Movies

District 9 – South African Premiere and Review

“Why did van der Merwe keep a pair of scissors in his racing car?
So he could cut the corners!”

For the last several months, ever since first viewing the initial teaser trailer, there has only been one movie to have successfully garnered my obsessive anxiety.

Not Slumdog Millionaire. Not Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. Not even the infallible Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. No, this exclusive obsession could not be for any ordinary movie or typical Hollywood cash cow.

Instead, my focus has continuously been drawn to a movie which is set, surprisingly, in the very city within which I live.

District 9 – Official Teaser Trailer

That movie has been none other than this years science fiction sleeper hit, District 9.

See how deep that bullet lies…

A few months ago, regrettably only after breaking my arm, I was approached by a well known South African public relations firm for my review of the ‘South African Premiere of Slumdog Millionaire’. Subsequently, I was kindly asked if I would be interested in being a part of their mailing list and any future ‘events’. Of course I responded with a resounding ‘yes’!

Since that time, I have been kept up to date and privy to the latest in South African box office records, figures and events. Often incorporating the information into my posts whenever I deem the data to be informative, applicable and or appropriate. To my surprise, it appears that the fruits of my labour have begun to ripen.

The Human ContractLast week, I unexpectedly received an official invitation to an actual ‘press screening’ of an as yet unreleased film. It goes without saying that I was incredibly taken aback and immensely excited. After all, it was the first time that I had been invited to an event as a ‘recognised’ member of the press.

The invitation was to the screening of ‘The Human Contract’, which serves as Jada Pinkett Smiths debut as both a writer and director.

The Human Contract focuses on charming, self-made marketing entrepreneur Julian Wright (Jason Clarke), who is constantly tormented by a viciously disturbing secret that he has harboured from childhood. With his personal life in shambles and physical pain his only means of solace, Julian becomes entrapped in an open styled love affair with a gorgeously elusive stranger, Michael Reed (Paz Vega), who tempts him from the rigid confines of corporate life to try and explore a bohemian laden lifestyle. A decision that will not only dramatically affect his life, but also the lives of his co-workers, friends and family.

You’re invited to a very important date…

Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland - The Mad HatterAs movies come and go, there are usually only a handful of films which really pique my interest. One of those, which you may have guessed from this posts title, is that of Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland.

As a long standing fan of Tim Burton’s work, particularly with regard to his brooding art style, I am more than excited to see what he will be able to achieve with a story and world as fantastical and rich as that of Alice’s adventures in Wonderland.

Interesting to note, is that the movie seems to take certain aspects from Carrol Lewis’ sequel to the original Adventures of Alice in Wonderland, that of Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There. Most notably is the fact that the movie see’s Alice being transported back to wonderland for a second time, with Alice unable to remember her first visit.

Ultimately though, Burton’s retelling is primarily still of Lewis’ original adventure with Alice. Thus it will feature all of the  characters we have come to know and love, but with a much darker twist, such as Alice Kingsley (Mia Wasikowska), The Mad Hatter (Johnny Depp), The Red Queen (Helena Bonham Carter), The White Queen (Anne Hathaway), The Caterpillar (Alan Rickman) and last, but not least, The Cheshire Cat (Stephen Fry).

On the 5th March 2010, we get to follow the white rabbit! Diarise it! Also, Walt Disney actually released a trailer for Alice in Wonderland at the 2009 San Diego Comic Convention, which was almost instantly removed from popular video sites, such as YouTube. However, the trailer is available from IGN.com and can be found here. *UPDATE* Here is the trailer:

Alice In Wonderland – Offical Trailer

Oddly enough, this post was actually inspired by a song, a part from the various tweets I received about the movie. Also, since I was too lazy forgot to post an edition of Music Monday, I figured I would do it now.

Thus, it is time for another Vivaciously Varietal Vibe!

  • Flavour: Alternative
  • Artist: Yeah Yeah Yeahs
  • Album: It’s Blitz

Alice in Wonderland - The Red Queen/Queen of Hearts Rationale: I recently acquainted myself with the Yeah Yeah Yeahs latest album, It’s Blitz, and while listening to it, I came across the song Heads Will Roll.

