At last, there’s a nice variety available on the big screen, from two local gems and a much-anticipated sequel finally making it to cinemas to an origin story of a Disney villain and another instalment in a horror franchise
This prequel to Disney’s version of 101 Dalmatians tells the origin story of the notorious villain Cruella de Vil, who infamously wanted to turn Dalmatian puppies into a fur coat. It’s set in ’70s London and follows Estella de Vil (La La Land’s Emma Stone), a clever and manipulative young woman who wants to make a mark in the fashion world with her designs.
She catches the eye of fashion legend Baroness von Hellman (Emma Thompson from Sense and Sensibility), who takes Estella under her wing. But after a falling-out between the two, Estella embarks on a quest for revenge that will turn her into the wicked Cruella.
Age restriction: 7-9PG DV
The title of this local drama is an Arabic word meaning “blessings” and ties in closely with the Cape Muslim community at the heart of this film in Afrikaans – or more specifically Afrikaaps, the Cape Town dialect of the language. In Cape Malay culture, a barakat is a plate of cakes, fruits and sweets shared among friends and neighbours to celebrate Eid.
The movie is about matriarch Aisha Davids (Vinette Ebrahim from 7de Laan), who decides to marry again two years after the death of her husband. But now she must break the news to her four sons. The film also stars Mortimer Williams, Keeno-Lee Hector, Danny Ross, June van Merch, Omar Adams and Bonnie Mbuli (Noughts + Crosses).
Age restriction: 13LP
If you’re longing for one of those sweet but not saccharine feel-good movies the Brits do so well, try this film about three women who come together to make a late loved one’s dream come true.
On the day she buys her first bakery, Sarah (The Great British Bake Off winner Candice Brown) is killed in a traffic accident. Her business partner, Isabella (Shelley Conn); estranged mom, Mimi (Celia Imrie from The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel); and daughter, Clarissa (Shannon Tarbet), all struggle to cope with the news.
But Clarissa feels it’s their duty to see Sarah’s plan through and convinces the other two women to work together to open the bakery. Rupert Penry-Jones (Black Sails) is also in the cast as a Michelin-star chef who has a history with Sarah and applies to be their pastry chef.
Age restriction: 13L
Peter Rabbit 2: The Runaway
Looking for something light-hearted to watch with the kids? Then try this sequel to Peter Rabbit (2018), a jazzed-up version of Beatrix Potter’s classic stories. Peter (voiced by James Corden) and Thomas (Domhnall Gleeson from the newest Star Wars trilogy) have made peace after being enemies in the first film when Thomas caught Peter stealing vegetables from his late great-uncle’s farm.
In a nod to Potter, Thomas’ artist wife, Bea (Bridesmaids’ Rose Byrne), has illustrated a children’s book based on Peter and his sisters – Flopsy, Mopsy and Cottontail (voiced by Margot Robbie, Elizabeth Debicki and Aimee Horne) – which has become a runaway success.
She’s persuaded by big-name publisher Nigel Basil-Jones (David Oyelowo from Selma) to sign a deal for a series of more commercial, modernised books but when Peter finds out the new stories paint him as a villain, he runs away to the city and falls in with some shady characters. But is this really who he wants to be?
Age restriction: 7-9PG
A Quiet Place Part II
The release of the sequel to the critically acclaimed horror film A Quiet Place (2018) was repeatedly delayed because of the pandemic. The premise is that sightless aliens with super-hearing have landed on Earth and eat people and animals who make any noise and have wiped out most of the world’s population.
In this film the Abbott family – mom Evelyn (Emily Blunt from Mary Poppins Returns), deaf daughter Regan (Millicent Simmonds), son Marcus (The Undoing’s Noah Jupe) and a newborn baby – have to set out from their isolated home, which has been destroyed, in the hopes of finding other human communities. The movie is once again written and directed by Blunt’s husband, actor John Krasinski.
Age restriction: 16HV
Spiral: From the Book of Saw
Another horror sequel out this month is the ninth instalment in the Saw series. In a rather unexpected bit of casting, comedian Chris Rock takes the lead role as police detective Zeke Banks, who tries to determine who’s copying the dead serial killer Jigsaw’s modus operandi of putting people he believes deserve to die in fiendish traps and giving them the choice of maiming themselves to escape or dying.
As Zeke investigates further, he realises the killer seems to have links to his father, decorated former detective Marcus Banks (Samuel L Jackson).
Age restriction: 18HLV
This Is Not a Burial, It’s a Resurrection
This critically acclaimed film was Lesotho’s first submission to the Oscars. It stars the late Mary Twala as an elderly woman, Mantoa, whose last relative, her son, is killed in a mining accident. Feeling that she has nothing left to live for, Mantoa is preparing for her own death when she hears her tiny village is to be flooded to make way for a dam.
The news re-energises her and she decides to put a stop to the dam by any means necessary. As she feels ready to die, she doesn’t care if others might call her mad or a witch – she’ll go to any extreme to be buried in the village graveyard with the rest of her family.
Age restriction: 13DV
Those Who Wish Me Dead
After a few low-key years, Angelina Jolie returns in a lead action role with this thriller co-written and directed by Taylor Sheridan, who wrote Sicario (2015) and Hell or High Water (2016).
Jolie plays Hannah, an improbably glamorous smokejumper – a firefighter who parachutes in to combat wildfires – relegated to a fire lookout tower in the Montana wilderness following a tragedy for which she blames herself.
Meanwhile, forensic accountant Owen Casserly (Jake Weber) goes on the run with his son, Connor (Finn Little), after realising that his boss has been murdered by assassins (Game of Thrones’ Aidan Gillen and X-Men’s Nicholas Hoult) – who’ll also now target him after he exposed some high-profile people’s corruption.
When Owen is killed, Connor narrowly escapes into the forest, where he runs into Hannah.
Age restriction: 16LV
A: All ages D: Drugs H: Horror L: Language N: Nudity P: Prejudice PG: Parental guidance
S: Sex V: Violence
SOURCES: INDIGENOUSFILM.CO.ZA, NEWS24.COM, STERKINEKOR.COM, GAUTENGFILM.ORG.ZA, SHADOWSONTHEWALL.CO.UK, EMPIREONLINE.COM, THEJC.COM, POLYGON.COM, THEGUARDIAN.COM, ROTTENTOMATOES.COM, IMDB.COM