Written by: Nkanyiso Ncube a.k.a nK
nK is passionate about using audio and visual arts to tell compelling stories and communicate a message that addresses real issues that shape our world. His hope is that he can use these mediums to inspire change, social justice and some form of action from individuals, societies and the world. Catch nK every Saturday from 10:00pm till 1am on CCFM 107.5.
Batman - The Dark Knight Rises
Director: Christopher Nolan
Genre: Action, Fantasy
Running Time: 167 mins
Rated: PG - 13
Cast: Christian Bale, Gary Oldman, Tom Hardy, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Anne Hathaway Marion Cotillard, Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman
As I fumbled in the midst of the darkness for my seat I could almost feel the thick anticipation that hung in the air. When the first visuals appeared on screen it triggered applauses from the audience. Fast forward to two hours forty minutes ahead as the first credit marking the end of the film appeared, the applauses were much more pronounced this time around.
So from the outset it was evident that the majority of people at the cinema were avid fans of Christopher Nolan’s version of Batman. The question that begs to be asked is if the film warranted applauses from the start of the film and at its end. In answering this question one has to filter in the obvious bias the moviegoers had towards the film. The answer is a resounding YES. The Dark Knight Rises does deserve a standing ovation because of its meticulous storyline. The director and his team manage to appease the hard-core fans, whose past romance with the last two films Batman films could have easily blinded them from being objective in their analysis of the film.
True to his solid past in directing good films, Nolan does not disappoint his legion of fans with yet another solid performance. Nolan co-wrote the screenplay with his brother Jonathan and they prove yet again, that they are a formidable force to be reckoned with. Initially, Christopher Nolan was not that enthusiastic about doing the third installment in the series, but changed his mind when he felt he could develop the story with a good ending with his brother and screenwriter David Goyer.
To truly appreciate this film one has to have an in-depth knowledge of the previous two films in his Batman series. The Dark Knight is a third and final installment in Nolan’s trilogy. It is a sequel to Batman Begins (2005) and The Dark Knight (2008). The film sees Christian Bale reprise his role in the lead as Bruce Wayne, including his alter ego Batman. Michael Caine as Alfred Pennyworth, Gary Oldman as James Gordon, Morgan Freeman as Lucius Fox and Cillian Murphy as Dr Jonathan Crane, sees them return in the cast. New inclusions in this final installment include Anne Hathaway playing the character of a cat burglar in mask and as Selina Kyle.
Most of the moviegoers might still have nostalgic memories of Batman’s previous nemesis, The Joker. I am sure many critics were nervous that the next villain would fail to top the sheer brilliance of the late Heath Ledger. Ledger redefined the character of The Joker with an outstanding performance and ushered the character into the hall of fame of the best villains that Hollywood has had in the past. This time around we are introduced to a new antagonist called Bane, played by Tom Hardy. Hardy does justice to the character and shows us that there is life after The Joker. Marion Cotillard as a businesswoman Miranda Tate completes the very impressive cast.
One thing I have always disliked about some movie reviews in the past is their tenacity to give away the crucial bits of the film. So in the remainder of this review I will try to avoid that. The story does pick up from the previous Dark Knight were District Attorney Harvey Dent’s death was used as a measure of maintaining peace in Gotham City. However eight years after his death which lead to the creation of a legislature called the Dent Act, peace will again face serious challenges as the past comes back to haunt those who so jealously guarded, it despite the fact that is was based on lies of the perceived heroism of Harvey Dent.
Christopher Nolan is known for directing tightly interwoven story lines and in this case manages to brilliantly bring the strands together with ease and in superb style. While the film does not have the fun bits of its last two predecessors, it does take a much more serious and darker tone. In the last two films we saw brilliant drawn out entrances from Batman and extremely impressive gadgets. This time around Nolan 'humanises' Batman as a character and makes him much more vulnerably. In this way it’s easier to connect to the character. Unlike the last time, Batman’s role as the protagonist of the story does not get overshadowed by the antagonist, as witnessed in The Dark Knight in the form of The Joker. One thing I did not warm up to entirely, was the soundtrack by Hans Zimmer. At times it over dramatised the scenes and I felt it could have been much more restrained. It lacked the same subtle intensity that The Dark Knight had. It does however not detract from the story.
As the film title suggests, The Dark Knight is not just about hero versus villain. It’s much more about darkness rising over evil and for that to happen sacrifices of extreme proportions have to be made. One has to watch the film in light of the other two in the trilogy, to truly appreciate the last of the three. With that said the film gets a solid eight out of ten. This movie deserves close to three hours of your life fixated on a large screen.
Think Like A Man
Director: Tim Story
Running Time: 122mins
Rated: PG-13 for sexual content and some crude humour
Cast: Chris Brown, Gabrielle Union, Kevin Hart, Michael Ealy
Director: Tim Story
I just need to get two things out of my chest. Firstly, I went to watch the film just to salivate over Gabrielle Union (don’t you judge me). Secondly, on the behalf of all guys out there, Steve Harvey is a total sell out and it’s a shame that broke the guy code. Broke it! I say.
Now that’s out of the way, lets get going with the review.
‘Think Like a Man’ is based on Steve Harvey’s best selling book, Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man. Tim Story, who has directed other films like Barbershop, tells a story of four women who start taking tips from Steve Harvey’s book because of the dissatisfaction they have in their relationships with men. Interconnected and yet diverse, are four men in pursuit of fulfilling relationships, yet find their strategies in achieving this objective kept at bay. Unbeknown to them is that, Steve Harvey’s book has exposed all their ‘dudely’ tricks. When the men do eventually find out, they also read the book and use it to their advantage in turning the tables on women. They revamp their tricks (or swag as men would call it) to counter the women’s newfound empowerment in their knowledge of ‘thinking like men’. What follows is a romantic comedy filled with deceit and laughter at each corner.
