Film & Stage Rating (Sept 21-27)

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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Rowan Atkinson as the title character in Johnny English Strikes Again.

FILMS NEW ON CIRCUIT IN DURBAN AND SURROUNDS – FROM SEPTEMBER 21

JOHNNY ENGLISH STRIKES AGAIN ***
Director:  David Kerr
Stars: Rowan Atkinson, Emma Thompson

After a cyber-attack reveals the identity of all of the active undercover agents in Britain, bumbling spy Johnny English is forced to come out of retirement to find the mastermind hacker.

THE CHILDREN ACT ***
Director: Richard Eyre
Stars: Emma Thompson, Stanley Tucci, Ben Chaplin

As her marriage crumbles, a judge must decide a case involving a teenage boy who is refusing a blood transfusion on religious principle.

THE HOUSE WITH A CLOCK IN ITS WALLS **
Director: Eli Roth
Stars: Jack Black, Cate Blanchett, Owen Vaccaro

A young orphan named Lewis Barnavelt aids his magical uncle in locating a clock with the power to bring about the end of the world.

GOTTI **
Director: Kevin Connolly
Stars: John Travolta, Spencer Rocco Lofranco, Kelly Preston

The story of crime boss John Gotti and his son.

BATTI GUL METER CHALU  **
Director:  Shree Narayan Singh
Stars: Shaid Kapoo, Yasmi Gautum, Shraddha Kapoor

A movie centred on relationships and  escalating electric bills.

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A scene from Hotel Transylvania 3: Monsters Vacation. Picture by Sony Pictures Animation.

FILMS STILL ON CIRCUIT IN DURBAN AND SURROUNDS

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.

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.

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.

BILLIONAIRE BOYS CLUB  ***
Director:  James Cox
Stars: Ansel Elgort, Kevin Spacey, Taron Egerton

A drama centred on a group of wealthy boys in Los Angeles who, during the early 1980s, establish a ‘get-rich-quick’ scam that turns deadly.

THE PREDATOR  ***
Director:  Shane Black
Stars: Boyd Holbrook, Trevante Rhodes, Jacon Tremblay

When a young boy accidentally triggers the universe’s most lethal hunters’return to Earth, only a ragtag crew of for soldiers and a disgruntled science teacher can prevent the end of the human race.

SUBMERGENCE  ***
Director: Wi m Wenders
Stars: Alicia Vikander, James McAvoy, Alexander Siddig

In a room with no windows on the eastern coast of Africa, a Scotsman, James More, is held captive by jihadist fighters. Thousands of miles away in the Greenland Sea, Danielle Flinders prepares to dive in a submersible to the ocean floor. In their confines they are drawn back to the Christmas of the previous year, where a chance encounter on a beach in France led to an intense and enduring romance.

SGT STUBBY  **
Director:  Richard Lanni
Stars: Helena Bonham Carter, Logan lerman, Gerard Depardieu

An animated film telling the true story of a stray dog who joins his new master on the battlefields of World War 1. For his valorous actions, Sgt.Stubby is still recognised as the most decorated dog in American history.

MANMARZIYAAN  **
Director: Anurag Kashyap
Stars: Abhishek Bachchan, Taapsee Pannu, and Vicky Kaushal

An Indian film telling a love story set in Punjab.

MILE 22 **
Director: Peter Berg
Stars: Mark Wahlberg, Lauren Cohan, Iko Uwais

A thriller in which an elite American intelligence officer, aided by a top-secret tactical command unit, tries to smuggle a mysterious police officer with sensitive information out of the country.

LOOKING FOR LOVE **
Director: Adze Ugah
Stars: Allen Booi, Lillian Dube, Tayo Fanira

A single, unaccomplished Zulu woman must find Mr Right in the pitiless concrete jungle that is Joburg before she turns 40. Desperate Buyi reluctantly allows her sexy, best friend to help find her a man from her exclusive ‘man market’’. Between questionable concoctions, a quirky magician with a cat obsession and a sex addict that can’t get enough of a big butt, Buyi quickly loses hope of finding Mr Right.

THE NUN **
Director: Corin Hardy
Stars: Bonnie Aarons, Taissa Farmiga, Jonny Coyne

A priest with a haunted past and a novice on the threshold of her final vows are sent by the Vatican to investigate the death of a young nun in Romania and confront a malevolent force in the form of a demonic nun.

YAMLA PEGLA DEEWANA: PHIR SE **
Director: Navaniat Singh
Stars: Dharmendra, Sunny Deol, Bobby Deol

Inheriting from the ancestors, the legacy of the Ayurveda panacea ‘Vajrakavach’, a famed and effective remedy for all ills,  brothers  Pooran and Kaala use the kavach with varied intentions. While good-hearted Pooran helps people, Kaala looks out for his interest in money.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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NOW ON STAGE IN DURBAN AND SURROUNDS

GODFREY JOHNSON: BREL, COWARD AND ME
(Rhumbelow Theatre, Tina’s Hotel, Beryldene Road, Kloof)

Cape pianist-singer Godfrey Johnson celebrates some of his favourite artists – among them Jacques Brel, Noel Coward, Cole Porter, Leonard Cohen and Kurt Weill – and also performs some of his own songs. A show filled with pathos, humour and a dash of madness, its varied songlist includes Marieke, Mrs Worthington and Hallelujah. Performances are at 8pm on Friday and Saturday (September 21 and 22) and 2pm on Sunday (September 23). Johnson has staged shows to much acclaim for years and who in 2015 composed the music for the Pieter-Dirk Uys musical, Die Van Aardes Van Grootoor. Tickets cost R150 (R130 for pensioners and students with valid student cards). A Family Pack discount during the first week of shows is also available – R300 total for two adults and two children. Booking is at Computicket or by calling Roland Stansell at 082 499 8636. (BS)

GET KNOTTED
(Rhumbelow Theatre, Cunningham Road, Durban)

If you missed it at last weekend’s excellent Hilton Arts Festival at Hilton College, consider catching this cheerful new cabaret by award-winning Durban performers Bryan Hiles, Darren King and Rowan Bartlett. Get Knotted is being staged at 9pm this Friday and Saturday (September 21 and 22) and at 2pm on Sunday (September 23) – and again at those times from Friday to Sunday, September 28 to 30. The show follows the versatile trio’s earlier, lighthearted Las Vegas tribute shows, Tie a Knot In It and Tie Another Knot In It. It is a web of pointless trivia and memorable melodies to move, soothe and delight. Tickets for the show cost R150 each (R130 for pensioners and students with valid student cards). A Family Pack discount during the first week of shows is also available – R300 total for two adults and two children. One may take along one’s own meals or snacks to the venue, but no beverages as a pub is on the premises. Light meals and snacks may also be bought at the venue. Booking is at Computicket or by calling Roland Stansell at 082 499 8636. (BS)

BARRY THOMSON: I AM, I SAID
(Rhumbelow Theatre, Allan Wilson Shellhole, Pietrmaritzburg)

Top Durban singer-guitarist Barry Thomson, of hit cover band The Reals, performs this  show at 2pm on Sunday, September 23.The venue is the Allan Wilson Shellhole in Alan Paton Road. It is described as an intimate tribute to a selection of artists that have bared their souls through songs. The featured acts include Don Henley, Jackson Browne, Neil Diamond, James Taylor, Eric Clapton, Bob Dylan and Tom Petty. Tickets cost R150 (R130 for pensioners and students) and booking is at Computicket outlets or by calling Roland Stansell at 082 499 8636.

A ROCKING WORLD TOUR
(Rockwood Theatre, Sibaya Casino, near Umhlanga)

Showcasing a vibrant parade of chart-topping hits from across the globe, A Rocking World Tour opens with a visit to Australasia, where the talented cast pays homage to the great bands and singers that rocked Down Under – from rockers AC/DC and Midnight Oil to the irresistible Kylie Minogue.  From there, they spin the globe and get caught up in an Asian adventure, with a colourful fusion of high-energy Bhangra and Bollywood hits. The next stop is the world’s party capital, Europe, where the singers and musicians pay tribute to Sweden’s Roxette and Abba, Norway’s A-Ha, France’s Gipsy Kings and Daft Punk, Italy’s Eiffel 65 and Germany’s Boney M, before jetting off to Britain to celebrate the rock of Led Zeppelin. The worldwide movement also features hits from Mexico, Jamaica, South America, the US and South Africa. The band consists of Barry Thomson of The Reals on lead guitar (to be replaced next week by former Tree63 guitarist John Ellis), Lloyd de Gier on bass, Dillan Kanny on drums and Shemuel Mahebeer on keyboards. The theatre opens at 6.30pm – meals are on sale at the venue – with the show commencing at 8pm Thursdays to Saturdays. Tickets cost only R99 each on Thursdays, and R130 each for other performances, but half price for pensioners at the 2pm Sunday matinee performances, when under-12s get in free. (BS)

NATIONAL ISICATHIMAYA COMPETITION
(Playhouse Opera theatre, Durban)

IF isicathamiya music is your thing, consider a visit to Durban’s Playhouse Opera theatre for the all-night performance on Saturday, September 22. This is the traditional music genre which attained iconic international status in the 1980s under the advocacy of South Africa’s Grammy Award-winning group, Ladysmith Black Mambazo. Now celebrating its 21st event at the Playhouse, The National Isicathamiya Competition attracts thousands of fans, who flock to support singing groups from all corners of KwaZulu-Natal, as well as the Eastern Cape and Gauteng. One hundred groups compete in this unique event, whose roots date back more than a century, for coveted prize money totalling R200 000 in these categories: Top 20, Standard and Open Section. Tickets cost R80 each and can be booked at Computicket outlets. For phone bookings call 0861 915 8000. (BS)

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


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