[A catch-up session]
To my chagrin, the Internet at my home office has been down for over two months, thanks to what felt like a conspiracy between Internet ‘Service’ Providers. For those of you who live in South Africa, I will mention three little words, and thereby dispense with the need for any further explanation: iBurst, Telkom and MWeb
But I’m back, so a quite round-up is in order. Some of the films will no longer be on the theatrical circuit, but there’s always 3-D Blu-ray if you missed any of ’em…
Cirque du Soleil: Worlds Away **
The world-renowned acrobatic performers do their thing in a film that is, interestingly enough, shot on the Las Vegas stages at which they normally present their shows. For me, it went on a bit, though it’s certainly pretty to look at. I also wasn’t wild about poor cropping in the shoot, which frequently resulted in breaking of the 3-D window.
Oz The Great and Powerful ***
James Franco is all smirks and smiles in this prequel to The Wizard of Oz (yep; another one!). Whilst there are homages to the Judy Garland original (such as opening the movie in black & white), this spectacular-looking adventure lacks the magic of the classic that it references. (Enjoyable – but not something you’ll be urging your grandchildren to watch…) A touch that I enjoyed: during an early sequence, the story’s playing out within a masked-off frame-within-the-frame, which allows for some of the action to move out of the 3-D window. (Just like those print ads for 3-D TVs which show footballers’ legs extending outside of the 3-D window.)
Jack the Giant Slayer ***½
The fairytale revisited, with all the clout of the latest stereoscopic technology. This bold British venture proves that the islanders can happily compete in the spectacle stakes with their counterparts in Hollywood. The strong, largely UK cast includes Ewan McGregor and Ian McShane, although New Yorker Stanley Tucci gets the chance to go wickedly OTT. Surprisingly grisly for what is essentially a kids’ movie.
The Croods ***½
An overprotective caveman daddy (voiced by Nicolas Cage) has to protect his family in times of overwhelming hazard. Typical of Hollywood, it’s all terribly PC, what with the teenaged daughter being the informal leader, and her brother being the gormless follower. After a slow and worrying start (“Where’s this thing going?”), it heats up to provide spectacular scenics, some good laughs, and a warm serving of sentiment.
GI Joe: Retaliation •
No; really. A confusing plot and the endless bam, bam, bam of firearms being discharged. But then, we need to remember that this is a sequel of a movie which is based upon the existence of a series of action toys. That should explain it?
Iron Man 3 ***½
Robert Downey Jr’s interpretation of the cynical superhero is always engaging and entertaining, in addition to providing the most believable and interesting member of all the Marvel Comics ‘Avengers’ characters. If you’ve seen and enjoyed the Iron Man movies that preceded this, then you’ll know what you’re in for. My only gripe; it’s a tad too long – and it’s a criticism that can be applied to much of what’s coming out of the Hollywood at present. Get in, tell your story, and get out, for goodness’ sake – seemingly non-ending CGI fight sequences are boring.