The 5th Wave (DVD): Review

Film

What if aliens came to Earth? What if they wanted our planet? Perhaps they’d come in waves that were increasingly deadly to humans, yet for the most part, left the Earth and human infrastructure untouched.

As we are introduced to Cassie (Chloë Grace Moretz), we learn of the first four waves. Now, Cassie is on the run, and there are fears of the coming 5th Wave. What will this be, who are these invaders.

The 5th Wave is a slightly different take on the oft-told story of alien invasion, eschewing a violent confrontation in favour of more subversive means, leading to a few bends in the plot as the story unfolds.

With a young cast shouldering the weight of the film, we are taken along with the main characters, children and teens, as they are swept up in this world and life changing event. Backed by several seasons cast (Ron Livingston, Liev Scheiber and Maria Bello, to name a few) the on-screen relationships and interactions are complex, adding to the many layers of thought and emotion such an invasion would evoke.

While The 5th Wave is squarely in the science fiction genre, there is little chance of this being too complex or technical for the average viewer, explaining what needs to be know to understand the current plot device, yet leaving some aspects to the viewers imagination, and in so doing leaving one to create and build their own fear and tension as events unfold.

The 5th Wave is an interesting tale, and while it is sure to be enjoyed by many, it may not be for everyone. A fun story to watch when relaxing, and whiling away an evening.

Disc

The 5th Wave is available now, for purchase on disc, in South Africa.

Video

Video is encoded at a high bitrate, with no visible on-screen artefacts, and the image is stable. Colours are vibrant and blacks are deep. There is no colour bleed either.

Audio

The English soundtrack is presented in 5.1 and 2.0. There are a few other languages to choose from as well as a large selection of subtitles.

The film makes ample use of the surround channels, further drawing the viewer in to the on-screen action and expanding the story world.

Dialogue is clear, and understandable, even with the many effects and noises from the current action.

Navigation

The menu system is simple, with static background images, and some soft, looped music. Text is easy to read and understand, as well as the menu being clear to navigate between the several screens.

Bonus

There are several bonus features on the disc, adding to the value, and providing further insight into the story and filmmaking process.

Feature commentary with J Blakeson and Chloë Grace Moretz: A great deal of insight by director J Blakeson and star Chloë Grace Moretz, who plays lead charactger Cassie Sullivan.

The commentary will be of interest to both fans, casual viewers and filmmakers alike, giving plenty of background information into the making of the film, the characters, life on the shoot, and some of the story itself.

It is always best to view the disc with commentary once the main feature has been viewed, so as not to have any spoilers, and to be able to follow details on the story.

Gag Reel: A few humours outtakes from the shoot, and funny moments between cast and crew, on set. Worth a few laughs.

Inside The 5th Wave: A very informative, behind the scenes look at the filming process, with input from cast and crew, including a very bubbly Chloë Grace Moretz.

This feature is sure to interest budding filmmakers, interested in the creative and technical process of making a film.

Sammy On Set: A look at Zackary Arthur, on of the youngest cast members. Zack spoke to various crew members on set, in a bid to learn more about the filmmaking process.

This mission of Zack’s also serves to introduce the viewer to the various role players behind the scenes, and their purpose on set.

Previews: There are also trailers for Angry Birds, Goosebumps, Concussion, The Night Before, Ratter, and Home Invasion, which play at the beginning of the disc. Each of these can be skipped should the viewer so desire.

These previews can also be accessed from the menu system, however they can not be individually selected.

Loyiso Gola State Of The Nation (DVD): Review

Film

Multi-award nominated Loyiso presents an hour long stand up, dealing with several current issues, and some history and culture from the Cape Town local.

While the humour might go over the heads some of those who do not know the South African mixed culture, this does introduce some very true yet funny concepts about life here. And there is no one spared, with fun being made of every race and culture, there is also the angle that humour unites us here in South Africa, allowing us to laugh at ourselves, in trying times and forget the hardships of every day life.

The several gags told by Gola are funny, and while taste in humour and subject matter is always rather subjective, coloured by ones own life experience, there is bound to be at least a few that any viewer will find funny. For the rest of the gags, skip these, and get on to the ones you enjoy, thanks to the descriptive gag selection menu.

