Film & Stage Ratings (April 20-26)

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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Toni Collette, Rossy de Palma and Harvey Keitel in Madame.

FILMS NEW ON CIRCUIT IN DURBAN AND SURROUNDS – FROM APRIL 20

JULIUS CAESAR ****
Director: Nicholas Hytner
Stars: David Calder, Ben Whishaw, David Morrisey, Michelle Fairley

Considered by many historians to be one of the greatest military commanders in history, Julius Caesar’s dramatic death inspired one of William Shakespeare’s most famous plays.  Now Tony and Olivier-award winning director Nicholas Hytner’s (The History Boys, Miss Saigon) acclaimed production, filmed live in London, brings audiences worldwide an immersive promenade staging of Shakespeare’s political thriller. Caesar (David Calder – The Lady in the Van, The World is not Enough) returns in triumph to Rome and the people pour out of their homes to celebrate. Alarmed by the autocrat’s popularity, the educated élite lead by Brutus (Ben Whishaw – Paddington, Skyfall) and Cassius (Michelle Fairley – Game of Thrones, Suits) conspire to bring him down. After his assassination, civil war erupts on the streets of the capital while Mark Antony (David Morrissey –The Walking Dead, The Missing) attempts to bring Rome back under control after the conspirators’ defeat. Hytner’s production for the Bridge Theatre thrusts the audience into the street party that greets Caesar’s return, the congress that witnesses his murder, the rally that assembles for his funeral and the chaos that explodes in its wake. Screenings at Cinema Nouveau are set for 7.30pm on Saturday, 2.30pm on Sunday and 7.30pm on Wednesday and Thursday. The running time is two hours and 15 minutes with no interval.

MADAME ***
Director: Amanda Sthers
Stars: Toni Collette, Harvey Keitel,  Rossy de Palma

Adding a little spice to a waning marriage, Anne and Bob, a wealthy and well-connected American couple, move into a manor house in romantic Paris. While preparing a particularly luxurious dinner for sophisticated international friends, our hostess discovers there are 13 guests. Panic-stricken, Anne insists her loyal maid Maria disguise herself as a mysterious Spanish noble woman to even out the numbers. But a little too much wine, and some playful chat, lead Maria to accidentally endear herself to a dandy British art broker. Their budding romance will have Anne chasing her maid around Paris and finally plotting to destroy this most unexpected and joyous love affair.
AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR ***
Director: Anthony Russo and Joe Russo
Stars: Karen Gillan, Elizabeth Olsen, Tom Holland
Opening on Thursday, April 26, this film has The Avengers and their allies having to be willing to sacrifice all in an attempt to defeat the powerful Thanos before his blitz of devastation and ruin puts an end to the universe.
 MARK FELT: THE MAN WHO BROUGHT DOWN THE WHITE HOUSE ***
Director: Peter Landesman
Stars: Liam Neeson, Diana Lane, Marton Csokas
The story of Mark Felt who,  under the name ‘Deep Throat’, helped journalists Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein uncover the Watergate scandal in 1972.
EARLY MAN ***
Director: Nick Park
Stars: Tom Hiddleston, Eddie Redmayne, Maisie Williams
An animated film set at the dawn of time, when prehistoric creatures and woolly mammoths roamed the earth. It tells the story of Dug, along with sidekick Hognob, as they unite his tribe against a mighty enemy, Lord Nooth, and his Bronze Age City to save their home.
AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR ***
Director: Majid Majidi
Stars: Tannishtha Chatterjee, Ishaan Khattar, Malavika Mohanan
When on the run from the cops , Amir finds his estranged sister Tara, who in a bid to protect her brother lands up in jail. Their entire lives have been clouded by despair as unexpectedly the light shines on them from Beyond the Clouds.
THE STRANGERS: PREY AT NIGHT ***
Director: Johannes Roberts
Stars: Christina Hendricksm Bailee Madison, Martin Henderson
A family of four staying at a secluded mobile home park for the night are stalked and then hunted by three masked psychopaths.
Three parents try to stop their daughters from losing their virginity on prom night.
BLOCKERS ***
Director: Kay Cannon
Stars: Kathryn Newton, Leslie Mann, Gideon Adlon
A comedy in which three parents try to stop their daughters from losing their virginity on prom night.
I FEEL PRETTY *
Director: Abby Kohn and Marc Silverstein
Stars: Amy Schumer. Michelle Williams, Emily Ratajkowski
A woman struggling with insecurity wakes from a fall believing she is the most beautiful and capable woman on the planet. Her new confidence empowers her to live fearlessly, but what happens when she realises her appearance never changed? Very poorly reviewed globally.

