This week there are four new films releases: The scandal-ridden real-life family drama House of Gucci, the teen romance Time Is Up, Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon returns to the origins of the Resident Evil franchise and Daryn's Gym, a proudly South African mockumentary with muscle.
House of Gucci
From royal families and political lineage to media scions, the scandals and tribulations of rich and powerful dynasties has always exerted a fascination - fashion families are no different.
The House of Gucci is inspired by the shocking true story of the family behind the Italian fashion empire. When Patrizia Reggiani (Lady Gaga), an outsider from humble beginnings, marries the Gucci family, her unbridled ambition begins to unravel the family legacy and triggers a reckless spiral of betrayal, decadence, revenge and ultimately… murder.
House of Gucci not only depicts the end of the Gucci family’s control over its vast fashion empire, but the waning days of privately-owned fashion labels and the onset of conglomerate control of the industry
“It was a fascinating family history. The Gucci dynasty was almost Italian royalty within the fashion industry and its destruction came from inside the family and spread. How could that not be interesting?” says director/producer Ridley Scott, who directed from a screenplay by Roberto Bentivegna.
“This movie is a genuinely good time,” says Lady Gaga. “A wild ride and every second is entertaining. Part of Ridley’s magic is that, with all his artistic ways, ultimately, he wants the audience to enjoy themselves.”
Vivien (Bella Thorne) and Roy (Benjamin Mascolo) are two teenagers who appear to have starkly different personalities in Time is up, a film that emerges from a reflection on time and how the circumstances of an event can change the lives of two people who meet and are destined to be together.
Writer-director Elisa Amoruso developed the screenplay Time is up with actors Bella Thorne and Benjamin Mascolo, working in complete synergy to create characters that would allow the audience to personally identify with the story.
For Amoruso, Time Is up was born from the challenge to make a film that not only spoke to an Italian audience but to an international one too, aiming for a young- adult audience by telling a great love story and putting into play the intriguing themes of time and memory.
“Time is up is a film that emerges from a reflection on time and how the circumstances of an event can change the lives of two people who meet and are destined to be together,” says Amoruso
Returning to the origins of the massively popular Resident Evil franchise, fan and filmmaker Johannes Roberts brings the games to life for a whole new generation of fans with Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City.
Raccoon City is now a dying mid-western town. The company’s exodus left the city a wasteland, with great evil brewing below the surface. When that evil is unleashed, a group of survivors must work together to uncover the truth behind Umbrella and make it through the night.
All the main characters of the early Resident Evil games - Chris and Claire Redfield, Jill Valentine, Leon S. Kennedy, Albert Wesker, Chief Brian Irons of the Raccoon City Police Department, Lisa Trevor, and Umbrella scientist William Birkin - would come together at this pivotal moment in Raccoon’s history, as Umbrella is planning to level Raccoon City to cover up its sinister deeds.
“After 25 years of these games, I wanted the fans to be able to walk into it. That was a big part of the appeal of the movie for me. I come from that generation of the first PlayStation gamers who grew up with the game, although I grew up not so much playing it but watching it,” says writer-director Roberts.
Writer-director Brett Michael Innes, who has lived in Randburg, Johannesburg most of his life, worked out at a large fitness franchise that was situated across the road from a gym for 15 years, which inspired the mockumentary Daryn’s Gym.
Set in a family gym in Randburg, the film sees the lovable Daryn Jnr pitted against the ruthless owner of a multinational fitness centre as he fights to keep his family legacy alive. A third-generation family gym finds itself in a David and Goliath type battle when a fitness conglomerate opens a branch across the road from them.
With the little gym already struggling to make ends meet, it is up to the timid Daryn Jnr and his mismatched staff to make sure that they not only survive the daily drama of running a gym but that the business his grandfather started turns a profit.
Daryn’s Gym introduces audiences to newcomer Clifford Joshua Young but also boasts a star-studded cast that includes local favourites Natasha Sutherland, Hlubi Mboya, Siv Ngesi, Deon Coetzee and Carla Classen, as well as a guest appearance by Shahan Ramikissoon.
“It is with great excitement that I welcome you to the production and look forward to creating a space where we can make some comedy magic together. At its core, Daryn’s Gym is here to make people laugh and remind the viewer of how bizarre and beautiful this sub-culture can be.
“After a year of lockdown, the audiences at home need to find a space and characters that will elevate their mood and it is our belief that Daryn JNR and his team of misfits will do just that. We trust that you feel the same and look forward to walking with you on this road,” says Brett Michael Innes.
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