Movies today, South Africa: It's Prince of Persia time!

Four new films hit South African cinemas today. These include American-set Bollywood thriller-romance Kites, and Hot Tub Time Machine (63% on Rotten Tomatoes), a "gross-out guy comedy" in which John Cusack and co. mysteriously wake up as teens in 1986 after a booze binge in a hot tub - and now have the unique opportunity to change their lives before they went off the rails.

I don't think Hot Tub Time Machine is a bad choice at all if you're in a mood for an undemanding comedy this weekend. However, my #1 pick for today is, unsurprisingly, Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time. Based on my favourite video game series of all time, Prince of Persia, the movie, is intended to be Disney and producer Jerry Bruckheimer's big money-spinning follow-up to Pirates of the Caribbean. Mixing fantasy action-adventure and flirtation, Prince of Persia centres on a cocky street urchin-turned-acrobatic-prince (Jake Gyllenhaal) who comes into possession of the Dagger of Time - which grants its bear the ability to control time - and must stop it falling into the hands of an evil nobleman/vizier (Ben Kingsley).

Given how much I loved the video games, I'm actually surprised just how moderate my enthusiasm for the film is - especially as Prince of Persia is being touted as the film that finally elevates the industry standing of films based on games. Perhaps it's Gemma (Clash of the Titans) Arterton's annoying, whispery vocals in the trailer? Regardless, even if I'm not in a state of complete over-hype, I'm hoping to be pleasantly impressed by Prince of Persia.

For the record the film is currently just 43% on Rotten Tomatoes. That's a so-so rating, but in the film's defense, the rating is based on only 7 reviews. Reading the comments from the more respected publications, Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time is slickly made, demonstrates some intelligence and is largely entertaining. However, the film apparently doesn't attempt to offer anything for viewers outside the targeted 10 year old male demographic. And that always unfortunate word "Forgettable" keeps coming up. Bah.

Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time is showing at conventional cinemas and at IMAX. Out of interest, just as with Iron Man 2, South Africans will be watching POP a full week before it opens in the United States. This is an unusual occurrence to be enjoyed, considering we often wait around 3-6 months after US release for some highly anticipated films.

Today's other debuting movie of note is political thriller The Ghost Writer, based on Robert Harris's novel The Ghost. Directed by everyone's favourite moviemaker paedophile, Roman Polanski, The Ghost Writer centres on a successful ghostwriter (Ewan McGregor) who is approached to write the memoirs of a former British Prime Minister (Pierce Brosnan). The writer however soon realises he is neck deep in deceit and danger when he learns that his predecessor suffered an "accidental" death, and the Prime Minister may have been involved in approving war crimes - in the form of torture for terrorist suspects.

Sporting an excellent cast and topical issues, The Ghost Writer has been embraced by critics. The film is 84% Fresh on Rotten Tomatoes and even won Polanski the award for Best Director at this year's Berlin International Film Festival. This signals a major return to form for the filmmaker. Although I think you'll have to be in the right, serious mood for it, The Ghost Writer is apparently an elegant, yet appropriately cynical, thriller for grown-ups.


Dante said…
Totally giving the anal rapist's movie a miss.
Pfangirl said…
Yeah, I can't say I'm especially motivated to watch it... although I do normally enjoy Polanski's films. He is a good filmmaker no matter how twisted his personal life is/was.

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