Schuks Tshabalala’s Guide to South Africa

Schuks Tshabalala’s Survival Guide to South AfricaLast night I had the privilege of attending the premiere of Leon Schuster’s latest film Schuks Tshabalala’s Survival Guide to South Africa.

Every South African knows of the legend that is Leon Schuster. He is our original prankster, made famous by his uniquely South African candid camera work. Although he may have departed from his original film tactics in recent productions such as Mr. Bones and Mama Jack, Schuks Tshabalala’s Survival Guide to South Africa sees Schuster return to his comedic roots.

Schuks Tshabalala’s Survival Guide to South Africa is pure Schuster. If you have enjoyed any of his previous candid camera focused movies, you will no doubt enjoy his latest foray into slapstick South African comedy.

The film attempts to weave each candid camera scenario into a larger background story, in this case a Mr Schuks Tshabalala offers a tour of South Africa to a group of poorly acted ‘foreigners’. However, all these slapstick interludes serve to do is annoyingly retract from the real comedic elements. Even though some of the lyrics to a few of the Highschool Musical inspired interludes were brilliantly tongue-in-cheek, they felt somewhat disconnected from the story as a whole. I would equate it to like watching a reality show on MTV which is split by music videos.

Although there were quite a few gems in terms of the candid camera work, the Helen Zille and Seapoint squatter camp scenario’s being among them, Schuster has not attempted to push the proverbial envelope in any way. Instead, each candid camera scenario is simply a rehash of something we have seen from him before: Golf Club scene? Check. Fooling rookie cops? Check. Scaring taxi drivers and occupants? Check, and so on and so forth. This is by no means a bad thing, after all, as the adage goes, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. Even so, it feels like a missed opportunity for Schuster to push the boundaries in the same way he did in the 80s with You Must Be Joking.

Nevertheless, if you enjoy South African slapstick humour then Schuks Tshabalala’s Survival Guide to South Africa is not to be missed.

Verdict: 6/10.

The film opens nation wide on Friday the 28th of May 2010.


As is always the case with any Sterkinekor event, there were many delicious snacks and ample refreshments for all red carpet guests as well as numerous paparazzi. I have got to give it to Sterkinekor , they always make you feel like a star when visiting their ‘happy place’ during premiere events.

Until the next time “Milieunairs”!


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Through the Looking Glass

Screening - AFDA Invite & Alice in Wonderland Have you ever wondered what that Vision Mission pop-up was about, every time you purchased a ticket at a Sterkinekor cinema or online via the Sterkinekor website? Granted I have always been aware that it was for some charitable cause or another, but I never truly  understood what it was for. As a result, I can shamefully admit that I would always skip past the ‘donate’ option.

Well, on Wednesday night I was privileged enough to obtain an invitation, courtesy of Sterkinekor and Vision Mission, to celebrate AFDA’s Vision Mission commercial award winners as well as be privy to a ‘secret’ screening of a highly anticipated blockbuster film.

It was at this mystery laden awards event that I came to understand what the Vision Mission was all about and why, from now on, I will choose to donate that minimum R2.50 extra whenever I buy a Sterkinekor movie ticket.

Bite My Apple

New Moon - VIP Party Invite 01 On Friday the 5th of February 2010, I was privileged enough to obtain an illusive invitation to “The Twilight Saga: New Moon Exclusive VIP party”, courtesy of Sterkinekor and MiMoney.

Over the last several months, Sterkinekor Entertainment in association with MiMoney, have been teasing Twihard’s (fans of the Twilight saga movies and books) with the possibility of attending “the most exclusive party in 100 years”. Entering was easy. Simply watch New Moon and text your ticket number to a specified number. Each entry increased your chances of obtaining an invitation to the event.

Furthermore, upon entering the competition, fans would receive a text message notification with a specific code. This code could then be redeemed at the viral marketing inspired ‘Bite My Apple’ website; in order to unlock exclusive content from the movie in the form of wallpapers and screensavers.

After being psyched about the event for months, I was obviously excited to be able to attend. The anticipation factor was intoxicatingly high!

‘Knowing’ that being ‘Walled In’ is not as cool as a ‘Push’ toward a third ‘Ice Age’!

Last week I watched ‘Knowing’, ‘Walled In’, ‘Push’ and ‘Ice Age 3’. The following post offers insights into my thoughts about each film as well as box office information (when available) and some ‘juicy’ local movie news.


Knowing is Nicolas Cage’s latest foray into the action genre. One that is surprisingly good.

