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#OnTheBigScreen: X, Morbius, Sonic The Hedgehog 2 and Vlugtig

In this week's new film releases X slices up traditional genre conventions, in Morbius an antihero discovers his inner beast and the world's favourite blue hedgehog is back for a next-level adventure in Sonic The Hedgehog 2. The superb South African film Vlugtig is now available on DSTV Box Office.
Knuckles and Sonic from Sonic The Hedgehog 2
Knuckles and Sonic from Sonic The Hedgehog 2


One of the most compelling and conflicted characters in Sony Pictures Universe of Marvel Characters comes to the big screen as Oscar winner Jared Leto transforms into the enigmatic antihero Michael Morbius. Dangerously ill with a rare blood disorder and determined to save others suffering the same fate, Dr Morbius attempts a desperate gamble.

While at first, it seems to be a radical success, the darkness inside him is unleashed. Will good override evil – or will Morbius succumb to his mysterious new urges?

Directed by Daniel Espinosa. Screen Story and Screenplay by Matt Sazama and Burk Sharpless. Based on the Marvel Comics.

In most superhero movies, there’s a classic sequence as the hero discovers his or her newfound powers. Not so for Michael Morbius.

“When Morbius discovers his inner beast, he becomes afraid of it – and because he’s afraid, he’s also afraid of his powers. He’s afraid that they will take over and change him, so he’s constantly resisting them,” says Espinosa. “To become the hero, he has to accept his fate: Morbius’s journey is to accept that he will still remain the person that he is, but he has to harness these powers.”

“Michael Morbius is one of the most altruistic characters of the Marvel Universe,” says director Daniel Espinosa, who bills himself as Sweden’s second-biggest comic book fan. “It’s the character’s inner humanity, his duality between virtuous man and brutal creature, that makes him so compelling. He’s one of the few that really believes in good. This good man has a horrible disease and in his trials to save himself and the people that he cares for, he turns into a monster.”

Read more here.


In 1979, six ambitious young Texans—two strippers, a Vietnam veteran, a serial-entrepreneur producer, an upstart film director and his seemingly quiet, doe-eyed girlfriend—hit the road bound for a secluded ranch where they plan to shoot their magnum opus, The Farmer’s Daughter.

The project is meant to be a renegade pornographic film with artful production values that will seduce the mainstream and make the group millions. Hovering on the periphery of the production are the filmmakers’ hosts: an elderly, cantankerous World War I & II veteran and his voyeuristic wife Pearl who becomes obsessed with Maxine after noticing a nostalgic resemblance when surreptitiously watching her mount and ride Jackson during the porn shoot.

Both an ode to independent filmmaking of all stripes—adult movies, slasher movies, auteur movies—and an evocation of an era and its changing times and mores, writer-director Ti West’s X delivers a wildly entertaining ride about the currency of youth that’s also a potent reminder of our inevitable ageing and mortality.

West built his career on artful simulacrums of low-budget horror films of the 1970s and ’80s, including 2009’s occult slasher The House of the Devil, which established him as an indie maverick whose hardcore cinephilia resonated from the screen.

For X, which evokes and recreates rural America circa 1979, West turned to his love for 1970s New American Cinema – when young filmmakers broke the rules by trying new things—and to his passion for low-budget horror from the same era.

“When I look at movies from the 1970s, it’s obvious that people who loved the art of cinema were making them—and I miss that,” says West. “One of the main drives for me in making X came from wanting to take something low brow and seeing if I could craft something higher-brow out of it. It was an inspiring challenge to take the traditional exploitation film trope of sex and violence and reimagine it in a more thoughtful way.”

Read more here.

Sonic The Hedgehog 2

After settling in Green Hills, Sonic is eager to prove he has what it takes to be a true hero. His test comes when the villainous Dr Robotnik returns, this time with a new partner, Knuckles, in search of an emerald that has the power to destroy civilizations. Sonic teams up with his own sidekick, Tails, and together they embark on a globe-trotting journey to find the emerald before it falls into the wrong hands.

Sonic The Hedgehog 2 builds upon the fun and heart of the first film, based on the global blockbuster videogame franchise from Sega, which centres on the infamously brash and bright blue hedgehog from another world, taking audiences of all ages around the globe on an adventure where nothing less than the fate of the world is at stake. The film is rich with spectacle, comedy, action, adventure and exotic locations – everything you love about Sonic and his universe.

For Jeff Fowler, who directed the live-action/animation film from a screenplay by Pat Casey, Josh Miller and John Whittington, story by Pat Casey and Josh Miller, based on the Sega Video Game, “The acclaim and love for Sonic the Hedgehog from around the world was more than rewarding. “It was the greatest feeling imaginable,” Fowler remembers. “It was an unforgettable experience to see audiences fall in love with the characters, and to have the film be such a great time for families and fans.”

Read more here.


Simon Berg’s (Arno Greeff) dream of acting is in tatters. All his youthful ambitions of the red carpet have been replaced by humiliating roles on a children’s programme as well as desperation to be noticed for the talent he is during auditions.

Lady luck is seemingly on his side when his role model director Andreas Vog (Ernst Van Wyk) visits him with an ultimatum. It’s almost a messianic moment when Andreas offers Simon the role of a lifetime in his new Red Riding Hood play as the woodcutter and the wolf.

The only condition is that Simon sacrifices everything happening in his life to get in the car with Andreas to go rehearse. It doesn’t take much convincing and Simon sets out on the journey with Andreas. However, Simon doesn’t realise that he is Red Riding Hood who has voluntarily gone with the wolf unaware of his sinister motives.

On arrival at Andreas’ cabin in the woods, Simon meets his co-star, Chantel (Jane De Wet), a striking young actress who has already achieved more success than him in the entertainment industry. Despite the initial intimidation he experiences, he quickly becomes comfortable with her. She’s accessible, open-minded, and excited about him as a person.

Before they start rehearsing, Andreas encourages Simon to chop wood so he can become accustomed to the feel of the axe.

Nevertheless, the sessions become longer and more exhausting as the process progresses. It’s not long before Andreas starts criticising Simon exhaustively during rehearsals. It becomes clear that Andreas is busy with more than mere method acting. Simon is driven to extremes by Andreas’ relentless attacks, and when Andreas’ focus shifts to Chantel, the wolf in Simon finally emerges.

Exclusively available on DStv Box Office, the screenplay was written by Ernst Van Wyk and the film was directed by Marinus Gubitz. The film is screened with English subtitles.

Read more about the latest and upcoming film releases 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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