Top Films of 2015

Daniel Dercksen’s Top Films of 2015

I spend a lot of time in the dark during the year.  Fortunately there are some memorable films that ignite my imagination and do what movies do best, allow me to escape into a fictional reality that has meaningful and emotional impact.  As an Independent Film Journalist of 30 years, I hope to educate readers in film and have been actively contributing reviews and features to Biz Community during the last 3 years. Top Films of 2014

Spending your life in the dark can be wonderful!

Here’s my list of Top Films released in South Africa from January 1 up to October 15, 2015. I will be adding other titles during the course of the year until December 31.

The films are listed alphabetically.  It’s impossible to rate films subjectively. I firmly believe that each film has its own audience and impacts on each person sitting in the dark in its own unique way.

A ROYAL NIGHT OUT  A Royal Night Out will steal your heart and is definitely the greatest love story never told about one perfect evening in the lives of two real-life princesses. This utterly charming fictional fairytale romance is rooted in a pivotal historic event – 8 May 1945, V-E Night when the whole of London was out in town to celebrate the official end of World War II in Europe – challenging the emancipation and sexual awakening of two young royal princesses – Elizabeth and Margaret Windsor, who slipped out of Buckingham Palace to join the communal euphoria and went dancing at the Ritz.  Directed with imaginative flair by acclaimed UK director Julian Jarrold (Becoming Jane, Brideshead Revisited), from a crackling original screenplay by newcomer Trevor de Silva and Kevin Hood. It gets my vote as the best romance I have seen since Titanic! Read more

A VIEW FROM THE BRIDGE The Young Vic’s “magnetic, electrifying, astonishingly bold” Olivier Award-winning production of American playwright Arthur Miller’s tragic masterpiece.  Directed by  visionary Ivo van Hove, it received three UK Olivier Awards for Best Revival, Best Director (Ivo van Hove) and Best Actor (Mark Strong), and was the Evening Standard, Guardian and Independent’s top theatre pick of 2014. Miller confronts the American dream in a dark-and-passionate tale. In Brooklyn, docker Eddie Carbone (Strong) welcomes his Sicilian cousins to the land of freedom. But when one of them falls for his beautiful niece, they discover that freedom comes at a price. Eddie’s jealous mistrust exposes a deep, unspeakable secret – one that drives him to commit the ultimate betrayal.  Read more 

ABRAHAM Abraham is undoubtedly one of the best South African films ever made, a profound and consummate masterwork from industry legend, Jans Rautenbach that marks his first film in 30 years. It tells an unforgettable tale that will break your heart, a story that connects with who we are as South Africans and how we fit into the bigger scheme of things. Dann-Jaques Mouton delivers a riveting performance as Abraham, an artist and dreamer from Kannaland in the early 1980’s;  an area in the Little Karoo that stretches from the Swartberg in the north to the Langeberg in the south, and from the Anysberg in the west to the Gamkaberg in the east. Abraham is a dedicated husband and father who struggles to provide for his young wife Katie (a superb performance by Chantell Phillipus) and their four year old daughter. Read review

ANT-MAN  Your imagination will explode with Ant-Man, an imaginative trip with a miniscule superhero and his army of ants as they save the world. It’s all about the magical Ant-Man suit, which allows master thief Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) to shrink in scale but increase in strength. He must embrace his inner hero and help his mentor, Dr Hank Pym (Michael Douglas), protect the secret behind his spectacular Ant-Man suit from a new generation of towering threats. Against seemingly insurmountable obstacles, Pym and Lang must plan and pull off a robbery that will save the world. The film succeeds on all levels, fully suspending disbelief as it plunges the audience relentlessly into an awe-inspiring experience that will blow your mind and take your breath away. Read more

BALLADE VIR ‘N ENKELING 28-years-after it wowed TV viewers the big screen incarnation of Ballade Vir ‘n Enkeling is here at last and it’s been well worth the wait. It’s a story that captured the hearts of many South Africans during its life on TV, and can now add a legion of new fans to its following, introducing a new generation to an ultimate romance of a love triangle that is guaranteed to break your heart. It’s a nostalgic local treasure and under the gifted and sensitive direction of Quentin Krog, writer Leon Van Nierop’s story vividly burst to life with passionate performances, magnificently captured by cinematographer Tom Marais and scored by Benjamin Willem, and well-paced by editor C.A. van Aswegen. The story centres on a journalist Carina Human (Donnalee Roberts), who reveals the truth behind the disappearance of a popular writer Jacques Rynhard (Armand Aucamp). If there’s one reason to see Ballade Vir ‘n Enkeling, besides its high production value and great script, it’s for its performances, allowing the characters to crawl deep into our hearts. Read more

BEHIND THE BEAUTIFUL FOREVERS This stunning new play from renowned British playwright David Hare launched the 2015 season of the National Theatre Live in April. Based on Katherine Boo’s uncompromising and Pulitzer Prize-winning book and directed by Rufus Norris, David Hare has fashioned a tumultuous play on an epic scale. India is surging with global ambition, but beyond the luxury hotels surrounding Mumbai airport lies a makeshift slum, full of people with plans of their own. Zehrunisa (Meera Syal) and her son Abdul aim to recycle enough rubbish to fund a proper house. Sunil, 12 and stunted, wants to eat until he’s as tall as Kalu the thief. Asha seeks to steal government anti-poverty funds to turn herself into a ‘first-class person’, while her daughter Manju intends to become the slum’s first female graduate. But their schemes are fragile: global recession threatens the garbage trade and another slum dweller is about to make an accusation that will destroy Zehrunisa herself, and shatter the neighbourhood.  Read more 

BIRDMAN Take an extreme journey into the crazy mindscape of an actor in this exceptional film from Mexican filmmaker Alejandro G Iñárritu, which showcases the craft of storytelling and the art of filmmaking.  It vividly bursts to life from the first frame and is an overwhelming and entrancing experience until its powerful climax, with continuous camera work that intimately takes you through the labyrinth of spaces from the dressing room to the stage, constantly moving and twisting as the inventive story draws you deeper into its absorbing allure and breath-taking magic. Michael Keaton is superb as Riggan Thomson, an actor who is famous for portraying an iconic superhero, and struggles to mount his first Broadway play, battling his ego as he desperately attempts to recover his family, his career, and himself. If ever you wanted to know what goes inside an actor’s mind, or experience the world from an actor’s point of view, Birdman is an ultimate ABC of what acting for film and theatre, and the world of drama involves. It’s not a film you watch, but one you experience, and one that will leave you emotionally and physically drained. It’s a cinematic tour de force you simply cannot miss. Read more

