• Movies

The accountant

Ben Affleck AccountantHow dangerous can a number crunching professional be?

One might say very (especially if the subject matter is money) or not depending on what the issue at hand is? So, maybe the correct question should be how deadly can an accountant be?

In the case of Christian Wolff (Ben Affleck) the answer is an emphatic VERY. This is especially an unwelcome and unexpected discovery those who cross his path invoke, and by then it’s a bit late to treat him with courtesy.

Christian, who grew up with a severe form of autism, is a brilliant accountant, whose clientele is more on the darker side. We are talking here of drug lords, gangsters, those who try to clean their monies from questionable businesses, and the most dangerous criminal organisations.

His life goes into overdrive when he takes on one particular case that looks like a legitimate client, and in his unusual way discovers discrepancies amounting to some $60 million. Without much notice, he seems to have triggered a chain of deaths that those responsible for will stop at nothing to keep what he has discovered disclosed.

Before he knows it, his services are terminated, and he gets blamed for causing the co-owner of the company to take his life because of what has discovered. Unbeknown to those who hired him is that his condition pushes him over the edge if he doesn’t complete what he stared. He has to complete his mission, and he pushes for this bodies start falling from all sides.

Furthermore, his dealings have long attracted the interest of the Treasury Department's Crime Enforcement Division that is run by Ray King (J.K Simmons). Ray gets Dana Cunnings (Anna Kendrick), who has a chequered past, to follow the case, if she wants to remain with the agency and avoid jail time.

As the body count go up, the mouse will become the cat, and nothing will stop this chain reaction from screeching to a halt, unless what has to be done is done. The flick is nicely paced, captivating, remarkably cast, and once the action kicks off, there will be nothing that will take away your interest on it.

Cast: Ben Affleck, Anna Kendrick, J.K. Simmons and Jon Bernthal. Directed by .... The Accountant opens at theatres on 28th October.  Preview by Mandla Motau

Jack Reacher: Never go back

Jack Reacher 16 Jack Reacher (Tom Cruise) is back in town, and as usual trouble seems to follow him wherever he goes.

The remarkable character based on the book by Lee Child, heads back to his hometown hoping to hook up with a Major Turner (Cobie Smulders) he has been communicating with for some time on “Jack Reacher: Never go back”. However, when he lands in her office, he finds that she has been arrested for conspiracy.

Like the trained machine that we know, his mind goes into overdrive as he tries to figure out what is going on. Before he knows it, he is actually being accused of a murder that is related to the major’s incarceration.

What is going on here? Well, it doesn’t take long for him to see that there is a major conspiracy going on here and he is right in the middle of it. You know, were billions are concerned, people are willing do a lot of things, including killing those in standing in their way.

Interestingly, as he goes about figuring what is going on, a street savvy 15-year-old (Danika Yarosh) is thrown into the mix. Could she be his daughter, as she previously claimed she is?

Usually a one man mission, he finds himself stuck with two ladies that he seems to care about, as some trained assassins are after his head. As the body count pile up, this of course means that he has to consider two more people while he tries to save his head, and oust the very people who want to take him out.

You know this is going to be difficult, especially when dealing with a rebellious young lady, who from time to time attracts the very people who want to kill them through some stupid mistakes. At the same time, he has to keep the major, who is now under his protection, safe.

“Never go back” is one of those movies that will keep you on the edge of the seat, and is a kick-ass outing. Smart, fast paced, action packed, sometimes comical, really exciting, with a tight written script, it will drag you along its charged journey as you try to figure who is who in the zoo, while showing a lot of heart.

Cast: Tom Cruise, Cobie Smulders, Danika Yarosh, Aldis Hodge, Robert Knepper. Directed byEdward Zwick. Jack Recher opens at theatres on 21st October. Review by Mandla Motau

Trolls

Trolls 16Where does happiness come from? What takes one to be happy?

For the miserable Bergens, they believe they have to eat the forever joyful Trolls to be happy. Such has been their tradition every once a year.

On one particular time, the trolls manage an escape and leave the dreaded community is a state of despair for decades. How else are they gonna be happy if they can’t eat trolls?

The one nasty official blamed for the escape is banished from the castle into a life of misery by herself. Of course the trolls continue of their life of happiness, and everyday pure joy.