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A scene from the action-packed Pacific Rim: Uprising.

FILMS STILL ON CIRCUIT IN DURBAN AND SURROUNDS

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.

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.

TOMB RAIDER ***
Director: Roar Uthaug
Stars: Alicia Vikander, Dominic West. Walton Goggins

Lara Croft, the fiercely independent daughter of a missing adventurer, must push herself beyond her limits when she finds herself on the island where her father disappeared.

READY PLAYER ONE ***
Director: Steven Spielberg
Stars: Tye Sheridan, Olvia Cooke, BenMendelsohn

When the creator of a virtual reality world called the OASIS dies, he releases a video in which he challenges all OASIS users to find his Easter Egg, which will give the finder his fortune.

PETER RABBIT ***
Director: Will Gluck
Stars: James Corden, Fayssal Bazzi, Domnhall Gleeson

Feature adaptation of Beatrix Potter’s classic tale of a rebellious rabbit trying to sneak into a farmer’s vegetable garden.

A QUIET PLACE ***
Director:  John Krasinski
Stars: Emily Blunt, John Krasinski, Millicent Simmonds

A thriller in which a family is forced to live in silence while hiding from creatures that hunt by sound.

FIVE FINGERS FOR MARSEILLES ***
Director: Michael Matthews
Stars:Zethu Dlomo, Garth Breytenbach, Kenneth Fok

Lives change forever when Tau, the young lion, kills two corrupt policemen in a South African shanty town.

HERE COMES THE GRUMP ***
Director: Andres Couturier
Stars: Lily Collins, Toby Kebbell, Ian McShane

An animated film  in which balloon kingdoms, dopey police dragons and happy wizards are exactly how Terry remembered his grandmother’s whacky fairy tales. Except they are real and it’s definitely not as ‘cheerful’.

RAMPAGE ***Director: Brad Peyton
Stars: Dwayne Johnson, Naomie Harris, Malin Akerman

A grand adventure in which, when three different animals become infected with a dangerous pathogen, a primatologist and a geneticist team up to stop them from destroying Chicago.

COLOSSAL ***
Director: Nacho Vigalondo
Stars: Anne hathaway, Jason Sudeikis, Austin Stowell

Gloria is an out-of-work party girl forced to leave her life in New York City and move back home. When reports surface that a giant creature is destroying Seoul, she gradually comes to the realisation that she is somehow connected to this phenomenon.

HAMPSTEAD **
Director:  Joel Hopkins
Stars: James Norton,.  Diane Keaton, Lesley Manville, Brendan Gleeson

An American widow finds unexpected love with a man living wild on Hampstead Heath, when they take on the developers who want to destroy his home.

MIDNIGHT SUN **
Director:  Scott Speer
Stars: Bella Thorne, Patrick Schwarzenegger, Rob Riggle

A 17-year-old girl suffers from a condition that prevents her from being out in the sunlight..
PACIFIC RIM: UPRISING **
Director: Steven S DeKnight
Stars: John Boyega, scott Eastwood, Cailee Spaeny

A sci-fi adventure centred on Jake Pentecost, son of Stacker Pentecost, who reunites with Mako Mori to lead a new generation of Jaeger pilots, including rival Lambert and 15-year-old hacer Amara, against a new Kaiju threat.

ACRIMONY **
Director: Brandon E Brooks
Stars:Suzi Lorraine, Adam C Edwards, Michal J Panichelli Jnr

Thirteen years ago, a young girl drowned due to adult neglect, in present day, this little girl’s memory will spark a plot of retribution that will leave each person involved quite unwell.e.

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Mthokozisi Zulu and Bryan Hiles in KickstArt’s popular The Play That Goes Wrong, at Durban’s Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre.

