Movies in brief

2013-04-21 14:00

Bite-sized reviews of the movies on circuit.

The Host

Teen writer of the infamous Twilight series, Stephenie Meyer, remixes her original formula of a girl and two boys to fight over her in The Host, a sci-fi story that is a lot like an updated teen version of Invasion of the Body Snatchers.

Her protagonist, Soairse Ronan, is implanted with an alien soul (as are most humans), but instead of submitting to her parasite, she fights her and the two form an uneasy alliance within the same body.

Complications abound as the two girls in one body fall for different boys. The threats from tinseltown are that there’ll be another two of these at least. Teen angst in a cheesy sci-fi package, what’s not to run screaming from? 5/10

Don’t Back Down

Very loosely based on parent trigger laws in some US states, the film is likely to strike a chord with South Africans.

It is about failing schools and how parents and good teachers can change that. Maggie Gyllenhaal is a single mother with two jobs and a child with dyslexia.

Viola Davis is a great teacher facing serious personal issues including a child who is in need of special education.

The combination of these determined women changes the law and through it their children’s destiny. But in the end, there is far too much violin playing and rah-rah emotion rousing.

Won’t Back Down is probably a film that could double for therapy or catharsis, but when the house lights come up it all feels a bit fake. 6/10

Olympus Has Fallen

Asecret service agent, Mike Banning (played by Gerard Butler), who let the US president (Aaron Eckhart) down gets a chance at redemption when the White House and the presidential staff are taken hostage in a spectacularly brazen attack.

Olympus Has Fallen is best described as Die Hard on steroids.

The film makers lay waste to US capital with the wanton abandon of a toddler with a sandcastle.

There’s a lot of pretty dire dialogue, but it isn’t the kind of film you see for the witty repartee. It’s an action flick of pure muscle that makes for great watching while you’re in the zone, but is instantly forgotten when the credits roll and the popcorn’s finished. 7/10

GI Joe: Retaliation

One hundred minutes of brain freeze is the only promise you will get from this toy-store-to-big-screen sequel.

Channing Tatum rippled his muscles through the first film five years ago. This time, Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson takes over the role as the leader of the G.I. division.

The G.I. Joes, based on the popular toy soldiers, are sent on a suicide mission, while the fake US president holds the world to ransom and the deadly Cobra Commander escapes from a subterranean prison.

To cut a convoluted story short, Bruce Willis comes to the rescue and the G.I. Joes save the world. 5/10


The film maker who most famously preferred blondes, Alfred Hitchcock, is brilliantly portrayed by Anthony Hopkins.

Helen Mirren is his wife and collaborator, and Scarlett Johansson is Janet Leigh, the blonde who became famous for screaming in the shower in Psycho.

Set during the filming of Psycho, it offers an insight into Hitch’s process, but even more interestingly into the unique relationship between him and his wife.

It is not a biopic in the traditional sense. Rather, it’s an intriguing examination of an exceptional life and a groundbreaking movie. 8/10

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