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#OnTheBigScreen: Superhumans, the wild west, and a tragic king

New films showing from 18 January 2019 include M. Night Shyamalan's Glass, an explosive, all-new comic-book thriller; Clint Eastwood's The Mule, inspired by the true story of a 90-year-old drug mule; Jacques Audiard's The Sisters Brothers, a re-imagining of the cinematic western; and theatre buffs can indulge in the National Theatre Live screening of The Tragedy of King Richard the Second.


Screenwriter, director, and producer M. Night Shyamalan has provoked the imagination of audiences around the world for almost two decades, creating films that have amassed more than $3bn worldwide, with mind-bending thrillers like The Sixth Sense, Unbreakable, Signs, The Village, The Visit, and, most recently,Split.

With Glass, Shyamalan weaves together the unforgettable narratives of two of his visionary original films - Unbreakable and Split—in one explosive, all-new comic-book thriller.

From Unbreakable, Bruce Willis returns as David Dunn as does Samuel L. Jackson as Elijah Price, known also by his pseudonym Mr Glass. Joining from Split are James Mcavoy, reprising his role as Kevin Wendell Crumb and the multiple identities who reside within him, and Anya Taylor-Joy as Casey Cooke, the only captive to survive an encounter with The Beast.

Following the conclusion of Split, Glass finds Dunn pursuing Crumb’s superhuman figure of The Beast in a series of escalating encounters, while the shadowy presence of Price emerges as an orchestrator who holds secrets critical to both men. 

Read more here.

The Mule

The Mule marks Oscar-winner Clint Eastwood’s first time on both sides of the camera since he starred in 2009’s critically acclaimed Gran Torino. He directs from a screenplay by Nick Schenk, inspired by the New York Times Magazine article “The Sinaloa Cartel’s 90-Year-Old Drug Mule” by Sam Dolnick. 

Eastwood stars as Earl Stone, a man in his 80s who is broke, alone, and facing foreclosure of his business when he is offered a job that simply requires him to drive.  Easy enough, but, unbeknownst to Earl, he’s just signed on as a drug courier for the cartel.  He does well—so well, in fact, that his cargo increases exponentially, and Earl is assigned a handler. 

But he isn’t the only one keeping tabs on Earl, who has also hit the radar of hard-charging DEA agent Colin Bates (Bradley Cooper).  And even as his money problems become a thing of the past, Earl’s past mistakes start to weigh heavily on him, and it’s uncertain if he’ll have time to right those wrongs before law enforcement, or the cartel’s enforcers, catch up to him. 

Read more here.

The Sisters Brothers

With The Sisters Brothers, acclaimed director Jacques Audiard, as he has before, takes hold of the reins of blood ties — this time in the context of the western genre. The result is shot through with the tension of his films like A Prophet and The Beat That My Heart Skipped, as well as with the hard-won compassion of his more recent Rust and Bone and Dheepan.

Audiard and his frequent collaborator Thomas Bidegain adapted the new film’s script from the novel The Sisters Brothers by Patrick deWitt, which was optioned by Reilly and Alison Dickey as producers in 2011.

It is 1851, and Charlie and Eli Sisters (Joaquin Phoenix and John C. Reilly) are both brothers and assassins, boys grown to men in a savage and hostile world. They have blood on their hands: that of criminals, that of innocents and they know no state of existence other than being gunmen. The older of the two, introspective Eli (Reilly) rides hard with his younger sibling yet dares to dream of a normal life. The younger of the two, hard-drinking Charlie (Phoenix) has taken charge with gusto as the lead man on the duo’s assignments.

Each increasingly questions, and quibbles with, the other’s methods.

The Sisters brothers find themselves on a journey through the Northwest, bringing them to the mountains of Oregon, a dangerous brothel in the small town of Mayfield, and eventually, the Gold Rush land of California — a journey that will test the deadly family ties that bind. But, can it also be the path to rediscovering what remains of their humanity? 

Read more here.

The Tragedy Of King Richard The Second

The Tragedy of King Richard the Second stars Olivier Award-winner Simon Russell Beale as Richard II, captured live at the Almeida Theatre in London. This visceral new production about the limits of power will be directed by Joe Hill-Gibbins, whose previous plays include Little Revolution at the Almeida and Absolute Hell at the National Theatre.

Richard II, King of England, is irresponsible, foolish and vain. His weak leadership sends his kingdom into disarray and his court into uproar. Seeing no other option but to seize power, the ambitious Bolingbroke challenges the throne and the king’s divine right to rule.

Simon Russell Beale returns to National Theatre Live screens following broadcasts of Timon of Athens and King Lear, and his recent role in the National Theatre’s critically acclaimed production of The Lehman Trilogy.

The Tragedy of King Richard the Second screens at Ster-Kinekor Nouveau nationwide and Gateway Commercial Durban on 23, 27, 28 February 2019 at 7.30pm and on 24 February 2019 at 2.30pm.

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About Daniel Dercksen

As a freelance film and theatre journalist for more than 30 years, published playwright and creator of the independent training initiative The Writing Studio, Daniel Dercksen received the number one spot for most popular lifestyle contributor for 2012, 2014 and 2015, and 2nd spot in 2016 on