Movies out today: demons, drama and dodgy neighbours

If you're on the East Coast for the next 9 days you have dozens of movies to choose from as part of the Durban International Film Festival, South Africa's biggest film fest. For everyone else around the country, there are four new releases from which to take your pick.


Deliver Us from Evil:
Crime and horror collide in this supposed true story - and book adaptation - that centres on a New York police officer (Eric Bana) forced to join forces with a priest (Edgar Ramirez) to solve a case with demonic connections. Also starring Olivia Munn and Joel McHale.

From the director of The Exorcism of Emily Rose and Sinister, Deliver Us from Evil is apparently a serviceable supernatural thriller that never reaches its full scare potential due to some poor filmmaking decisions (Check out Kervyn's The Movies.co.za review here). Deliver is solidly acted (for the most part) and generates creepy atmosphere well, but the scares are cheap and so very tired. It has an aggregated review score of 30% Fresh on Rotten Tomatoes.


Bad Neighbours:
In this R-rated comedy, new parents (Seth Rogen and Rose Byrne) face off against the wild fraternity - headed by Zac Efron and Dave Franco - that moves in next to their home. Tempers rage and revenge pranks escalate on both sides. From the director of Forgetting Sarah Marshall and and Get Him to the Greek.

Bad Neighbours, also known as Neighbors in the US, has been a critical and commercial hit. Like most of these bawdy comedies it's hit and miss silliness, but the well-matched cast brings the required energy. Byrne is the surprising film stealer. 73% Fresh.



Life of a King:
Cuba Gooding, Jr. stars in this real-life inspirational drama about a bank robber who emerges from prison and seeks to empower inner city teens through the game that changed his life: chess. Also with Dennis Haysbert and Lisa Gay Hamilton.

Life of a King is apparently formulaic and sentimental. This said, excellent acting by Gooding Jr. and his young co-stars gives the project some real emotional resonance. 38% Fresh.


The Necessary Death of Charlie Countryman:
A romantic thriller where a young American (Shia LaBeouf) is drawn to Romania and falls for a woman (Evan Rachel Wood) with a dark, complicated past, and an unstable ex-husband (Mads Mikkelsen).

Mostly confined to the film festival circuit overseas, Charlie Countryman has been called atmospheric and well-acted, but also very pretentious and messy. Its flinging together of romance, magical realism, adventure, violent crime and goofy comedy has alienated a lot of critics but no doubt will earn it a cult following over time. 27% Fresh.

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