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Don’t Miss Cate Blanchett And Rooney Mara In ‘Carol’

Releasing across screens this Wednesday, Carol is a romantic drama set in 1950s New York about a department-store clerk (Rooney Mara), who falls for an older, married woman (Cate Blanchett). This emotionally charged film is based on Patricia Highsmith’s 1952 semi-autobiographical novel, and received a standing ovation at the prestigious Cannes Film Festival premiere earlier this year. Further to this, Carol has been nominated for six Independent Spirit Awards, three NYFCC Awards, two Screen Actors Guild Awards three film critics’ awards, five Satellite Awards and five Golden Globes. No doubt, Carol will be a ‘buzz-word’ during Oscar season!

Carol – out in cinemas 16th December 2015 and not to be missed!

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dvd / blu-ray Review

Lost River (DVD): Review

Film

Lost River, a surreal tale of love and family, a story about fighting for survival, and facing danger. Living in the derelict city of Lost River, Billy (Christina Hendricks) is a single mom, trying to look out for her two sons. However, she is part of a secret underworld, full of the nightmarish, macabre fantasies of others. Trying desperately to save their home and family.

With a large part of the city now submerged under water, and forgotten by all except a few, the interest of Bones is now piqued.

Lost River has a surreal feel to it. An almost detached way about it, from the silent streets of the derelict town, to the horrors of Billy’s underworld life. There is a sense of dread, and a feeling that time has passed the entire area by. This serves to mirror in the viewer, the urgency and anxiety of Billy and Bones, the need to escape, and the mystery of what may lie around the next corner, always moving, always wondering.

Ryan Gosling does a superb job of direction, coupled with cinematography that draws the viewer not only into the story, but positions them in a manner that feels part of the action, this is sure to thrill those who enjoy an existence just a little different to the every day world.

An interesting piece, that while not for everyone, is certainly going to appeal those an audience with a penchant for the darker side, where family triumphs, and each person’s individual strength serves the family whole, in order to overcome.

Disc And Bonus Features

The disc, like almost all these days, is encoded at a high average bitrate. There are no visible artefacts on screen, even when scaled up to a higher resolution. Those with the necessary hardware can do likewise, or make use of a larger screen or projector.

Sound is presented in the form of a 5.1 soundtrack, however due to the nature of the feature, there is not a large use of the surround channels. The audio is crisp.

Navigation is really basic, with static menus, however these are functional.

There are no bonus features on the disc, save for some trailers at the beginning.

Lost River is available now to purchase on disc, in South Africa.

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dvd / blu-ray Review

Woman In Gold (DVD): Review

Film

Woman In Gold follows the story of Maria Altmann (Helen Mirren), an elderly refugee from Austria, enlists the help of a young lawyer, Randy Schoenberg (Ryan Reynolds). Together they take on the Austrian government, in a bid to recover some pieces of artwork that were stolen from the Altmann family by the Nazis during the occupation in the second world war.

The film is an intriguing drama, as it reveals more about the plight to reacquire the art, while sharing Maria’s past, as a young girl in Austria, and the inherent dangers of that time.

Reynold’s portrayal of real life E. Randol Schoenberg is masterful, bringing a vulnerability to the role, yet allowing the character to portray enthusiasm and a fresh willingness to help Maria recover what is hers. Mirren’s Maria has a funny wit to her, resulting in some humourous duelling between her and Randy, and bringing some brevity to a very heavy, serious topic.

Woman In Gold is a gripping drama. While twists to the story are only slight, they do keep one waiting with bated breath, empathising with what the characters must have felt at that point in the story. The film also highlights a dark time the history, and makes sure we don’t forget such atrocities.

Not just an escape, but an entertaining window into the past, and the life of someone who lived these events, Woman In Gold is one of those gripping pieces of cinema, that has not got the widespread acclaim is deserves.

Disc And Bonus Features

The disc is encoded at a high bitrate, with no visible artefacts on screen. Users with the correct hardware or software can scale up to a larger or higher resolution screen.

Sound is presented in a 5.1 soundtrack, and while the nature and genre of the film doesn’t lend itself to excessive use of the surround channels, there are several scenes where this does expand the on-screen environment, and further draw the user into the on-screen activities.

Disc navigation and menus are basic and statis, yet functional.

There are no bonus features on the disc, other than a few trailers at the beginning of the disc.

Woman In Gold is available now to purchase in disc, in South Africa.

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Uncategorized

TCM Documentary Delves Into George Lucas’s World Of Fantasy Cinema As Star Wars Fever Grips South Africa

fantasycinema-georgelucas

Star Wars™ fever is gripping South African fans, with the imminent release of the first film in the new trilogy, Star Wars: The Force Awakens on Wednesday, 16 December. In its wake, popular movie channel TCM (on DStv channel 137) has scheduled a special documentary that delves into the rich history of this fantasy franchise and its famed creator, director George Lucas.

