Jumanji: Welcome To The Jungle (DVD) : Review

Film

Four high school kids discover an old video game console, while in detention on afternoon, and upon trying a game cartridge, they are literally drawn into the game’s jungle setting becoming the adult avatars they chose, as Dr. Smolder Bravestone (Dwayne Johnson – The Fate of the FuriousMoana), Ruby Roundhouse (Karen Gillan – The CircleGuardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2), Professor Shelly Oberon (Jack Black), and Moose Finbar (Kevin Hart – The Secret Life of PetsRide Along).

The third instalment, yet second film to hold the Jumanji title, is fun, hilarious, and a great adventure. There is a great deal of rewatch value, as the humour comes thick and fast.

The pop-culture references are fun to spot, interspersed throughout a rather engrossing story. An enjoyable film indeed.

Read the full SAMDB review of Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle.

Disc

Overall, the disc is of a good technical quality, with a fun, enjoyable movie as the main feature.

Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle is available now, to purchase on disc, in South Africa.

Video

Video is encoded at a high average bitrate, with no visible artefacts on-screen. There is no visible colour bleed, and colours in most scenes, as needed, are vibrant. Detail in darker scenes is good too.

Video for the bonus features is also encoded at a high average bitrate, a change from most discs where these would be encoded at a lower bitrate to save space for the main feature.

Audio

Audio on the disc is encoded in a Dolby Digital 5.1 mix, and encoded at a high average bitrate. Dialogue is clear via the centre speaker. There is a great amount of use of the surround channels, serving to further draw the viewer into the on-screen action, and expand the cinematic world.

Audio for the previews is also presented in a 5.1 mix, with the bonus material having only a 2.0 mix.

Navigation

Navigation is simple, and easy to follow. The main menu is static, with accompanying music. The menu items are text links, with options to play the main feature, languages, scene selections, and special features.

The languages sub-menu has a text list of audio languages to choose from, with three additional sub-menus from there from which to pick the desired subtitle language.

The scene selection sub-menus each have four large, static, colour thumbnails, for a total of sixteen chapters. There is no way to jump directly to any particular page, with the disc only allowing the viewer to page forward or backwards between the scene selection sub-menus. A small inconvenience, which could have been laid out in the menu system a little better.

The special features sub-menu has a text list of the various bonus materials.

Bonus Features

Gag Reel – A two minutes video showing a few of the slip-ups on set, and the cast goofing about in some takes. Worth a look and a laugh.

Journey Through The Jungle: The Making Of Jumanji – A fourteen minute featurette lead by the character Nigel, showing behind the scenes footage, the input from cast and crew on the making of this comedic adventure.

The video provides much insight, and interesting facts, which would not only prove useful to budding filmmakers, but be of interesting to the average viewer alike. A great addition to a great disc.

Meet The Players: A heroic Cast – Just over five minutes, this featurette shows the viewer some opinions on the cast and movie, by the cast.

They cast share insight into their characters, with some more behind the scenes footage. Another fun addition to the disc.

Attack Of The Rhinos! – A very short clip on the making of one of those more intense action sequences in the film, and how the cinematic visuals were created. An interesting addition, for viewers and filmmakers.

Jumanji, Jumanji Music Video –  Jack Black and Nick Jonas surprise the cast with a new theme song, and accompanying music video. But it’s rather cringeworthy, and must be seen to be believed. A good laugh.

Previews – Access to the original trailers that autoplay at the beginning of the disc. A link such as this is so easy to implement, yet is so seldom part of a disc menu.

The trailers are for Peter Rabbit, The Emoji Movie, Spider-Man: Homecoming. These autoplay at the beginning of the disc, and can be individually fast-forward, or skipped. These can also be accessed again via the disc navigation menu.

Packaging

Packaging for the disc is standard, with a title, poster and main cast names listed on the front. The back has a short synopsis, a few stills from the main feature, and a listing of the bonus features. There are also the usual technical details and logos.

