Kick-ass movies hit SA cinemas today

Six new films open in South Africa today. These include the Harrison Ford-Brendan Fraser medical drama Extraordinary Measures (28% Fresh on Rotten Tomatoes), Uma Thurman's straight-to-DVD romantic comedy The Accidental Husband (0% Fresh, sheesh!) and Food, Inc., an Oscar nominated documentary film about the disturbing truths behind American corporate farming (97% Fresh). Finally there's Jakhalsdans, a locally made Afrikaans drama about the attempts of a small Karoo town to keep their school open... through music!

My movie picks for this weekend though are as follows:

1) Kick-Ass: If you think comic books and superheroes are just for kids, you're probably going to be shocked by the ultra-violent, profanity saturated, and VERY R-rated action-comedy Kick-Ass. Based on the comic book series created by Wanted's Mark Millar and John Romita, Jr, Kick-Ass is set in our world, our reality, and centres on a very ordinary teenager (Aaron Johnson) who begins to wonder why there are no real-life masked superheroes. Despite having no special powers (obviously) or combat skills, he dresses up, takes to the streets and triggers a wave of copycat vigilantes - including Red Mist (Christopher Mintz-Plasse), Big Daddy (Nicolas Cage) and 11 year old Hit-Girl (Chloƫ Moretz). Naturally, a local crime boss (Mark Strong) vows to take down the heroes who have made running his business so difficult.

If you're trying to grasp the comedic tone of Kick-Ass, your best best is to watch the hilarious teaser trailer, which I've already commented on. Needless to say I'm really looking forward to the film, which deals specifically with the fantasy of so many of us comic book geeks.

Kick-Ass is 77% Fresh on Rotten Tomatoes. While some critics have slammed the film for "irresponsibly" depicting extreme violence against, and involving, children, others have praised it as a pitch black and outrageous deconstruction of superheroes. A particularly interesting description of the film is "Orgazmo (minus the Mormons and pornography) meets Shoot 'Em Up." Brace yourself for wacked intensity.


When in Rome: Much like last Friday, I have to admit that this romantic comedy only made my Pick of the Week list because I'm fond of its leading lady. The slightly "magical" When in Rome stars Veronica Mars's Kristen Bell as an increasingly bitter young woman who, on a visit to Rome, plucks coins from Rome's fountain of love. The result is instant pursuit by 4 highly incompatible suitors (Jon Heder, Dax Shepard, Will Arnett and Danny DeVito), while a sexy but quiet journalist (Josh Duhamel) tries to make his feelings known.

When in Rome is 16% Fresh on Rotten Tomatoes. The general consensus seems to be that while Bell and Duhamel are appealing leads, and the film does features a great comedic cast, all of their efforts are hamstrung by the usual romcom cliches and a disappointingly unfunny script. Perhaps you should just wait for When in Rome on DVD then, and reserve a viewing for one of those lazy Sunday afternoons where you really don't feel like watching anything thematically dense, mentally demanding or particularly good?

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