SHORT­CUTS

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - GOOD FILMS -

NEW RE­LEASES

A Per­fect Get­away: Great B-grade stylings. A psy­chopath runs around the back­wa­ters of Hawaii, killing cou­ples, to the dis­may of some new­ly­weds. The clichéd gory end­ing is pre­ceded by some un­ex­pected twists and good char­ac­ter­i­sa­tion. ★★★

Planet 51: Well-crafted with lash­ings of colour, slap­stick jokes and plas­tic peo­ple just ripe for toy tie-ins to amuse chil­dren. But the lack of plot or good char­ac­ter­i­sa­tion leaves it float­ing around in space. ★★★

Septem­ber Is­sue: Be­hind-the-scenes doc­u­men­tary on the pro­cesses be­hind the pub­li­ca­tion of Vogue’s most im­por­tant an­nual is­sue, which also of­fers an in­sider look at the mag­a­zine’s fa­mous (or in­fa­mous) Ed­i­tor-in-Chief,

Anna Win­tour. ★★★

Where the Wild Things Are: Weirdly won­der­ful, mag­i­cally evoca­tive and un­com­pro­mis­ing in ex­press­ing Spike Jonze’s vi­sion, this is a film about re­mem­bered child­hood and over­whelm­ing emo­tion. ★★★★

ON CIR­CUIT

2012: John Cu­sack runs through a sfx-laden film, try­ing to save his fam­ily. Roland Em­merich con­cen­trates on spe­cial vis­ual ef­fects to the detri­ment of plot and script. ★★

(500) Days of Sum­mer: Bit­ter­sweet take on Hol­ly­wood ro­man­tic come­dies. Joseph Gor­don-Le­vitt and Zooey Deschanel star as two peo­ple in a com­pli­cated re­la­tion­ship. ★★★

50 Dead Men Walk­ing: We’re taken into the heart of an in­for­mant dur­ing the heat of the strug­gles in North­ern Ire­land back in the day and yet the emo­tional heft of the tale is sadly miss­ing. ★★★ Alvin and The Chip­munks: The Squeakquel: If the screech of chip­munk voices doesn’t grate, this is in­nocu­ous fun for kids. Oth­er­wise, avoid like the plague. ★★★

Avatar: Vis­ually ar­rest­ing, Avatar takes you on an spec­tac­u­larly se­duc­tive cin­e­matic ride into an­other world. A love story set on an­other planet fea­tur­ing to­tally be­liev­able alien char­ac­ters. ★★★★

Cheri: A film about an aged cour­te­san who falls for a spoilt young man. Cin­e­matic yet lack­ing sub­stance.

★★★

Cou­ples Re­treat: Silly fun in a mostly non-cringe­wor­thy way, un­de­mand­ing hol­i­day view­ing. You will laugh when you watch it and then to­tally for­get about it. ★★★

De­par­tures: El­e­gant, quiet study on how the highly sym­bolic death rit­u­als of Ja­pan help a cel­list come to terms with grief, loss and death and learns to live life to the full. ★★★★

Ev­ery Lit­tle Step: Emo­tional peek be­hind the scenes of the au­di­tion­ing

process for a big Broad­way mu­si­cal.

★★★★

In­vic­tus: Stir­ring Hol­ly­wood retelling of South Africa’s 1995 Rugby World Cup cam­paign. Clint East­wood does a great job of di­rect­ing Mor­gan Free­man and Matt Da­mon. ★★★★

Julie and Ju­lia: Meryl Streep bril­liantly cap­tures the spirit of Ju­lia Child, the chef who in­tro­duced French cook­ing to Amer­ica. ★★★★

Law Abid­ing Ci­ti­zen: Need­lessly vi­o­lent and rather ab­surd. Jamie Foxx looks bored and Ger­ard But­ler doesn’t

fare bet­ter. ★★

Last Chance Har­vey: A gen­tle ro­man­tic drama brings to­gether Dustin Hoff­man and Emma Thomp­son. ★★★

New Moon: The Twi­light se­quel gives fans ex­actly what we want, vam­pires, were­wolves, un­re­quited love and cool sfx. ★★★

Old Dogs: A failed at­tempt at a fam­ily com­edy star­ring John Tra­volta and Robin Wil­liams. Clichéd and

pre­dictable. ★

Rain­bow Skel­lums: South African can­did cam­era, but without Leon Schus­ter’s OTT fac­tor. The em­pha­sis is on mak­ing peo­ple an­gry, rather than scar­ing them. ★★

Sher­lock Holmes: Guy Ritchie has up­dated the quin­tes­sen­tial de­tec­tive story into a bro­mance with a dark Vic­to­rian twist. Plenty of mod­ernly chore­ographed action se­quences and a grimy Lon­don dom­i­nates the spec­ta­cle. ★★★

The Re­bound: Cather­ine Zeta-Jones and The Hang­over’s Justin Barth are the older-woman/younger-man combo in this pre­dictable rom­com which holds few sur­prises. ★★★

The Step­fa­ther: This re­make turns a fondly re­mem­bered hor­ror/thriller into a mild and te­dious sus­pense film.

★★★

Vel­veteen Rab­bit: Live action drama meets old-fash­ioned an­i­ma­tion in this loose adap­ta­tion of the clas­sic chil­dren’s tale. (Not re­viewed)

Waltz with Bashir: A pow­er­ful an­i­mated Is­raeli doc­u­men­tary in which the film­maker at­tempts to rec­ol­lect mem­o­ries of the 1982 war in Le­banon. A haunt­ing, orig­i­nal, genre-de­fy­ing piece of cin­ema. ★★★★

Whip It! Drew Bar­ry­more di­rects a strong fe­male cast in a charmer which man­ages to tran­scend its clichéd ma­te­rial with verve and good-na­tured wit. ★★★

OUT OF THIS WORLD: The vis­ually ar­rest­ing

Avatar takes you on a spec­tac­u­lar cin­e­matic ride to an alien planet.

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