Although the movie is predictable at most, it does what one would expect from such a genre. It is highly entertaining and will make even the most critical laugh. The fact that it grossed US$33,636,303 on its opening weekend in the USA is testimony of the audiences being drawn to some simple popcorn entertainment. This movie is not a groundbreaking or the most creative work of art but it does deliver on its comic aspects and storytelling abilities, which is added by the well, strung editing of Peter S. Elliot. The acting at time does feel a bit over the top especially from Kevin Hart who plays the character of Cedric but he does manage to steal few laughs here and there. My one main criticism in the acting department is Gary Owen who plays the part of Bennett. To me he feels out of place and at times rather sterile. Yet, Gabrielle Union redeems everything with her solid performance and is ever so sexy playing Kristen. Meagan Good is her closest competition to ‘hotness’ who manages to pull off the best emotions as Mya in the film.
A Million Colours
Director: Peter Bishai
Genre: Drama, Romance
Rated: 16 for Prejudice and Violence
Cast: Wandile Molebatsi, Jason Hartman, Stelio Savante, Masello Motana
When I decide to interview Wandile Molebatsi, the lead actor for the film, A Million Colours, for my radio. I knew I had to do a quick background check behind the inspiration that lead to this film being produced. I was told Wandile is very astute and would be able to pick up any form of unpreparedness from my part so I knew that unlike my previous interviews I could not just ‘wing it’. The film is based on the 1976 blockbuster film e’Lollipop. Initially I thought it would be difficult to get a copy of this film but to my surprise, of all possible places I could have imagined. I found the full-length film of e’Lollipop on YouTube and this despite the fact that this production is over three decades old. Now you’ve got to give it up to the advent of the World Wide Web. After watching this heart-warming film I was left wondering as to what had happened to the these two young actors. My ‘wonder’ steamed from knowledge that this film was produced during the turbulent times of apartheid in South Africa. I was curious as to how the relationship between Muntu Ndebele and Norman Knox was when the cameras stopped rolling given the nature of politics in that time. So naturally I was not only looking forward to my interview with Wandile, who plays the character as Muntu Ndebele, in this biopic that looks as his friendship to Norman Knox, played by former idols winner Jason Hartman.
A Million Colours is a South African/Canadian co-production between André Pieterse of Ma-Afrika Films (producer of the original e’Lollipop) and Michael Mosca from Equinoxe Films who have in the past-distributed films such as ‘My Big Fat Greek Wedding’.
It tells an epic romantic drama of South Africa’s once famous child actor Muntu Ndebele who was forced into a life of crime and drugs after participating in the tragic June 16, student uprising in Soweto. In the same breath Norman Knox his close friend was drafted into an army whose sole purpose was to squash any uprisings against the regime of Apartheid. Their friendship gets tested to the extreme while Muntu also battles with a separation from the love of his life Sabelo, played by Masello Motana. What transpires: thereafter is what the director/screenwriter, Peter Bishai describes as “a cross between Slumdog Millionaire and Romeo and Juliet”
The amazing acting prowess of Wandile Molebatsi and the ever so engaging supporting acting role by Stelio Savante, who plays the character of apartheid’s law enforcer, Major Shawn Dixon. Is highly complimented by the beautiful, earthy and colourful cinematography, which adds to the drama and ties together the storyline ever so elegantly. Jason Hartman proves that there is much more to him than his singing talents. He gives his heart into the role and one is left with no doubt that his casting was not a mere symbolic gesture. Masello Motana graces the screen with a believable performance and manages to draw emphathy from the audience with her character, Sabela.
According to the Wandile, Muntu was on set at times during the production of the film and helped in the structure of the narrative. According to the director, although some of the scenes are invented and some characters composites, the overall narrative arc of the film is authentic.
A Million Colours is a film worth watching and would greatly encourage anyone who has insatiable appetite for good storytelling to go and watch it. It deserves a solid 8/10
You can check out the interview with Wandile on the following link: http://bit.ly/SnS_nK
Enjoy the film.
The Hunger Games
Director: Gary Ross
Genre: Action, Sci-Fi
Running Time:142 minutes
Rates PG-13 for violent scenes
Cast: Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson and Liam Hemsworth
This film is based on the bestselling novel by Suzanne Collins ‘The Hunger Games, which is the first novel of the trilogy. In the simplest form of storytelling this film is well constructed despite a few rather unnerving details about the story in its entirety.
The film is set in the future in what one can view as the United States of America. Each year the government of this time selects two children from 12 Districts with the sole purpose of representing their District. In a televised ‘reality like’ show, the children embark on a killing spree of each other with the sole purpose of surviving and hence claiming the bragging rights for the province that they represent. The participants in the ‘hunger games’ show are randomly selected between the ages of 12 and 18 in a lottery. In the process one girl and one boy are selected.
16-year-old Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) lives with her single mother and little sister. Katniss has mastered the skill of hunting for their meals and it is in light of these skills that she garners the confidence to volunteer on the behalf of her little sister who has been randomly selected to be in this year’s Hunger Games.
The storyline is unnerving given the fact that we have a situation of kids killing kids. Films need to be watched in context of the reality society it is in. Given the realty we live in now, its best to avoid having our kids’ watch this film based on so many violent acts that happen in our society, amongst them. So though the film’s storyline hooks you for most of the movie and a few technical discrepancies are forgivable, the film in context of the reality we live in now is in bad taste. So its best to avoid it.
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