Glen Close In The Wife – Releasing 24 August 2018

As the saying goes, behind every great man, there’s usually a greater woman. And in director Björn Runge’s first English-language feature film, THE WIFE, you get to meet her.

The electrifying drama – an adaptation by Jane Anderson of Meg Wolitzer’s 2003 book of the same name – explores how female sacrifice is often the price for male success and stars the six-time Oscar nominee Glenn Close as Joan Castleman, the wife and supporter of husband, Joe (Jonathan Pryce), a charismatic and successful writer.  The film opens at SA cinemas nationwide on the 24th of August, 2018.

Berlin Silver Bear winner Runge explains how he got involved in the project: “I read the script and recognised the great dialogue, strong characters and an interesting wholeness. In addition, I saw it as an excellent opportunity for Glenn Close to do great work and to truly showcase her talents. To be a part of all of this made it a very easy decision for me.”

THE WIFE opens as the couple first receives the news that Joe has won the Nobel Prize for Literature. As her husband prepares to accept the prize, Joan – the perfect alpha wife – begins to realise what she has lost while fanning the flames of her husband’s literary career.

Through flashbacks, the film illustrates the ambition that Joan had as a college student – with younger Joan played by Close’s real-life daughter, Annie Starke – and how her own writing career, once seen as very promising, ended so she could support her husband and raise a family.

But as the pair head to Sweden to accept the prize, tensions begin to boil and the woman who has spent years in her husband’s shadow is ready to step into the light. Complicating an already tense situation further is an aggressive biographer, who has followed them all the way to Stockholm, and who is intent on chronicling Joe’s life.

Close is excellent as the charming, enigmatically discreet and supportive wife of a world-famous author. She is unnervingly subtle, unreadably calm, and simmering with self-control – a perfect study in marital pain, deceit and the politics of prestige.

She is supported on screen by Jonathan Pryce, who perfectly portrays the crabby and conceited old writer who is addicted to praise. Christian Slater is the insidious Nathaniel Bone – part stalker-fan, part hack – who thinks he has figured out the secret of Joe’s success and that of their troubled marriage, while Max Irons plays the couple’s moody son David, who also wants to be writer, and who is desperately seeking his father’s approval.

“In my view, the film features career best performances by both Glenn Close and Jonathan Pryce. As a director, it’s been a true privilege to work with these gifted actors to make the script come alive in the absolute best way,” says Runge.

Excellent filming, a clever script, uncluttered editing, and an Oscar nomination-worthy performance by Close gives this film a clear voice for the demographic it addresses. In particular, it will pack a punch for women who feel that they have been overlooked by their male counterparts, or indeed those who have sacrificed their career or ambition to look after others.

“It was probably one of the trickiest roles I’ve ever confronted,” says Close about the part, which required her to convey a complex protagonist’s narrative from the shadows. “I think it’s a situation that every woman can relate to, whether they’re of younger generations or not. I’m very proud of the film because I think it speaks to the subtleties of the male-female relationship, and women who have defined themselves through men to their detriment,” she adds.

THE WIFE is a rare female-driven film that seems to genuinely understand the psychology of the fairer sex. While, on one hand, it brims with simmering tension, it is also a poignant, funny and emotional journey; a celebration of womanhood, self-discovery and liberation.

THE WIFE is distributed by Filmfinity (Pty) Ltd. and will be released nationwide on 24 August 2018.

Bumblebee: Behind The Scenes Feature

On the run in the year 1987, Bumblebee finds refuge in a junkyard in a small Californian beach town. Charlie (Hailee Steinfeld), on the cusp of turning 18 and trying to find her place in the world, discovers Bumblebee, battle-scarred and broken. When Charlie revives him, she quickly learns this is no ordinary, yellow VW bug.

Starring: Hailee Steinfeld, Pamela Adlon, John Cena, Stephen Schneider, Jorge Lendeborg Jr., Jason Ian Drucker, Kenneth Choi, Ricardo Hoyos, Abby Quinn, Rachel Crow, Grace Dzienny

Directed by: Travis Knight Written by: Christina Hodson

Bumblebee opens 21 December 2018 in South African cinemas, and is distributed by UIP.