 

The Road To Mecca – Must Close 19 May – The Fugard

Athol Fugard’s
The Road to Mecca
Final extension – must close 19 May

Eric Abraham presents this Fugard Theatre production of Athol Fugard’s The Road to Mecca, in honour of the iconic playwright’s 85th year. Directed by Greg Karvellas (The Fugard’s Shakespeare in Love, Clybourne Park, The Father, Bad Jews), the production stars Sandra Prinsloo, Marius Weyers and Emily Child.

Inspired by Helen Martins, who lived in Nieu-Bethesda and created the now famous Owl House – which is designated a provincial heritage site – The Road to Mecca is the story of a woman’s desire for personal and artistic freedom within the narrow confines of a conservative and highly religious community in the Karoo in early seventies apartheid South Africa.

Read More | Book Now

Murder On The Orient Express (DVD) : Review

Film

After an urgent telegram interrupts his much needed break, Famed Belgian sleuth Hercule Poirot is travelling to France on the Orient Express. Soon into this journey, there is a murder, and Poirot is called upon to solve this by journey’s end.

The world renowned story comes to us on disc in a modern retelling, and given the ensemble of characters and intricate plot, there is an amount of re-watch value in the film, trying to out-guess the super sleuth Poirot himself.

Read the full SAMDB review of Murder on the Orient Express.

Disc

Over all the disc is of a high technical quality, with an enjoyable main feature, and some interesting bonus material. This is to date, one of the better presented discs from Next Entertainment, and hopefully a preview of more to come, considering some of the technically terrible discs they’ve released in the past.

Murder on the Orient Express is available now, to purchase on disc, in South Africa.

Video

Video is encoded at a high average bitrate, with no visible artefacts on-screen. There is no visible colour bleed. Detail in darker scenes is good, including scenes where there are fine objects such as snowfall moving about.

Video for the disc menu system is encoded at a lower bitrate, saving space for the main feature. Video quality in the bonus features (given that much is interview and old archive footage) is of a good quality too.

Audio

Audio for the main feature is presented in a Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack, and is encoded with a high average bitrate. Dialogue is clear via the centre speaker, with the weight of the soundtrack carried by the front channels.

Use of the surround channels serve to expand the on-screen world, further drawing the viewer into the story.

Audio for the bonus features is presented in a 2.0 mix.

Navigation

Navigation is simple, and easy to follow. The disc plays a short transition video, and then presents the main menu, with text links to play the main feature, set up, scenes, and extras. The main menu has a static background, with accompanying music from the film.

The set up sub-menu has a text list of audio languages, and a link to a sub-title menu (the text of which actually looks like a heading, which may be confusing). This leads one to another sub-menu for subtitle language choice, and a similar link back to the audio page.

The scenes sub-menus each have four large, still, colour thumbnails, for  a total of twenty four chapters. While these are numbered, they are not labelled, nor is there a chapter index in the DVD case, meaning that navigating to a specific part of the main feature would likely require some guesswork.

The extras sub-menu has a text list of the various bonus material included on the disc.

Bonus Features

Agatha Christie: An Intimate Portrait – A short documentary, of almost twenty minutes, with recording from Agatha Christie herself, talking about her life and books.

Through interviews, and archive footage, we are exposed to the life of the great, famous writer. The featurette presents many facts and a closer look at Christie’s life, and adds much depth to the feature itself, after seeing the genius, depth and detail of the stories. Sure to be very interesting to most viewers.

Let’s Talk About Hercule Poirot – A short look at the main character of Hercule Poirot, in this short video (almost ten minutes), and how the character went on to be covered in subsequent stories.

As with the featurette on Christie, this adds more depth to the character

Deleted Scenes – A collection of thirteen deleted, extended or alternate scenes from the film. There is an option to play all via a play list, or select each individually. There is also the option of playing a commentary for these by Kenneth Branagh and Michael Green.

These scenes are likely to be of interest to both the casual viewer, and filmmakers alike, especially given the added input from Branagh and Green.

