Movie boffin: What’s happening on the silver screen

By admin
13 September 2013

A look at what’s on at the cinema this week.

Another adaptation of a supernatural romance novel aimed at teens hits the cinema this week and the makers of The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones (13V) probably hope it’s the next Twilight. Lily Collins (Mirror Mirror) plays Clary Fray, an ordinary teen living in New York, whose life is turned upside down when she sees a mysterious hooded man called Jace (Jamie Campbell Bower of The Twilight Saga: New Moon) commit a murder no one else sees. Turns out he’s a Shadowhunter, one of a group of people descended from angels who protect the rest of the world from demons and other monsters.

Although the books succeeded in putting an enjoyable spin on old myths such as vampires and werewolves, the film-makers seem to have made a hash of it as the movie received mostly scathing reviews. Critics reviews aggregate sites Rotten Tomatoes and Metacritic gave it only 12 and 33 per cent respectively. The consensus on the former was that the movie “borrows ingredients from seemingly every fantasy franchise of the past 30 years but can’t seem to figure out what to do with them”.

British film magazine Empire’s Helen O’Hara gave it two stars and wrote, “Apparently unable to decide whether to take its own mythology seriously or not, this is a mess of sculpted cheekbones and incoherent romance.” Many fans were also dismayed at the casting of Bower as the hunky Jace.

Denzel Washington decides to lighten up a bit with 2 Guns (16 LNV), his first comedy in almost 20 years. The Oscar winner co-stars with Mark Wahlberg as two crooked undercover law enforcement officers – Washington as a DEA agent and Wahlberg as a naval intelligence officer – who unwittingly investigate each other when they both steal money from the Mob.

The film received mostly positive reviews: Rotten Tomatoes gave it 63 per cent and the consensus was that although “formulaic and often jarringly violent, 2 Guns rests its old-school appeal on the interplay between its charismatic, well-matched stars”. Empire’s Neil Alcock gave it three stars, writing that the film owes “no small debt to the buddy movies of the late ’80s and early ’90s” and described it “as a shamelessly old-school, efficiently directed but forgettable action comedy with charm to spare”.

If you’re looking for a local film to support there’s Felix (PG), a drama about a 13-year-old boy (Hlayani Junior Mbasa) from the wrong side of the tracks who finds himself at an elite English-language boarding school. He dreams of playing the saxophone like his dad, but his mother is dead set against it. Felix auditions for the school concert but doesn’t make it because he can’t read music. But with the help of his father’s old bandmates and his determination Felix just might succeed.

Local critic Leon van Nierop gave the film three stars, calling it “a cool, high-kicking, bubbling kids’ movie”. He described it as good, clean fun with no “dicey jokes like in Spud”.

The Way Way Back (10-12PG L) is a coming-of-age drama centred on 14-year-old Duncan (Liam James of 2012) who goes on a summer vacation to a coastal resort with his mom (Toni Collette of United States of Tara) and her overbearing new boyfriend (Steve Carell of Crazy Stupid Love). Although he expects to be miserable, Duncan’s holiday takes a positive turn when he gets his first job and falls in love.

The film received generally positive reviews. Metacritic awarded it 67 per cent while Rotten Tomatoes gave it 85 per cent and the consensus was that “despite its familiar themes, The Way Way Back makes use of its talented cast, finely tuned script and an abundance of charm to deliver a funny and satisfying coming-of-age story”.

Empire and fellow British film magazine Total Film both gave it four stars, with the former’s Olly Richards writing, “Duncan’s problems aren’t severe but that’s why the movie should work for just about everyone. It’s not about overcoming a shattering trauma and learning to go on with life. It’s about kicking life’s annoyances in the balls and standing a little taller.” The Observer newspaper’s Philip French described it as “not a subtle film, but honest, intelligent and very funny”.

Grand Masti (age restriction to be announced) – which means “grand fun or mischief” – is a Bollywood comedy and a sequel to the 2004 hit Masti. Three married men (Vivek Oberoi, Aftab Shivdasani and Riteish Deshmukh) decide to let loose at their college reunion but soon find themselves in big trouble.

The film received mixed reviews. Taran Adarsh of Bollywoodhungama.com gave it three-and-a-half stars, saying that a “film like [this] isn’t plot-driven. It’s more about double entendres, sexual puns and gags. There’s nothing left for [the] imagination here. This one’s strictly for those who relish naughty jokes, outrageous lines and scandalous visuals”.

But other critics were harsher. Abhishek Mande of Rediff.com gave it nil stars, calling it “unbearable and obnoxious” and stating that “the male chauvinist worldview that Grand Masti perpetuates – that all women are available, men are sex starved because they don’t get any from their wives, the wife who’s more successful than her man has to be a horrible one – is exactly the kind that women in India are victims of”.

-Sandra Visser

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