Christopher Robin : Review

The name we all know, Christopher Robin (Ewan McGregor – Beauty and the Beast, T2 Trainspotting), a family man, working-class. In the midst of much upheaval in his professional life, and trouble at home, he encounters his childhood friend Winnie-the-Pooh (Jim Cummings – Gnome Alone, Sing), who once again helps him discover what is important, and brings back some joy to his life.

With wife Evelyn (Hayley Atwell – Ant-Man, Avengers: Age of Ultron) and daughter Madeline (Bronte Carmichael – Darkest Hour) at the family’s cottage where Christopher grew up, next to the 100 Acre Wood, Christopher is trying to get some work done. However, as fate would have it, Pooh travels to him as he can not find his friends Tigger (also Jim Cummings), Owl (Toby Jones – Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, Atomic Blonde), Piglet (Nick Mohammed – The Martian), Roo (Sara Sheen), Kanga (Sophie Okonedo), or Rabbit (Peter Capaldi – The Fifth Estate, World War Z).

As a film, Christopher Robin is a delight. It has a few moments that are a little darker than one would expect, but the way in which the characters are not only superbly created (looking both very life-like, and just as one would expect the toy to look), but they feel as if they belong in the real world. There are plenty of nostalgic moments, paying homage to the early days and cell drawn cartoons of Pooh and friends, and moments that are sure to bring a smile. The film is a feel good outing for the family, with the usual Disney message of love, and happiness, but there are so many more layers that one would not expect.

The London city setting makes for a great cityscape, contrasting the natural environment of The 100 Acre Woods, with all this as the backdrop to the computer generated characters, supported by the talents of the cast.

Should one want to brush up on some background to the characters, author of the book on Winnie the Pooh, and the real life Christopher Robin, the recently released disc of Goodbye Christopher Robin would make an entertaining, informative, yet slightly more adult precursor to this current cinematic outing.

Christopher Robin is a delightful Disney release, full of smiles, an entertaining story, and a film that leaves one both feeling good and reflecting on life.

Christopher Robin opens 3 August 2018 in South African cinemas.

New Romantic Comedy Delves Into The Perils Of Looking For Love

We’ve all had our fair share of bad dates. But when it comes to the worst of them, few can beat the experiences of poor Buyi Dube in the new film ‘Looking for Love’ by Nigerian-born filmmaker Adze Ugah, which portrays some of the perils of the local dating scene for women who are almost 40. The film opens at cinemas nationwide on 31 August 2018.

‘looking for Love’ stars Celeste Ntuli, one of South Africa’s favourite actors and comedians, in the role of ‘38 and single’ Buyi. She is an often inappropriate workaholic who is under pressure to find love. Also featuring in the star-studded cast are Trevor Gumbi, Lillian Dube and Phindile Gwala.

Celeste Ntuli

Adze Ugah says the idea for the film originated two years ago, after a conversation he had with Celeste Ntuli about doing a movie loosely based on her life and her journey to becoming a stand-up comedian. The raw thoughts were put into an outline that went to writer Chinaka Iwunze, who turned it into a script.

“What’s unique about the film is that it’s an adult comedy, which we believe is a first for SA cinemas,” Ugah says. “It tells the story of an average South African girl who is doing her best to get by and has no choice but to use her wits to navigate the complex maze of relationships, while also figuring out a career path. Traditionally, films of this nature feature a female lead with attributes that make her extremely desirable, but our character is stripped bare of that. She could easily be someone we meet on the street.”

The story begins with a disastrous drunken display at her younger sister’s wedding. Buyi has her parents worried that she’s wasting her life working at meaningless jobs. They insist that she take her head out of the clouds and focus on finding herself a good man and settling down. Goofing around was fine at 20, even 30, they insist, but Buyi’s almost 40.

