Movies today, SA: The Back-up Plan sending you to the Edge of Darkness

Seven new films open in South Africa today, including the usual mix of Bollywood releases (Badmaash Company), theatre productions filmed for the screen (Bolt) and art circuit movie biographies (Seraphine, which is 90% Fresh on Rotten Tomatoes). If none of these appeal to you then there's also the indie adoption drama Mother and Child, which stars Naomi Watts, Annette Bening, Kerry Washington and Samuel L. Jackson, and which is 88% Fresh on Rotten Tomatoes. And for 3D movie enthusiasts and adrenaline junkies there's action-sports documentary X Games 3D: The Movie, which has been filmed specially for the 3D format (i.e. it's NOT a shoddy rushed conversion), and has scored a 38% Fresh rating.

Anyway, my 2 movie picks for the weekend are as follows:

Edge of Darkness: Mel Gibson is in full-blown ANGRY REVENGE mode in this action-thriller based on a BBC miniseries that dates all the way back to 1985. The director of that miniseries, Martin Campbell (who since went on to helm actioners The Mask of Zorro, Vertical Limit, GoldenEye and Casino Royale) is behind the camera for this movie remake as well, which centres on a cop, Thomas Craven (Gibson) who seeks justice after his daughter is murdered. While investigating, Craven uncovers political conspiracy and corruption... which you would know already if you've seen Edge of Darkness's revelation-packed trailer. Bah.

Anyway, Edge of Darkness is 56% Fresh on Rotten Tomatoes. That's not a fantastic score, but it's not a terrible one either. Apparently the film exists as something of a cross between Death Wish and Michael Clayton. It's solid if predictable entertainment, with Gibson in an ass-kicking role we've already seen him play many times before. Still though, I'm moderately interested in seeing Edge of Darkness, if only because I've always thoroughly enjoyed director Campbell's films in the past. The man knows how to make slick, edge-of-your seat action flicks.

The Back-up Plan: Ha! I bet you never thought you'd live to see the day when a Jennifer Lopez movie was my Movie Pick of the Week? Well, the truth is that the trailer for The Back-up Plan didn't look too bad, and I'm sure the film will be very popular on the cinema circuit in the coming weeks. People just love undemanding romantic comedy fluff.

Anyway, The Back-up Plan centres on a single woman (Lopez), who, despondent after years of fruitless dating, initiates her life back-up plan. Mr Right may not be around, but that doesn't mean she can't start start the family she always wanted - through artificial insemination. Thing is, just as she falls pregnant she meets the man of her dreams (Alex O'Loughlin), who surprisingly seems up for commitment despite the unusual circumstances affecting the couple's relationship.

The Back-up Plan is 21% Fresh on Rotten Tomatoes. "Cutesy," "predictable" and "crap" seem to be the words most often used to describe the film, which has otherwise garnered praise for its light-hearted breeziness and Lopez's likeable, relaxed presence as she is subjected to various pregnancy-related humiliations onscreen. Basically if you like these sorts of fluffy relationship films, you'll probably enjoy The Back-up Plan. If not, stay away!


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