The disc is well presented, edited to get right to the point, and jumping right in to the funny. There is bound to be something for everyone here in South Africa to laugh at, and a few titbits for friends and family overseas to learn a thing or two about us.

Disc

Loyiso Goya: State of the Nation is available now, to purchase on disc, in South Africa.

Video

Video is encoded at a high bitrate. There are no visible artefacts on screen. Colours are vibrant, and blacks are deep, with no colour bleed.

Those with the relevant hardware or software can scale the image up to a larger or higher resolution screen.

Audio

The first batch of discs manufactured claim to be presented in a 5.1 soundtrack, the only track available is a 2.0 mix. This has been remedied, and feedback from the distributors is that all future batches now contain the correct 5.1 soundtrack as well. Audio is encoded at a reasonable bitrate.

For international audiences, Loyiso does speak in a mix of English, Afrikaans and Xhosa. The predominant language is English, with several accents from the local areas of Cape Town.

Navigation

The disc gets right to the main menu, a simple, static one. There is some quirky background music that becomes almost hypnotic after a few loops. With just two options, to play or watch the short bonus clip, this is very easy to navigate.

Bonus

There is one bonus clip on the disc, Beetroot, which is a slight expansion on one of the gags told during the mean feature, with some simple animation added.

Vir Altyd (DVD): Review

Film

The story of childhood friends Nina (DonnaLee Roberts) and Hugo (Ivan Botha). The two have chosen different paths in life, and have been apart for several years. Now, Hugo returns home, and this visit coincides with a disaster at Nina’s wedding. She is left at the alter. With the help of copious amounts of alcohol, the two end up in Mauritius. Here they each face their own short-comings, as the help each other through some personal struggles.

Things however are not as simple, as the days go by, they look at what could have been between them, and whether this is a future together.

Shot on location in Mauritius, Vir Altyd is a checklist of activities to enjoy on the holiday island. As for the story, it is a very straight forward one. Boy meets girl, they part, and years later begin to realise that they might have been meant for each other all along, were it not for a few obstacles standing in their way, namely family, convention, and pressure from others.

On the island, the couple meet two other couples, completing the round up of a few relationship types. There’s Nina and Hugo, who are struggling with the choice laid before them, needing to decide if they should be together.

The other couples have their own issues, with one couple merely going through the motions of a relationship, and needing to actually notice each other, and the other couple now in the waning years of their lives, very much in love and hoping to eke out the last bit of time they have left, and spend it wisely.

Vir Altyd puts forward a few scenarios for relationships, but doesn’t pose too many questions, putting it more in the category of films that we are used to here in South Africa, rather than pushing the envelope a bit, and trying to be different. Perhaps a tried and tested formula, with a large in-built audience, but it is just that audience that will seek out such a story so there are not too many other who might venture a viewing.

A well written story, but one we’ve seen all too often. Vir Altyd is one of those, much like in a relationship, you will either love or hate.

Disc

Vir Altyd 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. Users with the relevant hardware or software can scale up to larger or higher resolution screens.

While the image is stable, some scenes do feel as if the colour should have been a bit more vibrant. This does not detract from the story though.

Audio

The soundtrack is presented in a 5.1 and 2.0 mix, with the option of English subtitles. The default for the subtitles is on, but these can be disable via the disc menu system, or the relevant player.

Audio is encoded at a high bitrate, and while there is a surround track, the subject matter does not lend itself to much use of the surrounds.

Navigation

The disc menu system is very basic, with an almost static background image on the first menu screen. Here you get to choose between an English or Afrikaans menu system. The image does slowly zoom, leaving a sudden jump as the video clip repeats, but this is not too big a deal.

The menu is easy to navigate, however the choice of text colour on a busy background with the same colours might pose a slight problem to some users.

Bonus

There are a few bonus features on the disc, which starts with several adverts and some previews at the beginning of the disc. Unfortunately you can not skip these adverts. The previews can be skipped.

While it is understandable that there would be adverts for those who have likely supported the making of the film, it does become a slight irritation on consequent viewings of the film, having to sit through a bunch of these time and again.