Buyi is absolutely gutted. She returns to Jozi from KwaZulu-Natal feeling deflated about her love life. Where the hell is a heavier set, black woman going to find a man in South Africa? Desperate, Buyi reluctantly allows her beautiful, sexy, best friend Lindi (Phindile Gwala), to help find her a man from her multitudinous collection.

Following a series of catastrophic dates – including questionable concoctions, a quirky magician with a cat obsession, and a sex addict who can’t get enough of a big butt – Buyi quickly loses hope of finding her match. Meanwhile, Greg (Trevor Gumbi), an old schoolmate from Buyi’s past, who is in love with her, comes to town with the aim of becoming her manager and turning her into a star comedian. But Buyi’s on a mission to find a man, and besides, she’s not funny! Or is she?

This entertaining, heart-warming story of acceptance and hope follows one woman on her journey to learning that the path to finding Mr Right begins with finding herself first.

A stellar cast

Ntuli is an award-winning, full-time stand-up comedian who first captured the public’s attention on SABC’s ‘So You Think You’re Funny’, where she came third. She’s a household name today and one of the few female comedians at the forefront of the male-dominated South African comedy industry. She won the Mbokodo Award for Best Comedienne in 2015, and was a nominee in the SA Comics Choice Awards for 2015 and 2016 (voted for by peers in the industry, including Trevor Noah and Loyiso Gola). She has performed at some of the country’s biggest comedy events, including the Comedy Central International Festival, Johannesburg International Comedy Festival, BET Experience Comedy Festival and the Comedy Central Roast of Jeff Ross. Ntuli attributes her success to the fact that no subject is taboo as far as she is concerned. She can be seen daily on television as one of the main characters, Siphokazi Zungu, in ‘Isibaya’, on Mzansi Magic, which has a viewership of more than one million.

l to r Trevor Gumbi, Phildile Gwala, Celeste Ntuli, Isaac Gampu, Fadeen Mia, Keneilwe Matidze. Standing Tayo Faniran and Craig Urbani

In the role of Greg is Trevor Gumbi, one of SA’s top comedians, writers and actors. A well-known face on television, Gumbi has appeared at several major comedy events in the country, including Oppikoppi, Rocking the Daisies, King-size comedy jams, Blacks Only, Laugh out Loud and Arts Alive Comedy Festival. He has gained voice over experience on e.tv’s animated series ‘Jozi Zoo’, can be heard on 5fm, as ‘The black guy at a braai’. In 2016, he replaced DJ Sbu as host of the SABC1 game show Friends Like These, beginning with the fourteenth season. He also starred in his own dark comedy/drama series ‘The Sober Companion’ on SABC3.

Fans of actress Phindile Gwala, who is famous for her role in the soapie ‘Muvhango’, will see her in a different role, that of Lindi, a serial blessee living a lavish lifestyle. Lindi thinks about men all the time, even going to church to look for potential blessers.

In the role of Buyi’s mother Mrs Dube, is veteran, multi-award-winning actress Lillian Dube, most fondly known for her role as Sister Bettina in the SABC1 drama series Soul City – a role she played for 15 years.

‘Looking for Love’ opens at cinemas nationwide on 31 August 2018. The film is distributed in South Africa by Indigenous Film Distribution (IFD).

Kumaran Naidu’s Broken Promises 4-Ever Hits Rim At Box Office In Just 3 Days

Broken Promises 4-Ever’, by award-winning director, producer, and scriptwriter, Kumaran Naidu, raked in R1 million at the box office, after opening on 27 July, in just three days at 15 sites. The film is the fourth instalment in the popular ‘Broken Promises’ franchise, which revolves around the Singh and Padayachee families.

Writer, Director Kumaran Naidu

“Fans have been raving on social media and showing their support in cinema where they had the chance to meet the cast, as well as the director, Kumaran Naidu, and producer Fadeen Mia,” says Helen Kuun, MD of Indigenous Film Distribution. “The film was the number one ticket seller at Gateway Ster Kinekor, and was also ranked number 6 on the Industry Top 10 for the weekend. It’s done phenomenally well and we are adding an additional five sites on 3 August, based on public demand.”

