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Top Ten Movies with... Robby Collins

Robby Collins is a rising star in the world of stand up comedy, having played to the biggest comedy audiences in South Africa, opening for Marc Lottering, Eugene Khoza and Trevor Noah. A natural born performer, he tried to be "normal" from a young age growing up in Newlands East, Durban before moving from Sydenham to Wentworth and then Musgrace in Kwazulu-Natal. Struggling with dyslexia in a rigid education system pushed him to follow in his sister's footsteps, where he found he preferred the stage more than school work, writing his first comedy skit at 15. He finally dropped out of school in Grade 11 after his teacher discovered he was in a local play and quipped he was "a better actor than a student".

His parents didn't make a big deal about him dropping out of school, but were concerned about his bigger plan. Collins has had a wide range of jobs from working in a call centre and handing out flyers to minding children and fixing cars. The lanky comedian kept himself motivated by reading biographies, in which he found many people's careers only really started at the age of 35. His mom has only attended a few of his shows and while supportive, his dad still insists it isn't a real job... but Collins isn't fazed.

Engaging with people and making them laugh from the stage at school, helped define his life's path as he moved from acting on the Durban theatre circuit to becoming a fully fledged stand-up comedian. He integrates his life's journey into his material, drawing from his human experiences and leveraging his believable stage presence. He's appeared at The Heavy Weight Comedy Jam and Blacks Only. His prolific touring with Trevor Noah's Daywalker show and being repeatedly selected as an opening act by top SA talent, lead to his well-deserved nomination for breakthrough act of the year at the Comic Choice Awards.

Collins performed his own show That Bushman's Crazy, which won an award at the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown. He likes to tell real human stories instead of using stereotypes and prefers to avoid the "whole black and white thing". He also steers clear of religious jokes because his mom was once a nun and he was an altar boy. While the charismatic entertainer has shifted his focus to comedy, he's also acted in TV shows Scandal, Rhythm City and worked as a writer and performer for Laugh Out Loud and LNN. He's developed a loyal following and wants to continue fine-tuning his acting talent and eventually write and direct.

"My worst movie... anything Leon Schuster has done."

I can't watch movies without...

- ...snacks.

Which famous people share your birthday?

- Freddy Prince Jr. and this other guy Yunus. He sold drugs in Durban. (8 March)

What is the first film you remember watching?

- Oliver Twist, but The Lion King was the first film I saw in the cinema.

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

- My worst movie... anything Leon Schuster has done.

Which movies have made you tearful?

- The Awakenings and whenever Jackie Chan speaks english in Rush Hour.

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

- Laurence Fishburne, but he just looked like he's from Eldorado Park.

What's your favourite movie line?

- "You talkin' to me?" ~ Robert De Niro in Taxi Driver

Who would you choose to play you in your biopic?

- Jaden Smith. That's only because I want to meet his dad.

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

- I'd love to do a remake of Oliver Twist. The story is so universal.

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

- City of God ...it’s one of the most original stories.

- Ed Wood ...it’s a reminder of how great Johhny Depp was.

- Flowers of War ...the suspense is amazing.

- Coming to America ...I just remember laughing as a kid.

- Aladdin ...nothing better than an old school Disney movie.

- Rocky ...it's got to be the most inspirational movie ever

- Oliver Twist ...no need to explain.

- The Little Rascals ...childhood favourite

- Carlito's Way ...it's the softer side of scarface

- iNumber Number ...because it was a great local film. Not only good for South Africa standards but world standards.

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: Our Kind of Traitor

Our Kind of Traitor is based on the novel by John le Carré, an author whose film credits include: The Constant Gardener, A Most Wanted Man and Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy. His espionage thrillers are thought-provoking - more realistic than James Bond and less action-intensive than Jason Bourne.

Our Kind of Traitor fits into this mold once again, delivering a thought-provoking story about a couple who finds themselves caught between the Russian Mafia and British Secret Service. It's a cerebral drama turned spy thriller, following in the tradition of A Most Wanted Man, letting the performances drive the appeal instead of leaning on explosive visuals.

We're immersed in a holiday, not unlike Hitchcock's The Man Who Knew Too Much. Instead of Jimmy Stewart, we have Ewan McGregor, playing a rather demure English professor and instead of Doris Day, we have Naomie Harries, playing a concerned barrister. It's got a slick contemporary overlay, which is reminiscent of the film Runner Runner with Justin Timberlake and Ben Affleck, a relational dynamic reflected by McGregor and Skarsgård. The British couple cross paths with a Russian oligarch planning to defect, brought to life by Stellan Skarsgård and take his offer to barter with British Secret Service agent, Damian Lewis.

Our Kind of Traitor movie review

"No... you jump first, you can break my fall."