However, it is too much happiness that exposes the trolls responsible for their forever doomed life. The Kings daughter (voiced by Zoeey Deschanel), ignores warnings by the overly cautious Branch (Justin Timberlake), throws a party that exposes their new home, and before they know it, they are captured.

How is this gonna play out, as the …, finally believe their tradition that gives them a chance at happiness is again at hand?  

“Trolls” is a feel good movie that will get the whole family going. It is full of spirit, has heart, and will teach those who are unhappy unless someone is unhappy a thing or two about joy. 

Also, be ready to be mesmerised by the trolls as they jam to some of the biggest songs on radio in the last few years. As you immerse yourself in their happiness, ready yourself to bounce a number of mainstream pop hits.  

Voiced by Anna Kendrick, Zooey Deschanel, Justin Timberlake, Christine Baranski, Gwen Stefani. Directed by Mike Mitchell, Walt Dohrn. “Trolls” opens at theatres on 21 October

Ms Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children

Ms Peregrine picTrust celebrated director Tim Burton to bring an imaginary world to the big screen in the most spectacular way possible. 

With Samuel L. Jackson (playing Barron) again playing a villain, in tow, the moviemaker has taken the classic Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children into that dream space in which imagination is the order of the day. The film is based on Ransom Riggs’s bestselling novel of the same name.

The flick follows misfit teenager Jake Portman (Asa Butterfield), whose life is turned upside down after his grandfather Abraham (Terence Stamp), who is known for telling stories that are more like figments of his imagination and said to be schizophrenic, is murdered. Following the last whispers of his grandfather, Jake then travels to Wales to try to make sense of his grandfather’s last messages and figure out what led to his death.

Traveling with his not so thrilled dad (Chris O’Dowd), at the behest of his therapist Dr Golan (Allison Janney) following the events, Jake has a map that leads him to a ruined old house on the tiny island of Cairnholm. This is the orphanage that his now late grandpa attended as a child, fleeing from Poland and the advance of the Nazis.

Before he knows it, a time-loop transports Jake back to a fateful day in 1943 and lands him outside a home that is populated by strange children known as “peculiars”. The peculiars are kept safe by their astute, fearless and pipe-smoking protector Miss Peregrine (Eva Green), who can transform herself into a peregrine falcon.

The peculiar children have superpowers that range from invisibility to the gift of encouraging rapid growth in some amazing root vegetables. Emma (Ella Purnell), whom Jake falls for, is lighter than air, wearing heavy metal platform boots to prevent her simply floating away. There is also a young girl who can demolish chicken using the mouth cunningly hidden in the back of her head, and extraordinary powers.

With time continuously reset to maintain the status quo, and the kids remaining young in perpetuity, they all have to avoid the attack of the bomb dropping Germans to preserve the home, and also deal with the nasty Barron, who is hunting the orphans, and seems to be immune to their powers, but Miss Peregrine’s.

How long can they avoid falling prey to him and his giant monsters? One thing leads to another, and boom, this lot are thrown into the real world, and the human race is under attack, as the movie moves into overdrive.

What needs to be done to save the situation, and preserve the present and life as we know it? Review by Mandla Motau

Girl on the train

girl on the train movie movie picHow broken does one have to be to be constantly checking their ex on social media and continue calling them on their phone two years on?

On the face of it, Rachel (Emily Blunt - pictured) is an alcoholic who gets drunk into a stupor, and have no memory of what happened after hitting the bottle, looks like one such hopeless case. As we get introduced to her character on the thriller “Girl on the train” that is based on the bestselling novel of the same name by Paula Hawkins, she seems to be finding it difficult to move on with her life. In fact, making her moving forward journey even more difficult is that her train commute to her job passes her former house and he has to witness her former (Justin Theroux), who seem to understand and defend her stalking habits on them, with her current wife Anna (Rebecca Ferguson) and baby daily.

As days and months pass, she takes interest in a couple – Scott (Luke Evans) and Megan (Halley Bennett) - that lives next to her ex. Watching them daily creates that “happy and perfect couple” notion in her, and sees what her marriage should have been in them.

But, like we all know, what we see isn’t always the case as far as so called ‘ideal relationships’ are concerned. One day her perfect couple dream gets shattered when she sees Megan kiss a stranger on her terrace. How could she do that to her man, and her (Rachel) emotional involvement?

