Categories
dvd / blu-ray Review

Selfless (DVD): Review

Film

Self/less at its core look at human nature, our fear of death, and ways in which we wish we could cheat that. When dying real estate mogul Damian (Ben Kingsley) transfers his conciousness to a healthy young body (Ryan Reynolds), he soon finds that neither the procedure nor the company are quite what they seem.

While the premise for the story lies in science fiction, the story is still one that is easy enough to understand. No overly complex science or medical terms, just a plain and simple look at life choices, doing what is right, and showing us where greed leads us.

As the younger version of Damian begins to unravel the story, uncover the lies, and as he is forced to take a look at his own life over the years, we are treated to a mix of action and drama, presented to us by a talented cast.

The film eschews big effects for real world locations, grounded in reality, keeping the action real and focussed on story. Selfless if an enjoyable story, and  a fun escape, presented in style, with a talented cast.

Disc And Bonus Features

Self/Less is available now, to purchase on disc, in South Africa.

Video

Video is encoded at a high average bitrate, with no visible artefacts on screen. The image is stable, and if so desired can be scaled up to a larger or higher resolution screen if the viewer has the relevant hardware or software.

Audio

Sound is presented as a 5.1 track, and is clear and crisp. Several of the more action oriented scenes do make good use of the surround channels, expanding the on-screen action, and further drawing the viewer into the story.

Navigation

Navigation is simple, yet easy to understand, with static images for the menu backgrounds.

Bonus

There are no bonus features on the DVD, save for a few trailers for forthcoming attractions at the beginning of the disc.

Categories
dvd / blu-ray Review

Mr Holmes (DVD): Review

Film

Time has passed, and super sleuth Sherlock Holmes is now retired. Suffering from early dementia, he now finds himself trying to recall his final case, and the mysterious woman who haunts his thoughts. Are these related, and can he solve this mystery before time finally runs out?

Now living out in the country, Mr. Holmes befriends the young son of his housekeeper, sharing case files and stories with the boy. It is not long before the boy (Roger, played by up and coming talent Milo Parker) urges the detective to solve this final mystery.

Mr. Holmes plays out two stories, running in parrallel, yet juxtaposed. We see the ailing Holmes in his later years, a far cry from the once great and world renowned sleuth. And a view into the past, where we see him at his prime; quick thinking, wise and full of success.

The storyline covering the older Holmes plays out as a sort of introspective, as our hero laments his past and the one case that tripped him up. He examines life and passes these lessons on the young Roger, seeing the enthusiasm of youth in the boy, and perhaps a way to pass on his legacy to the world.

Seeing this great character that we all know so well, in just a sore and sad state, is quite disheartening. It bids on to look at ones own life, and ponder the thought “would we have one nagging question still remaining, at the end of our journey in life?”.

On the other story thread, we see the man so many aspire to be, in control of his own destiny, and respected the world over.

With these two opposing views of a man’s life, Mr. Holmes makes for rather interesting viewing. A plot that is not overshadowed by unnecessary complexities, yet keeps one riveted until the very end. This, of course made all the more enjoyable by the talented cast, and excellent settings of the film.

A mystery from a by gone error, brought to life and championed by one of the best detective characters ever. Mr. Holmes is certainly one that will, without a doubt, be enjoyed by all.

 

Disc And Bonus Features

Mr. Holmes is available now, to purchase on disc, in South Africa.

Video

Video is encoded at a high average bitrate. There are no visible artefacts on screen, and viewers with the appropriate hardware or software can scale up to a higher resolution or screen size, if desired.

Colours are vibrant (especially when in some of the locations where there is a lot of grass and plant life).

Audio

Audio is presented in a 5.1 Dolby Digital soundtrack, and while this does expand the onscreen environment and further draw the viewer into the story, the nature of the story does not lend itself to much use of the surround channels.

Navigation

The menu is static, and simple, yet easy to use. Text is clear and easy to read.

Bonus

There are unfortunately no bonus features on the disc, apart from a few trailers at the beginning for upcoming disc releases.

Categories
dvd / blu-ray Review

Black Sea (DVD): Review

Film

After being let go from his job as crew member on a submarine, Captain Robinson (Jude Law) takes on a job with a shady investor. Together with a mixed American and Russian crew, they will search the depths of the Black Sea for a sunken U B0at from the Nazis containing a large haul of gold.

Black Sea has equal doses of tension, and adventure. The claustrophobic environment of a submarine is captured well with the films sets, and further emphasised when there is a split of loyalties in the crew.

