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Brothers Movie Review: Blood Ties Run Deep

Brothers is a Jim Sheridan film, starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Tobey Maguire and Natalie Portman. Sheridan’s film career highlights include: My Left Foot and In The Name of the Father, in which he received Oscar nominations for writing and directing. Two films in which prolific Oscar-winning actor, Daniel Day-Lewis stars. However, Brothers is not a Day-Lewis Oscar vehicle and the screenplay is adapted by acclaimed screenwriter David Benioff.

Brothers was inspired by Brødre, a 2004 film by award-winning Danish writer-director, Susanne Bier. The story is about two brothers, Sam (Maguire) is serving his country in Afghanistan and Tommy (Gyllenhaal) is serving parole after a prison sentence. When Sam is left for dead after a helicopter crash, Tommy naturally steps in to comfort Sam’s wife, Grace (Portman) and her two girls in their mourning. However, when Sam returns to suburbia, the ravages of war and his jealousy over Uncle Tommy’s new place in the family seem set to rip the family apart.

Brothers makes a compelling drama with some intense scenes involving the classic lover’s triangle. The film is reminiscent of In The Valley of Elah in the spirit of the performances and the re-integration of marines into white picket fence society. It’s a hard-hitting thriller, which creates tension in the gray area surrounding a family member’s passing and...continued.

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"Is AVATAR Racist?"


"Is Avatar racist?" That has become the burning question in the wake of Avatar's release and subsequent box office success. It was the same question that raised its ugly head after the success of Neill Blomkamp's District 9. One predominantly white race domineering, infiltrating or pioneering their way into the midst of an "other". An "other" whose forest, dwellings and general living conditions are reminiscent of a more identifiable human race. The parallels are there... in both cases "alien" beings constitute the collateral damage in a war for resources, expansion or containment.

The spirit of imperialism: explore, command and conquer is nothing new to Hollywood, conflict makes for compelling viewing. Two opposing forces with different objectives are bound to clash when negotiation fails or one faction's immediate needs are not met. It's the story behind every war that's ever been waged and this forms the crux of Avatar.

The complication arises when one member of the dominant faction crosses over. Suddenly, the rules change and it becomes more intimate... more about intrinsic race than resources. It's a fine line... which can be argued from either side. On the one hand, the film acknowledges and appreciates differences. Jake Sully is vulnerable without the help of the Na'vi when he first enters their territory. He slowly grows accustomed to their way of life, adopting their rituals and life force - realising his strength in the otherness and committing himself to Neytiri. Then the opposing view suggests that when yet another white saviour rises to lead, it implies that the otherness is too inferior or ill-equipped to prevail in a situation echoing colonialism. It all depends on your frame of reference.

I don't for one minute believe James Cameron was trying to echo racist sentiment in Avatar. When I watched Avatar, I experienced the exact opposite reaction... believing the subversive message was aimed squarely at Corporate America with a similar sentiment to Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth. If anything he was focusing on the Na'vi's otherness in an attempt to reflect our fragile environmental condition on Earth. Race, natural resources... the two are interchangeable in Pandora, harnessing the importance of both acceptance and preservation. If you're looking for racism, chances are you'll find it. If Avatar is racist, then here are some more films that should also be flagged down: Star Trek, Star Wars, Transformers, Watchmen, The Dark Knight, Twilight... the list goes on. 

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TV A-Team vs. Movie A-Team Trailer Showdown

Screw G.I. Joe, The A-Team are the action heroes from the '80s... destined to be everybody's favourite crack commando squad of mercenaries from now until the end of time. I can tell... I had a Murdock action figure, but they had it all: Hannibal Smith's disguises, B.A.'s bling, Murdock's crazy eyes and Faceman's well… face.

They brought television to the people like Robin Hood and his merry men would've if they'd had TV with action-packed adventure, comedy, crime and heaps of explosive (and surprisingly blood-free) violence for the masses. Now they're back from Vietnam... *cough* Iraq and in 20 years… possibly Guatemala? No, not the originals... although that would be even more hilarious than a Rolling Stones reunion 10 years ago! Imagine - B.A: Only FOOLS do drugs, son. Kid: Eat my shorts old man!

