Those Who Wish Me Dead ***
Action thriller. With this film Angelina Jolie makes a welcome return to action cinema. Though her exceptional beauty might initially make her appear out of place, the star’s physicality and intensity should quickly bowl over viewers and draw them in.
She plays Hannah, a firefighter who parachutes into hard-to-reach areas to fight forest fires.
Suffering from post-traumatic stress after a tragic incident, Hannah has been relegated to manning a fire lookout tower in the Montana wilderness.
Meanwhile, 12-year-old Connor (Finn Little) is shocked when his dad, forensic accountant Owen (Jake Weber), uproots him from their Florida home to drive across America to Montana to visit his uncle, Deputy Sheriff Ethan Sawyer (The Punisher’s Jon Bernthal), who happens to be Hannah’s ex.
On Connor and Owen’s trail: ruthless assassins the Blackwell brothers (Nicholas Hoult and Game of Thrones’ Aidan Gillen), who aren’t above starting a forest fire to flush out their prey.
This lean, propulsive thriller is adapted from Michael Koryta’s novel of the same name and is directed by Taylor Sheridan, who’s scripted and directed some of the most nailbiting and intelligent action thrillers of recent years, such as Hell or High Water (2016) and Wind River (2017).
He takes his time sketching the characters and setting the scene. This slowly but effectively builds anticipation as the viewer waits for it all to collide.
Like Sheridan’s previous films, Those Who Wish Me Dead explores the idea that the wilderness can be both inviting and dangerous, with sweeping shots of forest vistas as well as terrifying blazes and their scorched aftermath.
The film is well made and engaging, if overly familiar, but it gets extra credit for its level-headed female characters, including Ethan’s pregnant wife, Allison (Medina Senghore, delivering a breakout performance), who realistically hold their own and are capable of saving the men and themselves.
This tweaking of clichés extends to Ethan, who’s not the usual macho sheriff, and to Connor, who’s not the typical whiny kid and whose unsentimental and convincing bond with Hannah is at the heart of the film.
Gillen has perfected the art of being a snide baddie while pretty boy Hoult gets to play against type, but the villains ultimately remain two-dimensional.
Still, this is a solid, satisfying watch that should keep you gripped and entertained.
2021. 100 MIN. 16LV. AVAILABLE ON GOOGLE PLAY, VODACOM VIDEO PLAY AND APPLE TV+.
DC Superhero Girls: Teen Power ***
Based on the TV series of the same name, DC Superhero Girls: Teen Power is unlike most other spin-off games – it’s actually pretty good.
The developers also seem to know exactly who the audience is and cater to them with a lot of features.
You get to play as some of your favourites from the show, including Batgirl, Supergirl and Wondergirl. The voice acting is spot on, and the lead characters feel ripped straight from the cartoon. Combat is simple but fun and the animation is great.
The game does get a bit repetitive, but fans will find that switching characters can ease this slightly, plus there’s always all the extra things to do in Metropolis – such as shopping, posting selfies to social media or just chatting with citizens.
Overall, a well-made game that’s sure to be enjoyed by fans of the show. – GARETH SEILER
PLATFORM: NINTENDO SWITCH.
Rim of the World *** 1/2
Sci-fi adventure. When tech-savvy nerd Alex (Jack Gore from Billions) is sent to summer camp, he’s taken out of his comfort zone in more ways than one. Between insensitive camp counsellors and trying to fit in, it’s a struggle from the start.
When an alien invasion threatens Earth, Alex teams up with other camp outcasts ZhenZhen (Miya Cech) and Dariush (Benjamin Flores Jnr) to complete the most ambitious mission any 13-year-old has ever attempted: saving the world!
Along the way each of these unlikely heroes comes to terms with their issues and through over-the-top and ridiculous situations learns the value of friendship.
Directed by McG (Charlie’s Angels, The Babysitter), the movie struggles to find its niche as the tone is predominantly adult in nature (profanities, innuendo), yet seems to be aimed at the pre-teen market. But it’s also a little too childish to satisfy most adults.
It’s fun to watch, but at times it’s difficult to know whether you’re supposed to cringe or laugh.
All in all, it’s still a thoroughly enjoyable adventure, especially for viewers who’d like to treat their inner child. – DEWALD POTGIETER
2019. 99 MIN. 16. AVAILABLE ON NETFLIX.
A: All ages D: Drugs H: Horror L: Language N: Nudity P: Prejudice PG: Parental guidance S: Sex V: Violence