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Won’t you take us to the bioscope?


Won’t you take us to the bioscope?

The films opening in our cinemas this week

Critics’ choice

What it’s about
Young Clara needs a magical, one-of-a-kind key to unlock a box that contains a priceless gift. A golden thread leads her to the coveted key, but it soon disappears into a strange and mysterious parallel world. In that world, she meets a soldier named Phillip, a group of mice and the regents who preside over three realms. Clara and Phillip must now enter a fourth realm to retrieve the key and restore harmony to the unstable land.
What people say
Feels like the mouse house just took bits from Alice In Wonderland, A Wrinkle in Time, and The Chronicles of Narnia and recycled them into a straight-to-DVD release that accidentally made it to theatres. – Cath Clarke, Guardian
The predictable plot is elevated by 17-year-old Foy, sweet and strong, adorably freckled and gifted at subtle physical communication. – Claudia Bauer, San Francisco Chronicle
What it’s about
Small-town best friends Hallie, Chloe, Wren and Katie go online to try and conjure up the Slender Man – a tall, thin, horrifying figure whose face has no discernible features. Two weeks later, Katie mysteriously disappears during a class trip to a historic graveyard. Determined to find her, the girls soon suspect that the legend of the Slender Man may be all too real.
What people say
Based on a viral 2009 internet meme that gave plenty of people the creeps, this lazy horror movie is filled with stale, worn-out scares, crude effects and jump scares, and poor storytelling. – Jeffrey M Anderson, Common Sense Media
Slender Man is just a bad movie, and bad in every possible way. – Paul Asay, Plugged In
What it’s about
Ray Breslin manages an elite team of security specialists trained in the art of breaking people out of the world’s most impenetrable prisons. When his trusted operative, Shu Ren, is kidnapped and disappears inside the most elaborate prison ever built, Ray assembles an elite team to assist in the rescue.
What people say
A waste of Sylvester Stallone’s talent and star power, not to mention 94 minutes of your time. – James Dyer, Empire
The whole film is as graceless, lurid and unnecessary as a Stallone painting – but without the winning naivety. – Leslie Felperin, Guardian
What it“s about
Annie (Rose Byrne) is stuck in a long-term relationship with Duncan (Chris O’Dowd), an obsessive fan of obscure rocker Tucker Crowe (Ethan Hawke). When the acoustic demo of Tucker’s hit record from 25 years ago surfaces, its release leads to a life-changing encounter with the elusive rocker himself. Based on the novel by Nick Hornby, Juliet, Naked is a comic account of life’s second chances.
What people say
Hawke – looking attractively dazed and confused – underplays his way into our hearts. – Peter Travers, Rolling Stone
You have to swallow a lot to buy into it – including the preposterous notion that anyone could ignore Rose Byrne – but the direction and the playing turn it into comfort food. –Ty Burr, Boston Globe
What it’s about
Wild child Tanya looks to her buttoned-up, by-the-book sister Danica to help her get back on her feet. As these polar opposites collide, Tanya soon discovers that Danica’s picture-perfect life and boyfriend may not be what they seem.
What people say
The film is being sold as a Tiffany Haddish comic vehicle, which it is. – Scott Mendelson , forbes.com
What it’s about
Written by SA actor Neil McCarthy and directed by Sara Blecher, this film is about an estranged son who must break the rules to save his family (and their criminal empire) when his overbearing father falters. What people say
Takes the classic gangster film, which peels away the layers of moral hypocrisy beneath the crime boss’ veneer of respectability, and locates it in a Johannesburg suburb that was once defined as “Indian” by the architects of apartheid, but has since become a melting pot of new migrants from across the continent. – Kelia Losa, peoplemagazine.co.za
What it’s about
Busi, a young destitute woman with dangerously repressed emotions, lands a job as a cleaner at a rundown hospital in the heart of Joburg. Desperate for the money so she can bring her younger sister to Joburg, she must cope despite the predatory and corrupt hospital manager. When Busi discovers an abandoned young girl in the hospital, who believes she is tormented by a supernatural force, Busi must face her own demons from her past in order to save the child from the abusive monster who pursues them both relentlessly.
What people say
It’s a slow-building supernatural story that teases the scares as the film unfolds. It’s not a jump-scare fest like a lot of Hollywood movies, it’s much more sophisticated and intellectual … It perfectly conveys that fear of the dark that you felt as a child, and also works as a brilliant homage to A Nightmare on Elm Street. – Kat Hughes, Frightfest

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