Film Review

Noah: Review

Hollywood has not released a big bible epic in a long time, and they’re hoping to recapture this market yet again with Noah, with stars Russell Crowe (in the title role of Noah), Jennifer Connelly (as his wife Neemeh), Anthony Hopkins (as grandfather Methuselah) and Emma Watson (as rescued Ila).

Had this been a film by another name, it would have been a fantasy adventure, and appealed to audiences with a penchant for films such as 2012, or similar world ending disasters.

But, it purports to be telling the account of Noah, the one who built an ark, who placed two of each animal on board, and who survived the wrath of God, who sent the rains to drown the evil of the world. It’s in this, that it becomes total fiction, with rock monsters, a rewrite of the family of Noah, a grandfather who is more of a witch doctor, all walking an Earth that looks like it has been ravaged by a nuclear war, and not one of thousands of years back that is about to be washed clean.

God is never referred to directly, but rather as ‘The Creator’. Perhaps this is a way to get around the scores of Christians and Jews who will become outspoken about his story. The film is already banned in much of the Middle East, as it is said to be against the teachings of Islam.

Noah is a fictitious story, of a slightly psychotic man, inspired by the biblical story. If viewers approach this looking to watch a work of fiction, and can set aside the fact that there are things taken from the bible, they might find entertainment value, and enjoy the story and visuals (all the animals, and much of the landscape were created with visual effects).

Writer, director Darren Aronofsky has admitted to being fascinated with Noah from childhood, but perhaps a truer portrayal, or a completely fictional story would have served him better.

All the negative about the story aside, the film is visually compelling, with some great performances by the cast. Emma Watson shows she has moved on from the world of Harry Potter, and should be taken seriously as a young adult in the world of film.

The film is bound to attract a large audience, those looking to see what all the controversy is about, those seeing the film for religious reasons, and those looking just for an escape to enjoy some entertainment. The last group are bound to find the most enjoyment, while the former groups are likely to be inspired to much debate.

Noah opens 4 April 2014 in South African cinemas.

Film Review

Captain America The Winter Soldier: Review

Steve Rogers is back, struggling to find his place in the modern world, and this time his alter ego, Captain America, faces up against a Soviet agent, known as The Winter Soldier.

Captain America: The Winter Soldier deliver more intrigue than blind action, pitting the will of the opposing forces against one another, and adding a good measure of double-cross, and plot twist to the mix.

As can be expected from the Marvel Universe, there are special effects, great vehicles, and all sorts of gadgetry to dazzle the viewer, but with such a franchise, viewers have grown to know and love the various aspects of each story, and there is a need for a good plot, and Captain America: The Winter Soldier delivers.

Adrenaline, drama and mystery. Fans are going to love this one, this of course will serve to whet their apatite for the next instalment in the Marvel movies.

Captain America: The Winter Soldier starts 4 April 2014 in South Africa.


S’dumo Mtshali’s Star Shines In iNumber Number

iNumber Number’, the South African thriller written and directed by Donovan Marsh, opens in cinemas nationwide on 25 April 2014. Starring in the lead role is one of South Africa’s favourite young talents, S’dumo Mtshali, inthe role of honest undercover cop Chili.

Mtshali was discovered when he entered and won the SABC1 reality competition ‘Class Act’, in 2010. After that, he landed his first leading rolein the SABC1 drama series ‘Intersexions’. The series went on to win a PeabodyAward in 2011. In 2011, he took on a recurring role on the hit daily drama,‘Rhythm City’, as Maidi Kotwe, a married medical student involved in a torridlove triangle. Mtshali went on to star as Kuti Daniels in SABC1’s ‘TempyPushas’, a drama series set in the glamorous fashion world and juxtaposed withSouth Africa’s vibrant township culture. In 2012, he played Spikiri in thefeature film, ‘Inside Story’, directed by Rolie Nikiwe and produced byDiscovery Channel Global Education Partnership and Quizzical Pictures. In 2013and 2014, he has starred as Sibusiso, or ‘S’bu’ Ndlovu, in the Mzansi Magic telenovela ‘isiBaya’.

