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Talking Movies with Spling - Vir die Voëls, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them and Ghostbusters

Spling reviews Vir die Voëls, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them and Ghostbusters 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.

Movie Review: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

J.K. Rowling's adventures of a young wizard named Harry Potter have entrenched themselves in pop culture. Books, movies, theme parks, wand TV remotes... the franchise continues to swallow book worms whole. After the series came to an end in two parts, a relief for some and travesty for others, we thought we'd seen the end of Potter's world. However, like some American public house sitcoms... some things have a way of reviving themselves through what is called an open air quotes... spin-off... close air quotes, just ask Frasier.

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them follows the adventures of writer Newt Scamander in New York's secret community of witches and wizards seventy years before Harry Potter reads his book in school. It's a stand-alone film that exists within the Harry Potter universe, feeding into the lore and showing a similar consistency, delivering its own story without Potter or Radcliffe.

While visual effects wizardry and wondrous sound design rules, the imaginative story doesn't get left behind... even if it may have started as a desperate attempt to reinvigorate the Potter dynasty. Rowling's writing seems boundless as we slip into magical briefcases, encounter a number of funny, familiar yet unheard-of beasts and are whisked away into an enchanted world between worlds.

Guided by the enigmatic Redmayne, given a sense of humour by Fogler, counterbalanced by the ever-suave Farrell and enlivened by the Goldstein sisters, played by Katherine Waterston and Alison Sudol, there's a never-ending supply of laughs and fun characters.

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

"One day I hope to call it Newt York..."

Redmayne is a bit of a cold fish but has an otherworldliness about him, clouding himself in questions and refocusing us on the perilous yet magical adventure. While we never really get any answers, he's surrounded by a troupe of likable co-stars with Fogler playing into a buddy movie dynamic to root the New York element with some funny and charming interplay.

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them doesn't delve too deeply into Scamander's life and without a substantial emotional investment, the adventure does seem a little superficial. Although you won't really notice this aspect thanks to good pacing, smart writing and eye-popping visuals. There's never a dull moment as Newt's briefcase of tricks causes havoc across the city and magic society.

We enjoy the same level of quality we've come to expect from the Harry Potter series under the direction of David Yates with a brand new layered tale. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is enriched by some smart allegories that feed back to the here and now. A lot of thought has gone into the film and it shows without becoming over-reliant on its Harry Potter heritage, but appealing to the same generation of fans who grew up with Rowling, who may have kids of their own by now.

The bottom line: Enchanting

Spling's Galileo Pick of the Week: Finding Nemo

Spling's Pick of the Week - Finding Nemo at Muldersvlei Estate


In its time, Finding Nemo was a game-changer, the pinnacle of animation heralded by Pixar. Having already raised the bar with Monsters Inc, they delivered yet another hugely entertaining animated adventure comedy for all ages. The misadventures of young clown fish, Nemo, have been beautifully captured by a smart, funny and touching script; brilliant voice casting; charming vocal performances; spectacular animation; comprehensive direction and an emotive soundtrack.

There's very little to fault in this prime example of film-making, which cleverly mingles adult themes into a format traditionally reserved for children. Entertaining, smart, endearing and hilarious, it's no wonder that this film still serves as a calling card for Pixar today.

This animated family classic is showing under the stars at The Galileo Open Air Cinema.


Spling to Adjudicate at AFDA Graduation Festival 2016

AFDA, South Africa’s only Oscar-winning film, television and performance school, is proud to host their annual graduation festival produced by Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban 3rd year undergraduate and 4th year postgraduate students. This year the festival will proudly showcase a record 91 productions from the respective AFDA campuses, including 60 live action short films, 11 pilot television shows, 11 live music performance shows and 9 theatre productions.

All the productions are assessed by industry professionals, AFDA learning staff members and most importantly the public. Spling has been invited to serve as a judge on the critics panel again this year, after adjudicating at AFDA's 2014 and 2015 graduation festivals. Here are his Top 5 films from the 2015 graduation festival and the speech he delivered at last year's graduation ceremony, where he presented the Critic's Award.

The graduation production constitutes 50% of the complete students assessment for the year. If you want to see the best up and coming future talent in the South African entertainment industry, the AFDA Graduation Festival 2016 is for you.

AFDA Graduation Festival 2016

Johannesburg Campus 17-26 November Performance School 17- 26 Nov / Venue: AFDA campus, Red Roof Theatre. Television School 23-24 Nov / Venue: AFDA campus, L1 Film School 25-26 Nov / Venue: Cinema Nouveau, Rosebank

Cape Town Campus 21-26 November
Performance School 21-25 Nov / Venue: 228 on Lower Main, AFDA Theatre Television School 26 Nov / Venue: Labia Theatre Film School 26 Nov / Venue: Labia Theatre

Durban Campus 18-26 November
Performance School 18 Nov / Venue: Durban Campus (Actors Sudio) 22 Nov / Venue: Wushwini Centre of Arts and Heritage Television School 25 – 26 Nov / Venue: Cinema Nouveau, Gateway Film School 25-26 / Venue: Cinema Nouveau, Gateway

On 28 November 2016 the annual AFDA Online Festival goes live online giving you an opportunity to watch and rate the productions. In the meantime, follow the progress of all the AFDA 2016 productions at the AFDA Graduation Festival OnlineView previous AFDA Graduation Festival productions. Watch AFDA’s Top 21 graduate films since 1994.

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