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Spling's Galileo Pick of the Week: Almost Famous


Spling's Pick of the Week - Almost Famous at Noordhoek Common

ALMOST FAMOUS @ NOORDHOEK COMMON (30 Dec)

Almost Famous is an immersive rock 'n' roll experience that follows young William whose Rolling Stone assignment finds him caught in the middle of the infamous 70s rock scene, covering a band called Stillwater on their first tour. Filmmaker Cameron Crowe has a tremendous love for music, as evidenced by his filmography and the soundtrack, which includes music from the age such as: Simon & Garfunkel, The Beach Boys, Rod Stewart, Led Zeppelin, David Bowie, Cat Stevens and The Who.

While it boasts an authentic screenplay steeped in soul-searching dialogue, it's also backed by a stellar cast including: Kate Hudson, Billy Crudup, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Francis McDormand, Jason Lee and Zooey Deschanel. Whether you lived in the era or not, this coming-of-age drama is timeless enough to appeal to just about everyone.

This nostalgic rock 'n roll drama is showing under the stars at The Galileo Open Air Cinema.

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Spling's Galileo Pick of the Week: Love Actually


Spling's Pick of the Week - Love Actually at Meerendal

LOVE ACTUALLY @ MEERENDAL (23 Dec)

Love Actually is heartwarming, funny and tender... a film that embodies the Christmas spirit. Richard Curtis knows how to tug at heart strings and engross us in uplifting human comedy drama. Backed by an all-star cast, we're entertained by this family holiday romance, which has been copied but never bettered.

The feeling of familiarity you have with the characters, the airport sentiment and tales of love in all its intricacies is bound to soften even the hardest of hearts. British schmaltz has never been this enjoyable and with Bill Nighy keeping it real as a rock star, this one's worth dusting off for the holiday season.

This heartwarming Christmas comedy romance drama is showing under the stars at The Galileo Open Air Cinema.

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Spling's Galileo Pick of the Week: The Jungle Book


Spling's Pick of the Week - The Jungle Book at Kelvin Grove

THE JUNGLE BOOK @ KELVIN GROVE (18 Dec)

While the beloved 1967 Disney fairytale probably has a special place in most people's hearts, few would have guessed that it would be reimagined as a much darker "live–action" adaptation of Rudyard Kipling's books. Apart from being an extraordinary achievement in film-making, Iron Man director Jon Favreau has necessitated this "remake" by virtue of its more impactful adaptation. The original Disney classic gets tribute as various scenes echo in this version, however it's much more immediate and dangerous.

It holds the same enjoyment and entertainment factor, despite playing down the musical and comedy aspects, yet managing to get much more from its audience in terms of suspense and sheer wonder. It may not have the emotional resonance you'd expect from such a coming-of-age fable, but as a spectacle it's a marvel and will stay with you for days. Read more...

This brooding live-action Disney fantasy adventure is showing under the stars at The Galileo Open Air Cinema.

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Spling's Galileo Pick of the Week: Amelie


Spling's Pick of the Week - Amelie at Kirstenbosch

AMELIE @ KIRSTENBOSCH (7 Dec)

Amélie is a quaint, quirky and luminous French art house romance drama that is cherished by almost everyone that sees it. Delicately counterbalancing sentimental and whimsical, this film is the reason people take their garden gnomes and keepsakes on holiday. Audrey Tatou's magical and unforgettable performance has made her Amélie in everyone's hearts and minds. The trinket box tone and intimate cinematography keep us up close and personal with a charming, spirited and offbeat character, who never ceases to amuse and amaze us.

Many would say "it's so French" and they wouldn't be wrong! Encapsulating Paris from chimney tops to fresh produce stands makes it a quintessential French film. While cute, it navigates between roses and thorns to deliver a naive and uplifting romance story that will reignite the child-like innocence inside of everyone, making us want to believe in magic and perform random acts of kindness more readily.

This French art house classic is showing under the stars at The Galileo Open Air Cinema.

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Top 5 - AFDA Graduate Film Festival 2016 (CT)


Here are Spling's Top 5 short films from the 2016 AFDA Graduation Film Festival held in Cape Town at the Labia Theatre... to watch these student short films online, click on the link below each review to be redirected to their official page on AFDA's website and then click on the 'View Production' button towards the bottom right.