Mtshali says he dreamt of being an actor from a young age. Hestudied acting at Durban University of Technology before entering Class Act in2010. As the winner of ‘Class Act’, his prize included representation from thetop SA casting agency, Moonyeenn Lee and Associates, an eight-week actingcourse at New York Film Academy and the lead role in the action feature film,‘iNumber Number’. “To star in a film where corruption is the norm and gangsters from the streets of Soweto and Johannesburg relate to each other in ‘tsotsi taal’ was a huge amount of fun for me, as well as an exciting step upin my career,” he says.

An action-packed movie, ‘iNumber Number’ is about a pair of copsbattling corrupt colleagues as well as a gang of armoured-car thieves. Chiliand Shoes (Presley Chweneyagae of ‘Tsotsi’ and ‘State of Violence’ fame) havebeen partners in the police force for eight years. After they make a riskyarrest, their corrupt superior refuses to give them the reward they are due.Enraged, Chili realises that honesty does not pay and reluctantly sets aboutinfiltrating a gang of armoured car thieves. The film boasts an oddball cast that brings comic relief to the ruthless thuggery.

“This is a top-quality film with outstanding performances,” saysHelen Kuun, CEO of Indigenous Film Distribution, which is distributing ‘iNumberNumber’ in South Africa. “It recently won the audience choice award at the JoziFilm Festival, which indicates what a great crowd pleaser the film is. S’dumoshines in the lead role and it’s not hard to see why he’s becoming so popularwith local audiences. He’s a talent to watch.”

Producer Harriet Gavshon agrees. “As a heist movie, the film has anintricate plot and S’dumo delivers on every level. Chili is an essentially goodguy who is disappointed because the system he believes in lets him down. Tornbetween participating in the caper and saving Shoes, Chili attempts to do both.When it becomes clear that innocent guards are going to be killed during the heist, Chili must decide if he is going to let the heist go down or not. S’dumo captures Chili’s struggle as the film reaches its climax.”

‘iNumber Number’ is South African director Donovan Marsh’s fourthfilm. An award-winning director, writer and editor, Marsh has worked in thelocal film industry since 1992. He wrote and directed the feature films‘Dollars and White Pipes’, ‘Spud’ and ‘Spud 2: The Madness Continues’.

The film had its world premiere at the 2013 Toronto Film Festival inSeptember 2013. Los Angeles-based production and distribution company WrekinHill Entertainment has acquired the North American rights to ‘iNumber Number’and is looking toward a US nationwide theatrical release of the film in thespring of 2014. In addition, Universal Pictures optioned the remake rights to ‘iNumber Number’ at the end of last year,

“It’s a major coup for us as filmmakers because it highlights thequality of the film,” says Gavshon. “The international film market is highly competitive and securing a US release and a remake are big wins.”

iNumber Number was produced by Marsh, Quizzical Pictures’ Harriet Gavshon, JP Potgieter and Mariki van der Walt, and executive produced by Nim Geva and Owen Kessel.


Life Imitates Art As Local Stars Announce Their Wedding

A Wedding From Konfetti

In a case of life imitating art, the stars of the upcoming South African movie, Konfetti, tied the knot in a private ceremony recently

Konfetti Cast

After confirming with their respective PR teams, SAMDB has learnt that actress Casey B. Dolan and actor Nico Panagio were married in a private ceremony.

“I know it happens in Hollywood all the time, and I always thought I’d never be one of ‘those people’, but Nico and I just hit it off”, says the actress who plays bride Sherryl Lieberman in the film.

Panagio kept his comments short,says, “She’s amazing, and I’m very happy”.

It’s seems that filming was a fun filled process, where the cast became close friends. Konfetti opens in South African cinemas on 18 April 2014. Watch for the SAMDB Review on the film, as well as interviews from the team.

We wish the two love-birds the very best on their new adventure together!!

This being 1 April, 2014, though, you should never believe anything you read. However, there is some truth to the above, as you can see the happy couple soon in cinemas, married, and with all that joys and stress of a wedding, in the upcoming film Konfetti.

Some Anecdotes And Insights From Set

Casper De Vries

  • He’s incredibly proud of this movie – in a market that’s incredibly saturated and characterized by forced humour, Konfetti stands out as the first Afrikaans movie to rely on genuine adult, romantic comedy – one that doesn’t resort to gags or toilet humour to get a response.

  • He admires Louw Venter for his talent, skills and all that he is doing creatively. Casper believes that Louw has immense chutzpah – in fact, he says that he would have done the movie even if he had to pay to be in it.