Coincidentally, I was in the process of trying to find the trailer for Disney and Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland. As a result, Heads Will Roll spurred the production of this post.

For your pleasure, I have included a picture of Helena Bonham Carter as The Red Queen/Queen of Heats from the forthcoming Tim Burton and Disney production, Alice in Wonderland. Rather appropriate, don’t you think?

As always, whenever I post about Vivaciously Varietal Vibes on a Music Monday, or in this case Feelin’ Friday, simply click on the name of the song to be taken to a web page that displays the songs lyrics.

Until the next time “Milieunairs”!

 

Bruno’s Proposal

Bruno's Proposal This weekend I managed to watch Sasha Baron Cohen’s latest mockumentary, Bruno, as well as Ryan Reynolds and Sandra Bullock’s latest romantic comedy (romcom), The Proposal.

BrunoBruno

First things first; if you did not enjoy watching Borat then do not watch Bruno. Alternatively, if you have not seen Borat and would like to know what kind of a movie Bruno is, then please do go and rent the movie. However, those who, like myself, enjoyed the shamelessness offered by Borat, will, undoubtedly, enjoy Sasha Baron Cohen’s latest ‘candid cinematic work’.

About the movie:

Borat trickster Sacha Baron Cohen returns to the big screen to offer yet another stinging dose of sociopolitical satire in this comedy that finds him assuming the persona of gay fashionmonger Bruno, the self-proclaimed "voice of Austrian youth TV." Originally conceived as part of Cohen’s cult television series Da Ali G Show, the character of Bruno offered a cleverly costumed Cohen the opportunity to highlight the absurdities of the fashion industry by interviewing unsuspecting fashion icons and other haute couture hangers-on (D-Man2010, IMDB.com)

Let me be frank. The movie is crass. To put it into perspective, about 20 minutes into screening Bruno, there were actually several individuals who hastily exited the cinema in a bizarre flurry of popcorn, soda and mild ranting. Strangely, I found the departure of those individuals to be more disturbing than the movie itself. Let me explain.

The film is, superficially, a wholeheartedly sordid affair with copious amounts of nudity filled in with gratuitous use of sexual innuendos and stereotypes, which are often always highly amusing. Consequently, if you are easily offended by nudity, sex, violence or a lack of political correctness, then Bruno may not be the movie for you. However, that is only one aspect of this film.

Although it may not seem so at first, there is in fact a method to Sasha Baron Cohen’s madness. Underneath this films superficial exterior, of a homosexually charged fashion stereotype with an unabashed tendency to offend different races and creeds, lies a rather important and universal notion. Even though the movie is a ‘mockumentary’, the message is certainly quite clear: ignorance is a clear cause of civil unrest. Until the human race can learn acceptance without prejudice, we will never truly know a world without pain and suffering.

Bruno -Official Trailer

Bruno is unfortunately not for the ignorant, homophobic, squeamish, narrow minded, prude or conservative. For everyone else, however, it is definitely an eye opening experience. Whether the experience is good or not, is up to you!

Verdict: 7/10.


The Proposal

The Proposal

The Proposal is your standard romantic comedy, or ‘romcom’ in movie lingo. No more, no less.

As romantic comedies go, The Proposal is a movie filled with all of the usual cliché’s, in which we find ourselves cheering for the underdog while despising the obstacles hindering the progress of ‘true love’. Furthermore, even though we know how the story inevitably ends, we are inexplicably drawn toward finding out exactly how the story unfolds.

About the movie:

When high-powered book editor Margaret faces deportation to her native Canada, the quick-thinking exec declares that she’s actually engaged to her unsuspecting put-upon assistant Andrew, who she’s tormented for years. He agrees to participate in the charade, but with a few conditions of his own. The unlikely couple heads to Alaska to meet his quirky family and the always-in-control city girl finds herself in one comedic fish-out-of-water situation after another. With an impromptu wedding in the works and an immigration official on their tails, Margaret and Andrew reluctantly vow to stick to the plan despite the precarious consequences (D-Man2010, IMDB.com).

