A great weekend line-up
Be super creative this weekend and escape into film, theatre and exciting home entertainment! There are some great films now showing. It is magical films like The Odd Life of Timothy Green that remind us why we go to the movies. If there is one film that is going to change the way that you see filmmaking, visual storytelling and the human condition, in the same way Terrence Malick's The Tree of Life did, it's Cloud Atlas, an epic sci-fi drama, that is every bit as much of a head trip.
Did you know? Alex Cross is the third film appearance of detective Alex Cross, the main character of a series of novels by James Patterson - the role of Cross was originated by Morgan Freeman, who played the sleuth in Kiss the Girls and Along Came A Spider and now played by Tyler Perry (best known for his role of Madea in the comedy saga).
With their feature-length films Cyrus, Baghead and The Puffy Chair - not to mention a spate of short films - Jay and Mark Duplass have established themselves as endlessly creative filmmakers who continue to mine extraordinary stories from (what many people would term) ordinary life: a recently divorced man dating his dream woman, while trying to cope with her nightmare of a son; a group of actors trying to make their careers by creating their own horror film; a man, accompanied by his girlfriend and his brother, driving to pick up an eBay purchase as a birthday present for his father. And now, with Jeff, Who Lives at Home, Jay and Mark return not only to focusing their camera on a group of "everyday" people, but also to a part of the United States that they know intimately - their childhood home.
The invention of the vibrator
Set in the Victorian era, The British romantic comedy Hysteria shows how the medical management of hysteria led to the invention of the vibrator. While it might be a 19th-century story, it's a subject that still makes us blush in 2011. The fun was in creating a kind of lush, Merchant Ivory reality on the surface, but with a hilarious, unbridled comedy running underneath it," said director Tanya Wexler, who confesses that she has never been diagnosed with hysteria. The film stars Felicity Jones, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Rupert Everett and Hugh Dancy.
And in the 3D stop-motion animated comedy horror film Paranorman a small town comes under siege by zombies.
There's also some great new DVD releases. We Need To Talk About Kevin, a dark and brooding odyssey into anguish that is manifested in the malicious psyche of a teenager who shatters the idyllic world that imprisons him; the stylish BBC mini-series Blackout shows what happens when an alcoholic wakes up after another drunken night and realises that he might be responsible for a murder; the life and ministry of Angus Buchan has become a worldwide phenomenon and is dramatised in Ordinary People; in the amusing A Bird Of The Air, the life of a loner whose job patrolling highways at night is turned upside down when a rare, highly talkative parrot flies into his home one day. When a single parent tries to spice up his life, he follows the advice of a neighbour and finds unexpected results in The Wife He Met Online; two sisters discover that life and love are loaded with surprising twists when they search for potential suitors in the real world of hard work in Scent And Sensibility.
The Walt Disney Studios proudly announces the addition of Cinderella to its coveted, cutting-edge Blu-ray Diamond Collection line-up of animated classics.
The charming British film Salmon Fishing In The Yemen is guaranteed not only to change your opinion about our scaly friends, but transform your views on life, love and unrequited dreams, and Madonna's voyeuristic exploration of decadence, passion and obsession are flawlessly and skilfully explored in the exquisite W.E.
On stage, in Cape Town comedian Martin Evans regales us with tales of his road to recovery and self-discovery following a life-changing accident. In Special Thanks To Guests From Afar a gay economics professor and a Zürich-based banking executive meet the attractive sexually ambiguous brother of the groom. The Calendar Girls tells the true story of an ordinary group of Yorkshire women doing something extraordinary that sparks a global phenomenon when they pose for a charity calendar with a difference.
If there's one show that you cannot miss in Cape Town it's experiencing Hugh Masekela, Sibongile Khumalo and their ensemble of talented musicians and performers exploring the heart and soul of Africa with passion and verve. This not-to-be missed Songs Of Migration is on at Artscape until Sunday.
In Joburg, the deliciously mean comedy The Miser magnifies the madness of a father's greed, paranoia and suspicion. Dirty Dancing explodes with heart-pounding music, passionate romance and sensationally. The fast-paced, fun-filled cabaret London Live tips its top hat to Her Majesty's crown jewels - Tom Jones, Dusty Springfield, The Kinks, The Eurythmics, The Beatles, Queen, Adele and many more; and Janice Honeyman's telling of the Jack And The Beanstalk story is sure to be one of the craziest and original versions ever!
In Durban, Anthony Stonier, whose face and voice are synonymous with panto, and whose legs have officially been designated a World Heritage Site, plays the Wicked Witch of the West in the Wizard of Oz; and Craig Eisenstein's Your Hand In My Pocket is a charming, funny and profound love story with a twist.
In Port Elizabeth, the juke box musical Back To The 80s is a celebration of the decade that brought us big hair, shoulder pads, Star Wars, Rubik's Cubes and Knight Rider, not to mention some fabulous music that has stood the test of time.
For more information on these shows, films and DVDs, go to www.writingstudio.co.za
About Daniel Dercksen
Daniel Dercksen has been a film and theatre journalist in South Africa the past 30 years and as a trainer and educator has presented regular workshops in scriptwriting and creative writing during the past 17 years.