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January 2013

2013! The new year is upon us, so we look forward at a couple of the films that we are most excited about in 2013.


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Robert Downey Jr as Tony Stark AKA Ironman in Ironman 3

Contents Cover Story: Looking Forward to 2013

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Features: Playing the Lawyer On the Stage in 2012 Drawing on a Magical World Reaching Thunder A Brave Lord SA Films on iTunes South African Mzansi Ballet Profiles: Sanmarie Kreuzhuber Jonathan Rodrigues

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Reviews: Feature Reviews

3.14 Back to the Shire Film Bel Ami Parental Guidance Butter Looper

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Jennifer Lawrence, with crew, as Katniss Everdeen in The Hunger Games: Catching Fire


Kai from Adventures in Zambezia

Contents Reviews: (cont’d) Here Comes the Boom Celeste and Jesse Forever Silver Linings Playbook Adventures in Zambezia The Master End of Watch The Perks of Being a Wallflower Jack Reacher DVD Total Recall The Snow Princess Christmas Dirty Girl Body Armour Bully Brave Magic Mike Street Dance 2 Arthur Christmas Chernobyl Diaries Top Cat: The Movie Snowflake: The White Gorilla True Justice: Blood Alley Darling Companion The Eye of the Storm Safe Step up 4: Revolution

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Chris Pine as Captain James T. Kirk in Ster Trek: Into Darkness


Editors Letter A very happy New Year to all our readers, we all hope you had a joyous, and safe, time. We have a great issue for you this month, especially for those of you that enjoy looking forward to see what the New Year has to offer. As such we are looking at some of the films and theatre productions that are coming our way in 2013. We also chatted to Robert Duvall and Rosamund Pike, both of whom are acting in the new Tom Cruise actioner Jack Reacher. We sat down with

one of the animators on the new South African animated feature Adventures in Zambezia, and we spoke to the Scottish legend of comedy, Billy Connolly, about his role in the newly released animated DVD feature, Brave. So it’s a full issue again. Be sure to pick up our February issue coming your way on the first Monday of February. We should have some very exciting news to share.

Best Wishes Jon Broeke Editor


Playing the Lawyer

Rosamund Pike is best known for her role as a Bond femme fatale in Die Another Day, but this month we get to see another side of her as she faces off against evil, with Tom Cruise at her back, in Jack Reacher. We chatted to her about her role, and her co-stars and having a British accent in an American world.


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trong female lead roles in movies are few and far between, so when one comes around most actresses grab them with both hands. This was true of Rosamund Pike when she was offered the role of Helen Rodin in Jack Reacher. Helen is a lawyer that is defending a man accused of shooting and killing five people. To make matters more complicated Helen also happens to be the daughter of the District Attorney that’s trying the case. “Yes, she has and I think that you get the sense that she hasn't had it that easy.” She tells us about the position her character finds herself, facing her father in court. “And she's doing a very unpalatable job - she's a lawyer who believes in justice and that means that sometimes you have to defend people who have done wrong. But she truly believes in the justice system and that everyone deserves a fair trial and then she picks up the case of defending this guy who has been accused of

shooting these people and he looks stonewall guilty. The whole town wants this guy to get the death penalty and she thinks, and believes, that even if he is guilty, he deserves a fair trial no matter what and that's when she recruits Reacher to help investigate the crime. But really, she's out on her own, she doesn't work for a particularly high flying office, she


hasn't got any money to pay investigators, she is up against a water-tight case and she is trying to prove something to her father. I think she's a fighter. But maybe she's not as tough as she would like to be because when she's confronted by Reacher's kind of off the wall theories she's completely torn. He's there presenting this theory and even though it does make total sense, she hasn't got any

evidence and that's her moment of cowardice and she says, 'I can't do it...' But then she comes through and she fights again. I feel there's something quite lonely about her, which I'm really pleased has come through. People have said to me, 'oh she's a strong, sexy woman...' well, yes, in a way but I think there's a slight undertone of something sad about her. It's just there, it's just part of the mix. But you also feel, by the end of the film, that there's light at the end of the tunnel and you don't feel despairing, you feel hope for her. I loved playing her because there was so much there.” The lead character in the film, Reacher, is played by Tom Cruise. We asked Rosamund what he was like to work with. “Tom is very, very present,” she says. “He looks you in the eye and he's really interested in you. He's focused, supportive, funny, ask a direct question and you get a direct answer. He's not cagey or mysterious at all. He's a totally straight up man. I loved him. I felt completely comfortable. He's a pro, he's very funny and he's easy to work with because he loves acting and he hasn't become jaded by the


“She's a lawyer who believes in justice and that means that sometimes you have to defend people who have done wrong.�


business at all. He is so present and he was as invested in my close ups as he was his own, which I have to say is rare.” The two characters share a lot of chemistry on stage. We asked her if she knew there would be sparks with him before the cameras rolled, or if she wasn’t sure. “It felt great working with Tom,” she told us. “And it's surprising because you never really know, but, apparently, right from when we did the first camera tests together, when we were trying out wardrobe and lighting techniques, they felt that there was this chemistry there then. And it's funny what the camera picks up on. You can get on with some other actors but it's just not there on screen. But this time it was just there from the start. And that's great because we needed it to be there for the film.” The film makers, along with her and Tom, looked at other films for inspiration for the dynamic between the two characters. “Well, we did look at lots of relationships between men and women,” she told us. “Like Ingrid Bergman and Cary Grant in Notorious and Robert Redford and Faye Dunaway in Three Days of the Condor. And we watched things like His Girl Friday to get that quick dialogue - even though it's a very different atmosphere to our film, you're trying to get that snappy repartee. And it's much harder than you think. And we also looked at (Humphrey) Bogart and (Lauren) Bacall in Key Largo.” Rosamund is British by birth. We asked her if she likes playing Americans, and how she’s coping with the accent. “I'm getting better,” she says. “I feel like this was the film where it really worked. When I was speaking in the film, I was like, 'cool, my work has paid off.' And I did work really work very hard and it sounds really good, I think. I worked as hard as I would on another language, it's not just winging it. It's all about learning the proper sounds, the way you would if you were learning, say, French. You change the way your mouth moves, the muscles, the tongue, everything. And that was the first film in which I felt fluent in American. I've done American accents in other films but with this one I felt I could be as free as I am

when I'm speaking with an English accent. And it was very exciting.” Well the accent works because you can’t tell she’s British in the film, but if you prefer to hear her with her traditional accent you can see her next year in Simon Peg and Nick Frost’s new film The World’s End, but in the meantime you can see an Americanised Rosamund in Jack Reacher, fighting the good fight.


On the Stage in

It looks like 2013 is going to be another bumper year for the stage with some classic ballets and musicals coming our way, a returning dance experience, and something we’ve never seen before on South African stage. It looks like there will be a couple shows that you dare not miss.


Jersey Boys J

ersey Boys tells the true real-life story of how four poverty-line kids from the wrong side of the tracks became one of the greatest successes in pop music history. The Four Seasons: Frankie Valli, Bob Gaudio, Tommy DeVito and Nick Massi wrote their own songs, invented their own sounds and sold 175 million records globally – all before they were thirty! The show stars Grant Almirall (Chicago, Evita, Jesus Christ Superstar) as Frankie Valli; Daniel Buys (Boys in the Photograph, Mamma Mia!) as Tommy DeVito; Kenneth Meyer (Boys in the Photograph, Evita, Jesus Christ Superstar) as Bob Gaudio and television star Emanuel Castis (Scandal!, Isidingo, season 4 winner of Strictly Come

Dancing) as Nick Massi with Jaco van Rensburg (Showboat, Chicago, Grease) playing Frankie Valli at certain performances. It features such classic songs as


Sherry, Walk like a Man, Rag Doll, Oh What a Night and Can’t Take My Eyes Off You, all songs that you’ll recognise and love. Filling out the cast are a group of South Africa’s best female actresses, making up the girls in the boys lives, and affectionately dubbed “The Jersey Girls”. These actresses are Carmen Pretorius (Footloose!, Mamma Mia, Cabaret) as Lorraine, Taryn-Lee Hudson as Mary and

Kirsten Murphy (Some Like it Vrot, Grease, MNet’s Crimes Uncovered) as Francine. Jersey Boys is written by Academy Award-winner Marshall Brickman & Rick Elice with music by Bob Gaudio, lyrics by Bob Crewe and is directed by two-time Tony® Award winner Des McAnuff and choreographed by Sergio Trujillo with music direction, vocal arrangements and incidental music by Ron Melrose. Steve Orich is the Orchestrator. The production design team is Klara Zieglerova, Scenic Designer; Jess Goldstein, Costume Designer; Howell Binkley, Lighting Designer and Michael Clark, Projection Designer. The show, along with the South African cast, is in Singapore at the moment, but returns to our shores soon. The show then runs from April 3rd to April 28th at The Teatro at Montecasino with tickets starting at R100, and then from June 19th to July 14th at the Artscape theatre in Cape Town. Tickets are the same price.


Don Quixote S

parkling Spain is the setting for this wonderful ballet bought to the stage by the performers and directors at South African Mzansi Ballet. It’s all about following your heart, trusting in yourself, and jousting at windmills. The show features some of the most loved dances, including the Don Quixote solo and the Pas de Deux, which is very well known and loved in the ballet world. Also coming back to our shores is Michaela DePrince, the African born, American girl who was featured in the documentary, First Position, Ekaterina Khanyukova and Brooklyn Mack. Ms DePrince returns following her spectacular visit for Le Corsaire in 2012. You will also be happy to see all your favourite South African dancers on the stage as well, Burnise Silvius, Angela Malan, Shannon Glover, Jonathan Rodriguez, Monier Jouve and Ian MacDonald, just to mention a few, will all be on the stage. Judging from Nutcracker, which the company performed earlier this year, this is bound to be a fantastic production and one that every ballet lover in South Africa should see. The show runs from March 8th to March 24th at the Mandela at Joburg Theatre with tickets starting at R50.


Starlight Express

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or the first time ever on stage in South Africa comes the longest running musical of all time, Starlight Express. Telling the tale of a bunch of toy trains, portrayed by actors on roller skates, the trains come alive in the mind of a young boy and fight for the title of the “fastest engine in the world!� The show was directed by Janice Honeymann, a familiar face to all of us in the theatre industry, and much loved for her pantomimes which she does every year. Her credits include Hair, La Cage Aux Folles, Candide and The Boys in the Photograph. The shows being choreographed by Karen Bruce who previously directed and choreographed Saturday Night Fever at Gold Reef City and Footloose at Joburg Theatre.


Clinton Zerf has been appointed Musical Director. Clinton was Musical Director for two previous Andrew Lloyd Webber musicals at Joburg Theatre: Aspects of Love and The Boys in the Photograph. The cast has

yet to be confirmed. The music, of course, is Andrew Lloyd Webber, whose credits include The Phantom of the Opera, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Jesus Christ Superstar, Evita and Cats, just to name a few. His musicals Aspects of Love and The Boys in the Photograph were also produced at Joburg Theatre in recent years. Every one should go and see this production, because it’s going to be rocking. It runs from July 7th to September 1st with tickets starting at R100, so book as soon as the tickets are available.


