Losing Control Denzel Washington tells us about his new role in the new dramatic actioner, Flight
Staging a Classic Romance We speak to British actress Keira Knightley about her role in the literary classic, Anna Karenina
Jackson Lives on Michael Jacksonâ€™s spirit is alive and well in Kenny Wizz, the tribute artist who performed at Joburg Theatre this month. We talked to him about the role and the man it emulates.
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Contents Cover Story: Staging a Classic Romance
Features: Losing Control In Love with Film And the Nomination Goes Toâ€Ś A Wizz as Jackson
6 21 31 35
Reviews: Feature Reviews Old School Comes New Tarantino Unchained A Political Minefield Film Argo Mama Flight Chasing Mavericks Gangster Squad Playing For Keeps Les Miserables Lawless
44 48 53 58 59 60 61
Contents Reviews: (contâ€™d) Movie 43 Klein Karoo The Words Dino Time Theatre Jackson Lives on DVD Resident Evil: Retribution Flypaper The Factory Wolwedans in die Skemer Wake Up and Die House at the End of the Street The Good Doctor Maria My Love The Flowers of War Exorcismus Little Gobie Friends with Kids
62 63 64
Editors Letter It’s Valentine’s month again and love is in the air, we asked some of South Africa’s biggest stars, and a couple of up and comers, what their favourite romantic films for Valentine’s Day are, just to get you all in the mood. We also look at a couple of idea of things to do this Valentine’s Day with that special someone. If you don’t have a special someone go along and maybe you can find one. This month we also spoke to Denzel Washington, star of the new feature Flight, as well as Keira Knightley about her role in the literary classic, Anna Karenina.
We also chatted to Kenny Wizz, the incredible Michael Jackson tribute artist, about his show at the Joburg Theatre. So as you can see it’s a great issue this month. Be sure to pick up the March issue, coming first Monday in March, and that news I mentioned, sorry, you’ll have to wait until the next issue for that. NOTE: It has been brought to my attention that Angela Malan and Ian McDonald will not be performing in next month’s performance of Don Quixote by South African Mzansi Ballet. I apologise for the mistake.
Best Wishes Jon Broeke Editor
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The new dramatic actioner Flight shows the worst case scenario for a plane ride. We caught up with Denzel Washington, the star of the film, at a press conference in Los Angeles, to chat about the film, the cast and director, and flying in more ways than one.
hose of you scared of flying should avoid watching the new Denzel Washington film, Flight. Or maybe they should watch it, and see how incredible people behind the stick in aeroplanes make flying safer than driving on the highways in South Africa. Either way when the plane turns upside down it is a film moment that will be remembered well into the future. We caught up with Mr Washington at the junket day press conference in Los Angeles. In the film Washington plays Whip Whitaker, a pilot who, after some extraordinary flying saves 100 people on a plane, only to end up in even worse trouble when it’s discovered that he’s an alcoholic
and was drunk while he was flying the plane. The blame then turns on him, even though he had nothing to do with the plane’s malfunction. “You read scripts, and then you try to read certain scripts,” Washington replied when asked why he decided to do this particular role. “And you're already there for two hours and you're like, “Man, I'm on page eight.” But every now and then, it's far and few between, you run across a great script, and you know it right away. And you feel privileged to be a part of it. And then when you find out you get the opportunity to do the play with Bob Zemeckis, I was like, “When do we start?” Robert Zemekis, best known for his
films Forest Gump and the Back to the Future trilogy, directed the film. This is the first time he and Washington worked together, and Washington joked about the experience. “I hated it,” he laughs. Robert, who was also attending the press conference, also laughed. “I hated it. I never liked him. Every day, I told him I just didn't, but I put up with him and here we are. No, it was good. It was great. We had a very good time, and it was very intense.” Washington has made a name for himself as an actor not afraid to play the bad guy, even winning an Oscar for his role in Training Day, a not very nice guy indeed. Whip isn’t a bad guy, but he’s not a good guy either, he’s in-between.
“I hope I don't ever play black and white characters,” Washington said on playing these characters with layers, so called grey characters. “There are no absolutes. But like I just said earlier, it was a joy to take this journey, and to expose myself, if you will, to go to some dark places also, but to be guided by such a strong screenplay and a strong director.” Washington’s character is drunk for a large portion of the film. He was asked what kind of research he did to prepare himself for the role. “One of the things I did is that I went online,” he said. “You can “YouTube” drunks. You can, I'm serious. You just “YouTube” drunks, and as you “YouTube” drunks, there's
“I hope I don't ever play black and white characters,” Washington said on playing these characters with layers, so called grey characters. “There are no absolutes.”
hundreds and hundreds of footage. And there are all kinds of them. And, I didn't really want to get too much into the AA side of it, or how to be an alcoholic, because he didn't think he was an alcoholic. He was a guy who drank. So, in my mind, he's like anyone who has one during the week, or he doesn't realize how far he's gone. There's one thing on YouTube, where this guy, all he's trying to do is put like a shoe on, a flip-flop on.” Washington continued about the video. “Have you seen it?” he asked the question after the asker mentioned that she thought it was funny. “And it takes him five minutes. He slips, he's trying to get the flipflop, and even people come by, and help push it closer to him. I shouldn't laugh, poor guy. God, I hope he got some help. He needed help real bad. But he thought he had accomplished something, and he knew there were people going around. So I actually used that. There's a scene when I'm kind of out of my head, when Kelly comes in, I was watching videos of my son and my father. And all I try to do is put this bottle down. And it's taking twenty minutes.” Washington also did research to prepare for the extreme landing of the plane. It’s not a crash as he proclaims. “I've done, through the military, and whatever kinds of films that I've done,” he said about getting into the mind set of someone facing possible death during a plane decent. The research or the researchers, or the people in charge always said, say that you rely on your training. You don't panic. So my whole thing was to get, the crazier it got, the quieter I wanted to get, the more into control I wanted to get, because, number one, worrying wasn't going to help. So it's going through these processes, and getting these things done. If this doesn't work, then we go to plan B, we do this and getting everybody to
just calm down. And somebody has to be the calm voice in that scene. Evans, the co-pilot, he's going nuts. And Tamara is going nuts. So it's just going about it quite methodically, what you need to do to save your behind.” There was so much to the character that Washington played in this film, from the drinking to the plane decent itself. He was asked what part of the film he enjoyed playing the most. “I don't know,” he answered. “The most fun was just getting into flight simulators. I didn't, I guess I don't work like that, where I go, “Oh, that's the most interesting part.” I don't look at it. I'm in it. I'm not outside of it looking at it, and going, “Oh, that part was interesting,” or that, maybe there's some more interesting days. Being hung upside down wasn't one of them. No, actually that was an interesting day. It was. It was an interesting day, also when I was up on that scaffolding with Don Cheadle in the scenes, the wreckage. You really got a sense of, “Wow, this is serious business.” At the end of the film, trying to not give too much away, it seems that Whitaker is over his addiction to alcohol and drugs. Washington was asked if he thinks someone like Whitaker can ever truly be free of such an addiction. “Well, I don't think he'll ever be free from everything,” was his reply. “From the lives he took, the years that he's lost, or going to lose with his children. But, I don't remember the line exactly, he's freer than he's ever been. I don't think he's completely free, off the hook. I think life is just beginning for him and he has to relearn how to live it.” Washington has no such issues, having a very successful life, both professionally and personally. He can be seen later this year in 2 Guns with Mark Wahlberg, but don’t miss him in his Oscar nominated performance as Whip Whitaker in Flight.
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Staging a Classic Romance
The literary classic Anna Karenina hits our silver screens this month. We caught up with the star, British actress Keira Knightley to discuss her role as the tragic heroine, or anti-heroine, of this classic tale of love and betrayal.
nna Karenina has been a classic story of love, loss and tragedy for years. Written in between 1873 and 1877 it has become, along with published works by Shakespeare and Chaucer, one of the classic novels one must read in their lifetime. It has also seen the screen on no less than five separate occasions, but never quite like this. Director Joe Wright brings the classic story to the big screen by staging the entire film on a stage, even going so far as to stage the classic horse race on a stage. British actress Keira Knightley takes on the role of the Russian aristocrat doomed to tragedy. “I think Anna is definitely one of my most challenging roles,” she says. “And I think it’s because you’re never quite sure if she’s supposed to be the anti-heroine, or the heroine. She is both guilty and innocent at the same time, and I think, in re-reading the book, when I was just about to do the film. I’d read it ages ago when I was in my teens, early twenties, and I remember it being this sort of sweeping romance and being very beautiful and just
being sort of taken along with it and I suddenly read it just before we started and went, ‘Whoa. This is so much darker than I remember it being, and she is so much more complex and strange and dark than I remembered as well’. You end up going, ‘Does Tolstoy hate her, and is that the point? Do we have to have moments where we hate her as much as you have to love her and you have to understand her, and you have to understand
what she’s going through?’ I think you are meant to judge her, and you are meant to hold her up as being morally culpable. So it was quite a difficult balance to get all those things.” Anna Karenina tells the story of a married woman in the time of Russian opulence and excess, who starts a relationship with a younger Russian officer, leading to tragic consequences when her husband
discovers the affair. We asked Keira why she thinks the woman is such a tragic figure, and has been for years. “Apart from jumping in front of a train,” she laughs, giving away the ending. “I think Anna’s main tragedy is that she can never recognise what’s in front of her. She’s constantly searching for something else. She has this insatiable want that she can never satisfy, so whatever love she has it’s never enough. She doesn’t recognise the love of her husband, for example. As soon as that initial lust and romance of the first spark of the Vronsky relationship happens it’s never enough. Beyond that point she can’t recognise that relationships change and that there are different forms of love. She’s constantly searching for something that’s completely unattainable, and once she realises it’s unattainable, I think that’s the path to her destruction.” This is the third film that Keira has worked on with Joe Wright. We asked her what the magic between them was. “This is our third film together,” she
“I think Anna is definitely one of my most challenging roles,” she says. “And I think it’s because you’re never quite sure if she’s supposed to be the anti-heroine, or the heroine. “
confirmed. “We started off with Pride and Prejudice and then Atonement and now Anna Karenina, and I don’t know… People always ask us, ‘How does it work between you? What makes it work?’ and I really don’t know the answer to that. I think we have very similar tastes, we both work very hard. He’s somebody that demands everything from the people who work for him and I really respect that, because I think if you’re going to try and make anything, if it’s going to be worthwhile I think it needs to be the most important thing in the world, for that moment that you’re making it, and he always instils that belief in everybody that works with him, which I respond to very well. I don’t know what it is between us that make us gel like it does.” Anna Karenina is unique is style and feel, much like Baz Luhrmann’s Moulin Rouge, the film is like a three hour long fantasy sequence. We asked Keira where she thought Wright’s concept for the style came from. “I think that the whole of the visual style,” she explained. “Was based on a line that he read in Orlando Figes’ Natasha’s Dance, which goes something like, and I’m going to quote it wrong, ‘They lived their lives like they were upon the stage’, or something like that, which was a reference to the Russian aristocracy of the 18 and 19 century , how most of them couldn’t even actually speak Russian, they spoke French or Italian, their etiquette was French, their clothes were French, their houses were built in the French style, their food was predominantly French, absolutely everything was to emulate the French courts, so they literally couldn’t speak to other people in their country, of a lower .
