Wednesday, 10 January 2018

#BizTrends2018: Noteworthy films and film trends for 2018

My original article here.

10 Jan 2018

Welcome to my 2018 edition of trends in film. Let's get right into it.

A Star Wars Christmas 3.0
Disney has a plan to take some of your Christmas bonus money for at least the next 20 years. When it comes to the Star Wars franchise most of us are like, ‘shut up and take my money’. JJ Abrams gave us Episode VII: The Force Awakens in 2015 in his usual fanboy love letter style and then Gareth Edwards gave us a prequel to the original trilogy that we did not know we needed but boy, did we! 

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story answered the question of how the rebels got the plans for the Death Star and why it had such a stupid weak spot. We have yet to find out exactly how many Bothans died to get information on the second Death Star but we can’t have it all, now can we?

Now we have Rian Johnson’s much-anticipated Episode VIII: The Last Jedi currently showing in cinemas. After two years of everyone and their dog on the Interwebs theorising, we finally got the lowdown.

Star Wars: The Last Jedi is a worthy follow up
Star Wars: The Last Jedi is a worthy follow up
Let me say it right off the bat that Star Wars: The Last Jedi is a great movie and a worthy follow up to The Force Awakens. If you've been following any news about the movie, you'll know that there is a split between some Star Wars fans and film critics.

May 25 2018 sees the release of the second Star Wars anthology in the form of Han Solo: A Star Wars Story. The film went through some rough patches with initial directors, Phil Lord and Christopher Miller (21 Jump Street) getting replaced by Ron Howard (Inferno) midway through shooting. The actor from 2013’s Beautiful Creatures, Alden Ehrenreich was cast as Han Solo after an extensive search for exactly the right person for the role. 

Donald Glover is playing the other charming scoundrel, Lando Calrissian. Everyone’s favourite Khaleesi, Emila Clarke plays the female lead and Joonas Suaotamo reprises the role of Chewbacca for which he was a double in The Force Awakens. Thandie Newton, Woody Harrelson, Warwick Davis, Paul Bettany and Clint Howard are also in the cast.

Marvel v DC. . .Joking, it’s just Marvel (DC totally lost)

So much winning for Marvel every year. It’s like that time Donald Trump said: “We're going to win so much. You're going to get tired of winning." They went hard with Guardians of the Galaxy 2Spider-Man: Homecoming and the oh-so-much-fun Thor: Ragnarok. When I first saw the trailer for Avengers: Infinity War and saw Thanos in action it hit me that we watched 17 Marvel movies to get to this point! That is one huge build-up.

Marvel kicks off 2018 with Black Panther on 16 February. The trailers look mad dope and, personally, I cannot wait to see some action go down in Wakanda. The big spectacle that is Avengers: Infinity War starts on 4 May and then they close their 2018 with Ant-Man and the Wasp on 6 July.

Anastasia Steele, Lara Croft, Deadpool, a T-Rex, Grindelwald, and Aquaman walk into a bar

That sure would be an interesting evening at that bar.

Hate it or love it, the 50 Shades franchise keeps on keeping on and Christian Grey and Anastasia Steele return on 9 February 2018 for 50 Shades Freed, the er . . . climactic finale.

The Tomb Raider video games got a much-deserved overhaul with a grittier feel and a Lara Craft that does not look like a pubescent boy’s idea of a woman. 16 March 2018 sees a Tomb Raider movie in the same style as the new video games with Swedish actress, Alicia Vikander (The Light Between Two Oceans) playing Lara Croft.

Our favourite fourth wall breaking merc with a mouth returns in Deadpool 2 on the first of June and we get to see Josh Brolin as Cable, another beloved and pretty badass Marvel Comics character.

On 22 June 2018, we get some dinosaur action with Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom. Chris Pratt is still having a great go as Hollywood leading man material and is still one of the sexy Chrises.

