Movies out today: Forcing “Fun” and Freelancers on us

Right South African moviegoers, this is evidently your weekend off. It’s time to relax and build up your strength because from next Friday the end of year blockbuster season kicks off. Skyfall, The Hobbit, Rise of the Guardians, Looper, Life of Pi… they’re all coming out in quick succession. Today, though, the new releases aren’t really appealing at all.

Freelancers:
50 Cent stars in this crime drama about the revenge-minded son of a murdered New York policeman. Eventually our hero and his 2 buddies find themselves among a band of rogue cops – headed up by his father’s corrupt former partner (Robert De Niro). Forest Whitaker also stars.

Shame. 50 Cent has a tendency to appear in these mediocre, essentially straight-to-DVD efforts. Despite the presence of De Niro and Whitaker (both on autopilot), Freelancers is apparently a listless, poorly scripted genre entry. And 50 Cent still doesn’t have the acting chops to carry a film.

Fun Size:
You can never have too many movies about teenagers’ nocturnal misadventures… At least that’s what Nickelodeon wants you to think about their new PG-13 comedy. When Wren (Victoria Justice) loses her little brother while trick-or-treating on Halloween, she enlists nerdy classmates with a car to help find him. Meanwhile she’s missing out on an epic house party thrown by her crush.

It’s not without its moments but Fun Size is evidently a lot less fun than it should be. Stranded somewhere between saucy gross-comedy and kids’ flick, it’s short on jokes and tonally uneven.

Pretville:
Oh, look, a South African Grease. Lucky us. Pretville is a new Afrikaans musical from the producers of Liefling Die Movie. In reality, the 1950s were hardly a Golden Age for all South Africans, but Pretville’s sole intent seems to be colourful, boisterous escapism with plenty of retro style.

Marlee van der Merwe stars in this tale of a small town “where anything can happen.” Expect cutesy romance, comedy and happy endings all around. Also starring the likes of Eugene Jensen, Lizz Meiring, Annette Engelbrecht and Steve Hofmeyr.

Bullhead:
Screening in limited release is this acclaimed crime drama from Belgium. Starring Matthias Schoenaerts, the film centres on a bulked-up, brutish beef farmer who becomes embroiled in the shady dealings of the cattle hormones mafia. In the process he’s forced to confront his painful past.

A Best Foreign Language Film nominee at this year’s Academy Awards, Bullhead has a Rotten Tomatoes rating of 84% Fresh. Bold in direction and (especially) performance, it’s dark, stark and powerful stuff. Worth watching but also a bit muddled.

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