BLACK SEA The gripping deep-sea thriller will keep you on the edge of your seat until the last moment. Nothing beats setting a story in the claustrophobic confines of a submarine, especially if it’s loaded with testosterone ready to explode! It’s one of those marvellous mystery thrillers where you plummet into the darkness of human despair, where flawed characters are pitted against each other and there’s a relentless killer with a taste for blood. If you’re claustrophobic beware, there are moments in Black Sea that you will stop breathing and be swallowed by the suspense. It is also a great human drama with rich characters brought to life by an extraordinary cast. Jude Law is in top form as a working-class ex-Navy man who pulls together a misfit crew to brave the deep and go after a sunken treasure in a German U-boat full of WWII sitting on a bed in the Georgian depths of the Black Sea. It vividly explodes with emotional action under the skilful direction of director Kevin Macdonald, who gave us the Oscar-winning One Day in September, The Last King of Scotland and Touching the Void. Read more 

CHILD 44  Set against the backdrop of 1953 Stalinist Russia, Swedish filmmaker Daniel Espinosa’s masterful and politically charged serial-killer-thriller is based on author Tom Rob Smith’s best-selling novel. It  chronicles the crisis of conscience for secret police agent Leo Demidov (Tom Hardy), who loses status, power and home when he refuses to denounce his own wife, Raisa (Noomi Rapace), as a traitor. Exiled from Moscow to a grim provincial outpost, Leo and Raisa join forces with General Mikhail Nesterov (Gary Oldman) to track down a serial killer who preys on young boys. Their quest for justice threatens a system-wide cover-up enforced by Leo’s psychopathic rival Vasili (Joel Kinnaman), who insists: “There is no crime in Paradise.” A sumptuous period thriller encompassing themes of power, love, betrayal and murder, it is loosely based on the crimes of real-life serial killer Andrei Chikatilo. Also known as “The Butcher of Rostov,” Chikatilo was convicted of murdering and mutilating 52 women and children in Soviet Russia in the early 1950s. Read more 

CINDERELLA  An enchanting masterwork from legendary filmmaker Kenneth Branagh. This live-action feature was inspired by the classic fairy tale, and brings to life the beloved characters and timeless images from the studio’s 1950 animated masterpiece in a visually dazzling spectacle for a whole new generation. It’s a spectacular cinematic experience for anyone who needs an invigorating injection of magic, romance and storytelling at its best.   Read more    

THE COBBLER  With humour and compassion, the enchanting film shows that sometimes walking in another man’s shoes is the only way to find out who you really are. It’s  an absolutely delightful film from Tom McCarthy (The Station Agent and The Visitor) taking you on a delightful journey into the life of a shoemaker who repairs shoes in the same New York shop that has been in his family for generations. Disenchanted with the grind of daily life, Max stumbles upon an heirloom that allows him to step into the lives of his customers and see the world in a new way. Adam Sandler is fantastic as Max, a fourth-generation shoe repairman on New York’s Lower East Side, perfectly capturing the essence of a middle-aged man who lives at home with his mother and has little going on besides running the shop his father (Dustin Hoffman) left behind when he mysteriously disappeared many years ago. Read more 

CRIMSON PEAK When her heart is stolen by a seductive stranger, a young woman is swept away to a house atop a mountain of blood-red clay: a place filled with secrets that will haunt her forever.  Between desire and darkness, between mystery and madness, lies the truth behind Crimson Peak. From the imagination of director Guillermo Del Toro comes a Gothicromance starring Mia Wasikowska (Alice in Wonderland, Jane Eyre), two-time Academy Award® nominee Jessica Chastain (Zero Dark Thirty, Mama), Tom Hiddleston (The Avengers, Thor series) and Charlie Hunnam (Pacific Rim, FX’s Sons of Anarchy).  In Crimson Peak, they will discover the power that love has to make monsters of us all. As the writer and director of such modern classics as The Devil’s Backbone and Pan’s Labyrinth and the producer of such terrifying thrillers as The Orphanage and Mama, del Toro delivers a unique blend of psychological terror and operatic beauty that has propelled horror into the elevated realm of dark fairytales. Read the review. Features: Writing the Screenplay/ Physical Horror, The Architecture of Fear

DANNY COLLINS Al Pacino astounds as an ageing rock star who receives a life-changing letter and decides to find out what his life could have been like. Filled with pathos, humour and heartfelt passion, this inspiring film from writer-director Dan Fogelman shows how important it is to embrace a second chance in life. Following the journey of an almost-has-been wannabe, Pacino captivates in every second with great support from the magnanimous Christopher Plummer as his endearing friend and long-time manager, Bobby Cannavale (Blue Jasmine, Boardwalk Empire) as his son, and the sparkling Annette Bening (The Kids Are All Right, American Beauty) as the woman who steals his heart. Danny Collins sizzles in the hands of writer-director Fogelman, who delighted us with his screenplays of The Guilt Trip and Crazy, Stupid Love. Read more

DARK PLACES   Heart-breaking secrets are uncovered in this haunting thriller that shines a hopeful light on the human condition and broken lives. Adapted from Gillian’s Flynn’s 2009 novel, which preceded her breakout hit Gone Girl, it features Charlize Theron immersing herself heart and soul in the character of a Libby Day, a woman whose entire life is based on a lie. The tragic circumstances that shaped Day’s existence and turned her into a ‘celebrity’ occurred on a farm in Kansas, where she was the only surviving witness of a horrific massacre that took the lives of her mother and sisters. Believing the slaughter to be the work of a Satanic cult, she testified in court against her own brother and almost 30 years after the murder, she remains haunted by the gruesome violence of her past. Her funds run out and in a desperate attempt to get money she meets the leader of a group of amateur true-crime enthusiasts (Nicholas Hoult) who call themselves ‘The Kill Club’, and is persuaded to unearth painful memories and possibly prove her brother’s innocence.Read more

DIE PRO A charming Afrikaans coming-of-age surf film that proudly showcases the best local filmmaking has to offer. It’s refreshing to find a film that steers away from radical political agendas, rather focussing on the politics of friendship, emotionally exploring the lives of a group of teenagers in a coastal town where surfing rules. Director André Velts, who gave us Knysna, draws the best out of his cast, allowing us to take an emotional journey into youthful aspirations and first love, as well as a very touching bromance between two surfers. Edwin van der Walt (Ballade Vir ‘N Enkeling, Hollywood In My Huis) delivers a powerful performance as Tiaan, a 17-year-old surfer who needs to make peace with the death of his best friend, with strong support from Viljé Maritz as his surfing buddy, Dirkie. Read more  

