This filmic reboot of the comic book storyline is so much better than the Sly Stallone version. Starring Karl Urban’s sneer, it’s super slick, violent and contains lots of self-referential wit. *** TS

Eye of the Storm: It’s almost annoying when you have such dynamic actors (Charlotte Rampling, Geoffrey Rush, Judy Davis) based on the book of a Nobel prize winner (Patrick White) and it doesn’t fly. Sadly, director Fred Schapisi (Cry in the Dark) goes into melodramatic mode and loses the substance. HH DdB

Flowers of War: With the rape of Nanking (1937/38) as the horrific backdrop, director Zhang Yhimou (House of the Flying Daggers) chooses spectacle over the soul of the story, thereby failing to get to the heart of the matter. ** DdB

Hit and Run: Between the smug writing and the so-so action, the surprisingly off-kilter filmmaking doesn’t save this from counting as a hit and miss. HH WP

Hotel Transylvania: A sweet story (think Despicable Me) set in Count Dracula’s lavish five-stake resort, where monsters and their families can live it up, free from human meddling – and the assumptions that go with it. *** HH

La tete en friche (My Afternoons with Margueritte): Gentle drama about affection between a mother and a son and the love of words, starring Gerard Depardieu. **** TS

Mad Buddies: Leon Schuster teams up with Kenneth Nkosi for a slapstick road trip movie. Crass humour and poo jokes abound. *** if you’re a six-year-old boy; H if you’re not. TS

Madea’s Witness Protection: Tyler Perry attempts to broaden his target audience by bringing a white family into Madea’s home. It's not funny, or novel. ** HH

Monsieur Lazhar: Bitter-sweet, gentle exploration of the political asylum seeker’s experience in Canada, against the backdrop of a school dealing with the aftermath of a teacher’s suicide. **** TS

Resident Evil: Retribution: The fifth film in the franchise gives us Milla Jovovich shooting up more monsters, lots of explosions and atmospheric smoke. * TS

Ruby Sparks: An inventive romantic fantasy that could sneak in as good counter programming for audiences looking for a break from comics-inspired tentpoles. *** HR

Safe: Jason Statham kicks butt and takes names with a super smart Chinese girl by his side. *** HH

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

Step Up: Revolution: The dance franchise hits us once again. This time it’s all about flash mobs. Expect elaborate dance moves set to a chest-thumping soundtrack. *** TG

Ted: Crass but funny comedy about a man whose best friend is, and has always been, a teddy bear that came to life. Seriously. *** TS

The Expendables 2: The team of special soldiers returns for another mission that gets botched when one of them is killed. Driven by revenge Ross and gang go after their comrade’s killers. If you like mindless action then this is for you. ** MV

The Savages: Oliver Stone pits a ménage a trois of pretty people growing pot against Salma Hayek sinking her teeth into being the baddie for a change. *** TS

The Watch: Sci-fi comedy misfire starring Ben Stiller and Vince Vaughn. ** HR

Tinkerbell: The Secret of Her Wings 3D: Cute and sweet, this is squarely aimed at four-year-olds, with lots of Disney wholesomeness and solid animation. *** TS

To Rome With Love: Woody Allen picks the best team of actors including himself and travels to Rome where he writes a story of love to a city he falls in love with. With Penelope Cruz, Alec Baldwin, Roberto Benigni, Ellen Page and more, what’s not to love? **** DdB

Total Recall: Len Wiseman remakes the cheesy Arnie classic into an action-heavy, wit-lite sci-fi popcorn muncher. *** TS


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