Commentary By Kenneth Branagh And Michael Green – Director Kenneth Branagh (Cinderella, Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit) and writer Michael Green (Alien: Covenant, Logan) give both an interesting and insightful commentary on the film, giving information on the story and filmmaking process.

The commentary is sure to appeal to filmmakers, yet still has a place for the casual viewer.

Gallery – A series of thirty six still images showing behind the scenes of the film, with the actors, set and locations. There is a choice to advance manually or to auto-advance the stills. This is all described on the first screen prior to the actual images themselves.

An intriguing look behind the scenes of the film, to see how the actual environment looked, compared to the final product we see on-screen.

Packaging

The disc packaging is rather standard, with a poster and title on the front, with main cast names. The back has a few small stills from the main feature, an short synopsis (in very small font), a listing of the bonus features, and some incredibly small text specifying some technical details about the disc.

 

OR Tambo Biopic: Stream For Free AfriDocs On Channel24

In honour of Freedom Day 2018 AfriDocs will make available for FREE STREAMING via Channel24, the moving and powerful biopic: Oliver Tambo:  Have You Heard from Johannesburg.

Through this unique newly released film, viewers are given the rare opportunity for insights into the life, ethos and politics of Oliver Tambo, the leader of the ANC that was instrumental in bringing an end to apartheid.

The streaming of the film that was only completed at the end of 2017 celebrates the 100th year of Oliver Tambo’s birth and could not come at a more opportune moment, with the entire southern African region focused on political upheaval and the toppling of established leaders and norms.

Albie Sachs, the Executive Producer of the film has this to say of the film, “This is a spirited, lively and eminently watchable film that brings Oliver Tambo to life on-screen, with moving and poignant interviews from Chris Hani, Kenneth Kaunda and members of the Tambo family. The film shows not the politics of the man, but also shines a light a life lived on principles of ethics, compassion, inclusion and social justice and equality. We hope this film is seen by as many people as possible and we are actively supporting efforts to make it as accessible as possible.”

The film will be available to stream FREE here: www.channel24.co.za/Movies/Documentaries from April 27th for one week ONLY.

Oliver Tambo: Have You Heard from Johannesburg
Connie Field
South Africa
2017
90 min

Political comrades and law partners, Mandela and Tambo shared a political destiny. Nelson Mandela is a household name.  Oliver Tambo is virtually unknown. Banned in South Africa, Tambo led the liberation struggle in exile from 1960-1990 while Nelson Mandela was imprisoned on Robben Island. During those 30 years he not only kept the African National Congress (ANC) unified, led his movement both inside and outside South Africa in a successful battle against apartheid, his calls to the international community to isolate and sanction the South African regime created the most globalised human rights struggle of the 20th century.  In the end, his actions released Nelson Mandela and laid the foundation for a new South Africa.  Suffering a stroke on the eve of success, OR would not live to see his livelong friend become the first black president of a democratic South Africa.

Make sure to visist www.afridocs.net for the best in African documentaries available to stream FREE anytime from anywhere in Africa. #AfriDocsAnytime

ANN7 Changes To Afro Worldview On 30 April 2018

Afro Worldview will go live on 30 April 2018, as a rebrand of the ANN7 channel, on DStv channel 405.  It will still be a 24-hour news platform covering news, business and current affairs. The channel will adopt a completely new look and feel with a renewed editorial policy in line with the BCCSA code.

The channel will stop broadcasting on DStv on 20 August 2018 as the contract to broadcast ANN7 on DStv will not be renewed. Afro Worldview is participating in the bidding process of the proposed new black-owned news channel on MultiChoice’s DStv platform.

Mzwanele Manyi owner of Afrotone Media Holdings said that this is a strategic decision to break away from the past of the previous channel ANN7 and give viewers a fresh outlook on the news. As part of the group strategy, The New Age newspaper will also be rebranded as Afro Voice and its editorial policy will be in line with the press code.

