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Talking Movies with Spling - The Boers at the End of the World, The Young Messiah and Goosebumps


Spling reviews The Boers at the End of the World, The Young Messiah and Goosebumps as broadcast on Talking Movies, Fine Music Radio. Catch Talking Movies on Fridays at 8:20am and Saturdays at 8:15am every week on Fine Music Radio.

 
Top Ten Movies with... Charlenè Brouwer


Charlenè Brouwer is a passionate, versatile and talented actress, director and writer. She's best known for the title role of Anna Bruwer in Sara Blecher's award-winning film, Dis ek, Anna, which won Best Picture at the Silwerskermfees and SAFTAs. Brouwer and Bruwer may look like polar opposites, but both share an indomitable intensity, strength and tenacity that shine through. While Dis ek, Anna is a breakthrough role, Brouwer's also known for playing Susan Boshoff in Vrou Soek Boer and Elize Jones in SABC 2 drama, Thola.

More recently, she's been making her mark as a director with short films, Anderkant Gister and Op Pad met Dana. Behind-the-scenes, she's worked as a continuity and script supervisor on films such as Stuur Groete aan Mannetjies Roux, Treurgrond and SuurlemoenCharlenè has also featured in many television commercials over the years.

Together with her husband, Niel van Deventer, the two helped produce Dis ek, Anna as Palama Productions. With a Silwerskermfees and Rapid Lion International acting nomination for her performance in Dis ek, Anna, it seems that the strikingly beautiful and soulful Brouwer is on the road to true cinematic greatness. We discovered, which movies have shaped and inspired her over the years... and which of those deserve a spot in her Top Ten!

"South Africa has talent that the world needs to see."

I can't watch movies without...

- Popcorn! Seriously... if ever there comes a day where my popcorn actually lasts until the movie starts. I usually scoff it down in the trailers and end up finishing my poor husband’s popcorn... and no, he has no say in the matter.

Popcorn is my escape, the difference between work and relaxation. I am also a continuity supervisor on films and sometimes I can’t stop working. Popcorn helps me switch off and relax... so my poor husband sacrifices his popcorn for a greater cause. And I don’t order two for myself because, well... that's just wrong!

Which famous people share your birthday?

- Yves Saint Laurent, who was an Algerian-French fashion designer, one of the greatest and most celebrated icons of the fashion industry. I was born on 1 August 1984 and growing up, I never met anyone that had the same birthday as me. For a long time I believed I was the only person that was born on this day, so it made me special... of course this was before the Internet – yes I'm that old! As a teenager, I loved that one of my idols, President Nelson Mandela and I were both Leos.

What is the first film you remember watching?

- Definitely two of the all-time Disney greats... The Little Mermaid and Beauty and the Beast, which I watched over and over, and strangely enough Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, which gave me nightmares as a child, but I also watched that over and over. I still cannot watch the part where the sacrificial victim's heart gets ripped out of his chest. My brother and cousin used to tease me relentlessly shouting out "Kali Ma... Kali Ma... Kali Ma Shakti de", chasing me around pretending to want to rip my heart out for hours... ah good innocent times.

What's the worst movie you've ever seen?

- Without thinking Sharknado! But the sad truth is that it's so bad it's good. I shriek in joy when I find it on television and end up watching it because it's so horribly and wonderfully bad. I don’t mind bad films when they're made by international production houses that have too much money.

What gets to me is bad local films. South Africa has so much talent and we need to start working together to create a standard to prevent South African audiences from saying "We'll wait for it on BoxOffice." Films should be seen in the cinema and those of inferior quality, not worthy of the silver screen, should go straight to television.

There are not enough resources to continue allowing bad local films to be supported or made for no reason. There are some wonderful and astounding local films and I look forward to seeing what the future has in store for film-making in South Africa. Some of my favorite local films include: Skoonheid; Faan se trein; Ayanda; Otelo Burning, While You Weren't Looking and a short film called Konneksies. South Africa has talent that the world needs to see.

Which movies have made you tearful?

- So many. I can't pick a favorite amongst so many films that have formed me as an individual. The earliest ones are When A Man Loves a Woman... I start crying during the opening titles. I love this film because it's so real and honest. I grew up in a very conservative family where you don't always talk about things openly and also don't know other people's struggles.

