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Talking Movies with Spling - Spotlight, The Choice and Kidnapping Freddy Heineken


Spling reviews Spotlight, The Choice and Kidnapping Freddy Heineken 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.

Talking Movies with Spling - Spotlight, The Choice and Kidnapping Freddy Heineken by Spling on Mixcloud

 
Movie Review: Spotlight


Spotlight is a biographical and historical drama turned thriller about the Boston Globe's "Spotlight", a team of investigative reporters who tackled alleged child abuse in the Catholic Church in Boston, exposing a religious, legal and governmental scandal that send shock waves across the world in early 2002. The Pulitzer Prize-winning coverage opened the issue of sexual abuse within the Church, drawing attention from the Church hierarchy, law enforcement, government and media agencies.

Spotlight follows almost ten years after acclaimed documentary, Deliver Us from Evil, from film-maker Amy Berg, who examined the case of convicted pedophile, Oliver O'Grady. While set in Boston and dramatised much like newspaper conspiracy All the President's Men, both films address the same issue. Deliver Us from Evil has a special focus on one man's sexual crimes, while Spotlight takes a broader citywide perspective.

The Spotlight team consists of: Mark Ruffalo as Mike Rezendes, Michael Keaton as Walter 'Robby' Robinson, Rachel McAdams as Scaha Pfeiffer and Brian d'Arcy James as Matt Carroll. Ruffalo played a similar role in The Normal Heart, throwing himself into yet another passionate causes performance that sees him embrace every aspect of his character. Keaton is the boss, conveying quiet authority in the wake of Birdman, while McAdams and d'Arcy round off a solid team. The ensemble is bolstered further by the presence of an understated Liev Schreiber, no-nonsense John Slattery and dedicated Stanley Tucci.

Spotlight Movie Review

"Did I mention we're on speakerphone?"

The performances ground Spotlight and do justice to a well-balanced script, which let's the true story speak for itself. We encounter real people with heart-breaking stories that reveal a slice of the tragedy at play, while for the most part, the priests are kept at a distance, reduced to names and dates. It's the establishments that are targeted in Spotlight, and those that would wish to cover-up the scandal in order to profit or cast a blind eye.

While the outcome is public knowledge, the underlying tension of the search-and-discovery is leveraged to great effect, drawing us into the depths of the story. In our fast-paced, media-soaked world, the newspaper's sense of integrity becomes such an inspiration as the investigative journalists pursue the truth with such voracity. Spotlight exposes the darkness without being consumed by the despair, simultaneously restoring hope in humanity by showing the commitment, patience and virtues of a news team with a difference.

Writer-director Tom McCarthy, best known for The Visitor and Win Win, gives us a deft, human and harrowing look into this time. The subject matter is monumental, recalling the newsroom tone and gravity of All the President's Men. McCarthy's crafted Spotlight in such an honest and matter-of-fact way without caving into cliches of the news agency detective genre.

It's a heartbreaking and eye-opening journey that treats its audience and subjects with great respect, making the integrity of its story an unflinching priority. The subtle film-making keeps it immediate, within touching distance, and the range of honest performances lock us into a troubled Boston in some of the most devastating months in U.S. history.

The bottom line: Engrossing

 
Top Ten Movies with... Tom Marais


Tom Marais Top Ten Movies

Tom Marais is a diligent, humble and talented award-winning South African cinematographer and entrepreneur. Tom brings his unique creative vision and immense talent to every project and is able to adapt to the format as a visual storyteller.

An AFDA graduate and member of the South African Society of Cinematographers, Marais has trail-blazed his way across the local film industry with a series of beautifully crafted feature films, such as: Ballade vir 'n Enkeling, Hard To Get, iNumber Number and Roepman. The prolific cinematographer has a wealth of experience and already has three feature films scheduled for release this year, including: Free State, Hatchet Hour and My Father's War.

