Film & Stage Ratings (March 2-8)

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:  Ster-Kinekor, Nu Metro and Suncoast CineCentre display adverts for KwaZulu-Natal cinemas appear at the end of this post.
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Jennifer Lawrence in Red Sparrow.

FILMS NEW ON  CIRCUIT IN DURBAN AND SURROUNDS – FROM MARCH 2

PHANTOM THREAD ***
Director: Paul Thomas Anderson
Stars: Daniel Day-Lewis, Lesley Manville, Vicky Krieps

Nominated for six Oscars, this is the story of Reynolds Woodcock who, in 1950’s London, is a renowned dressmaker whose fastidious life is disrupted by a young, strong-willed woman, Alma, who becomes his muse and lover.

RED SPARROW ***
Director: Francis Lawrence
Stars: Jennifer Lawrence, Joel Edgerton, Matthias Schoenaerts

A thriller in which ballerina Dominika Egorova is recruited to ‘Sparrow School’, a Russian intelligence service where she is forced to use her body as a weapon. Her first mission: targeting a CIA agent, threatens to unravel the security of both nations.

GAME NIGHT ***
Director: John Francis Daley, Jonathan Goldstein
Stars:  Jason Bateman, Rachel McAdams, Kyle Chandler

A crime-comedy in which a group of friends who meet regularly for game nights find themselves trying to solve a murder mystery.

THE ROAR ***
Director:  Frans Cronje
Stars: Greg Kriek, Eugene Khumbanyiwa, D David Morin

A South African drama about a singer-actress, Louise, who wants to consider a career as Broadway actress. However, her father, a South African game ranger stuck in the past, wants her to settle in the African bushveld, marry his right-hand-man, André, and live nearby. This causes inner turmoil for Louise and tension builds between father and daughter. To make matters worse, a life-and-death situation arises when Louise, André and her father encounter a lethal band of game poachers.

VEERY KI WEDDING **
Director: Asju Trikha
Stars: Pulkit Samrat, Jimmy Shergill, Kriti Kharbanda

This Indian comedy examines what happens when the most eligible bachelor in Delhi, Veerey, messes up his first meeting with the father of his beloved. The most fatal blow to the loved-up couple: no blessing from the father-in-law. Not helping the matter, is Veerey’s elder cousin brother, Balli, who threatens the would-be in-laws with dire consequences if anyone dares to break Veerey’s heart.

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A scene from Loving Vincent.

FILMS STILL ON CIRCUIT IN DURBAN AND SURROUNDS

 

THE GREATEST SHOWMAN ****
Director: Michael Gracey
Stars: Hugh Jackman, Zac Efron, Michelle Williams

Inspired by the imagination of PT Barnum, this eagerly anticipated film is an original musical that celebrates the birth of show business and tells of a visionary who rose from nothing to create a spectacle that became a worldwide sensation. Sentimental but delightful. A must-see!

THREE BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE EBBING, MISSOURI ****
Director: Martin McDonagh
Stars: Frances McDormand, Sam Rockwell, Woody Harrelson

A hard-hitting, superbly acted drama that is cleaning up at the awards ceremonies. Oscar-nominated, it tells of a no-nonsense mother who personally challenges the local authorities to solve her daughter’s murder when they fail to catch the culprit.

CALL ME BY YOUR NAME ****
Director: Luca Guadagnino
Stars: Arnie Hammer, Timothee Chalamet, Michael Stuhlbarg

In Northern Italy in 1983, seventeen year-old Elio begins a relationship with visiting Oliver, his father’s research assistant, with whom he bonds over his emerging sexuality, their Jewish heritage, and the beguiling Italian landscape. The movie features a screenplay by James Ivory.

LOVING VINCENT ****
Director: Dorota Kobiela and Hugh Weichman
Stars: Douglas Booth, Jerome Flynn, Robert Gulaczyk

In a story depicted in oil-painted animation, a young man comes to the last hometown of painter Vincent van Gogh to deliver the troubled artist’s final letter and ends up investigating his final days there. Nominated for an Oscar this year for Best Animated Feature.

THE POST ****
Director: Steven Spielberg
Stars: Meryl Streep, Tom Hanks

A drama about a cover-up that spanned four US Presidents, and which pushed the country’s first female newspaper publisher and a hard-driving editor to join an unprecedented battle between the press and the government.

THE DARKEST HOUR ****
Director: Joe Wright
Stars: Gary Oldman, Kristen Scott-Thomas, Lily James

During the early days of World War II, the fate of Western Europe hangs on the newly-appointed British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, who must decide whether to negotiate with Hitler, or fight on against incredible odds. Gary Oldman, as Churchill, took the Golden Globe for his excellent performance and is also a nominee for the Best Actor Oscar.

