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Film Review

The Maze Runner: Review

The Maze Runner hits the ground running, and within seconds of the film starting, we are thrust into a strange world. This does causes some confusion, which mirrors what our hero, Thomas (Dylan O’Brien), must be feeling. His memory erased, and deposited in a maze with a bunch of fellow “runners”, will he be able to work with this community and have a chance at escape?

Thomas must overcome his own fears, and confusion, find courage and discover his ability to lead, and fend off conflict from those doubt him, and those who blame him. The maze is not the only place where there is danger. Putting up this community conflict, are the ideas of Gally (Will Poulter, “We’re The Millers“)

The Maze Runner increases in suspense, and tension, as we learn more about why this group is in the maze, and discover what lurks in the maze. With a big opening internationally, just further proof that this is an enjoyable film, and just as things look like they’re finished, the world opens up for yet more future films in this series. The wait will be excruciating.

Catch the fun and excitement as The Maze Runner opens 26 September 2014 in South African cinemas.

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Film Review

The Equalizer: Review

Denzel Washington is back as Robert ‘Bob’ McCall, an action hero in The Equalizer, a former black ops operative who left the game by faking his own death.

When his good nature compels him to intervene, to help a local prostitute who is badly beaten by some pimps, he gets embroiled in a fight with the local Russian mob, corrupt police, and a great number of really bad guys. The damsel-in-distress lands in hospital from her injuries, and there remains while Bob performs his heroics. Perhaps she would have just been in the way.

While this is an action movie, about a black ops member, we learn about Bob’s mysterious past rather far along into the film. He is a dark, brooding character (who performs many of his pre-action scenes in extreme slow motion). This darkness carries over to the image itself, and the overall picture is incredibly dark, meaning that in most of the action scenes, you struggle to see what is going on, and end up not being able to follow the action. Bob also seems to have far too many sayings of ‘zen’, for each situation, as he travels the neighbourhood doing favours for everyone, as the perfect boy scout.

The film is far too long, and would likely benefit from removing all the slow motion pondering prior to a fight, brightening the world so the audience can actually see anything that is going on, and perhaps containing the story a it more. The final act of the film would have been fun on it’s own (minus aforementioned slow motion and near solid black), yet takes its time reaching this point.

Another action / thriller that falls short of the mark. For those who wish to brave the experience, or reminisce about the days of listening to a story, as opposed to watching it, The Equalizer opens 26 September 2014 in South African cinemas.

Categories
Film Review

Planes: Fire & Rescue: Review

World famous air racer Dusty (Dane Cook) is back, in Planes: Fire & Rescue. Sadly, he discovers his aging engine is damaged, and there is a chance he may never race again. After an unfortunate incident at home-base, he is propelled into the world if aerial fire fighting, help his friends, and find a chance to get back into racing.

During the course of his fire fighting training, Dusty meets veterans Blade Ranger (Ed Harris), Dipper (Julie Brown), Windlifter (Wes Studi), Cabbie (Captain Dale Dye) and together with these brave fire fighters, battles a raging wildfire, threatening the land and lives of those at a nearby lodge.

Planes: Fire & Rescue has a few nostalgic references that will amuse the older audiences, there sadly these are rather few.  The look of the film stays true to the previous Planes and the Cars franchises. And the story feels a lot more engaging than the first planes. however, the handful of junior audience members present became restless.

Planes: Fire & Rescue tries, and falters. The nostalgic references for parents are too few, and far between. Many other jokes will go right over the head of the young target audience. And the story, of overcoming, camaraderie, and friendship is not deep enough to satisfy adults, and too vague for the juniors.

This is perhaps one of those to rather view in the comfort of one’s own home.

Planes: Fire & Rescue flies in to South African cinemas 26 September 2014.

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Festival

Cinema Nouveau Presents The 2014 Tri-Continental Human Rights Film Festival

The 2014 Tri Continental Film Festival (TCFF) returns to South African cinemas at the end of September. The festival will be screened exclusively at Cinema Nouveau theatres in Johannesburg (Rosebank Mall) and Cape Town (V&A Waterfront) from 26 September to 06 October. Johannesburg 26 – 29 September and Cape Town 3 – 6 October.

