The Great Beauty or La grande belezza is a film laced with paradoxes to the point of becoming a paradox in itself. We’re presented with the beautiful city of Rome, in its historical significance and splendor. Director Paolo Sorrentino (This Must Be the Place) has given us a luscious and eye-popping depiction of this glorious city with dazzling [...]
Calvary is an immense Irish drama about the church, mortality and revenge. As you’d imagine from the movie title and such a severe line-up of themes, it’s a dark, heavy and soulful film led by a tremendous performance from Brendan Gleeson that embodies these sombre qualities.
Writer-director Richard Linklater has built his film career on ambitious, semi-experimental cinema. He wrote and directed the critically-acclaimed Before Sunrise, Before Sunset and Before Midnight series, turning a chance meeting on a train in Europe into a lifelong conversation between two star-crossed lovers. He brought us the ultimate freewheeling movie, Dazed and Confused, bringing free-ranging conversations and a large ensemble to [...]
Lucy is a high concept sci-fi action film from Luc Besson, starring Scarlett Johansson and Morgan Freeman. The subtitle on the movie poster for Lucy reads “The average person uses 10% of their brain capacity. Imagine what she could do with a 100%.”. This intriguing premise is what attracts and repels in what seems like a mash [...]
Hard to Get echoes a similar passion and energy to the acclaimed Congolese crime thriller, Viva Riva. It’s arguably South Africa’s best action movie ever, powered by a similar sweaty, sexy and dangerous intensity on the back of world-class production values and surprisingly mature film-making for a number of feature film debuts.
The Expendables is a concept that just won’t die. As long as action heroes continue to lose their box office mojo and Stallone is able to wear a beret, we’ll have The Expendables: even if they eventually turn him into a digital mission control entity. We’re indebted to Rambo, Commando and all the muscle man action heroes from the ’80s [...]
Jersey Boys is a film adaptation of the Tony award-winning musical about Franki Valli and The Four Seasons. While The Four Seasons have a rich history of chart-topping singles, you’d be forgiven for thinking they were a Vivaldi tribute band. Their story may not be as well-known as that of The Beatles, but after the long-running and wildly popular [...]
Hercules has been doing the rounds this year with three films including: Hercules Reborn, The Legend of Hercules and now Hercules starring the top-grossing actor of 2013, Dwayne Johnson. Of the three, Hercules, is head and shoulders above the rest and we’re not just talking about Johnson’s physique. Although to be fair, it wasn’t going to be much of a task [...]
Guardians of the Galaxy is one of the most highly anticipated films of 2014. Apart from being yet another superhero comic book adaptation, the ragtag Guardians of the Galaxy have been described as “Space Avengers” and have been toting an exciting trailer in the build-up to their intergalactic adventure.
Cape Town is the setting for Cold Harbour, an African noir crime drama that centres on corrupt cops and the smuggling of abalone. While restrictions are in place, it seems the sea produce, known locally as perlemoen, is a valuable aphrodisiac in Asian markets. We journey with Sizwe Miya, a dedicated township warrants officer, who goes [...]
“Neighbours, everybody needs good neighbours…”, the cheerful theme of the long-running Australian soap drama, is a haunting refrain to some who have experienced nightmare neighbours. While most of us would be quite happy with the prospect of sharing a street with the likes of Kylie Minogue, Guy Pearce, Jason Donovan or Natalie Imbruglia – we’re often [...]
Whether you believe in evolution or not, there’s plenty of great contrasts to be made in The Planet of the Apes saga. After it seemed like Tim Burton had broken the franchise, a prequel in Rise of the Planet of the Apes renewed interest in the science-fiction concept, leveraging Andy Serkis and his second most famous digitally rendered performance [...]
WHAM! BAM! Thank you Michael Bay. Love or hate him, the Transformers director has continued to smash the box office with larger-than-life movies about Hasbro’s popular line of toys from the ’80s. His latest sequel, Transformers: Age of Extinction, is a case of too much “more of the same” with Mark Wahlberg replacing long-running front man, Shia LaBeouf.
When we reach a fork in the road of life, the path we choose often leads to a known set of consequences. Once we’ve knowingly taken the wrong path, getting back on the right path can be tough going as Ivan Locke discovers in the tense drama, Locke.
Johnny Depp is probably the most famous thing about the ’80s TV show, 21 Jump Street. Now that the TV show has been loosely adapted to film with Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum leading the charge, his legacy is in jeopardy. The first film was a bit of a gamble, taking the TV show’s premise of [...]