NOW ON STAGE IN DURBAN AND SURROUNDS

THE PLAY THAT GOES WRONG
(Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre, Durban)

The year’s first production from Durban’s award-winning KickstArt theatre company has Steven Stead deftly directing an award-winning comedy about an amateur dramatics group for which anything that can do wrong, does, when they try to present a whodunnit. The ensemble cast includes Bryan Hiles, Michael Gritten, Daisy Spencer and Adam Dore. Excellent direction by Stead,  well acted, and people absolutely love it, but I personally find the play repetitive and increasingly corny. I also find it overstays its welcome. (BS)

THAT’S LIFE
(Rhumbelow Theatre, St Cyprian’s Church Hall, Umbilo Road, Umbilo, Durban)

Durban singers Samantha Landers (of The Voice SA), and Shylo Perreira will pool talents, backed by pianist Evan Roberts, for That’s Life, a musical entertainment to be staged at 8pm nightly from Thursday, April 19, to Saturday, April, 21, and also at 2pm on Sunday, April 22. The venue is the Rhumbelow Theatre branch at Tina’s Hotel, 14 Beryldene Road, Kloof. The show offers a musical journey through the life of women, featuring classic hits such as George Michael’s Careless Whisper and Carole King’s You’ve Got a Friend, as well as songs from musicals such as Wicked and Funny Girl, and hits including I Kissed a Girl, Cheek to Cheek, That’s Life, This is a Man’s World and Oops, I Did it again!. Tickets cost R150 each. To book, phone Roland Stansell at 082 499 8636.

THE GEE JAYS: DON’T TUNE ME, EK SE
(Rhumbelow Theatre, St Cyprian’s Church Hall, Umbilo Road, Umbilo, Durban)

The Durban vocal trio of Gary McKenzie, John Didlick and Grant Bell return with a revival of their show melding sketches, favourite songs and corny cracks. Tickets cost R150 each. Call Roland at 082 499 8636 to book or for more information. Performances are at 8pm on Friday and Saturday, and 2pm on Sunday. April  20 to 22.(BS

THAT ’80S SHOW
(The Rockwood Theatre, Sibaya Casino, near Umhlanga)

Andrew Webster has devised and directed this third party entertainment at Durban’s grand new supper theatre, which opened last November. Durban’s popular Barry and Calli Thomson are among a cast that pays tribute to ’80s hits by, among others, Tears For Fears, Def Leppard, Yazoo, Belinda Carlisle, Michael Jackson, Madonna, INXS, UB40, Pat Benatar,  Queen. Mango Groove and many others. I could have done with less narration and corny chit-chat but a good band with some great song choices. (BS)

IN THE FLESH; WISH YOU WERE HERE – A PINK FLOYD TRIBUTE
(The Wave Park at Gateway, Umhlanga)

Gateway’s Wave House – now known as The Wave Park – is under new ownership with new ideas and concepts for the entertainment plan going forward. The new owners have engaged entertainment personality and one time owner of Ballito’s Pumpkin Theatre, Danny Fisher, to run and conceptualise the new programming for the Marquee venue that is now part of the Wave Park. Whilst there is certainly still the “ family entertainment side” with kids activity, night markets and the like, Fisher is doing what he knows best: live entertainment. The large and comfortable marquee area, with tables and chairs, will offer regular live entertainment and the first, this Pink Floyd tribute, was staged at 7pm on April 12, and will be staged again, at the same, time on Thursday, April 19. A six-member band called In the Flesh will present their popular Pink Floyd tribute show, Wish You Were Here, for which tickets cost R100 at WEBtickets. In the Flesh features Dulcie Erasmus on keyboards/vocals, Neil Ford on bass, Grant Halliday on  drums, Steven Squier on guitar/vocals, Ross Tapson pn guitar/vocals and Martin Sigamoney on sax. The show, which will open at 7pm with a support act still to be named, has already been staged to success in Durban, Richards Bay, Ramsgate and Pietermaritzburg. Plans are in progress for it to soon be staged in Cape Town, Johannesburg and Pretoria. If you require any more info, phone Mark at (081) 75 9479. (BS)

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


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