Movies releasing in South Africa today: Shrek Forever on Elm Street

Seven new films open in South Africa today. The release schedule is heavy on high profile blockbusters this week, but for the more culturally inclined, there's limited screenings of ballet Stravisky and the Ballet Russes, as well as Bollywood drama Udaan, about a young wannabe writer struggling with repressive family circumstances. There's also South African-set, presumably uplifting, drama, Themba, about a young Xhosa boy from the rural Eastern Cape who dreams of overcoming his family's dire circumstances and becoming a soccer star.

Of course, if all the movies above sound too emotionally "heavy", then you may be in the market for some star-saturated action. Fortunately there are two new films releasing this weekend that cater for anyone with an appetite for blood and bullets. First up is Brooklyn's Finest (43% Fresh on Rotten Tomatoes), the latest from Training Day director Antoine Fuqua. Richard Gere, Don Cheadle and Ethan Hawke appear as morally conflicted New York police officers, while Wesley Snipes is an infamous drug dealer. Far more stylised, and apparently funny, is the Vertigo comic adaptation, The Losers (47% Fresh). Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Zoe Saldana and Chris Evans star as mercenaries and CIA agents who seeks vengeance after they're betrayed and left for dead by their handler.


Still though, when picking my top two new movies, my choice is as follows:

1) Shrek Forever After - It's been a pretty dud midyear box office season so far - in terms of both film quality and box office takings. It's only really been the animated films (including How to Train Your Dragon and Toy Story 3) that have shown stamina, critically and commercially. Shrek Forever After, the fourth film in the franchise, and supposed final entry in the series, can be included with these films, and has proven to be one of the year's biggest hits so far.

The Shrek films have always been more about an all-star voice cast and pop culture references than plot, but this time around Shrek feels his ogre identity disappearing under the demands of fatherhood and domesticity. He strikes a deal with devious Rumpelstiltskin, and suddenly Shrek finds himself in a It's a Wonderful Life situation, where he experiences the fairytale kingdom as if he was never born.

Shrek Forever After is 58% Fresh on Rotten Tomatoes and is apparently a marked improvement over the tired and generally unfunny Shrek the Third. While Forever After is nowhere near as good as the first Shrek, it has nonetheless earned the labels "satisfying" and "a respectable conclusion," as it restores a good deal of heart to the series.

Shrek Forever After is showing in traditional 2D as well as 3D. You can take your pick though as to what format you watch the film in - animated films tend to unharmed by 3D conversions.


2) A Nightmare on Elm Street - One, two, Freddy's coming for you. Three, four, better lock your door. Five, six, grab your crucifix. Seven, eight, better stay up late. Nine, ten, never sleep again... It's taken two and a half months to reach us in South Africa, but the Nightmare on Elm Street reimagining is finally here. Following 21st Century remakes of The Hills Have Eyes, Friday the 13th, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Halloween, it was only a matter of time before that other great icon of 80s slasher horror returned to the screen for audiences apparently too lazy to seek out the original 1984 film.

Replacing Robert Englund as clawed, hideously burned paedophile, Freddy Krueger is Watchmen's Jackie Earle Haley, and he returns the character to his sinister, non-jokey roots. In sticking closely to the original story, a vengeful Freddy is slaughtering the teenager residents of Elm Street through their dreams. Meanwhile, the teens' only defense is to stop sleeping, although the longer they force insomnia, the more prone they become to micro-sleeping and Freddy's ability to catch them anywhere, as reality and nightmare blurs.

A Nightmare on Elm Street 2010 is just 13% Fresh on Rotten Tomatoes, although most negativity seems to be directed at how creatively bankrupt and pointless the whole project feels, as opposed to its effectiveness as a new scarefest. Apparently the film is really quite creepy, and, well, is there any more important requirement for a horror film? I've been excited about the new Nightmare on Elm Street for a while now, so it's definitely on my must-watch list in the coming days and weeks.

Comments

Cleric said…
Udaan just sounds like a Bollywood version of Bend It Like Beckham... fail.
Pfangirl said…
Thanks for commenting, Cleric. It's actually not uncommon for Bollywood to make their own versions of American/English films. Some of the adaption choices have been quite unexpected as well - such as mental handicap/child custody battle I Am Sam.
Dante said…
So want to see nightmare on elm street. Jackie Earle Haley is amazing in all performances I have seen him in. That bit he did in Shutter Island was brilliant. This plus the fact that I am a bit of a closet horror fan. GF doesn't want to go though. Need to find a willing friend!
Dante said…
So want to see nightmare on elm street. Jackie Earle Haley is amazing in all performances I have seen him in. That bit he did in Shutter Island was brilliant. This plus the fact that I am a bit of a closet horror fan. GF doesn't want to go though. Need to find a willing friend!

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