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dvd / blu-ray Review

Mississippi Grind (DVD): Review

Film

Mississippi Grind, the story of Gerry and Curtis, and their chance encounter. Gerry (Ben Mendelsohn) is down on his luck, owing money to many, he has a gambling problem, and in financial hardship. He meets Curtis (Ryan Reynolds), a young, charismatic poker player.

In an attempt by Gerry to change his luck, he and Curtis take a road trip to the South. Here, Gerry hopes to win back all he has lost, with the dream of making things right with his ex-wife, paying off his debts, and making something of his miserable life.

Curtis seems to have some sort of special good luck. He is fast talking, level headed, always knows what to say, and seems to drift from place to place.

Mississippi Grind is a film about self, a story that looks at the heart of the two characters, Gerry and Curtis. And while on the surface Gerry is the one with all the issues, and Curtis has the good life, we soon see that to each his own, and they are both in need of a bit of revelation, perhaps some redemption.

While the story is heart-warming, and a stark look at the addictive behaviour that is the world of gambling, it does feel as if it drags at times. The banter between the two main characters though, does form the essence of the story. As they duel, there is a tangible connection between the two, as each sees a little something in the other, that they wish they had.

Mississippi Grind is one of those film where you can while away a laze few hours, indulging in your own dream of winning big, and not have to worry about any plot twists, or explosions. Well cast and expertly acted, it’s portal into the world of winning big, on a road trip to the South of the USA.

Disc

Mississippi Grind is available now, to purchase on disc, in South Africa.

Video

Video is encoded at a high average bitrate, meaning there are no visible artefacts on screen. There is no colour bleed noticeable. Users with the necessary hardware or software can scale the image up to a larger or higher resolution screen, should they wish.

Audio

Audio is presented in a Dolby 5.1 mix, however viewers should note that the soundtrack can default to the 2.0 stereo downmix, so always check which audio track is selected before viewing. Due to the nature of the story, there is little use made of the surround channels, with most of the focus being on the front and centre.

Navigation

Navigation is basic, with a static menu. This is however, very easy to use.

Features

There are no bonus features on the disc, other than a few trailers are the beginning for upcoming feature and game title releases.

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Uncategorized

Producers Of Sink Announce Special Screenings In Support Of humanitarian Organisation, Jam

The producers of the new Afrikaans feature film Sink have announced special screenings in support of the international relief organisation Joint Aid Management (JAM). A portion of the ticket price will go to the organisation.

JAM is an African-founded humanitarian relief and development organisation founded in 1984 by Peter and Ann Pretorius after Peter was left stranded in Pambarra, Mozambique, at a food distribution point where he witnessed the horrific consequences of starvation, with children dying around him every day.

Since then, JAM has supplied millions of meals to children, developed agricultural projects, provided safe drinking water, built factories, schools, as well as clinics.

Through the support of donors and partners JAM feeds over one million children and continues its programmes each and every day in South Africa, Angola, Rwanda, Mozambique and South Sudan, operating on a fully inclusive basis, without discrimination of race, religion, gender, or political persuasion.

“We are thrilled to be able to support this worthy organisation”, says Sink writer and director Brett Michael Innes. “JAM does incredible work in South Africa and beyond our borders and we are happy to be involved with the remarkable people who run this organisation”.

Based on Innes’ novel ‘Rachel Weeping’, SINK tells the story of Rachel, a Mozambican domestic worker living in Johannesburg, who is forced to make a life-changing decision after her daughter dies while under the care of her South African employer; return to poverty stricken Mozambique or continue working for the people responsible for the death of her child so that she can keep her home, her visa and continue to support her family. Things become even more complicated when she finds out that her employers are expecting their first child forcing all three to try to find a way to live with the tragic accident that has brought them together.

