Movies out today: No big booms

Four new films hit South African cinemas today, and they're all of the rather low-key (i.e. non-explosive) sort. You'll have to get your action blockbuster kicks elsewhere this weekend I'm afraid.

Probably the least reviled Adam Sandler comedies of recent years have seen him sharing the screen with Drew Barrymore. They reunite for the third time in Blended, where two single parents and their warring broods are thrown together during an African vacation. And by Africa, of course that means a stay at the Lost City for extra (facepalm) authenticity.

Anyway, Blended has not been as flat-out panned as Sandler's last handful of flicks. Words like "tolerable" and "bland" have been tossed about, ultimately earning the film a 14% Fresh rating on review aggregator site Rotten Tomatoes.

The House of Magic:
Screening in 2D and 3D is this CGI-animated comedy adventure for the kiddies. Thunder is an abandoned cat who finds a new home with a kind-hearted magician. He has to join forces with the magician's other animals and automatrons though, when the old man's slimy nephew attempts to sell the house where they all live.

The House of Magic doesn't come from any of the major American names in animation. It's actually a Belgian-French production that has yet to even screen in the US, hence no Rotten Tomatoes review score. However, word is that the film is a sweet surprise - predictably plotted but charming nonetheless.

Hateship Loveship:
Based on a short story, Hateship Loveship is an indie drama that centres on a shy housekeeper (Kristen Wiig) who is the victim of a hoax, in the form of forged love letters. Except the hoax opens her to the possibility of true happiness after all. Also with Hailee Steinfeld, Guy Pearce, Jennifer Jason Leigh and Nick Nolte.

Hateship Loveship's greatest strength is apparently its sincere, unusually serious performance from Wiig. Overall this tale of desire for connection may be too slow and hard to swallow for some. A divisive 51% Fresh.

The Invisible Woman:
Screening on the art house circuit is this true life drama and biopic that examines the relationship between iconic Victorian Era writer Charles Dickens (Ralph Fiennes) and his much younger mistress, actress Nelly Ternan (Felicity Jones). Also with Kristin Scott Thomas.

Fiennes also directs The Invisible Woman, which is likely to satisfy fans of period pieces. It's well acted, well cast and full of emotion. Some may find it a bit too subtle, however. 76% Fresh.


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