‘Broken Promises 4-Ever’ was also the best performing film at Cinecentre Midlands, Cinecentre Suncoast, Trade Route Mall NM, Carnival City SK, Cornubia Mall NM and Galleria NM and Gateway SK this past weekend, with more attendances than Hollywood blockbusters ‘Mission Impossible: Fallout’ and ‘Mamma Mia’ at these venues.

The film follows the antics of the Padayachee family and all the favourite characters from the previous movies, Amsugi, Reuben, Saras, Bommi, and others are back. It’s a modern take on the dysfunctional family, and deals with issues between in-laws, which are typical for most Indian homes, and indeed many homes in general, according to Naidu.

“This is the first time a Broken Promises film has been available widely on the big screen,” Naidu says. “The first two were straight to DVD and the third one did a limited cinema run. We are truly overwhelmed and incredibly happy with the audience response. The film will now be available at additional cinemas to make sure the public can get to see it.”

‘Broken Promises 4-Ever’ follows a format similar to that of previous films in the franchise, but reverses the roles. The focus is now on the relationship between father-in-law and son-in-law.

“It also looks at between Hindis and Tamils, and between people from different religious backgrounds,” says Naidu. “Many people will be able to relate to this story as they wonder what the solution will eventually be for a poor couple who basically have everything working against them.”

Amsugi’s (Kogie Naidoo) grandson, Mandoza (Theshen Naicker), is desperate to get married. But he is afraid of making the mistakes his father Reuben (Neel Pillay) made when he met Mandoza’s mother. However, Mandoza is rejected by Skye (Kajol Sewgobind), his girlfriend, as she feels that he needs to ask her father, Kallan (Kumaran Naidu), for permission. Skye is also concerned that they are rushing into things as she has not yet met Mandoza’s family.

A trip to Durban takes place, with everybody excited to receive Mandoza. Unfortunately for him, all his plans to make a good impression on Kallan go down the drain. On top of that, Kallan is not happy about Skye being involved with a non-Christian.

As usual, Amsugi starts her antics again, just as she once did with Natasha,  Mandoza’s mother; she not only tells Skye that they need to start preparing for the couple’s wedding, but she also tells her exactly how she should be doing so. Unfortunately for her, Amsugi does not realise that the headstrong Skye is not one to be trifled with.

“The films was shot in Verulam, Phoenix, Tongaat and the Durban CBD,” says Mia. “The franchise  been extremely popular with audiences. They love the shenanigans of the Singhs and Padayachees, and the crazy comedy of Kumaran’s approach to film. We are delighted that while it’s a story about Indian in-laws, it’s obviously speaking to everyone who has ever had family troubles.”

Mbongeni Ngema’s Asinamali In Cinemas On Friday 3 August 2018

Some three decades after ‘Asinamali!’ first appeared on stage at The Market Theatre, Mbongeni Ngema’s play about the lives and suffering of black inmates in an apartheid-era prison has been adapted into a film that is as beautiful as it is still heartbreakingly resonant.

Ngema has managed to effectively transform this intimate stage experience into cinema. Like the play, the film has received great praise since its New York premiere at the city’s African Film Festival in May earlier this year.

After the New York screening, longtime friends and collaborators, producer Voza Rivers, and actor and producer Ron Kunene spoke about Ngema’s work. Kunene also brought news of Ngema’s new project – a musical about Nelson Mandela.

Ngema, who also wrote the much acclaimed musical ‘Sarafina!’, not only directed and produced ‘Asinamali’, but also stars as Comrade Washington, a black struggle activist who returns to South Africa to work with convicts through drama and dance; eventually they stage a musical play in the prison that takes the audience through how they each of them ended up in that unforgiving place. Ngema also wrote an original score for the film.

