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Film Review

Jason Bourne: Review

With all the effort he applied to finding out about his past in the first three instalments of the franchise, Jason Bourne (David Webb) now knows exactly who he is. Still hunting for other information about Treadstone, and those involved, we once again join Matt Damon as title character Jason Bourne on another action packed, adrenaline fuelled ride, as Robert Ludlem’s highly skilled operative.

Joining Bourne this time, we once again see Nicky Parsons (Julia Stiles), joined by CIA Director Robert Dewey (Tommy Lee Jones, being as authoritative as ever), and the young, driven Heather Lee (Alicia Vikander, bringing some femininity to her action scenes).

The film starts with a brief reminder of who Jason Bourne is, and then drops you right in to the action. It kicks off this rush of fights, chases and shootouts, interspersed with some hi-tech magic as Boure is tracked, but the pace never lets up. The action is intense, from start to finish, with impressive sequences, stunts and effects. Any action junkie’s dream.

While it does certainly pay to see the first three Bourne movie instalments, starring Matt Damon, forgiving the interlude that was The Bourne Legacy, one should not get too lost as the plot, while bringing many new revelations to the story, is not too overly complex. To wit, the story is a well assembled tale, not just mindless violence. Those who wish to just switch off though, can sit back and just enjoy the ride, with a story bringing so many action elements together in one film, and taking the audience on a journey to many varied locations around the world.

Brining Jason Bourne into this decade (even the end credit music by Moby – Extreme Ways, has been given a make-over), the film is sure to thrill audiences everywhere.

Jason Bourne opens 29 July 2016 in South African cinemas.

Jason Bourne DVD review, by SAMDB

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Film Review

Lights Out: Review

Rebecca’s (Teressa Palmer) young brother Martin (Gabriel Bateman) is beginning to experience the same strange events that tested her sanity several years back. She sets about working to find out where this terror has come from, brining her to an eventual confrontation with an entity that has an attachment with their mother, Sophie (Maria Bello).

Lights Out is a horror. It builds tension, and pushes the viewer to scare themselves, eschewing conventional jump-scares and gimmicks to work at the subconscious. The film has an engrossing plot, coupled with some great acting and direction. Not to mention cinematography that is designed to make you think twice as to whether you have spotted something in a dark corner, or is this just a trick of light, much like the characters might experience.

For fans of horror, Lights Out skips the gore, evil monsters, and violence often associated with lower budget entries to the genre. While plot twists won’t leave you wondering what is happening, there are enough curves in the story to keep one guessing. There is some predictability, but none so obvious that you’ll figure the entire third act out before the halfway point of the film.

Displaying love for each other, the family that is the focus of the entity’s attention are you typical unit of kin. And it’s this mix, and many layers of relationship, that bulks up the story, and again sets Lights Out apart from other films in the horror genre.

A thoroughly engrossing story, that will scare you, and entertain you. Lights Out opens 22 July 2016 in South African cinemas.

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dvd / blu-ray Review

Risen (DVD): Review

Film

Set in Judea about 33 AD‚ and following a Romin Tribune on his quest to find the missing body of a crucified Jew‚ Risen shows us some other aspects of life taking place at the time of the crucifiction of Jesus Christ.

While much thought and research have gone in to the production of Risen‚ and with the main thread of the story being that of seeking to find if Jesus has been resurrected‚ the filmmakers do not push religion or Christianity on the viewer. The story holds value‚ whether you are a devout believer‚ or just someone looking for some entertainment for the.

There are moments where the Twelve Apostles seem to be portrayed as giggling bafoons‚ seemingly too jolly to take serious the horrific nature of the Roman oppression the land was suffering under at the time. But for the most part‚ the story follows a serious side‚ sharing the biblical details of the time and expanding on events that are often not the main focus when this story is told.

The recreation of the local geography and architecture of the time is astounding‚ and one can learn more about this in the bonus features.

Disc

Risen is available now‚ to purchase on disc‚ in South Africa.

Overall, the disc for Risen is of good quality, with a decent selection of extra features.

Video

Video is encoded in a high bitrate. There are no visible artefacts. Colours are vibrant‚ with no colour bleed. Blacks are deep‚ with no visible noise.

Audio

Sound is encoded at a high average bitrate. The audio is presented in a Dolby Digital 5.1 mix. Dialogue is clear on the centre channel‚ with use of the surround channels to expand the on-screen world‚ and further draw the viewer in to the story.

There are several choices for audio languages‚ and an even greater choice of subtitles.

Navigation

Navigation is simple‚ and easy to follow. Menu backgrounds are static‚ with background music on the main menu.

Viewers can skip to a specific scenes‚ via the scene selection sub-menu‚ with these presented as large thumbnails.