class, and so this idea that they were constantly performing, that they were constantly pretending that they were in a different country, literally, than they actually were. So this idea that performance was such a major part of the aristocracy and, therefore, of Anna herself, that she was constantly pretending to be something that she wasn’t, a mother, a wife, all of these different things, so I think he was thinking about that, and then decided that if he was going to do the whole thing in one place that the most appropriate place would be a theatre, so that every single character all the time is performing.” The film has a bunch of dance sequences in it, what stage production hasn’t. We asked Keira if she thinks she’s a good dancer in real life. “I’m a terrible dancer naturally,” she laughs again. “I like jumping up and down, I really enjoy dancing, but I’m really not good, and this was so… Joe was always so definite about wanting to use movement and to develop a sort of style of movement for the whole thing, and we were really fortunate to work with a choreographer called Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui, who is a just a phenomenal talent, and really created through movement and dance and intricate part of the story line, however, he had a load of actors to use, and none of us, apart from Aaron Johnson, who is a brilliant dancer, could quite pick it up as quickly as he wanted us too.” Well, they got the steps eventually because the dance sequences are wonderful. Too see them, and the rest of this stylised version of the classic story, catch Anna Karenina on screen now
In Love with Film
This being the month of romance we asked some of South Africaâ€™s biggest stars, and some of the brightest shining up and comers, about their favourite film to share with their loved ones. Here are the answers.
James and Anel Alexander James Alexander is best known for his recent role as Tristan, on the M-Net soap ‘The Wild’, while his wife, Anel, can be seen right now in the new Afrikaans romantic comedy, ‘Klein Karoo.’ They are probably among the most well-known faces, and best loved actors in our country at the moment. “James and I have never had a specific interest in romantic comedies,” Anel told us. “Until we attempted to produce our own and suddenly we found ourselves devouring rom coms, as research of course!” “Our favourite romantic comedy has to be the Afrikaans Romantic Comedy: ‘Semi-Soet’! ‘Semi-Soet’ was our 2nd feature film as Scramble Productions, but definitely the biggest and most successful project we have tackled to date. Blood sweat and tears to get this film made, but all in all an amazing experience and the magic between the actors and crew and everybody involved in the project is visible on screen http://www.semi-soetmovie.co.za/” “Our favourite love story is ‘Life is Beautiful’,” the 1997 Oscar winning classic featuring Roberto Benigni. “James and I just love this film. It is a beautifully crafted, sensitive film that tells a story of unconditional love through very difficult circumstances.”
“Our favourite quirky love story is ‘Amelie’,” the quirky 2001 film about a strange young woman in France who discovers love. “We both love the genre of magical realism and ‘Amelie’ is just such a fabulously quirky love story with the necessary French flair.” “Another romantic comedy we love is ‘The Proposal’,” the Sandra Bullock and Ryan Reynolds romantic feast. “It is just so much good, clean, fun and has all the right ingredients that one would expect from a good romantic comedy.” “The worst ‘romantic’ film we ever saw was ‘I heart
Huckabees’. In April 2003 we were on honeymoon in Clarens (amongst other places) and we drove through Bethlehem for some reason and decided to stop for a movie. The only film that was showing at the local cinema was ‘I heart Huckabees’, so we decided to go watch it. It was probably the worst film we have ever seen together, and we’ve been married for 10 years now! (I am pleased to say though that the director of ‘I heart Huckabees’ has gone on to direct some amazing films like ‘The Fighter’ and ‘Silver linings playbook’) So ‘I heart Huckabees’ has become like a synonym for anything that’s bad in the Alexander house.”
Megan Maddocks and Gustav Gerdener Megan Maddocks is one of the brightest up and comers in our industry. Having featured in several commercials, she recently had the opportunity to portray MacGyver’s daughter, alongside Richard Dean Anderson, in the new Mercedes adverts. Her boyfriend, Gustuv Gerdener, is no stranger to South African stage or screen audiences. He’s taken part in Om soos ‘n lyk te lê, Deathwatch, Ipekonders and Kaukasiese Kruitsirkel just to name a few, and his screen credits include 7de Laan and Egoli. They have an eclectic selection in the favourites, including:
Paris, Je T’aime. A series of short stories about love and longing in Paris. “It’s great to see other people’s views and opinions on love,” says Megan. Next on their list is the 1980 Stephen King horror classic, starring Jack Nicholson,
The Shining. “A horror movie is a great way to make your girlfriend cuddle up with you,” Megan explains.
Perfume, the very odd story of obsession and scent also makes their list. “It explores the obsessions with love,” Megan explains the choice. “And to which length we will go to get it.” Next up on their list is one of the most loved romance films of all time, the 1961 Audrey Hepburn and George Peppard classic,
Breakfast at Tiffany’s. “Any Valentine’s day with Audrey Hepburn is a good one.” Rounding off their list a film that most would not think very romantic. The cult classic, starring Tim Curry and Susan Sarandon, The Rocky Horror Picture Show. “The best sing along musical out there,” Megan tells us. “And nothing says, ‘I love you’, like fishnet stockings!!”
Nadia Valvekens and Karl Thaning Nadia Valvekens is best known her role as Pippa on Binneland, which shows on Kyknet on DStv, but she’s had many roles in her career thus far, including Scandal, on e.tv, Somg Vir Katryn, which was on M-Net and Villa Rosa, another Kyknet production. Her boyfriend, Karl Thaning, is a face many South African will recognise from his roles in major Hollywood films that were shot in South Africa, including Judge Dredd, which starred Karl Urban, Winnie, the Darryl Roodt directed feature starring Terence Howard and Jennifer Hudson, and Starship Troopers 3. “First on our list would be Notting Hill. This film is a masterpiece in all aspects. It’s the unlikely made entirely plausible. Richard Curtis crafted every scene so perfectly. He used the camera with such clean precision in every scene. Most scenes have the absence of dramatic cut-away’s and are more often than not, a single shot. As to the story, it’s almost every girl’s fairy tale, but in reverse. We also enjoy that irresistible British self-deprecating charm that so many of the characters exhibit.” The Natalie Portman, Ashton Kutcher ‘buddy’ film, No Strings Attached is next on their list. “Not the world’s greatest movie, but it has some special moments that we find ourselves rewinding and watching again and again. Natalie Portman’s vulnerable character steals this movie for us, particularly the scene where she is drunk and asks a taxi driver to take her to Adam’s house. When he asks her where that is, she replies with “it’s where Adam lives”. There’s a tearjerker too, when she realises that she has ruined everything. The film also highlights a fear of falling in love, knowing that you have less control over your feelings, and the sense that you will never be the same again. Keep a keen eye on the restaurant scene where Kevin Kline and Adam’s ex-girlfriend have some interesting news.”
Reece Witherspoon’s Sweet home Alabama finds a home on the list too. “We love this one and enjoy the tension between the two romantic leads who seem to hate every fibre of each other. This film reminds us that one’s past is always a part of you and sometimes something you can never leave. There’s also a slow reveal of how Josh Lucas; character believes that he wasn’t good enough for Reese Witherspoon’s character and silently tries to better himself to be more appropriate to her dreams. It’s also a departure from big city rom coms and a chance to see small town America.” The classic romance about moving up the social high school ladder, and maybe finding love along the way, is next. It’s Can’t
buy me love.
“It’s an eighties classic of a common theme. Unpopular boy tries to win the affections of popular, beautiful high schoolgirl. He has worked every spare hour as a gardener to save money for a telescope while she needs to replace her mother’s dress that she has stained. McDreamy makes a deal with her to pretend to be his girlfriend and, in doing so, he will gain popularity, and she will have his money to buy a new dress. Yes really, McDreamy. In the eighties, Patrick Dempsy was well cast as the dorky loser – time and age clearly have their favourites.” Closing off the list is another 80’s classic, Say anything. “It’s difficult to not have this movie in a top five Valentine’s list. It was either the offbeat “Better off dead” or this. It’s hard to think of the eighties and crushes without hearing Peter Gabriel’s “In your eyes”, hovering above your head. Cameron Crowe is one of our favourite directors and he has crafted a “coming of age” film with realistic characters set in tough circumstances. John Cusack’s Lloyd is a kind of modern day Knight who will do anything for his kind princess.”