Shattered and infuriated, she wakes up at her house with a crazy hangover, bruised with blood all around her. What happened, and why is she in this state?

Knowing that something is really wrong, she is shattered when she sees that Megan has disappeared. Do all her bruises have anything to do with this? Alas, Megan is later found dead, triggering the need to consider what real happened.

As the book is written, one gets introduced to the other characters in the movie. One gets to realise what was not going ok in Scott and Megan’s relationship. We also get introduced to this man she saw with Megan on the balcony, and he turns out to be her therapist Dr. Kamal Abdic (as Édgar Ramírez), whom she suspects could be somehow involved in her murder.

Also, Anna gets introduced into the picture, as Rachel starts suspecting she might have something to do with Megan’s death. But, who will believe her story about this, as she has done things that make her look like the suspect, including a suspected kidnapping of her baby, and of course her known drinking problem.

As she gets flashbacks, Rachel starts suspecting the whole world about Megan’s death. But, as she can’t even rely on her unreliable memory, what is true and what is fiction?

A reminder of Gone girl, this suspenseful drama that is also narrated by the three main women in it will get many to really think hard about what they consider to be fact, and force many to really evaluate what they value, and invest their emotions in. It will get you glued to the screen as you try to figure who is who in the zoo, what is fact, and what is fiction.

As events take their course, she might just figure out who she really is, what she is capable off, and have her world turned upside down as everything comes together. By Mandla Motau

Bad moms

Bad Moms laIt’s interesting what lots of women go through to make families work like oiled machines.

Life can be even so much harder for single moms (including those who have present, but not really present husbands, if U catch my drift), who have to do just about every little thing themselves. For Amy (Mila Kunis), her routine is really crazy, and you will wonder how she manages to survive a day.

Think about it, she has to get up, prepare the kids for school, drop them off at school, rush to work, attend meeting after meeting, rush back to school to pick up the kids, drop them off at home, back to work, still make it in time to prepare supper for them, help them with homework and then make it to bed to be able to wake up the next day in one piece. Phew…! And that’s not all if you include grocery shopping, house cleaning, laundry and more for this modern day Superwoman, who also has to include taking care of her husband who behaves like a kid most times.

She is not the only one in this life draining daily scenario, as her friends are also dealing with unfathomable stresses with no help at all. Add to that the nightmare called Gwendolyn (Christina Applegate), and her stooges (who include Jada Pinkett-Smith), who complicates their lives even more, as head of the P.T.A.

But, what happens when you push these women who are already down too far? Is the world ready for these women when they decide to stop being everything to everybody, and be “Bad moms”.

Things take an unpredictable turn when everybody, including them as well, realise that the pushovers they used to be are no more. Breaking the rules becomes the order of the day, including late nights, losing the so called expected manners, their kids finally realising that free-rides and everything done for them are out the window, get sloshed sometimes, and getting some as well (…yep, that unattended department too).

How will the new change affect all those around them? Are they ready for the responses they are likely to get?

Well, everything has consequences and a storm is certainly brewing at home, at work and against the P.T.A President.

Hit the theatres with your girls for this flick and be prepared to roll down laughing, be challenged to emancipate yourself, be challenged, and learn what happens when freedom hits you right in the face. It is hilarious, and as realistic as life can be when you finally wake up to it. Wakey, wakey…!

This is a must see indeed. 

Cast: Mila Kunis, Kristen Bell, Kathryn Hahn, Jada Pinket Smith. Directors: John Lucas and Scott Moore. Bad Moms opens at theatres on 19 August. Review by Mandla Motau

Bastille Day

Bast Day fHave you ever thought you struck it big, and find yourself facing the worst case scenario?

Living in Paris, pickpocketing US thief Michael Mason (Richard Madden - left) learns the hard way how a selfish move could turn his life on its head. The thief steals a bag, that turns out to contain more the goodies that he thought he has scored.

After just discarding it, a bomb goes off and his life just takes an unwanted and deadly turn. Now he has the bomb makers and the cops chasing after him. However, making his life difficult is that he doesn't know who is who.

In comes American CIA agent Sean Briar (Idris Elba - right) on the case in the foreign European country. An unconventional operative, he recruits Michael to use his stealing skills to blow the crime open.

