Movie shorts: September 8

2013-09-08 14:00

Bite-sized reviews of the movies on circuit.

» Elysium- Rating: 6/10

Neill Blomkamp’s much-anticipated follow-up to District 9 is set in a dystopic future where the haves have founded an exclusive Dainfern-like place on a space station that orbits the Earth. The have-nots, meanwhile, are still on Earth, which resembles a recently bombed suburb of a Syrian city. Matt Damon is Max, an ex-convict who gets a deadly dose of radiation and whose only chance of survival is to get to Elysium. Jodie Foster co-stars as the cardboard cut-out defence secretary Delacourt and Sharlto Copley is a mercenary on Max’s trail.

» Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters- Rating: 6/10

Percy is the son of the God of the Sea, Poseidon. He lives at Camp Half-Blood, a safe place for demigod children. When that safety is threatened, he and his friends set out to find the Golden Fleece and save the world from destruction. This is a great idea, well executed, but for some reason Percy just doesn’t have the superstar power of the boy wizard who came before.

» The Heat- Rating: 7/10

Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy deliver the laughs that this match-up promises. From the director of Bridesmaids, Paul Feig, it is as funny as I could have wished for as an uptight FBI agent and a maverick cop join forces to bring down a drug kingpin. Also, it steers well clear of the female-bashing.

» The East- Rating: 8/10

Brit Marling stars and co- wrote this smart anarchist thriller with Zal Batmanglij. The pair lived the life they depict here, giving this story true grit. Alexander Skarsgård is the charismatic leader of the anarchists out to teach corporate America a few lessons about human collateral.

» Great Expectations- Rating:8/10

Mike Newell has made an adaptation of Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations that captures the essence of this story about a young boy’s coming of age and first love. The timeless characters of Miss Havisham and Magwitch are lovingly rendered by Helena Bonham Carter and Ralph Fiennes. One for the die-hards – and newcomers.

» Now You See Me- Rating: 7/10

The sleight-of-hand trick in this flick is great entertainment. Four magicians/illusionists are brought together to form an awesome foursome called The Four Horsemen. What is their big illusion? What is the rabbit in their collective hat? Well, that’s the fun of it. We follow an FBI agent on a magic carpet ride to find out how the four robbed a bank in France live from the stage of a Las Vegas casino.

» Pacific Rim- Rating: 7/10

Godzilla and the Transformers meet while spectacularly reducing the world’s most famous seaside cities to rubble and dust. Only under the guidance of director Guillermo del Toro does what could have been a crass ­sci-fi mashup become a nuanced piece of film making about the last stand of humankind. Idris Elba, Charlie Hunnam and Rinko Kikuchi star in this worthy blockbuster.

» The Wolverine- Rating: 7/10

Hugh Jackman reprises his role as the warrior beast in this second movie dedicated to Wolverine. Spliced with Japanese myth and the Western tradition of the gunslinger dispensing justice, this is good fun for X-Men fans. It’s also a precursor to next year’s X-Men: Days of Future Past.

» World War Z- Rating: 7/10

With Brad Pitt headlining, and a local angle in the form of Fana Mokoena, it’s a shoo-in for a Friday night. It is also a more cerebral option than most zombie films, blending elements of thriller and action films with the more obvious horror.

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