Michael Jackson HIStory II C

oming to our stages, straight from a fantastically successful run in Vegas, is Michael Jackson HIStory II. Together with a live band of talented musicians, fully choreographed dancers, authentic costumes and high production values, HIStory II brings fans what they want but can never again see, a Michael Jackson concert. The show stars Kenny Wizz, widely recognised as the best Michael Jackson impersonator in the world. This show offers something that people thought they would never have again, after the death of Michael Jackson, and that’s a Michael Jackson concert. The show has already met great success in Durban and Cape Town, now it’s Jozi’s turn. Featuring some of Jackson’s biggest hits, including ABC, Ben, Smooth Criminal, Beat It and many more, this is one show that no fan of the prince of pop should miss. The show runs from January 17th to February 10th at the Mandela at Joburg Theatre with tickets starting at R100.


Tap Dogs T

he dogs are back on our stage and they have their tap shoes on. Stronger, faster, louder and more outrageous than ever before, it’s the same hard stomping, tough, pulsating dance machine but it’s re-energised, re-vitalised and bursting with the sexy, rough and ready appeal exclusive to the “Dogs”. They are still the hottest male tap dancers found South of the equator and there’s the added ingredient of a few stunning female forms alongside the energetic male tappers… Leading the pack is Sheldon Perry (brother of Tap Dogs, creator Dein Perry) along with fellow Australians Matthew Papa, Nathaniel Hancock, Jesse Rasmussen and from the US Anthony Russo and Richard Miller. In addition to the macho line-up, Tap Dogs now has two beautiful female


percussionists, Cat Hunter and Lyndsay Evans joining the testosterone fuelled action on stage. Tap Dogs is set on a construction site in the “steel” town of Newcastle, just north of Sydney, Australia. The adrenalin pumped cast injects raw power and passion to present the ultimate visual dance spectacular, as they jump through scaffolding to the beat of their own drum. Upside down or even on water the Tap Dogs bring the entire space alive with their aweinspiring mix of dance, music and performance! It’s a show that absolutely everyone will enjoy. The show runs from February 12th to March 10th with tickets ranging between R100 and R300.


Looking Forward to

Well, it looks like we all survived 2012, and the Mayan end of the world, and 2013 is upon us. To celebrate we are looking forward to the New Year in film to see what awaits us who survived. Here is the preview of the films we are most excited about in the coming year.


Les Miserables For the first time ever the beloved stage musical comes to the screen in its original form, as a musical. Yes, that’s right, all the music is here, as well as a couple new songs written especially for the screen.

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n late 1800’s France lives Jean Valjean, played by Hugh Jackman. A convict out on parole after 19 years in jail he tries to make a life for himself, but he can’t get work because of his conviction. As a last resort he robs a priest that takes him in, only to get caught by the police while trying to escape, but the priest doesn’t press charges, instead he gives Valjean the silver he stole and tells him to go and make a better life for himself. Valjean does just this, changing his name and becoming the mayor of a small town. In this town he meets Fantine, played by Anne Hathaway, a woman that was fired from her job in Valjean’s own factory and has had to become a prostitute to support her daughter, Cousette, played as a little girl by Isabelle Allen and as a young lady by Amanda Seyfried. Fantine is now very sick and Valjean, feeling

guilty for letting her get fired, vows to protect her daughter after she dies, but things are made complicated when the man that guarded Valjean in jail, Javert, played by Russell Crowe, comes to the town to become the new chief inspector. So now Valjean needs to run, to protect himself and this little girl. This is one of the most loved musicals in the world, and though it has been on screen before, most recently in a version starring Liam Neeson, this is the first time all the music is being included. It is an absolute gem and anyone that is in love with musicals, or musical movies, think Grease or Phantom of the Opera, needs to see it, and go to the big screen, it will be just as good on DVD, but just not the same. The film releases January 18th nationwide.


Spud: The Madness Continues John Milton is back, and his second year looks like it’s bound to be even crazier than his first.

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ack for a second year at Midlands boarding school, John (Spud) Milton, played again by Troye Sivan, is hoping for an easier year than the one he had in the first film, but, considering all the things he needs to deal with, it may be too much to hope for. At home, his mother, played by Julie Summers, is adamant about immigrating, but his dad, played by Aaron McIlroy, is making too much money off his moonshine business to listen, and at school it seems that Spare Rib, Spud’s house master, played by Jason Cope,


and his prefect cronies, Death Breath, played by Harold Hendricks, and Earthworm are adamant about getting the Crazy Eight, including Spud, expelled from the school. Things are no more simple in his love life, with Mermaid, played again by Genna Blair, having a new super hunk, surfer boyfriend, and Amanda, played again by Charlbi Kriek, coming back to the school to play with Spuds mind some more. At least the Guv, played again by John Cleese, is still there, maybe Spud will survive another year at school. Based on the second book by John Van De Ruit, and following the success of the first film, this one looks to be as great as its predecessor. All the same cast have returned for the sequel, include Troye, Mr Cleese and all the boys that played the Crazy Eight in the original. Ross Garland is producing again and Ed Jordan is back writing the music. With that cast and crew it is bound to be a success. The film opens June 21st, so diarise the date now.

Photo by Vaughan Treyvellan


Star Trek: Into Darkness Following the success of the reboot of the Star Trek franchise comes this sequel to the 2009 version, and it looks to shake up the entire universe.

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he crew of the star ship Enterprise, under the leadership of Captain James T. Kirk, reprised by Chris Pine, returns home to find their world under siege. An unstoppable force of terror has detonated their world and the fleet leaving their planet in a state of crisis. With the Enterprise being the only ship to do so, and Kirk having a personal score to settle with the person responsible, the crew takes off for a war-zone planet to find the man responsible and bring him to justice, but can they stop him before it’s too late? And what kind of sacrifices are they going to need to make to do so? Returning to their posts on the Enterprise are Chris Pine as Kirk, Zachary Quinto as Spock, Karl Urban and Bones, Zoe Saldana as Uhura, Simon Pegg as Scotty, John Cho as Sulu, Anton Yelchin as Chekov, and Bruce Greenwood as the former captain of

the Enterprise Christopher Pike. This looks like a fantastic action packed film, in true Star Trek fashion. The cast have already proved themselves worthy of the roles in the first film, so this time they can really flex the acting muscles and make the roles truly theirs. Something very exciting about this film is the bad guy. He is being played by Benedict Cumberbatch, best known as Sherlock Holmes in the new BBC series Sherlock, and rumour has it he is none other than Khan, played originally by screen legend Ricardo Montalban. The same character that gave William Shatner’s Kirk so many problems in the series and the film, Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan. This is huge for Trekkies, since Khan is such a featured bad guy in the Star Trek universe. Very exciting. The film opens July 19th, but you can check out the teaser trailer on Youtube right now, just search Star Trek: Into Darkness.


Elysium The latest film from District 9’s Niell Blomkamp is a sci-fi extravaganza starring some of Hollywood’s biggest stars.

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n the year 2159 the world is divided into two classes. Those that have money live in a 5 star space station that caters to their every whim, a place called Elysium. The rest of us live back on Earth, but it’s such a mess after years of abuse and neglect that it’s hardly habitable, so everyone on Earth is desperately struggling to get to Elysium. Secretary Rhodes, played by Jodie Foster, will not allow that to happen. She is adamant that Elysium will remain exclusive to the haves, and not the have-nots, and instils laws and regulations to preserve the lives of those on board, and damn those not. In the middle of this comes Max, played by Matt Damon. A down on his luck man who

finds himself backed into a corner and accepts a mission that, if he succeeds, could not only save his own life, but put right the inequality of the very world. Word on this film is very tight so we can’t tell you any details about this film, other than what we’ve just said, but it is the first film that Blomkamp has done since District 9, and since that film was a success he know has the backing of the Hollywood machine, so this film should be big. It also stars Sharlto Copley, the star from District 9, though what his roles is we have no idea, but it’s nice to see him in this film, keeping with his South African roots. The film opens August 30th.


The Great Gatsby The F. Scott Fitzgerald classic gets a face lift this year with Baz Luhrmann’s version hitting the big screens.

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hen country boy and would-be writer Nick Carraway, played by Tobey Maguire, moves from rural America to the big city in the 1920’s he’s immediately pulled into an era of loosening morals, glittering jazz and bootleg kings. In this world, through his cousin Daisy, played by Carey Mulligan, and her philandering, blue-blooded husband, Tom,

played by Joel Edgerton, he meets his next door neighbour, a mysterious man named Jay Gatsby, played by Leonardo DiCaprio, who acts as his tour guide in this new world, but as he gets to know this man, and the way he leads his life, Nick bears witness to impossible love and obsession that ultimately leads to disastrous tragedy. This is not a new story to find its way to the big screen with three other versions being made, one even in 2000, but this version promises to be very different from the rest, the reason being the director. With a style and vision all of his own Australian director Baz Luhrmann has bought us such classics as Romeo and Juliet, also starring Leonardo DiCaprio, and Moulin Rouge, so everyone is very excited about seeing his take on this classic. The film opens May 17th nationwide.


Hunger Games: Catching Fire Katniss is back in the games. Can she survive a second round, or is this the end for our heroine?

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fter winning the 74th annual Hunger Games Katniss Everdeen, reprised by Jennifer Lawrence, and Peeta Mellark, reprised by Josh Hutcherson, are travelling to the other districts on a tour of glory and Katniss is noticing that there are rumblings of rebellion all over Panem, but before she has time to think much about it, or really decide if she wants to get involved or not, the new Hunger Games is upon them, and this time there is a significant difference. Because it is the 75th Hunger Games it is referred to as a Quarter Quell, and the tributes are not the children of the districts, they are, instead, the former champions of the Hunger Games themselves. Now Peeta and Katniss find themselves back in the arena, and when surviving once was a miracle, how are they dot do it a second time.

Following the huge success of the first film comes the second in the series, and boy, is it highly anticipated. The cast from the original are back, those that survived anyway, including Hutcherson, Lawrence and Liam Hemsworth as the third part of the love triangle, Gale. Others reprising their roles are Woody Harrelson as Haymitch, Elizabeth Banks as Effie Trinket, Stanley Tucci as the huge smiled Caeser Flickerman and Willow Shields as Katniss’ sister, Prim. Joining the cast are Pillip Seymour Hoffman as Plutarch Heavensbee, the head Gamemaker of the 75th Games, and Jena Malone as Johanna Mason, a former champion of the Games who allies with Peeta and Katniss in the 75th Games. The film opens November 22nd.


There are so many sequels to great superhero films coming in 2013 that we decided to give them a category all their own, so here you go‌ The super heroes are coming.


Thor: The Dark Worlds The god of thunder returns, battling a force that even the greatest that Asgard has to offer cannot stand against it.

