This week’s movie releases

Matt Damon stars in District 9 director Neill Blomkamp's sociologically slanted sci-fi, Elysium

A shaven-headed Matt Damon stars in Elysium.
A shaven-headed Matt Damon stars in Elysium.

Four years after his acclaimed debut District 9, South Africa’s Neill Blomkamp returns with Elysium, and like his previous effort it’s a smart slice of sci-fi with a serious sociological slant. It’s 2154 and the human race is divided into the haves — who live on the state-on-the-art space station of the title — and the have-nots, who are stuck down on the overpopulated slum that is now the Earth. Sporting a shaved head, Matt Damon is the guy whose life depends on getting access to Elysium’s out-of-this-world healthcare. With nothing to lose, he accepts a mission that brings him up against Elysium president Jodie Foster, who will stop at nothing to preserve her citizens’ privileged existence.

Disney spins off Pixar’s Cars franchise in Planes, a new digital animation about an aerobatics-loving crop-dusting aircraft named Dusty (voiced by Dane Cook) who dreams of becoming a racer. Something of a second-string work -— it was originally planned to go straight to DVD — it also features the voices of Stacy Keach, Teri Hatcher, Cedric the Entertainer, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, John Cleese and Val Kilmer.

Paradise: Love is the first in Austrian director Ulrich Seidl’s Paradise trilogy, comprising three parallel stories about the varying vacations of a trio of women from the same family. Here Margarete Tiesel plays Teresa, a 50-year-old who travels to Kenya as a sex tourist. The sequel Paradise: Faith is released next week with part three, Paradise: Hope, following the week after.

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