Movies for the next few Fridays

I'm doing things a little differently today, and the reason for this will be explained in my next blog post... Anyway, here's my pick of the best new films opening in South Africa today and on the following 2 Fridays:

Today, 15 January
There's a distinct shortage of rousing Hollywood blockbusters being released today. In fact, the most high profile film of the week is low-key romance/war drama Brothers, starring Tobey Maguire, Jake Gyllenhaal and Natalie Portman.

Based on the acclaimed Danish film, Brothers tells the story of two brothers who are polar opposites - devoted family man and dedicated marine, Sam (Maguire) and recently paroled drifter Tommy (Gyllenhaal). When Sam goes missing during a tour of duty, Tommy uncharacteristically embraces responsibility and steps in to console Sam's wife Grace (Portman) and her children. This slowly healing family unit is however put under strain when a mentally unstable Sam returns, and becomes suspicious of Tommy and Grace's relationship.

The trailer for Brothers makes the film look quite good, even if it reveals pretty much every plot point. Judging by the reviews though, you're still better seeking out the powerful Danish original than this American melodrama. Brothers is 57% Fresh on Rotten Tomatoes.

Oh, and for the record, I just have to ask: who wouldn't choose the Prince of Persia over Pussy Parker?

22 January
I have a theory that somewhere in Hollywood there exist two bowls containing the names of every actor and actress associated with the romantic comedy genre. When a new romcom is about to be cast, the studio randomly picks a name from the male and female bowls, creating a "new" combination of likeable leads.

As a result, in Did You Hear About the Morgans? we have the first time pairing of Hugh Grant and Sarah Jessica Parker - who play a New York power couple on the brink of divorce. When they witness a murder, these city slickers are forced to enter the Witness Protection Programme and take up new lives in rural Wyoming. Although the situation and general culture shock places the couple under immense strain, it also forces them to examine their relationship.

Did You Hear About the Morgans has not fared well with critics at all, who have called it derivative and charmless (although that's what they call 90% of romcoms). The film is a pitiful 13% Fresh on Rotten Tomatoes.

29 January
I couldn't pick just one film to highlight for this Friday, because three high profile films are released today for three very different audiences.

Ninja Assassin
is for all the action junkies out there. Produced by The Matrix's Wachowski brothers, this bloody CGI-enhanced martial arts film centres on one of the deadliest assassins in the world. He is betrayed, seeks revenge, and... blah blah blah, you know the rest. Ninja Assassin is 30% Fresh on Rotten Tomatoes.

Families and animation lovers may be keen for The Princess and the Frog, Disney's surprising return to traditional 2D animated musicals. The film is an updating of the classic fairy tale, with a young waitress in New Orleans becoming embroiled in voodoo and curses when a jazz-loving foreign prince, transformed into a frog, seeks her help. Old school animation lives on, apparently! The Princess and the Frog is 84% Fresh on Rotten Tomatoes.

Finally, for any Oscar watchers and award season junkies out there, there's the critically acclaimed comedy-drama Up in the Air, based on a novel by Walter Kirn. From Jason Reitman, the director of Juno and Thank You For Smoking, Up in the Air deals with the experiences and philosophies of a corporate downsizer (George Clooney) who is set on achieving one million frequent flyer miles. Up in the Air may be one of those films that actually risks being overhyped given the massive amounts of praise it's been receiving. It is 90% Fresh on Rotten Tomatoes.


I'm surprised ...Morgans has 13%. It's the only movie I think I've ever heard of that was critically acclaimed by critics for being bad.

One guy I hear from time to time actually said it would be an Oscar contender for "worst movie of the year" if such a category existed.
Pfangirl said…
I didn't think it looked thaaat bad in the trailers - more forgettably generic than truly horrible. But you're right, the critics have despised it, although not quite to the same degree as Old Dogs.

Morgans has at least escaped a nomination for the Worst Film of the Year from the "official" organisation that hands out those *ahem* accolades: The Razzies:

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