Diani and Ferdinand Gernandt Diani Gernandt is a dancer, singer and actor that is going to be making waves in South African film and theatre in the next few years. Already a steady hand at her profession she featured last year in the annual pantomime, Jack nad the Beanstalk, at the Joburg Theatre, as well as dancing in the Afrikaans musical, Pretville. Her husband, Ferdinand Gernandt, is also an old hand in the theatre sphere having danced in such shows as Chicago, African Footprint, Saturday Night Fever and Spotlight. Most recently he choreographed for the feature Afrikaans musical, Pretville. The films that they have chosen go hand in hand with this love inspired holiday. First on the list is Crazy Stupid Love, the divorce and reconciliation comedy starring Steve Carrell. “With great love triangles,” they say. “Cleverly connected story lines and excellent humour. Starring Steve Carell, Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone, it's very entertaining and proves that true love conquers all. As two professional performers, we especially love the -'Seriously? It's like you're photoshopped!'/Dirty Dancing lift - scene!” Next is a Kate Hudson classic, How
to lose a guy in 10 days. “Set in NY, it's a fun and light comedy with eye candy for both him and her, in the form of Kate Hudson and Matthew McConaughey. Kathryn Hahn is hysterical as Kate's friend, Michelle and we really love the 'couple's therapy' scene. We've recently been to NY, and love to see all the streets and places we've been fortunate enough to have visited.”
The Proposal, one that reached James and Anel Alexander’s list as well, is next on this couples list. “Sandra Bullock, need we say more?” they joke. “There is such a clever power play between these two and Ryan Reynolds does hold his own opposite Bullock. We are both big Sandra Bullock fans and our favourite scene has to be the 'naked bathroom run into each other' scene and Sandra Bullock dancing and singing to 'Get Low!' in the woods is a close second!” A film about love in your middle ages, Something's Gotta Give, is next on the list. “This is such a great 'older' romance that says it's never too late to find romance and love. Stellar performances by Jack Nicholson and Diane Keaton make it an absolute win, especially the humour of Jack's hospital scene and the sweet romance of the 'making pancakes' and 'power went out' scenes. We of course also appreciate that Diane's character is a playwright and love the glimpses of the behind-the-scenes workings of a theatre production later in the film.” Last on their list is the period romantic comedy about the greatest romantic ever, Cassanova. “We both love a great period piece and enjoy Heath Ledger's performances as the romantic title role. Oliver Platt, however, playing the lard merchant Paprizzio, steals many moments in the film, particularly the 'self-improvement' scene covered in lard, coffee grounds and mint jelly, as well as the hysterical scene with Jeremy Irons in the Inquisitors' torture chamber. All filmed on location in Venice, it really is a beautiful setting and just a lighthearted easy watch.
A big thanks to all the actors that took part in answering our question. We hope they, and you, have a very special Valentineâ€™s Day, and remember, the best Valentine is one you share with someone you love.
And the Nomination Goes toâ€Ś
This time of year there is one thing at the forefront of the minds of everyone that works in the film industry, who is going to win the Oscar? Well, the nominations are up and itâ€™s going to be a great race!
e’ve come to that time of year again when the biggest films of the past year fight for the biggest award you can achieve in film, the Oscars. This year looks to not disappoint in terms of the quality of the films that are vying for the coveted golden statue. Topping the list of nominations is, with 12 nominations including Best Picture and Best Actor for Daniel Day-Lewis, is Steven Spielberg’s new historical, political drama Lincoln. Following the life of the great American president as he tries to end the Civil war and pass the 13 amendment which will abolish slavery forever, the film is a study of what it takes to be the most powerful man in America, and what it takes to create a legacy in that role, and not just be another in a long line. Other nominations for the film include: Best Supporting Actress for Sally Field who plays the president’s wife, Best Supporting Actor for Tommy Lee Jones, Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay for Tony Kushner who wrote the film, Best Cinematography, Best Film Editing, Best Costume Design and Best Sound Mixing. Second on the list, with 11 nominations, is director Ang Lee’s Life of Pi. Telling the tale of a young Indian boy, played by Suraj Sharma, who is shipwrecked, finding himself stranded on a life raft with a full grown Bengal tiger named Richard Parker. The film is based on the best-selling novel by Yann Martel and its nominations include Best Picture, Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay, and Best Cinematography. The song "Pi's Lullaby", whose music was written by Mychael Danna and Lyric were written by Bombay Jayashri, and which features in the film, is nominated also in the Best Original Song category.
Les Miserable, the big screen version of most loved musical of all time, received eight nominations, including Best Picture, Best Actor for Hugh Jackman, wh plays the lead of Jean Valjean in the film, and Best supporting Actress for Anne Hathaway, who plays Fantine in the film. Also receiving eight nominations was Silver Linings Playbook, the story of a man, played by nominated Bradley Cooper, who, after being released for a mental hospital, tries to put his life back together, but can’t because he’s clinging to the past. Then he meets a crazy girl, played by nominated Jennifer Lawrence, and they try to put each other’s lives in order. The film is nominated in the Best Picture category, as well as receiving nominations for both Cooper in the Best Actor category and Lawrence in the Best Actress. The biggest surprise of this Oscars is the inclusion of Beasts of the Southern Wild. A little film that was released locally last year by Cinema Nouveau, it tells the tale of a little girl, played by nominated Quvenzhane Wallis, and her ill father as they face off against prehistoric creatures that have awoken due to the melting of the ice caps, bringing with them the end of all the girl holds dear. The film is up for Best Picture as well as Best Actress for Quvenzhane Wallis, who at 9 years old is the youngest nominee ever. It’s also nominated Best Director and Best Adapted Screenplay. This promises to be an interesting year at the Oscars. The show is being televised live on M-Net Premiere Channel on Monday, February 25th, at 03h00 in the morning and again on M-Net at 19h30 that night, so be sure to catch it. For a list of all the nominees have a look at the next few pages.
Best Picture "Zero Dark Thirty" "Silver Linings Playbook" "Lincoln" "Les Miserables" "Life of Pi" "Amour" "Django Unchained" "Argo" "Beasts of the Southern Wild" Best Actress Jessica Chastain, "Zero Dark Thirty" Naomi Watts, "The Impossible" Jennifer Lawrence, "Silver Linings Playbook" Quvenzhane Wallis, "Beasts of the Southern Wild" Emmanuelle Riva, "Amour" Best Actor Daniel Day-Lewis, "Lincoln" Denzel Washington, "Flight" Joaquin Phoenix, "The Master" Hugh Jackman, "Les Miserables" Bradley Cooper, "Silver Linings Playbook" Best Supporting Actress Anne Hathaway, "Les Miserables" Sally Field, "Lincoln" Jacki Weaver, "Silver Linings Playbook" Helen Hunt, "The Sessions" Amy Adams, "The Master" Best Supporting Actor Tommy Lee Jones, "Lincoln" Philip Seymour Hoffman, "The Master" Christoph Waltz, "Django Unchained" Alan Arkin, "Argo" Robert De Niro, "Silver Linings Playbook" Best Director Ang Lee, "Life of Pi" Steven Spielberg, "Lincoln" David O. Russell, "Silver Linings Playbook" Michael Haneke, "Amour" Behn Zeitlin, "Beasts of the Southern Wild"
Best Original Screenplay Mark Boal, "Zero Dark Thirty" Quentin Tarantino, "Django Unchained" Wes Anderson, Roman Coppola, "Moonrise Kingdom" Michel Haneke, "Amour" John Gatins, "Flight" Best Adapted Screenplay Tony Kushner, "Lincoln" David O. Russell, "Silver Linings Playbook" Chris Terrio, "Argo" David Magee, "Life of Pi" Benh Zeitlin, Lucy Alibar, "Beasts of the Southern Wild" Best Animated Feature "Frankenweenie" "The Pirates! Band of Misfits" "Wreck-It Ralph" "ParaNorman" "Brave" Best Foreign Feature "Amour" (France) "Footnote" (Denmark) "Kon-Tiki" (Norway) "No" (Chile) "War Witch" (Canada) Best Cinematography Roger Deakins, "Skyfall" Seamus Mcgarvey, "Anna Karenina" Robert Richardson, "Django Unchained" Claudio Miranda, "Life of Pi" Janusz Kaminski, "Lincoln" Best Costume Design Jacqueline Durran, "Anna Karenina" Paco Delgado, "Les Miserables" Joanna Johnston, "Lincoln" Eiko Ishioka, "Mirror Mirror" Colleen Atwood, "Snow White And The Huntsman" Best Documentary Feature "Searching for Sugar Man" "How to Survive a Plague" "The Gatekeepers" "The Invisible War" "5 Broken Cameras"
Best Documentary Short Kief Davidson, Cori Shepherd Stern ,"Open Heart" Sean Fine, Andrea Nix Fine,"Inocente" Jon Alpert, Matthew O'Neill,"Redemption" Sari Gilman, Jedd Wider,"Kings Point" Cynthia Wade, Robin Honan, "Mondays at Racine" Best Film Editing Michael Kahn, "Lincoln" Jay Cassidy, Crispin Struthers, "Silver Linings Playbook" Tim Squyres, "Life of Pi" William Goldenberg, "Argo" Dylan Tichenor, William Goldenberg, "Zero Dark Thirty" Best Make-Up Howard Berger, Martin Samuel, "Hitchcock" Lisa Westcott, Julie Dartnell, "Les Miserables" Peter King, Tami Lane, Rick Findlater, "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey" Best Original Score Mychael Danna, "Life of Pi" Alexandre Desplat, "Argo" Dario Marianelli, "Anna Karenina" John Williams, "Lincoln" Thomas Newman, "Skyfall" Best Original Song "Before My Time" from "Chasing Ice" Music and Lyric by J. Ralph "Everybody Needs A Best Friend" from "Ted" Music by Walter Murphy and Lyric by Seth MacFarlane "Pi's Lullaby" from "Life of Pie" Music by Mychael Danna and Lyric by Bombay Jayashri "Suddenly" from "Les Miserables" Music by Claude-Michel Schönberg and Lyric by Herbert Kretzmer and Alain Boublil "Skyfall" from "Skyfall" Music and Lyric by Adele Adkins and Paul Epworth
Best Animated Short Film Minkyu Lee, Adam and Dog PES,"Fresh Guacamole" David Silverman,"A Morning Stroll" John Kahrs, "Paperman" Best Live-Action Short Film Bryan Buckley, Mino Jarjoura, "Assad" Ariel Nasr, Sam French, "Buzkashi Boys" Shawn Christensen, "Curfew" Tom Van Avermaet,Ellen de Waele, "Death of a Shadow" Yan England,Ellen de Waele, "Henry" Scott Milan, Greg P. Russell, Stuart Wilson, William Goldenberg, "Skyfall" Best Visual Effects Bill Westenhofer, Guillaume Rocheron, , Donald R. Elliot, "Life of Pi" Joe Letteri, Eric Saindon, R. Christopher White, David Clayton, "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey" Janek Sirrs, Guy Williams, Daniel Sudick, Jeff White, "Marvel’s The Avengers" Richard Stammers, Trevor Wood, Charley Henley, Martin Hill, "Prometheus" Philip Brennan, Neil Corbould, Michael Dawson, Cedric Nicolas-Troyan, "Snow White And The Huntsman" Best Sound Editing Erik Aadahl, Ethan Van der Ryn, "Argo" Wylie Stateman, "Django Unchained" Eugene Gearty, Philip Stockton, "Life of Pi" Per Hallberg, Karen Baker Landers, "Skyfall" Paul N.J. Ottosson, "Zero Dark Thirty" Best Sound Mixing John Reitz,Gregg Rudloff, Jose Antonio Garcia, "Argo" Andy Nelson, Mark Paterson, Simon Hayes, "Les Miserables" Ron Bartlett, D.M. Hemphill, Drew Kunin, "Life of Pi" Andy Nelson, Gary Rydstrom, Ronald Judkins, "Lincoln"
A Wizz as Jackson Photos by Pat Bromilow-Downing
A show that pays tribute to an amazing musician opened at Joburg Theatre this month. The musician is Michael Jackson and the man paying tribute is the equally talented Kenny Wizz. Jon Broeke sat down with tis tribute artist at the theatre and chatted about the show, about the man and about the man behind the man.
