Film & Stage Ratings (Nov 3-9)

CINEMA RATINGS
***** EXCELLENT  ****VERY GOOD  *** GOOD  **AVERAGE  * POOR

Film ratings are by Billy Suter or from Internet Movie Data Base.  Theatre ratings are by Billy Suter.
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Note:  The Ster-Kinekor, Nu Metro and Suncoast CineCentre display adverts for KwaZulu-Natal cinemas are at end of this post.
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A scene from the Metropolitan Opera production of Bellini’s Norma.

FILMS NEW ON  CIRCUIT  IN DURBAN AND SURROUNDS – FROM NOVEMBER 3

NORMA ***
Director: Sir David McVicar
Stars: Sondra Radvanovsky, Joseph Calleja, Joyce DiDonato, Matthew Rose

The 210-minute film of the New York Metropolitan Opera. Bellini’s masterpiece stars Sondra Radvanovsky as the Druid princess and Joyce DiDonato as her rival, Adalgisa – a casting coup for bel canto fans. Tenkor Joseph Call;eja is Pollione, Norma;s unfaithful lover, and Carlo Rissi conducts. An evocative production that sets the action deep in a Druid forest where nature and ancient ritual rule.

WIND RIVER ****
Director: Taylor Sheridan
Stars: Jeremy Renner, Kelsey Asbille, Julie Jones

A well-received drama about a veteran tracker with the Fish and Wildlife Service, who helps to investigate the murder of a young Native American woman. He uses the case as a means of seeking redemption for an earlier act of irresponsibility which ended in tragedy.

ONLY THE BRAVE ***
Director: Jopseph Kosinski
Stars: James Brolin, Miles Teller, Jeff Bridges

Based on the true story of the Granite Mountain Hotshots, a group of elite firefighters risk everything to protect a town from a historic wildfire.

ITTEFAQ ***
Director: Abhay Chopra
Stars: Sidharth Maihotra, Sonakshi Sinha, Akshaye Khanna

A mystery thriller centred on a detective who seeks out the truth between two different stories of a crime scene.

HOTEL SALVATION ***
Director: Shubhashish Bhutiani
Stars: Adil Hussain, Lalit Behl, Geetanjali Kulkarni

A comedy-drama about a man who, faced with his father’s untimely and bizarre demand to die in the holy city of Varanasi, and attain salvation, is left with no choice but to embark on this journey.

FROM THE HOUSE ON WILLOW STREET **
Director: Alastair Orr
Stars: Shami Vinson, Carlyn Birchell, Steven John Ward

A HORROR film in which, after a young woman is kidnapped, her captors soon come to realise that in fact they may be the one’s in danger .This  woman has a dark secret inside her.

FLATLINERS **
Director: Niels Ardem Oplev
Stars:Ellen Page, Diego Luna, Nina Dobrey

Five medical students, obsessed by what lies beyond the confines of life, embark on a daring experiment: by stopping their hearts for short periods, each triggers a near-death experience. This gives them a firsthand account of the afterlife.

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Colm Meaney and Timothy Spall in The Journey.

FILMS STILL ON CIRCUIT IN DURBAN AND SURROUNDS

VICTORIA AND ABDUL ****
Director: Stephen Frears
Stars: Judi Dench, Ali Fazal, Tim Piggott-Smith

A drama in which Queen Victoria strikes up an unlikely friendship with a young Indian clerk named Abdul Karim.

GEOSTORM ***
Director: Dean Devlin
Stars: Gerard Butler, Jim Sturgess, Abbie Cornish

When the network of satellites designed to control the global climate start to attack Earth, it’s a race against the clock to uncover the real threat before a worldwide geostorm wipes out everything and everyone.

HAPPY DEATH DAY ***
Director: Christopher Landon
Stars: Jessica Rothe, Israel Broussard, Ruby Modine

A college student must relive the day of her murder over and over again, in a loop that will end only when she discovers her killer’s identity.

