Sharlto Copley voies the robot Chappie

In Theatres: Chappie; Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel; Unfinished Business

Vancouver-educated director Neil Blomkamp returns to Johannesburg with 'Chappie', the story of a robot what can think, learn like a human



Neil Blomkamp has returned to a dark, cannibalistic Johannesburg for his latest film, the future-set Chappie, about a robot with real thoughts, emotions, and the capacity to learn and live like a human being.

Blomkamp, who was educated at Vancouver Film School and has become the establishment’s poster alumnus, first rose to prominence with 2009’s surprise hit District 9. He stalled out a little with the Matt Damon-led Elysium in 2013, and Chappie has – unfortunately – failed to blow back critics’ hair in its advance screenings.

“Now Blomkamp, back home in Joburg, finds new ways to go off the cinematic rails with Chappie,” writes TIME’s Richard Corliss. “On the weird side, the movie takes place in South Africa’s largest city, with a teeming multiracial population; yet it has fewer roles for black actors than Disney’s new live-action Cinderella. Blomkamp has reimposed Apartheid on his own movie.”

Chappie stars Dev Patel as the robot’s creator and Hugh Jackman as the half-mulleted villain… or maybe just a scared mortal.

The film premiered on Wednesday in New York City and will be released in North America on Friday night, March 6.

And keep in mind that, while it had just a 30 per cent approval rating from critics aggregated on Rotten Tomatoes, it also had a 96 per cent ‘Want To See’ audience score and has received positive vibes – “Chappie is both a technical marvel and a hard-driving, highly emotional film,” writes the much-revered Leonard Maltin. “Despite echoes of District 9 and even older films like Short Circuit, Chappie is an impressive piece of work – until Blomkamp goes off the rails in a climax that doesn’t make much sense.”

The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

Also in theatres this weekend, Dev Patel (this guy’s everywhere) returns to the hospitality business with Maggie Smith, Judi Dench, Bill Nighy, and Celia Imrie in The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel – the sequel to 2012’s smash hit of almost the same title.

The negatives? Well, perhaps the first one didn’t need a sequel, writes Christy Lemire of RogerEbert.com, who gave the film 1.5 stars:

“The original Best Exotic Marigold Hotel made nearly $137 million worldwide. The motivation for a second film seems about as shameless as it was when Adam Sandler rounded up his buddies again to make Grown Ups 2.”

The positives?

It’s probably still charming, at least to those who are up for being charmed – not unlike how India was presented in the first film, as the land of light and colour to England’s ‘in death’s waiting room’ vibe.

“With Smith, Dench and Nighy, the cast really is expert,” writes the Denver Post‘s Lisa Kennedy. “And Patel is swift with a phrase even if Sonny’s a bit of a dunderhead, Sure, it has the comfy vibe of the familiar, but it’s all in feel-good fun.”

Unfinished Business

Finally, Dave Franco and Vince Vaughn rope veteran Brit actor Tom Wilkinson into their raunchy comedy scene with Unfinished Business – the film about Vaughn and his two employees, one too young (Franco) and one too old (Wilkinson) who resort to party timing with their new clients in Berlin, in an effort to win their business over an old rival (Sienna Miller).

I’ll skip linking to Rotten Tomatoes here. The film has weak reviews, but you aren’t going to watch this expecting The English Patient. The trailer will tell you what you probably want to see, more than any haute couture-like columnist could:

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Residents welcomed to The Summit in Victoria’s Quadra Village

Modern 320-bed facility designed for people with complex care needs including dementia

Victoria considers extending free transit passes for youth

Motion for extension of funding comes to council July 16

West Shore RCMP responds after reports of man masturbating on bus

52-year-old man charged with committing an indecent act in a public place

Saanich makes ALC appeal for Prospect Lake Elementary parking, portables

Council votes in favour of seeking non-farm use designation

Recent surge in COVID-19 cases not unexpected amid Phase Three of reopening: B.C.’s top doc

Keep circles small, wear masks and be aware of symptoms, Dr. Bonnie Henry says

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of July 13

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

B.C. NDP changing WorkSafeBC regulations to respond to COVID-19

Employers say reclassifying coronavirus could be ‘ruinous’

Statistical flaws led to B.C. wolf cull which didn’t save endangered caribou as estimated

Study finds statistical flaws in an influential 2019 report supporting a wolf cull

Beloved Island woman dies at 106

Dorothy Adair adored by the many people she met in Chemainus in two short years

Man arrested for allegedly pushing unsuspecting seniors, jumping on cars at Parksville mall

Cops arrest man after ‘aggressive incident’ at Wembley Mall in Parksville

B.C. man who went by ‘Doctor Ray Gaglardi’ charged with sex assault of teenage boys

The man, 75, is accused of assaulting teenage boys he met through Coquitlam-area churches

B.C.’s potential deficit $12.5 billion as spending spikes, taxes drop

Finance Minister Carole James gives COVID-19 outlook

Canadians torn on scaling back COVID-19 benefits to save money: poll

Of those surveyed, 78 per cent said they were worried about the size of the deficit

Most Read