As we are witness to the parley of the crew, schemes are hatched. The less crew left at the end of the voyage, the more gold there shall be to go round, and greed is an ugly monster that soon begins to rear it’s head, not just between old foes of the cold war, but between those whom were once friends.

With a simple yet unpredictable plot, Black Sea is bound to thrill anyone seeking the thrill of a small time adventure. Well cast and directed, the film is one of those with which to while away an afternoon. A story of relationships in the cruellest of conditions, opposing greed, and a struggle to survive. Black Sea is a thrill ride.

Disc And Bonus Features

Black Sea is available now, to purchase on disc, in South Africa.

Video

The disc is encoded at a high bitrate, with no visible artefacts on screen. Viewers with the correct hardware or software could scale the picture up to a larger or higher resolution screen, if so desired. Colours are vibrant, and blacks solid.

Audio

Audio is presented in a 5.1 soundtrack, and makes ample use of the surround channels. This enhances the on-screen action, and helps to further submerse the viewer in the events of the film.

Navigation

Navigation is static, and simple, yet functional. The menu text is easy to read.

Bonus

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

Categories
Workshops

International Meisner Training For SA Actors

RayTWilliamsMeisnerBanner

South African actor Vanessa Zachos and the PopArt Centre for Performing Arts are proud to present a Meisner Technique Intensive workshop with Raymond T. Williams (Actor and teacher at James Franco’s New York Studio 4) in Johannesburg and Cape Town.

Raymond is a working actor and a teacher at James Franco’s acting school in New York, Studio 4 and brings a wealth of experience to South Africa. He studied and performed for eight years under Jeff Goldblum and as an actor has worked with Academy winners such as Halle Berry in Their Eyes Were Watching God, Monique in Phat Girlz and on numerous films with Actor/Director James Franco (Sal, The Long Home, The Aderall Diaries). He has also directed a film at Studio4.

Actors will learn to work in the moment from their own impulses and feelings and how to connect fully to the other actors in a scene by learning to work off what the other actor does. Raymond will explain the basis for emotional preparation and a complete improvisationbased
approach to scene work with basic script analysis. Actors will touch
on the deeper creative and interpretive elements of acting. Characterization, script analysis and many other advanced acting issues can be discussed.

Career advice and audition technique can be booked complimentary with SA actor Vanessa Zachos. Vanessa has extensive experience in the British film industry working with directors. As an actor she has worked with Academy and Bafta winning directors, Ron Howard in Rush and J. J. Abrams in Fringe and with leading actors Chris Hemsworth, Anna Torv and Colin Salmon.

The aim of this intensive workshop is to give local actors access to an international level of training in order to help bridge the skills gap in South Africa. PopArt and Vanessa aim to offer regular training possibilities in the future.

Johannesburg workshop venue: PopArt Theatre in Maboneng Precinct.
Date: Saturday 27th February 2016 Time: 9am 6pm. Cost: R1800.00 (Minimum 8 hours of Meisner training).

Cape Town workshop venue: The Alexander Bar Upstairs Theatre in association with PopUpstairs. Dates: Tuesday 1st March and Wednesday 2nd March 2016 Times:1pm 5pm. Cost is R1800.00 (Minimum 8 hours of
Meisner training). All levels will be catered for. The workshops are also suitable for Directors and Writers.

For more details and to keep track of the times of the workshops please connect on Facebook:
www.facebook.com/events/539467362876426/

Johannesburg Workshop: Book online, or email at popartjhb@gmail.com for EFT details:
popartcentre.co.za/performingartscentre/upcomingworkshops/
Cape Town Workshop: Book Online alexanderbar.co.za/showsupstairs/

More details on the tutors and venues:
Raymond T Williams : www.imdb.com/name/nm0931507/
Studio 4 : phwstudio4.com/nyc/staff/raymondwilliams/
Vanessa Zachos : www.imdb.com/name/nm2292071/
Johannesburg: PopArt Theatre: popartcentre.co.za/
Cape Town: Alexander Bar Upstairs/ PopUpstairs: alexanderbar.co.za/showsupstairs/

Email for workshop enquiries: popartjhb@gmail.com

About Meisner:

