Movie boffin: what to see at the cinema

By admin
28 June 2013

The movie Man Of Steel is now in cinemas. Read on for more...

It’s a bird! It’s a plane! No, it’s the new Superman movie! Executive produced by Christopher Nolan, director of the superb Batman trilogy, and directed by Zack Snyder, known for his stylish comic book action films 300 and Watchmen, Man of Steel (10-12PG) is a reboot of the franchise, ignoring the Christopher Reeve films as well as Superman Returns (2006).

This film retells Superman’s origin story: while his planet, Krypton, is dying scientist Jor-El (Russell Crowe) sends a spacecraft carrying his baby son to Earth, where he’s found and adopted by the Kents (Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves star Kevin Costner and Diane Lane of Unfaithful) who name him Clark. His parents fear people will reject him if they know his origins, so while growing up Clark (The Tudors’ Henry Cavill) keeps his heritage a secret. But when a fellow Kryptonian, the villainous General Zod (Michael Shannon of Take Shelter), invades Earth Clark is forced to take action.

The film received mixed reviews from critics: on reviews aggregate site Rotten Tomatoes it got 56 per cent, and was described as “mostly successful” and containing “exhilarating action and spectacle”. But many critics complained it didn’t have enough humour or joy.  On the other hand Empire and Total Film magazines both gave the film four stars, with Empire’s Dan Jolin noting, “It aches for more depth and warmth, but this is spectacular sci-fi – huge, operatic, melodramatic [and] impressive”.

A few months after Gerard Butler went on a one-man mission to save the American president and the White House from terrorists in Olympus Has Fallen, Channing Tatum does the same in White House Down (10-12PGV).

A policeman (Tatum) and his daughter (Joey King of Ramona and Beezus) are touring the White House when terrorists take over the complex and it’s up to him to save the president (Jamie Foxx).

Directed by Roland Emmerich, known for over-the-top disaster movies such as 2012 (2009) and Independence Day (1996), the film was mostly panned by critics and received 50 per cent on Rotten Tomatoes. Although Channing and Foxx’s sharp comedic chemistry was lauded, Emmerich was criticised for smothering it with clichés and choppy editing.

For those of us not interested in explosions, there’s Song for Marion (PG), a funny, uplifting drama about Arthur (Terence Stamp, who coincidentally also played General Zod in 1980’s Superman II), a grumpy English pensioner perfectly content with his dull daily routine until his wife, Marion’s (Vanessa Redgrave of Letters to Juliet), failing health renders her unable to continue helping out with the local choir. Arthur grouchily agrees to step in and under the guidance of choir coach Elizabeth (Gemma Arterton of Clash of the Titans) a transformation takes place.

The film received 60 per cent on Rotten Tomatoes and the consensus was that “it’s unabashedly sentimental, but thanks to reliably powerful performances from a well-rounded veteran cast Song for Marion proves a sweetly compelling character piece”. Anna Smith of Empire magazine gave it three stars and noted that “your tear ducts will be powerless to resist”.

-Sandra Visser

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