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n the comic books, Algrim the Strong, played by Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, was the most powerful of a race of Dark Elves, who is coerced by Malekith the Accursed, played by Christopher Eccleston, to fight Thor, reprised by Chris Hemsworth. After he's betrayed by Malekith and injured during a battle, Algrim is healed and transformed into a much more powerful being called Kurse, who is twice as a strong as Thor. Now Algrim is back, and using Kurse as a weapon he is looking to destroy, not only Asgard, but all of the nine realms. Thor has to travel back to

Earth and reunite with Jane Foster, reprised by Natalie Portman, to try and stop these creatures, but he may have to sacrifice the things he loves the most to do so. The plot on this film is being kept very close to the producer’s vests, so this is just a guess. The creature seen at the end of the Avengers is Kurse, we think, but there’s no confirmation on that. All we can say is that if it’s Thor, and he has his hammer, and he’s flying and fighting and doing all the Thor type stuff he does, we will be watching it. The film opens November 8th, so we’ll just have to wait until then to get some idea of what it’s really about.


Iron Man 3 He’s back in the suit, but it may not be enough to save him this time. Or the ones he loves.

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fter narrowly surviving an attack on his home Tony Stark,

played for the fourth time in this film by Robert Downey Jr, sets out trying to find out who is responsible and bring them to justice, but things get worse as he has to hide from an enemy that seems to powerful even for him to defeat.


Now back in the same kind of caves in which he started his struggle, Tony needs to come to a realisation, or he will never win. Does the suit make him a hero, or is there more to it than that? Once again Iron Man is fighting for truth and justice, and we are super excited. Iron Man was great, Iron Man 2 was even better and he was one of the features in The Avengers, so there is a lot of expectation for this film, especially since word hit us that the big bad in this film is the Mandarin, a powerful terrorist that can control the forces of nature themselves. Then add to that the fact that Sir Ben Kingsley is going to be playing the terrorist and we predict an absolute hit. The film flies into cinemas May 3rd.


Kick Ass 2 The boy in the wet suit with the clubs and the girl that could kill pretty much anyone are back, and they’re badder than ever.

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ith graduation looming, meaning the end of high school, Dave, played again by Aaron Taylor-Johnson, is at loose ends as to what to do with the rest of his life. He hasn’t been Kick Ass, his hero alter-ego, for a while, but he finds himself looking back at the mask for a life line and decides to create a super hero team with Mindy, played again by Chloe Moretz, the hero from the first film, Hit Girl, but when she gets busted by her guardian, Marcus, her dad’s best friend from the force, played again by Morris Chestnut, she’s grounded and forced to retire Hit Girl once and for all. She now has to deal with another danger, high school, while Dave finds friends in a group of other heroes that were inspired by him to stand up against evil, among them Colonel Star and Stripes, played

by Jim Carrey, but when they are attacked by Red Mist, now calling himself The Mother F%&*^r, played again by Christopher MintzPlasse, maybe his new friends won’t be enough to save him. Kick Ass was a surprise hit back in 2010 and ever since everyone that loved the original have been chomping at the bit for a sequel, and it’s finally here. We are looking forward to seeing how the characters have changed. Moretz is a lot different now, having grown up a lot since the first film, so we expect to see her in even more action, but the exciting thing is going to be Red Mist and Kick Ass. They’ve had time now to learn how to actually fight, so we’re hoping to see some real ass kicking. The film opens July 19th and we’ll see how kick ass Kick Ass really can be.


Man of Steel The Man of Steel is rebooted this year in a new look at the origins of the amazing Superman.

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reboot of the Superman franchise about Clark Kent, also known as the superhero Superman, played by Henry Cavill. Just before his home planet of Krypton is destroyed Kal-El, which is also his name, is sent to Earth where he is found by a farmer, Jonathan Kent, played by Kevin Costner, and his wife, Martha, played by Diane Lane. They raise him as their own teaching him right from wrong and instilling a strong understand of justice into the young man as he develops superpowers. He then goes off to Metropolis, a major city, to become the superhero of all superheroes, the Man of Steel, Superman. There is not much known about the actual plot for this film. What is known is that

it’s a reboot of the Superman franchise, much like Batman Begins was a reboot for him. The other thing we can tell, from IMDB, is that we will see Clark as a kid, have interactions with a young Lana Lang, his love interest as a kid, played by Jadin Gould, and the bad guy in this film is General Zod, a rogue Kryptonian general that was imprisoned by Jor-El, Clark’s real dad. Zod is played by Michael Shannon and Jor-El is played by Russell Crowe. We know these characters are featured in the film, but what they do, or what the storyline for them is we have no idea. We can assume it will not be same as Superman 2, back in 1980, which featured Zod taking over America, but even that we’re not sure of. We’ll just have to wait until the film opens on June 28th.


The Lone Ranger The masked ranger rides again this year, and this time he has star power backing him up.

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hen eight rangers, including ranger John Reid, played by Armie Hammer, chase Butch Cavandish, played by William Fichtner, into a canyon they are ambushed and killed. They are found by Tonto, a Native American spirit Warrior, played by the incredible Johnny Depp, who buries them all, but when he buries Reid he notices something, the young man is not dead. Now


believing that Reid is a spirit warrior, one that has crossed over into the world of the dead and returned, he convinces the young man to don a mask and take justice to the evil, including the man that killed the other rangers, and may be the one to stop the Lone Ranger. Bought to you Gore Verbinski and the Weinstein Company, the same people that bought the Pirates of the Caribbean films, this looks to be one of the biggest block busters of the year. Hammer, best known as twins in The Social Network, looks heroic and stoic as the ranger bought back from the dead to fight the forces of darkness, and what can be said for Depp? He is one of the best actors of his generation, and he completely at home playing a role like Tonto. For nothing else you need to see this film just for him. The film opens July 12th, do not miss it.


Drawing on a Magical World


This month sees Triggerfish Animation Studios trying to compete with Disney/Pixar and Dreamworks animation with the release of Adventures in Zambezia. We chatted to Tumelo Selamolela, an animator at Triggerfish about their new project and what it’s like to work on animated films.


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nimated films are always very popular at the South African box office, but with Disney/Pixar and Dreamworks Animation being the big studios in terms of animated features, it’s a difficult genre to make any waves in. A South African animation company, Triggerfish Animation Studios, is trying to do just that this year with the release of their first animated feature, Adventures in Zambesia. Adventures in Zambezia tells the story of Kai, a blue falcon living out in the middle of nowhere with his dad, Tendai, but when he discovers that there is a city where birds all live together, called Zambezia, Kai immediately wants to go, even though his father forbids it. Defying him, Kai sets off to the fabled city and his adventures begin. We caught up with Tumelo Selamolela, one of the animators on the film. The first thing we asked was what exactly his role on the film was. “I was involved in animating the actual character’s performances,” he told us during a phone call to him in the Triggerfish studios in Cape Town. “And doing body mechanics shots and stuff like that.”

While he didn’t actually create the look of any of the characters in the film, his work was essential to the film. “It’s a long process,” he said. “We have the modellers, who are the guys who are doing the actual modelling and creating the characters, and the texturers, the guys who

are doing the colours on the characters. So what I did was do performances on the characters, make them move around and animate, that’s what I did. With CG animation


basically you get control of the characters. My department are the guys that take the control and make [the characters] move and perform. So in CG we no longer draw the characters themselves, but we actually use controls to get the performances that we want.” And the performances are amazing,

from Kai flying through tubing while he’s training to be a Hurricane, the fighting force that protects Zambezia, to the lizard’s movements, they’re the bad guys, to the

distinct movements of the Marabu’s, it is wonderfully done. We asked Tumelo what kind of training he’d done to learn how to create such amazing animation to compete with the best America has to offer. “I studied animation at the animation school in Cape Town,” he told us. “It’s a very cool school that just focuses on animation and pretty much teaches you the software and the basics of animations, all the processes that are involved in creating a feature in animation.” This is Tumelo’s first feature, along with Triggerfish, but more than that, it’s his first project with the animation studio. “This was my first project with Triggerfish,” he said when we asked how long he’s been working in the animation industry. “So I’ve been with Triggerfish currently for three years now. Two years, nine months”


Adventures in Zambezia tells the story of Kai, a blue falcon living out in the middle of nowhere with his dad, Tendai, but when he discovers that there is a city where birds all live together, called Zambezia, Kai immediately wants to go.


It’s widely known that animated films take a long time to make. We asked how long it took to make Zambezia. “I think Zambezia, the project itself, started around 2009,” he said. “Around September, and the whole production itself I think we finished round about last year [2011] April, somewhere around there, but it’s a whole long process, the whole process took about three to four years, but as far as animation is concerned, the process that I was involved in directly, that took about a full year.” The voices in Zambezia are done by American celebrities, including Samuel L. Jackson and Abigail Breslin. We asked Tumelo is he managed to meet any of the stars who lend their voices to the film. “No, unfortunately not,” he told us. “I think they were recorded in the States and there was a connection doing it over the internet or something like that. I don’t think they came to South Africa to record. So there was no possible way that I could have met them.” We asked if the voices were recorded before or after the animation was done. “We did the lip sync,” he told us. “That’s what we call it, with the voice actors that they had, then they brought in some international stars and basically they used those voices to dub over the animation that we had, that’s how they get it to look in sync, and not out of sync. With the first few actors we animated it, but it got dubbed over eventually.” We asked his opinion on using American voices, in a South African feature. “On one or two chances I would have liked them to retain one or two South African voices that we animated to,” he said. “While I was animating to their voices I kind of liked

their performance, but from the producers point of view I can understand the business logic behind it, getting an international artist to do the voice. It’s a give and take. The international artists, they’ve had so much experience with animation, whereas, what I found with some of the first voices I worked with, they didn’t give enough of a performance to animate to, because they’re not used to the medium. So from an animation point of view we want to get the guy that has the skills to do good voice over, so we can also do good performance on his voice. You also want to prove to South African viewers that we have somebody from South Africa making good movies.” It makes sense. It’s a pity and would be nice to have more South African voices in the leads, but we all understand. We asked Tumelo what he thought about the final product, now that the film is finished. “I thought it was quite great,” he said. “Considering that it was a group of artists who came together to come and work here at Triggerfish. It was a brilliant product. I actually enjoyed how it came out to be. We’re working on a new film now and as we look at the new product, compared to the previous movie, you kind of cringe here and there, but it looks good though.” The new film that Triggerfish is working on is Khumba, due for release some time in 2013, also using American voices in the leads, but perhaps there will be a couple of South African voices in there too. In the meantime you can see Adventures in Zambezia at cinemas everywhere, and see that South African animators can compete with the best in the world. Now maybe we can start trusting our voices actors a little more.


Reaching Thunder


It’s been twenty years since Robert Duvall shared the screen with Tom Cruise in Days of Thunder. Now they are together again and as crazy as ever. We chatted to Duvall about Cruise, and the film and what he’s been doing for the last twenty years.