Meisner developed this technique after working with Lee Strasberg and Stella Adler at the Group Theatre and while working as head of the acting program at New York City’s Neighborhood Playhouse. He continued its refinement for fifty years. In 1935, Sanford Meisner, one of the founding members of The Group Theatre (along with Stella Adler, Bobby Lewis, Harold Clurman, and Lee Strasberg), joined the faculty of The Neighborhood Playhouse. Over the years, he developed and refined what is now known as the Meisner Technique, a stepbystep procedure of selfinvestigation for the actor now globally recognized and among the foremost of modern acting techniques.Meisner believed that the
study of the actor’s craft was rooted in acquiring a solid organic acting technique. It was a cornerstone of his teaching that this learning process occur not in a theoretical, abstract manner, but in the practical give and take of the classroom, where as he once said, “the students struggled to learn what I struggled to teach.” Through that struggle the gifted student, over time gradually begins to emerge solidly in his or her work.

Categories
Awards

Producers Guild Award Winners 2016

January 23rd saw the Producers Guild of America (PGA) announce this year’s winning motion picture, television, and new media productions at the 27th Annual Producers Guild Awards ceremony at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza in Los Angeles.

The Jerry Seinfeld-created web series, “Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee” won the Producers Guild Award for Outstanding Digital Series for the second year in a row.

The television program “Game of Thrones” (Season 5) and its producers David Benioff, D.B. Weiss, Bernadette Caulfield, Frank Doelger, Carolyn Strauss, Bryan Cogman, Lisa McAtackney, Chris Newman, and Greg Spence won the Norman Felton Award for Outstanding Producer of Episodic Television, Drama.

Closing the evening, the film THE BIG SHORT and its producers Brad Pitt & Dede Gardner and Jeremy Kleiner won the Darryl F. Zanuck Award for Outstanding Producer of Theatrical Motion Pictures.  This category is one of the most eagerly-anticipated of season, as it is widely considered a strong prognosticator for the Best Picture Oscar®.

In addition to its competitive awards, the PGA presented special honors to Jim Gianopulos with the Milestone Award; producer David Heyman with the David O. Selznick Achievement Award in Theatrical Motion Pictures; Industrial Light & Magic (ILM) with the Visionary Vanguard Award, accepted by Lynwen Brennan and John Knoll; and producer Shonda Rhimes with the Norman Lear Achievement Award in Television. The Stanley Kramer Award was presented to the feature documentary, THE HUNTING GROUND, accepted by producer Amy Ziering, which included a special performance by Lady Gaga who sang “Til It Happens To You” her Oscar®-nominated song written for the film by Diane Warren and Lady Gaga.

Theatrical Motion Picture Winners

The Darryl F. Zanuck Award for Outstanding Producer of Theatrical Motion Pictures:

The Big Short
Producers: Brad Pitt & Dede Gardner, Jeremy Kleiner

The Award for Outstanding Producer of Animated Theatrical Motion Pictures:

Inside Out
Producer: Jonas Rivera

The Award for Outstanding Producer of Documentary Theatrical Motion Pictures:

Amy
Producer: James Gay-Rees

Television Winners

The David L. Wolper Award for Outstanding Producer of Long-Form Television:

Fargo (Season 2)
Producers: Noah Hawley, John Cameron, Ethan Coen, Joel Coen, Warren Littlefield, Kim Todd

The Norman Felton Award for Outstanding Producer of Episodic Television, Drama:

Game of Thrones (Season 5)
Producers: David Benioff, D.B. Weiss, Bernadette Caulfield, Frank Doelger, Carolyn Strauss, Bryan Cogman, Lisa McAtackney, Chris Newman, Greg Spence

The Danny Thomas Award for Outstanding Producer of Episodic Television, Comedy:

Transparent (Season 1)
Producers: Jill Soloway, Andrea Sperling, Victor Hsu, Nisha Ganatra, Rick Rosenthal, Bridget Bedard

Outstanding Producer of Non-Fiction Television:

The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst (Season 1)
Producers: Marc Smerling, Andrew Jarecki, Jason Blum

Outstanding Producer of Competition Television:

The Voice (Seasons 7 and 8)
Producers: Audrey Morrissey, Mark Burnett, John de Mol, Marc Jansen, Lee Metzger, Chad Hines, Jim Roush, Kyra Thompson, Mike Yurchuk, Amanda Zucker, Carson Daly

Outstanding Producer of Live Entertainment & Talk Television:

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (Season 2)
Producers: Tim Carvell, John Oliver, Liz Stanton

Outstanding Sports Program:

Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel

Outstanding Children’s Program:

Sesame Street

Outstanding Digital Series:

Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee