Movies hitting SA screens today: sci-fi clashes with indie drama

At this time of year, fantasy and science fiction dominate at the box office. This week is no different, with the release – in South Africa and the US – of one of the most highly anticipated sci-fi thrillers of 2012. Meanwhile, the only other 2 releases with the courage to open against this behemoth cunningly cater for a very different audience: those who prefer small budget, relationship-focused dramas.

Grown-up science fiction fans have been waiting with bated breath for this “is-it-or-isn’t-it-an-Alien-prequel?”. Academy Award-winning Alien and Blade Runner director Ridley Scott has assembled an impressive cast – including Noomi Rapace, Michael Fassbender, Charlize Theron, Idris Elba and Guy Pearce – for this moody tale about a band of space explorers (scientists, corporates and androids) who find trouble when they go hunting for Humanity’s extra-terrestrial origins.

What looked like an instant genre classic is in reality a mixed bag. That’s according to Kervyn in his The Movies review. Apparently Prometheus’s strong set-up and performances are let down by a cop-out ending and some frustratingly dumb character behaviour.

Internationally, Prometheus is currently sitting with an aggregated Rotten Tomatoes review score of 77%. On the plus side, critics there are calling the film technically brilliant, elegant and admirably ambitious, with a scene-stealing performance provided by Fassbender. In terms of negatives, the film is hobbled by its predictable script, and failure to answer the many philosophical questions it raises.

Being Flynn:
Talented actors of multiple generations unite for this drama about a young man who, struggling with his own life, reconnects with his estranged father, an eccentric alcoholic at a homeless shelter. Robert De Niro, Paul Dano and Julianne Moore star. Based on an award-winning memoir and true story.

Don’t expect a glossy, sentimental father-son tale from Being Flynn. Although reportedly uneven, the film is gritty and obviously indie, committed to exploring family relationship truths, no matter how unpleasant. Reportedly De Niro’s finest work in years. A divisive 55% Fresh.

The Romantics:
Screening in select Ster Kinekor cinemas is this star-studded romantic comedy drama. Based on the novel of the same name, A gang of former college buddies – including Anna Paquin, Adam Brody, Elijah Wood and Malin Åkerman – reunite for a wedding, only for friendships to be tested when the groom (Josh Duhamel) is drawn to his ex (Katie Holmes), the maid of honour.

It’s taken almost 2 and a half years for The Romantics to reach our shores. But then again, maybe that’s explained by the film’s limp Rotten Tomatoes rating of 15% Fresh. This is your classic (and not in a good way!) self-indulgent indie ensemble, sketchy and dull.


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