Jackie: The Creation of a Fantasy

Jackie is the depiction of Jackie Kennedy’s widowing, when her husband, John F Kennedy, was shot to death right next to her in the early 1960s.

The story is very much a first-person tale, with the camera focusing on Jackie (played by Natalie Portman) or following her, to the exclusion of others, most of the time. This cloistering camera style complements the personal story conveyed.

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Natalie Portman plays Jackie Kennedy in Jackie. Image source: http://www.vulture.com/2016/11/natalie-portman-jackie-kennedy-c-v-r.html

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Small, but very talented cast in Demolition

Demolition is the story of Davis (Jake Gyllenhaal), a man who grieves the sudden loss of his young wife Julia (Heather Lind) to a car crash. Davis works for his father-in-law Phil (Chris Cooper) and while Phil’s grieving process appears conventional, Davis’s is not. On the night of Julia’s death Davis absurdly writes a letter to a vending machine company complaining that the machine he had used on the night of her death did not deliver the chocolate bar he had paid for. Other strange behaviour follows (pulling a fridge apart, bulldozing his house) as this widower begins to question the meaning of his high-powered job, his marriage and his love for Julia.

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Jake Gyllenhaal in Demolition. Photo source: http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/demolition_2016/

 

As he continues to write letters to the vending company in a referred outlet to his grief, Davis forms a relationship with the customer sales representative Karen (Naomi Watts). Karen lives a tough life, vastly different to Davis’s, and she has a troubled son Chris (Judah Lewis), with whom Davis becomes friends. During the course of the tale Phil emerges, through much heartache, as a gay young man, echoing Davis’s difficult journey to a place where he begins to understand himself and his former marriage.

The acting, especially by Gyllenhaal and Lewis, is very good. The representation of grief in the guise of destruction is an interesting take on this emotion and emphasises that as humans we are not all the same. Demolition has a small cast, however, an aspect I didn’t enjoy as it made some of the film a little dreary.

Demolition opens at Ster Kinekor theatres in South Africa on Friday 22 April 2016.

Explore time and space with Matthew McConaughey in Interstellar

A review by Brenda Daniels

In a near-future scenario the earth is subject to failing crops and no rain. Massive dust storms cover everything in layers of dirt endangering people’s health and leaving an empty, hopeless pall over mankind’s survival. Enter Cooper (Matthew McConaughey), an incorrigible scientist. Cooper is also a farmer, former astronaut and widower with two children.

One of those children, Murph (Mackenzie Foy as young Murph and Jessica Chastain as adult Murph), encounters what appears to be supernatural phenomena in her bedroom. Someone or something from “beyond” is trying to communicate with her. This scene involving books that fall in a seemingly random manner, and dust that settles in unnervingly systematic lines, is a very important part of the plot, an element that is resolved for viewers only at the end of Interstellar.

In a bizarre mix of science and what appears to be the supernatural Cooper is “called” to embark on a space mission that will save mankind. Joined by Amelia (Anne Hathaway) and others, the astronauts leave earth in search of previously earmarked destinations in order to evaluate their viability as a replacement home for mankind.

They will either return for the humans on earth or start a new “colony” with specially prepared human embryos.

What makes the story fascinating, however, is not the future setting or its intergalactic nature, but its intriguing exploration of the space-time-gravity continuum. Explaining too much here would spoil the adventure for viewers.

Suffice to say that Interstellar is a multi-layered space adventure that also examines the human heart and its capacity (or not) for altruism. Matthew McConaughey and Jessica Chastain give particularly good performances. Michael Caine and Matt Damon also star.

Interstellar opens at all cinemas in South Africa on Friday 7 November. It runs for a lengthy, but absorbing, two hours and 50 minutes.

Matthew McConaughey stars in the gripping new film, Interstellar. Photo: Creative Commons.

Matthew McConaughey stars in the gripping new film, Interstellar. Photo: Creative Commons.

Jessica Chastain stars alongside McConaughey in Interstellar. Photo: Creative Commons.

Jessica Chastain stars alongside McConaughey in Interstellar. Photo: Creative Commons.