So what are The A-Team (2010) under Liam Neeson going to do to up the tempo? Film in Technicolor? Start using corn syrup or stunt doubles? The possibilities are endless... (as long as they don't stray into Charlie's Angels territory) and that's exactly why they should be able to pull this plan together on 20 August, 2010! Well, what are you waiting for... watch TV A-Team take on Movie A-Team in this Trailer Showdown. I love it when Plan 'B' comes together... The New A-Team Line-up

THE A-TEAM: Review? Tickets? Watch This Space



Dvbee: Have You Heard The Buzz?

dvbeeI walked into the Pick 'n Pay Express convenience store at the BP garage in Tokai, Cape Town to pick up some milk. You know... the one that's just off the M3 Tokai off-ramp... come on, the one just before Blue Route Mall!? Anyway, I picked up a 2-litre low fat milk and headed to the cashiers. Out of the corner of my eye, I spotted something... something big, something gleaming with the letters d-v-b-e-e on it. I had to look. It was like an ATM with a bee on it, about 2 metres tall with an interactive touch screen, a membership card slot and one of those thingies to swipe your credit card. Honey on-tap? No - this wasn't a David Lynch movie, this was real life so I edged closer...

A vending machine, that stocks DVDs... I was blown away! I wanted to knock to see if there was someone hiding inside the machine, dispensing DVD rentals at will, but then remembered the "too-good-to-be-true" moments from Leon Schuster and Jamie Uys candid camera sketches and realised that I was probably being monitored by Pick 'n Pay security. The screen said 'Touch Me' or 'Touch Screen to Begin', I forget... but I did. Suddenly I was presented with several options... whoa, I could Rent DVDs, Return DVDs and Buy DVDs. I pressed 'Rent DVDs'. Another screen flipped up to reveal a wide selection of new release DVD titles with their DVD cover images. I felt like I was Tom Cruise in Minority Report.

Thoughts started rushing through my head like the precogs... What happens if my DVD gets stuck like a packet of chips from one of those nightmare corkscrew dispenser vending machines? Will I have to shake dvbee DVD vending machinethe machine to make it drop down? I threw caution to the wind and used my left hand to guide my trembling right hand to press The Boat That Rocked DVD cover, half expecting the machine to lift-off or swallow me. It didn't! It just added my selection to what it calls a <open air quotes>Basket<close air quotes> and asked if I'd like to rent more DVDs. I gulped and pressed 'Yes'. Star Trek XI? In the basket. Mamma Mia... too risky, I felt a curious onlooker's eyes on my back, so I switched to The Wrestler instead. In the basket AGAIN, I felt like Michael Jordan!

Now for the moment of blinding truth... would it accept my credit card? It did! What, no SMS transaction notification? Then the penny dropped, not in the machine, but in my head! It charges you when you return the DVDs - and that's how it knows how long you've rented them for! Cool - R20 for a 24 hour DVD rental (pretty standard) or R11 for a 6 hour DVD rental (good to know). The brief moment of clarity clouded over again. How was this "vending machine" going to make the DVDs magically appear in my hands? Well... I took a step back as I heard the whirring robot come to life. Foooweeep... as its robotic arm reached inside itself to find The Boat That Rocked... sliding it out in a cool jet black carry case. Foooweep... foooweep... and suddenly I had all three!

It was like paying for 1 hour's parking with a R100 note or Christmas even... I had three brilliant movies in my hands without having to have any mugshots taken, part with my personal details or decipher whether I should pick the covers off the shelf or bring some grubby rental token to the counter! Plus I didn't have any spotty over-the-counter movie buff to judge my selection... I could have just as easily rented Tinkerbell without having to pretend I have kids... head held high. I guess that's why they call it dv-bee... I was on a buzz! The dvbee machine had made my day (or night... it was 10:30pm) and I knew that I could return them just before 10:30pm the following night, giving me plenty of time to sleep in... BRILLIANT!

I looked up to the heavens, 2-litre milk in one hand, DVDs in the other, waiting for a pale green alien light to beam me up... and realised I was still indoors. "Heavens"... thankfully, I noticed the 3 DVDs per day, R100 per month subscription... my jawPS3 dropped and I quickly SMSed "I want to subscribe" to 072 264 1939 so I could be ready for Round 2. Without even realising it, by subscribing before February 14th, I had inadvertently put myself in a beeline to win a PS3 console, free subscription from 3 months to a year and Jungle Beat movies just in time for Valentine's Day on 14 February, 2010. What!? They've also got machines in Noordhoek, Camps Bay and Stellenbosch Friendly Stores? "Somebody pinch me".


Had I walked past security without paying for the milk? Was my car being taken for a joy ride? No. I was on the couch and the irritating noise was my wake-up alarm on my cellphone. Was it 11am already? Had it all been a dream? The magical dvbee DVD vending machine, the DVDs... the feeling of euphoria? I reached across the couch and blindly searched for the remote, knocking the bowl of stale microwave popcorn to the ground. The TV came to life and as I opened my crusty eyes, Mickey Rourke stared back at me from the screen... dressed as a wrestler? It had all been TRUE! I thought about throwing an air punch to celebrate, but then decided I'd save it for later... when I did it all again!

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