Film Guide - September 6, 2013

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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

Great Expectations (NTL): It’s great to see an adaptation for the stage of the great Dickens novel at the same time as the film also based on the book. This one captures perfectly the magic of Dickens and live theatre which is exactly what you want. *** DdB

Kick-Ass 2: The second instalment of the popular franchise stars Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Chloe Grace Moretz and Aaron Taylor-Johnson who gets his ass kicked a lot. *** HH

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

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

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

Arthur Newman: If you don’t like your life, just grab another, that’s what Arthur Newman (Colin Firth) does as he complicates his new life by grabbing hold of what seems like a delinquent (Emily Blunt) in the process. Nothing makes sense as the screenplay and director are at odds. ** DdB

Babalas: Local film that tries to blend the sentimentality of local bank adverts with the comedy of quirky characters that only exist on celluloid, to no good effect. H TS

Disconnect: Solid story with multiple narratives and a strong cast – about searching for an emotional connection in an increasingly wired, but increasingly disconnected world. *** TS

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

Evil Dead: This reboot of the Sam Raimi horror goes for cheap thrills and gore over suspense or scariness. The sfx are solid, though completely gross. HH 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 HH

Jimmy in Pienk: Delightfully quirky local comedy which subverts what you think Afrikaner farmers are like. *** TS

Killing Them Softly: Though anchored by a strong performance by Brad Pitt, this darkly comical and visceral thriller hits you over the head with its cautionary moralising about capitalism. *** WP

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

Pacific Rim: Guillermo del Toro has made a mecha kaiju film for kids. It’s ginormous monsters fighting humongous robots powered by people. *** 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

Percy Jackson: Sea of Monster: A children’s story for little Americans who find Harry Potter to be too intricate, is a contemporary riff off Greek myth, fantasy-lite and just a bit too clichéd for most adults. *** TS

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

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

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 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 Place Beyond the Pines: On a certain level it can hardly get better than a Ryan Gosling and Bradley Cooper combo, but the script doesn’t deliver and the two hunks are left hanging with not much to work with. *** DdB

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 Sapphires: Four young Aboriginal girls go all out to change the dreariness of their lives with a dream of entertaining the US troops in Vietnam with their magical voices. The story’s beating heart and engaging energy overcome its technical flaws. *** DdB

The Wolverine: Better than the Origins movie, James Mangold directs Hugh Jackman in a film with a tighter storyline, gritty action and enough characterisation to keep you interested. *** 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

White House Down: Scripted in the Die Hard-meets-The Sentinel mould, this popcorn muncher of an action ride has too many characters and plot twists and never uses the chemistry between leads Channing Tatum and Jamie Foxx to its advantage. ** TS

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

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