Afro Worldview’s vision is to be the trusted voice of Africa. They strive to be the most representative voice of the country and the continent, that would also ensure that the plight of the poor and marginalised is brought to the fore.

The bidding process to award a new black-owned news channel is still underway and the final decision on the winning bidder will be announced by MultiChoice at the end of July 2018.

A New Chapter Of Westworld Begins – Express On M-Net 101

A gorgeous combination of fantasy, desire and desolate dystopia, Westworld immersed fans in a story of artificial consciousness in its premiere season, with colourful, dark and broody characters that quickly gained avid followers. Now, M-Net channel 101 is bringing the acclaimed sci-fi thriller back with season 2, starting Monday 23 April at 22:00, exclusively Express from the US.

The Emmy-winning and Golden Globe-nominated drama left many questions on the table in its season one finale – the most important being: what happens the day after a revolution? In a season 2 trailer that was dropped in the States during the Super Bowl, fans were treated to teasers of new worlds, more richly designed, more stunning than the last. There were also dark hints of coming violence and chaos for all characters. With a new purpose, Westworld season 2 promises to unfold the mystery of its compelling story one episode at a time.

The series’ ensemble cast includes Evan Rachel Wood, Thandie Newton, Ed  Harris, Jeffrey Wright, James  Marsden, Tessa Thompson, Jimmi Simpson, Shannon Woodward, Ben Barnes, Angela Sarafyan, Luke Hemsworth and Talulah  Riley.

Joining  the  season  two  cast  are  series regulars Katja Herbers, Gustaf Skarsgård and Fares Fares. Season two is created for television by Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy, who are executive producers, Emmy-winner J.J.  Abrams,  Athena Wickham,  Roberto  Patino,  Richard Lewis  and Ben Stephenson.

All ten episodes of this critically acclaimed drama will available on Catch Up and Catch Up Plus and DStv platforms. Note: Because of the extraordinarily fast turn-around time all Express episodes unfortunately do not have a family track or hearing impaired titles.

For behind-the-scenes tidbits, character analysis, and a season 1 recap viewers can go to mnet.tv  or follow these links for more:

Connell And Marcella Take The Crown In M-Net’s Dancing With The Stars SA

Tonight, during M-Net’s spectacular Dancing With The Stars SA finale live from Hyde Park Corner, Johannesburg, South Africa voted singer-songwriter Connell Cruise and his talented professional dancing partner Marcella Solimeo as the King and Queen of the ballroom!

After a close shave last week, when Connell and Marcella ended up in the bottom two, the pair fought back with the perfect moves to ultimately lift the glitter ball trophy. They beat fierce contenders actress Zola Nombona and partner Tebogo Mashilo and soap star and model Eden Classens and his partner Ash-Leigh Hunter in a jam-packed, dazzling two hour live show.

The Top 3 pairs were not alone tonight, however, as they were reunited with their nine fellow celebrities and their dance partners in what was a full house of group numbers as well as impressive individual moves!

Making it to the grand finale of Dancing With The Stars SA comes with next level expectations, of course, and Zola, Eden and Connell had to prepare and rehearse harder than ever ahead of tonight’s nail biting finale. Each pair was tasked to prepare three show-stopping routines tonight: one judges’ choice routine, their personal favourite dance from the season as well as one brand new “show dance” routine.

Bringing the musical highlights of the night were none other than The Voice SA winner Craig Lucas, South African singing sensation Claire Johnson and multiple SAMA-winning legends Mafikizolo!

Connell Cruise had been a contender and crowd favourite right from the start of this competition. “You don’t have a confidence problem, clearly!” flamboyant judge Bryan Watson remarked after Connell’s debut Cha-Cha-Chá in Week 1, and when he bucked the system to dance the very traditional Viennese Waltz barefoot, even “The Technique Terrorist” judge Tebogo Kgobokoe admitted that it brought a contemporary touch to that step.