The film stars Anel Alexander (Faan se Trein, Semi-Soet, Discreet) Shoki Mokgapa (The First Grader, Judge Dredd, Long Walk to Freedom), Jacques Bessenger (Ballade vir ‘n Enkeling, Wolwedans in die Skemer, Verraaiers), Amalia Uys (Double Echo, Sy Klink Soos Lente), and 6-year old Asante Mabuza (The Last Face). Vuyelwa Booi, Diaan Lawrenson, Sandra Vaughn, Corine du Toit, Hanli Rolfes, Leandie du Randt, Siyabonga Radebe, Mandi Baard, Sarahann Doherty du Plooy, Vera Ephraim, Kabomo Vilakazi round out the cast.

Bookings are now open and the public can book tickets for screenings of the film on 17 MARCH at the following venues:

STER-KINEKOR

Cinema Nouveau Brooklyn (Pretoria), Cinema Nouveau Rosebank (Johannesburg), Tygervalley (Cape Town), Eastgate (East Rand), The Grove (Pretoria). www.sterkinekor.com/SINK

NU METRO

Woodlands (Pretoria), Walmer (P.E), Canal Walk (Cape Town), Menlyn Park (Pretoria) and Loch Logan (Bloemfontein). www.numetro.co.za/SINK

There are also a number of exciting prizes up for grabs, so book your tickets now.

JAM Website: Website: www.jam-international.org / Email: info@jamint.com

Categories
dvd / blu-ray Review

Always Watching (DVD): Review

Film

Always Watching: A Marble Hornets Story, a film based on the Marble Hornets web series, about the online myth Slender Man. A fictional character that has inspired fear in persons online, the world over. The Slender Man character resembles a tall man, with featureless face, wearing a black suit.

Always Watching picks up the story when a small town news crew are doing a story on house evictions. They find a box of old DV tapes, and decide to learn more about the family who have left their house in what now seems to be very hurried circumstances.

Presented in a found footage format, with cameras becoming integral to the plot in several ways, we follow the news crew as they begin to uncover more and more startling evidence that the family on the tapes was being tormented by a figure appearing on the tapes. This dark, featureless figure slowly drives the family insane, and it is not too long that the crew find that they too are falling victim to the attention of this character.

While on the surface, Always Watching is a simple story of horror and supernatural, this basic plot lends itself to stirring the imagination of the viewer, in so much that the fear comes not from the cheap ‘jump’ scares, but in the growing sense of dread and unknown that the news team themselves must be feeling. One eventually wishes something horrid would happen, just to cut this ever building tension, rather than be left with the unknown.

There are no major plot turns to speak of, but as a viewer, the details are revealed to us at the same pace they are revealed to the news team, meaning that at no point do we ever have more knowledge in hand than the man characters.

Always Watching is a tense story, letting the viewers imagination run wild at the many possibilities, right up to the final moments of the story. Best enjoyed in a dark room, late at night.

Disc

Always Watching: A Marble Hornets Story is available now, to purchase on disc, in South Africa.

Video

Video is encoded at a high average bitrate, resulting in a steady image, free of artefacts. It should be noted, that due to the nature of the title, that there is an amount of these artefacts introduced as part of the story, and which are not as a result of poor encoding.

Audio

The soundtrack is presented in a 5.1 mix, and whereas this does add to the viewer experience, and does draw the viewer further into the on-screen events, that the nature of the film, being a found footage type presentation, that most audio is concentrated on the front channels.

Navigation

The disc menus are easy to use, with a background video containing some snippets of the film, however these do not give away anything of the actual plot.

Features

There are unfortunately no bonus features on the disc.

Categories
dvd / blu-ray Review

Elimination Games (DVD): Review

Film

In the near future, Rick Tyler (Dominic Purcell – Prison Break), a disgraced Navy SEAL, sentenced to prison for the shocking massacre of innocent women and children. Now he is offered a chance to win his freedom, in a reality television show, as part of an Elimination Game, called Turkey Shoot.

A fight in an arena, to the death, where a prisoner is the prey hunted by ruthless experts. Should this prisoner emerge victorious, they win their freedom, however as is the case with all imagining of such a scenario, the odds are heavily stacked against the unwilling participant.

