Fighting wars, dogs and gangs

2008-10-02 08:05

FOUR films open locally this weekend: The Kingdom (CineCentre and Ster Kinekor); The Breed (Ster Kinekor) and Death Sentence and In the Valley of Elah (both at CineCentre). The Invasion joins the Nu Metro line-up and Speed is the Sunday Bollywood film at CineCentre.

• The Kingdom is directed by Peter Berg and is one of two films with an Iraq war background this week. An elite team of United States government agents is sent to investigate the bombing of an American oil facility in the Middle East. Reviews (which have been largely uncomplimentary) suggest that the old, old cliché that when the poor old foreigners can't hack it, the only thing to do is send in the U.S. cavalry, prevails. Starring Jamie Foxx, Chris Cooper and Jennifer Garner.

• Nicholas Mastandrea directs the horror thriller, The Breed. A group of five college students set off to what they think is an uninhabited island for a party weekend. Only trouble is that it is home to a pack of genetically engineered killer dogs. If you watch this one, you probably won't want to go home and cuddle Fido. Michelle Rodriguez, Oliver Hudson, Taryn Manning, Nick Boraine and Eric Lively star. There was some South African involvement in the making of this one, including shooting locations.

• In the Valley of Elah is the second film with Iraq war connections, and looks set to be the better of the two. Paul Haggis directs Tommy Lee Jones, Charlize Theron, Jason Patric and Susan Sarandon in the story of a Vietnam veteran who tries to uncover the mystery behind the disappearance of his son after he is reported Awol following a tour of duty in Iraq. Reviews suggest that this is a thoughtful, well made film.

• James Wan directs Death Sentence, based on a Brian Garfield novel (Death Wish) and with a similar plot to the earlier film. This time it is Kevin Bacon who plays the guy with a perfect life until his son is killed in a gangland initiation rite. This turns him into a revenge-obsessed vigilante. Garrett Hedlund, Kelly Preston and Aisha Tyler are also in the cast. Most reviews suggest that this is nasty.

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