I created “Dinner and a Movie”, because I love writing and I love movies. Starting a blog gave me a platform to combine the two. The inspiration for the title came from a quote by Hitchcock (“A good film is when the price of the dinner, the theatre admission and the babysitter were worth it”) and I became quite fond of the concept. However, this meant that I had to justify the dinner in the title, and so I took to writing about food. This happy accident produced an unexpected passion and fascination for the culture of cuisine, particularly when I realised that chefs too, are artists, driven by a genius of craziness and creativity.
Here’s a revelation for you: zombies aren’t evil. They’re just a bastardisation of Darwin’s theory. Think about it: why do they hunt humans? To feed. To survive. They don’t attack us, because they have some deeply imbedded psychological beef with us. They are us, but stripped down to our basest level. This is what Shaun of the Dead illustrates so well, paralleling our attitudes to the platitude of zombies; while something like George A. Romero’s Land of the Dead underlines the mindset of the masses.
If you remember Harris Tweed, you are already half acquainted with Dear Reader as the former is merely their old name, the re-branding occurring due to an inadvertent title clash with a Scottish textile company. Cherilyn MacNeil is at the front and centre of Dear Reader. Hailing from Pretoria and Johannesburg, she now resides in Berlin, Germany whose more efficient transport system means she no longer drives a car and thus has less time to listen to music, although she says “what I have liked in the last while is Tune-Yards, Tame Impala, Alt J and Micachu.”
The Preacher’s Daughter follows the story of Hannah, a young girl who has spent her life in a small town ticking all the right boxes on her parents’ check list of the dutiful daughter. The opening sequence of the film, with the music of a strumming guitar and shots of a little girl being immaculately dressed and coiffed, epitomises the parents’ ideal of their daughter and the naïve belief that she will always remain their sweet, little girl. This glowing image is shattered when Hannah becomes involved with a married man, the consequences of which lead her to flee town and her former life.
10 Years, as the title suggests, is about a 10-year high school reunion which re-unites old friends and leads to several, inevitable awkward moments between old classmates. The premise is flimsy and the result is not much stronger. Despite its weak story and utter lack of a discernible plot, the film boasts a decent cast with familiar names and faces such as Channing Tatum, Anthony Mackie and Justin Long. Tatum, as Jake, does not disappoint and although this is a role which does not allow him to flex either his muscles or his acting chops, he still proves that he is a promising actor that we should keep our eye on. Jenna Dewan-Tatum plays Jake’s girlfriend and she is a breath of fresh air and warm energy in a film which is often a bit slow and stale.
For those who are children at heart, and wear their heart on their sleeve, Disney will never grow old. The Walt Disney Company “specialises in entertainment with heart, driven by storytelling” and in addition to “innovation…and quality” one of their biggest aspirations has always been “optimism. Disney is about happy endings and we are not embarrassed to admit that”. Having said that, Disney is still different from what many of us may remember and this change is sparked mostly by the onset of new technology, as familiar stories are laden with CG graphics and extra dimensions. Nevertheless, they still aim to keep story at the forefront, returning to timeless classics every now and again. Frozen, a theatrical Christmas release, is one such example. Based on Hans Christian Andersen’s The Snow Queen, its story and background give Disney a lot to play with, while infusing it with their celebrated humour and charm.
The Shining Girls is a neatly-packaged story, which follows the rules of the game. The upshot of this is the clear and concise storytelling which does not bog you down in unnecessary details nor slow the pace. The latter is helped along by short chapters and a constant shift between various characters. This shift allows you to partake in the story from different angles, which makes for a rich experience.
Welcome to Collinwood is yet another Hollywood remake. Based on the Italian comedy I soliti ignoti, the film is more carbon copy than recycled remake. However, the original Italian was itself a parody of another film and Collinwood serves as one of the American successions, the shift in time and location offering up a new breed of losers.
One thing is certain: Man of Steel is MELODRAMATIC. My goodness, when General Zod is not yelling in vein-popping anguish at Kal-El/Clark Kent and the universe in general then an excessively large vehicle is being shoved aside or buildings are falling when aliens aren’t smashing through them. The hero’s journey (literally and metaphorically in this case) is familiar and it works, but the devil is in the details and here they slip through the cracks. David S. Goyer’s script was eagerly snatched up and then ripped to shreds, leaving almost nothing but big, loud action scenes which were ceremoniously dumped into Zack Snyder’s lap to be sewn back together.
From the outset Abel’s Field seems to be a film abounding in cliché, portraying an archetypal American picture with its inclusion of football, cheerleaders, high school bullies and our hero, the misfit. The latter comes in the form of Seth, a high school student tasked with looking after his two younger sisters after his mother passes away, his father abandons them and his older brother cuts him out of his life. The stereotype of the American setting is extended by placing the story in Texas, further compounded by its Christian themes and virtually all-white cast. The Christian aspect features heavily in the film, but would have been more effective if it was allegorical rather than a blatant copy and paste from the Bible.