KnowingUnlike a majority of action oriented movies *cough, Transformers Revenge of the Fallen, cough* Knowing has quite a captivating and intriguing story. The story is about an MIT lecturer who comes into possession of a numbered script, from a  time capsule that has been dug up at his son’s elementary school. The numbered script offers some chilling predictions (some that have already occurred and others that are about to) that lead him to believe that his family plays a role in the events that are about to unfold

Initially, the movie plays out like a thriller. Offering several genuinely chilling and remarkably thought provoking cinematic moments. Aspects  that rarely present themselves in action oriented films. Furthermore, although not immediately determinable, Knowing leans heavily into the realm of compelling science fiction, with just a tinge of religion thrown into the mix.

If you would enjoy watching an action movie that dips into the wells of science fiction, enough to offer an eerily plausible doomsday scenario, while offering a few genuinely  creepy goose flesh inducing moments, then Knowing is worth watching.

Knowing ranked at number three on the South African box office during its opening weekend.

Verdict: 08/10.

Walled In

The movie is essentially about a demolition company representative, who is sent to supervise the ‘taking down’ of a mysterious building, a building which harbours a horrifying secret: past inhabitants were entombed within its walls by a vicious murderer.

Walled In: 04/10Two words: Razzie winner! If there is one movie to avoid this season, this may very well be it.

When I noticed that Mischa Barton was playing in Walled In, I figured that, you know, this may not be that bad, what with her starring in The OC and all (a television show I have never watched, but one that I have heard all about). However, after watching Walled In, I am thankful to have never invested the time in watching The OC.

Hands down, this movie has some of the worst acting and dialogue I have ever come across in a film. This movie is a prime example of poor penmanship, with dialogue so flat that it is no surprise the actors came off so talentless. To be fair, Mischa Barton is not the worst aspect of this movie, Cameron Bright is.

From under which rock did they excavate this kid from? I have seen more ironing boards with talent than Cameron Bright. Actually, burning myself with an iron ironing would be a more enjoyable task than watching this talentless hack on screen. I would rather watch Jaden Smith (Will Smith’s son) destroy a scene than this guy. At least Jaden can cry on cue.

It is a pity that the dialogue and acting are so sub par, because the stylistically spooky visuals are this movies only saving grace. Unfortunately, the visuals are simply not enough to warrant anyone watching this movie, unlike Johnny Depp’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

Just do yourself a favour and avoid watching this movie. If you really have to see it, rent it!

Verdict: 04/10.



Push: 07/10Push is a bit of a mixed bag. It is about two young Americans, each with special abilities, who must race to find a girl in Hong Kong before a shadowy government organization known as Division does.

At a first glance, you may be fooled into believing that Push is just a regular action movie. Granted, at the movie’s core, it is, but, you would not be reprimanded if you considered the movie as a drama, or perhaps even a cinema nouveau art film. Yes, Push is just that. In my opinion, Push is an unorthodox mix of a variety of genres which would explain its poor performance at the box office and mixed reviews.

Given the script, the actors do the best they can. Even Dakota Fanning, with a literal ‘stiff lip’, from her failed attempt to hide the fact that she has braces, still manages to show her prowess as an actress. Although the dialogue may be lacking at times, this hindrance is forgiven thanks to the strong and captivating science fiction and fantasy driven story. The story, coupled with the art style and visual effects, are enough to draw viewers into the world of  Push. However, like other action movies but unlike nouveau films, Push has a rich story, that viewers are only given a taste of, while never completely being explained properly. Odd given the artsy camera work and visual style.

To conclude, I enjoyed Push and would describe the film as a mix of something between X-Men and partial bits of Pan’s Labyrinth.

Verdict: 07/10

Ice Age 3: Dawn of the Dinosaur (3D)

Ice Age 3: 07/10Ice Age 3: Dawn of the Dinosaurs was a good movie. It was slightly better, courtesy of Scratay, than the first two iterations of the Ice Age franchise, and, thankfully, no worse.

Consequently, if you enjoyed Ice Age or Ice Age 2: Arctic Meltdown, or any animated movie for that matter, you will enjoy Ice Age 3: Dawn of the Dinosaurs.

However, if you do watch this movie, do yourself a favour and watch it in a 3D capable cinema. Watching a movie in 3D makes a world of difference, especially for the kids!

Interestingly, Ice Age 3 (none 3D) pushed Transformers 2 out of the top spot for the South African box office, reigning in at number one. The 3D version of Ice Age 3 ranked at a respectable number four, considering the 3D version
has a limited release.

Verdict: 07/10.


In other movie news, The Red Carpet will be screening Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince (the sixth movie in the saga) next week Wednesday, 15th July 2009, at the Il Grande in Monte Casino. I am looking forward to the movie and I just hope that the story is preserved, not like the game tie-in that I bought yesterday, which has totally raped the story *sigh*.