  • The atmosphere on set was relaxed – the cast were all very friendly with each other and there was lots and lots of laughter – takes were characterized by corpsing (British theatrical slang for unintentionally breaking character by laughing), otherwise known as bloopers.

  • He recalls how in one scene he was required to get very angry with the children for harassing his swans (he’s the owner of the wedding venue). In reality he was extremely angry because just as they were about to shoot the scene he noticed that he had a stalker on his Facebook page who was uploading abusive and rude posts. He had to do frantic damage control in between takes – responding to the posts, saving copies of the abuse and blocking the woman.

Casey B Dolan

  • Did you know that Casey’s character wears Casey’s wedding dress from her first wedding?

  • While everyone else was having fun on set, Casey cries through most of the film – she found it emotionally taxing

  • Casey’s new book about relationships will also be launching in April. Published by Kwela NB Publishers.

Kim Engelbrecht

  • Her highlight was working with Casper De Vries

  • Kim has been working incredibly hard these past few months and will have several works out during 2014.

Christel Van Den Bergh

  • I have always been a huge fan of Casper de Vries, and I must say that that was most definitely the highlight of the film for me. Working with Casper and actually having a scene with him made my year!! He is such a wonderful sweet, caring guy.

  • And working with Zaheer was great – he brought such a cool energy to the set which made it enjoyable for everyone.  He’s also not scared to do 100 takes if he felt it was needed, which was wonderful.

  • I was so inspired by all the talent on set. 

  • Another highlight was working with two of my friends for the first time in my career – Jana Strydom (we studied together) and Hanna Grobler (who I’ve known since high school).

  • I also loved to watch the comedy chemistry between Nico and Louw, the two of them would entertain all of us in the dressing room for hours.  They are hilarious together and i was amazed at their improve skills.

  • I think it was the most I have ever laughed on a film set.  The crew was amazing, the cast was outstanding, and I feel very lucky to have been a part of this project.


Disney’s Frozen Becomes Highest Grossing Animated Film Ever

This weekend, Frozen officially became the highest grossing animated film of all time, and with $1,072.4 million worldwide, it has also entered the list of the top 10 biggest films of all time. The Walt Disney Studios’ seventh billion-dollar release, Frozen has earned an estimated $398.4 million at the domestic box office and $674 million internationally. 

Frozen is the first billion-dollar film for Walt Disney Animation Studios and its first film to receive the Academy Award® for Best Animated Feature. Frozen opened wide domestically on November 27, 2013, posting the #1 all-time Thanksgiving debut ($93.6M five-day, $67.4M three-day) and Walt Disney Animation Studios’ biggest opening ever. It remained in the top 10 films at the domestic box office for 16 consecutive weeks, the longest run by any film since 2002.

Internationally, Frozen is the biggest Disney or Pixar animated film of all time in 27 territories, including Russia, China, and Brazil. In Korea, where the film has grossed an estimated $77.1 million, Frozen was #1 for the first five weeks of release and is the biggest animated film, the second biggest non-local film, and Disney’s biggest release of all time. It’s also the highest-grossing animated film of all time in Denmark and Venezuela. Since its debut March 14 in Japan, Frozen has claimed the #1 spot in its first three weekends and continues to play strongly with an estimated $50.5 million to date.

Released on digital February 25 and on disc in the United States on March 18, Frozen is the fastest-selling digital release ever and sold over 3.2 million Blu-ray/DVD units in its first day, putting it on track to be one of the biggest home entertainment sellers in a decade.

The Platinum-certified Frozen soundtrack returned to the #1 spot on the Billboard 200 album chart last week for a seventh time with more than 1.6 million copies and over 5 million individual tracks sold. The album has also held the #1 position for five nonconsecutive weeks at Spotify and is approaching 110 million streams worldwide. The Oscar®-winning song “Let It Go” has sold over 2.6 million copies, and the film clip of the song has been viewed over 160 million times on YouTube.

In South Africa, Disney’s Frozen became the studio’s biggest release in the country since its release on 20 December 2013, earning over R29.5 million at the Box Office. The icy adventure is now available on the iTunes Store in South Africa ( and will be available at leading retailers nationwide on DVD, Blu-Ray and 3D Blu-ray from 14 April 2014.