THE DISAPPEARANCE OF ELEANOR RIGBY Eternal love blossoms optimistically in The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby, a relatable portrait of love, empathy and truth that explores the heartache of a once-happily married couple who suddenly find themselves as strangers longing to understand each other.It’s New York writer-director Ned Benson’s debut feature as a director and is a passionate and heartfelt journey into the hearts and souls of two soulmates whose irrefutable love for each other becomes their greatest enemy. Featuring heartbreaking performances from Jessica Chastain and James McAvoy, it’s one of those rare romantic films that does not dwell on sentimentality, but seduces you with its sincere honesty. The film has a strange journey to the big screen that might be confusing for some viewers. The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby is broken into three films, Him, Her, and Them. Him and Her were screened at the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival as a “work in progress”. Them premiered in the United States on September 12, 2014, while Him and Her was released together as a double feature on October 10, 2014 in select art house cinemas. Them is released in South Africa. Read more 

ENEMY If there’s one film that will bend you mind, twist your logic and challenge your sensibility, it’s Enemy, guaranteed to be the most talked about psychological thriller in years. Not since The Sixth Sense has there been such a meticulously crafted masterwork where every moment offers a unique exploration of the human mind, and a journey into a story where everything is not what it seems, and what is revealed, ultimately, delivers something fresh and invigorating. Director Denis Villeneuve delivered an ultimate mystery thriller with the excellent Prisoners, and with Enemy he reunites with actor Jake Gyllenhaal to bring us an equally powerful story filled with suspense and intrigue, and an ending that will blow you out of your seat. Although Enemy seems to be the very ordinary story of a dull and lacklustre teacher (Gyllenhaal), whose mundane existence is turned upside down when he discovers that he has a doppelganger, a stranger who is his identical twin and lives a life of fame and notoriety, it is an extraordinary exploration of the human condition. It’s a psychological thriller, a psychosexual dream, and an exploration in duality. Gyllenhaal is absolutely superb in his dual roles, perfectly capturing the essence of man who is desperately in search of excitement in his supposedly meaningless existence, and a man whose world is corrupted by perverse extremes. Read more

EVEREST Mount Everest seduces mountaineering extremists into her magical spell and challenges their humanity to the utmost extreme in the gruelling Everest, an awe-inspiring journey of two different expeditions to reach the summit of the world’s highest mountain and fiercest predator. Inspired by the tragic events surrounding an attempt in 1996, Everest documents the real-life ordeal suffered on 10 May, 1996, when Rob Hall, the safety-conscious and meticulous leader of New Zealand-based Adventure Consultants, and Scott Fischer, the highly experienced mountaineer and team leader of the Seattle-based Mountain Madness, led their teams on a final ascent toward the highest point on Earth: the summit of Everest, 29,029 ft. (8,848m) above sea level – or the cruising altitude of a 747.Everest is not a disaster film that solely relies on visual effects like San Andreas, Deep Impact, World War Z or Armageddon, where we were bombarded by a visual effects extravaganza and special effects, but a character-driven narrative in the tradition of Alive, Twister, and The Impossible, where we bond with the characters and are taken on an emotional journey. It’s a film about people and how they deal with life at its most challenging, and also a film showing how relentless and unpredictable Mother Nature can be. Read more 

EVERYMAN The medieval morality play received a wicked makeover in the NT Live’s racy screening during August 2015. Its meek-and-mild opening introduces us to Kate Duchene as a very ordinary cleaning lady who is preparing a room for Everyman’s 40th birthday party, but don’t be fooled. What seems normal soon erupts into unrefined anarchy when Everyman’s band of misfit friends proclaim to be the ‘Masters of the Universe’ and indulge in an orgy of cocaine binging, booze and violence that results in his death. When the cleaning lady reveals herself to be God and gives Death an order to do a reckoning with Everyman, you know that you’re in for many more outrageous surprises. Read more

EVERY THING WILL BE FINE    A sublime masterwork from Wim Wenders, poignantly showing that it is not time alone that heals wounds but the courage to face up to things and to forgive, especially oneself. It tells the story of a writer (James Franco) whose life spirals out of control after a tragic accident and talks about guilt and the search for forgiveness during 12 years of Tomas’ life. It will be shameful to reveal too much about the story. Make sure to not know too much about it before watching the film. It is one of those unforgettable cinematic experiences where you will lose yourself in the story and take it home with you. If you are looking for a film that offers everything and more, it is indeed a ‘fine’ encounter, where the action on the screen and the reaction in your mind is united as one. From an original script by Norwegian author Bjørn Olaf Johannessen. Read more 

FIFTY SHADES OF GREY  Directed by Sam-Taylor-Johnson (Nowhere Boy), this erotic and authentic love story from series creator E L James takes us deep inside a rich and mysterious world that explores frankly the complexities of male-female dynamics, and the limits to which we will allow ourselves to go–and to be taken. Stepping into the iconic roles of billionaire entrepreneur Christian Grey and curious college student Anastasia Steele are Jamie Dornan (television’s The Fall, Once Upon a Time) and Dakota Johnson  (The Social Network, 21 Jump Street).  In a story that is as much about the redemption of the unattainable Christian as it is the liberation of the inexperienced Ana, the protagonists have taken on lives of their own for readers who’ve pored over the vulnerabilities of the characters and intricacies of the novels.

FOXCATCHER Based on true events, it is a rich and moving story of brotherly love, misguided loyalty and the emotional bankruptcy that can accompany great wealth and power.  Writer-director Bennett Miller (Capote) examines the perilous relationship between an eccentric multi-millionaire John du Pont (Steve Carell) and Olympic Gold Medal-winning wrestler Mark Schultz (Channing Tatum), who is struggling in obscurity and poverty in Wisconsin when he is invited by the wealthy heir to move on to his lavish estate to form a team and to train for the 1988 Seoul Olympics.  Schultz seizes the opportunity, eager to step out of the shadow of his revered older brother Dave (Mark Ruffalo), a prominent wrestling coach and Gold Medal winner himself.

FURY   A Sherman tank and its five-man crew strike at the heart of Nazi Germany in Fury, a consummate masterwork by David Ayer(End of Watch)  . Brutal and savage, Fury is a must-see film that will definitely change your views on war as it takes you on a soulful journey through a nightmarish hell.Fury takes place in late-war Germany, 1945. “The war’s almost over and this dying elephant – the Nazi empire – is on its last legs,” Ayer explains. “It’s a different world from your usual war movie, where we celebrate victorious campaigns like the invasion of the European continent, or D-Day, or The Battle of the Bulge, these famous battles that American troops have taken part in. One of the forgotten time periods is this last gasp of the Nazi empire, with an American army that has been fighting for years and is on its last reserves of manpower. The men are exhausted. In World War II, you fought until you either won or died, or were grievously injured and got sent home. The fanatical regime is collapsing, it’s a confusing environment where anyone can be the enemy – it’s incredibly taxing on the fighting man’s soul.”   It is into this environment that Ayer created the character of Don ‘Wardaddy’ Collier, with Brad Pitt delivering another memorable performance. Read more  