The Proposal – Trailer

The movie is good. So if you are looking for a fun, light hearted comedy, which offers genuine moments of laughter, and allows you to leave the cinema with that ‘warm and fuzzy’ happy feeling, then do go and watch The Proposal. You will not regret it.

Verdict: 7/10.

Until the next time “Milieunairs”!

 

Bookmark and Share

The Red Carpet screens: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood PrinceThe movie was, for lack of a better word, incredible!

Like most book to movie conversions, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince is, unfortunately, not a visually literal word for word transfer; but that was to be expected. If a literal conversion was what you were hoping for, then I am afraid that you may be sorely disappointed.

What people fail to remember, is that the movie is only based on the book. As a result, for better or worse, a certain degree of creative freedom was bestowed on the director and screenwriters. Consequently, the movie is rather different when compared to the original telling of The Half-Blood Prince, with several ‘what were they thinking’ moments. However, for what the movie is, an artfully driven visual gateway into the world of Harry Potter, the movie was, in my humble opinion, magnificent!

With this latest movie installment of the Harry Potter series, the visual cinematic flair is flush with the book. It is the first time that one of the Harry Potter movies has managed to effectively capture the progressively dark themes found in the books. This is, no doubt, in part due to the maturation of the target audience and the actors, who now have a broader and more refined range of acting skill. In this sense the Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince movie is the closest, in feeling and atmosphere, to any of the books in the Harry Potter series, thus far.

Harry Potter & The Half-Blood Prince is a dark, magical, funny and charming adventure that is both gripping and spellbinding. This is how Harry Potter should have been adapted from the beginning. David Yates takes the fantasy from the heights of a broomstick-flying romantic comedy right down to the depths of a bone-chilling adventure. The whole mix of genres is perfectly balanced, shifting from one foot to the next as the audience is introduced to a new facet of the story, each chapter as funny, exciting and scary as the previous one (Spling Movies, 2009).

View The Red Carpet Screens - Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

The screenplay and production values for the movie are spectacular. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince will make you cringe with familiarity, jump in your seat with fear, laugh out loud with joy and cry with sorrow. The movie is splendidly well rounded and an absolutely fantastic journey from start to finish, for both the young and the old. Furthermore, the movie has spectacularly noteworthy special effects, amazing camera work and a visual flair that will make any audience member dry eyed.

Hans' Harry Potter Memorabilia

Although fans of the books may be disappointed with the overall translation from text to screen, it is important to enjoy the movie for what it is: a visual smorgasbord of Harry Potter goodness, no matter how off base the movies are to the books. That said, fans brought up on the movie renditions of the books will naturally love this movie.

I consider myself to be a true Harry Potter fan, having read all of the books multiple times, owning various pieces of memorabilia (see the above photograph) and having many intense late night discussions, with friends and family, about Harry’s inevitable fate. Even so I thoroughly, no, immensely enjoyed the movie and would recommend it to anyone who enjoys a well produced action and adventure movie!

The Red Carpet gives Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince 8/10. The movie is a must see!

The movie was screened at the Il Grande theatre in Monte Casino, Johannesburg. On a side note, I would like to mention that the evening was a ‘magical’ success, with only one discrepancy. Toward the end of the evening, members of The Red Carpet made their way to Cafe Fego, in Monte Casino, for the after movie discussion. Upon settling the bill, with a fairly generous 10% tip, and just as the group was about to depart, our waiter turns to us and asks if everything was to our satisfaction. To which we replied that it was. He then proceeded to ask for a bigger tip indicating that what we had given was not enough. Have you ever heard of such insolence? A tip is not mandatory; it is merely a showing of good will. To have the audacity to ask for more is not only unprofessional but ungrateful. Consequently, Cafe Fego has lost several customers for the foreseeable future. What is the moral of the story? Take your change and tip well where it is appreciated, either at Seattle Coffee or Mugg & Bean.

*UPDATE*: For an almost perfect Butterbeer recipe, click here.

Until the next time “Milieunairs”!

 

Bookmark and Share