Tom has also filmed top television dramas, including: Soul City, Home Affairs, Intersexions and Jacob’s Cross. His commercial work includes clients such as: MTN, DSTV, VUZU, FNB, Nashua Mobile and Kilimanjaro Premium Lager, among many others. He was also one of the early collaborators to shoot music videos for South African musicians such as Lebo M, Skwatta Kamp and Klopjag.

Marais is a regular contender at the SAFTAs, having won two Golden Horns and numerous accolades at Kyknet's Silverskerm Festival, SASC Visual Spectrum and AFDA's alumni. A world class talent, it seems like only a matter of time before Marais breaks into the international film scene. We managed to catch up with him to find out, which films inspire him and discover his Top Ten Movies.

"It's like watching an Indiana Jones
film, set in space." [on Star Trek]

I can't watch movies without...

- Good sound and good images! Quality is extremely important to me, and I'm not referring to the latest and greatest gimmicky digital enhancements, but the way I believe the filmmaker intended for me to enjoy it.

Which famous people share your birthday?

- I am very proud to share my birthday with the one-and-only Mr. Jack Black! And one of my favourite and much appreciated film directors David Fincher was also born on the 28th of August. Also I am very lucky to share my birthday with a talented local beauty, actress Donnalee Roberts. [28 Aug]

What is the first film you remember watching?

- I can remember a trip to the Sterland in Pretoria to watch the movie E.T. by Steven Spielberg and I loved it so much that my Aunt Salie decided to spoil me with an actual E.T. doll!! Which I still have by the way!

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

- No doubt: The Holy Mountain. Sad to say I got it from a close filmmaker friend and still not sure if it was a prank or not, but it is a holy load of s**t!

Which movies have made you tearful?

- Any blêrrie Pixar movie, the last one was Inside Out, I cried about 3 times! They are brilliant story-telling experiences!

Tom Marais Top Ten Movies

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

- Locally? Let’s just go with one of the most starstruck moments in my career. I guess that would be when I met Ian Roberts on the Bakgat! film set. I was a huge fan of the SABC '80s TV show, Arende, in which Ian played the infamous character Sloet Steenkamp as I was growing up, so that was a big one.

What's your favourite movie line?

- I have never been very good at remembering movie lines, or lyrics or people's names unfortunately.

Who would you choose to play you in your biopic?

- Chris Pratt! Because... I guess I like his sense of humor, and I wish I had hair like his!

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

- The list of ideas is way too long. It would definitely be a popcorn movie, involving some kind of crazy adventure romance set somewhere in our beautiful South Africa.

Tom Marais Top Ten Movies

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

Ten is obviously only scratching the surface, so I will revert to my "I Would Watch These Movies Anytime" list for inspiration. These are my top 10 movies I can watch no matter what mood I am in and no matter how many times I have seen it.

And now in no particular order...

- Back to the Future ...is such an interesting phenomenon. It's a film we all grew up with, enjoyed as children and now as an adult I watch it and I just marvel at the perfect execution of such an original story. In my opinion, the perfect movie! Robert Zemeckis is a genius and I watch all of his work. He's one of the few masters that really understand the art of telling a story through pase and camera movement, when to cut and when not to. When he builds tension, no matter who you are, you are sitting on the edge of your seat.

- Fight Club ...I think I watched this film about 7 times on the big screen, I was at film school and it melted my brain! I loved the cinematography and I guess just about everything else in that movie... crazy perfection!

- The Big Lebowski ...need I say more than "I'll take it away from you, stick it up your ass and pull the f**king trigger 'til it goes 'click'"? (laughs) I am a big Coen brothers fan, and love Roger Deakins who shot most of their films. This is my favorite comedy. 

- Drive ...talk about how the score and cinematography can be in perfect harmony... tell a story without the aid of unnecessary dialogue. A masterpiece!

- The Incredibles ...can’t wait to watch this movie with my children over and over and over again. Too much fun.

- Princess Mononoke ...I guess this is my idea of the perfect fairy tale. Such a beautiful story, layered with real-life situations, under the veil of fantasy.