THE MOUNTAIN BETWEEN US ***
Director: Hany Anu-Assad
Stars: Idris Elba, Kate Winslet, Beau Bridges

A drama in which two strangers, stranded after a tragic plane crash, must forge a connection to survive the extreme elements of a remote, snow-covered mountain. When they realise help is not coming, they embark on a perilous journey across the wilderness.

MERSAL ***
Director: Atlee Kumar
Stars: Samantha Ruth Prabhu. Joseph Vijay

A magician goes to India and finds his long-lost brother, who is a doctor in the US. He learns about his identity and decides to take revenge for those who killed his parents.

THE JOURNEY ***
Director: Nick Hamm
Stars: Timothy Spall, Colm Meaney, John Hurt

An account of two men from opposite sides of the political spectrum who come together to change the course of history.  In 2006, amidst the ongoing, decades-long conflict in Northern Ireland, representatives from two warring factions meet for negotiations. In one corner is Ian Paisley (Timothy Spall), the deeply conservative British loyalist; in the other is Martin McGuinness (Colm Meaney), former Irish Republican Army member.

JIGSAW ***
Director: Michael Spierig, Peter Spierig
Stars: Matt Passmore, Tobin Bell, Callum Keith Rennie

Yet another sequel to the Saw horror hit from 2004, this film has bodies turning up around the city, each having met a uniquely gruesome demise. As the investigation proceeds, evidence points to one suspect: John Kramer, the man known as Jigsaw, who has been dead for 10 years.

THOR: RAGNAROK ***
Director: Taika Waititi
Stars: Chris Hemsworth,Tom Hiddleston, Cate Blanchett

A big-budget fantasy spectacle in which the mighty Thor, now imprisoned, finds himself in a lethal gladiatorial contest against the Hulk, his former ally. Thor must fight for survival and race against time to prevent the all-powerful Hela from destroying his home and the Asgardian civilisation.

MARSHALL ***
Director: Reginald Hudlin
Stars: Chadwick Boseman, Kate Hudson, Josh Gad

A drama about a young Thurgood Marshall, the first African-American Supreme Court Justice, as he battles through one of his career-defining cases.

VAYA **
Director: Akan Omotoso
Stars: Warren Masemola, Sihle Xaba, Harriet Manamela

A South African drama about three people boarding a train bound for Johannesburg. They are strangers, each on their own mission, with a simple task to complete… and in search of family to help them. But when they are betrayed by the very people whose protection they sought, they find themselves trapped in the city – invisible and alone.

THE JUNGLE BUNCH *
Director: David Alaux
Stars: Paul Borne, Phillipe Bozo, Pascal Casanova

An animated film in which Maurice may look like a penguin, but is a real tiger inside! Raised by a tigress, he’s the clumsiest kung-fu master ever. Along with his friends, The Jungle Bunch, he intends to maintain order and justice in the jungle, as his mother did before him. But Igor, an evil koala, wants to destroy the jungle once and for all, helped by his army of silly baboons.

TYLER PERRY’S BOO 2! A MADEA HALLOWEEN **
Director: Tyler Perry
Stars: Tkler Perry, Patrice Lovely, Brock O’Hurn

A comedy in which matriarch Madea, Bam and Hattie venture to a haunted camp ground and the group must run for their lives when monsters, goblins and the boogeyman are unleashed.

SECRET SUPERSTAR **
Director: Advait Chandan
Stars: Zaira Wasim, Meher Wij, Raj Arjun

This Indian film revolves around the life of a child who aspires to be a singer.

GOLMAAL AGAIN **
Director: Rohit Shetty
Stars: Ajay Devon, Arshad Warsi, Tusshar Kapoor

The fourth installment of the Golmaal franchise.

THE SNOWMAN **
Dirctor: Tomas Alfredson
Stars: Michael Fassbender, Rebecca Ferguson, Chloe Sevigny

This horror-thriller is about a detective, Harry Hole, who investigates the disappearance of a woman whose pink scarf is found wrapped around an ominous-looking snowman.

MY LITTLE PONY: THE MOVIE **
Director: Jayson Thiessen
Stars: Emily Blunt, Kristin Chenoweth, Liev Schreiber

A dark force threatens Ponyville, and the Mane 6 embark on an unforgettable journey beyond Equestria. There they meet new friends and exciting challenges on a quest to use the magic of friendship to save their home. An animated film.