I, TONYA ****
Director: Craig Gillespie
Stars: Margot Robbie, Allison Janney, Sebastian Stan

Biographical drama in which competitive ice skater Tonya Harding rises amongst the ranks at the US Figure Skating Championship – but her future in the activity is thrown into doubt when her ex-husband intervenes.

BLACK PANTHER ***
Director: Ryan Coogler
Stars: Chadwick Biseman, Michael B Jordan, Lupita Nyong’o

An action-adventure in which T’Challa, after the death of his father, the King of Wakanda, returns home to the isolated, technologically advanced African nation to succeed to the throne and take his rightful place as king.

ALL THE MONEY IN THE WORLD ***
Director: Ridley Scott
Stars: Michelle Williams, Christopher Plummer, Mark Wahlberg

The story of the kidnapping of 16-year-old John Paul Getty III and the desperate attempt by his devoted mother to convince his billionaire grandfather, Jean Paul Getty,  to pay the ransom.

LADY BIRD ***
Director: Great Gerwig
Stars: Saoirse Ronan, Lairue Metcalf, Tracy Letts

Engaging and well-acted, but a somewhat overated film in which, in 2002, an artistically inclined 17-year-old girl comes of age in Sacramento, California.

TOSCA ***
Director:
Stars: Sonya Yoncheva, Vittorio Grigolo

The film of the Met Opera’s staging of the Puccini classic with soprano Sonya Yoncheva in the title role of the fiery diva and Vittorio Grigolo as her passionate lover, Cavaradossi. The pair are “youthful, ardent, and innocent … their duets electric, their kisses hot and numerous” (Wall Street Journal). Puccini’s melodrama about a volatile diva, a sadistic police chief, and an idealistic artist has offended and thrilled audiences for more than a century. Screenings will be at Cinema Nouveau and select Ster-Kinekor sites (Gateway in Umhlanga) will be at 6pm on Tuesday and 11.30am on Wednesday.

GNOME ALONE ***
Director: Peter Lepeniotis
Stars: Becky G, Josh Peck, Tara Strong

When Chloe discovers her new home’s garden gnomes are not what they seem, she must decide between the pursuit of a desired high school life and taking up the fight against the Troggs. An animated movie.

24 HOURS TO LIVE **
Director: Brian Smrz
Stars: Paul anderrson, Ethan Hawke, Rutger Hauer

A drama in which an assassin seeks redemption after being given a second chance at life.

SONU KE TITU KI SWEETY **
Director: Luv Ranjan
Stars:  Kartik Aaryan, Nushrat Bharucha, Sunny Singh Nijjar

Titu is set to marry a perfect woman named Sweety. Titu’s best friend, Sonu, doubts Sweety’s character and tries to break the marriage while Sweety tries to do the opposite. It leads to war between ‘bromance’ and romance.

WELCOME TO NEW YORK **
Director: Chakri Toleti
Stars: Sonakshi Sinha, Diljit Dosanjh, Karan Johar

A comedy in which Hero (Diljit Dosanjh), a sloppy recovery agent, and Jeenal Patel (Sonakshi Sinha), a fashion designer, become part of a big Bollywood event in New York, where chaos ensues.

DEN OF THIEVES ***
Director: Christian Gudegast
Stars: Gerard Butlr, Pablo Schreiber, O’Shea Jackson Jnr

A gritty crime saga which follows the lives of an elite unit of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department and the State’s most successful bank robbery crew, as the outlaws plan a seemingly impossible heist on the Federal Reserve Bank.

FIFTY SHADES FREED **
Director: James Foley
Stars: Dakota Johnson, Jamie Dornan, Arielle Kebbel

Believing they have left behind shadowy figures from their past, newlyweds Christian and Ana share a life of luxury. However, as she steps into her new role as Mrs Grey, he relaxes into an unfamiliar stability… and new threats could jeopardise their happy ending before it even begins.

PADMAAVATI ***
Director: Sanjay Leela Bhansali
Stars: Deepika Padukone, Anupriya Goenka, Ranveer Singh

Set in medieval Rajasthan, this Indian drama sees Queen Padmavati married to a noble king. They live in a prosperous fortress with their subjects until an ambitious Sultan hears of Padmavati’s beauty and forms an obsessive love for the Queen of Mewar.

