Film & Stage Ratings (Dec 7-13)

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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A scene from the Bolshoi Ballet’s The Nutcracker, at Cinema Nouveau cinemas this weekend.

FILMS NEW ON CIRCUIT IN DURBAN AND SURROUNDS – FROM DECEMBER 7

THE NUTCRACKER (BOLSHOI BALLET) **
Stars: Bolshoi Ballet

This festive season classic is the gift that keeps on giving. It all starts on Christmas Eve when the clock strikes midnight. The magic begins when Marie’s wooden nutcracker doll comes to life and transforms into a prince! Soon her other toys come alive, and Marie and her prince embark on a dreamy, unforgettable adventure.  Along with Tchaikovsky’s cherished score and some of the Bolshoi’s greatest artists, The Nutcracker is timeless and not to be missed. Duration: two hours and 20 minutes, with an interval of 15 minutes. Screenings are scheduled for Cinema Nouveau cinemas at 7.45pm on Saturday, 2.30pm on Sunday, and 7.45pm next Wednesday and Thursday.

COLETTE  ***
Director: Wash Westmoreland
Stars: Keira Knightley, Dominic West, Eleanor Tomlinson

This drama centres on a woman who is pushed by her husband to write novels under his name. Upon their success, she fights to make her talents known, challenging gender norms.

THE GRINCH ***
Director:
Stars: Benedict Cumberbatch, Pharrell Williams, Angela Lansbury

Not as good as the film with Jim Carrey, but this animated version of the Dr Seuss classic about redemption and love remains great fun for all ages. The story of a mean, green, furry creature that loathes Chriitmas and tries to stop it… but things do not go to plan.

INSTANT FAMILY ***
Director: Sean Anders
Stars: Mark Wahlberg, Rose Byrne, Isabela Moner

A comedy-drama revolving around a couple that find themselves in over their heads when they foster three children.

KEDARNATH **
Director: Abhishek Kapoor
Stars: Sushant Singh Rajput, Sara ali Khan, Nitish Bharadwaj

A Hindu-Muslim love story, Kedarnath portrays how a Muslim pithoo saves a Hindu tourist from the Uttrakhand floods at the pilgrimage, and the love that eventually develops between them.

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Eddie Redmayne in The Crimes of Grindelwald.

FILMS STILL ON CIRCUIT IN DURBAN AND SURROUNDS

FRANK AND FEARLESS ***
Director: Gray Hofmeyr
Stars: Leon Schuster, Themba Ntuli, David Dennis

This latest South African romp has funnyman Schuster as an ageing reprobate who, with a rural boy, a large dog and an orphaned baby rhino sets out to stop rhino slaughter. Their quest takes them through hysterically funny situations as well as times of tragedy, and they end up an inspiration and a conscience to a world in need of heroes.

HUNTER KILLER ***
Director: Donovan Marsh
Stars: Gerard Butler, Gary Oldman, Common

An untested American submarine captain teams with US Navy Seals to rescue the Russian president, who has been kidnapped by a rogue general.

THE CRIMES OF GRINDELWALD ***
Director: David Yates
Stars: Eddie Redmayne, Jude Law, Dan Folgler, Johnny Depp

The second installment of the Fantastic Beasts series set in J K Rowling’s Wizarding World, featuring the adventures of magizoologist Newt Scamander.

WIDOWS ***
Director: Steve McQueen
Stars: Viola Davis, Michelle Rodriguez, Elizabeth Debicki

A crime drama set in contemporary Chicago, amid a time of turmoil, four women with nothing in common except a debt left behind by their dead husbands’ criminal activities, take fate into their own hands, and conspire to forge a future on their own terms.

THE NUTCRACKER AND THE FOUR REALMS ***
Directors: Lasse Hallstrom and Joe Johnston
Stars: Mackenzie Foy, Morgan Freeman, Keira Knightley.

A fantasy spectacle in which a young girl is transported into a magical world of gingerbread soldiers and an army of mice.

A STAR IS BORN ***
Director: Bradley Cooper
Stars: Lady Gaga, Bradley Cooper

The fourth big-screen version of the rags-to-riches story, this time with Bradley Cooper as the fading music star who watches as his prodigy rises. There is strong Oscar buzz for Lady Gaga.

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.

BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY ***
Director: Bryan Singer
Stars: Rami Maslek, Lucy Boynton, Gwilym Lee

A chronicle of the years leading up to British rock group Queen’s legendary appearance at the Live Aid concert in 1985. Wikipedia reports that the film is already the most profitable musical biographical film in history.

RALPH BREAKS THE INTERNET ***
Director: Phil Johnston and Rich Moore
Stars: John C Reille, Sarah Silverman, Gal Gadot

An animated adventure in which, six years after the events of Wreck-It Ralph, Ralph and Vanellope, now friends, discover a wi-fi router in their arcade, leading them into a new adventure.

