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The evolution of the cinema experience… Introducing the Ster-Kinekor Cinema Prestige

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With the surge into the digital sphere, comes the blurred line between the ‘real’ experience and the ‘digital’ experience, as well as the definite overlap between the two. There is the illusion that a brand’s presence is all reliant on digital these days and that is sometimes given too much importance, as after all we are still humans interacting on this ‘unseen’ platform. Therefore the integrity of smell, sound, touch, sight and all things human are still integral facets to any experience. So when it comes to the all to familiar old school experience of going to the movies, the core focus relies not solely on the movie but also the company you take, selecting your seat number and row, the snack invasion, the excitement when the lights dim down, the previews of shows coming soon, and all the “shhhh’s” for silence so that everyone settles down as the movie begins. Then there are those that have transcended from this traditional experience to the somewhat cost savvy home theatre systems, and all that can be seen is the messy trail of a once popular outing; in retrospect there are some hardcore cinema fanatics that have held onto the movie excursion and have witnessed the evolution of the cinema experience, which I find can never quite be mimicked at home.

The cinema experience has presented an immersion into a digital world that is new and so fascinating that it gives you goose bumps. This experience, the classic cinema experience has completely pulled a back to the future spin on things. Where once the distinction between the viewer and the movie was evident, now the distinction isn’t as pronounced, which leaves the experience at a heightened level, due to the advancement in the digital technologies it is possible for the viewer to be transported into the movie. This spectacle of sorts describes the opening of Cinema Prestige at Gateway’s Ster-Kinekor Theatres. Yes, there’s still the aroma of fresh popcorn and an array of junk foods to keep your taste buds occupied, but wait there’s more… this seclusion into luxury-dome also has a gourmet menu coupled with the likes of warm beverages and giant muffins that you could jump off, platters of yummy finger foods, which plays hostage to an in-service food option where you place your order prior to entering the 39 seat theatre. The theatre is made up of a mix of single and double leather recliner chairs (heaven for your tooshie and your back will be crying when it’s time to leave) and side tables fitted into your chair for the gourmet foods you can enjoy while watching.

The anticipation surrounding the launch was personally enthralling though I found myself observing the media as not as hyped as I was, I guess launches can be pretty regular when you are used to playing VIP to them. That didn’t stop me from soaking up the energy from the event. Ster-Kinekor Brand Marketing ManagerDarren Hampton summed up the intro to the event by calling it “…the business class of cinema…”

“Launching the “Choose Your Thrill” campaign, Ster-Kinekor Gateway now offers its audiences the most extensive choice of cinema viewing experiences in the southern hemisphere. This was revealed at the launch of the two new Cine Prestige theatres in Gateway on the 27th of March, 2014.No other cinema site has the choice of three state-of-the-art cinema formats that includes IMAX®, Dolby Atmos® and the latest addition, Cine Prestige, in one complex”. Each ‘thrill’ offered by Ster-Kinekor works independently, there isn’t a merger of all the cinema-magic effects in one place therefore you have to choose your cinema path, which makes the traditional cinema outing much more extravagant.

The best part of the experience was when we got to watch Need for Speed 3D, cine prestige style! This was most especially awesome as I got to share it with my mum. To observe her watching her first 3D movie was amazing. It really allowed me to savior the moment and it also transported me to another era of the cinema experience. An era in which everything from the choice of company to the snack invasion to the movie, made the cinema experience full circle. There was an expansion of the entire occurrence where I got to see my mum excited about technology, and let me just say it was a key moment in the evolution of the cinema experience. We want movie-lovers to enjoy great moments with every movie experience. Our investment into new cinemas such as Cine Prestige at our flagship site, is further evidence of our commitment to deliver on this promise. With the latest blockbusters releasing each week and the widest choice of state-of-the-art cinemas in which to watch them, we are confident that audiences who enjoy a ‘great moment’ at Gateway will certainly be back for more,” Darren Hampton. Well Darren, I have to say mum and I concur! We loved it and if you are looking to share in the evolution of cinema in a very specialized and unique way, big screen recommendation would definitely point to Gateway Ster-Kinekor’s choose your thrill cinema experiences.

As we approach this era of non-traditionalism and the vast loom into technology-dome, it is important to hold onto our humanism and Ster-Kinekor understands that it is the movie lover that is their ultimate core therefore each experience that they develop is done so in the all solace understanding of the human being“Personal communication with our customers is vital to our business and we make use of a variety of social media platforms to reach them, including the website, Facebook and Twitter, MXIT, the popular SK App and the SK Club loyalty programme. We do all of this to ensure that our audiences keep coming back to enjoy more great moments and, launching Cine Prestige is the next exciting evolution in our journey,” states Hampton. So in the name of evolution, let us cheer to the opening of Cinema Prestige.

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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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