The first dark lord of the Harry Potter world gets his day in the sun in Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald on 16 November 2018. I put the first movie off for a long time but when I got around to it it was actually quite charming and I look forward to seeing Johnny Depp’s Grindelwald and a young Dumbledore, played by Jude Law.

For all of its faults, you have to like Jason Momoa’s Aquaman in Justice League. Dude’s got a lot of styles and gets his own movie on 21 December 2018. We hope it follows in the style of Wonder Woman and not Batman v Superman.

More highlights

There is loads more happening at movies in 2018 and I can’t cover it all but here are some more titles to keep an eye out for: Ready Player OneThe Incredibles 2A Wrinkle in TimePacific Rim: UprisingThe New MutantsOcean’s EightX-Men: Dark PheonixMission Impossible 6 (these missions are clearly very possible) and wait for it . . . Mary Poppins Returns.

Here’s to a supercalifragilisticexpialidocious 2018 at the movies.

Tuesday, 9 January 2018

Star Wars: The Last Jedi Review

Original review here
Let me say it right off the bat that Star Wars: The Last Jedi is a great movie and a worthy follow up toThe Force Awakens. If you've been following any news about the movie, you'll know that there is a split between some Star Wars fans and film critics.
Some of the fans feel that the movie is not a Star Wars movie at all and lacks the franchise’s essence. Many film critics praised the movie for its strong storyline and for the manner in which it subverts the viewers’ expectation. Director Rian Johnson (The Brothers Bloom) delivers a solid Star Wars movie with many unexpected twists and turns. The Last Jedi captures the magic of Star Wars but is brave enough to turn a lot of the lore on its head and steer the franchise towards a new direction. It does take some missteps as it changes course, though.

Star Wars: The Last Jedi is a worthy follow up

A New Hope

In 2015, JJ Abrams wrote the most beautiful love letter to Star Wars in the form of The Force Awakens. As fans, we loved it because it was ‘Star Wars’. We looked past the fact that it was a rehash of A New Hope and that it did not really move our favourite franchise forward much. Sure, we got new villains in the form of the First Order, but we must admit that they were introduced as carbon copies of the Empire’s villains. We got a new weapon in the form of Starkiller base (we see what you did with the name there, JJ) and that was pretty much the third Death Star. Snoke was pretty much the Emperor, Kylo Ren wanted to be Darth Vader and General Hux (with his amazing coat) an up-and-coming Grand Moff Tarkin. The good guys followed a similar mould, with maybe the exception of Finn. Don’t get me wrong, The Force Awakens is a great movie but it served as a soft introduction to the new trilogy and did that well. Rian Johnson’s The Last Jedi has the difficult task of being a Star Wars sequel and moving the story forward in an unexpected direction. It does that well.

JJ Abrams' love letter to Star Wars
JJ Abrams' love letter to Star Wars
Okay, by now we all know that Star Wars: The Force Awakens is good. It is frighteningly good.

Luke’s words from the trailer are pretty much what The Last Jedi does: “This is not going to go the way you think”. Johnson gives the Star Wars universe some much needed fresh air by moving away from the beats we expect from a Star Wars movie. The good guys learn that they cannot fight the Dark Side using the same tactics they have been and the Dark Side goes to a place we’ve not seen before. Everything is not so Dark Side and Light Side, The Last Jedi dares to give us a grey area. We are given a new perspective on the Force and how it works and moves through the galaxy. Mark Hamill steals the show as a disillusioned Luke Skywalker. The story pays respect to the older Star Wars characters but it is more the story of solidifying the new characters’ place in the story. Every time you see Carrie Fisher as Leia onscreen you can’t help but feel emotional and her last performance as the character is beautiful. Daisy Ridley’s Rey learns to pick up the mantle as a Jedi, Oscar Isaac’s Poe Dameron learns to be a better leader and John Boyega’s Finn learns to value what he is fighting for. Adam Driver is brilliant as Kylo Ren and both his and Rey’s struggle with the Light and Dark sides of the Force is portrayed expertly. Domhall Gleeson as General Hux (his coat is so cool!) continues to vie with Kylo for the Supreme Leader Snoke’s favour. Snoke (Andy Serkis) is as menacing and mysterious as ever.

