Movies out today: The need for speed, singers and sex

Only three new films open in South African cinemas today - combining popcorn escapism with crowd-pleasers and indie drama.

Fast & Furious 6:
Some movie franchises just capture the public imagination and just keep on coming. Like the Fast & Furious series. You should know the formula by now - posturing young lawbreakers + night races + close-ups of gear shifts + crazy vehicle stunts. For 130 minutes... This time the outlaw daredevils come out of retirement to bring down a rival heist crew (headed by Luke Evans) in order to gain amnesty for their past crimes. With Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, Michelle Rodriguez, Tyrese Gibson and Gina Carano.

"Ludicrous" is the word that has most often been applied to Fast & Furious 6 by critics. Of course, depending on your blockbuster tastes, that isn't a bad thing. Movie #6 has apparently embraced its silliness. Fans should lap it up; but if you're less accepting of a generic plot and weak dialogue, avoid. 76% Fresh on review aggregator site Rotten Tomatoes.



The Sapphires:
Loosely based on real life events, as well as a stage play, The Sapphires is a musical comedy drama from Australia. Chris (Bridesmaids) O'Dowd is a boozed-up talent scout who helps transform a group of Aboriginal women into a American-style soul singers in the 1960s. They then head off to entertain the troops in Vietnam.

The Sapphires apparently isn't high on originality - all the expected musical group rivalries and personal struggles are there. However, O'Dowd is a very charismatic lead, and the film is hard not to like. Charming and feel-good all around. 93% Fresh.



360:
From Fernando Meirelles, the director of City of God, Blindness and The Constant Gardener, comes this ensemble romantic drama - screening in limited release. This globe-trotting film consists of several interlocking tales to do with love, sex and desire, and stars Anthony Hopkins, Jude Law and Rachel Weisz among others.

Despite the involvement of some A-grade talent in front of and behind the camera, 360 is evidently a superficial dud. Not only is it dull but it lacks any sense of emotional authenticity, and resorts some very strained connections to draw the different narratives together. 21% Fresh.

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