Unlike previous festivals, where the selection criteria focused on human rights cinema of the South, the twelve films in this year’s line-up have been chosen because they are the big issue films that are currently making waves in festivals across the world. Four of the films are from South Africa. Each title represents documentary at its best, and all the films are in some way being used to push social justice agendas that go beyond viewing.

In one way or another, each film is a call to action. Its intention is to move audiences beyond passive viewing to active engagement, whether that means reading up on a particular issue, signing a petition or joining a campaign.

“Documentary film has a special role to play. It goes deeper than straightforward reporting and demands a point of view,” says TCFF Festival Co-Director, Anita Khanna.

“Good films are made by filmmakers who have thoroughly researched and thought through how best to tell a story, so that it is both compelling and convincing. This means they have to be all the more rigorous in their journalistic integrity,” adds Nhlanhla Ndaba, the festival’s Co-Director.

This year the festival organisers have implemented a different scheduling strategy, with the screenings limited to two consecutive weekends at the two venues. The festival launches at Cinema Nouveau Rosebank Mall on Friday, 26 September and runs till Monday, 29 September. It then moves to Cinema Nouveau V&A Waterfront in Cape Town from Friday, 03 to Monday, 06 October.
The festival co-directors are Nhlanhla Ndaba and Anita Khanna, who are both impact producers of the hard-hitting South African documentary, Miners Shot Down. Faced with the unwillingness of the two free-to-air broadcasters, SABC and eTV, to schedule the documentary, they have spent the past five months implementing an alternative distribution strategy for the film that has seen demand across all sectors of society, and a significant bolstering of the justice campaign associated with the film (www.marikanajustice.co.za and www.minersshotdown.co.za). As such, it has been included in this year’s Tri Con festival line-up.

The thirst for the truth, as told in the documentary format, is plentiful, not only in South Africa’s current turbulent times but further afield too. Following this year’s festival, the team will use its experience and expertise to screen some of the other titles to a wider audience, again working hand-in-hand with relevant campaigns and social justice partners.

“There is nothing wrong with a bit of controversy, we say, and we judge the success of a festival not only by the number of people filling the seats, but by the liveliness of our audiences. As any good storyteller knows, there is nothing as numbing as silent consensus,” states Ndaba.

Included in this year’s TCFF line-up are: Crumbs: Toppling the Bread Cartel; Miners Shot Down; Roadmap to Apartheid; and Unearthed: Fracking in the Karoo (produced in South Africa); Dirty Wars and God Loves Uganda from the USA; Judgment in Hungary (Hungary); Marmato (Colombia); Return to Homs (Syria); The Square (Egypt); Ukraine is not a Brothel (Ukraine/Australia); and Virunga (UK).

For screening times and booking information for the 2014 Tri Continental Film Festival, visit www.cinemanouveau.co.za or sterkinekor.mobi, or call TicketLine on 0861-Movies (668 437). Follow Cinema Nouveau on Twitter @nouveaubuzz or on Facebook. You can also download the Ster-Kinekor app on any Nokia, Samsung Android, iPhone and BlackBerry smart phone, for updates and to book from your mobile.

Categories
Festival

“Doing Lunch” With The Cape Town Fringe

One of the easiest, breeziest things about the Cape Town Fringe festival – set to run in the Mother City between 25 September and 5 October – is that the programme has been planned to keep step with the everyday rhythm of the city. This means that you will be able to catch a world-class performance over lunch without skipping a beat.

Shows have been specially scheduled to take place in the middle of the day, so that you can enjoy some transporting theatre during your snack break before nipping back to the office, taking an afternoon stroll through the Company Gardens, or hunting down vintage paraphernalia on Long Street.

