Grizzly action heroes and lithe young dancers are duking it out at the South African box office from today. It’ll be interesting to see who emerges victorious (I suspect the Step Uppers), but either way it’s all about energy and adrenaline this week.
The Expendables 2:
The macho band of mercenaries is back for this explosive, deliberately overblown tribute to 80s action movies. Subtitled Back for War, The Expendables 2 sees Chuck Norris, Jean-Claude Van Damme and young Liam Hemsworth join Sly Stallone, Jason Statham, Jet Li, Dolph Lundgren, Randy Couture and Terry Crews, while fan-favourites Arnie and Bruce both get bigger roles as well. Van Damme is the villainous Vilain (yes, that’s right) up to no good with 5 tons of Plutonium.
The first Expendables was more tedious and brutal than fun, so its sequel promises to rectify this failure, while just generally ramping up the intensity all-round. Currently sitting with an aggregated Rotten Tomatoes rating of 64% Fresh, The Expendables 2 has been called good ol’ fashioned, stupid escapism… this time with a sense of humour about the B-grade badness of it all.
Step Up Revolution:
“I don’t want you hanging around with those flash mob kids.” “But we can change things!” Yup, this is some of the sublimely ridiculous dialogue in the trailer for Step Up movie #4. Shot for 3D like its predecessor, Revolution is set in colourful Miami and centres on an an aspirant dancer (Kathryn McCormick) who defies her wealthy developer daddy (Peter Gallagher) to join a rebellious flash mob.
Of course nobody has ever watched a Step Up movie for its tepid storyline. Audiences are there for the breathtaking, energetic dance moves. And Revolution certainly looks like it delivers in that department. Still, it’s impossible to escape the feeling that we’ve seen this all before. Fun for fans but formulaic.
The Eye of the Storm:
Screening in limited release is this Australian melodrama based on Patrick White’s acclaimed novel. Even as she lies in her deathbed, a sharp-tongued matriarch (Charlotte Rampling) continues to control and destructively manipulate those in her life, including her middle-aged children (Geoffrey Rush and Judy Davis).
You’ll no doubt be watching The Eye of the Storm for its strong cast. And evidently the film is an all-round polished production, having earned several award nominations (Best Film, Director, Actor, Actress) at various film festivals since release last year. However, the movie struggles with the tonal shifts of its source material and feels too unrealistically mannered as a result.
Exclusive to Ster Kinekor cinemas is this feature length documentary that examines the scourge of bullying in American schools. The film follows the lives of 5 students over the course of a year, as well as those incidents where harassment, and lack of support, ultimately led to suicide.
Bullying – whether in real life or online – is very much a hot topic these days. Bully is apparently a powerful, enlightening and well-shot examination of the issue… although some have complained that the documentary doesn’t extend its focus beyond the victims to look at the bigger picture.