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f you asked who the biggest star was twenty years ago there would have been one answer, and one alone. That person would have been Tom Cruise. With films like Risky Business, Top Gun and Cocktail on his resume he was the biggest name in world-wide entertainment back then. That’s not to say that he’s still not a major Hollywood star, but his star has been tarnished as of late due to issues in his personal life. This year Tom reunites with one of his co-stars from back in the day when he’s on screen with Robert Duvall, who he starred alongside in Days of Thunder. In that film Duvall played a pit boss for Stock car and Cruise was the young, impossibly talented, driver who he helped get to the top. This time round Cruise is a tough, no-nonsense former military cop and Duvall is the owner of a gun shop that he goes to for help. The film is Jack Reacher, based on the novel One Shot by Lee Child. “Well, it came to me at the last minute, almost a year ago,” Duvall says

about how he got involved in the film. “I wasn’t going to work for a while but, then, Tom Cruise said he wanted me and because I’d worked with him before and I liked and respected him as an actor I found myself considering the possibility even though, to start with, I didn’t know if I could do it. I said I’d think it over but then they came back pretty quickly and asked me again. And that time I said, ‘Ok, I will. Yeah. Why not?’ It was


kind of a last minute thing. They shot it in Pittsburgh and my wife and I went up there five times for filming. We drove five hours in the car each time from Virginia where we live but I’m not complaining because it was a pretty nice drive.” It had been twenty years since the two acted together in Days. We asked Duvall if he’d had a lot of contact with Cruise since they finished that project.

“No, not much. Just indirectly,” he told us. “But whenever I did see him it was really nice because we were always able to pick up where we left off. I don’t keep in touch too much with other actors, apart from, say Jimmy Caan who’s still a good old friend of mine. But, mostly, I don’t socialise with other people in showbiz.” We asked if it was Cruise who contacted him directly about doing the Reacher film. “No, it came from the casting people,” he says. “And at first I wasn’t sure if I could do it. I wasn’t in great shape for a start. I was carrying a bit of extra weight. In fact, I didn’t realise till I saw the movie how heavy I was! I’ve lost some now, thank God. But Tom was the one who asked for me and then I talked to both the director and Tom and we went and did it. I hadn’t even had a chance to read the books, but I took it on trust that if Tom was involved it had to be good. And I wasn't disappointed.” Duvall was thrilled to be working with Cruise again, as much as we are to the together again. We asked what the star is like to work with, and if he’s


changed much in the twenty years since they worked together. “No he’s pretty much as he’s always been,” Duvall tells us. “He’s older, I’m older but it didn’t matter because we were essentially the same… two actors in a scene both trying to make it the best we possibly could. Some things never change. Also, it does seem to me that right back from the days when he was one of the Brat Pack, he stuck out even in that crowd. He was the warmest and most accessible of all the actors. As a base that’s where he comes from and I think he’s kept that through the years.” Cruise is known for doing as many of his stunts as possible himself. He does the same in Jack Reacher. “Yes, extremely!” Duvall tells us when we ask if he’s impressed by Cruise’s stunting. “I mean, the guy climbed the biggest building in the world in Mission: Impossible and in Jack Reacher he did stunts in the helicopter – including a 360 degree turn- that even pilots in Afghanistan would find challenging. The car chase scene in the movie, too, was all Tom behind the wheel. You look at it and think, this guy really is a force of nature!” Duvall now lives on a farm in Virginia, not wanting to take part in the Hollywood lifestyle that seems to damage the careers, and lives, of so many actors. We asked him what it takes to get him off the farm nowadays, besides a Tom Cruise film. “Well, I like to do movies that interest me,” he says. “And feel different to the run of the mill. So, for example, if Billy Bob Thornton calls I always listen because I think he’s an

extraordinary talent. In fact, I like to think of him as ‘The Hillbilly Orson Welles’. We recently we did a film together called Jayne Mansfield’s Car which was interesting because his whole concept of writing is great and completely different. Recently, too, I’ve been working in Texas on a movie called A Night in Old Mexico. It’s written by William D. Wittliff, who also wrote the TV mini-series, Lonesome Dove. I loved my role in that and think that my part in this movie may just be my favourite ever. It’s just a wonderful, wonderful script and the guy who played my grandson is Jeremy Irvine, the brilliant young English actor who was in War Horse. It’s set in South East Texas, not exactly a Western, but a contemporary descendent of that genre. It took the writer 25 years to get it made – although we only had 23 days to shoot it and two or three million dollars to make it. But, I really don’t know if I ever liked a movie better than this one in my whole career. And that’s the kind of film that gets me off the farm.” He’s also trying his hand at directing now. “Yes,” he tells us when we ask if this is something he’d like to pursue. “Writing and directing The Apostle and Assassination Tango gave me a real taste for it and I’d love to direct some more, but it’s hard to find the right thing.” Well, with a career like his we’re sure he will find the right thing, as well as acting in the right thing, and we look forward to whatever he decides to leave the farm for. In the meantime you can see him aiding Jack Reacher as he tries to save the day.


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A Scottish Brave


Disney/Pixar’s Brave hits DVD shelves this month. We sat down with Billy Connolly, voice of King Fergus in the film, to chat to him about his role.


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illy Connolly has one of the most recognised voices in the world. His Scottish drawl is unmistakable and gives each of his characters a very specific feel. Releasing on DVD this month is a film with one of those characters in it. The film is the Disney/Pixar animated feature Brave and his character is Lord Fergus, the father of Merida, the Scottish princess who leads this film. “It was great fun to do the voice of Fergus,” Billy says. “Yet in some ways it was the most difficult thing I’ve ever been asked to do. Fergus has only got one leg because a bear ate the other. The king is a good warrior. He’s a good shot with a bow and arrow. He’s a massive fellow, like a mountain, but he’s actually quite soft and warm underneath. I appreciate that about him. Fergus likes being funny and he doesn’t take the other clans too seriously because he doesn’t see them as any kind of threat. He tries to show respect for them, but gives little winks and nudges and laughs at their expense.”

We asked Billy what the film is about. “Brave is about this challenge between a young woman and her parents as to exactly who she is,” he says. “Merida’s mother and father want her to get married and settle down because that’s the way it’s always been done—the daughter marries a firstborn son of one of the Lords of the other clans. But Merida doesn’t want to grow up. She wants to be wild, practice archery and ride a horse—and why wouldn’t she? She lives in paradise and rides about on a Clydesdale horse with a bow and arrow—she’s an


extremely good archer, better than the guys who are trying to impress her by their prowess.” Taking part in a Disney film is something most actors jump at. We asked what appealed to Billy to get him involved in this project. “I find the most attractive bit about the film,” he told us. “Is that there are great family truths at its heart. Although they’re royal, they’re still going through this mother, father, daughter thing, and they’re people from different generations seeing things in

different ways. A great moral lesson lies within. It reminds me of my own family a wee bit.” The film is based in Scotland, Billy’s home country. We asked him if he thinks the filmmakers did a good job with the backgrounds. “The filmmakers have really captured the spirit of Scotland,” he says. “The glory of the settings—the mountains, rivers, waterfalls, forests and the standing stones— makes it instantly recognizable, beautiful and very dramatic. There’s a lovely light in Scotland that you don’t get anywhere else apart from perhaps Ireland. It’s a sort of liquid light that happens in the evening. It’s a magical country.” A strong theme in the film is fate and destiny. We asked Billy his feelings on these subjects. “It’s up to you whether you believe in destiny and fate,” he says. “That’s what makes them very attractive—the fact that some people believe in them and some people


“Brave is about this challenge between a young woman and her parents as to exactly who she is.�


don’t gives them life that they wouldn’t otherwise have. If everybody believed in destiny, destiny would become a kind of beige affair. If you believe it, it’s true; if you don’t, it’s not true. So it gives it all a lovely colour. When you’re watching someone like Merida in a film chasing her destiny, it’s all very interesting because it’s not something you can see, you have to go by her imagination and your own.” The animation process is a very slow one, taking years to make a film such as this. “It’s an extraordinary process,” Bily told us when we asked about his experience of the animation process. “Because most people don’t realize you are the beginning of it all. You make the noise and that noise is taken to the artists. It’s an incredibly clever thing they do—they video your face a wee bit

while you’re recording your voice, so you get bits of you in the animation as well—it’s not just a completely imagined thing. There are wee bits of me and the way my face moves in Fergus. It’s smashing.” To close we asked Billy why people should go and rent or, better, buy this DVD today. “Brave is a great adventure,” he replied. “It’s like all great adventures: the goodies win. The truth triumphs in the end and the meanies are sorted out, put in their place and sent on their way. There’s nothing better.” Who can argue with that? You can Billy on the big screen early next year in The Quartet, but in the meantime get a copy of Brave and hear his unmistakeable drawl.


Top SA films now available from iTunes

We don’t normally do this, but this news is huge for the South African film industry, and all of us that support it, so we decided to run this press release that we received directly from iTunes. We hope you find it interesting.

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ovie distributor Indigenous Film Distribution has made four of its recent topperforming films available on the South African storefront of Apple’s iTunes Store, just one week after the local rollout of the iTunes music service. This makes it possible for South Africans to buy the selection of local films from iTunes for between R99.99 and R149.99. The titles are also available to rent from R29.99 each. The films available include Leon Schuster’s ‘Schuks Tshabalala’s Survival Guide to South Africa’, the most successful Schuster film of all time, in which SA's favourite prankster takes aim at soccer fever, tourists, and Helen Zille. Also available is romantic comedy ‘Semi-Soet’, which shook up the box office early in 2012, earning more than R5 million. Another title which is expected to be very popular is ‘Liefling, Die Movie’, a love

story told using famous evergreen Afrikaans songs which is the most successful Afrikaans film of all time. Rounding off the selection is international film festival favourite ‘Otelo Burning’, which showcases South African film making at its best. It tells the story of three black South African boys who escape their township lives in KwaZulu Natal in the late 1980s through surfing. “The launch of movie rentals and downloads comes just days after Apple launched music purchases in South Africa and we are delighted to be the first local distributor to make local films available on the iTunes storefront,” says Helen Kuun, CEO of Indigenous Film Distribution. “For our first foray into the iTunes world, we’ve chosen titles that will appeal to a broad cross-section of movie lovers. We will grow the selection as demand increases and people become more accustomed to buying from iTunes.