But, who are they working against, as Paris seems to be burning with the masses taking to the streets? Also, they have to find the lady (Charlotte Le Bon) the bag was stolen from the piece the threads together.

Interestingly, what looked like a terrorist attack turns things on the head. Muslims are under attack, and the whole thing is quickly turning into a nightmare. Complicating matters is that the whole thing seems to be masked as an attack on Paris, when it is being used for sinister move.

What is at play here? Will Sean be able to figure out what is happening, and protect the two who seem to have been set up in a bigger ploy?

Cast: Idris Elba, Richard Madden, Charlotte Le Bon, Jose Garcia, Kelly Reilly. Directed by James Watkins. "Bastille Day" opens at theatres on 27 May. Review by Mandla Motau

X-Men: Apocalypse

X menIn the beginning of civilisation there was Apocalypse/ En Sabah Nur (Oscar Isaac).

Betrayed, the most powerful mutant who was worshipped as a god, he lies beneath a pyramid rubble waiting for his resurrection. That is the premise of "X-Men: resurrection" that gets released around the world today.

Upon awakening, he continues on his destruction mission to rule the world. On his side, he goes for disgruntled mutants who have a bone to pick with the world. These include Magneto/Erik Lehnsherr (Michael Fassbender) whose daughter is killed after he saves a factory worker after assimilating with humans.

It is now up to Professor X (James McAvoy) to save the good mutant and the very humankind that is looking for an excuse to destroy them. Interestingly, this is at the very early stages of the mutant foundation basis with the Professor, and most are still finding themselves and understanding their powers.

Most are forced to grow up quickly and join in a war that could be the end of the world as they know it. This is a bit difficult as some of the lessons are learnt at the height of danger.

Furthermore, the Professor risks being taken over by the soul consuming Apolcalypse, who thrives on taking the souls of others. Will they all realise their powers in time to save the professor, who has the powers to tap into all our heads, literally.

With some of the most spectacular CGI's and remarkable action stunts, this flick manages to put an interesting twist to the "X-Men" franchise and is Captivating. It is fast paced, intense and shows how easily some can move from one side to the other.

Cast: James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, Oscar Isaac, Evan Peters. Directed by Bryan Singer. "X-Men: Apocalpse" opens at theatres on 20 May. Preview by Mandla Motau

The man who knew infinity

Infinity Man f Those who get and love mathematics will tell you how beautiful the subject is.

Interestingly, see how the world celebrates when a years-long problem gets resolved. But, imagine the surprise of Professors and mathematicians when an unknown and "unlearned" name (Dev Patel), as far as this respected world, claims he knows solution of a life-long problem of infinity.

Cambridge University gets hundreds of letters of people who claim they can solve a number of unresolved maths problems. So, what makes this guy with no proper maths background claim this?

Based on a true story, Srinivasa Ramanujan Iyengar (Dev) convinces Cambridge's Professor G.H Hardy, and some pushing from Prof. Little Jones (Toby Jones) to invite him to the UK institution and earns admittance to Cambridge University during World War I. This happens after a culturally arranged marriage, and he has to leave his new wife behind.

On his arrival, Srinivasa proves his worth, albeit finding it hard going with some feeling he is challenging their status, other hating that he is Indian, and off course the culture issues. Also finding it difficult is that Professor Hardy, who invited him, is pushing him.

His thing is that, he knows and sees how to solve a problem, but doesn't go through the steps to prove that.
Sorta reminds me of myself and my reluctant to go through the steps to prove something in maths (not that I am a maths genius), but got straight to the answer. I mean why bother with the small things when you can see with the end result was my thing, and so is his.

He eventually figures out what is needed of him, and starts playing by the rules. Along the way he proved a number of theories, and was a great name who disproved some of the previously held views.

But, how did he get maths that easy. That is the question that the movie seeks to answer among many things. It also looks at his relationship with the world, impact of culture in our lives (the question of who looks at at it comes up as well), relationship with his wife (Devika Bhise), and her relationship with her mother in turn.

Beautifully done, the tear-jerker will tear you apart, give hope, inspire and make a lot of people dream again. It is one of the best movies in years.

Cast: Dev Patel, Jeremy Irons, Malcolm Sinclair. "The man who knew infinity" opens at theatres on 20 May. Preview by Mandla Motau