Stephen "Spling" Aspeling will be hosting a special screening of THE LEGO MOVIE in 3D, directed by Phil Lord and Christopher Miller (Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs) and starring the voice talents of Will Ferrell, Will Arnett, Elizabeth Banks, Chris Pratt and Morgan Freeman. The Ster-KinekorMovie Buffs screening will take place at 7:30pm for 8pm on Thursday 13 March, 2014 at Cavendish Square, Cape Town. Book Tickets | FB Event Page | SPL!NG FB Fan Page | The Lego Movie Film Review (Coming Soon)
About the film
While most people who grew up with LEGO have a soft spot for the famous building block toy brand, it’s still considered to be a rite of passage for kids. The Lego Movie's all about entertainment and laughs for everyone, thanks to Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs directors, Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, who truly understand the creative force behind the long-running toy series. Expect a dazzling mix of realistic stop-motion and CGI animation, laugh-a-minute pop culture gags and a stellar voice cast. This “story about a nobody who saved everybody” is creative, funny, silly and dare I say touching.
About the event
The special THE LEGO MOVIE advance screening will be held at Ster-Kinekor's Cavendish Square cineplex. As your host, Spling will introduce the preview and draw prizes. THE LEGO MOVIE will then be screened and followed by a post-movie discussion and a complimentary cappuccino, tea or coffee in exchange for your movie ticket at Tribakery, Cavendish. Normal ticket prices and discounts apply.
About the host
Stephen "Spling" Aspeling has been a film fanatic since he first watched the psychedelic elephant dance in Dumbo in the early '80s and a movie critic since 2007. More About Spling
It's been 8 years since Zack Snyder's adaptation of Frank Miller's graphic novel 300 hit the big screen. The standalone film blazed with battle cries, cutting edge visuals and ancient Greek "This is... SPARTA!" machismo. It set in motion the careers of its director, Zack Snyder and Gerard Butler.
No wonder Snyder wanted to rinse and repeat. While mostly unnecessary, a sequel to 300 was almost inevitable after films like Immortals and Clash of the Titans tried to capture the same "God of War" hungryaudience that wanted more primitive grit, blood-thirsty savagery and Greek tragedy.
While attached as producer and screenwriter, Snyder handed over the reins of the 300 chariot to Noam Murro. While best known for the snarky comedy drama, Smart People, Murro wouldn't be the first person you'd think of to direct an action movie. Yet he was attached to direct A Good Day to Die Hardat one point, which means that it wasn't just Snyder who thinks he could do blockbuster action.
300: Rise of an Empire happens at the same time as 300, except at sea. The navy was pretty different back then and they've used blue capes as opposed to the red ones in 300. To stack the odds against them, it's the massive Persian navy they're dealing with under the leadership of "Joan of Arc" wannabe, Artemisia. As if being outnumbered wasn't enough... the Spartan B-team are composed of farmers and whoever's willing to die for Greece.
Murro uses flashbacks of Gerard Butler to leverage his gutsy performance and to summon up nostalgia. It's a double-edged sword, giving the sequel more credibility yet simultaneously drawing contrasts between the leads and films.
Sullivan Stapleton has the look of a hero, as similarly poised as Luke Goss was to Jason Statham, when he replaced him in theDeath Race series. Unfortunately, he's so busy trying to sound "unAustralian" that his performance parallels that of Sam Worthington in Clash of the Titans rather than his predecessor's. You just don't feel as compelled to charge headlong to certain death under the leadership of Stapleton.
"THIS IS NOT... GERARD BUTLER!"
Eva Green, while introduced as beautiful, is about as menacing and ugly as her co-star Lena Headey was in Dredd. Her rise-to-power back story is quite ludicrous, yet she's given god-like status as commander of the Persian navy. She adds some much-needed femininity to the Game of Thrones style drama and you'll struggle to forget the power "tussle" between her and Themistokles.
Game of Thrones actress, Lena Headey, reprises her role as Queen Gorgo. Her part, along with David Wenham's and Rodrigo Santoro's as Xerxes, is mainly there to recall and parallel 300: Rise of an Empire with the original. However, it seems that she's destined to have a more influential role in what they've primed as a trilogy.
300: Rise of an Empire is redeemed by its book ends. The film starts well with a tremendous action sequence and some epicLord of the Rings style scene-setting, complete with montages and narration. The Game of Thrones level performances and back-and-forth drama filler eventually make way for a pulse-racing and cutthroat battle.
The visual effects are just as important to 300: Rise of an Empire as they were in 300. While the graphic novel to celluloid transition was seen as a breakthrough in the original, the sequel's novelty is all about the 3D. The visuals are still spectacular with more variety in each sea attack, however they've employed a very distracting way of creating greater depth. As if the 3D wasn't enough, a constant stream of grass cuttings, flames or sea-spray drifts across the screen.
300: Rise of an Empire has a number of film references, whether intentional or otherwise. The hunchback is similar to Gollum from The Lord of the Rings and the face paint used by some of the warriors is reminiscent of The Joker from The Dark Knight.
The 300 series remains spoof-worthy, throwing an outnumbered makeshift navy of chest-waxed Greek farmers against a superior Persian navy... with explosive blood, and a "sea horse" scene to rival Arnold Schwarzenegger in True Lies... you can't take it too seriously or you'll miss the point.