THE COMMUTER ***
Director: Jaume Collet-Serra
Stars: Liam Neeson, Vera Farmiga, Patrick Wilson

An action-drama about a businessman being caught up in a criminal conspiracy during his daily commute home.

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.

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.

JUST GETTING STARTED **
Director: Ron Shelton
Stars: Tommy Lee Jones, Morgan Freeman, Glenne Headly, Jane Seymour

A two-hander action comedy in the vein of Midnight Run (1988), about an ex-FBI agent (Tommy Lee Jones) and an ex-mob lawyer in the Witness Protection Program (Morgan Freeman) having to put aside their petty rivalry on the golf course to fend off a mob hit.

TAD THE LOST EXPLORER: SECRET OF KING MIDAS **
Director: David Alonso and Enrique Gayo
Stars: IKscar Barberan, Michelle Jenner

An animated movie centred on Tad Jones, the most awkward explorer, who must rescue his beloved Sara from a millionaire who is looking for King Midas’ necklace.

12 STRONG **
Director: Nicolai Fugisig
Stars: Chris Hemsworth, Michael Shannon, Michael Peria

An action-drama telling the story of the first Special Forces team deployed to Afghanistan after 9/11. Under the leadership of a new captain, the team must work with an Afghan warlord to take down for the Taliban.

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John Ellis (left) and Andrew Webster in A Beautiful Noise at Sibaya Casino.

NOW ON STAGE IN DURBAN AND SURROUNDS

MARRIAGE FOR DUMMIES
(Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre)

Aaron McIlroy and Lisa Bobbert present their latest mesh of mirth, song and dance, with interesting insights in how to make a marriage last. Structured around the basic format of a Marriage Seminar, the show has Aaron and Lisa leading the audience through the many trials and tribulations that affect all marriages. In the guise of whacky characters, they identify most of the “problems” marriages face. Performances are at 7.30pm Tuesdays to Saturdays, and 6pm on Sundays. Until March 11. (BS)

DAVE MONKS: IRELAND’S CALL
(Rhumbelow Theatre, Tina’s Hotel, 13 Beryldene Road, Kloof)

Durban-based Irish singer and musician Dave Monks, of Leprechauns duo fame, is to present Ireland’s Call at 8pm on Friday and Saturday (March 2 and 3), and 2pm on Sunday (March 4). The show is jam-packed with nostalgia, popular sing-a-longs and Irish favourites, as Dave signs while playing fiddle, banjo, guitar, harmonica and tin whistle and vocals.Expect faves such as Danny Boy, Galway Bay, Whiskey in the Jar, Paddy McGinty’s Goat and Delaney’s Donkey, to name a few, plus a couple of new Irish songs composed by Dave4. This family show is suitable for all ages. Tickets cost R150 each and booking is at Computicket or by calling Roland Stansell at 082 499 8636. (BS)

CAT SIMONI AND PAUL SPENCE: DOUBLE ‘O’ BONDGIRL
(Rhumbelow Theatre, St Cyprians Church Hall, Umbilo Road, Umbilo)

If you\ are a fan of charming singer-pianist Cat Simoni, don’t miss her show with Paul Spence (who also devised and directed). The production will be at the temporary Umbilo venue at the St Cyprian’s Church Hall in Umbilo Road – at 8pm on Friday and Saturday, and 2pm and 6.30pm on Sunday. Have a ball with mischievous Cat as she slips into her billion-dollar Bond girl sheath and barrels headlong through the sexy, secret, spy world we all know and love, to give James some serious pay-back! Featuring all the big Bond movie themes, the has Spence as the suave English secret agent hopelessly ensnared in another Machiavellian web of global domination. Tickets cost R150 each and booking is at Computicket or by calling Roland Stansell at 082 499 8636.

A BEAUTIFUL NOISE
(Rockwood Theatre, Sibaya Casino, near Umhlanga)

Durban singers Marion Loudon and Andrew Webster are among the cast of this new show, which also features guitarist John Ellis (of Tree63), Andy Turrell on pedal-steel and second guitar, Anita Roscoe on violin, Dylan van der Linde on drums, Llewelyn Chetty on bass and the only musician not from Durban, Lifa Arosi, on keyboards. A tribute to iconic country, folk and acoustic rock artists, A Beautiful Noise will run until April 1. Expect songs associated with Ed Sheeran, Adele, Jason Mraz, The Lumineers, Neil Diamond, The Eagles, Crosby Stills and Nash, Rodriguez, Dolly Parton,  Creedence Clearwater Revival, Mumford and  Sons, Shania Twain and others. To book call (031) 161 0000. (BS)

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

 

 


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