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Photo by Justin Dingwall

Dancer’s Profile:

Sanmarie Kreuzhuber


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anmarie Kreuzhuber is a home Ballet Theatre graduate programme in 2005 grown ballet dancer, and she before being accepted into the corp de ballet always wanted to dance. in the ballet company in 2006. Sonce then “I saw Swan Lake on television,” she she’s has performed in Giselle, La Traviata, told us. “When I was three years old and told Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, Rock – a – Tutu, my mother I want to be a ballerina. The next Coppelia, Hamlet, The Nutcracker, Triple Bill, day my Mother took me to my very first ballet Don Quixote (Mercedes), Swan Lake (Pas de lesson, and she Sanmarie in Carmen: The Ballet. Photo by John Hogg was happy to offer me the opportunity to dance. It was my mother’s dream to be a ballet dancer herself, but she never had the chance to do so.” Sanmarie started dancing at the age of three, training with Marna Bolt, Paula Olivier, Rene Callis and Liza Fekete. In 2000, she attended Hoërskool Waterkloof’s Dance Academy and began contemporary dance classes with Kelsey Middleton. In 2004, she won the prestigious Adeline Geneè Silver Trophy at the South African competition and participated in the International Adeline Geneè competition in Athens,Greece. Sanmarie joined the South African


Trois, Russian and Big Swan) , The Sleeping Beauty (Lilac Fairy, Enchanted Garden Fairy and Sapphire Jewel) and Romeo & Juliet. Not to mention Gregory Maqoma’s Neon Flight at the 2007 Arts Alive Festival in Soweto, Alexandra and Newtown and performed on the main programme of the National Arts

Festival with SABT”s Don Quixote in 2008. In 2009, she made her debut as the Fairy Godmother in Veronica Paeper’s Cinderella-the Ballet at the Joburg Theatre and performed the role of the Winter and corps de ballet Fairies with The Cape Town City Ballet during their season of Cinderella at the Artscape Theatre. In June 2009, she appeared in several roles in Coppélia at the Promusica Theatre making her debut as Dawn. Also in 2009 was the season of FNB’s Giselle where Sanmarie made her debut as Myrthe. She appeared in Janice Honeyman’s pantomime Pinocchio followed by Swan Lake in March 2010 when she made her debut as Odile. We asked her what role she loves, and which one doesn’t really do it for her. “My favourite roll to dance, so far, is the role of Carmen,” she says. “I love the Spanish flavour and I am looking forward to something similar as the role of Kitri in Don Quixote. My worst role to dance is the


“Being a professional ballet dancer can be mentally, physically and emotionally challenging,” she told us. “So you have to be one hundred per cent sure this is the career for you. “Grow tough skin” is the best advice I have been given.”


Sanmarie performing Gizelle in the ballet of the same name. Photo by John Hogg


Sanmarie in Martin Rhodes Cinderella. Photo by John Hogg

Winter Fairy in Cindarella. I am a very dynamic dancer and I love to jump. I find anything slow extremely boring and so I can’t wait to perform in the fast paced Don Quixote. Don Q has everything I love in a ballet.” Don Quixote is coming to the Joburg Theatre next year, so we all keep an eye open for that. It will be one in a long list of professional performance by this talented dancer. A dancer that always knew she would be a prima ballerina on the stage. “Ballet has always been a passion of mine,” she says. “I went to a school that had a ballet academy where I trained so it was a great accomplishment for me to be accepted into a professional ballet company. I wanted to be a ballerina as a little girl and today I can proudly say I’ve achieved my dream.” She has had a remarkable career for someone so young. We asked her to offer her advice to the young ballerinas out there. “Being a professional ballet dancer can be mentally, physically and emotionally challenging,” she told us. “So you have to be one hundred per cent sure this is the career for you. “Grow tough skin” is the best advice I have been given.”


Photo by Justin Dingwall

Dancer’s Profile:

Jonathan Rodrigues


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orn in 1991 in Brasil, Jonathan Rodrigues started dancing at an early age. He attributes his starting to a family member, his sister. “I started ballet because of my sister,” he says. “I used to watch her dance and wanted to know what it would feel like to move like her so I told my mother I wanted to join my sister in a ballet class. I gave my ballet teacher many problems because I kept on starting and quitting over and over until my teacher told me I either stay in ballet or I don’t come back ever again! After that scare I decided to take my ballet training seriously and very happy with my decision to be a professional dancer.” The teacher that gave him the ultimatum was Rosana Maria Presente. He

also trained in Modern dance with Rubén Terranova. He participated in classes at the Dança e Cidadania Project at Social Bertoni Center – Jardim Nova Europa, Campinas in São Paulo and in 2006 participated in a Workshop with Arnie Zane Dance Company


which included classes with the American choreographer Bill T. Jones and Janet Wong – Director of Rehearsal / Assistant of choreographer at Studio 3 Academy, in São Paulo, Brazil. Jonathan achieved third place in the 19th Festidance competition in São Paulo

performing Basilio’s variation from Don Quixote. The following year he participated in the Night of Award of the 6th Festival of Dance in Mogi-Mirim, also in Brazil, in the Invited Group category. Since starting to dance professionally Jonathan has performed in Carmina Burnise Silvius & Jonathan Rodrigues in Swan Lake. Photo by John Hogg Burana at the Municipal Theatre of Americana Lulu Benencase (São Paulo) as well as in Cisne Negro Cia, De Dança. After joining South African Ballet Theatre in April 2011 he was immediately cast as Benvolio in Romeo & Juliet at the Joburg Theatre, and has performed as Alberecht in Giselle, the Prince in ‘The Sleeping Beauty’, as well as in Shannon Glover’s Amakhonokh ono. We asked him what his favourite and worst roles to perform are. “My favourite role is Basilio from Don Quixote


“Be patient, because ballet is not easy,” he told us. “Train and perform with your heart and don’t dance ballet because you have to, but because you love it!”


Angela Malan and Jonathan Rodrigues in Le Corsaire. Photo by Susanne Holbaek


because his character is strong and masculine,” he told us. “My worst role to dance is Blue Bird from The Sleeping Beauty. I find some of the character’s jumps to be awkward for my body and so I don’t feel comfortable.” Even though Jonathan loved dancing as a child he never really considered becoming a professional until he was older. “I never thought I was going to be a ballet dancer as a child.” He says. “I wasn’t sure what I wanted to be. All I concentrated on was finishing my school work.” We’re all glad he did finish his schooling, and decided to become a professional dancer as well. We asked him what his advice to the young and coming dancers of South Africa would be. “Be patient, because ballet is not easy,” he told us. “Train and perform with your heart and don’t dance ballet because you have to, but because you love it!”

Angela Malan and Jonathan Rodrigues in Le Corsaire. Photo by Susanne Holbaek


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3.14


The bestselling novel, Life of Pi, comes to the big screen this month. We went along to the cinema to experience the tiger and the boy, to see if the film is as good as the book, or if it just didn’t quite add up.


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e reviewers see a lot of films. On average we see four to five films a week, so when you have to review them and look at them objectively you do tend to get a little cynical, especially when it seems like you’ve seen it all before, so when a film, literally, takes my breath away, I sit up and take notice, and that is what I found when I saw Life of Pi. Pi, played as a teenager by Suraj Sharma, is a youngster growing up in India. His father, played by Adil Hussain, works for a zoo, and he’s happy with his life, but when the country begins to destabilize his whole life changes. His father takes a job in a Canadian zoo and he, his mother, played by Tabu, and his brother, Ravi, played by Vibish Sivakumar, along with all the animals from their zoo, head off on a Chinese boat for their new home, but on the journey tragedy strikes when a storm sinks the boat. Pi’s entire family is killed in the sinking and only he makes it to a life raft. The catch is that he’s not alone on the life

raft. Richard Parker, the prized Bengal tiger attraction from their zoo in India has made it onto the life raft as well. Now the boy and the tiger need to learn to survive together in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, or they’ll both die. But can boy and a tiger survive together on a small boat? When I first heard the story for this film I was a little sceptical. I wondered how they could make an entire film about a boy stuck on a life raft with a tiger. I was concerned that it was going to end up being either a silly comedy, or a Disney type film


with a tiger that doesn’t eat people. I was so glad to be mistaken. Yes, the film is about a boy and a tiger, but there is so much more to it than that, and those levels really explain why the book on which the film is based is such a success. From the moment the film started it captured my attention. The opening sequence flies through the zoo and looks at all the animals, done so beautifully in 3D, I felt for the first time that I really could reach out and touch them.

The sinking of the ship is so spectacular that all I could do was sit with my mouth hanging open and experience it. The tiger is remarkable. Never once do you think that it is CGI, though it must have been. It is done with such an eye for detail that when it swipes at Pi, which it does on several occasions, you really feel the claws could rip his leg right off. Of course the visual effects, of which there should be at least an Oscar nomination, are the reason to see this film, the acting is wonderful too. Sharma is fantastic, and when you consider he was acting against nothing most of the time, it makes his performance all that better. In my cynical opinion, as someone that watches a lot of films, I would call this film the movie of the year. It’s bound to become the bench mark for all the films I’ll see over the next year. Do yourself and a favour and go and see this film. The only film I’m probably ever going to give a 10 out of 10 rating.


In my cynical opinion, as someone that watches a lot of films, I would call this film the movie of the year. It’s bound to become the bench mark for all the films I’ll see over the next year.


Back to the Shire


This month sees the release of the prequel to the smash hit Lord of the Rings trilogy, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. We went along to the cinema to see if it matches up to its predecessor, or if the journey should have stopped with the fellowship.


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very film lover has seen the Lord of the Rings trilogy. From the great story of heroism in the face of overwhelming odds, to the magic and sorcery, to the rolling hills and fantastic vistas that we saw on the screen during all three of the films, anyone who’s anyone can’t say they know film unless they’ve seen it. Well, the creators of those films are at it again, and the eagerly awaited prequel, The Hobbit, is on our screens this month. And I’ve got to tell you, it lives up to the original. The film opens on an explanation that leads to the main plot of the film. The explanation tells about the plight of the Dwarves of Middle-Earth, and how they lost their home to a dragon that wanted the gold of their race, hidden in a great mountain fortress. Years later the signs say that the time has come for what remains of the Dwarves, led by their king, Thorin, played by Richard Armitage, to go back to their home and


reclaim what is theirs. The wizard, Gandalf the Grey, reprised by Ian McKellan, joins their forces and brings them all to the most unlikely place, the Shire. The home of the Hobbits. Especially one particular Hobbit, Bilbo Baggins, played by Martin Freeman in this film. The dwarves, and Gandalf, expect Bilbo to go along with them to aid them on their journey, the reason being he can go where they can’t, and perhaps get right under the dragon’s nose without him knowing. At first Bilbo has no intentions of joining the quest, but soon changes his mind and goes on the greatest adventure of his life, battling Orcs, Trolls, and Goblins and finding the ring that sets in motion the tale of the Lord of the Rings. This film has been long anticipated since word came that the same people that did the Lord of the Rings, namely Peter Jackson, were going to make it, and the wait was well worth it. It is just as good as its predecessors. The visuals are amazing, from the Shire, to the Dwarfish halls deep in the mountains to Rivendell, the home of the Elves,


The wait was well worth it. It is just as good as its predecessors. The visuals are amazing, from the Shire, to the Dwarfish halls deep in the mountains to Rivendell, the home of the Elves, everything is a feast for the eyes.


everything is a feast for the eyes. The story is a quest, and the characters are great, each Dwarf among the party bringing a certain characteristic to the group. The most amazing things are the fight sequences. The scenes down in the goblins lair, where our heroes find themselves running from an entire goblin army, are really something to see, and when the Orcs corner them up trees on a cliff face, it takes your breath away.

