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Talking Movies with Spling - Sully, Nine Lives and Regression

Spling reviews Sully, Nine Lives and Regression 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: Sully

Chelsey "Sully" Sullenberger will be remembered for his heroic efforts in making an emergency landing on the Hudson River in New York after his Airbus A320 lost the use of its engines following a bird strike shortly after take-off. The pilot's quick thinking saved many lives and planted a much-needed aviation miracle in the hearts and minds of the people of New York after the September 11 terrorist attacks.

The amazing true story captured the world's imagination as reports flooded in with the good news. There aren't many happy emergency landing stories and this one took our breath away, creating a national hero and testing the mettle of New York's finest policemen, firefighters and rescue teams who responded immediately.

This story was bound to be adapted to film and who better to direct and star than American treasures, Clint Eastwood and Tom Hanks. Eastwood's directing credits include war films, sporting triumphs and generally involve some flag-waving patriotism, whether it be the star-spangled banner in American Sniper or South Africa's national flag in Invictus. He's become known for directing stories that inspire and unfurling the tales of everyday heroes.

Sully Movie 2016

"Cabin crew, please stop doing your cross-checks..."

Having a solid, accomplished and patriotic director on-board was half the job done and with Tom Hanks playing Sullenberger, almost making the film sturdy enough to recommend blindly. He played Captain Phillips in a role lauded as something of a comeback and there's a wonderful synergy. Both films involve self-sacrificing captains subjected to a difficult and unusual situation, in which they're forced to make immediate life-threatening decisions, which could impact their passengers and crew.

While Captain Phillips was action-intensive, taut and relentless, Sully is unassuming and reflective when we're not experiencing the rush of emergency. We start in the aftermath of the near-disaster where the media can't get enough of America's new hero. True to Sullenberger's surname, Hanks is playing a character who is somewhat sullen. Solemn might be a better word, downplaying the gravity of the dire situation and the instant fame he's achieved. It's a restrained performance as Hanks balances the emotions of a man overwhelmed and yet determinedly calm in his circumstances, much like his emergency landing.

He's supported by earnest turns by Aaron Eckhart as his second-in-command and Laura Linney as his wife. Eckhart is solid, literally playing his wing man, and sporting an impressive moustache that makes you think pilots wear them because they look like wings. Linney anchors the man's home life, something that remains a bit of a mystery since he's almost never out of uniform.

We get a glimpse into Sullenberger's life, a long-serving pilot turned aviation safety official, who after delivering more than a million passengers to their destinations safely is faced with his greatest challenge yet. Flashbacks to his aviation career underscore a decent and committed man as phone calls between him and his wife remind us of the deep sacrifice he's made.

Sully recreates the emergency landing without much embellishment. It seems like an accurate and authentic rendition of the events, carefully creating the on-board environment with a depiction of aviation that enthusiasts will probably admire. It goes even deeper than simply dramatising the miracle landing, going behind-the-scenes to the legal ramifications of choosing to land on the Hudson instead of turning back to the airport. It also serves as a tribute to the level-headed hero and the scores of emergency personnel who work tirelessly in the name of safety.

The salute to New York's servicemen does seem like an important aspect of the film, an issue that Sullenberger would probably want to highlight, downplaying his own heroics. Despite Hanks's solid performance and firm direction from Eastwood, you're left wanting more from this quietly confident biographical drama. However, it's touching to: see people coming together, watch a man of great integrity stand by his word and witness the events unfold gracefully and without question.

The bottom line: Unassuming

Talking Movies with Spling - Noem My Skollie, Dis Koue Kos Skat and Bad Moms

Spling reviews Noem My Skollie, Dis Koue Kos Skat and Bad Moms 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: Noem My Skollie

Noem My Skollie or Call Me Thief is the story of Abraham and the Young Ones, a small-time gang that were separated for two years by a dangerous stint in Pollsmoor prison. The film is loosely based on the life of screenwriter, John W. Fredericks, marks a debut for director Daryne Joshua with Dann Jaques Mouton playing the title character. It's the second film in which Mouton is playing a character named Abraham after his titular role in Jans Rautenbach's Abraham and his likable and sweet nature endears us to him, despite his rebellious path, making it easier to get through the nastier side of gang and prison life.

Noem My Skollie is set in '60s Cape Town and the film-makers have gone to great lengths to recreate the life and times quite masterfully, giving the film an air of authenticity from production design to wardrobe and language. Broadcasts on the wireless, props from the '60s, fashion throwbacks, vehicles and a detailed depiction of life in the impoverished gang lands of the Cape Flats truly bring the era to life. This environment is further grounded by language, slang and even tattoos, which weave the characters into the backdrop.

The story is reminiscent of City of God as we track the lives of four troubled youths played by Austin Rose, Ethan Patton, Joshua Vraagom and Valentino de Klerk, who resort to crime in order to protect themselves, pave their way and exorcise their demons. It's not quite as beautifully shot or realistic and doesn't throb with the same life force, but does have its own flavour with an ensemble of earnest performances that make it difficult to tell who's acting and who's re-living a chapter from their own lives.

Noem my Skollie 2016

"...and it'll be called Straight Outta Cape Town."

The sincerity festers in this gritty prison drama as difficult-to-watch moments punctuate the film and create a taut and intense atmosphere. Noem My Skollie a captivating experience, which continues to fascinate with a charming lead and insightful behind-the-scenes drama from a man who witnessed much of what's going on. AB and Gimba's relationship goes through a series of twists-and-turns as the two gang "brothers" take different paths after committing a crime that lands them in jail. Dann Jaques Mouton and Gantane Kusch have some fractious undercurrents, which hint at a much deeper history, while "Gums" is quite terrifying as a devious and psychotic gang leader in the cell.

What stops this authentic, honest and gritty crime drama from reaching true greatness is that the storytelling is scattershot. We move from a sweeping multi-generational tale of blood brothers, into a gritty prison drama about a storyteller, onto a doomed romance for an ever-changing film that seems like it's trying to unearth a character portrait. In trying to check so many boxes, it compounds the running time, losing some edge in the process. While the story lacks focus, the film's underlying quality, earnest nature and authenticity are strong enough to hold us captive.

The bottom line: Veracious

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