Movies out today, SA

There's only 3 new films releasing in South Africa today and 2 of these are "arty" flicks in limited release. The third, by contrast, is screening EVERYWHERE and really is the film everyone will be watching this weekend.

Terminator Salvation is the fourth film in the Terminator franchise, and is set to be the kickoff point for a whole new trilogy focusing on the epic battle between man and machine. The difference though is that unlike the first 3 films, Salvation is set post-Nuclear Apocalypse, and does not take place in our contemporary reality (which I personally always thought was a key factor in the sci-fi series' success). Plus this time, along with no Linda Hamilton and no James Cameron, there's not even Arnie. And no, a CGI-face does not count! The big star of the film is Christian Bale as humanity's disillusioned savior John Connor, and, erm, Charlie's Angels' McG is in the director's chair.

I'm going to watch Terminator Salvation tonight with very low expectations (as I did with Terminator: Rise of the Machines, which I was pleasantly surprised by). Several of my favourite bloggers and online writers have either A) Hated Salvation or B) Dismissed it as disappointing mediocrity. The film is currently sitting at 34% on Rotten Tomatoes, and while its special effects and action scenes are apparently impressive, the overall project is soulless and stupid.

Also out this weekend is The Burning Plain, starring Charlize Theron and Kim Basinger. The film is written and directed by Babel and 21 Grams scribe Guillermo Arriaga, and follows the same non-linear, interweaving storylines format as his earlier screenplays. It focuses on a sexy but suicidal restaurant manager (Theron) who is running away from her past in New Mexico.

The Burning Plain is 55% Fresh on Rotten Tomatoes. Apparently your feelings towards Babel and 21 Grams will determine your response to this one - either you'll find it powerful, mature filmmaking, or sanctimonous and tedious.

Finally, there's the drama Persepolis, which has taken 2 years to finally reach South Africa. This highly acclaimed animated film is based on writer-director Marjane Satrapi's autobiographical graphic novel, about coming of age as a forward thinking young woman in Iran during its late 70's revolutionary period.

I'd be fascinated to see Persepolis. It's 96% Fresh on Rotten Tomatoes, was nominated for the Best Animated Film Oscar at the 2008 ceremony, and it won the all-important Jury Prize at the 2007 Cannes Film Festival.


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