Thursday, July 30, 2009

Movie Review: ‘Management’ is this year's Little Miss Sunshine

By Nick van der Leek

Management is one of those flicks that er…manages to fly under the radar and boomerangs back as a hit. It’s in the same boat as flicks like The Big Blue, Little Miss Sunshine, The 40 year old Virgin, Gran Torino and most recently, Twilight. It’s often the title that relegates these flicks to the DVD store, and this is doubly true of ‘Management’.

You’ll love ‘Management’ if, like me, you’re a sucker for unrequited love stories. Most of ‘Management’ revolves around a mostly unsuccessful pursuit, but it does so without being too sappy, or too zany. This flick certainly avoids, through its smart script and thoughtful boundary keeping, straying towards the syrupy or lead-heavy topic that epitomize this theme. Instead, it’s enjoyable, light and lyrical.

Now, having seen the movie, I’m not sure if ‘Management’ is the best title, but I can see where they’re coming from. The poster also makes one feel a bit ‘iffy’ about watching it. Is this a movie about Jennifer Aniston wearing the pants? Is it an office romp?

The clue lies in the subtitle, “A Touching Comedy”. What sold me on going to see it was the cast [Aniston as workaholic travelling art seller Sue, Woody Harrelson in a cameo as an ex-punk, and Steve Zahn as the motel loser Mike who falls for her]. So no, there are virtually no offices in ‘Management’ – the title refers to Mike [Steve Zahn’s] reference to himself when he first introduces himself to her, and that provides a good basis for understanding what the filmmakers were trying to achieve: How ‘Management’ evolves.

‘Management’ is really about the growth of little boy blue Mike, who is transformed in his love from a simple mom and pop motel schmuck to something more. Not much more, but he certainly gains a little substance, even insight, along the way, and all get to learn from this.

It’s definitely an off-beat, off kilter film. A couple who entered the cinema 5 minutes late left half-way through. If you want snazzy, sexy, in your face action – give this a miss. ‘Management’ has a gentle, disarming subtlety, which starts off silly and apparently lacking direction, and then gathers momentum, and it has to be said, charm.

‘Management’ has a couple of unexpected laugh-out-loud moments. Mike [Zahn’s] pursuit of Sue crosses many stalker boundaries, but his fault-ridden approach comes across as harmless. The object of his affections does ask him at one point: “Has this approach ever worked for you?” and he concedes, “No.”

It is in the last third of this 93 minute flick that ‘Management’ really gains traction, and surprisingly, imparts a few rib poking insights. Aniston extends herself in this performance. After ‘Marley and Me’ we see a more cerebral version, more taught, and several layers deeper. She’s also dressed down and yet we suspect there’s something more to that sexy butt. ‘Management’ is less about Aniston though. She is the catalyst, and Steve Zahn’s performance is credibly funny, and astonishingly, touching.

In ‘Management’ you get a fairground attraction, and a lot of fun and food for thought besides.

Score: 7.5/10

RATING: R (language)
CREDITS: Written and directed by Stephen Belber
RUNNING TIME: 93 minutes

Read the review in the Washington Times.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

MORE 3-D Screens!

Johannesburg, July 29th, 2009:- Nu Metro Cinemas is giving you more... MORE 3D screens to see your favourite films on!

According to Mark Harris, Content and Marketing Head for Nu Metro Cinemas, “we have just invested in an additional three 3-D screens at the following Nu Metro Cinemas: Bedford Centre, Hyde Park and The Glen Shopping Centre.” “These screens will become operational this Friday, 31 July 2009 with the release of Disney’s G-Force”, adds Harris.

This takes the cinema chains 3-D screen footprint to seven cinemas across the country. Other venues include Menlyn Park, Canal Walk, Pavilion and Montecasino.

“In addition to this, we are also in the process of converting IL Grande at Nu Metro Montecasino (the massive 77 foot screen) into 3-D as well. When this screen becomes operational in September this year it will be the biggest RealD 3-D screen in the world!”

Worldwide, Film Studios continue to commit billions to the production of 3-D films. At this stage, there are no fewer than thirty 3-D movies slated for release over the next three years.

Nu Metro Cinemas 3D - Adding a new dimension to your movie experience.

The world needs bigger heroes.

A comedy-adventure about the latest evolution of a covert government program to train animals to work in espionage. Armed with the latest high-tech spy equipment, these highly trained guinea pigs discover that the fate of the world is in their paws. Tapped for the G-Force are guinea pigs Darwin, the squad leader determined to succeed at all costs; Blaster, an outrageous weapons expert with tons of attitude and a love for all things extreme; and Juarez, a sexy martial arts pro; plus the literal fly-on-the-wall reconnaissance expert, Mooch, and a star-nosed mole, Speckles, the computer and information specialist.