Head judge Jason Gilkison thought that Connell’s Week 5 Jive was “world class”, and by Week 6, after an elegant traditional Foxtrot, he remarked that Connell had not yet put a foot wrong in the entire competition. “There aren’t a lot of people that can call themselves an artist, but I think you can call yourself an artist,” judge Debbie Watson noted after Connell’s electrifying Charleston to Will.I.Am’s “Bang Bang” in Week 7.

In Week 10 his Paso Double in the first round earned Connell and Marcella tough judge Tebogo Kgobokoe’s first Perfect 10 score of the season. Connell was so shocked, he was speaking Spanish!

Connell only suffered one Dance-Off in the entire competition, right at the end in Week 11 after the judges assigned the contestants the challenge of fusing two dance steps into one seamless performance. Connell and Marcella’s blend of the Paso Doble and the American Smooth earned them mixed reviews and landed them in the bottom 2 spot of the show. Jason Gilkison thought that Connell was “probably the all-round best technical dancer in the competition”, but Tebogo thought that he was “still holding something back”.

Taking the judge’s constructive criticism to heart, Connell and Marcella left it all on the dance floor tonight, with judge Tebogo giving them kudos for doing just that.

Judges Jason Gilkison, Tebogo Kgobokoe, Debbie Turner and Bryan Watson scored each routine this evening, but their scores were simply a guideline for the viewers, who had 100% of the vote tonight, ultimately determining Connell and Marcella the winning pair. The vote count and ranking of contestants is done according to the international format rules and was independently computed by Deloitte and Touche and confirmed against the vote results determined by M-Net.

Dancing with the Stars SA is produced for M-Net by Rapid Blue and is sponsored by Lottostar.

Forbes Africa Sets Premier Date For “MY Worst Day With Peace Hyde” Season 2 & Unveils New Partnership With GAC Motor

Season 2 promises to deliver another round of riveting interviews from the higher echelons of wealth and power in business

The leading business magazine in Africa, Forbes Africa (www.ForbesAfrica.com) is set to launch season 2 of its flagship TV show, “My Worst Day with Peace Hyde” powered by automotive giant, GAC Motor. After its successful first season, which premiered in 2016 to rave reviews, season 2 promises to deliver another round of riveting interviews from the higher echelons of wealth and power in business.

Hosted by the multiple award winning Forbes Africa Correspondent and Head of Digital Media and Partnerships, Peace Hyde, My Worst Day is the only show on the continent that interviews Africa’s billionaires and millionaires in a no holds barred conversation about their most challenging day in business and was subsequently, one of the most watched shows on the Pan African business platform, CNBC Africa Channel 410 on DSTV airing in over 16 African countries in Sub Saharan Africa.

Season 1 was jam packed with interviews from Aliko Dangote, Folorunso Alakija, Emir Sanussi Lamido Sanussi, Tonye Cole, Femi Otedola, Senator Ben Murray Bruce and Cosmas Maduka amongst a host of other titans from South Africa including Herman Mashaba, South African billionaire and current Mayor of Johannesburg and from the looks of the trailer, Season 2, which airs in May, looks set to deliver the same punch with powerful stories from the continents Titans.

M-Net And HBO Grow Partnership With Warrior

M-Net and HBO are at it again! The two businesses, whose well-established relationship has given South African audiences the chance to enjoy award-winning international content including the genre defining Sex and The City and the outstanding fantasy drama Game of Thrones, have now launched an innovative Producer Apprenticeship Programme to benefit the local television community.

The initiative will see six South African producers given unprecedented access to the set of the new HBO/Cinemax series Warrior, currently being filmed on location in the Western Cape. One of the fortunate recipients of this initiative is Benjamin Overmeyer from Gambit Films based in the Western Cape, who has recently completed his time on set.   Each producer spends 30 days on set observing the scripting, filming, directing and editing processes that have propelled HBO to iconic status among TV critics and audiences. This unique skills-sharing opportunity is the direct result of M-Net and HBO’s ongoing commitment to creating the best entertainment experiences for their respective viewers. It translates into over 1 200 hours of development engagement, allowing the producers to engage fully with the project in an interactive and immersive manner.