THE GALLOWS  Fear The Gallows, it is the scariest film in years. With the tag line ‘Every school has its spirit’ the concept is brilliant, showing what happens when four high school friends are trapped inside a school’s auditorium where a student died 10 years before in a freak accident during Beatrice High’s production of the play The Gallows. The  concept is brilliant, showing what happens when four high school friends are trapped inside a school’s auditorium where a student died 10 years before in a freak accident during Beatrice High’s production of the play The Gallows. Revenge has never been sweeter and more frightening, particularly with the film shot in found-footage style. The Gallows was written, directed and produced by Chris Lofing and Travis Cluff and shot entirely outside of the Hollywood system, and found its way to the big screen thanks to the filmmakers use of a much smaller one-the computer-and their own ingenuity. Read more

THE HARD PROBLEM  The perceptions of discerning theatre-goers were challenged with Tom Stoppard’s intriguing new play that was screened during May as part of the NT Live Season.  Under the brilliant direction of Nicholas Hytner, it featured a great cast that added fuel to Stoppard’s challenging and mind blowing verbal blitz.  Olivia Vinall was delightful as Hilary, a young psychology researcher at a brain science institute, who nursed a private sorrow and a troubling question at work, where psychology and biology meet: “If there is nothing but matter, what is consciousness?”  Read more 

THE IMITATION GAME   An intense and haunting portrayal of a brilliant, complicated man, it follows a genius who under nail-biting pressure helped to shorten the war and, in turn, save thousands of lives. Featuring a captivating performance by Benedict Cumberbatch as the tortured gay mathematician, cryptanalyst and war hero Alan Turing, Norwegian filmmaker Morten Tyldum’s gripping story scripted by New York Times bestselling author Graham Moore is one that will change your worldview .It’s the unforgettable story of a man whose passion was devoured by his passionate secret; a tragic tale set in 1952 when British authorities entered Turing’s home to investigate a reported burglary and ended up arresting Turing himself on charges of ‘gross indecency’, an accusation that would lead to his devastating conviction for the criminal offence of homosexuality – little did officials know, they were actually incriminating the pioneer of modern-day computing. Famously leading a motley group of scholars, linguists, chess champions and intelligence officers, he was credited with cracking the so-called unbreakable codes of Germany’s World War II Enigma machine. Read more  

INTO THE WOODS  An enchanting musical that will cast its magical spell on you. It’s one of those musical gems that’s easy to fall in love with; besides its gorgeous melodies, witty lyrics and amusing storyline, it’s a humorous and heartfelt musical that follows the classic tales of Cinderella (Anna Kendrick), Little Red Riding Hood (Lilla Crawford), Jack and the Beanstalk (Daniel Huttlestone), and Rapunzel (MacKenzie Mauzy), all tied together by an original story involving a baker and his wife (James Corden and Emily Blunt), their wish to begin a family and their interaction with the witch (Meryl Streep), who has put a curse on them. It’s a musical that skilfully lures you into its allure and mystery, and, once it takes hold of you, it never let’s go. It’s not just a story about fairy tales, but poignantly reflects the human condition and is extremely relevant to our lives today where everyone yearns for acceptance and love, needs to be compassionate, and must find their own unique way through the darkness that sometimes clouds our dreams, hopes and aspirations. Read more

KILL THE MESSENGER  A dramatic thriller based on the remarkable true story of Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Gary Webb,  (Jeremy Renner), based upon the books Dark Alliance, by Gary Webb, and Kill the Messenger, by Nick Schou, with a screenplay by award-winning investigative journalist, war correspondent, award-winning novelist, and painter Peter Landesman and directed by Michael Cuesta, who was honored with the Best New Filmmaker Award from the Boston Society of Film Critics for L.I.E., which marked his feature debut as a director, screenwriter, and producer. n the 1990s, this dedicated reporter’s quest for the truth took him from the prisons of California to the villages of Nicaragua to the corridors of power in Washington, D.C. – and his investigative reporting drew the kind of attention that threatened not just his career, but his family and his life. Read more 

KINGSMEN: THE SECRET SERVICE  Based upon the acclaimed comic book and directed by Matthew Vaughn (Kick-Ass, X-Men First Class), it tells the story of a super-secret spy organization that recruits an unrefined but promising street kid into the agency’s ultra-competitive training program just as a global threat emerges from a twisted tech genius. When Eggsy (Taron Egerton) is an unemployed school dropout living a dead-end existence in his mother’s flat. After he is arrested for joyriding, Eggsy uses the medal to secure his release from jail, and finds himself rescued by Harry Hart (Colin Firth), an impeccably suave spy who owes Eggsy’s father his life.  Dismayed to learn of the path Eggsy has taken, yet impressed by his better qualities, Harry offers Eggsy the opportunity to turn his life around by trying out for a position with Harry’s employers: Kingsman, a top-secret independent intelligence organization. The screenplay is by Jane Goldman & Matthew Vaughn, based on the comic book “The Secret Service,” by Mark Millar and Dave Gibbons.

THE LAST FIVE YEARS  A glorious feel-good romance that celebrates the art of musicals,  featuring a young couple singing about their failed marriage from two perspectives. It’s not a compilation of popular songs, but features an absolutely superb music and lyrics by Jason Robert Brown, an American musical theatre composer, lyricist, and playwright whose music sensibility fuses pop-rock stylings with theatrical lyrics – he won Tony Awards for his work on the musicals, Parade and The Bridges of Madison County.   This musical deconstruction of a love affair and a marriage takes place over a five-year period. Jamie Wellerstein (Jeremy Jordan) is a young, talented up-and-coming Jewish novelist who falls in love with Cathy Hiatt (Anna Kendrick), a Shiksa Goddess struggling actress. Its beautiful pop music score portrays an honest, heartbreaking, often funny, exploration of love and its consequences on individual identity. Read more

LIFE  If ever you wanted to spend a week with James Dean, the superb Life is an outstanding film that transports us to New York of the 50s when Dean was at the beginning of his career.Inspired by the true story of a friendship that developed between Magnum photographer Dennis Stock (Robert Pattinson) and actor James Dean (Dane DeHaan) when Stock was commissioned to photograph the actor for LIFE magazine in 1955,  Australian screenwriter Luke Davies’s heartfelt screenplay is strikingly brought to life by director Anton Corbijn (A Most Wanted Man)  Pattinson and DeHaan are perfectly cast and embody the true spirit of their characters, with equally brilliant performances by Ben Kingsley as the enigmatic producer Jack Warner and Joel Edgerton (The Great Gatsby, Warrior) as John Morris.The film is not just a biopic about Dean’s life, but the heart-warming story of a photographer who desperately wanted to capture the soul of a fledgling star and free spirit who would change popular culture from suits to jeans and from matinee idols to teenage heartthrob.Life is an ideal film for anyone who has ever had a love affair with movies, and also a film for discerning audiences looking for a film that captures the essence of true friendship and how strange encounters can alter our lives. Read more