Cast: Bill Nighy, Will Arnett, Zach Galifianakis, Nicolas Cage, Sam Rockwell, Tracy Morgan, Penelope Cruz
Director: Hoyt Yeatman

Tuesday, July 21, 2009


BURBANK, CA, July 20, 2009 –Warner Bros. Pictures’ “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince” enjoyed a record-breaking opening, earning a worldwide box office gross of $394 million. The film brought in $158 million from the U.S. and Canada, and $236 million internationally, making it the highest-grossing international opening of any film ever. It was also the widest global release for any Harry Potter film to date, with 54 international markets opening concurrently with North America. The announcement was made jointly today by Dan Fellman, President of Domestic Distribution, and Veronika Kwan-Rubinek, President of International Distribution.

Fellman said, “The popularity of Harry Potter, beginning with the extraordinary books and continuing with the films, is truly a worldwide phenomenon. This is just the beginning of another successful chapter in the franchise, and we look forward to the film continuing to play throughout the summer.”

Kwan-Rubinek said, “Fans around the world make each new Harry Potter movie a global event, proving that the appeal of Harry Potter knows no borders or cultural barriers. It is a privilege for us to have a part in bringing the latest movie to audiences everywhere.”

In “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince,” the Death Eaters are wreaking havoc in both the Muggle and wizarding worlds and Hogwarts is no longer the safe haven it once was. Harry suspects that new dangers may lie within the castle, but Dumbledore is more intent upon preparing him for the final battle that he knows is fast approaching. He needs Harry to help him uncover a vital key to unlocking Voldemort’s defenses. Meanwhile, the students are under attack from a very different adversary as teenage hormones rage across the ramparts. Love is in the air, but tragedy lies ahead and Hogwarts may never be the same again.

Warner Bros. Pictures presents a Heyday Films production, “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince,” the sixth installment of Warner Bros. Pictures’ Harry Potter film franchise. Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint and Emma Watson return in the roles of Harry Potter, Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger. The film also stars Helena Bonham Carter, Jim Broadbent, Robbie Coltrane, Michael Gambon, Alan Rickman, Maggie Smith, Timothy Spall, David Thewlis, Warwick Davis, Tom Felton, Helen McCrory, Julie Walters and Bonnie Wright.

“Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince” is directed by David Yates from a screenplay by Steve Kloves, based on the novel by J.K. Rowling. David Heyman and David Barron produced the film, with Lionel Wigram serving as executive producer and John Trehy co-producing.
“Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince” is being distributed worldwide by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company.

“Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince”: An IMAX 3D Experience—digitally re-mastered into the unparalleled image and sound quality of The IMAX Experience® through proprietary IMAX DMR® technology—is being released by Warner Bros. Pictures in select theatres in Los Angeles, New York and Chicago concurrently with the nationwide 35mm release in traditional theatres. The film will open nationwide in IMAX on July 29th. Using IMAX’s revolutionary live action 2D to 3D conversion technology, the movie’s opening sequence has been transformed into IMAX 3D. The film will also be shown completely in IMAX 2D in select locations without IMAX® 3D capability.

In South Africa, "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince" opened at the number one slot for the week grossing just under R6.4 million making it the 2nd highest opening weekend for 2009 behind "Ice Age 3: Dawn of the Dinosaurs."
Nu Metro Films, who represents Warner Bros. Pictures locally, distributes the film in South Africa.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Roger Ebert's Your Movie Sucks© files

SHOOT: He's right on Transformers, not sure if I agree that Clone Wars sucked. It wasn't great. The suckiness of this films though says something about what the directors and moviemakers think about us, our standards and our IQ's.
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_12457480865885.jpgGathered here in one convenient place are my recent reviews that awarded films Zero Stars, One-half Star, One Star, and One-and-a-half Stars. These are, generally speaking to be avoided. Sometimes I hear from readers who confess they are in the mood to watch a really bad movie. If you're sincere, be sure to know what you're getting: A really bad movie.

Movies that are "so bad they're good" should generally get Two Stars. And Pauline Kael once wrote, "The movies are so rarely great art that if we cannot appreciate great trash, we shouldn't go at all." Great trash should ideally get 2.5 stars or even higher.

