Five for Friday: New releases hitting South African cinemas today

Five very different movies open in South Africa today. Before getting to my personal Top 2 Picks, here's a brief rundown of the other 3:

Ceremony: Uma Thurman stars in this indie comedy-drama - apparently a wannabe Wes Anderson movie - about a young man (Michael Angarano) who secretly falls for the fiance (Thurman) of a famous filmmaker (Lee Pace). 40% Fresh on review aggregator site Rotten Tomatoes.

Killer Elite: Action movie lovers are likely to get their kicks from this novel adaptation and supposed true story. Jason Statham, Clive Owen, Robert De Niro, Dominic Purcell and Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje all pop up as elite operatives in a deadly globe-trotting game of cat-and-mouse. A surprisingly low 25% Fresh.

Black Butterflies: An English language production from the Netherlands about acclaimed Apartheid Era South African poet Ingrid Jonker. Soon to be Melisandre Carice van Houten plays the tragic Jonker in what certainly won't be a lighthearted biopic. 100% Fresh.

That then leaves my movies of the week as follows:

1) Contagion: I've already profiled this medical thriller as part of this blog's Trailer Tuesday feature because man, I've been craving a good disease-centred disaster movie since cheesy Outbreak a million years ago. Multi-award winning Steven Soderbergh directs an all-star cast in this movie about a highly contagious and deadly SARS-like virus that plunges the world into chaos. Marion Cotillard, Matt Damon, Laurence Fishburne, Jude Law, Gwyneth Paltrow and Kate Winslet are just some of the famous faces playing doctors, conspiracy theorists and ordinary civilians in the multiple interweaving storylines that make up this movie.

Contagion has a 83% Fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Apparently the film is both smart and scary, turning to social and scientific realism to strengthen its chill factor. Some critics haven't been convinced though, saying the emotional distance the film keeps from its characters drains the entire project of enthralling energy.

2) Fright Night: Shot in 3D, and screening in both that format and conventional 2D, is this largely unexpected remake of the 1985 horror-comedy classic. Anton Yelchin plays high schooler Charley Brewster, whose recent graduation from dork to cool kid is challenged when he begins to suspect his enigmatic new neighbour (Colin Farrell ) is actually a vampire. Toni Collette plays Charlie's single mother while Imogen Poots and Christopher Mintz-Plasse are his girlfriend and best friend respectively. David (Dr Who) Tennant is the celebrity magician Charley approaches for help in vampire extermination.

Fright Night has been profiled already on this blog as part of Trailer Tuesday. For the record, the flick is a pretty damn solid 75% Fresh on Rotten Tomatoes, with most of the critical praise going the way of Farrell (who's in electric anti-Edward Cullen mode here) and the rest of the surprisingly good cast. Some reviewers have called the film boring and pointless; the majority though have labelled it better than expected, and are impressed that the project has managed to establish its own identity... despite being a remake.


Cleric said…
I'd also would like to check Contagion and Fright Night. Both looks like they'll be entertaining :)

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