Film & Stage Ratings (Dec 22-28)

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 Bolshoi Ballet’s spectacular The Nutcracker.

FILMS NEW ON  CIRCUIT IN DURBAN AND SURROUNDS – FROM DECEMBER 22

THE NUTCRACKER ****
Director: Yuri Grigorovich
Stars: Principals of the Bolshoi Ballet

As the clock strikes midnight, Marie’s wooden nutcracker doll comes to life and transforms into a prince, Soon joined by her other toys that have also come to life, Marie and her prince embark on a dreamy unforgettable adventure. The Nutcracker sweeps the Bolshoi stage for two hours of enchantment and magic. It runs for two hours and 15 minutes, with a 15-minute interval. At Gateway in Umhlanga  at 7.45pm on Saturday, 2.30pm on Sunday and 7.45pm on Wednesday and Thursday.

PITCH PERFECT 3 ***
Director: Trish Sie
Stars: Anna Kendrick, Rebel Wilson, Brittany Snow

Following their win at the world championship, the now-separated Bellas vocal team members reunite for one last singing competition at an overseas USO tour, but face a group who uses both instruments and voices.

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.

WONDER WHEEL ***
Director: Woody Allen
Stars: Jim Belushi, Juno Temple, Justin Timberlake

On Coney Island in the 1950s, a lifeguard tells the story of a middle-aged carousel operator and his beleaguered wife.

JUMANJI: WELCOME TO THE JUNGLE ***
Director: Jake Kasdan
Stars: Dwayne Johnson, Karen Gillan, Kevin Hart

Four teenagers discover an old video game console and are literally drawn into the game’s jungle setting, becoming the adult avatars they choose.

TIGER ZINDA HAI **
Director: Ali Abbas Zafar
Stars: Karrina Kaif, Salman Khan, Anupriya Goenka

A sequel to the record-breaking Ek Tha Tiger, this new film continues the story of two super-spies, Tiger and Zoya, eight years after their first adventures.

VELAIKKARAN **
Director: Mohan Raja
Stars: Aruldoss Yogi Babu, R J Balaji

A Tamil film in which a youngster from the slums fights to end food adulteration being commited by large food manufacturing companies.

RANGREZA **
Director: Amir Mohiuddin
Stars:  Ghana Ali, Bilal Ashraf, Urwa Hocane

The story of Reshmi, who belongs to a traditional Qawwal family and has been engaged since childhood to her cousin, Waseem. Conflict arises when Ali, a famous pop star, falls in love with Reshmi.

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A scene from the animated hit, Coco.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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A scene from Knowing Me, Knowing You at the Rockwood Theatre at Sibaya Casino.

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)

KNOWING ME, KNOWING YOU
(Rockwood Theatre, Sibaya Casino, near Umhlanga)

Durban’s new theatre presents a tribute to great partnerships of rock and pop, devised and directed by Durban performer Andrew Webster. This is a lively and colourful  tribute show that is certain to delight anyone who has been missing the old Barnyard shows. The two female vocalists, in particular (Liesl Coppin and Jemma Shankland), are confident and versatile, while saxophonist Kirsty can der Linde – a local Barnyard regular who has a solo spot in the show with The Beatles’ Come Together – is also a constant eye-puller. Until January 28. To book call (031) 161 0000. (BS)

AARON AND LISA @ TINA’S
(Rhumbelow Theatre, Tina’s Hotel, Kloof)

If you are after a really good bellylaugh and a guaranteed surge of the spirits in time for the Christmas weekend, don’t miss this loony-tune melee of music and mirth by two of Durban’s most seasoned and popular performers, Aaron McIlroy and Lisa Bobbert. Expect zany characters from their previous hit shows and songs ranging from a lyrically reworked Mambo No 5 and That’s Amore to Time Warp and Summer Loving. Tickets cost R180 each and the final performance is on Sunday. Call Roland at 082 499 8636 to book and for more information. (BS)

DRACULA
(Club Altitude, Silver Road, Morningside, Durban)

Durban’s 21st naughty panto has all you’d expect – ditzy dames, double entendres, jokes both corny and blue, sarcasm, send-ups, random song outbursts, and nudge-winks at politicians and Steve Hofmeyr, among others. Durban drag darling Anthony Stonier stars as the enigmatic count on a raised stage dominated by a penis-shaped archway. His co-stars include the amusing, scene-stealing, energetic, larger-than-life Jaziel Vaugh’hann, as saucy and flamboyant Juicy Lucy, chaperone to the dim-witted Mina, played by a bubbly Kerry-Lee McKibbin. The two find their lives changing by crossing paths with not only Dracula and the nerdy Jonathan, played by lanky and comical Mpilo Nzimande, but also two characters played by Thomie, for whom Dracula marks his 10th naughty panto appearance. Extended to January 20.  (BS)

CHRISTMAS FUN
(Rhumbelow Theatre, Umbilo, Durban)

Versatile Durban band The Reals present a sackful of fun Christmas songs as well as highlights from shows they have performed at this theatre this year, including tributes to Dire Straits and Fleetwood Mac. Presented at 8pm on Saturday, and 2pm and 6.30pm on Sunday, the show features Barry Thomson on guitar and vocals, Dawn Selby on keyboards and vocals, Jason Andrew on bass and vocals, and Andy Turrell on drums and percussion. Tickets cost R150 each and booking is by calling Roland at 082 499 8636. (BS)

A CHRISTMAS CELEBRATION
(Playhouse Opera, Durban)

The Playhouse Company presents a revival of a Christmas show directed by Ralph Lawson. It features Dr Tumi, Tim Moloi, Khanyo Maphumulo, The KZN Philharmonic Orchestra, The Playhouse Dance Residency and The Playhouse Chorale. Until December 23. (BS)

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


One thought on “Film & Stage Ratings (Dec 22-28)

  1. Happy Nee year from a very grey rainy Britain – lovely summing up ! You are doing s great job! Love Marianne x

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

    Like

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