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. (PG-13, 149 minutes). A horrible experience of unbearable length, briefly punctuated by three or four amusing moments. One of these involves a dog-like robot humping the leg of the heroine. Such are the meagre joys.
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Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Potter is magic at its most real

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In "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince," magic happens as the characters are busy doing other things -- playing sports, falling in love, nursing broken hearts. And while this is, of course, a fantasy movie, the quiet and potent idea nestled inside it is that there's magic in and around the things of everyday life.
"The Half-Blood Prince" -- with the help of Bruno Delbonnel's cautiously majestic cinematography and Stuart Craig's reliably gorgeous production design -- is a beautifully paced feat of filmmaking, one that navigates potentially choppy shifts in scale with grace and ease.
The most beautiful magic in it is left unseen. And still, it emerges with absolute clarity.
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The Age of Stupid - Time to mobilise out of collective dumbness

Urban Sprout: If you're not in Cape Town, you can always visit the film's website, or we could always create a petition of some sort which can make Ster-kinekor or NuMetro aware that we want everyone to see it.

It really is the way to get people to mobilise out of this age of collective and conscious stupidity...

SHOOT: The picture below says it all. Would be great to see this in Johannesburg.

Look, it's not a feel-good movie. The point of it is to take our blindfolds off, and smack us around with it until we see what is really happening; and what's happening ain't pretty. But, here's the thing... YOU KNOW THAT, otherwise you wouldn't be here, reading this.

What about the rest of us? What about those who can't see beyond their 9 to 5 or are too caught up watching Idols to care about something like climate change? I think that's why this movie was made.

The reason? It has a message – it makes you think. And people don't like to think, because the moment they start thinking, they get uncomfortable, and unhappy, and start to see how terrible things really are – they begin to feel they have to do something. Corporations and governments don't want that – because that's how revolutions start.

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Bruno doesn't boost gays, he backhands them

Three men of demonstrably modest means in Alabama, their cheeks sunken with Appalachian want like Dust Bowl portraits, agree to take him hunting. Brüno, trying to pass, engages them in some enthusiastic banter about how much he loves "vah-ghee-nas." The men look mildly amused, but again, they don't take it and run with it.

SHOOT: In this day and age it's scary what is entertaining people. Nonsense. Michael Bay should make a movie with Cohen - think they're a perfect fit of shallow.
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Brüno's homosexuality comes bundled up with a lot of unattractive software. He is an open hydrant of empty, venal ignorance, a fame-chasing, grandiose fucktard, all because he is a cockaholic (his term). The repeated pistoning of sucking dick has scrambled his brains, just as surely as a muddler pulverizes mint leaves. Make no mistake: It is gay sex that has made Brüno stupid. Perez Hilton has the sobriety, moral rectitude and class of Lewis Lapham by comparison.

Indeed, aside from Baron Cohen's portrayal, the film is hearteningly scant in instances of overt homophobia. Brüno brushes past a group of "God Hates Fags" poster-toting crazies from Fred Phelps' Westboro Baptist Church -- lunatics infamous for being as vocal in their hatred of dead soldiers as sodomites, and more important, not there in response to him.

He compares the multitude of stars in the sky to how many hot guys there are in the world.
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Tuesday, July 14, 2009

2009 List of Best Flick of All Time

Lists of the best films ever always tell you a lot more about the people compiling them, and about the state of critical thinking at a given moment, than they tell you about the movies in question.- By Andrew O’Hehir

SHOOT: Click on the link below the fold for the full list. Must have been compiled by a bunch of old timers and geriatrics. Where's ALIEN? Where's Dark Knight? Where's a Spielberg Film [Saving private Ryan/Schindler's List].
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Beyond The Multiplex
Arguing about whether Tarantino's neo-psychedelic gangster gabfest is better than, say, "City Lights" or "The Bicycle Thief" (both below it on the list) is a bit like asking whether cocaine is better than asparagus. But as an immense cultural influence, a symbol of its era and an enormous popular and critical success, "Pulp Fiction" may have earned its slot. At least the people who voted for "Pulp Fiction" have actually seen it, enjoyed it and can halfway remember it; I'm less certain that is true of F.W. Murnau's 1927 silent "Sunrise" (No. 18) or the Marx Brothers' 1933 "Duck Soup" (No. 33).

Your observations, please.

1. Citizen Kane (1941) Orson Welles
2. Vertigo (1958) Alfred Hitchcock
3. 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) Stanley Kubrick
4. The Godfather (1972) Francis Ford Coppola
5. Casablanca (1942) Michael Curtiz
6. The Third Man (1949) Carol Reed
7. Taxi Driver (1976) Martin Scorsese
8. Seven Samurai (1954) Akira Kurosawa
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Sunday, July 12, 2009

Harry Potter's Half Blood Prince Delivers

Horace Slughorn: These are mad times we live in! Mad!

"It's all about sex, drugs and rock n' roll," British director David Yates has said to The Daily Telegraph. "Okay, maybe we should take the 'drugs' out. Really, this film is more sex, potions and rock n' roll."

HHarry Potter and the Half Blood Prince' is stellar. It's the edgiest Potter flick of the lot so far. The cinematography is top notch, Steve Kloves has written a screenplay that is tight and well-conceived, and David Yates delivers a Potter flick that's a crafty combination of intelligence and sheer cinematic beauty. It's edgy.

The themes in Half Blood Prince are essentially love and death. The stakes go up a few notches in this one, and the film is undoubtedly the best of the Potter series thus far.

Ron Weasley: I'm in love with her!
Harry Potter: Alright. Fine. You're in love with her. Have you ever actually met her?
Ron Weasley: [pauses] No. Can you introduce me?

There's an unusual combination of levity and darkness in this one, but it's pulled off very well, with numerous artful representations that colorfully epitomise the tone and texture of wizards, castles, the battle between light and dark. This is some of the most skillful use of technology in the cinema. And there's a good story - and a lot to get through - to boot.

Albus Dumbledore: Oh to be young and to feel love's keen sting.

The ceramic Emma Watson (as Hermione) and Rupert Grint (Ron Weasley) have matured as performers, and are also old enough now to bring oodles of chemistry to the screen. They bring a delightful subplot (high school wrestling matches, infatuation versus love delightfully portrayed in the Hogwarts setting).

Lavender Brown: I happen to be his girlfriend!
Hermione Granger: Well, I happen to be his... friend.

Naturally there are the usual Potter (AKA 'The Chosen One') efforts - to counter the shenanigans of Voldemort (oops shouldn't have said that). Harry gets more than his fair share of luck, as you might recall from the J.K. Rowling book, especially when he discovers a potions textbook owned by The Half Blood Prince, which he uses to good effect in the new lecturers (Professor Slughorn's) class. Slughorn is played credibly by the veteran Jim Broadbent (you'll remember he was Bridget Jones' father), but there are plenty of fine cameos besides. Who is the Half Blood Prince? What is a horcrux? Who falls in love with who? There's plenty waiting for you in this one, including HARRY POTTER KISSING A GIRL, but Harry has an awful lot on his plate here, as the flick's motif suggests: Once again I must ask too much of you, Harry.

Half Blood Prince requires Harry to work with the difficult subtleties of emotions and memories, and I'll give this away. Someone dies in this film. [Yes, you probably knew that already if you read the book, but do you remember how?].

Remus Lupin: [from trailer] Voldemort has chosen Draco Malfoy for a mission.

Draco Malfoy adds another subtext to this intricate, interesting flick. Malvoy is uncharacteristically ashen, and keeps company with a new set of dark allies. One of them is played by Helena Bonham Carter.

Half Blood Prince in the end is a wonderful concoction of chuckles, light romance, beautiful flourishes and delicate touches and then some brutal and visceral magic. The magic is probably the real star, and it is woven throughout with such perfect brushstrokes that this has got to be one of the best flicks of 2009. I think Star Trek might have pipped Potter to the post, but by a whisker, by a flickering fairy light.

After this one there's only one more, sadlym so enjoy Half Blood Prince. It really is a triumph - but before I send you on your way to watch this, two warnings:

First, a last quote: Albus Dumbledore: Take my arm. That was fun. Most people vomit their first time.
Second, you really don't want to miss a glowing morsel of this flick, so visit the loo beforehand, and get an extra large popcorn for the ride. It's a tad over 2 hours 33 minutes long.

You'll walk out eager for more of what has become a high value product for young and old (besides the owners of this now billion dollar franchise). It's become an increasingly meaningful collection of stories about a sensitive but strong young man, who is growing up, who is trying to remember who he is and what he is meant to be doing. Good, right?

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Everyone's falling in love - Harry Potter Movie Review

SHOOT: Maybe I'm biased but this is probably the best movie review I've ever ever ever read...

There's an unusual combination of levity and darkness in this one, but it's pulled off very well, with numerous artful representations that colorfully epitomize the tone and texture of wizards, castles, and the battle between light and dark. The film deploys skillful use of technology in cinema. And there's a good story -- and a lot to get through -- to boot.
The ceramic Emma Watson (as Hermione) and Rupert Grint (Ron Weasley) have matured as performers, and are also old enough now to bring oodles of chemistry to the screen. They bring a delightful subplot (high school wrestling matches, infatuation versus love delightfully portrayed in the Hogwarts setting).
In the end, "Half Blood Prince" is a wonderful concoction of chuckles, light romance, beautiful flourishes and delicate touches and then some brutal and visceral magic. The magic is probably the real star, and it is woven throughout with such perfect brushstrokes that this has got to be one of the best flicks of 2009.
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