- There Will Be Blood ...probably the closest I'll get to ever watching an opera. I've never been so conflicted about loving and hating a main character like this, all at once. Loved the art direction and cinematography.

- True Grit ...my favourite Western, by my favourite cinematographer. It's also not a typical Coen brothers story line, but I loved how plain and simple the story is and just how beautifully it was executed.

- Star Trek ...I’m a really big sci-fi fan and this is one of my favourites. I wish there were more movies like these. It's like watching an Indiana Jones film, set in space. Also love the dynamic energy and I'll watch anything with Eric Bana in it.

- In the Mood for Love ...I think this is the first movie that made me consciously aware of how beautiful images can influence your mood and tell a love story, very creatively. This movie is the epitome of visual poetry to me.

Honourable mentions: Fifth Element, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, The Good, The Bad and the Ugly, The Matrix, Amelie, Avatar, Contact, Fargo, Pulp Fiction, Se7en and Stoker.

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: While You Weren't Looking


While You Weren't Looking is a drama, which focuses on a mixed-race modern family in Cape Town some 20 years into the New South Africa. We're introduced to Dez and Terri, whose marital insecurities are starting to push them apart. This is where we meet their adoptive 18 year-old daughter, Asanda, who is still exploring her own sexuality, stealing away from her mom's birthday celebration to go out on the town with her boyfriend, Greg, before running into "tommy boy", Shado.

The cast features some strong local acting talent including: Lionel Newton, Camilla Lilly Waldman, Sandi Schultz, Thishiwe Ziqubu, Petronella Tshuma and Terence Bridgett. Newton is almost unrecognisable, playing a passionate lecturer, grappling with gender politics and throwing some provocative curve balls by way of projected images. Waldman throws herself into the role of Terri with a committed, immersive and captivating performance. Schultz is feisty as an in-control Dez, while Bridgett clocks another welcome appearance, despite his hair.

Ziqubu is unrecognisable as Shado, chiming in with an enigmatic performance opposite the naive and flighty Tshuma as Asanda. The two make a compelling on-screen couple, taking a few notes from Blue is the Warmest Colour into this sexual and social voyage of discovery. At times, Asanda's character seems a bit oblivious... drawn to Shado like a moth, as if there's no pre-existing relationship with Greg. Then, while it just passes, Shado's mistaken identity could have been more of a surprise.

While You Weren't Looking has been beautifully shot with Cape Town as a backdrop and director Catherine Stewart crafting some elegant, haunting and powerful sequences, momentarily reverberating with The Great Beauty. The production design is artful and the on-location shooting gives it a true-to-life authenticity as we move from a mountainside residence in Cape Town to a home in Khayelitsha.

While You Weren't Looking

"Ah, so that's why you call yourself Shado..."

The on-going gender bender lecture featuring Lionel Newton gives While You Weren't Looking a pedestal for some of its overarching commentary to bring sexuality centre stage. It doesn't come across as overly preachy, but it does seem a bit adrift from the rest of the drama, adding some food for thought and provocative flair with a series of bizarre sexual images.

While You Weren't Looking takes a fairly broad perspective on gay and lesbian life in South Africa, cleverly using its characters to slice through a cross-section of social, economic and racial divides. The series of contrasts keep the film visually-attractive in terms of its diverse cast and textured locations, while the soundtrack is peppered with great mood-setting music. The film is at its best, when the subplot involving crime cracks the whip, injecting immediate tension and suspense.

This is an artful, beautifully shot and insightful drama with a solid cast and some great Cape Town locations. The various plots feel like they could have been the core to their own films. Each of these strands is substantial enough to add to the overall exploration with some striking moments, but they don't carry enough individual weight to anchor the drama or commentary, making it seem rather fleeting.

The overall effect is provocative, thought-provoking and timely, yet you never truly connect with any one character long enough for them to draw you into their inner world. Perhaps giving each of the strands more time to absorb us would have anchored the stories and distinguished the characters better. It's not on-target and drifts into theatrical territory, but remains curious and sleek enough to hold your attention.

The bottom line: Slinky

 
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