The week is buzzing for movie fans in South Africa as their beloved cinema chains finally reopened their doors this past weekend.
Ster-Kinekor, CineCentre and NuMetro (on weekends only) have all opened selected sites with health protocols in place.
With a few new releases on screen, film fans can also look forward to re-releases of recent classics, such as Black Panther (2018) and The Lion King (2019) in coming weeks.
Action thriller ‘Ava’
Starring Jessica Chastain in the lead role of Ava, Tate Taylor directs the story of a black-ops assassin with a troubled past.
Despite a promising performance from Chastain, the script itself is rather troubled.
The opening portions of the film are gripping with an intense action sequence set in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. All departments play their part in this section.
Once the narrative shifts to Boston, however, Ava loses its way and drifts from the action thriller genre.
Taylor also directed the thriller The Girl on the Train (2016), a film critiqued for its hollow plot and predictability.
This time, even though his action sequences are remarkable and his actors do a solid job, the writing lets him down.
Matthew Newton’s screenplay fails to engage and slides sluggishly, although cinematographer Stephen Goldblatt gives a stylish look to proceedings.
- Ava is now showing in cinemas nationwide and rates a 5/10.
Spiritual romance ‘Sadak 2’
Despite cinemas reopening in our part of the world, India has not been as lucky.
With COVID-19 still on the rise in the country, Fox Star Studios decided on a digital release for its highly anticipated Sadak 2 (The Road 2).
Mahesh Bhatt returns to the director’s seat for the first time in 21 years. He brings romance and spiritualism to the screens to close off a story from three decades ago.
Older viewers may remember Sadak (1991), the love story of Ravi Kishore (Sanjay Dutt) with Pooja (Pooja Bhatt) which transcended the ages.
Sadak 2 features flashbacks from the original and Ravi’s character takes centre stage.
In the new movie Pooja has now passed on, leaving Ravi depressed and suicidal while trying to run the taxi service which the pair had expanded.
Before passing away, Pooja however did take a final booking for a trip to Kailash.
Aarya (Alia Bhatt) makes her entry as their daughter. She wants to take revenge on the fake, fly-by-night guru and the cult that she believes have led to the death of her mother.
Her lover, Vishal (Aditya Roy Kapoor), has just got out of jail after being arrested on false charges.
Now, along with Ravi, the trio go on a journey to expose the cult that run the ashram in Kailash.
The story is gripping in its initial stages as Bhatt sets the stage for an enthralling tale.
Emotions fill the first half but forced twists and some lacklustre writing stop the plot from developing coherently after this.
Bhatt’s emotional journey
Sadak 2 is more about the emotions it invokes, though, with the feel and look of a typical Bhatt production.
Bhatt dims the cameras, turns up the spiritual dial to high, organises soothing music and the background score is pitch perfect.
If you enjoy romance with a touch of spirituality this film may be a “Sadak” (road) worth travelling.
Sadak 2 is now streaming on Disney+ Hotstar, and Bollywood Frenzy will announce its global television premiere.
- Sadak 2 rates 6/10.