Spling reviews The 100 Year Old Man Who Climbed Through A Window and Disappeared, The Act of Killing and Alison as broadcast on Talking Movies, Fine Music Radio. Catch Talking Movies on Fridays at 8:20am and Saturdays at 8:15am every week on Fine Music Radio.
Alison is the powerful true story of a South African woman, who reclaimed her life after being raped, disemboweled, nearly decapitated and left for dead. Directed by Uga Carlini, this part documentary, part docudrama and has been treated like a fairy tale, getting the inside story from various interviewees, who helped Alison along her journey. Sitting on a throne and set against sketches of the moments they witnessed, each are ascribed a fantasy title like Knight, Sage or Bard for their heroic efforts.
These insights are interwoven into a gritty docudrama as the film gets straight into the incident as Alison describes her thoughts and feelings in the build-up and aftermath of the brutal and senseless attack. These inserts star Christia Visser as a young Alison in a well-cast, equally honest and generous performance. Her experience playing the abused title character, Tess, makes the two films interlinked and must have made it easier for her to slip into the appropriate mindset. While there's no dialogue and the sexual violence isn't as graphic as it could have been, these scenes are intense and grisly. Zak Hendrikz takes on a difficult role as the perpetrator, Frans du Toit, whose evil seems limitless and without conscience.
Delving back to the incident through this dramatisation with the survivor narrating her own tale, this amazing true story is peeled away layer by layer as we investigate the medical, police and judiciary procedure following her brutal attack. From the man who stopped to help, the anesthetist who facilitated her care, the on duty police officer, her legal representative, writing partner, a work colleague friend and the judge who presided over her case, we get a well-rounded picture of the highly publicised crime and the process of healing and restoration.
While the fairy tale and butterfly theme connect the dots and soften the harsh reality, the film functions like a comprehensive scrapbook filled with sketches, footage, photos, reports and newspaper clippings. The creative and eclectic frame for the story makes it more sentimental, intimate and gives it a homemade feeling as if Alison was bestowing her story as a gift to us. Her role as curator of the docudrama gives us a first-hand account of her journey through deeply honest and vulnerable storytelling as she shares her painful yet miraculous path.
Alison's inconsistent, yet the miraculous true story, artful design, intimate storytelling and emotional currency make this inspirational docudrama worth seeing. There are moments where Alison seems to be leaning towards self-promotion in echoing her motivational talks and bestselling book, 'I Have Life'. However, her "choose life" philosophy and heartfelt sincerity in helping others by sharing her tragedy and victory smooths things over, made all the more timely based on the judicial system's mishandling of the case. While it has a deckled edge, it's from the heart and makes a moving, honest, inspiring, self-empowering and detailed account of her story up until now.
It's Complicated is a short film directed by Grant De Sousa, starring Paul Snodgrass, Johann Vermaak and Lise Slabber. We follow two buddies as we discover that the someone (or something) that "swiped right" for Andy is now on their doorstep. Lovestruck, it seems that Nigel's desperate attempts to warn his friend of his girlfriend's obvious flaws are ignored. Poking fun at the Tinder and Facebook generation of scary hookups and relationship statuses, De Sousa explores these themes with tongue-through-cheek horror comedy romance. Employing a similar balance of horror comedy that you'd expect from Sam Raimi, he posits us in a similar conceptual and genre space to Warm Bodies.
Borrowing the comedy set up from The Odd Couple and infusing it with a similar tone to Men Behaving Badly helps us establish the character dynamic as Andy's nerdy, straitlaced vibe counterbalances Nigel's more relaxed, easy-going attitude. Paul Snodgrass shines as the "you can't be serious" Nigel, undertaking the perspective of the audience with an animated and entertaining performance. Johann Vermaak plays perfectly into his wardrobe selection as the blinded and inept "glass half full" lovefool. Together they have a good mix of equal-opposite chemistry, which is jeopardised by the arrival of the demure yet sinister Lise Slabber.
"She's more like a ghoulfriend... friend."
Injecting the Samara meets Regan "girlfriend" into their apartment creates a number of scary funny moments. The apartment takes on a whole new light moving from two guys sharing an old place to a creepy old woman's home, making Andy and Nigel seem like the visitors. The sets have great detail, using retro props to bring out the ick factor. The visual effects are used sparingly and are so beautifully laced into the film that you hardly notice them, while simple camera tricks keep it modest yet effective.
It's no secret that It's Complicated has been influenced by horrors like The Ring and The Exorcist in determining the nature of their female lead. The make-up department took their time in getting her look and the "hicky" just right, playing up some horror clichés to great comic effect in the process. The short film has a polished feel about it, delivering entertaining horror comedy and drawing us in with the doomed romance. It's a fine ensemble, further bolstered by the talents of Sean Cameron Michael in a fun cameo.
De Sousa has a good grip on this Halloween story, which was undoubtedly a passion project. While it works as a wraparound short film, you could easily see this horror romance comedy concept being extrapolated into a broader feature film length production or a sitcom even.
The NeverEnding Story may be slightly dated in terms of visual effects and make up, but still holds up today with Wolfgang Petersen's eternal promise of imagination and faraway kingdoms. The magical tale holds its own charm with visual effects that carry real presence as the power of reading is laced into a vivid story that continues to enthrall viewers decades later...
The iconic and memorable The NeverEnding Story leaves a slew of memories... from a fascinating rock-eating rock giant, a sorrowful marsh, a delightful luck dragon, an epic desert crossing and the dreaded nothingness. It's wonderful to be immersed in this world of make-believe, so much so that you'll be forgiven for bopping to Limahl's The NeverEnding Story theme song as the credits roll.