LOST RIVER  You will never forget this consummate masterwork from Ryan Gosling that weaves elements of fantasy noir and suspense into a haunting, modern fairy tale. Written and directed by Gosling, this dark and brooding drama is set against the surreal dreamscape of the vanishing city of Lost River. In the virtually abandoned city of Lost River, Billy (Christina Hendricks), a single mother of two, is lead into a macabre underworld in her quest to save her childhood home and hold her family together. Her teenage son, Bones, discovers a mysterious road that leads into a reservoir, where a once thriving city now lays submerged and forgotten by time. The mystery of this underwater town triggers Bones’ curiosity and sets into motion an unexpected journey that will test his limits and the limits of those he loves. Read more 

MAD MAX: FURY ROAD  Absolutely awesome and totally sensational, it is an ultimate hard core apocalyptic epic with heart! This is what filmmaking is all about – a visceral experience that relentlessly grabs hold of you from the first frame until the climatic ending. It is masterfully directed by George Miller, originator of the post-apocalyptic genre and mastermind behind the legendary Mad Max franchise, who plunges us into the world of the Road Warrior, Max Rockatansky, unleashing  a world gone mad with the concussive force of a high-octane road war as only he can deliver it. Haunted by his turbulent past, Mad Max (Tom Hardy) believes the best way to survive is to wander alone. Nevertheless, he becomes swept up with a group fleeing across The Wasteland in a war rig driven by Imperator Furiosa (Charlize Theron). They are escaping a Citadel tyrannised by the Immortan Joe (Hugh Keays-Byrne), from whom something irreplaceable has been taken. Enraged, The Warlord marshals all his gangs and pursues the rebels ruthlessly in the high-octane road war that follows. Read more

MAN AND SUPERMAN   A century after Man and Superman was written, George Bernard Shaw’s delightful satire on the human condition, moral dilemmas and romantic liaisons is more relevant than ever with London’s National Theatre staging, which was during June 2015.  It’s not often that you get an opportunity to see a complete four-act drama that runs just over three hours, and Man and Superman is worth every second. Under the feisty direction of Simon Goodwin, an Associate Artist of Bristol Old Vic and Associate Director at The Royal Court, complemented by imaginative set design by Christopher Oram, lighting by James Farncombe, music by Michael Bruce, movement by Jonathan Goddard and sound by Christopher Shutt, Man and Superman is a triumph.Add to this the magnificent performances by a great ensemble of 20 performers headed by Ralph Fiennes as Jack Tanner, celebrated radical thinker and rich bachelor, and Indira Varma as the alluring heiress Ann.  Read more 

MAN FROM U.N.C.L.E  Take a trip back to the 1960s with The Man from U.N.C.L.E., a stylish take on the hugely popular 60s television series.In Sherlock Holmes (and its sequel) Guy Ritchie brought a fresh perspective to the relationship between legendary sleuth Holmes and his colleague Watson, and now takes the buddy genre to another entertaining level with the exploits of CIA agent Napoleon Solo and KGB agent Illya Kuryakin.Set against the backdrop of the early 1960s at the height of the Cold War, Solo and Kuryakin are forced to put aside long-standing hostilities and team up on a joint mission to stop a mysterious international criminal organisation that is bent on destabilising the fragile balance of power through the proliferation of nuclear weapons and technology.What makes The Man from U.N.C.L.E. work extremely well is the chemistry between Henry Cavill as Solo, the suave-and-savvy American, and Armie Hammer the moody and volatile Russian.  Read more 

MAPS TO THE STARS Crazed obsession and fame and fortune clash head on in Maps to the Stars, David Cronenberg’s modern Hollywood Gothic film about the ravenous 21st- century need for fame and validation – and the yearning, loss and fragility that lurk in the shadows underneath. Maps to the Stars connects the savage beauty of writer Bruce Wagner’s Los Angeles with the riveting filmmaking of director Cronenberg and a stellar ensemble cast to take a tour into the darkly comic heart of a Hollywood family chasing celebrity, one another and the relentless ghosts of their pasts. Cronenberg deceptively lures you into the intimate world of stardom and balances this explosive mindbender on a razor-sharp line between comedy, horror and invigorating honesty.”It’s a story that is really of the moment and it also ferociously attacks the moment we are living in, culturally, pop culturally, technologically, and in every way, which I really admire,” says Cronenberg.  Read more


 

METROPOLITAN OPERA SCREENINGS:  Opera lovers enjoyed a double treat with the screening of Tchaikovsky’s lyrical fairy tale Iolanta and Bartók’s haunting psychological thriller Bluebeard’s Castle during March 2015.  It was an ultimate high for opera buffs, offering the best that opera has to offer from the esteemed Metropolitan Opera, with acclaimed Polish film director Mariusz Trelinski making his highly anticipated Met debut with an exciting new production, inspired by classic noir films of the 1940s.Trelinski, a film, theatre, and opera director made his opera debut in 1999 with an acclaimed production of Puccini’s Madam Butterfly at the Polish National Opera and has since directed at the Mariinsky Theatre, Welsh National Opera, the Savonlinna Opera Festival, and Teatro Comunale in Bologna.

Opera’s most popular double bill: Mascagni’s Cavalleria Rusticana and Leoncavallo’s Pagliacci delighted during May 2015. It was the final screening in the Met: Live in HD’s current season in South Africa.

The Metropolitan Opera’s lavish new production of Franz Lehar’s enduring operetta The Merry Widow is a light comedy with a rich, tuneful score and plenty of opportunities for dancing, combining the best of Broadway and opera on one of the grandest opera stages in the world. It formed part of Met: Live in HD series and was screened during February 2015. Renée Fleming starred as the beguiling femme fatale, Hanna, who captivates all of Paris. The story, which centres on an attractive widow from a Balkan land, now living in Paris, whose husband left her a fortune, touches on wistful emotions under the direction and choreography of Susan Stroman (The Producers, Oklahoma!, Contact), who has won five Tony Awards and is also making her Met debut.

Opera lovers indulged in the Met Opera’s production of Offenbach’s sumptuous Les Contes d’Hoffmann during March 2015 with magnetic Italian tenor Vittorio Grigolo in his first Met performances of the title role as the tortured poet and unwitting adventurer whose attempts at romance are repeatedly thwarted.


