Movies out today: Giant robots, aliens and Afrikaners

Four new movies open in South Africa today, and the question is whether locals will continue to flock to tried and tested sequel faves like Despicable Me 2 and The Wolverine, or become enamored with the geek-bait that is my movie pick of the week. And that is...

Pacific Rim:
Screening in 2D and converted 3D is this sci-fi actioner from Guillermo Del Toro. Paying homage to Japanese cinema's kaiju and mecha genres, Pacific Rim sees Mankind turning to giant human-piloted robots to battle monstrous creatures that rise out of an inter-dimensional portal in the Pacific Ocean. Starring Charlie Hunnam, Idris Elba and Rinko Kikuchi.

You can read Lourens's Pacific Rim review over at TheMovies.co.za, and while he loved it more than I did - I still have to write my full review - we both highly recommend it. The script is predictable and characters undeveloped, but despite these flaws, Pacific Rim is still hands down the most satisfying of the midyear blockbusters. It's thrilling and fun and marvellously well crafted. Internationally, Pacific Rim is sitting with an aggregated review score of 71% Fresh. Supporters have praised the film's childlike sense of awe and positive depiction of global collaboration. Critics have complained that it's too dark, wet and more about style than substance.


Dark Skies:
This sci-fi horror flick stars Keri Russell and Josh Hamilton as parents whose already under-strain marriage faces an even bigger threat when disturbing events start occuring in their home. Turns out a mysterious extra-terrestrial entity is after their family.

Dark Skies is evidently of the slow burn, suspense-centric school of horror films (which, as far as I'm concerned, is never a bad thing). Then again, coming from the producer of Insidious, Sinister and the Paranormal Activity series, perhaps that approach shouldn't be a surprise. Still, many have called it overly familiar, dour and boring. 36% Fresh.


Killing Them Softly:
Brad Pitt stars in this noirish crime thriller - and novel adaptation - about a hitman brought on to dispense some payback after the inside job robbery of a criminal poker ring. Also starring Richard Jenkins, Ray Liotta and the late James Gandolfini.

Killing Them Softly is a film festival release that has been called cool, gritty and intelligent. At the same time, some critics haven't been impressed by the film's talkiness and how unbalanced it sits alongside the usual genre violence. 75% Fresh.


Babalas:
It's all rather serious at local cinemas this weekend... with the exception of this quirky homegrown comedy that trades heavily on nostalgia. A promotions company employee goes in search Boet, Swaer and Mogae from the old Castrol TV ads, and must roadtrip with the them from the Kalahari to Joburg. Starring Ian Roberts, Norman Anstey, Jack Parow, Tammy-Anne Fortuin and Hannes Muller. In Afrikaans with English subtitles.


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