“We’re very conscious that this is a working City and we’re trying to stage a big event in the middle of it. And so we’ve been careful to schedule around people’s lives, trying to give them plenty of opportunity to be part of it,” says CT Fringe CEO Tony Lankester, keying straight in to the pacey metropolitan energy of the fest.

Unlike the fully immersive experience of the National Arts Festival, the Cape Town Fringe is a part of a City, which means you can time your bookings to make them work for you. So whether you’re planning on taking in one show or 10, why not lunch out creatively?

With performances taking place in a variety of venues in the CBD, from the City Hall to the German Club, “we also invite you to take some time to explore the city”, Patricia de Lille, Executive Mayor of Cape Town, a proud partner in this inaugural Fringe event wrote in the Fringe programme. “Cape Town boasts a wide selection of activities for everyone to enjoy and the diversity of its people is its most magnificent attraction.”

The lunchtime shows will start at 1.05pm and end just before 2pm, giving you time to dash back to your desk for the afternoon. Shows have been carefully scheduled to ensure that they start and finish within an hour so that you won’t be late back at work.

What’s more, if you add just R20 to the price of your ticket, you’ll get a sandwich and cool-drink of your choice delivered to the theatre for you.

With a variety of lunchtime venues on offer, you can pick your show by ’hood (which is closer – Hope or Darling Street?), mood, or generic preference. The lunchtime options provide audiences with a genre-crossing mix of performances to choose from – from music, to performance poetry, to illusion.

Here’s the tasty lunch-hour line-up:

THEATRE

  • Ashes to Ashes
    Friday 26 September. City Hall 3
    Award-winning actors Terry Norton and Mark Elderkin bring to life a script by renowned playwright Harold Pinter exploring the relationship between repression and desire.
  • The Year Of The Bicycle
    Friday 3 October. City Hall 3
    This 2013 Standard Bank Silver Ovation Award-winner returns to Cape Town after a sell-out run in Germany. Skipping from the lightness of play to the dark borders of loneliness, this is “a piece of theatre that will leave you breathless” (Cue).

FAMILY THEATRE

  • Narrative Dreams
    Thursday 25 September. City Hall 4
    Presented by Lereko Mfono in association with ASSITEJ SA, this is the tumultuous coming-of-age tale of two boys from very different worlds navigating their way into their teens.
  • Qhawe
    Monday 29 September. City Hall 4
    Told through a cast of puppets exquisitely conceived by the design team of Masiphumelele Community Theatre Group and produced by Handspring Trust, this visual spectacle is about finding the courage to face the demons of the past – and vanquish them.
  • Get Kraken
    Wednesday 1 October. City Hall 4
    Presented by Jon Keevy in association with ASSITEJ SA, this underwater adventure of unimaginable proportions was a deserving Standard Bank Ovation Award winner at the 2013 National Arts Festival.
  • Foursight
    Thursday 2 October. City Hall 4
    Written and performed by Kate Liquorish, directed by Kyla Davis, Foursight cracks open the shell of school violence by delving into the psychological motivations of a teenage killer a year after a traumatic event.
  • Jabulani And The Book
    Friday 3 October. City Hall 4
    Told through beautifully crafted animal masks and muppet-style puppets, this vibrant play brings to life the story of Jabulani and the Lion by Gcina Mhlophe.

PHYSICAL THEATRE

  • Being Norm
    Thursday 25 September. City Hall 2
    Although he is invisible to everyone around him, everyone and the universe are exceptionally visible to Norm as he goes about his day-to-day life. “Another exceptional performance by Richard Antrobus” (Cue – NAF 214), Being Norm will leave you in stitches of laughter.

PERFORMANCE POETRY

  • O.T.T.
    Friday 26 September. The German Club
    Energetic powerhouse Nkosinathi Gaar embarks on a high-octane interrogation of love, beauty, and how men and women really relate to each other.
  • #Why Not Poetry
    Thursday 2 October. The German Club
    Including a play, a reading, a powerful spoken word performance and visual collective poem recited in union, this production asks the peculiar, yet honest question, “why not poetry?”