“Mbongeni’s vision is brilliant, Rivers said. “He is a genius at creating music, and with all of our struggles, especially for people of colour all around the world, music plays a very important role. Ngema understands this all too well. He is, after all, also a choreographer, a composer, a musician, a songwriter, and an unbelievable spirit.”

“In some of the scenes, I couldn’t help but remember what our mother of the struggle did for us,” said Kunune. “Winnie Mandela was arrested constantly. With the conditions that you see here, art imitates life. It’s not just a social justice story. It’s a story that’s rooted in Mbongeni’s own experience. He spent a lot of time in jail himself.”

Kunene describes the film as remarkable and says it “really shows the vitality and the resilience of the African people facing apartheid. We’ve lived that life.”

It’s tragic that Ngema’s story about oppression and hate is still relevant all across the world, added Rivers. “But it also speaks to the classic nature of his work. We believe that most of his work is timeless. It really captures a moment that is repeated over and over again. His work touches a responsive chord in all of us, and when you are exposed to it you feel that you want to do something. It’s motivating.”

‘Asinamali’ screened at the Toronto Black Film Festival earlier this year, and also at festivals in France, the Netherlands and Germany.

The film opens in South Africa on Friday, 3 August.

Independent Cinema Releases From Ster-Kinekor Entertainment Opening 3 August 2018

Opening Friday 3 August 2018 in South African cinemas

Hotel Artemis

Age Restriction: 16 DLV
Run time: 94 Mins
Cast: Jodie Foster, Sofia Boutella, Dave Bautista, Sterling K. Brown
Director: Drew Pearce

Synopsis:

It’s a Wednesday night in the year 2028, and the streets of downtown Los Angeles are impassable. With the most violent riot in L.A. history in its third night, the city’s privatised police force is pummelling blue war-painted protesters whose only demand is clean water. Amidst this chaos, four men clad in skull masks find themselves in the middle of a failed bank heist. After turning the situation around, Sherman Atkins (STERLING K. BROWN, “This Is Us”) leads his brother Lev Atkins (BRIAN TYREE HENRY, “Atlanta”) and their two cohorts out of the bank –right into a fire fight with the cops. Injured and seeing no other option, Sherman leads them to their only hope for survival…

Mary Shelley

Age Restriction: 16 DS
Run time: 120 Mins
Cast: Elle Fanning, Maisie Williams, Douglas Booth, Stephen Dillane
Director: HaifaaAl-Mansour

Synopsis:

Mary Shelley tells the story of Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin -author of one of the world’s most famous Gothic novels ‘Frankenstein’ -and her fiery, tempestuous relationship with re-nowned romantic poet Percy Bysshe Shelley. The pair are two outsiders constrained by po-lite society but bound together by a natural chemistry and progressive ideas that are beyond the boundaries of their age and time. Mary and Percy declare their love for each other and much to her family’s horror they run away together, joined by Mary’s half-sister Claire. In the midst of growing tension within their relationship during their stay at Lord Byron’s house at Lake Geneva, the idea of Frankenstein is conceived when a challenge is put to all house guests to write a ghost story. An incredible character is created, which will loom large in popular culture for centuries to come, but society at the time puts little value in female authors. At the tender age of 18, Mary is forced to challenge these preconceptions, to protect her work and to forge her own identity.

Mission: Impossible – Fallout (IMAX 3D) : Review

IMF leader Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise – American Made, The Mummy), and his team of Luther Stickell (Ving Rhames – Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation), Benji Dunn (Simon Pegg – Ready Player One, Star Trek: Beyond), are once again on a mission to save the world. And once again the various government and spy agencies are working their own agenda, and once again there are villains set to create global chaos.

Throw into this mix a possible threat on Julia Meade-Hunt (Michelle Monaghan – Patriots Day, Pixels), an encounter with Ilsa Faust (Rebecca Ferguson – Life, The Girl on the Train), agent August Wlker (Henry Cavill – Justice League, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice) who is forced on the team by the CIAs Erica Sloan (Angela Bassett – Black Panther), much to the chagrin of the IMF’s Alan Hunley (Alec Baldwin – The Boss Baby, Paris Can Wait), and you have the beginnings of an action ride that kicks off right at the opening scenes, and sustains this pace right until the end credits roll.