The film was shown to us on the new 48 frames per second system, meaning the viewer sees 48 pictures per second instead of the standard 24, which is supposed to make the film clearer and smoother, and I’ve got to say the clarity is something incredible. You can see everything from the leaves on the trees to the pimples on the characters faces, but I felt it looked more like a video game than a film, and every now and again the


characters seem to move in high speed. I can’t say I’m a fan, but it didn’t detract from the amazing film, and the 3D effects are something to experience. If you were a fan of the Lord of the Rings trilogy, do yourself a favour and go see this on the big screen. If you like new technology, go and check it out in 48 frames per second at the, like, three cinemas that offer it. It is rather incredible, but, judge for

yourself if you want more, or if you want films to remain films. I’m giving this film 9 out of 10 and I look forward to The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug coming this time next year.


Bel Ami

Starring Robert Pattinson, Christina Ricci and Uma Thurman Directed by Declan Donnellan and Nick Ormerod I think that the producers of this film paid a lot of stock in Robert Pattinson for this role, hoping that his popularity in the Twilight eorges Duroy (Robert Pattinson) is a series of films would follow him to this new young soldier; freshly back from the film, and it very well may, but the sad fact is war, in Paris. As he begins to work out that anyone that does come to see this film the inner workings of the city he realises that just to see Pattinson is going to be greatly it’s not the men that control the city, but the disappointed. He is not good in this movie, wives of those men who influence their relying on brooding and long lingering looks decisions. With that in mind he sets about instead of actually acting. He’s not the only courting three of these very woman, namely one either, the characters aren’t well built Madeleine Forestier (Uma Thurman) and which leaves all the actors with very little to Virginie Rousset (Kristin Scott Thomas), both work with. They are all capable of far more, wives of men who run one of the most but none of that is shown in this outing. Even influential newspapers in Paris, and Clotilde Thurman and Thomas, both great actors in de Marelle (Christina Ricci), an acquaintance their own rights, look like fools in this movie. of the others who he may actually love, but as It is just not what you’d expect. I just hope he sinks into the depths of what it takes to Pattinson moves to something with more become something in Paris at that time, he substance for his next role, or he may not may in fact loose himself and the only thing have many more at all. that could have saved him.

G

Parental Guidance

Starring Billy Crystal, Bette Midler and Marisa Tomei Directed by Andy Fickman try and get a new job with ESPN and you have a recipe for absolute disaster. It is so wonderful to see Billy Crystal and Bette Midler back on the big screen, and to see them together is a double bonus, not to mention seeing them in such a wonderful film, it was more than I could have hoped for. The film has all the hallmarks of a classic, hen Phil (Tom Everett Scott) has to highlighting the way kids were brought up in go out of town on business and he the past versus the way they’re brought up asks Alice (Marisa Tomei), his wife, today. The idea of not being able to say no, or to come with him they have to call her don’t to your child is ridiculous, and explains parents, Artie (Billy Crystal) and Diane (Bette why there are so many impossible children Midler) to babysit their three children, Harper nowadays, but that’s my opinion. The film is (Bailee Madison), Turner (Joshua Rush) and great, Midler and Crystal are their normal Barker (Barker Simmons) for the week. Of funny, appealing selves. Tomei is wonderful as course this causes all kinds of chaos as Artie the extremely overprotective mother, and and Diane’s style of parenting clashes with the Madison is great as a desperate to please more, happy, feeling style of Phil and Alice. everyone 12 year old. In all it is the kind of Add to that the fact that Artie has recently film you should watch if you have kids, or lost his job as an announcer for a minor want to. I loved it and so will you. league baseball team and is using the visit to

W


Butter

Starring Jennifer Gardner, Yara Shahidi and Ty Burrell Directed by Jim Field Smith parents (Alicia Silverstone and Rob Corddry), enters the competition and shows great skill. Now the battle is on between these two butter sculptors, and Laura will stop at n a small town in Iowa the highlight of the nothing to win. year is the town faire, and the thing at the This is one of the funniest films of the town faire to see is the butter sculpting year. It has a great storyline and has a lot of contest where people sculpt butter into heart. The butter aspect is fantastic, and it’s amazing things. Yes, that’s right, butter. In this funny to think that people take these kinds of town Bob Pickler (Ty Burrell) has won the contests so seriously, but they really do. butter sculpting contest for fifteen years in a Garner is fantastic as the completely mental row, and when he’s asked to step down and wife who will stop at nothing, even framing a let someone else have a chance his wife, ten year old for cheating, to win a ridiculous Laura Pickler (Jennifer Gardner) a completely butter contest. Other stand outs are Shahidi, insane control freak whose reason for being is Olivia Wilde as a stripper who sleeps with that her husband wins the butter sculpting Garner’s husband and then sets out ruining contest, she loses it. She enters the contest his, and her life, and Hugh Jackman as a car herself, expecting to be the only entry, but sales man Garner gets involved in her plot. If she’s surprised when Destiny (Yara Shahidi) an you like your comedies quirky and full of heart orphan who has just been placed with a foster this is for you.

I

Looper

Starring Joseph Gorden-Levitt, Bruce Willis and Jeff Daniels Directed by Rian Johnson position that Joe (Joseph Gorden-Levitt) finds himself in when his future self (Bruce Willis) comes through, only trouble is his future self escapes. This is a very clever film. A thinking mans’ action film. From the Wachowski brothers, the creators of the Matrix films, hirty years from now time travel will what else would you expect. The time travel I exist. It’s controlled by organised crime dealt with well, and gives the film a surreal that use it as a means to do away with feel. The scenery, a futuristic version of people. See, in the future you can’t dispose of America, is slick, and gritty at the same time. a body, it’s just not possible, so organised The performances by Levitt, Willis and Jeff crime sends the people back through time to Daniels as the boss sent to the past by the be killed in the past by people called Loopers. bosses to oversee operations, are great. I was They kill the people and dispose of their a little confused as to the reasoning behind bodies and get paid in silver bars sent from the prosthetics that Levitt had. It was meant the future with the bodies, but when they’ve to make him look more like Willis, but I served their purpose the bosses close their thought it was totally unnecessary. Other than loop. They do this by sending their future that this was a film I enjoyed and will, no selves into the past to be killed by them. They doubt, enjoy a cult status in the future, along get a gold pay off and they’re free. This is the with the Wachowski’s other endeavours.

T


Here Comes the Boom

Starring Kevin James, Henry Winkler and Salma Hayek Directed by Frank Coraci the music program that way, but after a lucky punch in a fight results in a win, he’s suddenly noticed and offered a fight in Vegas. Now the teacher is up against real competition, a real cott Voss (Kevin James) is a teacher fighter who wants to hurt him. Can he save who’s lost his drive. He arrives late, the music program and not end up dead in doesn’t try to inspire the kids very much, the process? and spends most of the school day sleeping At first I would never have said that behind his desk, but when his friend, Marty Kevin James could pull off this role. To see Streb (Henry Winkler), the music teacher, is him as a mix martial arts fighter, taking on told that he’s about to lose his job because twenty something year olds and winning, the music program is being cut due to lack of come on. But I was very surprised when he funding, he stands up for him and vows to did, and he did it well. He is wonderful in this find the money. Of course he has no idea film as the man trying to do the right thing, how, and begins to wane very quickly, but even if his idea to pull it off is crazy. He’s then an idea pops into his head. That idea is funny and charming and really wonderful. mix martial arts, and when he meets a trainer Winkler is a comic gem and is at his best in at a citizenship class he’s teaching to raise this film, and Salma Hayek as the school nurse money, he’s sees his opportunity. So the man, and James’ love interest is lovely. This is a who is old and not in great shape, begins very sweet film about doing the right thing, no training to compete in small back room fights, matter what, and we could do with a little figuring he can lose all the fights and still more of that in this world. make money just from competing and save

S

Celeste and Jesse Forever

Starring Rashida Jones, Andy Samberg and Elijah Wood Directed by Lee Toland Krieger at Celeste’s house, as a struggling artist, and they tell each other everything. Then things begin to change, especially when Celeste learns that Jesse dated another girl (Rebecca Dayan) while they were separated and now that girl is pregnant. No Jesse is trying to do the right thing and make it work with the new girl, but Celeste is slowly unravelling as she’s losing, not only her husband, but her best friend. Usually I can remember movies pretty eleste (Rashida Jones) and Jesse (Andy well when I sit to write these reviews, but I’ve Samberg) are best friends. They’ve got to admit that this one is a little fuzzy. I been best friends for as long as either remember that it was sweet, and funny at of them can remember and will always be times, but, obviously, it must be ultimately best friends. The complication is that they are forgettable. If you’re a fan of Samberg from getting divorced. They were married, but it his Saturday Night Live days then you’ll didn’t take and now they are divorcing each probably enjoy this one for what it is, a cute other, but that hasn’t changed their couple of hours, but if you want something relationship. Jesse still lives in the back room with a bit more bite then look elsewhere.

C


Silver Linings Playbook

Starring Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence and Robert De Niro Directed by David O. Russell and coming to the realisation that maybe at Solitano (Bradley Cooper) comes you’re not so crazy when you’re crazy with home after spending eight months in a the right person. mental hospital. He has only one thing This is a very sweet film, but you need on his mind, to get back together with his to wade through quite a lot to find the estranged wife, Nikki (Brea Bee), but there’s a sweetness. It’s a tough film to watch, major fly in the ointment. The reason he was especially when everyone starts shouting at in the hospital was because he found his wife each other, which happens in pretty much in with another man and almost beat him to every second scene. These shouting matches death. He thinks this behaviour is behind him, are shot with equally erratic camera but with every passing day he becomes more movements, making the even more erratic and unstable. Then he meets Tiffany disconcerting, but if you can get past them (Jennifer Lawrence), the widow of a cop, who there’s a lot to this film. The performances by dealt with her grief by losing it and sleeping Lawrence and Cooper are lovely and they with everyone in her office building. She is a really get under the insane skin of their friend of Pat’s Ex-wife so, in a deal she agrees characters. Robert De Niro as Cooper’s to give her a letter from Pat, if he will enter a obsessed about the Eagle’s father is great. dancing competition with her. Of course this Watch this film for the enjoyment of seeing is not something he wants to do, but with people discover true relationships, instead of little other options, he agrees. Soon they those we create in our minds, but be warned, begin seeing each other in a different way, the shouting matches are rough.

