Superb acting in Call Me By Your Name

Call Me By Your Name is the beautifully acted story of a love affair that develops between a teenage boy, Elio (Timothée Chalamet), and his father’s student research assistant, Oliver (Armie Hammer). The story is one of emerging identity – hence the title. Set as it is in the 1980s, identifying oneself as gay then would not have been easy, and any ‘victories’ in this regard are swallowed up by societal norms. The setting is in Italy at Elio’s parents’ villa, a home the family occupies away from the USA during the summer. A mix of languages (English, French, Italian and German) and a background of academia in the form of literature and archaeology are layered onto the mellow Italian lifestyle setting. The mixture makes for an attractive exoticness. But it’s not enough to give Call Me By Your Name enough depth. The developing relationship is foregrounded and is dealt with sensitivity, yes. But at two-and-a-half hours in length the light treatment of the social and intellectual landscape leaves Call Me By Your Name lacking in oomph. The excellent acting – especially by Timothée Chalamet – is certainly a redeeming factor.

Call Me By Your Name opens at cinemas in South Africa on 23 February 2018. It carries an age restriction of 16 for DLNS.

Two upcoming titles I like the look of:

Romeo & Juliet – Ballet in cinema – exclusively at Cinema Nouveau theatres from 3 March 2018. Watch a snippet of the magic here: WATCH THE OFFICIAL TRAILER OF BOLSHOI BALLET IN CINEMA – SEASON 2017-18 SEASON HERE

Game Night – an action comedy – in Ster Kinekor theatres from 2 March. Jason Bateman and Rachel McAdams star in New Line Cinema’s action comedy about a board games night with six highly competitive gamers. The evening becomes mysterious and rather ‘real’…

Inferno was a satisfying watch, but not especially clever

From beginning to end Inferno is an on-the-go thriller. The action opens with Dr Robert Langdon (Tom Hanks) in hospital with a concussion. In the midst of his confusion and weakness Langdon has visions that resemble judgment day terror, and flashbacks that seem to make no sense. It becomes apparent that he is being chased by three different lots of people because of a mysterious file in his possession. The attending doctor at the hospital, Dr Sienna Brooks (Felicity Jones), helps Langdon escape their clutches and together the two dash across Italy and then further into Europe following one clue after another. Their journey takes them to religious shrines that date back to the infamous Middle Ages and the time of the Black Plague. A modern-day maniac, Bertrand Zobrist (Ben Foster), is linked to the file Langdon decodes, and it becomes apparent that Zobrist wants to unleash spores of that deadly ancient plague into the water system. By doing this he will wipe out half the Earth’s human beings, thus sorting out the problem of overpopulation and evil. Langdon and Brooks have limited time to find the virus and stop the attack.

Tom Hanks and Felicity Jones star in Columbia PIctures' "Inferno."

Tom Hanks and Felicity Jones star in Columbia PIctures’ “Inferno.”

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Shakespeare’s The Two Gentlemen of Verona

Filmed live in Stratford-Upon-Avon

Releases exclusively at Cinema Nouveau and select Ster-Kinekor theatres.

The company’s production of the romantic comedy, The Two Gentlemen of Verona, will be screened in South Africa, on 27 September, 1 and 2 October at 7.30pm, and on 28 September at 2.30pm, at Cinema Nouveau Rosebank Mall in Johannesburg, Brooklyn Mall in Pretoria, Gateway in Durban and V&A Waterfront in Cape Town, as well as at the following select Ster-Kinekor cinemas: Somerset Mall in Somerset West, Garden Route Mall in George and Bedford Centre in Johannesburg.

Shakespeare comments on friendship, love, constancy and fickleness in a play that takes the audience from the controlled world of Verona and Milan to the wildness of the forest where, it seems, anything can happen…

Simon Godwin’s production is “set in modern Italy, with a Dolce Vita buzz of scooters, nightclubs and open air cafés” (Daily Telegraph).

The running time of The Two Gentlemen of Verona is two hours 25 minutes, plus a 20-minute interval.

To book tickets and for more information about The Two Gentlemen of Verona, contact www.cinemanouveau.co.za, Ticketline 0861 668 437.

Photo: Supplied by Ster Kinekor

Photo: Supplied by Ster Kinekor

 

The life of Pompeii is preserved in Pompeii Live from the British Museum

A review by Brenda Daniels

Pompeii Live from the British Museum is the filmed version of an exhibition set in the British Museum. The exhibition is titled Life and Death in Pompeii and Herculaneum and displays fascinating archaeological pieces unearthed from these two ancient Italian towns. The exhibition is “live” in the sense that a number of experts are interviewed at the museum where they explain the various exhibits.

Pompeii Live from the British Museum is not to be confused with the recently released Pompeii – a film currently on circuit in South African Ster Kinekor classic theatres.

So, just how thrilling could a film based on an exhibition be, you ask. Well, I think the subject of the exhibition is the draw card here. Pompeii is famous. In AD79 Mount Vesuvius erupted in spectacular fashion, engulfing this Roman-Italian town in 300 degree Celcius larva. The town was completely buried and partly uncovered only in modern times. Much of what was uncovered was recognisable and has therefore given twenty-first century citizens a glimpse into what life was like in that part of the Roman empire some 2000 years ago.

What the filmed exhibition does is breathe life into the archaeological items on display. So, real life – and people – in Roman times begin to emerge with the explanation of pieces of jewellery, cooking equipment, an intact loaf of bread, wall murals, street  signs and rooms in houses and public houses.

Herculaneum, a nearby but less well-known town, was also devastated by the volcano. Items shown from this town include wooden furniture turned to charcoal by the unimaginable heat.

My own interest in Pompeii began years ago when I read a historical fiction account of the event. I was amazed at how advanced a culture the Roman’s was. And then, in 2012 I visited Pompeii itself and saw firsthand a Roman road, complete with wagon wheel ruts, a brothel, a Roman baths and of course human bodies “frozen” at the moment of death.

Pompeii Live from the British Museum makes a very important point. The archaeological sites at Pompeii and Herculaneum are in danger of not being preserved. The experts in the documentary all agree on one thing: preserve what we have before digging for more.

I hope this film creates an awareness that will go some way to helping preserve this amazing piece of history. Of life.

The documentary releases in HD at the four digital Cinema Nouveau theatres in South Africa – Rosebank Mall in Johannesburg, Brooklyn Mall in Pretoria, Gateway in Durban and V&A Waterfront in Cape Town. The exhibition will be screened for four shows only: 22, 26 and 27 March at 7.30pm and 23 March at 2.30pm. The film runs for one and a half hours.

 

Brenda Daniels outside what was then the ancient Roman fast food take away, just outside the theatre. (Photo: Roxanne Daniels)

Brenda Daniels outside what was then the ancient Roman fast food take away, just outside the theatre. (Photo: Roxanne Daniels)

One of the main streets of Pompeii,wagon wheel tracks are visible. The stepping stones were for pedestrians to use in order to avoid stepping into the sewage which ran down the road.  (Photo: Roxanne Daniels)
One of the main streets of Pompeii,wagon wheel tracks are visible. The stepping stones were for pedestrians to use in order to avoid stepping into the sewage which ran down the road. (Photo: Roxanne Daniels)