Star Wars: The Last Jedi is a worthy follow up

The Empire Strikes Back

The movie opens with the rebel scum doing their rebel thing and the First Order doing their chasing and threatening thing. Nothing new here. The Last Jedi opens on the same beat we expect from a Star Wars movie: a Star Destroyer looks cool in space, there is a cinematic battle, the good guys fly their X-wings against impossible odds whilst keeping up their humorous banter, a cute droid beeps, a villain loses his cool and a John Williams soundtrack is pushing all the right emotional buttons. It’s great. Then, all of a sudden our expectations start getting subverted at every turn. All of our YouTube prophets’ fan theories are trampled into the dust and we are in new territory. It’s great! Johnson questions things we believe about the Star Wars universe and opens new avenues of exploration.

The Last Jedi/The Return of the Jedi (They really need to make up their minds)

It’s not all lightsabers and BB8, though. The Last Jedi makes mistakes and they do take away from the vision that Johnson has. My biggest gripe is that the movie is too long. I love long movies but only when it does not feel like padding. The Last Jedi gets to a point where there is a lot of padding and what feels like unnecessary storylines. They introduce places and characters you can’t bring yourself to care about and that takes away from the brilliance of the core plot. At the end of the movie you are tired, happy, confused, possibly angry and then you go home and give it more thought and smile because this is a great middle act. The Last Jedi answers some of the questions we had offhandedly, not at all or asks us questions. The threads are left dangling and both groups of people who liked it and did not like it are left hoping that Episode IX answers all of our questions. YouTube fan theorists get to keep their jobs for the next two years as The Last Jedi leaves a lot of mysteries that need solving.

Saturday, 11 November 2017

“Stories are in our DNA” – local publisher, Charles Siboto, on South Africa’s reading culture

An article I wrote for BooksLive:

Local publisher, Charles Siboto, on our reading culture, competing with international titles and reading as tool to raise our standard of education

The South African publishing scene is a strange one, consisting of many peculiarities and oddities. The first thing that you notice is that it’s not representative of the country and its diverse range of cultures. There are many factors that lend to how lopsided our reading statistics are. The biggest factor is that as a nation we don’t read much and there are no books in most households, so a reading culture is never fostered. I have worked in publishing for four years and can testify that books are luxury items for most households because they are expensive, especially local books. Publishers would love to make books more affordable but the reality is that publishing books is expensive, with the highest cost being printing. In order for publishers to survive, they have to print enough books to cover the cost of producing the books when most of that print run sells. The more books publishers print the cheaper the cost of printing and thus the cheaper the book for buyers, but if those books don’t sell they sit with excessive stock and pay warehouse costs for that stock, which eventually will have to be pulped. The South African publishing scene, thus, is a fine balancing act of publishers trying to make books as accessible as possible while making enough money to continue existing so as to publish more books. Now, as both publisher and reader, I am thinking we can all do more to promote diverse South African literature, especially as readers.

South Africa already has a model of what a healthy, local reading culture looks like in the form of Afrikaans books. Afrikaans publishers are the biggest in the country and Afrikaans readers buy books. The Afrikaans community does have more buying power than most other language groups in the country but the other thing they have is pride in their language. Afrikaans speakers can still largely get by in our economy without having to learn English. Parents know that the country is constantly becoming more and more English but they still don’t stop placing an emphasis on children speaking and reading Afrikaans. In many cases, English is more the supplementary reading. With the other language and culture groups in the country the emphasis is more on English than on the mother tongue, and for the most part, we all know why and I will touch on this later.