Elimination Game feels a bit like a remake of the 1987 Arnold Schwarzenegger film The Running Man. A similar premise, and several similar events. Audiences to seem to have a passion for such reality games, what with the success of The Hunger Games franchise. However, whereas The Hunger Games used the games as the backdrop for a much more political story, both The Running Man and Elimination Game use them as an excuse to blow stuff up, and kill people.

This is a film for action junkies. There is unfortunately not much in the way of character development, and certainly nothing in the way of plot twists. The story is straight, and to the point; Tyler must fight his way through the levels of the game, avoid the evil schemes of the malevolent network producing the games, and somehow prove his innocence.

Action sequences are flashy, with lots of shooting, but an unfortunate lack of style. Character development is pretty non-existent, and overall the film feels like a low-budget romp with guns, even to the point of having a buxom blonde come to Tyler’s aide.

The Elimination Game is for die hard fans of guns and explosions. it is certainly not going to take much brain power to follow the story, but is bound to provide plenty of escape for viewers on a lazy afternoon.

Disc

Elimination Game is available now, to purchase on disc, in South Africa.

Video

Video is encoded at a high bitrate, with no visible artefacts on screen. Viewers with the necessary hardware or software can scale the image up to a larger or higher resolution screen, should they wish.

Audio

Audio for the title is provided via a Dolby 5.1 mix, and being of the action genre makes fair use of the surround channels to expand the on-screen action, and further draw the viewer into the action.

Navigation

Navigation is simple, with a static menu system, however it is functional and easy to use.

Features

There are sadly no bonus features on the disc, other than a few trailers at the beginning of the disc, for upcoming features and games.

Categories
dvd / blu-ray Film

Kidnapping Freddy Heineken (DVD): Review

Film

Based on actual events, The Kidnapping of Freddy Heineken tells the story of Alfred Henry “Freddy” Heineken (Anthony Hopkins), chairman of the board for Heineken International, a brewing company. In 1983, Freddy and his driver Ab Doderer were kidnapped and held for a ransom of 35 million Dutch guilders by Cor van Hout (Jim Sturgess), Willem Holleeder (Sam Worthington), Jan “Cat” Boelaard (Ryan Kwanten), Frans “Spikes” Meijer (Mark van Eeuwen) and Martin “Brakes” Erkamps (Thomas Cocquerel).

The film is an interesting telling of the events, in this character driven rendition of the highest ransom asked in a kidnapping, of an individual, to date. There is not too much in the form of action scenes, but one would not expect much, being that real life tends to be somewhat dull in comparison to what viewers have become accustomed to in Hollywood action titles.

The characters are well cast, with Hopkins commanding a screen presence that exudes the status of the powerful character he is portraying. The band of kidnappers turn in a colourful portrayal of their characters, detailing each individual personality, and creating subtle nuances.

Kidnapping Freddy Heineken is one of those interesting films, that you either want to see because you lived through the times of the incident, or because you are someone who is aware of the large international corporation the man represents, and are looking to learn more about the global news event the whole incident caused.

Not a film that warrants many repeat viewings, but an interesting, engrossing story nonetheless, and certainly of special interest to crime buffs, and those who enjoy a bit of a biographical tale. A character driven, real life story, presented by a talented cast ensemble.

 

Disc

Kidnapping Freddy Heineken is available now, to purchase on disc, in South Africa.

Video

The video is encoded at a high average bitrate, with no visible artefacts on screen. Users with the relevant hardware or software are able to scale up to a larger or higher resolution screen, if desired. Colour in the feature are slightly subdued, but this appears to be a creative choice.

Audio

Sound is provided via a Dolby 5.1 soundtrack, and is clear even at lower volumes. While there is use of the surround channels in scenes, further drawing the viewer in, the type of story does not lend is self to a large amount of use of the surrounds.

Navigation

The navigation is plain, yet easy to follow, with a static menu screen.

Features

There are no bonus features, other than a few trailers are the beginning of the disc, for upcoming titles.