LA FANCIULLA DEL WEST (PUCCINI) ***
Director: Phil Johnston and Rich Moore
Stars:

At Cinema Nouveau cinemas only, this film of the Met Opera’s staging of Puccini’s opera is set in the time of the Gold Rush, when Minnie, the owner of a saloon, falls in love with a stranger, Dick Johnson, He us in fact the famous Ramerrez bandit wanted by the sheriff. When discovered, Minnie tries everything to save her lover, to gamble their lives during a poker game. Screenings are scheduled for 6pn on Tuesday and Wednesday at 11.30am.

CREED II ***
Director: Steven Caple jnr
Stars: Michael B Jordan, Sylvester Stallone, Tessa Thompson

Under the tutelage of Rocky Balboa, light heavyweight contender Adonis Creed faces off against Viktor Drago, son of Ivan Drago.

2.0  ***
Director: S Shankar
Stars: Jayamohan, Lakshmi Saravanakumar

An Indian sci-fi thriller about scientist helping the government investigate a threat beyond understanding.

STATUS UPDATE  **
Director: Scott Speer
Stars: Ross Lynch, Olivia Holt, Harvey Guillen

Ross Lynch stars as Kyle Moore, a teenager who after being uprooted by his parents’ separation and unable to fit into his new hometown, stumbles upon a magical app that causes his social media updates to come true.

NOBODY’S FOOL **
Director: Tyler Perry
Stars: Tiffany Haddish, Courtney Henggeler, Missi Pyle

A woman is released from prison and reunites with her sister. She soon discovers that her sister is in an online relationship with a man who may not be what he seems..

GOOSEBUMPS 2: HAUNTED HALLOWEEN **
Director: Ari Sandel
Stars: Madison Iseman, Jeremy Ray Taylor

Two young friends find a magic book that brings a ventriloquist’s dummy to life.

VENOM **
Director: Ruben Fleischer
Stars: Tom Hardy, Michelle Williams, Woody Harrelson

When Eddie Brock acquires the powers of a symbiote, he will have to release his alter-ego, Venom, to save his life.

NIGHT SCHOOL **
Director: Michael D Lee
Stars: Kevin Hart

A film about a group of troublemakers forced to attend night school in the hope that they will pass exams to finish high school.

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A moment from Twice Upon a Mattress – The Story of the Princess and the P.

NOW ON STAGE IN DURBAN AND SURROUNDS

BRITISH INVASION  
(Rhumbelow Theatre, Cunningham Road, Umbilo, Durban)

Durban band The Reals, with guest singer-guitarist Shaun Dragt, offer a great tribute to British acts that had great influence on music – from The Beatles , The Stones and The Kinks, to The Hollies, Bad Company, Led Zeppelin, The Verve, The Clash and many others. Final performances are at 8pm today and Saturday, and 2pm on Sunday. 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. Tickets cost R150 (R130 for pensioners and students) and can be booked at Computicket or by phoning 082 499 8636. (BS)

TWICE UPON A MATTRESS – THE STORY OF THE PRINCESS AND THE P (
OnStage@Altitude, Silver Road, Stamford Hill, Durban)

Seasoned panto star Thomie Holtzhausen has written and directed, and stars as a king and queen, in Durban’s 22nd annual naughty panto, a frothy load of slapstick, song, satire and naughty fun, very loosely centred on the fairy tale. The cast includes an on-form Jaziel Vaugh’hann as assorted drag queens, Mpilo ‘Straw’ Nzimande as Prince Ample and exciting newcomer Philisiwe Ntintili as the princess and a fairy. The panto is staged from 7.30pm to 9.30pm every Wednesday to Saturday. Patrons are encouraged to take along their own picnic baskets or snacks, but drinks must be bought at the venue’s small pub. Tickets cost R150 each but lower-priced performances have been scheduled for the Mondays December 3, 10 and 24, when tickets cost R100 each. Additionally, there is one Tuesday performance on December 18, for which tickets cost R150 each. For further information, or to book as a group, contact Thomie of It’sTaboo Production at 064 476 9533. Online bookings can be done via Quicket. (BS)

THE FOXY 4
(Rhumbelow Theatre, Tina’s Hotel, Beryldene Road, Kloof)

Durban singers Marion Loudon, Jemma Kate Badenhorst, Leigh Meyer and Camilla Rogers, performing to backing tracks, offer a glitzy party show with a great mix of songs and medleys saluting various decades and genres of music. Fun enough but lacking in direction and a little under-rehearsed on opening night. Hopefully most problems will be ironed out by now. Expect hits associated with the likes of The Andrew Sisters, Mango Groove, Beyonce, Carole King, Aretha Franklin, Sia, Lorde, Diana Ross, The Three Degrees, Adele and many others. Tickets cost R150 (R130 for pensioners and students) and can be booked at Computicket or by phoning 082 499 8636. Final performances are at 8pm today and Saturday, and 2pm on Sunday. (BS)

BEST OF DECADES
(Rockwood Theatre, Sibaya Casino, near Umhlanga)

Showcasing a vibrant parade of chart-topping hits from the 1970s, 1980s, 1990s and today, this showband entertainment features Durban talents Andrew Webster, Calli Thomson,Kirsty van der Linde and Dylan van der Linde, among others. 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)

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


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