Movies out today: Cowboys, indians and ensemble casts

Four films open in South Africa today. It's a big week for ensemble casts although the biggie release is very much in the midyear blockbuster mould... for better or worse.

The Lone Ranger:
From the same acting-directing-producing team behind Disney's Pirates of the Caribbean comes this action comedy western. Based on the iconic American character popularised on radio and TV, the Lone Ranger sees Armie Hammer as a Texas Ranger-turned-masked-vigilante, fighting for justice alongside vengeance-seeking Native American Tonto (Johnny Depp). Also with William Fitchner, Tom Wilkinson and Helena Bonham CarterTrailer Tuesday profile here.

So how much of the negative Lone Ranger critical reaction is based on genuine flaws and how much is "weirdo Johnny Depp" backlash? According to reviewers, the relaxed comedic camaraderie between the two leads is one of the film's greatest strengths, as is its imagination. Otherwise the two-and-a-half hour effort is too long, too bloated and too tonally confused. Currently 26% Fresh on review aggregator site Rotten Tomatoes.


The Big Wedding:
It's all about the big name cast in this matrimony-themed romantic comedy - based on a French film. A large modern family come together for a wedding celebration and are forced to evaluate their feelings towards love, sex, commitment and each other. With Robert De Niro, Diane Keaton, Ben Barnes, Katherine Heigl, Amanda SeyfriedTopher Grace, Susan Sarandon and Robin Williams.

Contrived, unfunny and completely predictable, The Big Wedding is apparently a cringe-worthy 7% Fresh. Not that you couldn't tell that from the horrifically forced promotional image below.


Bustin' Chops: The Movie:
There isn't much more to say about this South African comedy other than it's clearly an attempt to be a local Jackass. There seems to be some kind of plot about a band of stuntmen reuniting after five years to make a movie in the hope that it catches Steven Spielberg's attention. Or something.

Anyway, Yolanda from TheMovies.co.za attended the premiere and she found the R-rated Bustin' Chops to be better than expected. The film is of the highly unsophisticated punch-to-the-groin (or crocodile-to-the-ass) school of humour though, so bear that in mind.



Disconnect:
Screening in limited release is this drama-thriller about the negative effects contemporary technology can have on people's lives - cyber bullying, underage chatrooms; that kind of thing. The ensemble cast includes  Jason Bateman, Hope Davis, Andrea Riseborough and Alexander Skarsgard.

Disconnect earned its fair share of love on the film festival circuit. Evidently it's a well-acted and effectively dark cautionary tale, even if it's prone to heavy-handedness and melodrama at times. 66% Fresh.


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