Movies out today: disgruntled fairies, ghosts and counterculture pioneers

Just four new movies hit South African screens today, although it's pretty easy to guess who the box office winner of the bunch will be.

Maleficent:
Screening in 2D, 3D and 3D IMAX is this fantasy adventure from Walt Disney Pictures, clearly trying to recapture the success of their other recent live-action fairy tale reimaginings, Oz the Great and Powerful, and Alice in Wonderland. Maleficent relooks Disney's 1959 animated classic from the perspective of its striking villain, bad fairy Maleficent. She's played by Angelina Jolie, with Elle Fanning as narcoleptic princess Aurora, Sharlto Copley as the king and Imelda Staunton and Juno Temple as two of the good fairies charged with raising Aurora. Trailer Tuesday profile.

Is Maleficent the fairy tale adaptation to tug the sub-genre out of pretty-looking mediocrity? Critics are... torn. Some like Nick in his review at TheMovies.co.za have praised the film as ideal entertainment for the whole family, with an electric performance by Jolie and surprisingly satisfying 3D. Others have complained that the film is too safe, all dazzle and no substance, and suffers for not having any other characters as interesting as Jolie's Maleficent. 51% Fresh on review aggregator site Rotten Tomatoes.


The Quiet Ones:
For your horror kicks, there's this British supernatural thriller starring Jared Harris and Sam Claflin as academics who conduct experiments on the relationship between negative energy and hauntings. Loosely based on actual events.

Coming from iconic Hammer Films The Quiet Ones is, like its predecessor production The Woman in Black, a retro-style chiller, more focused on performances and atmosphere than gore. Narratively though, it suffers from a lack of plausibility. 35% Fresh.



The Inevitable Defeat of Mister & Pete:
Of a more gritty, less escapist nature is this coming-of-age drama about two young boys forced to fend for themselves in the inner city when the one child's mother (Jennifer Hudson) is arrested. Also with Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Anthony Mackie, Jordin Sparks and Jeffrey Wright.

The Inevitable Defeat has been critically acclaimed. It's heart-wrenching stuff apparently, with incredibly impressive performances by its child stars. 90% Fresh.


Kill Your Darlings:
Your biopic quotient is being filled this week by this drama centred on the highly influential Beat Generation writers. It explores how love, obsession and murder at Columbia University in 1944 fired up these counterculture pioneers. Daniel Radcliffe is Allen Ginsberg, Dane DeHaan is Lucien Carr and Jack Huston is Jack Kerouac. Also with Ben Foster, Elizabeth Olsen and many more.

A film festival, erm, darling last year, Kill Your Darlings is part crime mystery, part coming-of-age tale. It may be a bit too mannered for some, but it's been called powerful and insightful, with much praise for the chemistry between Radcliffe and DeHaan. 76% Fresh.

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