Four new films open at local cinemas this week; Gunpowder Milkshake, Shang-Chi and The Legend of The Ten Rings, Around the World in 80 Days and After We Fell as well as the Celludroid Film Festival.
This exciting and exhilarating rip-roaring female driven thriller gets my vote as one of best action films of the year. Israeli film-maker and director Navot Papushado was inspired by the directors he most admires, from Buster Keaton and Charlie Chaplin to Quentin Tarantino and the Coen Brothers via Jean-Pierre Melville, Michael Mann, John Woo, Johnnie To and Jackie Chan.
Sam (Karen Gillan) is a fierce hit-woman who uses her “talents” to clean up The Firm’s most dangerous messes. When a high-risk job goes wrong, Sam must choose between serving The Firm and protecting the life of an innocent 8-year-old girl. With a target on her back, Sam has only one chance to survive: reunite with her mother and her lethal associates, The Librarians. These three generations of women must now learn to trust each other, stand up to The Firm and their army of henchmen, and raise hell against those who could take everything from them.
“There’s always violence there and there’s always comedy,” says Papushado When it’s violence for the sake of violence, it can get a bit nihilistic but when you filter it through comedy and you show the absurdity of it, then it’s not about showing the anatomy of violence. Rather, it’s about heightened reality, it’s about entertainment, it’s about how we perceive violence.”
Although Papushado wrote the screenplay with no intention of making any kind of statement, its timing couldn’t be more prescient as audiences around the world are yearning for more original concept films with strong female leads and original stories about women taking the lead. The script was co-written with Ehud Lavski.
Shang-Chi was a fairly obscure character created by Marvel Comics in the 1970s. When the Marvel creative team, led by producers Kevin Feige and Jonathan Schwartz, delved into the over 40-year-old comics, they were both inspired and challenged, launching Marvel Studios newest Super Hero into the ever-growing and evolving Marvel Cinematic Universe.
In this origin story, the modern-day, re-imagined Shang-Chi has a close familial connection to the Ten Rings organization. The film stars Simu Liu as Shang-Chi, whom we meet living in San Francisco and working as a parking valet, when a group of assassins takes a pendant that his mother gave him when he was young. Shang-Chi and his best friend Katy leave their safe lives and journey to Macau, to warn Shang-Chi’s sister Xialing that danger is coming for her as well. As the film unfolds, Shang-Chi must confront the past he thought he left behind. When he is drawn into the web of the mysterious Ten Rings organization led by his estranged father, Shang-Chi realizes he must stop him and his Ten Rings cabal.
It is directed by Maui-born director Destin Daniel Cretton, (The Glass Castle and Just Mercy), from a screenplay by Cretton, Dave Callaham and Andrew Lanham.
This French animation adventure inspired by Jules Verne's novel, Passepartout is about a young and scholarly marmoset who always dreams of becoming and explorer. One day, he crosses paths with Phileas, a reckless and greedy frog, eager to take on a bet to circumnavigate the globe in 80 days and earn 10 million clams in the process. Seizing the opportunity of a lifetime to explore the world, Passepartout embarks with his new friend on a crazy and exhilarating adventure full of twists and surprises.
Directed by Samuel Tourneux.
After We Fell
The After film series is a set of young adult movies based on the worldwide phenomenon book series of the same name written by Anna Todd.
This third film in the Afterverse follows Tessa’s life as it begins to come unglued. Nothing is what she thought it was. Not her friends. Not her family. The one person she should be able to rely on, Hardin, is furious when he discovers the massive secret she’s been keeping. And rather than being understanding, he turns to sabotage. follows Tessa’s life as it begins to come unglued.
The film follows the success of After and After We Collided, with After Ever Happy in pre-production.
The film is directed by Castille Landon, from a screenplay by Sharon Soboil. The film stars Josephine Langford and Hero Fiennes Tiffin.
“These films are romances, but the romance isn’t always beautiful,” Landon says. “Bringing those real moments to it and not making it feel like a glossy perfect movie is the core of it for me. That automatically makes it a little bit more mature and darker.”
Celludroid Film Festival
Calling all Sci-Fi, fantasy and animation buffs! A hybrid event with selected movies screening at the Labia Theatre in Cape Town, and the full line-up accessible across Africa, streaming at the Labia Home Screen until 10 September. The exciting line-up includes new releases, classics and a cargo bay load of amazing short films from around the galaxy!
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 www.writingstudio.co.za