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#OnTheBigScreen: The Ice Road, Candyman, Escape Room, Tournament of Champions

Three new film open in SA cinemas this week; The Ice Road, Candyman, Escape Room, and Tournament of Champions...

The Ice Road

The Ice Road is an excellent human drama that will keep you on the edge of your seat till the last moment.

After a remote diamond mine collapses in far northern Canada, a ‘big-rig’ ice road driver (Liam Neeson) must lead an impossible rescue mission over a frozen ocean to save the trapped miners. Contending with thawing waters and a massive storm, they discover the real threat is one they never saw coming.

Along with his younger brother Gurty (Marcus Thomas), a gifted mechanic though impacted by aphasia from a war injury, join a hastily assembled team of skilled ice road drivers (Laurence Fishburne and Amber Midthunder) who embark on a dangerous rescue mission. Their job is to drive across an ocean of thin ice in eighteen-wheeler trucks to deliver lifesaving drilling wellheads to the mine before the oxygen runs out on the trapped miners. Mike and the team are forced to conquer stalled engines, cracking ice, violent pressure waves, deadly explosions, entire big rig trucks falling into the dark frozen waters, white-outs, an avalanche, and the death of their operation leader, all of which culminates in an epic showdown between Mike and the assassin, who seeks to bury them all beneath Lake Winnipeg. Finally defeating the assassin, Mike and the team deliver the wellheads just as the miners are on their last litres of oxygen, and the mine operators are exposed for their crimes.

The Ice Road has been a 48-year journey writer-Director Jonathan Hensleigh, who had always wanted to do a project inspired by The Wages of Fear about a group of guys who have to get over a mountain with a truck filled with nitroglycerin, and any wrong move they make could be the end. He was also interested in doing something like Of Mice and Men with a special needs character, and wrote an original treatment based on those two ideas for The Ice Road, and from that the screenplay was developed by producer Bart Rosenblatt.

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A contemporary incarnation of the cult classic. In the 1992 film, a baby boy, Anthony McCoy, is kidnapped by Candyman from the Cabrini-Green apartment of his mother, Anne-Marie McCoy (Vanessa Estelle Williams). For this new film, set about 30 years later, Anthony McCoy (Yahya Abdul-Matten II) is the central character, who has grown up with no memory or knowledge of that incident from his infancy. Unaware of his own history, he moves into the now-gentrified neighbourhood where Cabrini-Green once stood. When he meets William Burke (Colman Domingo), a knowledgeable old-timer who tells Anthony about the Candyman legend, Anthony doesn’t yet understand his own biographical connection to it.       


Emmy winner Yahya Abdul-Mateen takes on the role of visual artist Anthony McCoy in Candyman. Anxious to maintain his status in the Chicago art world, and spurred on by his white art dealer, Anthony begins to explore these macabre details in his studio as fresh inspiration for paintings, unknowingly opening a door to a complex past that unravels his own sanity and unleashes a terrifying wave of violence that puts him on a collision course with destiny.

The screenplay for Candyman was crafted by Peele (who received an Oscar for his screenplay Get Out, and also stars in Candyman) with Producer Win Rosenfeld and filmmaker Nia DaCosta.

Candyman, Peele says, can be seen as almost the patron saint of the urban legend. “He’s the accumulation of all of them—the Bloody Mary mirror, the hook, the razorblades in candy,” Peele says. “All of those things that you’ve heard about but didn’t know if they were true. The beauty of urban legends is they kind of shift over time, but the nuggets, the essentials, the little twists or the details will stay the same. It’s hard to say what role they serve—cautionary tales or expressions of suppressed fears amongst a community—but in the case of the Candyman legend, it’s much more of a dance between the community and what they need to protect themselves from.”

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Escape Room, Tournament of Champions

A sequel to the box office hit psychological thriller that terrified audiences around the world. 

In 2019, movie audiences lined up to lock themselves into a room that they couldn’t leave, with certain danger looming… but this danger was coming from inside the room. The worldwide popularity of escape rooms – which pit players’ creative problem solving and puzzling skills against a ticking clock and a locked door – whetted the appetite for Columbia Pictures’ Escape Room, which became a global hit.

Now, as Zoey (Taylor Russell) and Ben (Logan Miller) – the two survivors of the Minos Corporation’s twisted game – begin a quest to expose the company for their murders and evil, they will find themselves lured back for more deadly fun in Escape Room: Tournament of Champions where will be joined by other survivors.

And with Minos bringing together a group of players who had already survived their challenges, it would be up to the filmmakers create exciting and tricky new problems for the characters. “The idea of “Tournament of Champions” inherently raises the stakes,” says producer Neal H. Moritz. “All of our characters have not only played before, but won, so they’re experts at solving puzzles and spotting clues. We had to create rooms that would believably surprise and challenge them, but I think the most exciting idea we introduce is that the game isn’t confined to conventional rooms – it can take place anywhere.”

Directed by Adam Robitel. Produced by Neal H. Moritz. The screenplay is by Will Honley and Maria Melnik & Daniel Tuch and Oren Uziel, with a story by Christine Lavaf & Fritz Bohm. 

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About Daniel Dercksen

Daniel Dercksen has been a contributor for Lifestyle since 2012. As the driving force behind the successful independent training initiative The Writing Studio and a published film and theatre journalist of 40 years, teaching workshops in creative writing, playwriting and screenwriting throughout South Africa and internationally the past 22 years. Visit

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