’m not an impersonator,” Kenny Wizz tells me when I meet him at Joburg Theatre. He’s dressed as the character he plays in a stage production he stars in, and the truth is that he looks so much like the legendary pop star that it’s uncanny. The character is Michael Jackson, and the show is Michael Jackson HIStory II. In the show Wizz portrays Jackson, singing and dancing, for two hours, the amazing music of the amazing man. He’s been called the world’s best Michael Jackson impersonator, but, as he explains to me, he’s not an impersonator. “There are different categories,” he continues. “Right now, at the stage that I am, I’ve been doing this for 28 years, and just your experience doesn’t change your category, but it’s the way you present what you’re doing. I started out as a look-alike, which, basically people thought that I looked like him. And then at that point, between trying to do some things, I got discovered by this agent and I signed with an agency, a look-alike agency, in Los Angeles. They sent me off on promotional jobs and appearances for products and whatever, dressed as Michael Jackson. That’s what a look-alike is, someone that does
promotions, or just looks like that person and takes photos and things. An impersonator is once you start performing, and you have the look of that person, but you’re lip syncing to their music. That’s and impersonator. I had always wanted to perform in [Las] Vegas. Vegas is like the ultimate for entertainers of my type, so that’s when I took on the vocal training. I had always loved music. I was into rap when I was younger, and I had a bit of a voice, but it was nothing that I had ever said to myself that I want to be a singer, so I ended
up working on that and developing that to be able to work in Vegas and become successful in Vegas. So I did a Vegas show for 11 years. That’s the point when you become a tribute artist, because when you’re a tribute artist, you look like the person, you dance and perform like the person, and you’re singing live, you’re using your vocal to sound like that person, or get as close as possible. So there are different categories as far as look-alike, impersonator and tribute artist. That’s what I’m considered now, a tribute artist.” He is amazing as a tribute artist and
his love for the character he portrays is obvious, both when you talk to him and when you see his show, a pleasure I had the following day. Becoming a Michael Jackson tribute artist was never something he really considered doing while growing up though. “It was something that I never personally decided,” he answers when I ask him when he decided to become a tribute artist. “The story goes that, when I was younger, a teenager, I started out as a street performer in Los Angeles. That’s when the whole break dancing craze was on and we used to go out and perform our dances at the shops that stayed open late, were all the people where. People would see me out there. At that time the Thriller album was gaining momentum between itself and the videos on MTV. At that time there was a particular style that everyone wore, the short curly hair, and I had that look as well, and people used to say to me that I resembled the photo on the front of the Thriller album, which was very plain and simple. They saw me as a street performer, and they said, ‘Hey you should dance like Michael Jackson cause you kind of look like him,’ and I just laughed it off before, but as the album got more popular more people were saying it, ‘You should dance like Michael,’ because I was always performing in the
â€œPeople would see me out there. At that time the Thriller album was gaining momentum between itself and the videos on MTV. At that time there was a particular style that everyone wore, the short curly hair, and I had that look as well, and people used to say to me that I resembled the photo on the front of the Thriller album, which was very plain and simple.â€?
street. I just finally gave in to trying it because so many people were saying it. I just got tired of hearing it. And I’ve been going ever since so I guess it worked out. Sometimes, I guess, there’s a certain path along your life, or destiny, whatever you want to call it, and it keeps pushing at you, you kind of give in to it. I kind of did it for fun at the beginning and then I got offered to do it in a show on a regular basis, and that’s when I took it more serious, as far as learning about costume, about make-up, the business itself. I had always loved dance and music, I wanted to be a DJ, so I was always working with music, and I loved to dance, so I just kind of fell in there, but it was never something that I was concentrated on, like I really said this is what I wanted to do, I want to be like Michael Jackson.” He was fan of the king of pops music. “I’ve always been a Michael Jackson fan,” he tells me. “With the Jackson 5 and all of that, growing up because their music influenced so many generations so I was always a fan and growing up in L.A and they lived there as well so we always heard it on the radio, so of course, I was a fan of them.“ Kenny does all the singing in the show including some of Jackson’s most influential songs including Bad, Man in the Mirror, Earth Song and, of course, Thriller. I asked him if he ever considered doing his own music instead of his tributes of the
Jackson hits. “I’ve done a lot of music,” he replies. “I’ve written a lot of music, I’ve arranged a lot of music, I’ve written music for other people. I love producing and arranging music, working on programmes that produce music, I love that, but I think I shied away from it. I never wanted to do anything with my music, per se, because I have so many friends that are in the industry, and I, from my side of doing what I do now, I’ve seen, as far as being under contract with a record company you’re
basically a puppet with strings. They tell you when to speak and what to wear, and this and that. I looked at what I do now, and said, ‘Here’s an opportunity for me to still live out that fantasy of being a recording artist, but I can hide underneath what’s already established’. Michael Jackson’s career is already established. I’m not trying to be Michael Jackson, I’m just representing a production of his music and his likeness in the form of entertainment, but that, for me, personally, that massages that idea of what it
would be like if I actually was, and like I said it’s a treacherous business to be in and somebody on [Michael Jackson’s] level, even he went through so many lawsuits. He had lawsuits every day. I can have that same experience without having to go through all that.” The road to becoming what he is today wasn’t an easy one. He had to work really hard to pick up on Jackson’s very specific mannerisms and movements on the stage, especially since Jackson was such a one of a kind performer. “I’ve studied, often long and extensively, and I still study today,” he told me. “People say, ‘What more can you improve?’ there’s always room for improvement. I have to look at video just for mannerisms, gestures, things like that. I don’t necessarily try to take on trying to talk like him or sound like him exactly, because some things you need to leave to the imagination, or not even so much as that, you need to let people know that you are an individual person. Basically I consider myself an actor more than the tribute artist side of it, because there’s a lot of acting involved. This character that I’m emulating has extravagant costumes, has an extravagant personality, has an extravagant being on stage, energy level
things like that, there’s so much wrapped up in this one character.” He’s been asked if he’s ever considered doing a tribute to another artist, not just to Jackson, but he laughs it off. “Isn’t this character enough?” he laughs. “It’s so much to keep up with, constantly.” Jackson was known for changing his looks and feel all the time. From his afrohaired Jackson Five days, to his brill-creamed Thriller days, to the leather and chains of Bad, to the flowing white shirt he’s known for in a lot of his music videos and live shows. The other thing he’s known for is his extensive plastic surgery, and the did-he-or-didn’t-he bleaching of his skin. The topic of plastic surgery came up in mu interview with Kenny as well. “I’ve never had plastic surgery,” he says. “I’ve been asked about that, and that’s an interesting realm as well, because I always explain that I was an art student through school, so once I realised I was jumping into this business, and took it more seriously, I had to learn about different aspects. I had other make-up artists teach me about make-up, and the only advantage I had was my artistic background and knowing about contouring and shadowing and such, so that helped me out. It took me five years to learn that alone, but back to the surgery part of that, I consider the make-up part of my costume. It’s part of my act, and it’s easier to develop if he changes his look. If he adds a cleft in his chin, or changes the tone of his skin, not changes but for whatever reasons if he has a different look, I can develop that through make-up and I find that fascinating. It’s a challenge that I welcome because it gets me excited to be able to try to get to that, to get that happen. I’ve been offered, by producers and promoters, to have surgery paid for, but once you run into that you‘re talking about the emotional state of a person after that. It’s one thing to do it to better yourself, or to get better jobs, or whatever you want to call it, but if you look at it my approach into what I do, before I ever even got into this business, I told myself to always know who you are. Never think that you’re this person,
“I like to go into that country and I like to go out and meet people on the streets, as myself, because they don’t know what I do. I like to eat their food, learn their language, a few words, and get embedded with them as much as I can, and that’s the advantage that I have of being able to take all of this off and no one knows, because I don’t look like this, nobody recognises me.” emotionally. Realise that this is a role that you’re playing and throughout my whole career I’ve never said, ‘Yes, I’m Michael Jackson.’ I’ve had people that wanted me too, people that want me to sign his signature, but you can only go so far. Psychologically you need to be able to separate who you are from what you’re doing. It’s no different from a high profile actor who plays a part about a famous person in history. They don’t go and get surgery to have it, they either do it through make-up, or they do it through sounding like them, same as I’m doing.” Kenny travels extensively for his work, performing in most of the corners of the world. He likes to do more than just perform though.
