Film Review

Schuks! Your Country Needs You: Review

The king of the candid camera is back. Leon Schuster returns to Schuks the unsuspecting in his various disguises and personalities, in Schuks! Your Country Needs You.

Joined by Alfred “Shorty” Ntombela, Rob van Vuuren and Laré Brink, there are plenty of the gags we have come to expect, and plenty more new ideas, including a few where the targets of those gags get the upper hand with some very unexpected reactions.

Schuks! Your Country Needs You is great medicine for all South Africans, allowing us to laugh at ourselves, poke fun at the various daily issues we have come to know and hate, and just having a laugh.

Leon “Schuks” Schuster is the main gagster, in his many disguises and voices. As usual, the reactions from some of the public tend to include a few punches and slaps. Alfred “Shorty” Ntombela gets up to some of his usual mischief, usually ending in his addictive laugh. Returning from the previous movie, where he Schuks’d the Schukster is Rob van Vuuren as the son of Schuks, Wayne. And last, but not least, the rose amongst the thorns, Laré Brink as Sammy, who is herself Schuks’d, resulting in her being cast for the rest of the movie due to her over the top reaction, that will leave audiences rolling with laughter.

Schuks! Your Country Needs You has gags for Schuster fans, and those who are new to his series of films. A good laugh that doesn’t require too much brain power to follow any sort of plot. It opens 29 November 2013 on SA screens.


10 Live Action Shorts Advance In 2013 Oscar® Race

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences today announced that 10 live action short films will advance in the voting process for the 86th Academy Awards®.  One hundred twenty pictures had originally qualified in the category.

The 10 films are listed below in alphabetical order by title, with their production companies:

“Aquel No Era Yo (That Wasn’t Me),” Esteban Crespo, director (Producciones Africanauan)

“Avant Que De Tout Perdre (Just before Losing Everything),” Xavier Legrand, director, and Alexandre Gavras, producer (KG Productions)

“Dva (Two),” Mickey Nedimovic, director, and Henner Besuch, director of photography (Filoufilm Dani Barsch)

“Helium,” Anders Walter, director, and Kim Magnusson, producer (M & M Productions)

“Kush,” Shubhashish Bhutiani, director (Red Carpet Moving Pictures)

“Pitääkö Mun Kaikki Hoitaa? (Do I Have to Take Care of Everything?),” Selma Vilhunen, director, and Kirsikka Saari, screenwriter (Tuffi Films)

“Record/Play,” Jesse Atlas, director, and Thom Fennessey, executive producer (Collaboration Factory)

“Throat Song,” Miranda de Pencier, director (Northwood Productions)

“Tiger Boy,” Gabriele Mainetti, director (Goon Films)

“The Voorman Problem,” Mark Gill, director, and Baldwin Li, producer (Honlodge Productions)

The Short Films and Feature Animation Branch Reviewing Committee viewed all the eligible entries for the preliminary round of voting at screenings held in Los Angeles.

Short Films and Feature Animation Branch members will now select three to five nominees from among the 10 titles on the shortlist.  Branch screenings will be held in Los Angeles, New York and San Francisco in December.

The 86th Academy Awards nominations will be announced live on Thursday, January 16, 2014, at 5:30 a.m. PT in the Academy’s Samuel Goldwyn Theater.

Academy Awards for outstanding film achievements of 2013 will be presented on Oscar Sunday, March 2, 2014, at the Dolby Theatre® at Hollywood & Highland Center® and televised live on the ABC Television Network.  The presentation also will be televised live in more than 225 countries and territories worldwide.


Dark Matter By Lady M

LadyM3b&wDark Matter is the first ever release from newly launched label Magique Music, a forward thinking musical platform supporting the deeper and darker sounds of electronica, house and techno. This single is produced by Lady M, South Africa’s leading female artist in the local deep house scene, and features Tanzania-born vocalist ‘Kennifer’. Kennifer is an individual oozing raw, untainted talent, whose passion stems from being a creature of the night moving from one dancefloor to the next. He has fast become a frequent in the recording studios in Cape Town and has a number of forthcoming releases on the way.

The track comes in tough from the start with a powerful kick, moody atmosphere and an underlying bass intro that sets the tone. It builds up continuously towards the main break where the full bassline kicks in and then builds up again to the main drop where the first vocal verse reveals itself. As much as Dark Matter is tough and driving, it progresses smoothly with airy melodies and layered vocals, keeping the track’s overall sound well balanced. All components are blended in with an array of delays, effects, atmospheric stabs and other moving sounds that give the track its electronic edge. Its a dancefloor pounder that leaves you feeling both elated and fierce at the same time. This release consists of an ‘Original Mix’ is an ‘Afterhour Dub’.


Dark Matter will be exclusive to Beatport for 2 weeks and then available on other online platforms including iTunes, Juno Download and Traxsource.

