Movie boffin: what to see at the cinema

By admin
20 May 2013

Catch the latest movie releases at the cinema.

Yet another director has tried to bring the classic American novel The Great Gatsby (13) to the big screen. This time flashy Australian filmmaker Baz Luhrmann, known for Moulin Rouge! and Romeo + Juliet, has adapted the story, set in 1922, of the naive Nick Carraway (Tobey Maguire of Spider-Man fame) who’s drawn into the hedonistic world of mysterious millionaire Jay Gatsby (Leonardo DiCaprio). What makes the novel great isn’t so much its plot or characters but the way it’s written, which is why it’s difficult to adapt faithfully, and the consensus among critics is that Luhrmann’s version focuses too much on the surface razzle-dazzle of the Jazz Age setting and doesn’t capture the essence of the book. The film received only 50 per cent on reviews aggregate site Rotten Tomatoes.

Bullet to the Head (16LNV) is a violent action movie starring ’80s superstar Sylvester Stallone. Sly plays a hitman who teams up with a cop (Sung Kang of The Fast and the Furious movies) to track down the person responsible for the deaths of their respective partners. The film received mostly negative reviews. Total Film magazine gave it only two stars, writing, “Stallone keeps it from collapsing into farce but overall the film is too derivative and disposable to warrant serious attention.”

Actor and filmmaker Tyler Perry, known for his relationship dramas, is back with Temptation: Confessions of a Marriage Counsellor (13VS). This morality tale is centred on a woman (Jurnee Smollett-Bell of Friday Night Lights) bored with her marriage to her childhood sweetheart (Lance Gross of Tyler Perry’s House of Payne). When she meets a handsome billionaire (Robbie Jones of One Tree Hill) they start an affair with devastating consequences. Perry’s loyal fanbase should enjoy it, but most reviewers heavily criticised the film. Susan Granger, who has her own website, found it “straitlaced and sermonising, a sluggish cautionary tale about deviating from righteous church teachings”.

The usually goofy Jack Black (School of Rock) gives an impressive performance as the titular character in Bernie (age restriction to be announced) a biopic about the assistant undertaker in a small Southern town in the US. The community love and appreciate him: he sings in the church choir, teaches Sunday school and is always ready to lend a helping hand. When he befriends rich, mean-spirited widow Marjorie Nugent (veteran actress Shirley MacLaine of Terms of Endearment) she comes to depend on him completely. But when Marjorie becomes more and more possessive, Bernie is desperate for a way out. Most critics praised the film; it received 90 per cent on Rotten Tomatoes. Matthew Turner of ViewLondon described it as a “hugely entertaining, smartly directed and darkly funny black comedy with a superb script and a terrific central performance”.

Aurangzeb (age restriction to be announced) is a Bollywood crime thriller about a cop, Vishal (Arjun Kapoor), who’s able to infiltrate a gangster’s family because of his uncanny resemblance to the gangster’s son, Ajay (also Kapoor). Meanwhile Ajay is captured by the police and tortured for information. Sneha May Francis of wrote that though “packed with some stellar performances, the thrilling drama falters and fumbles and falls short of turning into a classic”.

-Sandra Visser

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