Other features, accessible via the menu system include:

Theatrical Trailer: A short trailer for the film.

The Story Behind The Story: A short introduction to how the story came to be, by Ivan Botha and Donnalee Roberts, how they spoke to others about their weddings, and how the researched the story, as well as how they work as a writing team.

A very brief bit of insight, and look behind the scenes.

Character Introduction: Two clips with an introduction by Oom Paul and Tannie Betsie in one, and Ben and Marietjie in another.

These too are very short, serving more entertainment value than actual behind the scenes looks, giving a bit more background on the characters stories and lives, rather than the filmmaking process.

 

Room (DVD): Review

Film

Room, the name given to the shed in which a young boy has been raised for the past several years, never knowing the outside world.

Jack (Jacob Tremblay) and Ma (Brie Larson) are living in isolation, coming to be in this predicament through the evil deeds of Old Nick (Sean Bridgers). Room tells the story of the confined life these two live, and their struggle to return to the outside world, and rejoin society. As the story progresses, we learn more about how they came to be in this predicament.

At the same time as we learn more about their history, the characters themselves learn more about their own strengths.

Brei Larson delivers a amazing, gut wrenching performance as Ma. A role that earned her an Oscar, a Golden Globe, SAG Award, Critics Choice, BAFTA and ACCA, leaving no doubt about the power of the character of Ma, and the talent used to bring her to life.

Jacob Tremblay too won a Critics Choice Award for his portrayal of Jack, and this is evident with the very complex and layered relationship the two portray on screen.

The story is a plain one, simple, no twists, other than the reveal of why Ma and Jack are in the room. It evokes a lot of emotion, challenging the viewer to reflect on their own life, and how they’d react or act in similar circumstances. But, a simple story that is well executed and directed. Watching the progression of character and the world as the tale unfolds is something to behold.

There are few films that deserve the catch phrase of “must watch”. Room is one such film. This is a must see, a prize example to actors of how to become an character, and a story, whilst a difficult subject to deal with, is one to behold. See it now.

Disc

Room is available now, for purchase on disc, in South Africa.

Video

Video is encoded at a high bitrate, with no visible artefacts on screen. Colours do not bleed, and in the several darker scenes, black is deep and rich.

Users with the necessary hardware or software can scale the image up to a larger or higher resolution screen.

Audio

Audio is presented in 5.1 and 2.0 mixes, at a high bitrate. The subject matter, and nature of the story though, do not lend themselves to a large amount of use of the surround channels, but these do serve to broaden the on-screen world, and help draw the viewer further in to the story.

Navigation

Navigation is comprised of simple, static menu pages, saving on disc space. The menu is easy to navigate.

Bonus

There are unfortunately no bonus features on the disc, other than trailers for Sonskyn Beperk, The Girl In The Book, and Lego Marvel Avengers.

Warcraft: Review

Based on the incredibly popular, and successful computer games by Blizzard Entertainment, after a very long wait, we are finally treated to a movie adaptation. The story of Warcraft, now told via the visual narrative of film.

The Orc are fleeing their home to Azeroth, a peaceful realm. Now on the brink of war, the humans and the other races must face the orc warriors before they are destroyed, and the Orc take their home as their own. Travel between the two worlds is via a portal, created by magic and fuelled by the souls of the living. As one army faces destruction and the other faces extinction. From opposing sides, two heroes are set on a collision course that will decide the fate of their family, their people, and their home.

The story begins with establishing the various races and worlds, a treat for those who do not know the world that is Warcraft. Although the character development might feel a tad tiresome to fans of the game, who would be eager to move to the more action oriented aspect of battle, this ensures that those less familiar with Warcraft are brought up to speed.

The visuals are superb, with amazing computer effects and animation, yet staying true to the origins of Warcraft, as viewers are sure to notice subtleties from the games in each characters movement, as well as the landscape.

While Orcs and magic, humans and lands of magic might not be for all audiences, Warcraft has its very own audience, forged from a vast horde of fans who not only love, but live the game. A fun escape from the mundane, some action to boot, and a plot that whilst not to entangled, is not too predictable either.