Bonus Features

Feature Commentary with Patrick and Paul Aiello: An insight in to the whole process of the film. A great resource for those who wish to learn more about filmmaking, those who are looking to learn more about how Risen was made, and an open ticket to behind the scenes of the whole process.

The Mystery of the Resurrection: Making Risen: More behind the scenes magic, of how the location of the film were created, how the story came to be, and was brought to life, the location, the set design, and the various creative choices made by the filmmakers in order to tell the story yet keep true to historical and biblical texts.

Creating A.D. Jerusalem: A very interesting look at how the cities landscape and architecture were created in the film from the use of existing buildings and landscapes‚ parts of ruins‚ and the seamless integration of computer generated set extensions.

A wonderful insight for an audience‚ and budding filmmakers alike‚ bringing a sort of grounding to the locations we get to experience in such detail throughout the film.

Script to Screen: The journey of the film‚ starting with the initial idea‚ and the efforts put in by filmmakers to bring that to fruition.

Previews: Carrying the theme of miracles and prayer further, there are previews for Miracles from Heaven, War Room, Where Hope Grows, Heaven is for Real, When the Game Stands Tall, and The Remaining (Read the SAMDB Review of The Remaining here). While these can not be skipped on a per-trailer basis, you can fast forward.

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Film Review

Ghostbusters: Review

Through the deeds of a slightly deranged, evil resident of Manhattan, ghost have started to invade. It is up to paranormal enthusiasts Erin Gilbert (Kristen Wiig) and Abby Yats (Melissa McCarthy), nuclear engineer Jillian Holtzmann (Kate McKinnon), and subway worket Patty Tolan (Leslie Jones) to fend off these spectral entities, and band together to form The Ghostbusters.

With all the controversy in the media, and hordes of upset fans, it should be stated that this is a remake of the old classic. There are a good deal of in-jokes, poking fun at the fact that the story was told way back in 1984. It is the fact that the film does not take itself too seriously that goes a long way to forgiving the remake. Many an upset fan would have been appeased had this been a sequel, or even a parallel team.

Putting aside the trouble with fans (and their qualms are likely quite justified), this is a good film. Some in-jokes, and one-liners are only funny to those who have seen the original, but at this stage, 32 years on, are there really many who haven’t? The effects in some places do look a bit dated, whether a deliberate homage to the first film, or just to fit in with the overall style and feel of the story and comedy.

The four girls on the Ghostbusters’ team are funny, each bringing their own character quirks to the fore, leading to a few humorous moments. Let’s not forget Kevin (Chris Hemsworth), as the character with the funniest, albeit the most awkward, physical comedy presented.

Parents are cautioned that the opening scenes might be a bit too intense for young ones, due to their frightening nature. The rest of the film however calms down to ghost creatures where the focus is more on actions and comedy, rather than horror.

Ghostbusters is a fun, light hearted story, which can be enjoyed by the entire family. The plot, while good, will not tax the intellect, the nostalgic effects, coupled with humour will keep everyone amused, and all-in-all, these many items add up to a thoroughly enjoyable experience, quashing preconceived notions that a remake can be nothing but terrible.

Ghostbusters opens in South African cinemas 29 July 2016

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Film Review

The Legend Of Tarzan (Review)

Having returned‚ and become acclimated to a life in London‚ John Clayton / Tarzan (Alexander Skarsgard) is called upon to once again venture in to the jungle. Persueded by George Washington Williams (Samual L. Jackson)‚ Tarzan sets off to investigate a mining encampment. Love of his life Jane (Margot Robbie in a role that is‚ for all intents‚ the total opposite of her Harley Quinn from The Suicide Squad) follows‚ and soon they will all face off against the rather evil Leon Rom (Christoph Weiz in yet another one of his villainous roles).

The Legend Of Tarzan looks at the story we know so well‚ and which has been told so many countless times‚ and moves the timeframe forward some. While we do get some history in the form of flashbacks to the origin of Tarzan‚ and some exposition through character dialogue‚ we are instead treated to a new part of the legend’s life.

Yet‚ while there is bound to be a great following‚ and a large audience for the film‚ it sadly falls rather short of expectations. A great cast‚ and superb cinematography‚ coupled with some incredibly amazing computer effects and a message about slavery that is bound to strike a cord with racial tensions currently flooding news and social media‚ the story and it’s execution are rather lacking. For audiences who are going merely for the glits and sparkle of Tarzan swining through the jungle and rescuing his Jane‚ this is sure to satisfy. For those who are looking for a story and perhaps some deeper meaning to the legend‚ they will be sorely dissapointed.

The Legend Of Tarzan opens 15 July 2016 in South African cinemas.