“Live. Die. Repeat.” The tag line turned mantra for Tom Cruise’s latest science-fiction action thriller is not officially endorsed by Scientology, although many religions would probably find a nugget of truth in the thematic content at play in his latest sci-fi blockbuster, Edge of Tomorrow.
Transcendence picks up a similar thread to The Lawnmower Man, following the trajectory of a man, whose meddling with computer science turns him into a god. The divide between humanity and technology is narrowing as artificial intelligence evolves. When will machines overtake humanity? It’s a recurring, thought-provoking and timely science-fiction theme that takes root in our collective [...]
Under the Skin is an original film, based on the novel by Michel Faber. After falling in love with the story and several drafts later, director and co-writer, Jonathan Glazer, decided to move away from an illustrative adaptation and rather tap into the essence of the main character’s experiences. The project was in development for 10 [...]
X-Men: Days of Future Past has it all: mutant superheroes, time travel, retro ’70s cool and of course, Wolverine. Hugh Jackman has been the X-Men mascot for some time now, sans yellow spandex, so naturally he was the first choice to make the journey back in time to save their future from an event that could endanger humans [...]
Director, Jon S. Baird is a brave and determined director. When the pig-headed policeman on the front cover of Irvine Welsh’s Filth caught his imagination, he read the novel and was inspired to direct what was then deemed impossible to adapt. The film rights had just expired and Baird took it upon himself to visit Irvine Welsh [...]
Only God Forgives is the much anticipated follow-up to Drive from writer-director Nicolas Winding Refn. In many ways, this is an unofficial sequel to Drive: Ryan Gosling takes another lead role, while the sleek cinematography and pulsating soundtrack reverberate with the same intensity. The difference is that Only God Forgives is set in Bangkok, balancing on a much sharper and darker [...]
South Africa’s crime epidemic has inspired films like Tsotsi, Jerusalema, A Million Colours, How to Steal 2 Million, Stander, Hijack Stories and more recently, Four Corners. We’re living in a gangster’s paradise with a flourishing subculture of violence and criminality. While the SAPS and local crime watch initiatives are trying to combat this, crime is still a prominent issue in South Africa.
The Amazing Spider-Man 2 has got a lot to live up to. For starters, it follows Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man franchise, which only really ran out of web in Spider-Man 3. Second, it’s a sequel following a strong series reboot. Thirdly, the title The Amazing Spider-Man 2 puts a bit of pressure to keep it well, amazing. More to the point, it’s [...]
It’s funny how some movie titles seem to become self-fulfilling prophecies, allowing their overriding meaning to seep into the film. On the surface, Sabotage is a dark, trashy and intense Arnold Schwarzenegger action thriller with a couple of name stars thrown in for good measure. However, as it builds to a crescendo, it seems as [...]
Darren Aronofsky’s Biblical fantasy epic was spawned from his fascination with the character of Noah. On the surface, Noah was a man commissioned by God to build an ark and gather two of every bird, animal and reptile before the floods cleansed the earth of humanity. The retelling of this Old Testament story tends to [...]
Captain America doesn’t really have any super powers. He’s a super soldier, armed with a shield that doubles as a boomerang frisbee. His agility, strength, healing and endurance abilities make him slightly more difficult to kill than you or I, but let’s face the facts… he’s a G.I. Joe at a fancy dress party.
Pollsmoor Prison is overpopulated and way beyond capacity, famous for Nelson Mandela’s incarceration and infamous for its prolific gangsterism. A gang war has been raging for almost a hundred years between ‘The Numbers’, several prison gangs divided by their 26, 27 and 28 affiliations, exercising their rule by means of extreme violence. Their bonds extend beyond [...]
Wes Anderson is a marvelous film-maker, one whose body of work is simultaneously aloof and delightful. He builds worlds in his films that exist entirely independent of real-life, yet still deeply connected. The Grand Budapest Hotel is one such film, recounting the adventures of a legendary concierge and his trusted lobby boy between the wars at a [...]
It seems strange that LEGO, the beloved building block toy brand, has only just got a movie adaptation in The LEGO Movie. Well, it was worth the wait… because The LEGO Movie is nothing short of AWESOME! While still regarded as a toy for kids, it’s a rite of passage for many people who used to [...]
It’s been 8 years since Zack Snyder’s adaptation of Frank Miller’s graphic novel 300 hit the big screen. The standalone film blazed with battle cries, cutting edge visuals and ancient Greek “This is… SPARTA!” machismo. It set in motion the careers of its director, Zack Snyder and Gerard Butler.