Having spent some time reading books by local black writers in English, I know this is by no means a bad thing and it allows for more people being able to enjoy those books. There is an increase of the black middle-class and publishers realise that they have to tap into this market. Young, black and especially female writers are also on the rise and this makes for a great recipe to produce local books that are entertaining, informative, address social issues, expands minds and are just straight up ‘woke’. The problem with publishing in English is that people still buy more international titles than local ones in English. I am one of those people and I have made conscious decision to buy more local titles and readers who can afford to should do this. Afrikaans publishers usually do publish in English and to a smaller scale some of the other local languages but they have realised long ago that they cannot compete with the international market and have opted to focus on their strength, publishing Afrikaans books. Competing with international publishers is difficult because as a country we are not yet confident enough in the power of our own stories and this should not be so. South African publishers publish books of a high caliber that can compete with titles from the UK or the US but they get lost in the crowd. Publishers have had to be much more creative in their marketing a can continue to do so, but as readers, we should also come to the party.

We have great stories as a nation, our cultures are rich in stories that deserve to be shared with the world. I am in no way asking people to stop reading international titles but simply saying that you can read both local and international. It is refreshing to read stories where the heroes and villains are people you can relate to and people that you can imagine meeting when you walk down the street, stories where the lovers and their secrets are people like you. Local books are still expensive to produce but if we all do a little to support the local reading scene it goes a long way. We can do a lot simply by each person in a circle of friends buying one book and then swapping the books among themselves until everyone has had a chance to read every book in the circle. These are things that help to nurture our reading culture. The stronger our reading culture becomes the cheaper and more accessible books will be and publishers will be able to work with more new writers adding their voices to the tapestry of our stories.

The last thing I want to mention, especially having spent most of my publishing career working with children’s books, is that we have to promote our children reading in their mother tongues. This is way easier said than done because the resources are scarce. Resources aside, many black households are afraid to focus on children reading in their mother tongue because they might then miss out on learning English. This is not so, children who can read their own language well can better transition into a second language and excel at it. Being a multilingual society is complex but we gain more when we allow people to read in their own language and learn English in addition. This makes for more people who are truly bi- or multilingual, in the sense that they are equally proficient in multiple languages. This will take some time and resources to fully implement, though. Some publishers do prioritise publishing books for younger readers in multiple local languages and that is a great start and a process that we should support where we can. I come from a family that does not read but I was lucky to fall in love with books because we lived near a wonderful public library when I was a child so I understand that many families are too busy with the business of surviving from day to day to worry about books. But if we are to raise the standard of education and want to invest in a society of knowledgeable people we have to nurture our reading culture. Resources like public libraries help with making books accessible but all of us can add something to the culture. We can do things like buying local books if we can afford them, sharing books, giving away old books or just telling people about the magic of stories. Stories are in our DNA as a species and adding to that collective pool of knowledge only helps us to progress as a nation and as human beings.

Thursday, 22 June 2017

#Youthmonth: The kids do it themselves

22 June 2017

We've been through a lot lately, right? Madness seems to reign: numerous terrorist attacks, Trump withdrawing the US from the Paris climate accord and the Brexit sequel that is the recent UK snap election. At home things aren't any better with Zuma, Guptas email leaks, Zille getting herself into stupid situations, our public protector taking on the SA Reserve Bank out of the blue and stories of women who have been kidnapped, raped and murdered in the news every day. We are running out of hashtags for all the madness. As a world and as a country we still have a long way to go in terms of prejudices, access to education for more people and electing governments that work for everyone. Last year I wrote an article about how the colourful use of language was one of the instruments that young people use to make their voices heard, #YouthMonth: Like kids these days say.

The adults are breaking the world and this #YouthMonth I think it’s appropriate to share some good news of young people getting their #hustle on, improving their lives and that of their communities. This, then, is my eulogy of sorts to the young people of South Africa who have been through a lot and will be going through more to make their dreams come true. I write these words for you. I write them to thank you for your strength and determination. During a turbulent time, I write these words to remind you of how amazing each and every one of you are.

