Movies out today: Oscar nominees return, as do meatballs

Only three new movies hit cinema today, although to cash in on their Oscar buzz, both Gravity (my review) and Captain Phillips (my review) are returning to the big screen at select Ster Kinekor cinemas. You can catch the former in 3D and, in a coup of Durban moviegoers, 3D IMAX.

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2:
Screening in 2D and 3D is this animated comedy adventure. True to sequel form, the stakes - or should that be steaks? - are bigger, as is the setting. Following directly on from the original film, this time luckless inventor Flint Lockwood and his friends have to contend with sentient food creatures. With the voices of Bill Hader, Anna Faris, Andy Samberg, Neil Patrick Harris and many more.

The original Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs was a surprise critical and commercial hit. Its sequel is apparently just as good, if not better. The sequel may have lost some conceptual freshness, and it may be unfocused, but it still manages to establish its own identity and be loads of silly, gag-filled fun. If you're into that sort of thing. 70% Fresh on review aggregator site Rotten Tomatoes.


Fire with Fire:
Right, okay, here's your chance to watch an action thriller that went straight to DVD in the United States... back in 2012. Josh Duhamel plays a fireman who witnesses a racially motivated attack by a notorious Aryan Brotherhood leader (Vincent D'Onofrio). Our hero is forced to go into Witness Protection as a result. Bruce Willis is the detective personally invested in the case and Rosario Dawson a US Marshall love interest. Also with 50 Cent.

Fire with Fire is apparently an unremarkable piece of B-grade junk. Not unwatchable for undemanding fans of this sort of fare. Anyone else, however, will likely find it dull, dumb and derivative. Duhamel is an especially vapid lead. A dire 7% Fresh.


Elelwani:
This South African drama makes history by being the first Venda language film ever made. The title character, played by Florence Masebe, is a young professional, college educated and in love. But when she returns from the city to her rural home she finds her parents intent on marrying her off to the Venda king.

A regular on the local and international film festival circuit, Elelwani is a tale of modern individual desires versus tradition and community commitments. For the record, Variety called it a folk tale meets soap opera.



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