Film & Stage Ratings (Feb 8-14)

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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Melissa McCarthy in the Oscar-nominated Can You Ever Forgive Me?

FILMS NEW ON CIRCUIT IN DURBAN AND SURROUNDS – FROM FEBRUARY 8

CAN YOU EVER FORGIVE ME?  ****
Director:  Marielle Heller
Stars: Melissa McCarthy, Richard E Grant, Dolly Wells

Nominated for three Oscars – for McCarthy, Grant and adapted screenplay, this drama centres on author Lee Israel falling out of step with current tastes and turning her art form to deception.

SEW THE WINTER TO MY SKIN  ***
Director: Jahmil X T Qubeka
Stars:Kandyse McClure, Peter Kurth, David James

In a racially charged and violent 1950’s rural South Africa, a liberal journalist recounts the epic chase, edge-of-your-seat capture and intriguing trial of a flamboyant, black “Robin Hood”. His captivating reimagining, paints a portrait of a divisive outlaw – hunted by the Republic, elusive even to his loved ones, all whilst remaining a champion of the disenchanted.

THE PRODIGY ***
Director: Nicholas McCarthy
Stars:Taylor Schilling, Brittany Allen, Jackson Robert Scott

A mother concerned about her young son’s disturbing behavior thinks something supernatural may be affecting him.

HOLMES AND WATSON  **
Director: Etan Cowhen
Stars: Will Ferrell, John C Reilly, Ralph Fiennes

A humorous take on Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s classic mysteries featuring Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson.

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Christian Bale in his Oscar-nominated role in Vice.

FILMS STILL ON CIRCUIT IN DURBAN AND SURROUNDS

THE FAVOURITE ****
Director: Yorgos Lanthimos
Stars: Rachel Weisz, Emma Stone, Olivia Colman

Nominated for 10 Oscars, this film is set in early 18th century England, when a frail Queen Anne occupies the throne and her close friend, Lady Sarah, governs the country in her stead. When a new servant, Abigail, arrives, her charm endears her to Sarah.

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.

VICE ***
Director: Adam McKay
Stars: Christian Bale, Amy Adams, Steve Carell

The story of Dick Cheney, an unassuming bureaucratic Washington insider, who quietly wielded immense power as Vice President to George W Bush, reshaping the country and the globe in ways that we still feel today. Nominated for eight Oscars.

THE GANDHI MURDER ***
Director:  Karim Traidia and Pankaj Sehgal
Stars: Stephen Lang, Luke Pasqualino, Jospeh K Bevilacqua

This feature tells the story of three police officers in different parts of India, who, well aware that Mahatma Gandhi’s life is under threat, must make key decisions that would eventually either save the Mahatma, or the country.

THE POSSESSION OF HANNAH GRACE  ***
Director: Diedrik van Rooijen
Stars: Shay Mitchell, Grey Damon,m\ Kirby Johnson

When a cop who is just out of rehab takes the graveyard shift in a city hospital morgue, she faces a series of bizarre, violent events caused by an evil entity in one of the corpses.

HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON: HIDDEN WORLD  ***
Director: Dean DeBlois
Stars: Cate Blanchett, Gerard Butler, Kit Harington

In this animated sequel,Hiccup discovers Toothless isn’t the only Night Fury so he must seek “The Hidden World”, a secret Dragon Utopia before a hired tyrant named Grimmel finds it first.

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.

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.

THE UPSIDE  **
Director: Neil Burger
Stars: Kevin Hart, Bryan Cranston, Nicole Kidman

A comedic look at the relationship between a wealthy man with quadriplegia and an unemployed man with a criminal record who’s hired to help him.

EK LADKI KO DEKHA TOH AISA LAGA  **
Director: Shelly Chopra Dhar
Stars: Sonam Kapoor, Anil Kapoor, Juhi Chawla

Some love stories are not simple. Sweety’s is one such story. She has to contend with her over-enthusiastic family that wants to get her married, a young writer who is completely smitten by her, a secret that she harbours close to her heart and ultimately the truth that her true love might not find acceptance in her family and society.

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.

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.

3 DAYS TO GO **
Director: Bianca Isaac
Stars: Lillete Dubey, Zakeeya Patel, Jailoshini Naidoo

A South African film about the story of adult siblings who, after the sudden death of their father, are forced to return to their childhood home.

DOMINEE TIENIE **
Director: Salmon de Jager
Stars: Izel Bezuidenhout,  Deon Lotz, Regardt van den Beregh

Reverend Tienie Benade is confronted by a cross road that will test his career, his marriage and his faith. A beautiful story about a man who needs to win back his confidence and to once again become the light he once was for everyone around him.

REPLICAS **
Director: Jeffrey Nachmanoff
Stars: Keanu Reeves, Alice Eve, Emily Alyn Lind

A scientist becomes obsessed with bringing back his family members who died in a traffic accident.

MANIKARNIKA  **
Director: Radha Krishna Jagarlamudi, Kangana Ranaut
Stars: Kangana Ranaut, Danny Denzongpa

The story of Rani Lakshmibai, one of the leading figures of the Indian Rebellion of 1857 and her resistance to the British Raj.

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.

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.

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Gino Fabbri and Ian von Memerty in Common and Class.

NOW ON STAGE IN DURBAN AND SURROUNDS

COMMON AND CLASS
(Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre, Durban)

Running until February 17, this show has more an awkward collage of slapstick and very, very corny humour than the expected musical clash between two very different singer-musicians, It is so weak for most of its first half that I thought I would have left by interval. However it improves and there are some fun moments in the second half, which includes song, jokes and dance. Common and Class looks a little lost on the large Sneddon stage, notwithstanding good lighting and an impressive backdrop of a shimmery curtain. It would probably work a lot better in a more intimate setting, perhaps as supper theatre, where a good few wines might help one to buy more into the craziness. The Rhumbelow Theatre in Umbilo perhaps? This all said, it has to be reiterated that there was much loud laughter from the audience on opening night and many people were even moved to give the show a standing ovation. Performances are scheduled for 7.30pm Tuesdays to Saturdays, with 3pm matinees on Saturdays and Sundays. Booking is at Computicket

LISTEN
(Rhumbelow Theatre, Umbilo, Durban)

Durban teenagers Marianthe Panas and Bernelee Frick, backed by the Shizam band, perform a tribute to hits from musicals including Evita, Burlesque and Chess. Performances are at 8pm Friday and Saturday (February 8 and 9) and 2pm on Sunday (February 10). 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)

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

Popular Durban band The Black Lapels, with guest guitarist Rusty Red, present highlights from various shows they have presented over recent months. Expect songs associated with Paul Simon, Creedence Clearwater RevivaL, Johnny Cash and others. .erformances are at 8pm Friday and Saturday (February 1 and 2) and 2pm on Sunday (February 3). 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)

HOLLYWOOD HITS
(Rockwood Theatre, Sibaya Casino, near Umhlanga)

Showcasing a selection of popular movie hits from the 1970s through to today, this is a slick and fun show from director and producer Andrew Webster, featuring costumes by his wife, Cindy Webster. The lively cast of nine is on good form and features strong vocals as a hat is tipped to films ranging from Fame and Footloose to Grease, The Greatest Showman, Ghostbusters, Mamma Mia, A Star is Born, Trolls, Aladdin, Frozen and Bohemian Rhapsody. 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. Until April 7. (BS)

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


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