EXPERIMENTAL COMEDY

  • Amateur Hour!
    Monday 29 September. Galloway Theatre
    Featuring 12 astonishing acts in under an hour, this loving celebration of rank amateurism and the remote outer reaches of show business is brought to us by the creators of The Epicene Butcher and Other Stories for Consenting Adults.

COMEDY DRAMA

  • The Bentleys Bettys
    Wednesday 1 October and Friday 3 October. Galloway Theatre
    Slip behind the scenes of a busy restaurant on a Friday night with four hot young waitresses who unintentionally unearth their stories as they attempt to juggle difficult customers, absent managers, food, flirting, alcohol and drugs.
  • Blowing Candles
    Thursday 2 October. City Hall 3
    Five women (in the 40+ age bracket) set out to prove that age is not a just a number in this humorous yet bitingly real look at a topical issue uppermost in South African minds – crime – and how we live with it.

COMEDY

  • Hutsetiket
    Tuesday 30 September. Galloway Theatre
    Showcasing the talents of Elizna Vermeulen, Hutsetiket (the Afrikaans word for “hashtag”) is an offbeat, one-woman comedy that takes a fresh perspective on the social media phenomenon.

MUSICAL COMEDY

  • The Brothers Streep
    Friday 29 September. The Dragon Room
    With their charming and catchy songs, and their sharp and satirical humour, the Brothers Streep bring their reinvented sell-out Grahamstown Fringe show to Cape Town – now with a full band.

DANCE PERFORMANCE

  • Mick Jagger is My Nightmare
    Sunday 28 September. The German Club
    Fresh from the Amsterdam Fringe – in this intense exhilarating dance performance the legendary frontman of the Rolling Stones tries to possess the body of Marius Mensink, a recent graduate of the Theatre Academy Maastricht.

MUSIC

  • Steve Newman & Ashish Joshi
    Sunday 28 September and Friday 3 October. The German Club
    The rhythmic percussive style of this much-loved instrumental duo mesmerises and transports fans both in South Africa and elsewhere.
  • The Phax Trio
    Tuesday 30 September and Friday 3 October. The Dragon Room
    Sultry and hair-raising Contra-Balkan, Hosh-Klezmer and Parisian-peepshow-inspired music from a powerful triumvirate – Eu(PH)onium and two s(AX)ophones – formed by the alumni principal players of the South African National Youth Orchestra, Shaun Acker, Andrea Fisher-Jeffes and Levi Alexander.
  • Philip Malan
    Thursday 2 October. The German Club
    A fingerstyle guitarist like no other, Malan uses the whole of the guitar to conjure up magical melodies, harmonies and bass lines, all at the same time.

ILLUSION

  • Sleight of Mouth
    Wednesday 1 October. City Hall 3
    Volunteers’ minds are read, sewing needles are consumed and cutlery is melted into pieces in this intimate performance by Marcel Oudejans of visual sleight-of-hand magic, mental illusion and modern-day mystery, punctuated by witty commentary.
  • Think Twice
    Thursday 2 October, Galloway Theatre
    Join Brendon Peel as he guides you on a journey through the miraculous and the magical. This extraordinary show that blends illusion, psychology, mentalism and memory techniques was a sell-out at the 2014 National Arts Festival.

LECTURE PERFORMANCE

  • Na-aap
    Sunday 28 September. City Hall 2
    This co-lab between De Klerk Oelofse, interactive designer/programmer Andries Odendaal, choreographer Ina Wichterich and director Jaco Bouwer brings to life a searching philosophical tale by Franz Kafka about an ape so good at playing human that he can fool even the professors.

 

GUIDE TO LUNCHTIME VENUES

Central and convenient to the max, you’ll find our lunchtime venues at:

  • City Hall: Corner Buitenkant and Darling streets, The Grand Parade, City Centre
  • The German Club: Roodehoek Terrace, off Hope Street, Gardens
  • The Dragon Room: Harrington Street, East City
  • Galloway Theatre: Waterfront Theatre School, Port Road, Waterfront

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