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Movie Review: Hollywood in my Huis

Hollywood in my Huis is a South African romantic comedy about a wallflower, living in an impoverished railway neighbourhood, who tries to devise the perfect matric prom. It's part She's All That, part Bakgat!and part Juno with a strong Cinderella undercurrent.

The She's All That element is from our central character's aspiration to look like Charlize Theron at the 2004 Oscars. She's trying to sew an Oscar-worthy dress together in an attempt to dazzle her peers, going from wallflower to Prom Queen. It isn't as simple as letting her hair down and taking off her glasses (she doesn't wear any), but the transition has a humourous before-and-after appeal.

The Bakgat! high school tone comes through in the mischievous interplay between jocks and nerds in a classic Revenge of the Nerds challenge as boys and girls mingle in corridors. The love triangle romance creates tension and the pranks, humiliation and retribution keep the film light-hearted and upbeat.

Hollywood in my Huis

"Show me your paso doble."

They say it takes a community to raise a baby and while the only baby in Hollywood in my Huis is the song "baby chocolates", the comedy has a Juno small town sass about it. Christia Visser is a charming young actress who beams with unassuming confidence as Jana. Much like Ally McBeal, our lead's amusing daydreams play out as she aspires to recreate the winning Charlize Theron look.

She stars opposite best friend Frikkie, played by Edwin van der Walt, like a young Sam Rockwell. The co-leads have got believable "it's complicated" chemistry and feature with solid performances once again, after equally captivating turns in Ballade vir 'n Enkeling. The cast is made up of many supporting acting talents, including: Nicola Hanekom, Louw Venter, Leandie du Randt and Elana Afrika-Bredenkamp.

Hanekom plays home stylist turned mother, Beatrice, a role you'd imagine Naomi Watts taking on nowadays. She feels under-appreciated and on the cusp of divorcing her family with what seems like a life of regrets. There's a melancholy to the performance and she shares some great moments opposite Louw Venter as her daydreaming, simpleton of a husband.

Venter delivers another diamond in the rough, tapping into a The Big Lebowski state of mind with an unpredictable performance that ironically grows on you along with the character's new pursuit. Leandie du Randt is right at home as the typically detestable Miss Popular with a Mean Girls entourage and Elana Afrika-Bredenkamp delivers a heartfelt Fairy Godmother role.

Director Corne van Rooyen has brought this colourful, quirky and entertaining small town romantic comedy to life. We're entertained, from Jana sewing her own dress, to conspiring to land the high school hunk as her date to out-manovereing family and friends in her prom obsession.

Hollywood in my Huis works as a fun, lightweight feel good "promcom" and has a range of eccentric supporting characters to keep us amused. It's not totally original, but composes the various elements in such a way to deliver something fresh and enjoyable.

The bottom line: Infectious

Talking Movies with Spling - 3 Hearts, Hollywood in my Huis and Kill the Messenger

Spling reviews 3 Hearts, Hollywood in my Huis and Kill the Messenger 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.

Movie Review: San Andreas

San Andreas is the sort of film you'd expect from Roland Emmerich. It's big, loaded with CGI, studded with stars and is completely over-the-top. It's like 2012 meets True Lies, pitting spectacular disaster movie visual effects and Hollywood action against the charm of its stars in a gut-wrenching yet heartwarming tale of survival and redemption in adverse conditions.

We're never quite sure how much scientific research (if any) has gone into the film, yet we're captivated by the grandiose visuals and extreme peril as a city falls prey to an invisible monster. While it may not be Godzilla, a Transformer or even Superman this time, we're subjected to another urban annihilation. The destruction of a city like San Francisco seems to be en vogue to ad nauseum in Hollywood right now with one blockbuster, literally trying to bust-a-block better than the last.

Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson is our fireman rescue pilot hero, playing a role that would've gone to Arnold Schwarzenegger 20 years ago. He's the noble action man, determined to rescue his family (and a couple of civilians for good measure) from certain death. As far as earthquake movies go, San Andreas is one of the better if only ones... trying to convey devastation on the level of The Impossible with Roland Emmerich's panache for big, dumb entertainment.

The cityscape may be rearranged, but the film steers clear of representing human carnage. This isn't a gritty film, but one with a spirit of adventure from the director of Journey to the Centre of the Earth 2, Brad Peyton. While they've avoided giant insects, San Andreas doesn't avoid tapping into a ready supply of cheese and cleavage. There are some completely out-of-place comments from Dwayne Johnson and the visuals verge on Speed 2: Cruise Control ridiculous at times.

San Andreas Movie

"Guys... it's too late to recycle, Mother Nature's seriously pissed off."

Thankfully, the supporting cast in Carla Gugino, Alexandra Daddario, Ioan Gruffud and Paul Giamatti do enough to level out the visual decimation with adept performances. Gugino is urgent, determined and feisty opposite Johnson as his ex-wife. Daddario plays his resourceful, beautiful daughter. Gruffud knows how to turn on the charm (and cowardice) as the new husband-to-be, while Giamatti's charm makes you want to believe every word as the unheeded seismologist.

San Andreas is an action blockbuster that gets by on its scale, charm and entertainment value. It's not trying to capture the reality and emotional fragility of The Impossible. It's aiming for Emmerich style disaster movie peril with a True Lies knack for stunts, warm fuzzies and star quality. If you like The Rock, you'll probably like San Andreas. It packs a visceral punch, entertains with quick pacing and relentless action sequences, while warming the cockles with some altruistic heroics and survival drama.

The bottom line: Enjoyable

Talking Movies with Spling - True Story, Inside Out and McFarland USA

Spling reviews True Story, Inside Out and McFarland USA 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.

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