Movies out today: magicians, morons and mad spinsters

It's a long weekend in South Africa, with the National Women's Day public holiday tomorrow. As a result, the week's new movies are all releasing today, Thursday. Here's what you catch in local cinemas now.

Now You See Me:
Clearly attempting to be this year's Christopher Nolan-style, brain-straining thriller, Now You See Me centres on four illusionists (Jesse Eisenberg, Woody Harrelson, Isla Fisher, Dave Franco) who seem to pull off the ultimate bank heist "by magic" - committing a robbery in Paris while performing a show in Las Vegas. With Mark Ruffalo, Michael Caine and Morgan Freeman trying to get to the bottom of the mystery.

Although it sounds great on paper, and certainly looks slick in trailers, Now You See Me likes to pretend that it is more clever than it really is. That's according to Kervyn in his review at TheMovies.co.za, at least. Internationally, critics have agreed. A terrific cast and premise can't make up for an undeveloped execution and a cheat of a ending. 48% Fresh on review aggregator site Rotten Tomatoes.



Grown Ups 2:
Sure to be the biggest hit of the weekend (sadly!) is this comedy sequel starring Adam Sandler, Kevin James, Chris Rock and David Spade as childhood buddies turned family men - who continue to struggle with the demands of adulthood.

Unsurprising given the Sandler "pedigree", Grown Ups 2 has been panned by critics. It's been called infantile, lazy and a complete waste of the comic talent involved. The film earned a 7% Fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes, although to be fair it probably is more harmlessly dumb than reviewers are making out.


 

Vehicle 19:
Paul Walker stars in this crime actioner Fast and the Furious wannabe... set and shot in South Africa. An ex-con eager to avoid police attention ends up on the run when a rental car mix-up means he finds a kidnapped woman in his vehicle. It turns out she's an important witness in a major corruption trial. 

Although Vehicle 19 is very much a B-grade, poorly shot effort, Walker has been praised for his intense performance, which is meatier than usual for the actor. Pity though that the film starts stronger than ends. A tepid but passable 25% Fresh.



Great Expectations:
Screening in limited release is this latest adaptation of Charles Dickens's classic novel. No doubt the most pedigreed release of the weekend, this costume drama sees orphan Pip (Jeremy Irvine) discover that he's been horribly arrogant and mistaken about the source of his changed fortune. With Ralph Fiennes as criminal Magwitch and Helena Bonham Carter as crazy spinster Miss Havisham.

Great Expectations is apparently incredibly well acted, but doesn't do enough to distinguish itself or surprise contemporary audiences.  68% Fresh.


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