 

MINIONS  Fun is upgraded with zany Minions joviality in a well-deserved ‘biopic’ that vividly answers a questions fans have been asking since their superstardom in the Despicable Me series: Where do the Minions come from? It’s a joyful journey with tons of laughs into the origins of these adorable happy-face yellow creatures that begins at the dawn of time where they started their animated life as single-celled yellow organisms, and evolved through the ages, perpetually serving the most despicable of masters. The three chosen yellow stooges destined for fame embark upon a thrilling journey with some wonderfully original histrionic and hysterical moments that shows how they were responsible for the extinction of the dinosaurs, the demise of Count Dracula, ignited Napoleon’s fury and unleashed Pharaoh’s wrath. Read more

MISSION IMPOSSIBLE:  GHOST PROTOCOL Fasten your seatbelts for the five-star Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation, the explosive fifth instalment in the constantly accelerating action-thriller series that is unquestionably the best action film of the year.It delivers what it promises, and much, much more: daredevil action sequences, action-packed chase sequences, deadly adversaries, ticking time bombs and explosive thrills. It offers the ultimate in entertainment and succeeds on all levels, showcasing the art of filmmaking. It’s a film you have to see to believe fully. Yes, it’s an ultra-spectacular experience that will keep you on the edge of your seat. You will be exhausted after watching the film; it’s a film you experience and totally draws you into the hard core physical action and involves you with its rewarding emotional pay-off.Tom Cruise is back as Ethan Hunt, facing his most blisteringly impossible mission yet, confronting The Syndicate, an impenetrable, exquisitely trained group of renegade spies who have left behind their countries for an agenda all their own – an agenda intent on destabilising the very foundations of civilisation. What makes this fifth journey into the world of Mission Impossible work extremely well is director Christopher McQuarrie, whose interpretation of his screenplay amplifies the vision he had for the film. Read more 

MISTER HOLMES  “One shouldn’t leave this life without a sense of completion,” declares 93-year-old Sherlock Holmes in the absolutely superb Mr.Holmes, a new twist on the world’s most famous detective that is definitely one of the top films of the year. Adapted with verve and vivacity from Mitch Cullin’s novel A Slight Trick of the Mind, this tale of a man in search of his memory gloriously re-unites Ian McKellen with director Bill Condon after their collaboration on the Academy Award-winning Gods and Monsters. McKellen is undoubtedly one of the greatest actors of our time, delivering an endearing and heartfelt performance as Mr. Holmes, perfectly capturing the story of a man who embraces his solitude and firmly believes that fiction is nonsense and that fact is logical. Read more 

JOHN If there’s one theatrical experience that was life-changing, it was DV8 Physical Theatre’s spellbinding John as screened in January 2015 as part of NT Live. It was not only one of the most provocative and fearless explorations of male sexuality, but dared to state what needs to be said about the human condition. Llloyd Newson’s  distinguished vision astonished; he successfully managed to convey the absolute loneliness of a man who is hopelessly lost in live and love, masterfully contrasting John’s isolation with his claustrophobic rambling in a male sauna where naked bodies become a sea of flesh, and the utter chaotic effect of drug addiction and physical abuse. John is an incredibly complex production to pull off and succeeded admirably. Hannes Langolf lead the powerful ensemble and delivered a memorable and compelling performance.  Read more 

NIGHTCRAWLER  Crime pays viciously in this shocking journey into the world of freelance stringers, known as nightcrawlers, who hunt for crashes, fires, murder and other mayhem in the hope of selling the footage to local TV news. Every night, while the city sleeps, motley crews armed with fast cars, expensive video cameras and blaring police radios prowl the sprawling Los Angeles basin in search of a story. ‘Pinballing’ from one police scene to the next, they are driven by a simple equation that converts crime and victims into dollars and cents. Nightcrawler will have you on the edge of your seats until the very last moment. It’s one of those films that grabs you by the throat and never let’s go! For writer-director Dan Gilroy, the nocturnal subculture of maverick newshounds became the perfect world to launch lead character Lou Bloom.  Jake Gyllenhaal, who delivers an astounding performance, describes Lou Bloom as a coyote. “He searches and scavenges for whatever he can find,” the actor says. “He is hungry at all times and will destroy what he needs to if it stands in his path. He will succeed at any cost.” Lou’s ascent in the world of nightcrawling is aided by Nina, with Rene Russo delivering an equally brilliant performance.  Read more

PRIDE A film that will most definitely change your life and how you see the world. It follows two very different communities who found strength by standing together. Inspired by a miraculous true story, it is set in 1984 when Margaret Thatcher was in power and the National Union of Mineworkers was on strike, prompting a London-based group of gay and lesbian activists to raise money to support the strikers’ families. Initially rebuffed by the union, the group identified a tiny mining village in Wales and set off to make its donation in person. As the strike dragged on, the two groups discovered that standing together makes for the strongest union of all.   Worlds collide and then entwine with passion, fervour and integrity in this rousing celebration of the alliance between two disparate groups of people who came together over their shared history of oppression, shattering prejudices and forging unlikely friendships along the way. The utterly delightful film from Tony Award-winning theatre director Matthew Warchus (Matilda: The Musical, God of Carnage) features a large ensemble cast led by Bill Nighy (The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel) and Imelda Staunton (Vera Drake) with the other roles played by a host of well-known British actors including Dominic West (300, The Wire), Paddy Considine (Dead Man’s Shoes) and Joseph Gilgun (This Is England) as well as relatively new faces such as Ben Schnetzer (The Book Thief, Posh), George MacKay (How I Live Now, Sunshine On Leith) and Faye Marsay (The White Queen, Fresh Meat).  Read more  

RIOT CLUB  The world of a group of rich-and-spoilt undergraduates in The Riot Club is perversely painted in money and they don’t give a damn.The explosive drama of The Riot Club is an emotional journey into the world of corrupted minds where perverse violence rules their morality.Based on Laura Wade’s hit play, the film tells the story of an exclusive Oxford University undergraduate dining society. At the beginning of a new term new, candidates are selected to join the group and when Miles (Max Irons) joins them his world is turned inside out as their insane egocentricity runs wild and they rebel against convention. In the tradition of A Clockwork Orange, The Riot Club explores the excess of violence in an idyllic world, where malevolent evil corrupts sensible human nature and turns ordinary young men into monstrosities. It takes you into the heart of posh English upper-class society and, ultimately, reveals the dark soul of its lonely worshippers. The Riot Club is not a film about violence, but a poignant coming-of-age story, showing how easily innocence and first love can be corrupted and violated. Read more 


 

ROYAL BALLET

Cinema Nouveau screened a wonderful season of productions by The Royal Ballet during 2015: Choreographed by Christopher Wheeldon, with a score by Joby Talbot ,  The Winter’s Tale is only the second new full-length ballet commissioned at Covent Garden in the past 20 years, and Talbot’s first ballet based on a Shakespeare play, an enduring tale of love, loss and reconciliation.