Film Review

Justin & The Knights Of Valour: Review

Voiced by Freddie Highmore, we enter Justin’s world, a kingdom where knights are outlawed and bureaucracy prevails.

But what is a tale of knights without a quest? An inspiring visit to his grandmother, voiced by Julie Walters, Justin bids farewell to his crush Lara and sets off to become a knight, meeting a plethora of interesting characters along the way, and showing yet again, that with the right heart, the underdog can emerge supreme.

Justin & The Knights Of Valour is an animated story of revealing your inner hero, standing up for what is right, and having a fun time along the way. It’s a tale of the gallant deeds of yore, a story of family love and values, and the epitome of a boy growing up. An adventure that will thrill young and old, and provide an afternoons entertainment for the younger generation.

Justin & The Knights Of Valour opens 22 November 2013 on South African screens.

Film Review

Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom: Review

Based on former South African president Nelson Mandela’s autobiography “Long Walk To Freedom”, the movie Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom tells the story of his early life, leading to his incarceration on Robben Island, and eventual release and presidency.

Riaad Moosa (Ahmed Kathrada), Lindiwe Matshikiza (Zindzi Mandela), Deon Lotz (Kobie Coetsee), Terry Pheto (Evelyn Mase), director Justin Chadwick , Naomie Harris (Winnie Madikizela-Mandela), Idris Elba (Nelson Mandela) and producer, Anant Singh. - (Photo credit:  Haidee Malkin – courtesy of Videovision Entertainment)
Riaad Moosa (Ahmed Kathrada), Lindiwe Matshikiza (Zindzi Mandela), Deon Lotz (Kobie Coetsee), Terry Pheto (Evelyn Mase), director Justin Chadwick , Naomie Harris (Winnie Madikizela-Mandela), Idris Elba (Nelson Mandela) and producer, Anant Singh. – (Photo credit: Haidee Malkin – courtesy of Videovision Entertainment)

Under the direction of Justin Chadwick, Idris Elba plays a very true to life Mandela, bringing to screen the many idiosyncrasies the world has come to know. Coupled with a storyline that stays true to the facts, and does not take sides in the delicate telling of this part of South Africa’s history, the audience is treated to a gritty view of the violence perpetrated by both sides in the struggle to find an end to apartheid.

Naomie Harris plays an angry Winnie Mandela, caught up in her own quest for revenge, and desire to see her people in power. There is an intricate chemistry between the two Mandela’s, much that which we can piece together from what public exposure their lives had.

Riaad Moosa at the Cape Town press screening (image copyright Andrew Germishuys - SAMDB)
Riaad Moosa at the Cape Town press screening (image copyright Andrew Germishuys – SAMDB)

There are scenes of violence, but those are tempered with an objective eye, neither pointing a finger at any political regime, nor glamorising the events.

Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom is a candid look at important times for South Africa, and allows us to look inwards and ponder where all the violence and hatred in the world has come from.


Hillary Clinton And Colin Powell To Host ‘Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom’ Screening

Hillary Clinton and General Colin Powell, together with Senator John McCain, will host a special screening of Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom at The John F. Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday, 20 November.  Producer  Anant Singh will attend the event.

The screening, true to Madiba’s ideals, sees the breaking down of barriers between two political parties, with senior leaders sharing the same platform – both Clinton and Powell are former Secretaries of State, each representing the Democratic and Republican parties respectively.

Anant Singh commented, “I was with Colin Powell when he watched the film at a previous screening.  He enjoyed the film tremendously and said that he was impressed at how effectively the film captured Madiba’s journey.  We are honoured that  Hillary Clinton, Colin Powell and Senator John McCain are hosting this screening which will also serve to create dialogue between their respective political parties, especially as it follows Madiba’s own policy of dialogue between different political parties.”


William And Kate To honour ‘Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom’

The Cinema and Television Benevolent Fund (CTBF) announced that TRH The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will attend the Royal Film Performance of Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom . The event will be the UK and European premiere of the film and will take place in London on Thursday, 5th December at the Odeon Leicester Square.

The Royal Film Performance is the principal fundraising event of the Cinema and Television Benevolent Fund (CTBF), the trade charity for the UK film and television industries with Her Royal Highness, Queen Elizabeth II as patron.

This year, The Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund will be a beneficiary of the funds raised. The Fund works to protect, nurture and enrich the lives of vulnerable children in South Africa and was personally established by Nelson Mandela when he donated one third of his annual Presidential Salary to start and support the organisation. He has always taken a keen interest in its activities and he went to great lengths to support the fundraising to ensure the longevity of the organisation beyond his lifetime.

Anant Singh commented, “The Royal Film Performance is a prestigious endorsement of the film which recognises the impact that Madiba has had in the United Kingdom and his status as a global icon. As a founding member of the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund on its establishment in 1995, I am delighted to continue my association with the Fund and to be able to facilitate this fundraising initiative.”

Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom will be released first in South Africa on 28 November 2013 followed by releases in other countries.


