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dvd / blu-ray Review Uncategorized

Robot Overlords (DVD): Review

The Film

Earth falls to an invading force of robots from a distant galaxy. The new Robot Overlords confine all who remain to their houses, implanting them with an electronic device. Any who fail to obey are obliterated.

The feel of society, in the film hints at the classic 1984, with Big Brother watching over everyone, and ever the need to comply. However, here the stakes are higher and the control more stringent.

Ben Kingsley as Robin Smythe is easy to hate, and one finds one’s self wishing for his demise, even with his screen presence. It’s great to see Gillian Anderson as Kate, but the it’s the heroes, played by a lesser known cast, who pull the entire story together, seeking out the resistance and taking on the malevolent forces.

The plot feels very much like a video game, and will most likely draw viewers who would have an affinity to such things. There are no major twists, but the story is sure to keep you enthralled and entertained.

Would the forces of Earth band together to fight such an invading force of robotic aliens, or would be allow our usual bickering to lead to our downfall, and enslavement? Some thoughts raised by the film. Else, just marvel at the huge robots, and enjoy the carnage.

Disc And Bonus Features

The disc is encoded at a high bitrate, using the space provided on the disc. There are no visible on screen artefacts, and those with the relevant hardware or software can scale the image up to a larger size, if desired.

Sound is presented in a 5.1 mix, and while it doesn’t push the use of the surround channels, it does add to the on-screen action and feel.

Navigation is simple, yet functional. There are unfortunately no additional features on the disc.

Robot Overlords is available now, to purchase, in South Africa.

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dvd / blu-ray Review

The Lazarus Effect (DVD): Review

The Film

The Lazarus Effect, an interesting take on an age old fascination of man to bring back the dead and prolong life. It’s a horror / sci-fi.

A group of medical students, while trying to find a way to prolong the time doctors have to treat a patient, stumble upon a possible way to bring recently dead patients back to life. However, as would be expected, things will inevitably go wrong.

While not a story that will tax the brain by any means, the film is likely to promote some debate on religion and the ethics of modern day medicine.

There are a decent amount of “jump scares” in the movie, and even in subsequent viewings, those still manage to catch the viewer on occasion.

While engrossing, the film is a bit short, and one is left feeling cheated slightly. There is a lot more that could have been covered in the story, had the premise been pushed just a little more. The Lazarus Effect, however, is bound to appeal to lovers of horror and sci-fi alike, and it’s refreshing to see Olivia Wilde (who plays Zoe in the film) in a slightly different role, playing opposite Mark Duplass (Frank in the film).

The Lazarus Effect is an entertaining film, and one to pass the time on a lazy winter’s day.

Disc And Bonus Features

The disc is encoded at a high average bitrate, so can be scaled up to a larger screen via software or hardware if desired. However, the black letterbox bars are not a solid black. Looking closely, there are some visible dark green artefacts there. This don’t distract from the actual video image though. There was also a slight encoding issue at one point on the disc. This lasted only a brief moment, and does not cover anything vital.

Sound is presented in a 5.1 mix, however it makes very little use of the surround channels. The viewer also has the option to select a stereo downmix.

There are unfortunately no bonus features included on the disc.

The Lazarus Effect is now available to purchase on disc in South Africa.

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dvd / blu-ray Review

The Voices (DVD): Review

The Film

Quiet, friendly Jerry (Ryan Reynolds) leads simple life. He has a simple job, but no friends. He does however have a dog and a cat, with whom he holds conversations (with the additional voices provides by Reynolds himself). A lovable, sensible dog (Bosco) and a rather controlling cat (Mr Whiskers).

Jerry also has a crush on a fellow worker Fiona (Gemma Arterton), and with the help of his psychiatrist, he tries to ask her out). Things however take a slight turn after Jerry is stood up by Fiona, and this sets him along a path of either striving for normalcy, or indulging the inner voices and embracing this new found thrill.

The Voices is a delightfully disturbing film. It’s tense, it’s strange, and it will make you squirm. This is not a film with cheap “jump scares”, nor is it one of those thrillers, racing against time. This starts off all sweet and innocent, much like Jerry himself, and slowly, carefully things begin to reveal themselves. It indulged the darker side of humanity, brushing up against the inner sociapath, and setting the demons free for a fun romp.

The differences between the world as perceived by Jerry and the real world, are as many as the minute idiosyncrasies. The journey we are taken on, that reveals all his many issues, is something to behold. You don’t quite realise the extent of Jerry’s psychosis until, as with those he targets, it is just too late.

The Voices is well written, well acted, and sure to put some thoughts into your mind about fellow co-workers.

Disc And Bonus Features

The disc is encoded at a high bitrate, so the image is clear and stable, with no visible artefacts on screen. Those with the necessary hardware or software can scale this up, should they desire.

Sound is presented in a 5.1 soundtrack, adding to the general confusion felt by Jerry, and further drawing the viewer into the on-screen action.

