Movies released today, South Africa

Something like 7 new films open in South Africa today, including the new Robert "Twilight" Pattinson romantic drama Remember Me, which is 50% Fresh on Rotten Tomatoes. My picks for the weekend, however, are the following:

1) Shutter Island - My must-see of the weekend is this twisty psychological thriller, which comes from director supremo Martin Scorsese of all people, and reteams him for the 4th time in a row (following Gangs of New York, The Aviator, The Departed) with leading man Leonardo DiCaprio.

I've blogged before about Shutter Island (and you can watch the trailer there), but basically what you need to know is that the film is based on the bestselling novel by Dennis Lehane, and centres on 2 US Marshalls in the 1950s who are summoned to remote island mental asylum for the criminally insane. One of the patients (Emily Mortimer) has vanished from her locked cell, and as Teddy Daniels (DiCaprio) starts investigating, he finds himself entangled in a bizarre mystery that forces him to question his sanity.

Shutter Island was one of the first films to retake the #1 slot at the American box office from Avatar in mid February. I can't say that's what interests me in the film, however. I love a good, creepy head-scratcher of a movie and I'm curious to see if Scorsese can bring his distinct filmic style to a genre filled with overblown duds, or whether he sacrifices his vision as he veers into commercial territory. It turns out there has been some debate around that very point, with Shutter Island scoring 67% on Rotten Tomatoes. Nobody is calling the film Scorsese's best, but while some critics are engrossed by the director's stylish attempt to mix Hitchcock and B-movie horror, others have labeled the film uninvolving nonsense and failed genre experiment.

2) Nine - Judging by the trailer, musical romance Nine looks like an over-edited Chicago on ecstasy. And curiously enough, the director of both Nine and Chicago is Rob Marshall. Marshall certainly doesn't have a problem creating musical-to-film adaptations that maintain a strong "stage" feel, and that's exactly what Nine is - a movie based on a musical, which is itself based on a semi-autobiographical film by Federico Fellini.

If that sounds complicated, don't worry. All you need to know is that Nine centres on a film director (Daniel Day-Lewis) who is suffering from a serious creative block as he approaches his 50th birthday. In the process he finds himself brooding over the various women, past and present, who have had an influence on his life. These various, very different women are played by a fantastic collection of actresses: Marion Cotillard, Penélope Cruz, Judi Dench, Nicole Kidman, Kate Hudson, Fergie and Sophia Loren.

Obviously the big drawcard of Nine then is its cast. The film was clearly intended as prime Oscar bait, but apart from critical acclaim for Marion Cotillard and Penélope Cruz, Nine didn't even come close to achieving the critical and commercial success of Oscar-winning Chicago - that other musical centred on scantily clad, long legged and very dangerous women. Nine is just 37% Fresh on Rotten Tomatoes, where critics have called it light on story, emotion and catchy songs beneath its stylish exterior.

3) The Box - Finally this Friday, there's the much delayed and little known horror thriller, The Box. Frankly there's only one thing about The Box that warranted it getting a mention here, and that's the fact that it's the latest film from Donnie Darko director Richard Kelly. And because I know there are scores of rabid Donnie Darko fans out there, I thought I better bring the film to their attention.

The Box centres on a married couple (James Marsden and Cameron Diaz) who are faced with a challenging decision when they receive a strange little box containing a button protected by a dome. If they push the button, they will receive $1 million and end their financial woes. However, someone will die.

It all sounds a little weird, but would you expect anything less of Kelly? I have a certain mild curiosity to see The Box, but it's far more likely that I'll wait to catch it on TV in a few years' time. The film is 44% Fresh on Rotten Tomatoes, where critics are torn between calling it charmingly eccentric and pretentious nonsense.


Terrance said…
I've only heard good things about Shutter Island from friends who have seen it so I'll do my best to catch it this weekend or next.

I'll definitely wait for The Box to hit DVD rental stores before I give it a look. It does sound rather interesting though.
Pfangirl said…
Thanks for the comments, Terrance. I'm going to do the exact same thing as you:)

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