Film & Stage Ratings (Jan 18- 24)

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: Latest Ster-Kinekor, Nu Metro and Suncoast CineCentre display adverts for KwaZulu-Natal cinemas appear at the end of this post.
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Clint Eastwood, aged 88, as he appears in The Mule, a film he also directed,

FILMS NEW ON CIRCUIT IN DURBAN AND SURROUNDS – FROM JANUARY 18

ANTHONY AND CLEOPATRA (NATIONAL THEATRE LIVE)  ****
Director: Simon Godwin
Stars: Ralph Fiennes, Sophie Okonedo

The National Theatre Live production of the Shakespeare classic, a great tragedy of politics, passion and power. Caesar and his assassins are dead. General Mark Antony now rules alongside his fellow defenders of Rome. But at the fringes of a war-torn empire, the Egyptian Queen Cleopatra and Mark Antony have fallen fiercely in love. In a tragic fight between devotion and duty, obsession becomes a catalyst for war. Screenings at Cinema Nouveau at 7.30pm on Saturday, 2.30pm on Sunday and 7.30pm on Wednesday and Thursday. Note that the NTL’s The Tragedy of King Richard the Second screens from February 23, while leading political dramatist David Hare’s new play, I’m Not Running, screens from March 16.

THE MULE ***
Director: Clint Eastwood
Stars: Clint Eastwood, Bradley Cooper, Manny Montana

A 90-year-old horticulturist and Korean War veteran is caught transporting $3 million worth of cocaine through Illinois for a Mexican drug cartel.

WHY CHEAT INDIA ***
Director: Soumik Sen
Stars: Emrran Hashmi, Shreya Dhanwanthary, Ammar Taalwala

A con man decides to take advantage of an academic world where there are very few opportunities and too many aspirants, and only the smartest can survive. From rigging examinations to forging certificates, his schemes both exploit and expose the failings of an Indian education system fraught with problems.

GLASS ***
Director: M Night Shyamalan
Stars: Bruce Willis, Samuel L Jackson, Sarah Paulson

A security guard uses his supernatural abilities to track Kevin Wendell Crumb, a disturbed man who has 24 personalities.

THE SISTERS BROTHERS ***
Director: Jacques Audiard
Stars: John C Reilly, Joaquin Phoenix, Jake Gyllenhaal

In 1850s Oregon, a gold prospector is chased by the infamous duo of assassins, the Sisters brothers.

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Jason Momoa as the title character in Aquaman.

FILMS STILL ON CIRCUIT IN DURBAN AND SURROUNDS

MARY POPPINS RETURNS ****
Director: Rob Marshall
Stars: Emily Blunt, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Ben Whishaw

Decades after her original visit, the magical nanny returns to help the Banks siblings and Michael’s children through a difficult time in their lives.

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.

LA TRAVIATA ***
Director: Michael Mayer
Stars: Diana Damrau, Juan Diego Flórez, Quinn Kelsey

A film of the Met Opera stage production of the grand Giuseppe Verdi opera, with Diana Damrau as Violetta Valéry and Juan Diego Flórez as Alfredo Germont . This new production of the timeless tragedy features a dazzling 18th-century setting that changes with the seasons. Screenings at Cinema Nouveau cinemas countrywide are schedule for 6pm on Tuesday and 11.30am on Wednesday.

BEAUTIFUL BOY ***
Director: Felix van Groeningen
Stars: Steve Carell, Timothee Chalamet, Maura Tierney

Based on the best-selling pair of memoirs from father and son David and Nic Sheff, Beautiful Boy chronicles the heartbreaking and inspiring experience of survival, relapse, and recovery in a family coping with addiction over many years

BUMBLEBEE ***
Director: Travis Knight
Stars: Hailee Steinfeld, Dylan O’Brien, Megyn Price

On the run in the year 1987, Bumblebee finds refuge in a junkyard in a small Californian beach town. Charlie, on the cusp of turning 18 and trying to find her place in the world, discovers Bumblebee, battle-scarred and broken.

AQUAMAN ***
Director: James Wan
Stars: Jason Momoa, Amber Heard, Willem Dafoe

Arthur Curry learns that he is the heir to the underwater kingdom of Atlantis, and must step forward to lead his people and be a hero to the world.

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.

DUMPLIN’ ***
Director: Anne Fletcher
Stars: Danielle Macdonald, Jennifer Aniston

A comedy-drama in which Willowdean (nicknamed Dumplin’), the plus-size teenage daughter of a former beauty queen, signs up for her mom’s Miss Teen Bluebonnet pageant. She does so as a protest that escalates when other contestants follow her footsteps, revolutionising the pageant and their small Texas town.

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.

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.