Commenting on the Producer Apprenticeship Programme, acting M-Net CEO Nkateko Mabaso says, “HBO is among the world’s leading entertainment brands because of its ability to set trends, break new ground and originate unforgettable worlds, characters and stories. As a result, HBO productions carry a unique DNA and to partner with them in this valuable CSI project is immensely gratifying. Our investment into developing local producers mirrors our ongoing commitment to transform Mzansi’s creative arts sector and empower new leaders. M-Net’s passionately committed to be the best African storyteller in the world so strategic interventions such as this are vital to our continued success.”

Speaking for HBO, Jay Roewe, SVP Global Production & Incentives says that the Producer Apprenticeship Programme is the result of its direct experience of the talent and capacity of local TV professionals whose skills it’s utilising to film Warrior, the Bruce Lee account of the Chinese Tong Wars in 19th Century San Francisco.

“We evaluate multiple factors when considering where to shoot to find the best possible combination of elements including financial, regulatory and technological infrastructures. South Africa offers these and has a significant community of accomplished TV personnel, both in front of and behind the lens. It’s already a viable choice for international companies looking to base their productions abroad, and for us to contribute in part to the evolution of its producer network, alongside our long-time commercial partner M-Net, is a positive outcome for HBO.”

However, for Overmeyer, the M-Net and HBO collaboration is much more personal, “I’ve spent 17 years making TV, working on shows such as Suidooster and the forthcoming feature film Nommer 37. To be able to walk onto an HBO set as a colleague, and be received as such, to exchange ideas and see the exacting detail of their processes, to absorb and then relay the learnings to my own team, that’s a rare and prized gift.”

Meanwhile, for those fans unable to enjoy the hospitality of an HBO set in person, they can more than make up for it by tuning in to M-Net 101 to see the following HBO titles – Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (Sundays at 23:30); Westworld (Mondays at 22:00) and Barry (Fridays at 22:30).

For more on M-Net, log on to www.mnetcorporate.co.za and www.mnet.tv and visit HBO at www.hbo.com.

Coming Up On Carte Blanche – 22 April 2018

M-Net & M-Net HD [101], Sunday 22 April 2018 at 19:00 & again on M-Net Plus 1 [901] at 20:00

 

 

Winnie Madikizela-Mandela II

From accusations of assault and kidnapping to secret operatives assisting the apartheid government to destroy her name – the story of Winnie Madikizela-Mandela has always been highly contested.  Now an explosive documentary about the late struggle icon has unlocked new questions regarding her legacy.  Carte Blanche analyses this developing story.

Producer: Graham Coetzer
Presenter: Macfarlane Molel
Researcher: Siniketiwe Hlanze

Drought And The Hotel Industry

Cape Town is a top global tourist destination and as it continues to face an unprecedented water shortage, the cost of the drought could mean massive job losses in the hotel industry. Now, by thinking out of the box some hotels are finding innovative ways to cut their water consumption by half and still keep their doors open for business.

Producer: Annalise Lubbe
Presenter: Derek Watts
Watch the trailer

The Road Paved With Potholes

The City of Johannesburg’s road infrastructure seems to be in a serious state of disrepair with a marked increase in potholes, broken traffic lights and a general lack of maintenance.  What’s behind the shocking state of Johannesburg’s roads? Carte Blanche investigates a trail of alleged political interference in contracts that may to be steering the demise.

Producer: Nicky Troll
Presenter: Devi Sankaree Govender

Travel Cons

They sold travel dreams, but delivered nightmares instead: defrauding travellers out of hundreds of thousands and leaving clients stranded overseas.  Then, when confronted by their patrons, they were nowhere to be found. Carte Blanche exposes a cunning couple masquerading as legitimate travel agents.

Producer: Nicky Troll
Presenter: Devi Sankaree Govender
Watch the trailer

Line-ups are subject to change. Stories can be viewed at www.carteblanche.co.za.

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