Film & Stage Ratings (Dec 15-21)

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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Daisy Ridley in a scene from Star Wars: The Last Jedi. Picture: Lucasfilm Ltd.

FILMS NEW ON  CIRCUIT IN DURBAN AND SURROUNDS – FROM DECEMBER 15

STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI ****
Director: Rian Johnson
Stars: Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Mark Hamill

Having taken her first steps into the Jedi world, Rey joins Luke Skywalker on an adventure with Leia, Finn and Poe that unlocks mysteries of the Force and secrets of the past.

THE MAN WHO INVENTED CHRISTMAS ***
Director: Bharat Nalluri
Stars: Dan Stevens, Christopher Plummer, Jonathan Pryce

A drama telling the journey that led to Charles Dickens’ creation of A Christmas Carol, a timeless tale that would redefine the holiday.

FERDINAND***
Director: Carlos Saldanha
Stars: John Cena, Kate McKonnon, Bobby Cannavale

An animated romp in which Ferdinand, a bull with a big heart, is mistaken for a dangerous beast, is captured and torn from his home. Determined to return to his family, he rallies a misfit team on the ultimate adventure.

THE WEDDING PARTY **
Director: Thane Ecomomou
Stars: Michale adler, Deniz Akdeniz, Molly Burnett

A comedy in which a groomsman must navigate a slew of disasters to maintain order at his best friend’s wedding reception.

THE FOREIGNER **
Director: Martin Campbell
Stars: Katie Leung, Jackie Chan., Rufus Jones

A humble businessman with a buried past seeks justice when his daughter is killed in an act of terrorism. A cat-and-mouse conflict ensues with a government official, whose past may hold clues to the killers’ identities.

BARBIE: DOLPHIN MAGIC **
Director: Conrad Helten
Stars: Erica Lindbeck, Shannon Chan-Kent, Kazumi Evans

Barbie and her sisters visit Ken at his summer internship where he works at a coral reef researching dolphins. While diving and exploring the reef, the sisters discover rare, rainbow-colored dolphins who only visit once a year. This amazing find encourages them to learn more about preserving the coral and all the sea life that lives there.

RANGREZZ **
Director: Priyadarshan
Stars: Jackky Bhagnani, Priya Anand, Rajpal Yaday
An Indian action-drama in which three friends who come together to help a fourth friend elope with his lover, unite once again to teach the couple a lesson, when they part away.

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A scene from Paddington Bear 2.

FILMS STILL ON CIRCUIT IN DURBAN AND SURROUNDS

COCO ****
Director: Lee Unkrich
Stars: Anthony Gonzalez, Gael Garcia Bernal, Benjamin  Bratt

Nominated for two Golden Globe Awards (best animated film and best song, Remember Me), this film tells of a 12-year-old boy, Miguel Rivera, who is accidentally transported to the land of the dead, where he seeks the help of his musician great-great-grandfather to return him to his family among the living.

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.

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.

JUSTICE LEAGUE ***
Director: Zack Snyder
Stars: Ben Affleck, Gal Gadot, Jason Momoa

Fuelled by his restored faith in humanity and inspired by Superman’s selfless act, Bruce Wayne enlists the help of his newfound ally, Diana Prince, to face an even greater enemy.

DADDY’S HOME 2 ***
Director: Sean Anders
Stars: Mark Wahlberg, Will Ferrell, Mel Gibson

Having finally got used to each other’s existence, Brad and Dusty must now deal with their intrusive fathers during the holidays, in this comedy sequel.

WONDER ****
Director: Stephen Chbosky
Stars: Jacob Tremblay, Owen Wilson, Izabela Vidovic

Based on the New York Times bestseller, this drama tells the inspiring and heartwarming story of August Pullman, a boy with facial differences, who enters fifth grade, attending a mainstream elementary school for the first time.

PADDINGTON BEAR 2 ***
Director: Paul King
Stars: Ben Whishaw, Hugh Grant, Hugh Bonneville

Paddington the bear, now happily settled with the Brown family and a popular member of the local community, picks up a series of odd jobs to buy the perfect present for his Aunt Lucy’s 100th birthday, only for the gift to be stolen.

A BAD MOM’S CHRISTMAS **
Director: Jon Lucas, Scott Moore
Stars: Mila Kunis, Kristen Bell, Kathryn Hahn

A comedy in which, as their own mothers drop in unexpectedly, three under-appreciated and ever-burdened moms, rebel against the challenges and expectations of the Super Bowl for mothers: Christmas.

SHE IS KING ***
Director: Gersh Kgamedi
Stars: Ifani,. Anga Jamela, Mbuso Kgarebe

A musical in which a talented young woman from a rural village travels to Johannesburg, to become a star. She lands a role in a musical play about Zulu Queen Mkabayi, Shaka’s aunt, and searches for her identity as a Pperformer, a Zulu, a woman and a daughter.

