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#OnTheBigScreen: Cyrano, Turning Red and Jackass Forever

There are three new films releasing this week: The dazzling musical Cyrano reimagines the timeless tale of wit, courage, and love, the animated Turning Red is a coming-of-age story about change and Jackass Forever is a reality slapstick comedy.
Image supplied: Peter Dinklage and Haley Bennett in Cyrano
Image supplied: Peter Dinklage and Haley Bennett in Cyrano


In the tradition of the classic MGM movies that celebrate romance lyrically and visually, award-winning director Joe Wright orchestrates a gifted ensemble of actors performing the big-screen epic love story Cyrano. This bold new adaptation, scripted by Erica Schmidt and filmed on stunning Italian locales, reimagines the timeless tale of wit, courage and love. The score and songs are from The National’s Bryce and Aaron Dessner, Matt Berninger and Carin Besser. In the title role, Peter Dinklage makes the iconic character his own.

Cyrano de Bergerac (Dinklage) is a man ahead of his time. Dazzling one and all whether with ferocious wordplay at a verbal joust or with brilliant swordplay in a duel, the hale and hearty Cyrano exults in gallantry and is always up for a challenge. He has yet to declare his feelings for — and to — the luminous Roxanne (Haley Bennett); a lover of literature and a fierce intellect, Roxanne has been a devoted friend to Cyrano since their hometown days. He has secretly been in love with her for his entire adult life, but is also convinced that his appearance renders him unworthy of her love. Once Roxanne locks eyes with newly arrived King’s Guard recruit Christian (Kelvin Harrison Jr) it is love at first sight.

Roxanne pleads with Cyrano to promise her that he will watch over and protect Christian. Cyrano does so and encourages Christian to woo Roxanne with love letters — instantly finding that Christian will need to avail himself of Cyrano’s own heartfelt writing skills. In so doing, Cyrano will, at last, be able to express his true feelings to Roxanne, albeit through someone else; caught in a cached love triangle, Cyrano finds his conundrum at once vexingly funny and wistfully bittersweet. Yet he selflessly gives of himself to inspire Christian and empower Roxanne towards each other, even as once-distant drums of war grow louder.

Wright hopes that audiences living in a world altered by a pandemic respond to his cast and crew’s conveying the story’s “joy, kindness and tenderness — and deep emotional truths that are handed down from generation to generation. “I hope that the viewer will receive my love through this movie, and I tried to make a movie that is devoid of cynicism or irony. Cyrano is a love letter to love.”

Read more here.

Turning Red

Disney and Pixar’s Turning Red introduces Mei Lee (Rosalie Chiang), a confident, dorky 13-year-old torn between staying her mother’s dutiful daughter and the chaos of adolescence. Her protective, if not slightly overbearing mother, Ming (Sandra Oh), is never far from her daughter—an unfortunate reality for the teenager. And as if changes to her interests, relationships and body weren’t enough, whenever she gets too excited (which is practically ALWAYS), she ‘poofs’ into a giant red panda!

Director Domee Shi said, “I really wanted to explore the conflicts of a young teen girl—how she’s torn between being a good daughter and embracing her true messy self.”

According to screenwriter Julia Cho, “When you really look at a lot of friendships—mine, my daughter’s or Domee’s within Pixar—they're nurturing and supportive. I love emphasising that component of female friendships because for too long the narrative has been that we’re competitive, hierarchical and we tear each other down. The truth is different. And that became a really important part of the movie.”

Jackass Forever

After 11 years, the Jackass crew is back for their final crusade. It is the fourth main instalment in the Jackass film series, following Jackass 3D (2010). The film stars original Jackass members Knoxville, Steve-O, Chris Pontius, Dave England, Wee Man, Danger Ehren and Preston Lacy, newcomers to the Jackass crew, celebrity guests, and a cameo appearance by original Jackass member Bam Margera, who was fired during the film's production.

Celebrating the joy of being back together with your best friends, the original jackass crew return for another round of hilarious, wildly absurd, and often dangerous displays of comedy with a little help from some exciting new cast members. Johnny and the team push the envelope even further.

Directed and produced by Jeff Tremaine.

Read more about the latest and upcoming films here.

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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