“I don’t like to just go to a country,” he says. “Do a show and say, ‘Thank you, goodnight, where we going next?’ I like to go into that country and I like to go out and meet people on the streets, as myself, because they don’t know what I do. I like to eat their food, learn their language, a few words, and get embedded with them as much as I can, and that’s the advantage that I have of being able to take all of this off and no one knows, because I don’t look like this, nobody recognises me. So I can make friends on my own and learn culturally about that culture, and that’s very important to me.” Kenny started performing while Jackson was still alive, and his respect for the man is obvious. Though he never met the man himself he has met with his brothers, sisters and his mother, all of which loved his act and thanked him for doing the king justice. I asked him what his reaction was when he heard the news of Jackson’s passing. “When those circumstances happened,” he tells me, never referring to Jackson’s passing as that, only as those circumstances. “I just abruptly quit my act and didn’t want to do it anymore. I didn’t tell any managers, agents, the show or anything, I just said, ‘That’s it’, because up to that point I had been performing for up to 25 years and I couldn’t go any further. My act had always been based on the living legend. I always followed everything that he did. If he came
out with a new video I had to learn that choreography or get that outfit and put it in the show, as a tribute, and then once those circumstances happened I felt there was no further way for me to go. I didn’t need any personal gain from it. I wasn’t ever into it for the financial gain of it. I was into it for the love of the creativity and the producing this as a form of entertainment for people to see, because I understand not everyone can have that access to go to his concert, or fly here or go there. So if I was two steps down from that it’s still entertainment and you can still enjoy it according to how you take it in emotionally.” Kenny has been doing this job for 28 years and he is currently planning his retirement, which he is planning for 2014. He tells me that he wants it to be in Las Vegas, the place he considers to be the real start of his career. He then wants to get into more serious acting, on soap operas and other TV shows. He doesn’t have any real interest in doing films, but who knows, if the opportunity arises I’m sure he wouldn’t turn it down. Kenny is remarkable at what he does and as I pose for a picture with him I can’t help but imagine that it would be the same experience if I was posing with the real Michael Jackson, but I count myself lucky. I got to pose with the real Kenny Wizz, and amazing talent and genuinely nice guy.
Old School Comes New
The new Disney/Pixar animated gem Wreck-It Ralph brings some of the favourite 80â€™s arcade characters back to life, while adding a new character, Ralph to the mix. We went along to the cinema to see the nostalgia was good, or if the film should be wrecked.
remember when I was young going to the nearest mall and playing games at the arcade there. I never played Pacman, which was before my time, but I remember playing Street Fighter, and Super Mario Bros and any number of first person zombie shooter games. The games became a part of my childhood and cherished memories. That’s why I was so excited to see my favourite characters from yesteryear in the new animated film from Disney/Pixar, Wreck-It Ralph. Ralph, voiced by John C. Reilly, is the bad guy for a video game from the eighties called Fix-It Felix, but he doesn’t want to be the villain anymore. He wants to be included
in the parties and be loved by the other people in his game, something that Felix, voiced by Jack McBrayer, enjoys. So when one of the characters in his game tells Ralph that if he gets a medal, something Felix wins for stopping Ralph in the game, then he will be treated like a hero, Ralph goes in search for a medal in the other games in the arcade, including a first person shoot-‘em-up game featuring tough as nails Sergeant Calhoun, voiced by Jane Lynch, and the candy themed racing game where he gets help from Vanellope von Schweetz, voiced by Sarah Silverman, a glitch in the game who’s also not wanted by the other characters, a lot like Ralph himself. Together they begin to learn
their place in their worlds, and what they can achieve together, even if they feel like they don’t belong, or they don’t like were they do. Disney/Pixar has bought us some of the most prolific animated characters in recent history, from Belle in Beauty and the Beast, to, most recently Merida in Brave, now Ralph is set to take his place as one of their most lovable characters. This is one of the best animated films I’ve seen in a while. I love the story, the moral of finding where you belong, even if it’s not where you started, but also being happy with where you are and making the best of it. I also loved the addition of the classic arcade game characters. They really bought
back memories of my past that I loved, and seeing them in a new way was magical, something Disney is really good at. The kids will love this film for the story and the animation, which is spectacular, but the parents will love it for the memories it brings up. Watch this film and fall in love with all those characters all over again. I give it 9/10.
Jamie Foxx plays a shooting, fighting, cussing freed slave in the latest offering from prolific director Quentin Tarantino. We went along to the cinema to see if Django Unchained should be unchained, or should be locked up and thrown away.
uentin Tarantino has built up a bit of a cult following in terms of his films, and why not, with films like Reservoir Dogs, Pulp Fiction and the Kill Bill films it’s not entirely surprising that people should consider him one of the best directors of all time. He proves them right again with his latest film to hit the silver screen, Django Unchained. When we meet Django, played by Jamie Foxx, he’s one of several slaves being transported to their new home, but when he’s purchased by Dr King Schulz, played by Christoph Waltz, a man passing himself off as a dentist, but who is actually a bounty hunter, the slave’s life changes forever. Schultz offers him his freedom, in return for pointing out a couple of people that he’s looking for, who Django knows, but when he does, he makes such an impression on the good doctor that he offers him a partnership. Join him in his bounty hunting, and in return he will help Django to find his wife, Broomhilda, played by Kerry Washington, another slave who was also sold the same time Django was, to a different owner because she, with Django, tried to run away. After a long winter of working and training, Schultz and Django go in search of the girl, to discover that she was sold to a merciless cotton baron, Calvin Candie, played by Leonardo DiCaprio, a man
with delusions of grandeur who is known to not sell his slaves to anyone. Together Django and Schultz set out to enact a plan to save Broomhilda from Candieland, Candie’s cotton plantation, but things don’t go as planned and they find themselves neck deep in trouble. I’ll admit I’m a fan of Tarantino. Not a cult follower, mind you, I didn’t care for Inglorious Bastards at all, but I was a fan, so I was excited about this new film, and I have to say that it does not disappoint. The distinctive Tarantino style is stamped all over the film, from the witty, clever banter between the characters, to the graphic violence, you can tell that Tarantino directed and wrote this film. The sets are glorious, from the old western towns to the snow-capped mountains, they lend a great visual to the entire film. But the stand out for the film, what puts it ahead
of all the others and made it a Golden Globe winner, are the performances. Foxx is wonderful as the former slave, who always thought for himself, but is now allowed to and is taking full advantage of it. Waltz is great as a European man living in a country he doesn’t really understand, and seeing atrocities that he doesn’t like, but are completely legal. He plays the mentor figure perfectly, and his telling of the story of Broomhilda is one of highlights of the film. Washington is sublime as Broomhilda, Django’s wife. She’s terrified, most of the time, knowing that at any moment her life could be forfeit, but at the same time has an inner strength that shines through. DiCaprio is simply wonderful as Candie. He is a man that is trying to be a civilised, European socialite, but is, in fact, a
back woods country bumpkin, with a mean streak. The rotting teeth that he wears in the film really add to the character. Finally Samuel L. Jackson is amazing as Stephen, Calvin Candie’s hand slave. He’s sneaky and conniving and completely repulsive, and absolutely wonderful. He’s one of those characters you just love to hate, and love it when he gets his comeuppance, which he does, and then some. In short this is one of the films of the year, and well worthy of the Oscar nomination for best picture, but be warned, it is very violent and completely politically incorrect, for that reason I’m giving it 8/10. If you have a thick skin watch it. Of course, if you’re a Tarantino groupy you’ll be lining up for hours to get your tickets, and I can guarantee that you will not be disappointed.
A Political Minefield
Steven Spielberg is back to true form with his latest film, Lincoln, telling the tale of one of the most loved presidents of the United States. We checked it out to see if it is indeed of the people, by the people, for the people.
think itâ€™s kismet that now, with the inauguration of Barak Obama into his second term as President of the United States, there is a film in the cinemas about one of the greatest American presidents, and a man that fought for the right that now allows Obama to be the President. That man is Abraham Lincoln, and the film, directed by legendary film maker Steven Spielberg, is Lincoln. Lincoln, played with Oscar gusto by Daniel Day-Lewis, has just been voted into his second term in office as President. The war between the Northern and the Southern states has raged on for four years and seems to be at a turning point where the South is ready to surrender, ending the war, but before that can happen, Lincoln has a plan. He needs to pass an amendment to the United States constitution that outlaws slavery once and for all. He signed the Emancipation Proclamation to free the
slaves, but according to that document once the war is done the slaves will be just that again, slaves. This is something that Lincoln cannot allow, but the bill is so hated by all the representatives in the senate that if the war is over there would be no chance of it being passed. So Lincoln, along with his Secretary of
State, William Seward, played by David Strathairn, and a strong willed representative who wants to see slaves freed and issued the vote, Thaddeus Stevens, played with cantankerous glee by Tommy Lee Jones, set about getting the necessary votes to get the bill past, by any means necessary. All the
while Lincoln has to deal with the fears of the people in his country, and those of his wife, Mary, played by Sally Field, his older son, Robert, played by Joseph Gordon Levitt, and his youngest son, the apple of the manâ€™s eye, Tad, played by Gulliver McGrath. The first thing that needs to be said is that when you put Daniel Day-Lewis, Sally Field and Tommy Lee Jones in a film directed by Steven Spielberg, you know itâ€™s going to be an experience to remember, and this film is that. The performances by all three of these incredible actors is just that, incredible. Jones is old, and bitter, and frustrated, and wonderfully rude as a man trying to bring about change in a country that willing to tear itself apart to avoid that very change. Field is wonderful as a woman trying to hold her family together, but failing, much because of herself. Not being able to forgive herself, or her husband, for the death of their one son, but trying to keep it together for the sake of the other two, and for a man who has the weight of the
world on his shoulders. Day-Lewis astounds as the title character. He is subtle and strong and respectful as a man that shaped the very history of the planet’s most powerful nation and turned it into what it is today. A man, without whom, there would still be slaves today, and maybe still war to keep them. That being said, I didn’t love this film is I’m honest. I expected to see something that resonated with me for weeks following seeing it, much the way I felt when I watched Amistad, or Schindler’s List, or Saving Private Ryan, but unfortunately I didn’t. And while the performances are spectacular, there is just something missing from this film. It may have something to do with the fact that it was written by someone that obviously thinks
everyone knows how the legislative process in America works, because if you don’t you’ll be completely lost for the first half of the film. It may be because after a while the film seems to become less of a study of the life of an incredible man, and more a political-songand-dance-to-get-votes film, which is a pity. Don’t get me wrong, the visuals are great, the sight of Lincoln riding a horse through the fields of battle, dead or dying lying at his horse’s feet, is an amazing piece of directing, but the scenes that have merit are just too few and far between. But, by all means, see the film and judge for yourself, it was an incredibly important chapter in American history, if nothing else. I give it a 7/10, and secretly hope that Day-Lewis wins the Oscar.
