Movies out today: Something for everyone

Whether you're in the mood for a drama heavy with ethics commentary, a dark comedy or a good ol' fashioned creepfest, there are 3 big guns hitting South African cinemas this weekend. Of course, if you're in Durban, for the next week and a bit you have dozens of additional movie options thanks to the annual Durban International Film Festival hitting town. Anyway, these are my picks for today:

1) The Bang Bang Club: While a certain embarrassingly crap animated movie is hoarding all the fawning "South Africa on the big screen" press at the moment, a far more intriguing local-set, film makes its debut today. Based on the book of the same name, which is in turn based on a true story, the Bang Bang Club - which is a Canada-SA co-production - focuses on a group of photographers who documented township unrest during the turbulent lead-up to the nation-changing 1994 elections. Taylor Kitsch, Ryan Phillippe and Malin Åkerman are the international stars joining Frank Rautenbach and Neels Van Jaarsveld as the Bang Bangers.

A big part of The Bang Bang Club looks to be it exploration of whether these young journalists (privileged white boys) were putting their lives on the line for justice, or thrills, or a combination of both. At what point are they exploiting tragedy to sell papers? Do they use their impartial journalistic position as an excuse to sit on their hands and never take positive action - bearing in mind one of the guys took this famous pic?

The Bang Bang Club is 40% Fresh on Rotten Tomatoes. According to critics the film is slick, thought-provoking and engrossing, but suffers from a lack of nuance and a plot with little dramatic structure, coming across, ironically, like a series of snapshots more than anything else. The big question is whether South African viewers will share these sentiments, being far closer to the events depicted?

2) Horrible Bosses: It's Throw Momma From the Train for the 21st Century in this black comedy about a trio of friends (Jason Bateman, Charlie Day and Jason Sudeikis) who vow to kill their abusive bosses (Kevin Spacey, Jennifer Aniston and an unrecognisable Colin Farrell), each of whom is monstrously life-destroying in a different way. Jamie Foxx is the "murder consultant" who helps the hopelessly incompetent men.

Of all this week's new movies, Horrible Bosses is the one I'm likely to catch first. I've always loved the morally twisted black comedy sub-genre, I thought the trailer was great and the film is sitting with a comfortable 71% Fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Apparently Horrible Bosses is a bit uneven and never has the courage to really push the boundaries of, or develop, its premise. However, the film certainly has its moments and its comically gifted cast delivers the goods in this undemanding, frequently crude, and definitely adults-only crowd pleaser.

I actually profiled the following film as a Friday release a little while back, but obviously the release schedule changed because here it is again:

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.


SilentiSonas said…
Awesome Choices! I'm definitely with you on Horrible Bosses being the pick of the week as I stumbled across the trailer on youtube this morning. Expectations are lowish so rewards should be high.

Cant say that anything else is on my radar for this summer as Cap. America doesn't hold much appeal, but maybe I'll be proved wrong. Anything you think we should be excited for this summer?
Pfangirl said…
Well, I did outline the top 20 films we can look forward to in the remaining months of 2011, here:

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