With each successive film in the series, we are treated to even more action, more explosions, but thankfully still a story, albeit a very complex and convoluted one.

There is palpable tension Fallout, but a few moments where the story is a little too predictable, be it a fight or a plot twist. But why quibble over big reveals, and story points. It’s Mission: Impossible. You’re there for a ride, and you’re there to have fun. And on those two points, there is an abundance.

The fights are thrilling, and the stunts huge. Enjoy the film as it’s meant to be seen, on IMAX 3D, rather than waste money on the all too many cinemas in South Africa who are failing miserably when it comes to providing a proper experience with the technology they have on hand.

A fun outing in the Mission: Impossible universe, with non-stop action, that doesn’t disappoint, especially on the very big screen.

Mission: Impossible: Fallout opens 27 July 2018, in South African cinemas.

 

Baby Mamas Takes To The Silver Screen In Its African Premiere At The 39th Durban International Film Festival

The all new comedy drama, Baby Mamas will feature at the 39th Durban International Film Festival (DIFF). The week-long festival runs from 19th to 29th July at cinemas across Durban, and Baby Mamas will make the Sunday 22nd viewing a lot more interesting.

Set in Johannesburg, Baby Mamas revolves around the daily lives, loves and drama of four professional women who are all in different stages of their own real-life baby mama drama. Sharing similar experiences, a sisterhood develops among these four very different women, they find in each other the strength and courage it will take to navigate the treacherous waters of the relationships, good and bad, that they have with the men in their lives.

The film is written and directed by Stephina Zwane who also wrote and directed feature film; Love and Kwaito. Zwane co-Produced Baby Mamas with Salamina Mosese, under their production company, Sorele Media. The SAFTA winning actress, Mosese is also a lead in Baby Mamas along with sought-after actresses Kay Smith, Thembisa Mdoda and Dineo Ranaka.

“It’s important for such stories coming out of Africa to be told, our generation is fortunate to have the privilege of being able to tell our story ourselves, so the first thing I’m going to do is to always tell a unique African story.” said director Stephina Zwane.

“Right at the forefront of our stories there will always be leading women attached. Baby Mamas provides the other side of this narrative that is so often told from a negative perspective, which is not entirely true. This is why it is important to provide varying voices and realise that the female-perspective and experience deserves a platform too,” added Zwane.

Having travelled the world to cities such as New York, the African Premiere is a critical milestone for any film, as it makes the journey toward its local country release. The film screens at the Musgrave Ster Kinekor Complex at 16:00 on Sunday 22 July as part of the DIFF screening line up. The film promises to make you laugh, cry and show you a different side to modern-day Baby Mamas.

As part of the Emerging Black Filmmaker’s Fund (run by the IDC, DTI and NFVF), the film is set to release across cinemas in South Africa on October 12th 2018.

 

A Simple Favour – In SA Cinemas 28 September 2018

A SIMPLE FAVOUR, directed by Paul Feig, centres around Stephanie (Anna Kendrick), a mommy vlogger who seeks to uncover the truth behind her best friend Emily’s (Blake Lively) sudden disappearance from their small town. Stephanie is joined by Emily’s husband Sean (Henry Golding) in this stylish thriller filled with twists and betrayals, secrets and revelations, love and loyalty, murder and revenge.

Lionsgate presents, a Lionsgate / Feigco Entertainment production. Distributed in South Africa by Empire Entertainment.

Cast: Anna Kendrick, Blake Lively, Henry Golding, Andrew Rannells, Linda Cardellini, Jean Smart, and Rupert Friend

Directed by: Paul Feig

Screenplay by: Jessica Sharzer

Based upon the novel by: Darcey Bell

Produced by: Paul Feig, p.g.a.; Jessie Henderson, p.g.a.

A SIMPLE FAVOUR is scheduled for release at SA cinemas on 28 September 2018.