P

Adventures in Zambezia

Starring the voices of Samuel L. Jackson, Abigail Breslin and Leonard Nimoy Directed by Wayne Thornley ai (voiced by Jeremy Suarez) is a prisoner by an evil lizard, Budzo (Jim young falcon living in the Cummings) with a plan to destroy Zambezia. middle of nowhere with his This is one of only a few animated father, Tendai (Samuel L. Jackson), when they feature films to come out of South Africa. I are surprised by a crane, Gogo (Jenifer Lewis), was concerned about this title when I saw it, who crash lands in their nest. She tells Kai with Rise of the Guardians and Wreck-Itabout the fabled bird city of Zambezia, and he Ralph, both wonderful titles by Dreamscape decides he can’t stay in the middle of and Pixar respectively, flanking the film, I nowhere anymore and heads off for the big wasn’t sure it could match up. Thankfully it city. When he gets there it’s more than he does. The animation is wonderful, especially could have imagined. He immediately meets the flight sequences that are very well done. Ezee (Jamal Mixon), the tour guide of The story is strong and compelling and the Zambezia who knows everyone and voices work wonderfully with the characters. I everything that’s happening in Zambezia and would have liked to hear a couple South Zoe (Abigail Breslin), a young hawk who is the African voices in a South African movie, but daughter of the bird that runs Zambezia, we do what we must to get funding, so we all Sekhuru (Leonard Nimoy), before he finds out understand. This is a great film, by about the Hurricanes, a group birds that international standards, not just South protects Zambezia. He immediately wants to African, so go and check it out before schools join the Hurricanes and goes about doing just go back. that, unknowing that his father is being held

K


The Master

Starring Joaquin Phoenix, Philip Seymour Hoffman and Amy Adams Directed by Paul Thomas Anderson The performances in this film by Phoenix and Hoffman are the only reason to former naval sailor, Freddie Quell watch it. They are both phenomenal actors (Joaquin Phoenix) is having trouble and really embody their characters, bringing adjusting to civilian life. He starts them to life with an eerie authenticity. Amy fights, drinks like a fish, and is obsessed with Adams, as Hoffman’s wife in the film, is also sex. After being chased by the police he stows outstanding, but with not as much screen away on a boat to be found by the captain, time as the others she is somewhat over Lancaster Dodd (Philip Seymour Hoffman). A shadowed. The rest of the film falls flat for strange man who has written a book which me. I didn’t really understand a lot of the has reach cult status and is creating a new cinematography. For example, there’s a scene religion of sorts called the Cause. As the two when all the woman appear naked to men’s lives intersect the sailor begins to Phoenix’s character during a family get follow the writer, becoming one of his together, but the reasons for this is never disciples, but as the movement grows, and really explained. They’re just naked and then the voices of those that disagree with the they move to the next scene. Very odd. I think movement, grows along with it, the sailor the performances are Oscar worthy, but the finds himself sinking back into his old ways, film is very strange. If you like good and heading to a collision with those in the performances, and don’t mind odd films, take order that could destroy everything. the risk, otherwise just cheer when one of them wins.

A

End of Watch

Starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Michael Peña and Anna Kendrick Directed by David Ayer two of them are on the cartels hit-list. And these people are very serious. This is a gritty, crime ridden look into what it must really be like to be a cop in LA, one of the most dangerous places to be a cop. Shot on handheld cameras, including the follow-on cameras that the police cars in LA he life of a Los Angeles police officer is have, that have become so popular through not an easy one. This film follows the shows like World’s Greatest Car Chases and story of Brian Taylor (Jake Gyllenhal) Cops, this films gives you a first had look at and his partner, Mike Zavala (Michael Pena) the lives these men lead. The performance by as they go about their business trying to make Gyllenhaal is exactly what you expect from an the world, or at least their little part of it, a actor of his capacity, sensational. T reminds better place. We see them dealing with the me of his work in Jarhead, which was also crime, drugs and prostitution that infects this wonderful. He’s dark and real and a person part of the world, but when they pull over a you really want to see succeed, but now in man wearing a cowboy outfit and he tries to your heart that it’s just not in the cards for kill them, things get out of control very quickly him. If you like realistic cop dramas, or you as they discover the man was a member of a really enjoy good acting, this is for you. ruthless Mexican drug cartel, and now the

T


The Perks of Being a Wallflower

Starring Logan Lerman, Emma Watson and Ezra Miller Directed by Stephen Chbosky teen, coming-of-age films that we’ve all seen so many times. I was very surprised to find harlie (Logan Lerman) is starting his first that it is quite different, and quite a lot darker day in high school and he’s completely than I expected. The story revolves around a out of place. He has no friends, and young man that sees things, hence the even his sister (Nina Dobrev) won’t sit with wallflower, but he is profoundly disturbed, him in the cafeteria. Then, at a football game, and as he learns about his friends, discovers he sits with Patrick (Ezra Miller), a senior, and how disturbed they all are. The themes in this his life changes. He suddenly has a friend in film are not for a young audience. That being Patrick, a love interest in Patrick’s step sister, out there, it is a great film. The performances Sam (Emma Watson) and through them a by Lerman, Watson and Miller are truly connection to the others in the school that he wonderful. Especially Watson and Lerman. wouldn’t have known otherwise, but as he She dons an American accent for the film, and gets to know his new friends more, and they does it really well, as well as pulling off more get to know him, they find themselves emotional scenes in five minutes tha she wrapped up in each other’s drama, some of needed to do in all eight of the Harry Potter which could bring them together, but some films. Lerman is completely mental as the that could tear them apart forever. lead, but he’s a sympathetic mental, so the When I went to see this film, not audience wants him to get better, instead of having read the book that it’s based on, I hoping he jumps off a cliff. It is a hard watch, expected it to be another of those sweet, but worth it.

C

Jack Reacher

Starring Tom Cruise, Rosamund Pike and Robert Duval Directed by Christopher McQuarrie starts looking into the crime, in his own hit first, ask questions later style. Based on the book One Shot by Lee Child, this is a great film. Reacher is a fantastic character. He has all the attributes of a first ive random people are shot by a sniper class investigator, with a good dollop of (Joseph Sikora) in Pittsburgh. The police vigilante and anti-hero thrown in. He kicks catch him pretty quickly, but he won’t a*s, but has a heart of gold, way-way down say anything, all he does is write a note asking deep. Cruise is great as the character, them to find Jack Reacher (Tom Cruise). reaching back to his hey-days as an action star Reacher is a ghost. Former army military to bring him to life. It was also great to see police, he has dropped off the grid for two him on the screen with Duval again. They years. No one can find him, but they don’t work so well together and really give the film need to. As the District Attorney, Alex Rodin a great boost. Pike is good as the attorney (Richard Jenkins) and the lead investigator, trying to do the right thing, and getting in way Emerson (David Oyelowo), sit down to discuss over her head, and I loved Jai Courtney as the the man, he appears. Ad in him they get more bad guy. He is menacing and a great adversary than they bargained for. After some for Reacher. This has got to be one of the best convincing by the sniper’s defence attorney, action films of the past year, and since there Helen Rodin (Rosamund Pike), who happens have been a bunch of books featuring to be the district attorney’s daughter, Reacher Reacher, let’s hope this is just the first movie finds himself as he lead investigator and he and there will be many more.

F


Total Recall Starring Colin Farrell, Kate Beckinsale and Jessica Biel Directed by Len Wiseman In the future the world has become inhabitable. The survivors live either in the United Federation of Britain, what was the United Kingdom, or the Colony, what was Australia. In the Colony lives Doug Quaid (Colin Farrell), an assembly line worker who’s married to Laurie (Kate Beckinsale), a paramedic. Doug isn’t happy with his life and decides to go to Rekall, a place where they put fake memories into your head, to get a memory, but things go very wrong and he soon finds himself running from the law as they track him as a suspected terrorist. The problem is, he may actually be who they think he is. This film is, supposedly, a remake of the 1990 Arnold Schwarzenegger film, but it’s not. For one Mars doesn’t feature at all, and a lot of the main plot has been changed. This film works well, and the performances are good by the three leads. It’s a good action flick, if you enjoy that kind of thing.

The Swan Princess Christmas

Starring the voices of Elle Deets, Yuri Lowenthal and Jennifer Miller Directed by Richard Rich It’s Christmas time in the kingdom and Odette (voiced by Elle Deets) and Derek (voiced by Yuri Lowenthal) are preparing for the festivities. Someone else is preparing too, Rothbart (voiced by Sean Wright) who has managed to come back as a ghost with one aim, to destroy Christmas and by doing so get his body back and get revenge on Odette and Derek. Now they need to race against time as Rothbart grows ever stronger. Can they rouse the spirit of Christmas in the villagers, who are losing it, to stop Rothbart in time? This is a sweet film, if you like Christmas films. It is very much for Christmas lovers, and children. The CGI is lovely, not as good as the original animation, but very close, and the carols that are sung throughout the film are very nice.

Dirty Girl Starring Juno Temple, Milla Jovovich and Jeremy Dozier Directed by Abe Sylvia Danielle (Juno Temple) is the school slut, looking for love in all the wrong places, but when her mother (Milla Jovovich) tells her she intends to marry her Mormon boyfriend (William H. Macy) Danielle decides her only hope is to find her father, a man who ran out on her before she was born. She enlists the help of a guy at school, Clarke (Jeremy Dozier), a boy that’s gay in 1987, before it was okay to be so, and the two of them set off towards California with her mother, his mother (Mary Steenburgen) and his abusive father (Dwight Yoakam) in pursuit. I absolutely loved this film. The performances by Temple and Dozier are great as young people trying to make their way in a world they don’t fully understand. Jovovich does more acting in this film than in all the Resident Evil films, and she’s wonderful, alongside Steenburgen as Clarke’s mother, trying to do her best and failing miserably. I also loved the 1980’s sound track. This film just goes to show, you can choose your family, not just your friends.

Body Armour

Starring Til Schweiger, Cazz Palminteri and Cristina Brondo Directed by Gerry Lively Haunted by his past of not being able to save a client, former bodyguard John Ridley (Til Schweiger) takes one final assignment to try and overcome his past. The problem is the person he’s supposed to protect is the very same person that killed his last client. Now a witness against his former clients Assassin Maxwell (Chazz Palminteri) is trying to make right on his life, but is he serious about turning a new leaf, or is this just another scam in a series of them? This film just doesn’t stand up to what it could be. I’ve been a fan of Palminteri for as long as I can remember, but this film just doesn’t show him for what he can do. The plot is shoddy, the acting is weak and the action sequences just aren’t as good as they should be. Skip it for something else.


Bully Starring Alex, Ja'Maya and Kelby Directed by Lee Hirsch This is a moving documentary about the growing pandemic of bullying in American schools. With footage in classrooms, on school fields and in school buses this film pulls no punches as it tells a harrowing story of children that should be safe at school, but seriously aren’t. The film also tells the stories of Tyler Long, a 17 year old who committed suicide after being bullied at school, and Ty Smalley, an 11 year old that did the same thing, also after being bullied. Their parents now strive to try and make sure that what happened to their sons will never happen to anyone again by setting up the Be The Change campaign to try and convince children in school’s all over America to stand up for each other and stop bullying once and for all. The question I need to ask is where are these kids learning this behaviour? The footage, especially on the bus, is disturbing, but children aren’t born wanting to hurt others, they need to be taught and don’t tell me it’s TV or film, or video games, I know kids who play games and watch horror films but they don’t hurt people. I hope there is some kind of cure for this epidemic, and maybe this film could be the start. Watch it with your kids. There is a little swearing, but it’s worth it to get the consciousness growing, and maybe stop the senseless loss of life.