SPIDER-MAN: INTO THE SPIDER-VERSE ***
Director: Bob Persichetti, Peter Ramsey
Stars: Shameik Moore, Jake Johnson

This animated film has Miles Morales becoming the Spider-Man of his reality and crossing paths with his counterparts from other dimensions to stop a threat to all reality.

URI: THE SURGICAL STRIKES ***
Director: Aditya DHar
Stars: Vicky Kaushal, Kirti Kulhari, Yami Gautam

A drama based on true events of 2016, when the Indian Army avenged a deadly terrorist attack by carrying out a surgical strike.

VISWASAM ***
Director: Siva
Stars: Ajith Kumar, Navanthara

Viswasam delves into the world of Thooku Durai – a charismatic village chieftain who is beloved by his people and strikes fear in the heart of his enemies.

FINAL SCORE **
Director: Scott Mann
Stars: Dave Bautista, Pierce Brosnan, Ray Stevenson

After deadly terrorists abduct his niece at a soccer match, a former soldier with lethal fighting skills wages a one-man war to save her and prevent mass destruction.

PETTA **
Director: Karthik Subbaraj
Stars: Rajinkanth, Vijay Sethupathi

He works as a hostel warden, but there is more to Kaali than meets the eye… and things take an interesting turn when his path crosses with a group of dreaded gangsters.

ROBIN HOOD  **
Director: Otto  Bathurst
Stars: Taron Egerton, Jamie Foxx, Ben Mendelsohn

A war-hardened Crusader and his Moorish commander mount an audacious revolt against the corrupt English crown in a thrilling action-adventure packed with gritty battlefield exploits, mind-blowing fight choreography, and a timeless romance.

LUIS AND THE ALIENS **
Director: Christoph and Wolfgang Lauenstein
Stars: Callum Maloney, Dermot Magennis, Ian Coppinger

An animated comedy in which an 11-year-old boy befriends three aliens after they crash their spaceship into his house.

SIMMBA **
Director: Rohit Shetty
Stars: Sara Ali Khan, Raznveer Singh, Ajay Devgn

Simmba, a Corrupt Officer, enjoys all the perks of being an immoral and unethical police officer until a life-changing event forces him to choose the righteous path.

ZERO **
Director: Aanand L Rai
Stars: Shah Rukh Khan, Salman Khan, Katrina Kaif

The story revolves around Bauua Singh (Shah Rukh Khan), a vertically challenged man, who is full of charm and wit, with a pinch of arrogance. He is born to a wealthy family and raised in an environment of affluence.

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.

SECOND ACT **
Director: Peter Segal
Stars: Vanessa Hudgens, Jennifer Lopez

A romantic comedy about a big-box store worker who reinvents her life and her life-story and shows Madison Avenue what street smarts can do.

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.

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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NOW ON STAGE IN DURBAN AND SURROUNDS

FRESHA FESTIVAL
(North Beach lawns, Durban)

Various free outdoor theatre drama offerings, each between 15 and 20 minutes in length. The fun programme starts at 7am on Saturday, January 19, with a free, open yoga class, followed by a free, open dance class led by last year’s Standard Bank for Dance Award winner, Musa Hlatswayo, and his group of dancers. Saturday’s dance will be DanceXercise class, while Sunday will offer a Zumba class. At 9am on the Saturday, a selection of public participative workshops will be offered, covering street theatre and recycled art. See full story under Theatre on this site. (BS)

PLATFORM JAZZ: OUR FAVOURITE SWINGS
(Rhumbelow Theatre, Umbilo, Durban)

Popular Durban swing band Platform Jazz, with guest vocalist Bryan Hiles, presents an exuberant production laden with toe-tappers from yesteryear. Listen out for classics such as Mr Bojangles, Mac the Knife, Feeling Good, Sway, Have You Met Miss Jones?, Night and Day, Everything, Something Stupid, Haven’t Met You Yet and a rousing Quando, Quando, Quando finale that has Hiles leading a conga line with audience members.The show has final performances at 8pm on Friday (January 18), 2pm and 8pm on Saturday  (January 19) and 2pm on Sunday (January 20). Tickets cost R150 each (R130 for pensioners and students with valid student cards) and booking is via Computicket or by calling Roland at 082 499 8636. (BS)

BIG TOP ROCK
(Barnyard Theatre, Suncoast Casino, Durban)

The first show at Durban’s new Barnyard Theatre on the beachfront promenade is a revival and tweaking of an earlier hit show from this supper theatre franchise – a collection of rock songs performed by a band, singers, aerial artists and gymnasts, in a circus theme. A fun show with some dazzling moments, it runs until February 24. Performances are at 7.30pm every Tuesday to Thursday, when tickets cost R165 (Tuesday tickets are two-for-one price). Performances on Fridays and Saturdays are at 8pm, when tickets cost R165 each. Sunday shows are at 2pm and tickets cost R130 each (pensioners pay half price and under-12s get in free, for telephonic bookings only). (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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