I’m sure there are some people out there that still enjoy Leon Schuster movies and, you know what, good for you. Whatever floats your boat, I won’t judge. For everyone else, you have a choice this week between a drama, another drama, a third drama, a South African drama and a foreign language drama. Wow, fun times all round at the box office this week.
Schuks! Pay Back the Money
In SCHUKS! PAY BACK THE MONEY!, Schuks inadvertently loses rugby’s Holy Grail – the Currie Cup – and what follows is a hilarious journey to pay for what he has done. In addition to the laugh-a-minute missing Currie Cup adventure, the movie is also rich with candid camera gags for which Schuster is so well known and which feature a host of well-known South African personalities and celebrities – both past and current.
So I asked around the office, when was the last time anyone watched a Leon Schuster movie? And the general answer is somewhere around the Panic Mechanic era of the mid-nineties. Yet, somehow, here we are with Schuks! Pay Back the Money! So… I guess I’ll just be studiously avoiding the cinema while this is on circuit, if only to avoid that awful trailer. You let me know how Schuster’s latest goes.
MR HOLMES is a new twist on the world’s most famous detective. 1947, an aging Sherlock Holmes returns from a journey to Japan, where, in search of a rare plant with powerful restorative qualities, he has witnessed the devastation of nuclear warfare. Now, in his remote seaside farmhouse, Holmes faces the end of his days tending to his bees, with only the company of his housekeeper and her young son, Roger. Grappling with the diminishing powers of his mind, Holmes comes to rely upon the boy as he revisits the circumstances of the unsolved case that forced him into retirement, and searches for answers to the mysteries of life and love – before it’s too late.
Focussing on the titular character himself instead of one of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s seminal murder mystery stories, Mr Holmes is an emotional, reflective study of aging, mortality and regret, with an impeccable performance by Sir Ian McKellen. You’re not going to get the same kind of Sherlock Holmes as portrayed by Robert Downey Jr or Benedict Cumberbatch in this movie.
Jenny Farrell has led an openly gay life – except with her conventional family. When she finally decides to start a family and marry the woman they thought was just her roommate, the small, safe world the Farrell’s inhabited changes forever. They are left with a simple and difficult choice – either change with it or drown.
Let’s be honest, times have changed. I’m not saying that the LGBTQIA community doesn’t still face prejudice, but Jenny’s Wedding is not going to be the movie that ends all discrimination. However well-intentioned it may be, it’s still a trite, outdated and oversimplified PSA, reducing the characters to one dimensional clichés for the sake of making them more palatable to the right-wing crowd, instead of presenting them as *gasp* normal people that happen to be gay.
Every Thing Will Be Fine
While driving aimlessly after a quarrel with his girlfriend, a writer accidentally runs over and kills a child. The accident and its aftermath deeply traumatizes him. Over the next 12 years, he struggles to make sense of what happened and continue on with life, but when he looks in the mirror, he sees a murderer.
Every Thing Will Be Fine is pure naval gazing cinema at its most arrogant. Torturously slow and melodramatic, it manages to waste the potential of its cast despite being completely character-driven.
When the mauled body of Zanele Majola, a minister’s daughter, is discovered in the forest of an exclusive safari lodge the morning after her engagement party to a rising political star, Dingande Fakude, a Special Crimes Unit detective is dispatched from Pretoria to oversee the investigation and bring swift closure.
Billed as a “post-apartheid noir thriller”, Impunity suffers the same problem that most South African movies face in that there’s not a lot of information out there on it. Seriously, “post-apartheid noir thriller” is basically everything I’ve managed to dig up. But, it has been doing the rounds at a lot of film festivals, and the trailer does look promising.
A Second Chance (Cinema Nouveau)
How far would decent human beings be willing to go, when tragedy blurs the line between just and unjust? With “A Second Chance”, Susanne Bier and Anders Thomas Jensen have crafted a startling yet moving drama about how easily we lose our grasp on justice, when confronted with the unthinkable, and life as we know it is hanging by a thread.
A Second Chance might tick all the boxes on paper, but in practice it doesn’t work as well as it should. Stuck halfway between a compassionate drama and a serious crime thriller with no commitment in either direction, the decent performances of the cast, led by Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, are the only saving grace.
Last Updated: August 28, 2015