BATTLE OF THE SEXES **
Director:  Jonathan Dayton, Valerie Faris
Stars:

The true story of the 1973 tennis match between World No 1 Billie Jean King and former champ and serial hustler Bobby Riggs.

OVERDRIVE **
Director: Antonio Negret
Stars: Scott Eastwood, Freddie Thorp, Ana de Armas

Two car thief brothers, who journey to the south of France for new opportunities, wind up in the cross hairs of the local crime boss.

MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS **
Director: Kenneth Branagh
Stars: Kenneth Branagh, Penelope Cruz, Willem Dafoe, Johnny Depp

Not as good as the 1974 film, this laboured remake of the Agatha Christie whodunit tells of a murder on a train where detective Hercule Poirot (Branagh with an impressive moustache), who is a passenger, is recruited to solve the case.

VUIL WASGOED **
Director: Morne du Toit
Stars: Bennie Fourie, Bouwer Bosch, Nico Panagio

An Afrikaans comedy about Wim and Kevin, who work at a laundromat. By day, things are boring, but when the sun sets they party in their clients’ clothes. During a party, they discover a chopped-off finger in a client’s suit’s jacket. The underhanded owner of the finger, his sons and a ruthless traitor is hot on Wim and Kevin’s heels and have no regard for their safety.

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.

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Graeme Wicks (left) and Bryan Hiles in Sinbad the Sailor, the finest show in town for the holiday season.

NOW ON STAGE IN DURBAN AND SURROUNDS

SINBAD THE SAILOR
(Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre, Durban)

Steven Stead has written and directed another memorable pantomime with a strong cast headed by Lyle Buxton as Sinbad, Darren King as villain Long John Sliver and Bryan Hiles as a dilly dame. Lots of colour, excitement and visual surprises in a show, brilliantly designed (as usual) by Greg King, that is packed with song, dance, traditional panto elements, festive cheer and good fun. The finest show in town! It runs until January 7. (BS)

CAPTAIN REDBEARD AND JEFF’S GREAT CHRISTMAS ADVENTURE
(Olive Tree Church, Florida Road, Morningside, Durban)

Presented by MacBob Productions, this rollicking, unpretentious romp for all ages is packed with festive cheer and fun. The amusing story of a pirate and his pal forced to use their imaginations to travel to an orphanage in a faraway land, the show runs for about an hour without an interval. It is just right for this time of year and a great choice for a family outing. Final performances are at noon today and tomorrow (December 15 and 16). Tickets cost R85 each and can be bought at the venue (opposite Rocco Mama’s in Florida Road) or via Webtickets at selected Pick ’n Pay outlets. (BS)

BADFINGER TO BAD COMPANY
(Rhumbelow Theatre, Umbilo, Durban)

ALWAYS in search of fresh ideas for their showband tributes, versatile Durban band The Reals have decided to feature the music of two groups whose names begin with the letter B for their latest show. The show has final performances this weekend – at 8pm on Friday and Saturdays and 2pm on Sunday. The show’s first half will intertwine the connection between Badfinger and Apple Records, a record label owned by The Beatles. They were supposed to be the next Beatles but a series of tragedies, mismanagement and “rock and roll rip-offs” left Badfinger little more than a sad footnote in musical history. The show also features Apple-affiliated artists, including The Beatles. Tickets cost R150. Booking is at Computicket outlets or by phoning Roland at 082 499 8636. (BS)

GREAT BRITISH PUB NIGHT
(Rhumbelow Theatre, Allan Wilson Shellhole, Pietermaritzburg)

Popular Irish singer and musician Dave Monks presents the fun Great British Pub Night show at 2pm and 6.30pm on Sunday (December 17). This fun show is said to offer some 50 snippets from the most popular of singalong and clap-along songs. Expect evergreen hits like Roll Out the Barrel, She’ll Be Coming Round the Mountain, Happy Days Are Here Again, It’s a Long Way to Tipperary, Show Me the Way to Go Home and also hits associated with Rod Stewart, Tom Jones, Cliff Richard, Roger Whittaker, Smokie and The Beatles. Tickets cost R150 each. Booking is at Computicket outlets or by phoning Roland at 082 499 8636.

DANNY FISHER: THE VOICE
(Rhumbelow Theatre, Tina’s Hotel, Kloof)

Singer and impersonator Danny Fisher presents The Voice at Tina’s Hotel, 14 Beryldene Road, Kloof, at 8pm on Friday and Saturday (December 15 and 16), and 2pm on Sunday (December 17). Presented by Steyn AliveProductions, the show sees the former frontman for The Blarney Bros impersonating the likes of Ozzy Osbourne, Mick Jagger, Rod Stewart, Roy Orbison, Tom Jones, Meatloaf, Elvis Presley, Willie Nelson, Julio Iglesias, Bob Dylan, Benny Hill and even Nelson Mandela. Seating is at tables of six. Tickets cost R150 each and booking is by calling Roland at 082 499 8636. (BS)

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


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