Monday, April 19, 2010

Leap Year Review

Director: Anand Tucker Screenplay: Simon Beaufoy, Harry Elfont, Deborah Kaplan Cast: Amy Adams, Matthew Goode, Kaitlin Olson, Adam Scott Time: 99min Age Restriction: PG

Romantic Comedy

Summary Review:
Leap Year is an insubstantial rom-com that is kept afloat by its charming stars and beautiful locations.

Anna (Amy Adams) and Jeremy (Adam Scott) have been dating for four years and the night finally comes when Anna expects Jeremy to propose to her once and for all.

When he doesn't, she decides to follow him to Dublin, Ireland and propose to him on 29 February, according to an old Irish tradition that women can propose to men on leap years.

Her trip, however, does not go according to plan and she ends up having to rely on Declan (Matthew Goode), a rough-around-the-edges Irishman, to get her to Dublin.

Leap Year is very much a chick flick. A worldwide study has shown that the accent found to be sexiest to women is the Irish accent and I'm sure Matthew Goode will have many hearts aflutter.

The storyline of Leap Year is frail and predictable and the characters seem to be an American's clichéd idea of the Irish, but the jokes are sweet and there is an engaging chemistry between Adams and Goode. The spectacular Irish countryside and jaunty music further add to the charm of Leap Year.

Friday, April 16, 2010

A Prophet Review

Director: Jacques Audiard Screenplay: Jacques Audiard, Thomas Bidegain, Abdel Raouf Dafri, Nicolas Peufaillit Cast: Tahar Rahim, Niels Arestrup, Adel Bencherif Time: 150min Age Restriction: 16SLV


Summary Review:
A Prophet is a creative, but horrifying account of a young man's time in jail that explores many questions of choice, racism and identity.

Tahar Rahim plays Malik, a naive 19-year-old who has been arrested for assaulting a police officer. He has been sentenced to six years in prison, where he gets ordered to kill a fellow inmate. He is warned that it is basically his own life vs. the other guy's life at stake.

This is Malik's first encounter with the Corsican gang who runs the prison and its crooked guards, but he soon becomes embroiled in their dealings, although they treat him like a slave because of his Arab heritage.

Malik is bright enough to soon begin his own ventures, and quickly figures out how to survive. What sets him apart is that he seems to have prophetic dreams and this elevates the film above the rough, violence-ridden prison setting.

I love watching foreign films, because the cinematography and the way of interpreting and portraying a story is extremely creative and original. A Prophet won several awards at the Cannes Film Festival, including the coveted Grand Prix, as well as being nominated for the Best Foreign Language Oscar.

As a South African, I also found it interesting to see the depiction of racism between the Corsican and Muslim inmates explored in A Prophet. Especially with the recent events in our country, it is sobering to see that this problem exists between many different groups of people and is played out in many different way in different parts of the world.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Away We Go Review

Director: Sam Mendes Screenplay: Dave Eggers, Vendela Vida Cast: John Krasinski, Maya Rudolph, Jeff Daniels, Carmen Ejogo Time: 98min Age Restriction: 16L


Summary Review:
Away We Go is a gentle, but slow-moving story about figuring out life and preparing to have a baby.

Away We Go is about a 30-something year-old couple who are still struggling to make ends meet and figure out how to live. The woman is six months pregnant and the only family they have living nearby is ? parents, who have suddenly decided to emigrate to Belgium.

This makes them realise that, with nothing tying them down, they can go anywhere. So they travel around the USA, visiting all the people they know, trying to find a place to settle down and raise their daughter.

Now that they are themselves in the family way, however, they see their friends and family in a different light and notice different aspects of their lives and relationships. They begin to understand the kind of life they don't want and the sort of people they don't want to be.

Although Away We Go is listed as a comedy, and it has its funny moments, I found it largely unfunny. The acting is superb from all the players, even in the smallest supporting roles, but the movie flows slowly, like thick syrup oozing from a spilled jar.

Away We Go is sweet and intimate, but in a tedious kind of way. Sunday afternoon fare.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

The Full Monteverdi Review

Director: John La Bouchardière Screenplay: John La Bouchardière, with music by Claudio Monteverdi Cast: I Fagiolini Time: 61min Age Restriction: 10M


Summary Review:
The Full Monteverdi is a classical musical about six couples breaking up simultaneously in a restaurant.

Yip, you guessed it – this was another one of my experiments. I decided to check out this British film, which has only been released selectively around the world, to get a taste of modern opera.

The Full Monteverdi is based on John La Bouchadière's live production of the same name. It is an avant-garde venture, combining modern storytelling with the classical Renaissance music of Claudio Monteverdi.

Using Monteverdi's fourth book of madrigals from the year 1603, The Full Monteverdi shows the break-up of six couples in a restaurant. The gifted singers and mute actors do a good job of filling in the different background stories to each split.

I enjoy musicals and some opera, although I'm by no means a regular listener. The Full Monteverdi was a bit bland for my taste, with very little movement and limited settings, but real fans of classical music are sure to love it!

Monday, April 5, 2010

The Cove Review

Director: Louie Psihoyos Written by: Mark Monroe Starring: Ric O'Barry, Louie Psihoyos, Mandie-Rae Cruickshank, Kirk Krack Time: 90min Age Restriction: 10VM


Summary Review:
The Cove is a disturbing and suspenseful documentary about the annual slaughter of thousands of dolphins in Japan.

The Cove was put together by Louie Psihoyos, a former National Geographic photographer and Ric O'Barry, the dolphin trainer of the popular '70's Flipper television series. After gaining many years worth of first-hand experience with dolphins, Ric knows for a fact that these wild animals suffer in captivity and he feels responsible for the cruelty against them. He now dedicates his life to saving dolphins.

In The Cove, he and a team of surfers, divers, scientists and activists work to uncover and stop the secret slaughter of 23 000 dolphins every year in a bay off the coast of Taiji, a small town in Japan.

A riveting and provocative documentary, The Cove is life-changing and shocking. Besides being one of the most important documentaries ever, it is also an expertly-made film.

See The Cove not only for its revelations of animal cruelty, but also for an insight into some of the amazing creatures we share our world with.

After watching The Cove, you will feel a conviction to make a difference – and you can. Visit these websites for more information about what you can do: