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Star Trek: To boldly go where no one has gone before.

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I can comfortably call myself a movie buff but when J.J Abrams comes out with a revamped answer to Star Trek fandom, I can say that I’m nothing short of a movie geek and as it turns out… I’m not alone.

 

The sequel that sci-fi and big budget blockbuster fans have been waiting for (for the last four years) has finally arrived and it does not disappoint.

 

The cast and crew of ‘Star Trek Into Darkness’ take fans of the franchise and newbie believers into uncharted territory with familiar faces that pay homage to the classic 80’s plot line. Having already established that these movies are set in a parallel universe, the scriptwriters are given significant leeway to play around with the plot and key characters as much as they’d like. And whilst this means they can play around with key events, it also means they can switch things up a bit with the characters. The plot uses key elements from older movies whilst still providing you with enough clever twists to remind you that this is not the original series. The film opens up with Captain James T Kirk (Chris Pine) and the hilarious Dr Leonard McCoy (Karl Urban) running from a group of natives in the hopes of distracting them. All this whilst Spock (Zachary Quinto) puts into action a rescue plan to prevent this species from being killed by an erupting volcano.

 

As expected, things don’t go as planned and Kirk is forced to break the rules to save his Vulcan friend. Whilst this puts into motion an initial breakup of the core team, it also sets the scene of what will become a consistent bromance that lies at the heart of this film. In the midst of this, we are also introduced to an ominous terrorist, John Harrison (Benedict Cumberbatch) who through a series of events, becomes the Enterprise’s sole mission to thwart. If you’re a fan of the old series (and even if you’re not), you will find Cumberbatch’s portrayal of an iconic villain commanding and utterly believable. Cumberbatch, who has been made famous for playing Sherlock Holmes, brings with him into this role Sherlock’s clear calculation and superiority complex to create a pretty intimidating villain.

 

 

What makes this film different from other cat and mouse plots is the soul of the series: a stellar cast. The heroes are superbly supported by a star-studded cast of Simon Pegg playing the ever-charming Scotty, Anton Yelchin playing the bumbling Chekov who gets the foreboding red shirt and John Cho who plays an out-of-character authoritative Sulu. Unlike its predecessors, the new movies treat female characters as more than just sex symbols with mandatory lines. Both Zoe Saldana who plays communications officer, Uhura and Alice Eve who plays science officer, Carol Marcus play central characters to the plot and prove that the revamp also meant breaking gender stereotypes.

 

Whether due to audience reception or the script he’s been given, Abrams comes across as having a bit of a big boy crush on Spock and gives him the meatiest role (not that anyone is complaining) and allows fans to fully appreciate a brand new vision which tastefully incorporates an old theme. And it’s because he so easily gives his audience exactly what they want that it’s no surprise that he’s been chosen to direct the most highly anticipated sequel to date: Star Wars Episode VII.

 

All I can say is that if it’s anything like this, it’s sure to be the biggest movie of the year.

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Durbanite Talks Politics in the new Showmax Series: The Girl From St Agnes

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The girls from South Africa in The girl from St Agnes

If you haven’t yet watched The Girl from St Agnes from start to finish, then what have you been doing this past week?

Showmax released this 8-part murder mystery series on 30 January and it easily broke the record for the most unique viewers in 24 hours – proving its binge-worthiness and showing how ready the world is for South African English TV. I for one, have been ready for years, and so instead of being actively social last friday night, I stayed at home with my mother and we started and unintentionally finished the entire show.  

My overtaxed mother may have been falling asleep on the couch during the opening credits but soon she was resurrected by the shocking plot twists and many of what the TV ad describes as ‘admissions of guilt’. Set at an all-girls’ boarding school in the KZN midlands, schoolgirl Lexi Summerveld (Jane de Wet) falls to her death and the case is dismissed as suicide. But drama teacher Kate Bellard (Nina Milner) remains unconvinced and furthers the investigation herself, exposing secrets, lifting veils and ultimately showing that the school and all who attend are not what she (and we) once thought. Transfixing and professional, I was blown away by this show and my poor friends will vouch for how it’s all I’ve been talking about lately.

girl from st agnes

Having lived in California this past year, I was ready to give up on launching a career in my own beautiful country. But TGFSA has truly restored my hope in South African film and media and more specifically, the hope for our female writers, producers and directors. The team that created, filmed and funded the show is an all-female collaboration which is rare, even for Hollywood. Not only are the writers, directors and producers all women, but the story focuses more on the lives and struggles of the South African female experience too. It’s the men and the schoolboys who are villainous and destructive while the girls are the victims who bear the brunt of their perverted or unfaithful husbands, abusive boyfriends, neglective fathers, or disappointing sons.

The notorious “boys will be boys” line is referenced at least twice, hinting at its persistent circulation in patriarchal South Africa. But even as each suspect (and there are many) that Kate suspects is a male, each also becomes a red herring, making the victim, the murderer and the detective an all-female game too. Perhaps what this is saying is that we women need to work together and support each other more. And perhaps we need to be more courageous, less trustful and dependent, and own our individual narratives just like S.A. men have the learned confidence to do.

girl from st agnes

What I also really enjoyed is the political landscape that the show doesn’t choose to ignore. Lines like “you people”, “colonialists”, and allusions to farm burning, land stealing and robberies pinpoint the present South African experience and highlight the racial tension that is still very much alive today; even amongst the integrated and somewhat progressive schoolgirls at St Agnes. This exposes the backlash and the influence our parents’ generation still has on us, however the small progress we’ve made so far is also shown by the (albeit few) mixed friendships and relationships, peace treaties and apologies, as well as a well-mixed cast even if *sigh* the main characters are still mostly white.

girl from st agnes

I guess The Girl from St Agnes should be regarded as a snapshot of present progression and should not be expected to transcend all boundaries at once – as we still have a long way to go – but rather we should choose to focus on the pride of making it this far in South African English television and in non-conservative material at that. Sure, it’s at first unsettling to hear our accent on the screen, and maybe even more so when it’s talking rape and murder and suicide (and and and). But after a while it hits that this is our reality. We are no longer watching the far-fetched American world with its foreign accent, but instead we are consuming our own unique demeanor and personally relatable experiences. As an ex-all girls’ catholic school girl myself, I feel united in my own story and no longer feel the ‘fomo’ of American High School as intensely as I used to.

I’m so excited for the future of South African TV and I hope I get the chance to join in someday, too. And you, fellow unenthused and disillusioned writer/actor/director/any form of creative… you should be too.

Written by Candice Buckle

 

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Movies

Review: Movies @ Suncoast – Deadpool 2

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If you are a lover of Durban and you hear of the word ‘Suncoast’, you would automatically be thinking: Casino and Entertainment World – well, if it was only ‘Casino’… then good job!

BUT it’s not all about the casino or the restaurants… it’s also about the movies, which brings us to the point of this post where we review Deadpool 2 at Suncoast’s Cinecentre.

FUN FACT: Cinecentre is part of the Avalon Group which is South Africa’s largest and oldest independent Cinema Exhibition and Entertainment Company – they have been a pioneer of importing Bollywood movies to South Africa for over 70 years.

DEADPOOL 2: REVIEW

DP 2’s elaborate anti-marketing campaign has been simply brilliant by bashing popular pop-culture while also making fun of itself.  Ryan Reynolds, who plays both DP and Juggernaut, has once again pulled out all the stops to
deliver an entertaining and hysterically funny anti-hero flick that will appeal to all DP 1 fans.

Storyline: This blockbuster brings together X-Force, Bill Skarsgard, Terry Crews and Brad Pitt (who’s out of sight), a team of misfit hero’s on a mission to save a troubled mutant boy (Russell “Rusty” Collins) from a time traveling cyborg (Cable), played by Josh Brolin, who lugs around a beast of a gun and other advanced weaponry. But it doesn’t end as you may think.

The movies ability to break down the fourth wall without skipping a beat is what makes this film special. This brilliant idea that DP knows he is a fictional character living in a comic book universe could even be expanded upon in future installments, and hopefully it will be. All DP’s literal back breaking and head splitting weirdness mixed with a kind of super consciousness of his own reality should keep all die hard comic book movie fans coming back time and again.

Expect some rib-tickling one-liners, plenty of trash talking and loads of action. DP 2 scores and solid 8 out of 10, so book your tickets now at CINECENTRE!

Suncost Casino and Entertainment World

Centrally located at the northern end of Durban‘s Golden Mile, Suncoast is always a hub of activity. Not only a great spot to visit if you are a local but for tourists to our beautiful city as well. Currently under construction, we found that parking was a mission and running across the lot in the rain not very pleasant, but this is our only negative about our Suncoast experience. On a good note, a little birdie says that part of the new building will be undercover parking – which we think is fantastic!

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REVIEW: Pacific Rim at Suncoast Cine Centre

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We could not wait to go back to Suncoast Casino to experience yet another blockbuster movie, only this time it was none other than Pacific Rim: Uprising!

We made our way into Suncoast, at a fast pace as we did not want to be late for the movie. The humming atmosphere at CineCentre proved that we were not the only ones excited for this experience, as families and couples were also going in to watch Pacific Rim: Uprising. We also managed to grab a quick popcorn and slushie, emphasis on ‘quick’, not to mention that divine popcorn spice we love so much!

With all that in hand, it was time to make our way into the movie, and we were just in time! Getting to our seats, to add to our excitement this movie was in 3D, so 3D glasses were required.

Being quite a tomboy growing up, I loved reading comics and graphic novels and collected them on top of that. All things Science-fiction, Fantasy, Marvel or DC, I was your girl! Of course it came to no surprise when I saw the first Pacific Rim and fell in love with it! So you can understand my great enthusiasm for this one!

My Overall on Pacific Rim: Uprising
A-MAZ-ING! The CGI blew my mind and the storyline had quite a twist!

A definite must-see at Suncoast Casino!

Check out the trailer:

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