The other great in my life is La Vita e Bella or Life is Beautiful. This was the first film that inspired me to become a director. It was such a beautiful story and Roberto Benigni is such an inspiration as a writer. The reason why this film is so important to me is that even in the darkest tones of this story there was hope and love... that’s incredible storytelling. I am a Disney and superhero freak – one of those weirdos that know all the trivia (or most of it). I don't know if there is one Disney film that has not made me cry... ever.

Who is the most famous movie star you've ever met?

- The best thing that ever happened to me... my sister-in-law bought me tickets to go see a play at the Wyndham's Theatre in London. The play’s name was American Buffalo starring John Goodman, Damien Lewis and Tom Sturridge. It felt like I met John Goodman – I was completely starstruck and it was the best experience of my life... I started crying like a child inside the theatre with my husband.

In South Africa, the actors that I have had the privilege to work with, who also happen to be my heroes: Marius Weyers; Ntathi Moshesh and Anna-mart van der Merwe.

What's your favourite movie line?

- "The crazy thing is, you're not crazy. Sometimes the only way to stay sane is to go a little crazy." ~ Girl, Interrupted

This film inspires me to think and tell stories outside the box every day. Who would have thought a film about people in a mental institution could make more sense than most plots in romantic comedies.

Who would you choose to play you in your biopic?

- ...we'll start casting at the end of this year.

If you could produce a movie, what would it be about?

- My husband and I produce films. The next films we are producing are all stories that have a bigger aim than to simply serve as entertainment. We aim to tell stories that will change people's lives like so many of my top films have changed; influenced; inspired and motivated me in my life. Films that truly make a difference socially and stand up to speak about issues we, as human beings, sometimes try to hide from. Purposeful storytelling!

Finally, your top ten movies of all-time...

I never had the opportunity to study film – I learned by watching films and working on film sets. These films are not only films to me but the whole basis of what I would like to achieve in storytelling one day... big dreams I know, but I'm willing to put in the work!

- The Little Mermaid ...this film made me believe in magic. That sometime during the night my feet might change into a mermaid tail. I practiced swimming and walking to prepare for that day, if it ever happened, in the swimming pool. I still believe in magic and am waiting for that to happen.

Beauty and the Beast” (Everything Disney) ...I simply love all the Disney films and would actually put all of their films into my top ten. Disney makes people believe in true love, romance and good in the world. Every child should grow up watching Disney.

- Kick-Ass ...I despise Nicolas Cage. I can’t stand him as an actor – I don't know why. But I'm not alone... let me sing you the song of my Internet meme people: "Kick-Ass inspires me everyday that maybe one day too I can play a superhero..." no offence Nic... it's you, not me.

- Singin' in the Rain ...Gene Kelly is the epitome of pure talent and the discipline he put into his talent is everything every actor and artist should strive for day in, day out. This film was written so cleverly and the commentary about the film industry is still relevant today.

- The Piano ...written and directed by Jane Campion. This was one of those films that took some time to shake off my soul. It was made in New Zealand and won three Academy Awards that once again proves that with the right story all financial aspects can be overcome to compete with the best in the world. A good film; powerful acting and exceptional directing all starts with a strong story and script.

- The Devil's Advocate ...for many years Al Pacino could do no wrong in my eyes. This film was one of those stories that challenged the system and proved that when a controversial film or story is told well enough it could be a commercial success as well. It grossed almost $160 million and just take a minute to think about how the writers had to pitch this story to a producer!

- Snatch ...this is one of best simply because it spares the audience any pretentiousness. It's brutally honest, funny and nothing is forced, not even for one minute. The film plays out like reality would and it's written and edited quite simply and genially.

- Girl, Interrupted ...this film is one that sits at my very core. I was blown away by Angelina Jolie's performance. She played a complete psychopath but so well that you start doubting the real "sane" characters. I felt myself move with her and wanted her to succeed in her absolutely crazy goals. This film inspires me as an actress to not just think and play what is written on the pages of a script, but to go much further than that.