CHRISTMAS SPIRIT

Christmas Spirit is a dark comedy about an abrasive family, who are anticipating a visit from their Christmassy yet much-hated "Grandpa". This madcap short film has a similar tone to the BBC sitcom, My Family, yet takes the Christmas motif to new depths of dysfunction as the festive decorations become a symbol for their disdain for "Grandpa".

The filmmakers have cleverly balanced horror and comedy that recalls the work of Sam Raimi and Edgar Wright through their knack for irreverence and surprise. While ambitious, they manage to deck this Christmas tree with some sparkling comedy and over-the-top horror. Smart writing, great timing, relatable themes, convincing special effects and sharp comedy performances make this despicable laugh fest truly special as "Christmas Spirit" takes on a whole new meaning.

Watch Christmas Spirit Online


THE FALL

The Fall is a gripping psychological thriller about an award-winning photojournalist who suffers a nervous breakdown. By means of aerial photography and CBD backdrops, Cape Town becomes a character in this elegant and epic film, which broaches social alienation, the grey area of photojournalistic integrity and its repercussions as addressed in The Bang Bang Club.

Two excellent co-leads drive the intensity of this dizzying drama, which seems to have taken inspiration from films like Fight Club. The hard-hitting soundtrack, unorthodox cinematography and surreal flashbacks whip up a frenzy of emotion, which spirals upward to the big lump-in-the-throat reveal. Sleek visuals, seamless special effects, pangs of turmoil and a complete story, this short film could easily be extrapolated into a feature film.

Watch The Fall Online


DARLING, YOU'RE MINE

Darling, You're Mine is a powerful period piece drama that goes behind-the-scenes to reveal the dark underside of Hollywood. The industry has a shady history of discrimination, encapsulated in biographies like Trumbo, where social injustices become the norm. Elegantly shot and sensitively scripted, this harrowing drama shows the disgusting abuse of power and inherent gender inequality of the system as experienced by a young starlet trying to forge her film career.

Solid performances, authentic sets, wardrobe, make up and impressive production values make it seem like an excerpt from a much broader work. A real-life human nature horror, this immersive drama ends on a poignant note with a statistic that makes this '50s short film haunting and powerful. The ambiguous title, Darling, You're Mine plays into the sweet etiquette of the era and leaves you with a bitter afterthought that brings you back to the here and now.

Watch Darling, You're Mine Online


NUMB

Numb is an intimate drama and portrait of a long time couple whose relationship is put to the test when one of them is relegated to a wheelchair and crippled even further by his feelings of inadequacy. We journey with Griffin, a gregarious, go-getting downhill biker with a big future as he is quickly reduced to an uncertain, self-doubting and pitiful husk of a man.

While the cinematography is beautifully composed and silky, Numb will be best remembered for two thoughtful, nuanced and sensitive performances. It's a heartbreaking and all-too-real drama that provokes thought and evokes emotion, making every second count in completing a convincing character transition. Mature writing underpins this honest and restrained short film about a man dealing with post traumatic stress disorder.

Watch Numb Online


BLUE MIDNIGHT

It's no secret, Blue Midnight has been inspired by Nicolas Winding Refn's Drive. A commanding lead performance makes this a compelling watch. While sparsely scripted, stylised shots keep it moody and visually-stimulating, reinforced by the oppressive air created by the soundtrack. The familiarity carries over into other films like Crash and Taken as elements involving father and daughter coincide.

Diners, bars, gas stations... it exists in a universal Edward Hopper dimension, where the bakkie is the only real thing that anchors it in South Africa. The naming convention parallel with Blue Velvet is no accident. This film imbues a sleek, surreal and seething tone with sound design that seems on the cusp of tripping into Lynchland. While heavily influenced by other filmmakers, it plays into its enticing title, making you wish there was more...

Watch Blue Midnight Online

While they didn't quite make the Top 5, these short films deserve a special mention: the classy social issue drama Full Service, the Hollywood horror Alice, the maniacal What Goes Bump in the Night, the ethereal Crisis at the Summit and visually compelling character portrait, Tom.

 
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