Brave Starring Kelly Macdonald, Billy Connolly and Emma Thompson Directed by Mark Andrews, Brenda Chapman and Steve Purcell Merida (Kelly MacDonald) is a fiercely independent Scottish princess, but her mother, Queen Elinor (Emma Thompson) just wants her to be like any other princess, prim, proper and petite, things Merida really isn’t. Things get worse when the time comesfor Merida to me married off to one of the sons of the other clans. Her and her mother clash over this before Merida comes across a witch. She gets the woman to cast a spell on her mother, which is where the trouble really begins. This is Disney animated fabulousness at its best. Merida is a strong, capable young woman, and a great role model for our daughters. The story is sweet and engrossing and the animation is wonderful. The accents are also great. If you’re a fan of Disney films you’ll love this one.

Magic Mike

Starring Channing Tatum, Alex Pettyfer and Matthew McConaughey Directed by Steven Soderbergh Adam (Alex Pettyfer) meets Mike (Channing Tatum) on a temporary roofing job. They run into each other again outside a night club and Mike takes the young man under his wing. Adam discovers Mike’s real job is as a stripper for a men’s dance revue run by the charismatic Dallas (Matthew McConaughey), which Adam immediately gets involved in, but as he sinks deeper into a world full of booze, drugs and woman he begin to lose himself, just as Mike is seeing his future disappear. With actors like McConaughey, Tatum and Pettyfer I expected this film to be a lot better than it actually is. It’s bad, plain and simple. The plot is erratic and squishy, the cinematography tries to be arty, but ends up being annoying, and the acting, even by these well respected and good actors, is shoddy at best, with very little direction to speak of. If you like seeing Tatum shaking his a*s then rent it, otherwise don’t bother.


Street Dance 2 Starring Falk Hentschel, Sofia Boutella and George Sampson Directed by Max and Dania Ash (Falk Hentschel) is a dancer trying to beat the greatest dance team out there, the Invincibles, but on his one chance he chokes and falls on his butt. He’s rescued by Eddie (George Sampson), another dancer, who becomes the man’s manager. Together they travel around Europe putting together the best team they can to beat the Invincibles, but they need something more, so they recruit Eva (Sofia Boutella) a Latin dancer and go about fusing Latin with Street, but can these individual dancers learn to dance in pairs? This is a good dance film. The dance sequences are impressive, especially the fusion between the Latin and the Street. The acting is mediocre, but you don’t watch this type of film for the acting. If you liked the Step Up films, you’ll like this one. Also, fans of the TV show Got To Dance keep an eye out for Akai Osei-Mansfield, winner of season 1.

Arthur Christmas Starring the voices of James McAvoy, Hugh Laurie and Bill Nighy Directed by Sarah Smith When a little girl, Gwen (Ramona Marquez), by a mishap, has her present forgotten on Christmas, Arthur Christmas (James McAvoy), Santa’s son, takes it on himself to deliver the present. He is aided by his grandfather, Grandsanta (Bill Nighy), who is after some validation, and Bryony (Ashley Jensen), a wrapping elf who stows away, and between them they try and reach the child before the sun comes up and dashes her belief in Christmas and Santa. This is one of the sweetest Christmas films I’ve seen in a while. The way the writers enveloped the story into the film, making the moral of Christmas being about the joy of receiving gifts and the joy of those that give them, instead of making yourself look good, is wonderful and brought a tear to my eye. If you’re still in the Christmas spirit, or have that spirit all year round, go and rent it, you won’t regret it.

Chernobyl Diaries Starring Jesse McCartney, Jonathan Sadowski and Olivia Dudley Directed by Bradley Parker Chris (Jesse McCartney), his girlfriend, Natalie (Olivia Dudley) and their friend, Amanda (Devin Kelley) meet up with his brother, Paul (Jonathan Sadowski) in Kiev during a European tour. He arranges for them to be taken into Pripyat, the abandoned city that used to house the men, and their families, who worked at Chernobyl before the meltdown. Once there they are faced with a huge abandoned city, but things aren’t what they appear, and the city might not be as abandoned as they think. Is it me, or are these mutants living in the woods, mountains, ruins of a city, films getting really old? There are only so many times I can watch an attractive young American girl running away while screaming. What happened to the horror monsters of old? To Freddy and Jason? Why do the bad

guys now look like they got their faces caught in a mincer? If you like this kind of film check it out, it’s just like all the rest, if not rent a classic Nightmare.

Top Cat: The Movie Starring the voices of Jason Harris, Chris Edgerly and Bill Lobley Directed by Alberto Mar When Strickland is made police chief his idea is to rid the city of crime with his technology, and there’s no place in his new city for Top Cat, who is framed for robbing orphans and sent to dog prison. Now that he’s out the way Strickland’s real plan come to light, to put everyone in jail so he can have the city to himself. So it falls on Benny, Fancy Fancy, Choo Choo, Spook and Brain to save Top Cat and the city. I loved the CGI backgrounds with the classic hand drawn characters in this film, but, honestly, I found it a bit boring. If you like the original series, you’ll love this film, and your kids will love it regardless.


Snowflake: The White Gorilla Starring Elsa Pataky, Benjamin Nathan-Serio and Constantino Romero Directed by Andrés G. Schaer When Snowflake, the only albino gorilla in the world, comes to live at the Barcelona zoo he’s immediately pushed away by the leader of the gorillas there. Snowflake realizes that the colour of his fur is the problem so he devises a plan to go see a witch to become like the other gorillas. With his friend, Ailur, a red panda who thinks he should be a black panther, they set off, but danger is around every corner, especially Luc de Sac, a man that will stop at nothing to get his hands on Snowflake. This is a very sweet film about learning to love yourself, but it doesn’t quite match up to the calibre of animation we’ve become accustomed to. The mixture of animation and live action is effective, though. That being said, it won’t matter to the kids who it’s aimed at. They will love the characters and really get into the story. Not bad for a weekend distraction.

Darling Companion Starring Kevin Kline, Diane Keaton and Dianne Wiest Directed by Lawrence Kasdan Beth (Diane Keaton) finds a dog on the side of the freeway one day and calls it Freeway. A year later, just after her daughter’s (Elisabeth Moss) wedding in the Colorado Rockies, Freeway goes missing in the mountains. This leads to a series of mad cap adventures as Beth, her husband, Joseph (Kevin Kline), Joseph’s sister, Penny (Dianne Wiest), her boyfriend, Russell (Richard Jenkins), her son, Bryan (Mark DuPlass) and the caretaker of their holiday home, a gypsy named Carmen (Ayelet Zurer) search the mountains for the missing dog. This is a sweet film, especially for dog lovers, but I also found it rather boring. There are moments when the comedy shines through, but for the most part it’s missing something that would make it a great film. If you like films about the love between a person and their dog, rent this, but it’s not Old Yella.

True Justice: Blood Alley Starring Steven Seagal, Sarah Lind and Lochlyn Munroe Directed by Wayne Rose Elijah Kane (Steven Seagal) and his team, Sarah (Sarah Lind), Johnny (Jesse Hutch) and Simms (Lochlyn Munroe) are back. This time they need to deal with a new evil that’s rocking the streets of Vancouver. Feet are washing up on the shores of the city and Kane’s vendetta to kill the man that ordered the hit on his old team leads him to a deal between heavy hitters in the organ trafficking world. Now it’s up to Kane and the team to stop these people, and get the information that will lead them ever closer to the Ghost. This is the third film in the franchise, and it’s good, but if you’ve missed part one and part two you’re going to be completely lost. The story moves forward straight from one to the other and the characters intersect, but even the new characters are a little hard to follow. It seems they tried to put a little too much in this series and it gets a little confusing, but if you like Seagal’s fighting style there is a bit of it here.

The Eye of the Storm Starring Geoffrey Rush, Charlotte Rampling and Judy Davis Directed by Fred Schepisi In Sydney, Australia, Elizabeth Hunter (Charlotte Rampling) a once very wealthy and lovely woman, is on her death bed. She’s cared for by two nurses, Mary (Maria Theodorakis) and Thora (Alexandra Schepisi) as well as an elderly house keeper Lotte (Helen Morse). As her time comes closer her son, a struggling, once famous stage actor, Basil (Geoffrey Rush) and his sister, a French Princess, Dotty (Judy Davis) come to see her, and old wounds open. If you enjoy Australian art films this may be your cup of tea, otherwise steer clear. I found it drawn out, and boring, and without a definite point. It’s not the kind of movie I would choose to watch, and will never again. The one high point is Charlotte Rampling’s performance, which is wonderful, but not enough to save this film.


Step Up 4: Revolution Starring Ryan Guzman, Kathryn McCormick and Misha Gabriel Directed by Scott Speer A dance crew calling themselves the Mob are performing all over Miami. They are led by best friends Sean (Ryan Guzman) and Eddie (Misha Gabriel) and their plan is to be the first page on Youtube to get 10 million hits so they can win $100 000. Things get complicated though when they discover that a hotel magnet, Bill Anderson (Peter Gallagher) is going to tear down their homes to build a new hotel. Now their mission becomes much more than to win a little money, it becomes to save their very homes, but what will the crew think if they discover that the new member, and the girl Sean is falling for, Emily (Kathryn McCormick) is in fact the daughter of the very man they’re fighting against? This is the fourth film in the franchise and it’s the best since the first. The acting is not wonderful, but that’s not the point, the point is the dancing, and in this film it is spectacular. I loved the combination of the hip hop style with the contemporary, so popular now since So You Think You Can Dance. It really is something to see. If you like dance films you need to see this one.

Safe

Starring Jason Statham, Catherine Chan and Chris Sarandon Directed by Boaz Yakin Luke Wright (Jason Statham) is an ex-cop turned cage fighter who blows a rigged fight. In retaliation the Russian mob kills his wife and destroys his life, killing anyone he speaks to or is kind to him. Just when things are at their worst, and he’s about to take his own life, he runs into Mei (Catherine Chan) a 12 year old Chinese girl that has been brought to America to be a counter, a human computer to control the money that the Triad makes. She has a number in her head and everyone wants it, including the Russians that ruined Luke’s life. So now Luke and Mei are on the run together, trying to evade the Chinese Triads, the Russian mafia and corrupt cops, all of whom want the number, and Luke dead. This is another great action film from Statham. He shoots and punches and kicks his way through the movie and it’s great. Catherine Chan is great as a little genius girl who gets in way over her head, without being able to do anything about it. If you enjoy Statham’s actioners, such as the Transporter films then you’ll enjoy this one. It’s nice because it has a little more substance than the Transporter. A good actioner for a Saturday night.


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Off The Screen Magazine January 2013