Starring Ben Affleck, Bryan Cranston and John Goodman Directed by Ben Affleck extracted. They call in Tony Mendez (Ben Affleck), their best man for that kind of thing, and ask him for a plan to get the people out. What he comes up with crazy, to pose as a ased on a true story, Argo tells the tale Hollywood film crew, in Iran for a location of a C.I.A mission to save six American’s recce, and fly them out. And this is exactly stranded in Iran. In the 1980’s the what he goes into the war torn country to do. people of Iran took their government from a I love based on true story films, dictator that had been put there by the because it gives them an air of authenticity American’s and the British. The dictator ran to that you normally don’t get. To know that America, where they sheltered him. In these things actually happened is crazy to retaliation the people in Iran overthrew the think about. This film is crazy, and wonderful. American Embassy, taking almost everyone It’s clever, well scripted and well directed. inside hostage, but six people managed to Affleck does a great job of getting the escape and found refuge at the home of the intensity felt by the people, as well as the Canadian Ambassador (Victor Garber). Two anger of the Iranians across. The acting is months later word comes that the Iranian great, and it’s very well cast, check the forces that are holding the hostages are about pictures of the real people at the end. This to discover that the six people escaped, and film deserves whatever nominations it gets, the C.I.A decides that they need to be and I hope it wins a few Oscars.
uring a stock crash investment banker, Jeffrey (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) kills his wife and kidnaps his two daughters. He takes them out onto ice covered roads and has an accident. He manages to find his way to an abandoned looking house in the middle of nowhere, but as he’s about to kill his oldest, Victoria (Megan Charpentier), she’s saved by an unseen force. Five years later the children are found, still in the same house,
Starring Jessica Chastain, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau and Megan Charpentier Directed by Andrés Muschietti and sent to live with their uncle (also Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) and his girlfriend, Annabel (Jessica Chastain), but were the kids alone in that house all this time? And did something come with them when they left? This is great for all you horror fans out there. Coming from the imagination of Guillermo del Toro, the man that bought us Pan’s Labyrinth and Hellboy, you know you’re going to be in for a treat, and you are. The monster, Mama, is truly frightening and gruesome, but so much so you can’t look away. It’s intelligent and frightening and spectacular, with good acting from Chastain and both the little girls, this is a treat for anyone that loves horrors. Don’t miss it.
Flight 9/10 Starring Nadine Velazquez, Denzel Washington and Carter Cabassa Directed by Robert Zemeckis he’s responsible because of the booze, even if uring a routine flight something goes he’s not. terribly wrong with the plane. It’s only It’s great to see Washington getting by the incredible efforts of the pilot, back to his Oscar capacity performances, but I Whip Whitaker (Denzel Washington), who wander why all of his Oscar worthy parts are literally flies the plane upside down, that low lives with drug and alcohol problems. everyone on board doesn’t die. He manages Maybe that’s the best part to have if you want to save the plane and most of the passengers, an Oscar, it is certainly working for but that’s just the start of the trials for this Washington, because this film is Oscar worthy man. While the investigation is taking place it too. It is striking, well-paced and a joy to becomes clear that he has a drinking problem. watch. The inverted plane is amazing, and One that meant that not only had he been John Goodman, who plays Washington’s drinking before he got on the plane, he dealer, steals the scenes he is in. He’s a actually drank on board too. Now the pleasure to watch on the screen. We’ll have to investigation becomes less about what went wait to see if Washington gets the Oscar, but wrong with the plane, but more about how it is a worthy performance.
Chasing Mavericks 7/10
Starring Jonny Weston, Gerard Butler and Elisabeth Shue Directed by Michael Apted and Curtis Hanson I enjoy surfing films, from Soul Surfer to Blue Crush there’s something inspiring about people who can ride on water, especially when they overcome insane odds to do so. It becomes especially good to me when it’s based on a true story, like this one is. Jay became one of the best known and respected professional surfers and it’s hen he’s eight years old, Jay wonderful to see where he came from and Moriarty (Jonny Weston) is saved what led up to his career. It doesn’t have a by Frosty (Gerard Butler), as surfer, traditionally happy ending, but that’s life isn’t when he’s washed into the surf. Since then it? If you like the surf films you’ll enjoy this he’s been obsessed with surfing, and he’s one, and Butler is good in it too. good, really good, but he wants more. He finds it one day when follows Frosty and discovers that the Mavericks, the fifty foot waves that were thought to be myth, are in fact real. Now he wants to surf them, but he needs help, and he finds it in Frosty who agrees to train the boy to, not surf the waves, but to survive them.
Gangster Squad 8/10
Starring Sean Penn, Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone Directed by Ruben Fleischer anywhere in America, has ever seen. He’s feared by other gangsters and police alike, but this team stands against him. Their method: To become an opposing gang and hit him et in the Los Angeles of 1949 a group of where it hurts, destroying his money and police officers come together led by killing his men, hopefully before he can find, Sergeant John O’Mara (Josh Brolin), a and kill, them. no-nonsense cop who joined after coming This is a great gangster period piece in home a hero from the war, and Sergeant Jerry the vein of L.A. Confidential and Mulholland Wooters (Ryan Gosling), another war veteran, Falls. If you like films of this kind, this is but one that saw his fill of the war and came definitely one to watch. The film is enhanced home, joined the force, and now tries to walk by the great performances, especially from the fine line between upholding the law, and Brolin, Penn and Gosling, all three can always turning a blind eye if it’s in his interest, but be relied on for good performances. Emma when the gangsters in Los Angeles make the Stone is also wonderful as Cohen’s girlfriend, fight personal for him he picks up arms. Their and etiquette coach, who is secretly in love enemy is Micky Cohen (Sean Penn), the most with Wooters, Gosling’s character. The film is ruthless gangster that Los Angeles, or stylish and smart.
Playing For Keeps 6/10 Starring Gerard Butler, Jessica Biel and Dennis Quaid Directed by Gabriele Muccino lot more trouble as all the mothers want a former piece of him. Soon he’s dating a few, getting help in his career from another, all the while Scottish trying to get his wife back. Complicated. soccer hero, This is a sweet, yet ultimately George forgettable film. It has a couple of funny (Gerard moments, especially the scenes were George Butler), has tries to sneak woman out of his, or his land fallen on hard lord’s, house, and the scene’s with the nosy times. He’s no land lord, played by Iqbal Theba, seeing all the longer playing woman coming and going and being obviously soccer, and jealous, but these are few and far between trying to sell and can’t really carry the film. I’ve seen worse, his but I’ve also seen better, a pity since I really memorabilia like Butler as a comedy actor. He was great to make a opposite Katherine Hiegl in The Ugly Truth, living, while but he just can’t carry this film. trying to get a job as a sports commentator, but not having much luck. He’s also moved to America to be closer to his ex-wife, Stacie (Jessica Biel) and his ten year old son, Lewis (Noah Lomax), but when he decides to take on the job of coaching the boys’ soccer team, he opens a door to a whole
Les Miserables 10/10
Starring Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe and Anne Hathaway Directed by Tom Hooper immediately makes plans to run, but first he must put right a wrong he did to Fantine (Anne Hathaway), a woman that worked at his factory, but he let be fired. He must help her child, Cosette (Isabelle Allen as a child, Amanda Seyfried as an adult). He finds the n 1800’s France Jean Valjean (Hugh child and the two create a life together, but Jackman) is released from prison after 19 Javert is always on their trail. years. He thinks he’ll get his life back, but This is not the first time this classic he’s followed by the shame of being an exmusical has made its way to the screen, but it convict. One nightm out of desperation, he is the first time it has been screen with all the steals from a Priest (Colm Wilkinson), only to music, and it’s completely wonderful. The be caught soon after, but instead of turning music is classic, from such hits as I Dreamed a the convict in, the priest gives Valjean the Dream to Bring Him Home, it’s all here and things he stole, free and clear, and tells him to performed wonderfully by everyone involved. create a new life with them. He does this, The songs where sung live as the scene were running out on his parole and becoming shot, not pre-recorded, which makes them mayor of a small town, but things change real and harrowing and moving. The acting is when Javert (Russell Crowe), the man that great as well, earning Golden Globe and Oscar guarded Valjean in prison, comes to the town nominations. Be warned, you will need a box to become the new inspector. Valjean of tissues for this one.