Warcraft opens Friday 10 June 2016 in South Africa.

Now You See Mee 2: Review

Following on from the first film, the Horsemen are back, and this time they are forced by a tech genius to pull of a near impossible, yet massive, heist.

With the combined acting talents of Jesse Eisenberg, Mark Ruffalo, Woody Harrelson, Dave Franco, Lizzy Caplan, Daniel Radcliff and Michael Caine, to name just a few, you are sure to have multi-layered characters, much on screen chemistry and jousting. Each bringing their own unique brand to the ensemble, to both thrill and delight, and inject some of a comedic aspect to the mix.

While it is possible to watch Now You See Me 2 without having seen the first incarnation, it would surely benefit the viewer, as the prequel to this deals with all the necessary character development, introduces us to the world of The Four Horsemen, and leaves the current release to get on with telling the story.

There are many similarities to the first Now You See Me, which dazzled with its slight of hand, gadgets, and sometimes gimmickry. With number two, we are treated to more of the same, scaled up for a sequel, and mixing in some of this misdirection in to the plot, bringing to the fire much uncertainty as we round the corners on a few plot twists.

Now You See Me 2 is an enjoyable escape, a romp of glitz and escapism, and one that will while away a lazy afternoon or a cold winters evening, entertaining broad category of audience. It opens Friday, 10 June 2016, in South Africa.

Now You See Me 2 DVD review, by SAMDB

M-Net And M-Net Movies Remember Muhammad Ali

muhammad-ali

From his home town in Louisville, Kentucky, to rumbling in Kinshasa, DRC and all the way to Manila in the Philippines, the world over mourns the tragic passing of Muhammad Ali, one of the most iconic sporting heroes of our lifetime. Ali, the three-time World Heavyweight Boxing Champion, had battled Parkinson’s Disease for more than thirty years. He passed away on June 3, after being admitted to hospital with a respiratory condition.

As world leaders, boxing legends and fans of the ‘Greatest Of All Time’ pay their last respects, M-Net channel 101 and M-Net Movies Showcase channel 108 on DStv will adjust its schedules to pay special tribute to the beloved champion, with a documentary titled When We Were Kings, which will be screened on M-Net channel 101 tomorrow, Sunday 5 June just after the 20:05 movie (Pitch Perfect 2), and will be scheduled again on M-Net Movies Showcase channel 108 on Monday, 6 June at 20:00.

Born Cassius Marcellus Clay, Ali shot to fame by winning the light-heavyweight gold at the 1960 Summer Olympics in Rome. Nicknamed “The Greatest”, the American beat Sonny Liston (then the World Heavyweight Champion) in 1964, to win his first World Title. He became the first boxer to capture a World Heavyweight Title on three separate occasions, cementing his place as a boxing legend in the sporting hall of fame.

When We Were Kings, is an Academy Award winning documentary that follows the 1974 heavyweight champion boxing bout between reigning champion George Foreman and underdog challenger Muhammad Ali. The documentary includes amazing footage of both contenders, as well as an intimate look at the boxing legend’s preparation for the fight that would be nicknamed, “The Rumble in the Jungle”. Also featuring celebrity commentators, the documentary explores the boxer’s dynamic with the people of the DRC.

Please note that this Sunday, the movie Dying Of The Light on M-Net will fall away to accommodate this change.

Rest in Peace, Muhammad Ali.

For the most updated schedules go to mnet.tv . Follow M-Net on Twitter @MNet and Facebook www.facebook.com/MNet/. Note that the start times of the documentary When We Were Kings is subject to change.

MultiChoice Honours Muhammad Ali With Special Channel

“Champions aren’t made in the gyms. Champions are made from something they have deep inside them – a desire, a dream, a vision.” Muhammad Ali
 
MultiChoice will be paying tribute to the great sporting legend Muhammad Ali with a special pop-up channel on DStv channel 199. The channel will pop up today at 12pm and run until next week Sunday.
The channel will broadcast his greatest fights, interviews and documentaries about his life. DStv customers on the Premium, Extra, Compact, Family and Access channels will be able to tune in.
 
The schedule for the channel will be available on the on screen TV guide.