Movies releasing today: kickass critters, farewell free will & possessed brats

June is shaping up as a great month at South African cinemas, with at least one high profile, highly anticipated film opening every Friday. Today, local cinemagoers have 3 to choose from:

1) Kung Fu Panda 2: Po (voiced by Jack Black) and the Furious Five (Angelina Jolie, Jackie Chan, Seth Rogen, Lucy Liu and David Cross) return in this animated martial arts adventure, that follows on from the smash hit original. This time our tubby hero has to defeat Lord Shen (Gary Oldman) who is out to destroy kung fu tradition with powerful artillery. The film is screening in 2D and 3D.

Having released 2 weeks ago in the US, Kung Fu Panda 2 is a very strong 82% Fresh on review aggregator site Rotten Tomatoes. Apparently, much like its predecessor, the film sidesteps DreamWorks Animation's traditional leanings towards pop culture satire and manic energy to instead deliver a strongly emotive story with stunning visuals. The 3D here is actually used to full effect. And while the film's story is hardly original - according to some critics - Kung Fu Panda is so charming and its action scenes so fluidly choreographed that it is still definitely worthwhile viewing.

2) The Adjustment Bureau: Watching the trailer, I got a strong Dark City vibe from this sci-fi romance. Loosely based on Philip K Dick short story Adjustment Team, the film centres on Matt Damon's congressman, David, who finds his budding romance with dancer Emily Blunt threatened when he discovers his life is being controlled by a group of sinister suit-and-coat wearing men calling themselves The Adjustment Bureau. David goes on the run but does he really have the ability to escape "The Plan" and shape his own destiny?

The Adjustment Bureau is a solid 72% on Rotten Tomatoes. According to many critics the film is pleasingly ambitious and offers one of the most stylish and satisfying romances of the year so far - thanks largely to the chemistry of Damon and Blunt. Other reviewers, however, have been less impressed, calling The Adjustment Bureau spectacularly silly and tonally unbalanced.

3) Insidious: From the makers of the first Saw, Paranormal Activity and Dead Silence comes this supernatural horror film. Rose Byrne and Patrick Wilson are concerned parents who come to believe their new home is haunted, and that a demonic force is hellbent on stealing away their son.

Sure it sounds like we've seen it a hundred times before, but Insidious has been remarkably well received for a horror film. The movie is currently 66% Fresh on Rotten Tomatoes (that's good for a horror film!). Apparently everything collapses in the closing Act - a massive problem with the genre - but until that point Insidious is an incredibly strong haunted house film, with an emphasis on character and atmosphere instead of gore and gimmicks. Seek this one out if you're a horror movie buff whose idea of a good time involves a hefty dose of creepiness.


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