- Fight Club ...Fight Club completely messed with my mind as a teenager and showed me how to challenge rules and set guidelines within a craft. The editing and hidden messages within this film were one of the first times that a film made me start to think about and research all technical aspects rather than acting and story.

- Silence of the Lambs ...never, and I mean never, will a film like this exist again. In my humble opinion, psychological thrillers will never live up to the standard that Silence set. Yes, and I have seen Shutter Island and Gone Girl and no, it still does not compare to the scare value Sir Anthony Hopkins instilled in my bones with this film.

- Life is Beautiful ...Life is Beautiful has everything a story should have. To me this was perfect.

Top Ten Movies with... is a people series on SPL!NG, featuring a host of celebrities ranging from up-and-coming to established personalities from all industries including, but not limited to: Internet, Radio, TV, Film, Music, Art and Entrepreneurs. It's a chance to discover who they are, find out where they're at and to get a fun inside look at their taste in movies.


 
Movie Review: Batman v Superman - Dawn of Justice


Zack Snyder is known for stylish action and it shouldn't come as any surprise, having amassed a collection of films, which includes: 300, Sucker Punch, Man of Steel, Watchmen and that owl movie. Each of Snyder's films have a similar review: beautiful to behold, breathtaking action set pieces, bold artistic direction, great ambition carried forth by a talented cast, yet stifled by a lack of cohesion and emotional investment. The same is true for Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.

This sort-of sequel, follows 18 months after the events of Man of Steel. As the world becomes weary of the invincible and unstoppable alien saviour, Batman devises a plan to put Superman in his place, which is subverted by the arrival of a new enemy in Lex Luthor, who tries to play them off against one another as a distraction from an even greater threat to Metropolis and mankind.

The title was ripped to shreds upon announcement with many suggesting it would be a court room drama, however, the vs. gimmick and title's clunkiness may have lowered expectations just enough for people to be pleasantly surprised by Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. It's better than Man of Steel. In fact, you get the impression that Ben Affleck was brought in to underwrite Henry Cavill, who while picture perfect doesn't have the natural charm and warmth to pull off part-time human Clark Kent and selfless saviour, Superman.

Affleck isn't much warmer, but is more relatable as the tormented, Bruce Wayne. Snyder supplants Batman into the Man of Steel sequel by giving us his on-the-ground perspective of the city-leveling battle between Superman and General Zod. We're aware of the collateral damage caused by Superman in his quest to save the city and this irks Wayne just enough to lead a solo campaign to put him in his place. Affleck makes a good Batman. We buy into his empire and history, but this is Snyder's Batman... who has a bit of an Iron Man complex.

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice Movie Review

"It's man vs god, night vision vs x-ray vision..."

Cavill and Affleck aren't alone, allowing Jesse Eisenberg to referee the match as a maniacal and geeky Joker style villain in Lex Luthor. Gal Gadot sneaks into frame as Diana Prince, better known as Wonder Woman, in a role not unlike Anne Hathaway as Catwoman in The Dark Knight Rises. She's a striking woman and the veil of espionage gives her an allure, but the part does seem like an afterthought, as if they needed to sex things up and get a foot in the door for Justice League. Amy Adams is a mousy Lois Lane, who has some good moments but doesn't really add much more than she did in Man of Steel. Apart from one or two one-liners, it'd be fairly serious stuff if it weren't for Laurence Fishburne as Perry White and Jeremy Irons as Alfred, who add some spit-and-polish as the straight-faced funny guys.

The cinematography is mesmerising, giving Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice an air of elegance as we gracefully slide from one impressive scene to another. It's a massive undertaking as Snyder sets the story up for the grand finale with some telling drama and surreal battle sequences. The CGI is well-weighted for the first two acts, immersing us in the world and making the third act that much easier to digest with some epic and surreal interludes.

Batman v Superman is reminiscent of Iron Man 2, The Dark Knight and The Amazing Spider-Man 2. The clinical, dark and bleak tone echoes The Dark Knight as two colossal comic book icons go head-to-head with a wild card tipping the balance. The invincible superhero versus the people bit was also harped on in Iron Man 2, as a worthy adversary rises from the depths to challenge unhinged egos. While the geeky villain, sideline romance, superhero balancing act and electrifying finale have some parallels with The Amazing Spider-Man 2.

