Movie boffin: this week at the cinema

By admin
02 August 2013

Here's a bunch of new movies to enjoy on the big screen.

The blockbuster this week is a throwback to old monster movies such as King Kong and Godzilla. Pacific Rim (7-9PG LV) is a sci-fi action film about giant sea monsters that have invaded Earth through a trans-dimensional rift in the Pacific Ocean floor. In order to fight them scientists have devised giant robots that are controlled simultaneously by two human pilots but we’re still losing the war. In a last-ditch attempt to stem the tide a washed-up pilot (Charlie Hunnam of Sons of Anarchy) and an untested trainee (Rinko Kikuchi of Babel) are tasked with driving a seemingly obsolete robot on a secret mission.

The film received mostly positive reviews – reviews aggregate site Rotten Tomatoes gave it 72 per cent and summed it up with, “It may sport more style than substance, but Pacific Rim is a solid modern creature feature bolstered by fantastical imagery and an irresistible sense of fun.” Total Film magazine’s Matthew Leyland gave it four stars, calling the film “a warmer Transformers, a different model of FX-engorged blockbusting – one steeped in affection and sincerity that doesn’t go in for jarringly crass stereotypes, slapstick or sex gags”.

For horror fans there’s Dark Skies (16 V), a supernatural thriller centred on a suburban family plagued by increasingly bizarre phenomena such as flocks of birds crashing into their home and blackouts suffered by both husband (Josh Hamilton) and wife (Keri Russell of Felicity). When they realise a deadly force is targeting their family they take matters into their own hands to solve the mystery.

The film received mixed reviews. Reviews aggregate site Metacritic gave it 51 per cent and Empire and Total Film magazine both gave it three stars. Empire’s Kim Newman called it “utterly generic”, writing that “it’s unnerving while you’re watching it but you might find it’s a gap in your memory a week or two later”.

Brad Pitt reteams with Andrew Dominik, who directed him in the acclaimed The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford (2007), for Killing Them Softly (16 LV). Pitt plays enforcer Jackie Cogan hired to hunt down three petty crooks who thought they were clever to rob a gangster-run card game, but their theft has caused the local criminal economy to collapse, so Cogan is out for blood.

The film got mostly positive reviews – it received 75 per cent on Rotten Tomatoes where it was summarised as “a darkly comic, visceral thriller that doubles as a cautionary tale on capitalism, whose message is delivered with sledgehammer force”. Empire’s Damon Wise was a little less impressed – he awarded the movie three stars and stated that “Killing Them Softly doesn’t quite know what it’s about. [It’s] a good, efficient crime thriller let down by clunky social commentary but lifted by excellent performances, including perhaps Pitt’s recent best”.

Babalas (10 LSD) is an Afrikaans comedy starring former model and Roer presenter Tammy-Anne Fortuin as events coordinator Mia Moolman. Mia works for a company commissioned to create an event celebrating the most successful ad campaigns in South African history and comes up with the idea to make the guys from the old Castrol ads, Boet (Ian Roberts) and Swaer (Norman Anstey), part of the show. But first she must go to the Kalahari to find them.

Die Burger gave the film only one star, saying that although it looks promising on the page, the execution is lacking.

-Sandra Visser

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