The magnificent La Fille mal gardée is a glorious realisation of choreographer Frederick Ashton’s beloved rural comedy was filmed live on 5 May at the Royal Opera House and was conceived by Ashton as “A life in the country of eternally late spring, a leafy pastoral of perpetual sunshine and the humming of bees”. It’s a quintessentially British production and one of The Royal Ballet’s most beloved works, offering pure joy from start to finish and gloriously celebrates the art of ballet.

If there’s one ballet that will seduce your senses it’s The Royal Ballet’s breath-taking Romeo and Juliet is perfectly expressed in motion to Sergey Prokofiev’s haunting score and Kenneth MacMillan’s sensual choreography. The production is so rich in texture and colour it’s as if the dance, drama and robust sword-fighting sequences burst out of a Rembrandt painting – quite reminiscent of Franco Zeffirelli’s classic film version. Although The Royal Ballet has performed Romeo and Juliet over 400 times, each performance and pairing is subtly different, and Lauren Cuthbertson and Federico Bonelli are utterly captivating in the title roles, with a dashing Alexander Cambell as Mercurio.

The Royal Ballet’s production of Tchaikovsky’s iconic romantic fairy tale Swan Lake was screened in May 2015. It is breathtaking watching the filmed live performance of a ballet on the big screen in high definition, not only giving you the best seat in the house, but also exclusive interviews with the cast and crew as well as backstage footage. This is the closest you can ever get to a live performance. Anthony Dowell’s Royal Ballet production stars Principal dancers Natalia Osipova and Matthew Golding in the lead roles of Odette/Odile and Prince Siegfried, in a formidable partnership.

Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland was screened in March 2015.  Tumble down the rabbit hole with The Royal Ballet with an exhilarating performance of choreographer Christopher Wheeldon’s magical Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Exuding a girlish charm, Alice, danced by American principal Sarah Lamb, encounters a cast of extraordinary characters including the gardener’s boy, Federico Bonelli, who later becomes her Knave of Hearts as they dance a tender and loving pas de deux of delicate beauty. There is also the highly strung Queen of Hearts, who performs a hilarious send-up of The Sleeping Beauty’s famous Rose Adage, dancing playing cards, the jittery White Rabbit and the quirky tap-dancing Mad Hatter. But the ballet does not avoid the darker undercurrents of Lewis Carroll’s story – a nightmarish kitchen, an eerily disembodied Cheshire Cat and the unhinged tea party are all created in vivid detail. The familiar story is reimagined with quirky designs by Bob Crowley as we follow Alice into Wonderland across a lake of tears, playing croquet with flamingos and hedgehogs, and attending the deranged tea party.

ST. VINCENT The singular Bill Murray teams with first-time director/screenwriter Ted Melfi for this heart-warming story of a young boy who develops an unusual friendship with the cantankerous old guy next door. Maggie (Melissa McCarthy), a single mother, moves into a new home in Brooklyn with her 12-year old son, Oliver (Jaeden Lieberher). Forced to work long hours, she has no choice but to leave Oliver in the care of their new neighbor, Vincent (Bill Murray), a retired curmudgeon with a penchant for alcohol and gambling. An odd friendship soon blossoms between the improbable pair. Together with a pregnant stripper named Daka (Naomi Watts), Vincent brings Oliver along on all the stops that make up his daily routine – the race track, a strip club, and the local dive bar. Vincent helps Oliver grow to become a man, while Oliver begins to see in Vincent something that no one else is able to: a misunderstood man with a good heart. Read more

SAINT LAURENT A mesmerising journey into the life and mind of celebrated French fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent, who is regarded as one of the greatest names in fashion history. It’s a fictional tale that draws a compassionate and elegiac portrayal of his personality, lifestyle and friendships and a darkly romantic and visually distinct period documentary and homage which is set in France mostly in the late 1960s and 1970s, reconstructing real events and where shallowness, decadence and excessiveness is present. It also  focuses Saint Laurent’s (Gaspard Ulliel) troubled romance with life partner Pierre Berge (Jérémie Renier) as well as on his individual neuroses, insecurities and delusions. Written and directed by Bertrand Bonello

SELMA In spring of 1965, a series of dramatic events changed the course of America and the modern concept of civil rights forever — as courageous marchers, led by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., attempted three times to carry out a peaceful procession from Selma, Alabama to Montgomery, Alabama on a quest for the basic human right to vote.   The shocking confrontations, the triumphant final march and the passage of the 1965 Voting Rights Act that followed are now an indelible part of history.  But the vitally relevant, vitally human story of Selma – from the political battles in the halls of power to the grit and faith of people on the street to the private, inner struggles Dr. King faced – has never been seen on the movie screen.  Screenplay by Paul Webb and directed by Ava DuVernay

SEUN Darrell Roodt’s Seun is one of the most important and relevant films ever made in South Africa, following in the tradition of his superb Faith’s Corner, revealing the fragile disposition of a young man whose life is changed when he joins the army in 1981. Having met Darrel years ago and forever inspired by his fervent passion for storytelling and filmmaking, it was great to share a few thoughts with him on Seun: What inspired you to write Seun? ” Strangely, the basic idea was one of the first things I ever wrote, way back in the day when I was conscripted into the army. I made The Stick instead, which was easier to get made because it had lots of shooting and horror in it. Then, at the beginning of last year, Diony Kempen, my friend and producer, said that instead of sitting around on our hands waiting for something to happen, let’s go and make a movie. I wrote Seun in a week and a couple of weeks after that we were shooting it! But, in truth, it’s been almost 30 years in gestation. Weird!” Read more

STRANGE MAGIC   The totally zany and super spectacular animated musical Strange Magic is an enchanting creation from George Lucas and Lucasfilm, featuring a princess who has sworn off love, a vulnerable villain, a slightly nutty Sugar Plum Fairy, a tenacious and big-hearted elf, a mischievous imp, and a knight who is no Prince Charming. “I wanted to do something fun and happy yet unexpected,” says executive producer George Lucas, whose story was adapted by screenwriters David Berenbaum (Elf), Irene Mecchi (The Lion King, Brave) and director Gary Rydstrom.You have never experienced a fairy tale like this, with fairies turning into heavy rockers and singing their hearts out. Producer Mark S Miller says the story is inspired by A Midsummer Night’s Dream. “It’s a farcical fairy tale with characters and creatures of all shapes and sizes falling in love with the most unlikely candidates.” Read more 

