Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - GOODMOVIES -


Man­dela: Long Walk to Free­dom: This biopic has the po­ten­tial to stir emo­tions, but it sac­ri­fices his­tor­i­cal ac­cu­racy for the sake of drama, as it sweeps through decades of strug­gle a lit­tle over two hours of its run­ning time. The drama fo­cuses on Nel­son and Win­nie Man­dela. ★★★★ Be­fore Mid­night: The third film in the se­ries which be­gan with Be­fore Sun­rise and Be­fore Sun­set, sees Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy as Jesse and Ce­line, the once young lovers now firmly en­sconced within the re­gret and com­pro­mise of mid­dle age. Di­rec­tor Richard Lin­klater mas­ter­fully sets them up to grap­ple with in­ti­ma­tions of age­ing and mor­tal­ity. ★★★★ Shuks! Your Coun­try Needs You: Com­bin­ing a loose script with Leon Schus­ter’s sig­na­ture Can­did Cam­era gags, this film adds a fa­ther-and-son el­e­ment to the usual romp, in the form of Rob van Vu­uren play­ing Schus­ter’s off­spring. The film’s gags are slightly more palat­able than usual. “Punked” celebri­ties, in­clud­ing Peter de Vil­liers and Jack Parow, add a lit­tle value. ★★


Enough Said: Enough Said marks one of the fi­nal ap­pear­ances by the late James Gan­dolfini, play­ing a frumpy, over­weight aca­demic named Al­bert who em­barks on an awk­ward ro­mance with Eva (Ju­lia LouisDrey­fus), a masseuse who, like Al­bert, is a di­vorced par­ent of a teen daugh­ter about to leave home for col­lege. The film sparkles within and with­out, just like the rare gem that it is. ★★★★ The Hunger Games: Catch­ing Fire: The sec­ond in­stal­ment of the Hunger Games fran­chise is darker and more ma­ture. It ac­cen­tu­ates yet fur­ther the Or­wellian el­e­ments in the Suzanne Collins nov­els from which it is adapted, and ben­e­fits from another full-blooded per­for­mance from Jen­nifer Lawrence as the war­rior hero­ine, Kat­niss Everdeen. Yet, Catch­ing Fire is caught some­where be­tween night­mar­ish po­lit­i­cal al­le­gory and adolescent es­capism. ★★★ De­tach­ment: Di­rec­tor Tony Kaye’s de­pic­tion of a sub­sti­tute teacher’s hellish ex­pe­ri­ence in a pub­lic high school makes his film Amer­i­can His­tory X seem light­hearted by com­par­i­son. Adrien Brody de­liv­ers a fine per­for­mance as the cen­tral role of the dis­af­fected Henry Barthes. ★★★ Justin and the Knights of Val­our: This 3D CG-an­i­mated fea­ture, pro­duced by An­to­nio Ban­deras, is pal­lid com­pared to Pixar’s Brave. The plot is some sub­Arthurian whimsy about a red-haired young­ster who yearns to be a knight. Even the top vo­cal tal­ents (David Wal­liams, Saoirse Ronan) strug­gle to en­liven mat­ters. ★★ Imo­gene: A dis­mal sit­com stretched out to wafer-thin fea­ture length, this film is com­posed of sim­plis­tic pot­shots and walk­ing clichés, its hu­mour con­fined to the low­est­com­mon de­nom­i­na­tor. Failed play­wright and lov­ably neu­rotic Imo­gene (Kris­ten Wiig) fakes at­tempted sui­cide to win back her dis­tant Wall Street boyfriend, and in do­ing so in­ad­ver­tently con­vinces a doc­tor to place her in the emer­gency care of an im­me­di­ate rel­a­tive: her es­tranged mother (An­nette Ben­ing). ★ Cap­tain Phillips: A taut, finely crafted, su­perbly acted mar­itime thriller about the 2009 hi­jack­ing by So­mali pi­rates of the MV Maersk Alabama. ★★★★★ In­sid­i­ous: Chap­ter 2: Three years af­ter In­sid­i­ous in­tro­duced movie-go­ers to the Lam­bert fam­ily and its trou­bling con­nec­tion to the spirit world, the se­quel con­tin­ues the tale, but it has enough thrills, laughs and a story of its own to stand alone. ★★★ The Bling Ring: A mod­ern-day cau­tion­ary tale about youth run­ning amok, based on the true story of a group of teenagers who robbed the homes of Paris Hil­ton, Lind­say Lo­han and other celebri­ties. ★★★ Thor: The Dark World 3D: Di­rec­tor Alan Tay­lor’s valiant at­tempt to bal­ance the ac­tion with hu­mour is helped by Tom Hid­dle­ston’s sleekly malev­o­lent per­for­mance as Loki, a more en­gag­ing fig­ure than Chris Hemsworth’s mono­syl­labic Thor. ★★★ The But­ler: For­est Whi­taker plays Ce­cil Gaines, a share­crop­per’s son who serves eight US pres­i­dents as a White House but­ler. But, build­ing a heroic film around Gaines re­quires Her­culean ef­fort, which the di­rec­tor doesn’t quite man­age. ★★★

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