Making careers out of passions

Many of us are the children of miners, domestic workers, street sweepers, cashiers, construction workers, cleaners, waiters and waitresses. So many of us have had to be exceptional just to be considered normal but we always rise to the challenge. Whether we come from a township, suburb, rural village or were raised by one heroic parent or had the love of both we get up each morning and chase our dreams. I know of people who are the first in their village to go to university and then go back and help others fill in application forms for university and NSFAS forms to access funds to study. So many times, all that is needed is pointing someone in the right direction to change their lives. So many of us are embarking on or creating careers that our parents don’t understand because they didn’t exist in their time. At social gatherings, they aren’t even sure if they should be bragging or not when they tell their friends about us. That’s because the world is changing and we are making careers out of our passions. 

Walk Fresh

I know friends who wanted to write and draw comic books and they worked hard until they could do just that. This has resulted in growth in the South African comic books industry with cool ventures like Sector Comics coming into existence and Kwezi becoming one of our own homegrown superheroes. I’ve seen a dude from my university, Lethabo Mokoena, start his own funky sneaker cleaning and shoe-care service called Walk Fresh after he graduated and could not get a job. The dude loves dressing fresh, wearing a polished pair of shoes or a squeaky-clean pair of sneakers so he educated himself on how to bring the best out of people’s old and dirty footwear and at the same time created work opportunities for people in his community. 

Hanging out on YouTube, like one does, I came across a pioneer, Ludwig Marishane who grew up in rural Limpopo and at age 17 invented a solution that allows you to clean yourself without water because access to water in his village is sporadic. He called the product DryBath and went on to start his own company called Headboy Industries Inc. I also remember reading about the novel, Coconut by Kopano Matlwa that she got published when she was 21. She has since written two more novels, Spilt Milk and Period Pain. She has also gone on to become a public health physician, scholar and all-round super woman. This morning I read a story about a young woman struggling to get her law degree and how it took her much longer than the four years it should have. But after she failed because of family circumstances, not applying herself, falling pregnant and dropping out for some time to get a job so she can feed her baby she came back and eventually got it done.

Problem solvers

These are merely snapshots of the great things young people are doing to solve problems and make their dreams a reality. South Africa is a country of high youth unemployment and this mixed with many young people not growing up in stable families results in a high crime rate. But there are also so many remarkable young people doing the best that they can to rise above their circumstances. I see this in my daily interactions with people like a colleague and good friend who was telling me about her boyfriend who’s made his second movie and when I log onto Facebook and see posts by people I know getting recognition for being exceptional in some field like sport, music, literature or film. I meet people who are pushing boundaries in the sciences and it’s important that we celebrate these young people because they will all form part of the solution for the larger problems we face in our country and the world. This #YouthMonth I want all young people to know that the grand hustle continues with us at the head of it and that we will do some great things together.

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Book Review: The Crippled God

“What's three and half million words between friends?”
-          Steven Erikson

Wow! What a journey it has been since I struggled to get into Gardens of the Moon over seven years ago. It's been the best literary journey I have undertaken in my life. This series is the benchmark of all literature I have been exposed to (and I have been exposed to more literature than most people). In this last chapter of the Malazan Book of the Fallen Steven Erikson broke my heart in the best way possible. Eucatastrophe Tolkien called it, the good ending that breaks your heart. Steven Erikson is a master storyteller and makes you fall in love with hundreds of characters across the series because he makes almost every character in the series a main character in some way. The series is a tapestry of thousands of lives 'converging' and making up this beautiful epic tale of the fallen.

Friday, 23 December 2016

My Magical Place: Rogue One: A Star Wars Story Review

23 Dec 2016

Last year Disney gave us JJ Abrams' love letter to the original Star Wars trilogy in the form of Episode VII: The Force Awakens for Christmas. It was frighteningly good. This Christmas they gave us the first stand-alone story in the Star Wars anthology in the form of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.