KINGSMEN: THE GOLDEN CIRCLE **
Director: Matthew Vaughn
Stars: Taron Egerton, Matthew Vaughn, Mark Strong

When their headquarters are destroyed and the world is held hostage, the Kingsmen’s  journey leads them to the discovery of an allied spy organisation in the US. These two elite secret organisations must band together to defeat a common enemy.

THE LEGO NINJAGO MOVIE **
Directors: Charlie Bean and Paul Fisher
Stars: Jackie Chan, Dave Franco, Fred Armisen

Shunned by everyone for being the son of an evil warlord, a teenager seeks to defeat him with the help of his fellow ninjas.

THE EMOJI MOVIE *
Director: Tony Leondis
Stars: TJ Miller, Anna Faris, James Corden

A poorly received animated film in which Gene, a multi-expressional emoji, sets out on a journey to become a normal emoji.

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Dave Starke in Leonard Cohen – A Tribute, at Umbilo’s Rhumbelow Theatre this weekend.

NOW ON STAGE IN DURBAN AND SURROUNDS

EVTIA BEZUIDENTHOUT AND THE KAKTUS OF SEPARATE DEVELOPMENT
(Elizabeth Sneddon theatre, Durban)

Cacti, caucuses, koeksusters and wooden clogs. A piano and talk of poor diets, fake news, hashtags, The Great Trek, loo paper from Zimbabwe and Mandela’s plants. Derogatory remarks about British bread and butter pudding, and spotted dick. Then there are the nudges, winks, jabs or stabs at just about everyone from Donald Trump and Jacob Zuma to Thabo Mbeki, Pik Botha, Desmond Tutu, Jessie Duarte, Julius Malema… even Steve Hofmeyr. All this and lots more find place in the latest collage of comedy with clout and lots of prickles, written and performed by South Africa’s finest satirist, the legendary Pieter Dirk-Uys who, at 72, shows no signs of slowing down. The show is in Durban until November 19. Full review udner Theatre on this site. (BS)

LEONARD COHEN – A TRIBUTE
(Rhumbelow Theatre, Umbilo, Durban)

Singer-guitarist Dave Starke presents Leonard Cohen – A Tribute at this theatre at 42 Cunningham Road, Umbilo, at 8pm on Friday and Saturday (November 3 and 4) and 2pm and 6.30pm on Sunday (November 5). Written by Perran Hahndiek, the show had a sellout season at The Rosebank Theatre in Cape Town. It is described as an exploration of the life and works of the late Leonard Cohen. It features his music and poetry interspersed with anecdotes from his life and other literary writings. You can expect early hits such as Suzanne, Hallelujah and So Long Maryanne, the haunting Famous Blue Raincoat and Who By Fire?, lighter works such as Tower of Song as well as pieces from Cohen’s final album, You Want It Darker?. Starke appeared on the first season of The Voice – South Africa, in 2016. In addition to performing, he composes music for film and television, and also runs anon-profit performing arts school for underprivileged youth in southern Zululand. Tickets cost R150 and booking is at Computicket or by phoning Roland at 082 499 8636.

CAT SIMONI – DIVAS AROUND THE WORLD

SINGER and pianist Cat Simoni performs her Divas Around the World show at the Rhumbelow Theatre at Tina’s Hotel, Beryldene Road, Kloof, at 8pm on Friday and Saturday (November 3 and 4) and 2pm on Sunday (November 5). Divas Around the World!, devised and directed by Paul Spence, was first performed by Simoni on the MSC Sinfonia, between Mauritius and Reunion, and the songs are in English, Portuguese, Spanish, Italian, French, German and Greek. Expect hits by Barbra Streisand, Francoise Hardy, Petula Clark and others. Seating is at tables of six and tickets cost R150. Phone Roland at 082 499 8636 to book. (BS)

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Below are this week’s ads for KwaZulu-Natal from Ster-Kinekor, Nu Metro and Suncoast CineCentre.


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