Matthew McConaughey is proving again and again that he's a serious actor. Once regarded as a "pretty boy" lead in romantic comedies, the actor has won Best Actor at the 2014 Academy Awards on the strength of a brilliant and determined lead performance in Dallas Buyers Club.
Dallas Buyers Club is a biopic drama based on the life of Ron Woodroof, a hedonistic rodeo cowboy and electrician, whose hard-living eventually catches up with him when he tests positive for HIV. In 1985, the virus and onset of AIDS was mistakenly believed to be a disease that only homosexuals and drug addicts contracted.
It's a classic little man versus big organisation story, pitting those affected with the life-threatening condition against the FDA and government authorities, who want to stop their spokesman and saviour from using and distributing non-approved, life-saving medication.
As possibly one of the first heterosexual men to discover he was infected, coming to terms with his life sentence didn't stop Woodroof from giving it horns anyway. Dallas Buyers Clubjourneys with the lone cowboy, whose crusade against the drug authorities and societal stigma is committed to film in this powerful, inspiring and deeply moving biopic.
Matthew McConaughey means business. The actor lost about 20 kilograms for the role of Woodroof to the point he's almost unrecognisable. His groundbreaking performance is just as astonishing, transforming into a character whose stubborn determination drives him to bend the rules and defy the expectations of doctors and law enforcement officers.
"Whadda ya say we lose some weight, act like Hell and pick up a couple of golden boys?"
He's not on his own, supported by an equally powerful performance from 30 Seconds to Mars frontman, Jared Leto. The rock star, regarded as a part-time actor, makes a huge statement to say otherwise, playing a transvestite man named Rayon. He too lost an unhealthy amount of weight to trim down to play the skinny business partner to Ron.
Jennifer Garner's solid performance as one of Ron's confidants and treating doctors is overshadowed by the ironically heavyweight Oscar-winning performances from McConaughey and Leto. She delivers a reliable performance as Eve, the kind we've come to expect from Garner.
The film has been directed with artistic flair and deep symbolism by Young Victoria director, Jean-Marc Vallee. He creates an intimate space for Woodroof to exist, simulating some symptoms of the along the way with the use of focus and sound. The editing leaves us wanting more, keeping the nearly 2 hour movie rumbling on at a good clip, although there are times you wish they had lingered longer.
Dallas Buyers Club sustains itself on its powerful, determined true story and transformative performances from McConnaughey and Leto. While it will remembered mostly for Matthew McConaughey's dramatic metamorphosis and masterfully handled role, it's a strong, unflinching, empathetic and important drama about AIDS that you should make a point of watching.
"Only a surfer knows the feeling." It's not surprising that films about surfing, like Chasing Mavericks, Soul Surfer and now The Perfect Wave, often deal with people experiencing life-changing and near-death experiences. The subculture has an almost religious following around the world as men and women return to the ocean for another transcendent moment on the crest of a wave.
This is where The Perfect Wave drops in, based on the true story of Ian McCormack, a wide-eyed young adventurer who left New Zealand to hit the world's hottest surf spots. Undoubtedly inspired by The Endless Summer, echoed by a movie poster that appears in the film, he and his best friend decided to travel the world in search of the perfect wave and discovered his calling in the process.
Clint Eastwood's son, Scott Eastwood, steps in to play Ian McCormack. The up-and-coming actor has star quality and carries the role with natural charm. He's quietly likable, has good looks and knows how to surf well enough to perform some of his own surf sequences.
Eastwood is supported by former Charlie's Angel, Cheryl Ladd, who plays his spiritually-connected and doting mother. Her sincere performance alongside seasoned South African actor, Patrick Lyster, show Ian's concerned, grounded and loving parents. While the exquisite Rachel Hendrix (October Baby) plays Ian's love interest, whose restless yet spirited walk through the world match Ian's quest, and draw the two together.
"It's a match made in Surfer's Paradise."
The Perfect Wave features some breathtakingly beautiful cinematography of sand, sea and surf in each exotic destination. As expected, there's plenty of underwater and surf photography as Ian gets a taste of each new wave paradise. The level of surfing is strong thanks to the inclusion of real-life pros Roxy Louw and Matt Bromley. At times The Perfect Wave feels like a surf music video turned travelogue, but there's enough drama to propel the story and lace everything together.
Unfortunately, a jarring genre shift from coming-of-age adventure drama to thriller unsettles The Perfect Wave in the third act. The sudden burst of uptempo and suspenseful music appears after a largely laid-back rock music soundtrack. This shift is discordant, coupled by some unintentional comedy and opening a full-blown metaphysical paradigm in the process.
You can see debutant director Bruce Macdonald and his film crew have put a lot of passion and effort into this production, which is why it's unfortunate that it unhitches at such a crucial point. While it's a late game changer, the drama's integrity is further undermined by a handful of weak secondary supporting performances, shattering the suspended reality to distraction.
Ian McCormack's true story and powerful message suffers as a result, but not enough to derail the surf trip's mystique and beautifully crafted, exotic journey through some of the Southern Hemisphere's most beautiful landscapes New Zealand, Indonesia, South Africa and Mauritius.