Film & Stage Ratings (Aug 24-30)

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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Denzel Washington in The Equalizer 2.

FILMS NEW ON CIRCUIT IN DURBAN AND SURROUNDS – FROM AUGUST 24

THE WIFE ***
Director: Bjorn Runge
Stars: Christian Slater, Glenn Close, Max Irons

A drama in which a wife questions her life choices as she travels to Stockholm with her husband, where he is slated to receive the Nobel Prize for Literature.

THE EQUALIZER 2 ***
Director: Antoine Fuqua
Stars: Denzel Washington, Pedro Pascal, Ashton Sanders

A thriller in which Robert McCall serves an unflinching justice for the exploited and oppressed. However, how far will he go when that is someone he loves?

CRAZY RICH ASIANS ***
Director:  Jon M Chu
Stars: Constance Wu, Henry Golding, Michelle Yeoh

This contemporary romantic comedy, based on a global bestseller, follows native New Yorker Rachel Chu to Singapore to meet her boyfriend’s family.

A.X.L **
Director: Oliver Daly
Stars: Thomas Jane, Becky G, Alex Neustaedter

The story of A.X.L, a top-secret, robotic dog that develops a special friendship with a lad called Miles, and will go to any length to protect his new companion.

HAPPY PHIRR BAG JAYEGI  **
Director: Mudassar Aziz
Stars: Jimmy Sheirgill, Sonakshi Sinha, Diana Penty

A Bollywood comedy film produced by Anand L Rai and Krishika Lulla. The film is a sequel to the 2016 success, Happy Bhag Jayegi.

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A scene from Down a Dark Hall, starring AnnaSophia Robb.

FILMS STILL ON CIRCUIT IN DURBAN AND SURROUNDS

INCREDIBLES 2 ***
Director: Brad Bird
Stars: Craig T Nelson, Holly Hunter, Sarah Vowell

Bob Parr (alias Mr Incredible) is left to care for young Jack-Jack while Helen (alias Elastigirl) is out saving the world. A sequel to the 2004 animated success.

OCEAN’S 8 ***
Director: Gary Ross
Stars: Sandra Bullock, Cate Blanchett, Anne Hathaway

Debbie Ocean gathers an all-female crew to attempt an impossible heist at New York City’s yearly Met Gala.

SKYSCRAPER ***
Director: Rawson Marshall Thurber
Stars: Dwayne Johnson, Neve Campbell

A father goes to great lengths to save his family from a burning skyscraper.

MAMMA MIA! HERE WE GO AGAIN ***
Director: Ol Parker
Stars: Lily James, Amanda Seyfried, Julie Walters, Meryl Streep

Lots more songs from Abba link this frothy sequel to 2008’s Mamma Mia!. The new film looks at the past of Donna (Meryl Streep) and the future of her daughter, Sophie. Very contrived but with enough kitsch, sparkle and to keep one interested. Look out for Cher as a glam gran.

MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE – FALLOUT ***
Director: Christopher McQuarrie
Stars: Tom Cruise, Henry Cavill, Ving Rhames

Another action-heavy spectacle in which Ethan Hunt and his IMF team, along with some familiar allies, race against time after a mission gone wrong

CHRISTOPHER ROBIN ***
Director: Marc Foster
Stars: Ewan McGregor, Hayley Atwell, Bronte Carmichael

A working-class family man, Christopher Robin, encounters his childhood friend Winnie-the-Pooh, who helps him to rediscover the joys of life.

THE GUERNSEY LITERARY AND POTATO PEEL PIE SOCIETY ***
Director: Mike Newell
Stars: Lily James, Matthew Goode, Glen Powell

The story of Juliet Ashton (Lily James) – a free-spirited, successful writer living in post-war London. Despite the success of her recent novel and support from her dear friend and publisher Sidney (Matthew Goode), she struggles to find inspiration for her writing after the harsh experiences of the war.

CHARMING ***
Director:  Ross Venokur
Stars:Demi Lovato, Sia, Wilmer Valderrama

An animated adventure centred on a three fairy tale princesses who find themselves engaged to the same guy, Prince Charming.

ALPHA ***
Director: Albert Hughes
Stars: Kodi Smit-McPhee, Natassia Malthe, Leonor Varela

An epic adventure set in the last Ice Age, this film tells a fascinating, visually stunning story that shines a light on the origins of man’s best friend.

FAREWELL ELLA BELLA ***
Director: Lwazi Mvusi
Stars: Jay Anstey, Sello Maake Ka-Ncube, Lionel Newton

A South Africa film centred on a young wowan who , after her father’s death, reconnects with her nomadic godfather, a musician.

THE SPY WHO DUMPED ME **
Director: Susanna Fogel
Stars: Milla Kunis, Jason Theroux, Kate McKinnon

An action comedy in which Audrey and Morgan, best friends, unwittingly become entangled in an international conspiracy when one of the women discovers the boyfriend who dumped her was actually a spy.

DOWN A DARK HALL **
Director: Rodrigo Cortes
Stars: AnnaSophia Robb, Uma Thurman, Isabella Fuhrman

Kit Gordy, a new student at the exclusive Blackwood Boarding School, confronts the institution’s supernatural occurrences and dark powers of its headmistress.

HOTEL TRANSYLVANIA 3: MONSTERS VACATION **
Director: Genndy Tartakovsky
Stars: Adam Sandler, Andy Samberg, Selena Gomez

An animated film in which Count Dracula and company participate in a cruise for sea-loving monsters, unaware that their boat is being commandeered by the monster-hating Van Helsing family.

SATYAMEVA JAYATE **
Director: Milap Zaveri
Stars: John Abraham, Manoj Bajpayee, Aisha Sharma

DCP Shivansh has been tasked to catch Vir, the man behind police killings in a big city. Both are eventually against the same enemy but divided by a fine line, the law.

THE MEG **
Director: Jon Turteltaub
Stars: Jason Staham, Rain Wilson

After escaping an attack by what he claims was a 70-foot shark, Jonas Taylor must confront his fears to save those trapped in a sunken submersible.

ADRIFT **
Director: Baltasar Kormakur
Stars: Shailene Woodley, Sam Claflin  Grace Palmer

A true story of survival, as a young couple’s chance encounter leads them first to love, and then on the adventure of a lifetime as they face one of the most catastrophic hurricanes in recorded history.

BROKEN PROMISES 4-EVER **
Director: Kumaran Naidoo
Stars: Kogie Naidoo, Rani Pillay, Maeshni Naiker

Another sequel to the hit South African comedy series, in which Reuben’s son, Mandoza, now gets into some courtship confusion, with his family getting the wrong end of the stick.

TEEN TITANS GO TO THE MOVIES **
Director: Aaron Horvath and Peter Rida Michall
Stars: Will Arnett, Eric Bauza, Kristen Bell

Animated film in which a villain’s maniacal plan for world domination sidetracks five teenage superheroes who dream of Hollywood stardom.

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The Reals salute Rodriguez in Kloof this weekend.

NOW ON STAGE IN DURBAN AND SURROUNDS

THE REALS: COLD FACT – A TRIBUTE TO RODRIGUEZ
(Rhumbelow Theatre, Tina’s Hotel, 14 Beryldene Road, Kloof)

Back again after first having been staged locally in December 2013, this is an excellent salute, by Durban’s The Reals, to the memory of the American musician and songwriter who, in the 1970s, was a hit in South Africa and Australia but virtually unheard of elsewhere in the world. Rodriguez was also the subject of the Oscar-winning documentary, Searching for Sugarman. Performances are at 8pm Friday and Saturday, and 2pm on Sunday. Tables seat six and tickets cost R150 each (R130 for pensioners). Book at Computicket or phone Roland Stansell at 082 499 8636. My full review of the show under Music on this site. (BS)

THAT’S WHEN THE TROUBLE STARTED…
(Rhumbelow Theatre, Allan Wilson Shellhole, Pietermaritzburg)

Singers Gary McKenzie, John Didlick and Grant Bell take a comical look at what often happens in relationships when there’s “trouble in paradise”, making use of varied songs and lots of joking. The songlist includes offerings associated with Roy Orbison, The Beatles, Johnny Nash, The Bee Gees, Procol Harum, The Beach Boys, The Rolling Stones and others. There are also hits associated with One Direction and Justin Bieber. Tickets cost R150 each (R130 for pensioners) and booking is at Computicket outlets or by calling Roland at 082 499 8636. (BS)

ONE MORE FOLK
(Hexagon Theatre Dive, Pietermaritzburg)

Scheduled for 7pm for 7.30pm on Saturday, August 25, this show features great songs of the ’60s and ’70s folk revival and has a cast headed by guitarists Daniel Rossouw and Ryan Calder. Also featured are singers Erin Fourie, Katherine McClelland, Sandra Styles and Tammy Calder. Expect songs associated with Simon and Garfunkel, John Denver, Donovan, Carole King, Pete Seeger, Joan Baez, Janis Joplin, The Beatles and others. Admission is R100 a head and one is permitted to take along snacks, but drinks have to be bought at the venue’s pub. Book at hexagon@ukzn.ac.za (BS)

THE SOUTH JERSEY POM-POMS
(Rhumbelow Theatre, Cunningham Road, Umbilo, Durban)

A quirky and delightful showband entertainment by the colourful South Jersey Pom-Poms, headed by vocalist and award-winning Durban actress Belinda Henwood. The South Jersey Pom-Poms present a cabaret-style romp through the tawdry world of ‘smoke and mirrors”. Performing their own songs in French, German, Italian and English, and bringing their alter-egos out to play, the team includes Grant Emmerich, Jochen Zeller, Sean Stewart and Anton Cawthorn-Blazeby. Tickets cost R150 each (R130 for pensioners) and booking is at Computicket outlets or by calling Roland at 082 499 8636. See my full review of the show, previously staged in Kloof, by clicking here: https://wp.me/p8dL0W-3bf (BS)

JUKEBOX HITS
(Rockwood theatre, Sibaya Casino, near Umhlanga)

Some of the most requested songs of all time feature in this new showband entertainment running until September 2. Jukebox Hits has a 10-member cast headed by popular Durban singers Liesl Coppin and Percy Smith, as well as charming vocalist Kyle Matthews. Jukebox Hits features classics such as Piano Man, What a Wonderful World, YMCA, Let’s Twist Again, Unchained Melody, New York, Don’t Stop Believing, Uptown Funk, End of the Road, Mony Mony, Black Velvet and That’s The Way I Like It, to name just a few. To book tickets for Jukebox Hits phone (031) 161 0000. Thursday night tickets cost R99, while Friday and Saturday night tickets cost R130 each. On Sundays, with adults at R130 a ticket, children under the age of 12 get in free and pensioners pay half price. (BS)

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


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