Starring Tom Hardy, Shia LaBeouf and Guy Pearce Directed by John Hillcoat deeper into the woods to hide their operation, setting them on a collision course with the authorities of the time. Men who are far more corrupt and dangerous than the boys have ever been. If you like period dramas, with a good dollop of action thrown in, then this film should be right up your alley. It’s smart and or years the Bondurant boys, Forest tense the whole way through. The acting is (Tom Hardy), Howard (Jason Clarke) and good by everyone involved, especially their younger brother Jack (Shia LeBeouf, Hardy and Jessica Chastain, who LaBeouf) have run moonshine in Franklin plays a former working girl that comes to County, Virginia. Most think they’re immortal work for the brothers and falls for one of having been wounded many time in life, them. The person who steals the show though including in the war, but never dying, is Pearce. He is menacing and thoroughly regardless of the wounds, but things are creepy as the Deputy who is insane and far changing for the boys. A new Deputy, Charlie worse than any gangster you could think of. Rakes (Guy Pearce), has come to Franklin He digs deep into the role and revels in it. The County and he wants a piece of their business, hair cut is a great statement too. otherwise he’s going to burn their operations to the ground. The brothers refuse, going
Movie 43 0/10
Starring Emma Stone, Stephen Merchant and Richard Gere Directed by Elizabeth Banks, Steven Brill, Steve Carr, Rusty Cundieff, James Duffy, Griffin Dunne, Peter Farrelly, Patrik Forsberg, James Gunn, Bob Odenkirk, Brett Ratner and Jonathan van Tulleken I’ve tried as I might, but I can’t come hen stoner Calvin (Mark L. Young) up with any redeeming qualities in this film. and his friend, J.J (Adam Cagley) It’s a series of the most vulgar, disgusting and are pranked by Calvin’s younger, terrifying (and not in a good way) shorts that I techno-wizz, brother, Baxter (Devin Eash) they have ever had the misfortune of watching. I decide to get back at him. The plan? To crash think there must be a serious difference Baxter’s computer by looking at porn sites on between the South African and American it and getting a virus, but how can they get sense of humour, or maybe just mine, the boy away from his prized computer? Then because in a film that took an hour and half of they come up with a plan, tell his that there is my life, and had a lot of “jokes” there was a video on the web that’s so bad that they nothing funny about it. It was gross and need to find it, and they need his help to do offensive. I would rather watch Piranha 3DD, so. The film is movie 43 and the search begins the only other film I’ve ever given a zero as they search through a bunch of really rating, again than sit through this film. disgusting video’s to find the one that they’re searching for.
Klein Karoo 8/10
Starring Tim Theron, Donnalee Roberts and Anel Alexander Directed by Regardt van den Bergh fter being past his past? And what about Cybil’s fiancé dumped at the (Hykie Berg)? altar, Frans This is a very sweet film. I must say (Tim Theron) returns I’m not a fan of Afrikaans cinema, being home from spending English, but there are a few exemptions, and his honeymoon alone, this film is one of them. I found it sweet, and and goes straight funny and a joy to watch. The performances back to work as a by Roberts and Theron are wonderful and documentary they work very well together, especially in the director. He gets comedic scenarios. If you like romantic involved with his comedies, Afrikaans or English, you’ll enjoy producer (Sisanda Klein Karoo, and just in time for Valentine’s Henna) and begins Day too. work on a documentary about the good works being done in the Karoo. On his way he runs into Cybil (Donnalee Roberts), a seemingly crazy woman who loks herself in a bathroom and then, accidentally, almost runs Frans over with her car. She’s also one of the subjects of the film. As the two get to know each other better a spark begins to grow, but Frans get
The Words 5/10
Starring Bradley Cooper, Zoe Saldana and Jeremy Irons Directed by Brian Klugman and Lee Sternthal story within a much, and his infant daughter, who dies in story, within a front of them. Meanwhile, in the real world, story. We Clay is starting a relationship with Daniella open on Clay (Olivia Wilde), but who is the girl, and who is Hammond (Dennis Clay really? Quaid) stepping to a I was fascinated when I heard the podium to do a concept for this film, the writer stealing reading of his latest someone elses work and then being book, The Words. He confronted with the truth, but this film isn’t begins to speak and about that, I’m not actually sure what it’s the words come to about. I can say that it, unfortunately, that it is life as the characters Rory Jansen (Bradley boring. Even good performances by Cooper Cooper) and Dora Jansen (Zoe Saldana) live and Irons can’t keep the viewer’s interest in their lives. Rory is a writer who has just hit it the film that had me looking at my watch big, winning a prestigious award, but the book after the first forty five minutes. It’s a good he’s won for isn’t his book. It belongs to an concept that got a little lost in the cerebral old man (Jeremy Irons) who confront Rory ranting’s of the writers. A real pity. about it, before telling him his story, about a man in Paris, his wife, who he loves very
Dino Time 6/10
Starring the voices of Pamela Adlon, Rob Schneider and Jane Lynch Directed by Yoon-suk Choi and John Kafka
rnie (voiced by Pamela Adlon) is a mischievous, precocious young boy living in the town of Terra Dino. His mom (voiced by Jane Lynch) is over-protective and makes far too many rules, and his little sister, Julia (voiced by Tara Strong) is annoying and thrills in busting Ernie every time he does something he’s not supposed to, which is all the time, but when she busts him in his best friend, Max’s (voiced by Yuri Lowenthal), garage, where all his dad’s inventions are, they accidentally get a time machine working and
travel back to the time of dinosaurs, where they are mistaken by a Tyranosaurus, Tyra (voiced by Melanie Griffiths) as her babies. Now she wants to care for them, but they just want to get home. This is a sweet little animated film, but it made very little impact on me. I’ve seen all the Land Before Time films, so animated dinosaur films are not a new concept, and this film has a good storyline, interesting characters, and a sweet moral, but it just doesn’t have the hold that Wreck-It Ralph or Adventures in Zambezia has. The kids will love it though, so take them, just don’t expect too much.
Jackson Lives on
Michael Jackson HIStory II opened this month at the Mandela at the Joburg Theatre. We went along to the opening night to see if the tribute is worthy of one of the greatest pop musicians ever, or if itâ€™s just Bad.
o one can doubt that Michael Jackson was the king of pop. With around thirteen US numbers ones and more than twenty US top ten’s, including Smooth Criminal, Thriller, Bad and Black or White, his record speaks for itself. I, personally, have been a fan of his music since I was a boy, growing up on hits like Thriller, Man in the Mirror and Liberian Girl, being some of my favourites. His music lives on, and I’m sure will live on for a long time, thanks to people like Kenny Wizz. Kenny is known as the best Michael Jackson impersonator in the world, and I can attest that I think it must be true. To see him on the stage is to think that Jackson has come back, and to feel the magic of the music for the first time all over again. Coming off successful runs in both Durban and Cape Town, Kenny was at the Mandela Theatre at the Joburg Theatre this month performing in History II, and I have to admit I was blown away. From the moment he steps out onto the stage he catches the imagination. Anyone that has seen performances by Jackson, and if you haven’t look on Youtube they’re all over the place, will appreciate how good Wizz actually is in emulating this icon. From his singing to his mannerisms in stage to the way he dances and moves, he is the embodiment of
Jackson. The show itself was wonderful. Wizz is backed by a fantastic band, each and every one very capable musicians in their own rights, but the highlights of the band have to be South African keyboard player, saxophone player and singer Dale Scheepers, who had the audience on their feet with a stunning rendition of I’ll Be There, which was very moving. Scheepers also did all the rapping in the show, featuring in Black or White. The other highlight was lead guitarist, who is also the musical director of the show, Richie Baker.
This Australian born musician is a remarkable guitar player, and dressed as Slash, took away the audiences breath every time he stepped forward to perform one of the many guitar solos in the show. The show was made up of 22 songs that Jackson performed in his 30 year career, each one as good as the last, but there were a few performances that really stood out, each for different reasons. Earth Song is one of the songs that Jackson wrote as a plea to people to save the planet, something that was very close the
man’s heart. The music video is known around the world and visuals of the people kneeling and grabbing hold of dirt to turn back the clock are very recognisable. When the cast performed this song on the evening, with visuals of the music video shown on a screen on the stage, it was moving and amazing. A truly spiritual moment. When Wizz came out wearing the white suit that Jackson wore for the film the song Smooth Criminal featured in, the audience went crazy. He did a great rendition of one of my favourite songs, even including the leaning forward moment that Jackson used to do. It was great. Wizz’s performance of Black or White was great, especially when he came out into the audience. Everyone was on their feet dancing along to the great song. During the Dangerous tour Jackson did a special dance sequence, which was included in this performance. Wizz, with the dancers on the stage, dancing along to a spoken version of Dangerous, and it was mesmerising. I’ve seen footage of the actual performance by Jackson, and I couldn’t tell the difference. It was fantastic. Then Wizz got on stage in the classic black slacks, white bobby socks, white glove and hat that Jackson wore for the first televised
performance of Billy Jean to do the number. The crowd went wild as he started the performance, but got completely mental as he moonwalked across the stage, it was a serious moment for all of us, and something I’ll never forget. Of the two biggest moments in the show, Wizz’s tribute to Jackson, to the song Gone Too Soon, was the most moving. With a small stool set up in the middle of the stage along with the hat and glove that Jackson made famous, Wizz started the performance by placing a single rose on the hat, and then sang the song to the stool in a tribute to the man the show was based on. It was a truly moving moment, and said so much as to the respect and love that Wizz truly has for Jackson. The second of the biggest moments was right at the end, and my favourite. After a bow and the performance of Billy Jean the opening riff of one of the most loved songs ever begins and a section of the stage, a raised section that the band was standing on, lifts to expose gravestones, coffins and zombie dressed dancers. It was an incredible opening to Thriller, and the song didn’t disappoint. It was magical as Wizz performed the famous song, changing to the werewolf head halfway through. It was a great ending to a magnificent show. I am glad I got to see this show, and I’m more glad that there is someone as talented as Kenny Wizz and his band carrying on the tradition of Michael Jackson’s music. He is and will always be the king of pop thanks to tributes like this. The show runs until February 10th so go and get tickets now before it’s too late.
