Friday, December 14, 2012

Searching For Sugar Man

Director: Malik Bendjelloul

Singer-songwriter Sixto ‘Rodriguez’ was the Latin Bob Dylan and enjoyed immense popularity in the sixties but his two albums failed to sell well. As a consequence his record company dropped him and he would have been completely over looked had it not been for one curious situation. His bootleg album sold well in South Africa because his lyrics about life and activism caught on with the opponents of apartheid, and his haunting songs became massive hits. The documentary traces the origins of Rodriguez's career and music, and talks to the South Africans who were inspired by his music and labored to uncover what happened to the man. Stories of his on-stage suicide and the meandering money trail from his record sales help propel a singularly fascinating true-life tale that many of its participants still find difficult to believe.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

You Will Meet A Tall Dark Stranger

Director: Woody Allen

Starring: Pauline Collins, Gemma Jones, Anthony Hopkins, Lucy Punch, Naomi Watts, Antonio Banderas, Josh Brolin, Freida Pinto.

Cristal (Pauline Collins) is a professional charlatan who convinces the vulnerable Helena (Gemma Jones) she can foretell the future and explore her past lives. Helena is suicidal because her husband, Alfie (Anthony Hopkins), is having a thing with the much younger Charmaine (Lucy Punch). Sally (Naomi Watts), his daughter , tries in vain to make him see sense but is distracted with her own marital problems. Infatuated with her gallery-owner boss (Antonio Banderas), while her novelist/husband, Roy (Josh Brolin), has fallen for Dia (Freida Pinto), an alluring neighbour. Sounds complex enough for Woody Allen and is played out by ensemble cast of brilliant actors. The only thing missing is a touch of Woody Allen. Plenty to enjoy here but the movie is a sleeper.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Parental Guidance

Director: Andy Fickman

Starring: Billy Crystal, Bette Midler, Marisa Tomei, Tom Everett Scott

Artie (Billy Crystal) is the grandfather who is accustomed to calling the shots, but when he meets up with his three grandkids, then something has got to give. A feel good comedy for the holidays has Crystal matched with Bette Midler who plays his eager-to-please wife Diane. They are called to babysit when the parents (Marisa Tomei, and Tom Everett Scott) go away for work. Battle of the generations ensues as old school and 21st century kidz learn to compromise. Not quite so good as Uncle Buck but in the ball park. Good fun and expect some real belly laughs.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

SAMSARA

Director: Ron Fricke

Samsara (the ever turning wheel of life) is a cinematic experience to explore the themes of birth, life, death and rebirth and all to the accompaniment of stunning visuals and music. Shot over four years and across 26 countries, the film transcends through multiple cultures to sacred grounds, disaster sites, industrialized zones and natural wonders. The absence of a narrative with mesmerizing visuals combines with a musical score to present a “guided meditation” experience which if you are in the mood is most enjoyable. The spiritual sequel to Ron Fricke’s previous non-narrative travelogue Baraka (1992) will however leave you either refreshed and enlightened or spectacularly bored. I enjoyed it immensely.