Movies today, South Africa!

It's a big day at South African cinemas today, with something like 8 new movies making their debut.

These include Jozi, a frenetic local comedy about drug addiction and overcoming the humour-killing stresses of urban life in SA. Then there's acclaimed Aussie Aboriginal drama Samson and Delilah (100% Fresh), and 60's set drama A Single Man (85% Fresh), which has just landed Colin Firth an Oscar nomination.

If these last 2 films are too highbrow and unconventional for you, then there's also always the action movie From Paris With Love (35% Fresh), which presents the unusual onscreen pairing of John Travolta and Jonathan Rhys Meyers, as well as Toy Story 2 (100% Fresh), re-releasing for a single week in 3D.

In terms of my personal picks for this weekend though, it looks like it's going to be a box office face-off between the following 2 films:

It's Complicated is easily the most well advertised of all the films released today. From Nancy Meyers, the writer-director of such "grown-up" romantic comedies as What Women Want and Something's Gotta Give, It's Complicated (which curiously sports the exact same text treatment on its poster as Gotta Give) centres on a long-divorced couple (Meryl Streep and Alec Baldwin) who start sleeping together behind the backs of their new partners. Steve Martin plays a lovestruck architect caught in the unusual love triangle.

Obviously the big appeal of It's Complicated is its slick premise and fantastically talented cast. Neither has been enough to save the film from critical dispute however, and It's Complicated is sitting with a 57% Fresh Rotten Tomatoes rating. Reviewers can't decide if the film is fun, breezy and likeable, or unbearable fake, overlong and upper middle class-obsessed.

It's worth remembering though that the average Hollywood romcom tends to float around 15-30% on Rotten Tomatoes, making It's Complicated one of the more highly praised entries in the genre. In fact, the film has even been nominated for several awards; winning one. It's Complicated then is apparently your best choice this weekend if you're looking to amuse yourself with some undemanding fluff for a couple of hours.

The second biggie release of this weekend is The Book of Eli. I actually only blogged about this post-Apocalyptic action film for the first time earlier this week (as part of the weekly Trailer Tuesday feature), so I don't really have much to add to what I've already said. For the record, The Book of Eli stars Denzel Washington as a loner wandering the wastelands of America after nuclear war destroyed civilisation as we know it. Eli carries with him a book that has the potential to restore humanity to greatness, and that attracts the attention of Gary Oldman's Carnegie, a power hungry despot.

Like It's Complicated, The Book of Eli has apparently also divided critics. The film is a middling 45% Fresh on Rotten Tomatoes. It has been praised for introducing style, freshness and some much needed twists to a very tired Dystopian Future film genre. At the same time though its mix of violence and religion doesn't quite work. I'm admittedly curious about The Book of Eli - especially after feeling so let down by other post-Apocalypse tales Terminator Salvation and The Road - but I don't know if I quite have the motivation to catch this one at the cinema.


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