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Resident Evil: Retribution 7/10
The Factory 5/10
Starring Milla Jovovich, Sienna Guillory and Michelle Rodriguez Directed by Paul W.S. Anderson Alice (Milla Jovovich) is back. Captured by the Umbrella Corporation, she’s being held in a secret testing facility under the Siberian ice caps. When a group breaks into the facility to rescue her she discovers that the Red Queen, the artificial intelligence that ran the facility in the first movie, has taken control of Umbrella and is trying to kill all of mankind. It’s up to Alice and what’s left of her friends, to save the world, as well as the daughter she manages to pick up along the way. I enjoyed this latest film in the franchise. It was great to see old faces appearing again, even if they were different characters this time, and I liked the facility that they were stuck in, a great way to use several places under one roof. If you’ve liked the other Resident Evil films you’ll enjoy this one, but it’s strictly for fans.
Starring John Cusack, Jennifer Carpenter and Dallas Roberts Directed by Morgan O’Neill Detective Mike Fletcher (John Cusack) is tracking a serial kidnapper that his boss doesn’t even think exists. He leaves no bodies, so they think the prostitutes to man is taking are just runaways, but Mike isn’t convinced. He’s proven right when his daughter, Abby (Mae Whitman), is taken by the same person. Mike is suspended, and soon forgets about protocol and the law in his chase to find his child and save her from this psycho, but when the only other person who believes you is your partner (Jennifer Carpenter) what hope do you have? I enjoyed this film, until the end. The final twist, the one that’s supposed to blow the viewer’s mind and have them gasping, was just a twist to far. It left me scratching my head and wishing they had just stuck to the formula, instead of trying to be clever. Before that it was Seven-esque, after it just washed out. A real pity.
Flypaper 9/10 Starring Patrick Dempsey, Ashley Judd and Tim Blake Nelson Directed by Rob Minkoff When Tripp (Patrick Dempsey) finds himself caught in the middle of two simultaneous bank robberies, he does everything he can to calm the situation, and to protect Kaitlin (Ashley Judd), the bank teller he may be a little in love with, but as the evening progresses he begins to realise that there’s more going on in the bank. A plan is afoot, and it could mean the deaths of everyone inside, even the robbers. I thoroughly enjoyed this film. It’s clever, well written and very funny for someone with my dark sense of humour. The story is complex and there are enough twists and turns to keep the viewer guessing until the very end. The performances by Dempsey and Judd are also great, especially Dempsey as the, almost completely insane, Tripp as he investigates a murder in the middle of a double bank robbery. I would recommend this film to anyone.
Wolwedans in die Skemer 8/10 Starring Rolanda Marais, David Louw and Lelia Etsabeth Directed by Jozua Malherbe Sonja (Rolanda Marais) is on her way to a new job as receptionist at a resort called Hotel Njala in Hazyview when she sees a wolf in the forest. She loses control of her car and has a horrific crash. When she wakes up she’s in the hotel, but she has no memory of who she is, or where she came from. She only knows that there’s something going on at the hotel. Her suspicions are confirmed as the bodies start piling up, killed by a mysterious person in a red cloak carrying an axe. Can Sonja figure out what’s going on before t’s too late? Based on the books and radio drama written by Leon Van Nierop, this is a pretty good thriller. The scenes where the bad guy, Little Red Riding Hood, is featured are truly scary and wonderful. The plot does fall a little at the end when everything happens at once, not giving anything time to have any real impact, but it’s a good attempt.
Wake Up and Die 4/10
The Good Doctor 7/10
Starring Luis Fernando Bohorquez and Andrea Montenegro Directed by Miguel Urruitia When Clarissa (Andrea Montenegro) wakes up naked next to a strange man, Dorian (Luis Fernando Bohorquez) she has no idea how she got there, or what happened the previous night. Things get far worse when she discovers that the man is, in fact, a serial killer, and he kills her, but she doesn’t stay dead. Instead she wakes up again has to relive her battle to survive again and again until she figures out way to escape or save herself. I was quite excited about this film when I first read the blurb at the back of the box, thinking it could be an interesting film, unfortunately it seems to have been made by a man straight out of film school, trying to show the public how smart he actually is. The cinematography is silly and un-necessary, the graphic nudity pushes the boundaries, especially with a 16 age restriction, and the plot, which at first seems alright, plods along without really going anywhere. It’s a good concept, poorly executed, a real pity.
Starring Orlando Bloom, Riley Keough and Rob Morrow Directed by Lance Daly Martin Blake (Orlando Bloom) is a young British doctor trying to make a place for himself in an American hospital. He’s finding it hard to fit in and to gain the respect he feels should be afford a doctor simply because of his position. When Diane (Riley Keough), a patient with a kidney disorder, comes to the hospital Martin is immediately drawn to her, but when she gets better and is discharged, the feelings turn more into infatuation as he sets about on a plan to get her sick again so she can come back to the hospital. His plan is just to be near her, but soon the infatuation turns deadly. This is a good film for those that enjoy medical thrillers, even though the medicine part of it very slim. The crux of the film is the issues that the doctor has, his reasons for doing what he’s doing and the subtle way it interplays with the rest of the people around him. It’s an intellectual thriller that was a little slow, but a good watch none the less.
House at the End of the Street 8/10
Maria My Love 5/10
Starring Jennifer Lawrence, Max Thieriot and Gil Bellows Directed by Mark Tonderai Seeking a new start Sarah (Elizabeth Shue) and her daughter, Elissa (Jennifer Lawrence) move to a small town. Soon after arriving strange things begin happening and they learn that the house next door, the house at the end of the street, was the location of a triple murder years ago, and only the son of the previous owners, Ryan (Max Thieriot) was left alive. Things get worse when Elissa starts a relationship with Ryan and gets drawn into a mystery that’s more than she could possibly have imagined. This is a very clever, and frightening at moments, thriller. The added great performances by Shue, Lawrence and Thieriot, especially Thieriot as the somewhat unhinged survivor of the slaughter, make this a film that all horror/thriller fans need to see.
Starring Judy Marte, Karen Black and Brian Rieger Directed by Jasmine McGlade Chazelle Ana (Judy Marte), a waitress in a small café, meets Ben (Brian Rieger), a farmer, and the two start a relationship. Inspired by him she tries to enrol in a mentorship program, but is rejected. Then she meets Maria (Karen Black) an elderly woman, on the side of the street and offers to help her, clean her house, walk with her, etc. The woman accepts the help, somewhat begrudgingly and as they get to know each other better Ana begins to see similarities between herself and the old lady, and realises that unless she changes her ways, she’s going to end up the same way. This is an interesting exploration into the emotional walls we put up around ourselves. We think that they are there to help us, but instead they just lock us up in ourselves and stop others getting to us. The film is sweet, but it takes a long time to get there.
The Flowers of War 9/10
Little Gobie 4/10
Starring Christian Bale, Ni Ni and Xinyi Zhang Directed by Zhang Yimou American John (Christian Bale) finds himself in the middle of the Japanese invasion of the Chinese city of Nanking in 1937. He finds refuge in a church with a group of school children, the girls that attended the church’s convent school, and a group of courtesans hiding from the Japanese. Things get more complicated when the soldiers find them. He disguises himself as the priest to try and protect the girls, which leads to a greater problem that he may not be able to avoid. Now the man needs to figure out a way to save everyone in the church, in the middle of an insane war. This is a beautiful movie. It’s moving and thoroughly stylised, but difficult to watch at times, especially the scenes involving the soldiers. It make you sick to think people could do such things to each other, and then when you think it’s based on true events it’s truly horrifying. If you enjoy good performances with a touching story, rent this one.
Starring the voices of Joyce Cheng, Lam Pou Chuen and Pasu Leung Directed by Tony Tang Gobie is an adventurous, mischievous little boy living in a magical world with his twin pet dragons, but when his mischief manages to get him in more trouble than he can deal with, his pet dragon BeBe, gets seriously injured, and Gobie’s life changes completely. He sets off on a mission to reach Santa land with his other pet dragon, Kuma, to ask Sanat to save BeBe, but if he can’t get there before Christmas his wish won’t come true, and Christmas is only three days away. He aided in his quest by Mitch, an old man who also loves adventure and the two try to save the little dragon. I’m normally a fan of any animation that comes my way. I love the fantastical storylines and the cute characters, but this was a step too far. The characters are annoying and make very little sense, the story isn’t bad, but it’s done in such a strange way that I couldn’t get into it. The animation is also very video gameish, and doesn’t look much like a movie. I’m sure kids under five will enjoy it, they don’t know any better, but make sure you have something else to keep you occupied before you put it on for them.
Starring Sophie Vavasseur, Stephen Billington and Douglas Bradley Directed by Manuel Carballo Strange things begin to happen to 15 year old Emma (Sophie Vavasseur). Her parents take her to the hospital, but when they can’t find anything wrong with her, she begins to think that maybe she’s possessed. She enlists the help of her uncle (Stephen Billington), a priest who was implicated in the death of a young girl from a botched exorcism, who then moves in. He begins treating Emma, even though her parents don’t agree, but there is something far more sinister at work. This starts off as a regular, run-of-themill exorcism film. Same as the hundreds of others I’ve seen, but then it gets interesting. Close to the end you see the real reason behind the possession and what’s really going on, and it’s something that doesn’t come along very often in horror films, original. A film every horror connoisseur should see.
Friends with Kids 7/10 Starring Adam Scott, Jennifer Westfeldt and Jon Hamm Directed by Jennifer Westfeldt Friends Jason (Adam Scott) and Julie (Jennifer Westfeldt) see how unhappy their friends are after just having kids, but they still want. The figure that it’s not the kids, but the marriage that’s the problem so they decide to have a kid together, to avoid all the marriage baggage. It seems to work great, until they both meet people, and realise that they’re actually in love with each other. This is a very sweet film with a sweet message. I was hesitant to watch this movie, since it’s really not my sense of humour, but I’m really glad I did. A great film for Valentine’s Day.
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