McGregor is more of a vessel for the audience in this The Man Who Knew Too Much style drama and while the vicarious journey is curious, we never fully immerse ourselves, making the experience a bit too detached to be memorable. There's good chemistry between McGregor and Skarsgård, which could have been leveraged more, but you can't really fault the actors who deliver on their promises with Lewis rounding off a first class cast.

Our Kind of Traitor's directed by British TV and film director, Susanna White, who turns her focus from television to film. Instead of action and suspense, this film is powered by solid performances and slow-burning espionage intrigue. The strong cast and sharp writing ground the drama as we get to grips with Russia-UK inside politics, secret agendas and power plays. It all sounds quite appealing, but despite the film's quality ingredients, it's a little underwhelming.

You get the impression that the film-makers used the BBC's Sherlock as a reference and possibly influence for the look-and-feel of this adaptation. However, instead of break-neck visuals and sharp interplay, there's a lethargic feel to the storytelling, which makes things seem more real, yet rather inconsequential. This could be attributed to le Carré's playground of subtleties or possibly a follow-through from White's wealth of TV experience. Unfortunately, the lack of foreboding danger makes the spy games seem rather pedestrian and routine.

Our Kind of Traitor's good enough to keep watching and has one or two moments, but it isn't recommended if Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy and A Most Wanted Man didn't appeal to you.

The bottom line: Intriguing

Talking Movies with Spling - Our Kind of Traitor, Jason Bourne and Dad's Army

Spling reviews Our Kind of Traitor, Jason Bourne and Dad's Army 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: Jason Bourne

The Bourne Ultimatum seemed like the last film in the series, however after some deliberation they tried to reboot it with Jeremy Renner in The Bourne Legacy. While this bridge may have appeased fans of the series, it was more of a speed bump and just wasn't the same without Matt Damon as Jason Bourne. This explains why there has been so much anticipation around the release of Jason Bourne. The trilogy left on a high note and in the absence of any immediate sequels, it could have been idealised, making the return of Bourne doomed to fail expectations.

How do you keep the series alive? Well, you make sure that Jason Bourne stays on the run and continues to unravel a series of clues to unlock his past. In this sequel, the dangerous former CIA operative is lured out of hiding with the promise of more information about his classified past. Perhaps the mistake is that Paul Greengrass should have reimagined and reinvigorated the franchise by turning it into a TV series.

Maybe Matt Damon isn't quite ready to become a TV series regular, which prompted them to release another "Bourne Identity" film. Fans of the series have come to expect certain elements to be in place and Jason Bourne is like a signature film, continuing the trademark tradition with blistering action set pieces, Big Brother espionage drama, an intercontinental manhunt, double agents and intrusive surveillance from the CIA.

Your enjoyment of Jason Bourne will largely depend on what you think you've signed up for. Those going for a typical Bourne action thriller will be pleased as this relentless film serves up intense action, quick pacing, suspenseful drama and the cornerstones of the Bourne series. However, those expecting an in-depth and story-focused film, allowing us to get more acquainted with the man behind the Bourne identity mask, may be disappointed.

Jason Bourne 2016

"Bourne... Jason Bourne. Seriously, you've never heard of me?"

Being the fifth film in the series, it still manages to attract an A-list cast. Besides Matt Damon, we have Tommy Lee Jones whose rich film history includes The Fugitive, Alicia Vikander who for all intents and purposes is playing a Yale version of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, and Vincent Cassel who continues to cement his typecasting as a dangerous and twisted villain. Vikander has a similar look to Natalie Portman, which alongside Cassel may remind you of Black Swan. There is a dark and gritty edge to this latest installation, which is fueled by Vincent Cassel's hitman character, who has no regard for human life.

The production values are quite outstanding, especially when it comes to action, as nail-biting showdowns occur within city spaces involving a riot and dense traffic. The orchestration carries a great sense of reality and urgency, something you imagine Greengrass has tried to effect from his experience on working on Captain Phillips. The quick pacing and taut atmosphere doesn't really give you a chance to catch your breath flipping between CIA surveillance and Jason Bourne's attempts to uncover the truth. While the back story involves media sharing and a topical and introspective look at those who control privacy and access to information.

It's no secret, Jason Bourne is more action-orientated and delivers more of the same quality you've come to expect from the series. You may find yourself questioning why he doesn't wear more disguises, being one of the most wanted men in a world of cameras, but there's just so much exhilarating action and suspense that you don't get too much time to dwell on these things. It's a blast of espionage entertainment that encompasses elements from previous chapters and upholds the same high quality action. It could have gone deeper in terms of excavating the title character's past, but that would compromise the series's long-running concept, and how can we criticise Bourne for being Bourne?

The bottom line: Intense

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