Cinema Scoop  

Your weekend movie guide

Greetings movie lovers, it's time to take a look at what the cinema has to offer us this weekend.


In the year 2154, two classes of people exist: the very wealthy, who live on a pristine man-made space station called Elysium, and the rest, who live on an overpopulated, ruined Earth. The people of Earth are desperate to escape the planet's crime and poverty, and they critically need the state-of-the-art medical care available on Elysium - but some in Elysium will stop at nothing to enforce anti-immigration laws and preserve their citizens' luxurious lifestyle. The only man with the chance to bring equality to these worlds is Max (Matt Damon), an ordinary guy in desperate need to get to Elysium. With his life hanging in the balance, he reluctantly takes on a dangerous mission - one that pits him against Elysium's Secretary Delacourt (Jodie Foster) and her hard-line forces - but if he succeeds, he could save not only his own life, but millions of people on Earth as well.

     My Take

I've been looking forward to this science fiction action film for quite a while now. Elysium is South African director Neill Blomkamp's follow up to his break-out hit District 9, which was released back in 2009. District 9 was a fabulous film that combined spectacular visuals with an intriguing story and it was one of the more original sc-fi films in recent memory.

Much of the story in District 9 was an obvious allegory to the apartheid movement in South Africa and it appears that once again, in Elysium, Blomkamp will explore political and sociological themes such as immigration, health care and class structure. As long as he doesn't get too overly heavy-handed with his message, I'm on board.

In addition to superb actors such as Matt Damon and Jodie Foster, the cast also includes District 9's Sharlto Copley as well as Alice Braga, William Fichtner and Diego Luna.

In case you were wondering, the word Elysium comes from the ancient Greek and it is essentially a conception of the afterlife that evolved over time and was maintained by certain Greek religious and philosophical sects and cults. Initially separate from the realm of Hades, admission was primarily reserved for mortals related to the gods and other heroes. Later, it expanded to include those chosen by the gods, the righteous, and the heroic, where they would remain after death, to live a blessed and happy life, and indulging in whatever employment they had enjoyed in life.

I have pretty high hopes for Elysium and feel that it is going to be a visually spectacular slam-bang action film. If you are any kind of science fiction fan at all and enjoy some hard-nosed ass kicking to go along with a thought provoking and intelligent story, then I suggest you make a point of seeking out Elysium in theaters this weekend. I think it's going to be a winner.

     We're The Millers

In order to erase a major debt to a drug supplier - and maintain a clean bill of health - small-time pot dealer David Burke (Jason Sudeikis) must now become a big-time drug smuggler by bringing his supplier's latest large shipment in from Mexico. Twisting the arms of his neighbours, cynical stripper Rose (Jennifer Aniston) and wannabe customer Kenny (Will Poulter), and the tatted-and-pierced streetwise teen Casey (Emma Roberts), he devises a foolproof plan. One fake wife, two pretend kids and a huge, shiny RV later, the "Millers" are headed south of the border for a Fourth of July weekend that is sure to end with a bang.

     My Take

I don't know about this one. I mean, sure there are a few moments in the trailer that make it look pretty funny, but overall it just appears like another typical rated R comedy that takes pride in being really rude and crude while it attempts to offend people. Of course, these types of comedies typically tend to do quite well at the box office as is evidenced by its opening day haul of $6.8 million yesterday. It's on pace to score around $30 million for the weekend, which is not too bad at all.

We're the Millers was made by the director of Dodgeball, which I thought was a pretty funny movie when it was released 9 years ago, so there is hope that this one turns out to be quite entertaining. Also going for it is the strong supporting cast of funny people in it such as Nick Offerman, Ed Helms, Kathryn Hahn, Molly Quinn, Luis Guzmán and Ken Marino.

Personally speaking, this one isn't very high on my must-see list, but if you are in the mood for a raunchy comedy then you could probably do worse than checking out We're the Millers. I hope it's worthwhile.

     Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters

In order to restore their dying safe haven, the son of Poseidon and his friends embark on a quest to the Sea of Monsters to find the mythical Golden Fleece while trying to stop an ancient evil from rising.

     My Take

Based on a popular series of fantasy novels by Rick Riordan, Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters is the sequel to the 2010 hit Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief. The first film grossed over $200 million worldwide, so it should come as no surprise that a follow-up was in order.

I have to admit that I haven't seen the first Percy Jackson movie. It just didn't interest me all that much when it was released, so it stands to reason that I could care less about this sequel either. Even though I generally find stories about Greek mythology quite fascinating, this paint-by-numbers approach to the material appears strictly geared to the younger set and therefore doesn't capture my attention. 

I imagine that fans of the books as well as the first movie will be on board with this film no matter how good it turns out to be. It definitely looks like it's loaded with a ton a CGI special effects to keep the kiddies entertained. Hopefully it will offer up enough solid entertainment to keep the parents interested as well.

If this type of youth appeal fantasy tale is up your alley then you might want to check out Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters. It opened on Wednesday already.

Also opening this weekend for the kidlets is the latest offering from Disney Toon Studios, Planes. This spin-off of Cars features the voice of Dane Cook as a vertically-challenged plane with high hopes of becoming an air racer. Also starring the voice talents of Stacy Keach, Brad Garrett, Teri Hatcher, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, John Cleese, Cedric the Entertainer and Val Kilmer, Planes looks like the type of colourful cartoon that will likely only appeal to very young children.

If you are a fan of documentaries at all, then head down to the Paramount Theatre this weekend where they will be exclusively showing the highly acclaimed new film Blackfish

Blackfish reveals the story of notorious performing whale Tilikum, who - unlike any orca in the wild - has taken the lives of several people while in captivity. So what exactly went wrong? Shocking, never-before-seen footage and riveting interviews with trainers and experts manifest the orca's extraordinary nature, the species' cruel treatment in captivity over the last four decades, and the growing disillusionment of workers who were misled and endangered by the highly profitable sea-park industry. This emotionally wrenching, tautly structured story challenges us to consider our relationship to nature and reveals how little we humans have learned from these highly intelligent and enormously sentient fellow mammals.

I personally can't wait to see this fascinating looking documentary, it looks absolutely fabulous. Check out this important film that is currently scoring a 98% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Go see Blackfish!

Have a great weekend everyone, see you at the movies!

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About the Author

Just to give you a little background on my qualifications, I've been a film buff my whole life and I enjoy all different genres.

I especially have a passion for classic cinema.

I spent most of the past 17 years working for Rogers Video, so not only have I seen an immense amount of movies, but I've recommended many films to people over the years.

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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