There are unfortunately no additional features on the disc, other than some trailers to other releases. The disc menu is basic, yet functional and easy to use.

The Voices is available now, for purchase, in South Africa.

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Festival

Call for Projects For 2016 Durban FilmMart

The Durban FilmMart (DFM) has opened submissions for projects for the 7th edition, which will take place next year. It is important to note, that the deadline for submissions has been being shifted earlier to December 14, 2015 to allow for the selection committee to have more time to assess projects, and for more time to create opportunities for marketing and promotion of the projects and film-makers at the DFM.

A joint project of Durban Film Office, the eThekwini Municipality’s industry development unit, and the Durban International Film Festival (DIFF), the DFM aims to raise the visibility of African cinema, stimulate production on the continent, and facilitate project collaboration between African filmmakers.

The DFM has become an integral part of the fast-growing South African film industry and since its inception in 2010, has helped facilitate more than 90 African co-production projects, many of which have subsequently been produced as acclaimed films.

Selected DFM projects will undergo a two-day packaging and mentoring programme followed by two days of one-on-one meetings with a panel of film financiers, buyers and distributors.

The programme is open to full length feature and documentary films with Africans in key creative roles (writers, directors and producers) that are looking for co-producers, financiers, sales agents and funders. A selection committee will review all submissions for consideration, and will select 10 fiction feature and 10 documentary feature projects that are in development to participate. African filmmakers, from writers to directors, are encouraged to submit their projects by 14 December 2015.

“We would like to encourage African film-makers to take advantage of the opportunity to submit their projects to the DFM, as we have seen how valuable the programme is to helping filmmakers get their projects off the ground.” says Durban Film Office’s Toni Monty. “The networking with film-makers from around the globe at the DFM also provides opportunities for film-makers to grow their networks further afield. Over the years we have seen many alumnis secure further funding grants for their films, and their works screened at film festivals around the world. It is really a great springboard for developing projects.”

Film-makers must note that it is important that all projects must have both a producer and director attached to them.

To find out more about the DFM 2016, project submission criteria and how to submit your project, please visit www.durbanfilmmart.com

For further enquires contact: info@durbanfilmmart.com or call +27 31 311 4243

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Uncategorized

The Good Life Network – South Africa’s First Dedicated Health Channel

South Africans interested in improving their overall health will have a new trusted source through The Good Life Network, a health and development pop-up channel which will air on DStv channel 199 from 1 December 2015 to 31 March 2016.

First of its kind in South Africa, the channel is spearheaded by Soul City and Ochre Media in partnership with the National Department of Health. The Good Life Network is focused on producing and broadcasting content that contribute towards positive individual and societal health outcomes. Viewers can look forward to shows that cover nutrition, health and fitness, human rights, youth sexuality, HIV and TB, as well as consumer and gender rights.

Mr Joe Maila, spokesperson of the National Department of Health explains the Department’s support of the initiative. The heartbeat of NHI is primary health care, the strength of which lies in prevention of disease and promotion of health as well as community participation: “The Department of Health has a long history of partnership with Soul City and have supported the production of Soul City’s award winning dramas that have influenced social norms in Southern Africa and have addressed critical health issues in South Africa. The National Department of Health (NDOH) is concerned by the growing epidemic of Non Communicable Diseases (NCD) andwants to promote lifestyle changes and wellness strategies as key preventative options. Our association with mass media initiatives like The Good Life Network offer a powerful platform for health communications and our strides towards a vision for ‘A Healthy Life for All’.

Soul City Institute for Health and Development Communication (SCIHD), a leading social behaviour change communication NGO sees The Good Life Network as a powerful first for South Africa, one that will highlight the Primary Health Care (PHC) approach. “The Good Life Network is not only a TV channel. It is a call to action for all South Africans to make small changes in their lives to live a healthier live. We will be inviting South Africans to pledge to live a Good Life,” comments Lebo Ramafoko, CEO of Soul City.

 The Good Life Network programming is diverse and original, including offerings such as Health Busters (breaking down myths), Food Police (helping you design healthier meals), SuperDoc (critical women’s health issues) , Village Shrink (your journey to better mental health), Cook for life (cooking up delicious and healthy African meals), Get Up Stand Up (celebrating those making a difference), Fit Life (inspired fitness outside the gym), Health Bulletins (citizen journalism combined with headline stories), Straight Up (youth sexuality) and Icheke (check your health), which will promote routine health screening.

“In keeping with the successful edutainment model, The Good Life Network will service a consumer appetite for entertaining health related content and services, which ultimately empower individuals and communities to take greater control over their own health and development,” says Krisen Pather, Head of Edutainment for Ochre Media.

The Good Life Network will be available to DStv customers on the DStv Access, Family, Compact, Extra and Premium packages on DStv channel 199 for four months starting 1 December 2015 to 31 March 2016.