I also recently found out that one of our own schlebs South African celebrities *rolls eyes*, television personality Colin Moss, will be appearing in a locally produced horror movie called Surviving Evil. Other cast members include notable actors such as Billy Zane and… well… he really is the only actor worth mentioning.



Apparently Surviving Evil is only releasing at select Sterkinekor cinemas… I wonder why! Needless to say, I am not expecting much from this film…


Until the next time “Milieunairs”!


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Slumdog Millionaire – The South African Premiere

Last week I was spammed notified, by Sterkinekor Entertainment, of the first SA Screening of the Oscar® nominated film: Slumdog Millionaire. In line with my new philosophy on life, to enjoy new experiences through living life to the fullest, I decided to get a few friends together and attend the premiere of this highly acclaimed and accolade endowed film.

The premiere took place at the Cinema Nouveau at Cedar Square in Fourways on Tuesday 17th February 2009 from 19:00. We were all rather impressed with the event since they had a red carpet, with paparazzi and all, as well as free cocktails and buffet-like snacks. Furthermore, it was an opportunity to mingle with South African celebrities (if you even know who they are?!)  as well as obtain free popcorn for the film! Even the author of the book ‘Q&A’, which the movie is based on, was available at the premiere for autographs. I would have liked to have purchased a book and have had it autographed but my disdain for none hard covered/backed books prevented me from splurging for the vastly inferior soft cover version. That is just me! LOL!

I did think about writing my own review of the film, but I found this review from Rolling Stones Online which closely resembles my thoughts and feelings towards the film (Oh all right… I was just too lazy to write one myself *snicker*):

What I feel for this movie isn’t just admiration, it’s mad love. And I couldn’t be more surprised. The plot reeks of uplift: An illiterate slum kid from Mumbai goes on the local TV version of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire and comes off like a brainiac. Who wants to see that? Final answer: You do. Slumdog Millionaire has the goods to bust out as a scrappy contender in the Oscar race. It’s modern India standing in for a world in full economic spin. It’s an explosion of colour and light with the darkness ever ready to invade. It’s a family film of shocking brutality, a romance haunted by sexual abuse, a fantasy of wealth fuelled by crushing poverty.

You won’t find many fairy tales that open with a graphic torture scene. The cops think 18-year-old Jamal Malik (a sensational Dev Patel) is a fraud. Goaded by the show’s host (the superb Anil Kapoor), the police inspector (Irrfan Khan) is determined to beat the truth out of Jamal before he goes back on the show and hits the jackpot of 20 million rupees. Presumably this is not the way Regis Philbin ran things when the show hit America in 1999.

Brimming with humour and heartbreak, Slumdog Millionaire meets at the border of art and commerce and lets one flow into the other as if that were the natural order of things. Sweet. Screenwriter Simon Beaufoy (The Full Monty) brings focus to Q & A, the episodic Vikas Swarup novel on which the film is based. Still, the MVP here is Danny Boyle, who directs the film brilliantly. Boyle is the Irish-Catholic working-class Brit who put his surreal mark on zombies (28 Days Later) and smack addicts (Trainspotting), and made us see ourselves in their blood wars. Those movies were so potent, as was his 1994 debut, Shallow Grave, that we looked the other way when Boyle went Hollywood with The Beach and screwed up with A Life Less Ordinary. Somehow we knew that Boyle had the stuff to work miracles.

Here’s the proof. We learn the history of Jamal and the other principal characters in flashbacks, as Jamal answers questions on the TV show not from book knowledge — he has none — but his own life experiences. Jamal is searching for two people from his childhood: his wild older brother Salim (an outstanding Madhur Mittal), now a thief and killer, and his adored Latika (the achingly lovely Freida Pinto), now stepping up from child prostitute to plaything of a gangster. Every incident, including the brothers’ watching their mother die in an anti-Muslim riot, feeds into Jamal’s answers on the show. OK, the concept bends coincidence to the breaking point. But Jamal’s traumatic youth is his lifeline. Boyle makes magic realism part of the film’s fabric, the essential part that lets in hope without compromising integrity.

Anthony Dod Mantle uses compact digital cameras to move with speed and stealth through the slums and palaces of Mumbai. The film is a visual wonder, propelled by A.R. Rahman’s hip-hopping score and Chris Dickens’ kinetic editing. The whoosh of action and romance pulls you in, but it’s the bruised characters who hold you there. Every step Jamal takes toward his final answer could get him killed. Even in the Bollywood musical number that ends the film, joy and pain are still joined in the dance. The no-bull honesty of Slumdog Millionaire hits you hard. It’s the real deal. No cheating.


(Posted: Nov 13, 2008)

All in all a brilliant time was had by all who attended! Make sure to view the photographs to see exactly how it went down and to view who the ‘real’ celebrities of the evening were 🙂