Screening on Sunday, 20 December at 11:25, the one-hour documentary forms part of the popular A Night at the Movies series, the ongoing TCM series of one-hour “Film Studies 101” specials that examine the many different ways that writers and directors explore a particular genre. In this episode, director Laurent Bouzereau examines the limitless world of the imagination as portrayed in ‘Fantasy’ films.

Entitled George Lucas & the World of Fantasy Cinema, the programme features an engrossing new interview with the famed director, whose name has become synonymous with the Star Wars™ fantasy franchise that has become a worldwide phenomenon.

Visionary director and producer George Lucas discusses the origins and evolution of fantasy cinema, the influence of certain films on his own career and the differences between genres such as fantasy and science fiction. He also offers his personal insight into what the future holds for the fantasy genre in film.

Along the way, Lucas examines a variety of influential films including King Kong (1933), The Wizard of Oz (1939), Dr. Strangelove (1964), Planet of the Apes (1968), 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), Back to the Future (1985), Labyrinth (1986) and, as would be expected in a documentary featuring such a famed director, an in-depth discussion of his own iconic Star Wars™ series.

Packed with clips from fantasy films across the decades, TCM’s A Night at the Movies: George Lucas & the World of Fantasy Cinema provides a fascinating look at the fantasy genre in cinema, through the unique perspective of one of its contemporary masters.

As Star Wars™ fans prepare to be taken back to a galaxy far, far away, one programme that shouldn’t be missed is A Night at the Movies: George Lucas & the World of Fantasy Cinema – only on TCM (DStv Channel 137) on Sunday, 20 December at 11:25.

 

Issued by Ogilvy Public Relations on behalf of Turner Africa: TCM
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Film Review

Star Wars: The Force Awakens: Review

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Not much needs to be said about Star Wars: The Force Awakens, as the world’s cinema going audience have already been queueing for weeks in some places to see this next instalment of this epic series. With the release of Episode IV, the sci-fi geek in everyone has been tickled.

Set thirty years after the events of Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi, the saga continues. Helmed by director JJ. Abrams we see the return of old favourites such as Han Solo (Harrison Ford), Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill), Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher) and a host of droids (some funny and cute, some annoying as usual). Coming to the fore however, are new cast John Boyega as Finn and delivering a stunning performance is Daisy Ridley as Rey.

The Star Wars series has always been on the forefront of cinema technology, and will become the first film screened in 4DX on the African continent, in the newly installed setup in Cape Town.

Effects-wise, The Force Awakens does not disappoint, with masterful set-pieces, and effects that are out of this world. With a soundscape that envelopes the entire cinema. Audiences should most certainly see this in an establishment that has a 7.1 setup. Those viewing it in 3D should be aware that there are unfortunately many cinemas that are just not bright enough to do this justice, resulting in a lot of detail being missed, especially in darker scenes. Watch for updates to this review on the Imax and 4DX screenings.

As far as story goes, Star Wars keeps to its tried and true formula, of the heroes journey, favouring a simple plot, a straight forward quest, covering many spectacular location, planets, and space ships. The story thread being basic does not mean viewers aren’t in for a host of surprises, as events transpire, and more of the world is revealed.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens is well worth the hype, coming up trumps in every department, from story to effects, from acting to directly. This is definitely one to go and see with friends and family, and is sure to be another classic that will be enjoyed by many generations to come.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens opens in South African on 16 December 2015 in 2D, 3D, Imax 3D and 4DX.

Adding to the news and review on Star Wars: The Force Awakens, the Imax version is a sight to behold. For one, screen brightness is leaps and bounds ahead of the standard 3D screens (at least those used for the various press previews and screenings). This means that the fine details of ships in the blackness of space, are actually visible.

The larger screen size means that 3D effects are more pronounced, colours are more vibrant (not to mention brighter) and seemingly more clear. Audio is also more engulfing, with the larger speaker setup of Imax, completely immersing the viewer.

As a side note, public audience members took great delight in dressing up in costume for their movie outing, with a handful shedding a tear as the opening credits rolled. Certainly a testimony to the power of The Force.

The 4DX version of Star Wars: The Force Awakens is a new experience on the African continent. While enjoyment in this full immersive cinema is sure to be subjective, younger audiences were laughing with glee (and comparing notes, post movie, on where they jumped and how they were rattled about).

Space battles are a treat, akin to a fairground ride, with each explosion being felt, each barrel roll and each blaster hit. With strobe lights, smoke, wind and water (when on a planet), and of course, a lot of movement.

The smell of “napalm in the morning” added a new dimension to a post battle, and floral scents when in the midst of vegetation is a nice added touch.

Sound-wise, the 4DX setup compares to any other, with its 7.1 mix. However, screen brightness is sadly a little dark, comparing to other 3D cinemas, but not coming close to the bright, intense colour of Imax. Hopefully this is something that will be remedied.

A lot of fun for those who are looking to become part of the film. You certainly can not fall asleep during any film. A fun ride.

Spotting many new easter eggs, plot connections, and throwbacks to the previous episodes. Catch Star Wars in any of the many cinemas, as it soars past all box office records, living up to they hype.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens Blu-Ray review, by SAMDB