Write The Next Oscar-winning Screenplay: Weekend Workshop For Screenwriters In Cape Town

If you’re a storyteller with a vivid imagination whose ideas are larger than life, The Write Journey is guaranteed to turn words into action!

The Writing Studio’s weekend workshop for screenwriters takes place in Cape Town on November 30 and December 1. From 10am until 6pm.

Following in the tradition of 19 years of workshop throughout South Africa, including as guest speaker at this year’s 48Hour Film Project in Johannesburg, master classes at the Sithengi Film and TV Market’s Talent Campus, as well as the 2012 International Kunjanimation Animation Festival, community workshops at the  Ekhaya Multi Arts Centre in Kwa Mashu as part of their annual Kwa Mashu Film Festival, the workshop is presented by the Daniel Dercksen,  celebrating creative freedom in South Africa.

The Write Journey looks at mastering the art of plotting your story, defining and developing your premise, concept, theme and characters and taking ownership of the writing process.

The motivational and inspirational workshop explores the art of visual narrative and the fundamentals of successful storytelling.

Within one weekend sessions budding screenwriters will understand the principles of writing for a visual medium and what it takes to be screenwriter in South Africa.

Although the workshop focuses on the art of visual narrative and uses film as a medium, the workshop is ideal for novelists, journalist and writers who would like to master the art of adapting stories into a visual medium.

The workshop is ideal for ANYONE with an idea for a story.

If there is something or someone you want to write about this is your opportunity to turn thoughts into words.  Ideas are transformed into concepts that will be reworked into visual narrative filled with action, description and vibrant characters. 

This outcome-based workshop examines the principles of writing for film (including documentaries), television, theatre and fiction and explores the writing process, developing characters and mastering the art of structure.

It is a basic workshop that explores the art of storytelling and the craft of writing a universal story that reflects the uniqueness, history and culture of South Africa and Africa.

It’s about writers connecting with the process of writing productively in their comfort zones and producing South African stories the world wants to experience.

The duality of the interactive workshop nurtures creativity: it allows the writer to write instinctively and take an introspective journey into story; it also stimulates writers to write stories connected to their unique cultures, communities, history and experience that reflect the universal human condition.

Following the workshop, the writers will be guided through the process of developing their screenplays through The Write Agency, and get their drafts shaped for the international film, television and publishing markets.

For more information on The Write Journey that takes place at The Writing Studio in Green Point, Cape Town on November 30 and December 1 from 10am until 1pm, email or visit the website,

Film Review

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire: Review

Having returned home after her upset win at the 74th Hunger Games, Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) and Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson) embark on a Victors Tour of the districts, amidst the simmering rebellion and disapproval from President Snow (Donald Sutherland). Snow has plenty of devious encouragement from Plutarch Heavensbee (Phillip Seymour Hoffman). They are chosen as part of the 75th Hunger Games, the Quarter Quell, and so they embark on yet another struggle to survive, representing the hope of the districts to possibly change Panem forever.

Hunger Games: Catching Fire

In The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, we are treated to a bit more of an insight to the humanity of Katniss’s character, and her passive-aggressive rebellious side.

There is more teamwork and comradery in Catching Fire, as the people of the districts look to Katniss as their symbol of hope, the symbol of the Mockingjay.

With a cast of Oscar winners, there is no doubt that we’ll be treated to multi-layered characters, providing us a deeper insight into their psyche. The effects aren’t intrusive, allowing the story to be told without dazzling us with flashing lights and explosions, and the sets are magnificent.

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire opens 22 November 2013 on South African screens, and is one not to miss if you are a fan of the series.

Visit the link above to The Hunger Games: Catching Fire on SAMDB to view more details and the trailer.

Film Review

Captain Phillips: Review

Telling the true story of the hijacking of the Maersk Alabama by Somali pirates, the first American cargo ship to be hijacked in 200 years, and the ordeal suffered by Captain Richard Phillips (played by Tom Hanks).

Tom Hanks delivers a stellar performance, and audiences would expect nothing less. The Somali pirates that board the ship manage to turn the audience against them, and you will find yourself enjoying any small amount of pain that is inflected upon them by the crew of the Alabama.

After a brief introduction to Captain Phillips, the crew, and a general over-view of the ship, the film gets moving with the action.

The film climaxes with scenes that may be familiar to those who have followed the story on one the several documentaries about the incident, and builds the tension, allowing the audience to feel the apprehension that must have been experienced at that time. Despite the usual dose of American bravado and claims of being the world police, the action sequences play out in a thrilling manner, without becoming unrealistic.

This brief insight in a terrible incident that was resolved without loss of innocent life provides a small insight to the daily gauntlet run by those who work to transport important resources around the Horn of Africa. Captain Phillips is an enjoyable dramatisation, while remaining close to the true essence of the story.

Captain Phillips opens Friday 15 November 2013 on South African screens.