New movies out today: big name sequels and smaller art house fare

Four new movies release in South Africa today, and it's a combination of big name sequels and lesser known art house fare.

How to Train Your Dragon 2:
Screening in 2D and 3D is this fantasy adventure for the whole family, from DreamWorks Animation. Set several years after the events of the first film - and loosely based on Cressida Cowell's book series - the viking villagers of Berk and their dragon allies face a new threat from further abroad. The voice cast includes returning Jay Baruchel, Gerard Butler, America Ferrera and Jonah Hill, with newcomers Cate Blanchett, Djimon Hounsou and Kit Harington. Trailer Tuesday profile.

How to Train Your Dragon 2 is apparently much more than a typical sequel rehash of the original. It offers breathtaking visuals along with being darker, deeper and more emotionally satisfying than its predecessor. It may be a tad too overstuffed for some, although Nick at TheMovies calls it a must-watch masterpiece. 93% Fresh on review aggregator site Rotten Tomatoes.

22 Jump Street:
Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum return in this sequel to the hit action comedy, itself based on an 80s TV series. This time the mismatched cop duo are going undercover at a college to bust a drug supplier. Also with Peter Stormare and Ice Cube.

According to reviewers, 22 Jump Street is actually an improvement on its predecessor. Both charming and zany, it embraces its meta nature. References to ridiculous cash-in sequels come thick and fast. 84% Fresh.

In Secret:
The classic 19th Century French novel Thérèse Raquin gets the big screen treatment in this drama thriller. Elizabeth Olsen is a young woman trapped in a loveless marriage, presided over by her controlling aunt (Jessica Lange). Then she begins an affair with her husband's friend (Oscar Isaac), leading to tragedy.

In Secret has largely split reviewers. The film has received praise for Lange's nuanced performance but has been criticised for becoming increasingly leaden as it progresses.  41% Fresh.

Haute Cuisine:
Screening in limited release is this French language comedy-drama based on a true story. A respected regional chef (Catherine Frot) is chosen to be the president's personal cook, but has to deal with professional jealousies and political intrigue.

Haute Cuisine is definitely one for the foodies, given the culinary delights that are artfully displayed. For other filmgoers it's evidently tasty but not particularly nourishing. Translation: it's charming but inconsequentially lightweight. 68% Fresh.


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