THE THEORY OF EVERYTHING The extraordinary and uplifting story of one of the world’s greatest living minds, the renowned astrophysicist Stephen Hawking, and of two people defying the steepest of odds through love. The film, based on the memoir Travelling to Infinity: My Life with Stephen, by Jane Hawking, is directed by Academy Award winner James Marsh (Man on Wire). In 1963, as a cosmology student at the storied U.K. university Cambridge, Stephen (portrayed by Eddie Redmayne of Les Misérables) is making great strides and is determined to find a “simple, eloquent explanation” for the universe. His own world opens up when he falls deeply in love with an arts major, fellow Cambridge student Jane Wilde (Felicity Jones of The Invisible Woman). But, at 21 years of age, this healthy, active young man receives an earth-shattering diagnosis: motor neuron disease will attack his limbs and his abilities, leaving him with limited speech and movement, and will take his life within two years. Read more 

TREASURE ISLAND   Experience the magic of live theatre on the big screen with Treasure Island, the National Theatre’s Olivier Theatre in London’s sumptuous adaptation of Robert Louis Stevenson’s story of murder, money and mutiny. This NT Live screening has limited screenings at Cinema Nouveau theatres in Joburg, Pretoria, Durban and Cape Town on 14, 18 and 19 February at 7.30pm, and on Sunday, 15 February at 2.30pm, and once again proves how exciting it is to watch live theatre in the comfort of your cinema, in full HD and allowing you an extraordinary opportunity of seeing the full spectacle as well as being centre stage with the actors. Adapted with verve by Bryony Lavery it fully captures the humour, mystery and adventure of the young Jim Hawkins, who encounters the dreaded Long John Silver and his pirate mates, including a mischievous parrot. It’s amazing how the stage transforms from an inn to a pirate ship, an island, starlit night and even takes you into a cave. Pure magic! Read more 

UNBROKEN Angelina Jolie’s not-to-be-missed epic drama Unbroken brings to the big screen Louie Zamperini’s unbelievable and inspiring true story about triumph over tribulation and the resilient power of the human spirit.Telling the incredible life of Olympian and war hero Louis “Louie” Zamperini, it follows in the tradition of films like The Railway Man, and celebrates the unbreakable fortitude of the human spirit. It’s a remarkable film that is best experienced cold, not knowing too much about the story. Unfortunately, it is a story that is well known, adapted from Laura Hillenbrand’s (Seabiscuit: An American Legend) enormously popular book Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption, and the trailer has many spoilers. Still, if you can, try to watch it without knowing too much, as it is a story that will draw you into its power until the final moments. The cast delivers superb performances, with Jack O’Connell as ‘Louie’ Zamperini and Domhnall Gleeson (Harry Potter series) and Finn Wittrock (HBO’s The Normal Heart) play Captain Russell Allen ‘Phil’ Phillips and Sergeant Francis ‘Mac’ McNamara-the airmen with whom Zamperini endured perilous weeks adrift in the open Pacific. Read more 

THE VISIT It’s a strange, strange world in The Visit, and it gets stranger when madness reveals itself.With films like The Sixth Sense, M. Night Shyamalan gave us the ultimate twist. With The Visit, he takes us on a mysterious exploration of what lurks beneath the ordinary lives of grandparents (Deanna Dunagan and Peter Mcrobbie) whose idyllic existence on an isolated farm in rural Pennsylvania is an unruffled picture of quietness and tranquillity.Until their grandchildren, two spirited teenagers arrive for a week-long visit. Intelligent, soulful Becca (Olivia Dejonge) is an amateur filmmaker who is lensing a documentary about their trip to visit their maternal grandparents, an elderly couple whom they’ve never met.  She and her younger brother, Tyler (Ed Oxenbould, an aspiring rapper who deals with anxieties through elaborate OCD rituals, want to experience what they’ve missed for so many years: the unconditional love of grandparents.  Finally, it is their chance to be spoiled and to feel like any other grandchild should…and to discover just why their mother (Kathryn Hahn) has kept them away from her parents until now.Nothing is ordinary in a Shyamalan film and when the darker side of human nature gradually surfaces, it spirals into a tense and thrilling visit that will long be remembered. Read more 

THE WALK  A definitive dream is magnificently celebrated in The Walk, a film that showcases the craft and art of filmmaking at its finest.Although it’s a story we all treasure from the Oscar-winning documentary Man On Wire, through the eyes of visionary filmmaker Robert Zemeckis, it’s a new and fresh incarnation that takes us to New York of 1974, where Philippe Petit, an consummate French aerialist, surprised the city of New York with a high-wire walk between the towers of the almost-completed and partially occupied World Trade Center. It’s a walk you will never forget and culminates in a tense and emotional experience. When Petit (brilliantly portrayed by Joseph Gordon-Levitt), it was an overwhelming and tearful moment. Read more

WE ARE YOUR FRIENDS “Music is made to bring people together, and We Are Your Friends speaks to our generation; this is our music, it comes from us. We can create it and maybe we can change the world in some small way, and that’s really exciting,” says Zac Efron who plays an aspiring 23-year-old DJ who spends his days scheming with his childhood friends and his nights working on the one track that will set the world on fire.For anyone who is unaware of the dangers of drugs and alcohol that permeate the party lives of many teenagers, We Are Your Friends is a hard-hitting and tragic journey into a world where getting high means everything. Set in the world of electronic music and Hollywood night life, the life of DJ Cole changes drastically when he meets a charismatic but damaged older DJ named James (Wes Bentley), who takes him under his wing.Things get complicated, however, when Cole starts falling for James’ much younger girlfriend, Sophie (Emily Ratajkowski). With Cole’s forbidden relationship intensifying and his friendships unravelling, he must choose between love, loyalty, and the future he is destined for.The film marks Max Joseph’s (MTV’s Catfish: The TV Show) feature film directorial debut from a screenplay he wrote with Meaghan Oppenheimer, from a story by Richard Silverman.  Read more 

WHIPLASH If there’s one film everyone will be talking about, it’s the masterful Whiplash. Thrilling to the bone, the psychological warfare between a student and teacher is intense beyond words in writer-director Damien Chazelle’s first-rate drama.Burning passion, intense desire and human frailty clash head on in this gripping and explosive story about the warfare between ambitious young jazz drummer Andrew Neiman (Miles Teller) and his tyrannical and ferocious teacher Terence Fletcher (JK Simmons), featuring stupendous performances from both actors. Plagued by the failed writing career of his father, Andrew hungers day and night to become one of the greats. Terence Fletcher, an instructor equally known for his teaching talents as for his terrifying methods, leads the top jazz ensemble in the school. Fletcher discovers Andrew and transfers the aspiring drummer into his band, forever changing the young man’s life. Andrew’s passion to achieve perfection quickly spirals into obsession, as his ruthless teacher continues to push him to the brink of both his ability-and his sanity. Make sure not to miss Whiplash. It guarantees to have you on your edge of your seat and break your heart with its gut-wrenching emotion. Read more

OTHER TITLES TO BE ADDED UNTIL DECEMBER 31.

Copyright © 2015 Daniel Dercksen  All Right Reserved