9 items from 2011
Based on a true story Skin looks at the life of Sandra Laing who, according to the Skin movie website synopsis was the embodiment of a phenomenon I’m sure that most white South Africans at the time (and maybe even now) would like to deny existed: “…a black child born in the 1950s to white Afrikaners, unaware of their black ancestry. Her parents are rural shopkeepers serving the local black community, who lovingly bring her up as their ‘white’ little girl. But at the age of ten, Sandra is driven out of white society. The film follows Sandra’s thirty-year journey from rejection to acceptance, betrayal to reconciliation, as she struggles to define her place in a changing world – and triumphs against all odds.”
Before I go any further I’d just like to negate any suggestion that it was about a cheating wife trying to pass of another »
Chicago – It’s difficult to think of a more appropriate film to be released on the first day of Black History Month 2011 than Anthony Fabian’s under-appreciated gem, “Skin.” First screened on the festival circuit in 2008 before being rolled out for a super-limited theatrical run in Fall 2009, this moving and important fact-based drama never got the exposure it so richly deserved.
The reason why Clint Eastwood’s “Invictus” failed to move many younger viewers was the fact that it never allowed audiences to feel the decades of struggle in South Africa that preceded the miraculous moment of unity explored by its story. The film never even bothered to explain the meaning of the word, ‘apartheid.’ “Skin” may in fact be the perfect companion piece to Eastwood’s film, since it literally puts a human face on the period of legalized racism enforced by the country’s ruling white minority for nearly a half-century. »
- email@example.com (Adam Fendelman)
Sandra Laing is one-of-a-kind. Born to white South African parents, her skin was dark. Some would say it was a genetic miracle, but for Sandra, her skin was a curse. She was born in the 1950s, in the midst of Apartheid in South Africa, a time when everything, from public bathrooms to the private homes, was segregated. The native Africans were shunned, deemed less-than-human and subjected to unthinkable treatment. And in the thick of it was Sandra Laing, a young girl simply looking to find her place in the world. Skin is the true story of one woman’s struggles and ultimate triumph in the face of adversity.
As a child, Sandra's parents love and support her, but her father Abraham (Sam Neill) has a deep-seated racism he cannot let go of. In order for him to accept his daughter, he must see her as white, in every sense of the word. »
- Melissa Kovner
Hitting movie theaters this weekend:
Movie of the Week
The Plot: An underwater cave diving team experiences a life-threatening crisis during an expedition to the unexplored and least accessible cave system in the world.
The Buzz: This film looks stunning. I’m excited to see it in IMAX 3D. With a cast of relative unknowns (save Richard Roxburgh of Moulin Rouge) the star of this one looks to be cinematographer Jules O’Loughlin.
This is S.O.P. as far as Hollywood marketing is concerned, but I’ve always been annoyed when production credits are used to dupe the cinematically challenged populace. This film is produced by James Cameron, not directed. Direction credits go to Alister Grierson, a relatively untested director; Sanctum being only his second feature, »
- Aaron Ruffcorn
A look at what's new on DVD today:
"Let Me In" (2010)
Directed by Matt Reeves
Released by Anchor Bay Entertainment
"Never Let Me Go" (2010)
Directed by Mark Romanek
Released by Fox Home Entertainment
Two of 2010's most underrated films that approach their respective genres from radically different perspectives than most, "Cloverfield" director Matt Reeves' "Let Me In" and Mark Romanek's "Never Let Me Go" will finally have the opportunity to stand out on home video. In "Let Me In," Reeves applies some of his own biographical touchstones for this remake of Tomas Alfredson's horror film about the unlikely friendship between a vampire (Chloe Moretz) and a lonely young boy (Kodi Smit-McPhee). Romanek's adaptation of Kazuo Ishiguro's much-beloved sci-fi novel about a group of children raised apart from the rest of society for purposes that are unknown to them. (Alison Willmore's reviews for "Let Me In" and »
- Stephen Saito
DVD Playhouse: January 2011
Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps (20th Century Fox) Sequel to the seminal 1980s film catches up with a weathered, but still determined Gordon Gekko (Michael Douglas, who seems to savor every syllable of Allan Loeb and Stephen Schiff’s screenplay) just out of jail and back on the comeback trail. In attempting to repair his relationship with his estranged daughter (Carey Mulligan), Gekko forges a reluctant alliance with her fiancé (Shia Labeouf), himself an ambitious young turk who finds himself seduced by Gekko’s silver tongue and promise of riches. Lifeless film is further evidence of director Oliver Stone’s decline. Once America’s most exciting filmmaker, Stone hasn’t delivered a film with any teeth since 1995’s Nixon. Labeouf and Mulligan generate no sparks on-screen, and the story feels forced from the protracted opening to the final, Disney-esque denouement. Only a brief cameo by Charlie Sheen, »
- The Hollywood Interview.com
Director: Gregg Araki
Summary: Smith's everyday life in the dorm - hanging out with his arty, sarcastic best friend Stella, hooking up with a beautiful free spirit named London, lusting for his gorgeous but dim surfer roommate Thor - all gets turned upside-down after one fateful, terrifying night.
Analysis: A year after "Thelma and Louise" came "The Living End", an independent film which had a similar premise but made the protagonists two gay HIV+ men. It was raw, intense and signalled the arrival of a new talent in the form of filmmaker Gregg Araki. In the subsequent two decades, he's delivered several trippy films involving young, good-looking omnisexual people having lots of graphic sex and dealing with some wacky cobbled together plot shenanigans.
- Garth Franklin
Sure to be a highlight when it screens on the small screen later this year is the upcoming eight-part television series The Slap which is based on Christos Tsiolkas' provocative novel of the same name. In December last year, a handful of the cast members for the series were announced including Australian actress Melissa George (Grey's Anatomy, Alias, Triangle), Oscar-nominated Sophie Okonedo (Hotel Rwanda, Skin), Essie Davis (Australia, Girl With A Pearl Earring) and Jonathan Lapaglia (NCIS, Brothers and Sisters). Now it has been announced that AFI nominees Alex Dimitriades, Sophie Lowe (pictured) and two-time AFI Award-winning actor Anthony Hayes will join the already impressive cast with filming set to commence January 19 in Melbourne. »
The Hangover: Part Two
Opens: May 26th 2011
Director: Todd Phillips
Summary: Phil, Stu, Alan and Doug travel to exotic Thailand for Stu’s wedding. After the unforgettable bachelor party in Las Vegas, Stu is taking no chances and has opted for a safe, subdued pre-wedding brunch. However, things don’t always go as planned.
Analysis: It really wasn't until about three months before its release that Warner Brothers realised "The Hangover" was going to be a hit. Test screening response was through the roof, while the trailer had great reaction after premiering at ShoWest and online. About that time they commissioned director Todd Phillips, along with his "Old School" and "Road Trip" scribe Scot Armstrong, to pen a sequel. Yet they still waited to see how the first one went before fully committing to the follow-up.
The wait didn't last long. »
- Garth Franklin
9 items from 2011
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