This is a big and beautiful film. Unfortunately, it's set back by the clunkiness of its story and the absence of real emotion. Blending multiple superhero stories is a difficult balancing act and Batman v Superman struggles to keep the storytelling in check. We're following Batman's quest, Superman's power struggle and Lex Luthor's megalomania and drawing these threads together in a pleasing and plausible manner requires some "slapperdashery". Like defusing a bomb, the wires get crossed and with the detonate time fast approaching and the frayed ends bare, the film isn't as graceful and dexterous as we'd first imagined.

The characters are impassioned and determined, but that doesn't equate to relatable beings and your audience giving a damn. Luckily, the visual artistry is so dazzling and action set pieces are so entertaining that you can survive the film without much emotional investment. The performances add a little colour to the well-worn characters, but no one really takes full ownership of their character and seeing Zod, makes you wish they had a Michael Shannon, Tom Hardy or Heath Ledger to stir things up.

Just like Man of Steel it has amazing audio-visual power, big impact action sequences and makes an improvement thanks to the spread of supporting characters. The Excalibur references add another layer of interest to the jigsaw story, which while a bit iffy has enough style to steamroll over the lack of substance and patter of unintentional laughs. Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice doesn't hold much emotional weight, but has gravitas and serves up enough eye candy and raw pulp power to make it entertaining even at two and a half hours.

The bottom line: Enjoyable


 
Movie Review: The Boers at the End of the World


The Boers at the End of the World is a remarkable documentary from writer-director, Richard Finn Gregory, who preceded it with the short, The Last Boers of Patagonia. In Argentina's Patagonia region exists a farm community of Afrikaans-speaking people. They're like a lost tribe, having preserved the traditions and language of the Boer ("farmer") culture for over 100 years. Their apparent dislocation stems back to South Africa in 1902, after their forebears witnessed the destruction of their farms during the Anglo-Boer war.

Sailing across the Atlantic to settle in lands offered to them by Argentina's government, they have remained, working the land as Boers and maintaining the archaic language, cooking traditional foods and singing old folk songs. However, over time their heritage has been eroded and it seems that the older folks in this community are the last generation. A documentary crew traveled to Patagonia to discover this treasure trove of Afrikaans history and identity... and The Boers at the End of the World is testament to this voyage of discovery.

The Boers at the End of the World is comparable with Searching for Sugar Man and God Grew Tired of Us. The documentary about finding the enigmatic musician and South African icon, Rodriguez, took us by surprise with an incredible true story. This film also deals with reviving a culture and traveling across the world to reconnect with the past. Both films have a strange tension between the past and present, capturing a string of wonderful characters in a moving and cathartic manner.

The Boers at the End of the World

"Die Engelsman wat nie Afrikaans verstaan nie, gaan koop 'n perd by 'n boer..."

Then, the God Grew Tired of Us element is witnessed in our subjects through their fish-out-of-water experience back in their homeland. Both films deal with a community trying to make sense of their new surroundings and the implications for their future. The naivety of the characters is endearing and their transition from isolated rural areas to built-up cities is quite fascinating.

The Boers at the End of the World features some breathtaking footage that makes it almost seem like a Western, perhaps tipping the hat to the original settlers and their pioneering spirit. It's an amazing undertaking when you consider the film-makers probably had to condense hundreds if not thousands of hours of footage into a feature-length film.

The older gentlemen become the primary focus, both colourful and entertaining in their candid approach to life as Afrikaners in Argentina. While their farming and livestock business isn't as prosperous as it used to be, they strive on... proud of their heritage, yet weary of the dilution.

The documentary will appeal to South Africans, especially Afrikaans-speaking audiences, who have more personal insights to the in-depth cultural exploration and immersive travelogue. The Boers at the End of the World has a familiarity to it and only finds its emotional hook and true focus after passing through some uneven perspective-shifting historical territory.

The story of identity and preservation is spellbinding and the subjects bring The Boers at the End of the World to life with their heartfelt stories. The cross-continental journey bridges a century and remains layered and rewarding with a strange melancholy at its core.

The bottom line: Fascinating

 
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