It is frighteningly good. Rogue One is a proper Star Wars movie - it is a space opera and, mainly, it is a gritty war drama. It is a look at more everyday sort of people on the ground living under the imperial shadow, it is a look at normal soldiers fighting in the resistance. Rogue One is the story of people making good choices and bad choices at a time when things aren’t as black and white as they seem in the main movies. The Rebellion we see in Rogue One is not the one that we see in A New Hope and the means they use to get things done are questionable at times. This movie is the story of how hope is made possible for the story in A New Hope.

A different perspective

Rogue One is the story of how the Rebellion acquired the plans for the Death Star and you could watch it and almost seamlessly transition into A New Hope. We have always seen Star Wars from the perspective of the Skywalker family and the characters surrounding them and one forgets that both the Rebellion and the Empire are made up of more than just those characters and that both entities came about as a result of the intelligence, industry, courage and sacrifice of many people. The Erso family is at the heart of Rogue One’s story and it opens with Galen Erso, a brilliant scientist who once worked for the Empire, in hiding with his family. They are tracked down and he is forced back into working on the Death Star project as he is critical to its success. Our protagonist, Jyn Erso’s character is forged against this backdrop. She has grown up without her family and never really sure where she stands in the conflict between the Rebellion and the Empire. The rest of the characters are also quite amazing, even though you will not really remember anyone’s name the first time around, except for the droid, K-2SO. The other thing Rogue One does is a lot more exploring of a galaxy far, far away than any of the other movies. You visit more planets in the first few minutes of this movie than all of Force Awakens. It’s nice to be introduced to more parts of the galaxy.

Straightforward plot

The plot is quite straightforward in that this is the story of how the rebels acquire the plans to the Death Star. Our rag-tag team of heroes consists of conflicted Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones), equally conflicted rebel intelligence officer, Cassian Andor (Diego Luna); the badass blind warrior Chirrut Îmwe (Donnie Yen) and his friend Baze Malbus (Jiang Wen), former imperial pilot Bodhi Rook (Riz Ahmed) and the lovably snarky droid, K-2SO (Alan Tudyk). Mads Mikkelsen and Forest Whitaker brilliantly portray Galen Erso and Saw Garrera respectively. Expect to see some other familiar faces as well. The immediate villain is Orson Krennic (Ben Mendelsohn), an ambitious officer in the Empire who heads up the Death Star project but working under immense pressure from his superiors to get the project complete on time. In the background you have the menace of the emperor being hinted at and Darth Vader making very memorable appearances.

Perfect tie-in with Star Wars universe

Even though this is a stand-alone story, it ties in perfectly with the Star Wars universe and if you are a fan, you will find Easter eggs for the prequels, the original trilogy and the expanded universe. I went to see Rogue One with a friend of mine who’s not seen the other Star Wars movies and he liked it but at the end he’s like, “Will they destroy the Death Star in the next movie?” I had to explain to him that they did that in 1977 already. So all-in-all, Rogue One is a brilliant addition to the Star Wars universe and director, Gareth Edwards and his crew delivered the goods in terms of story, visuals, pacing and the score. At times they try and force the connection to A New Hope too much but in a manner you can forgive. I will go as far as to say that Rogue One is right up there with Empire Strikes Back and that it is even slightly better than The Force Awakens.

Wednesday, 14 December 2016

2017 at the Movies

I won't lie, you guys, I have let life capture my nerd flag for the last few months. I have not even seen Dr Strange or Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them yet. The year 2016 shall go down as just the worst - seriously, just the worst. But enough of that, take my hand and let's look ahead towards 2017 and see what good things will fill our movie loving hearts with gooey goodness.
Here are some of the movies that we can look forward to:

1. A Star Wars Christmas

This is still a 2016 feature, but since it will be on circuit quite a bit into 2017 it warrants a mention. As you all know, Disney does not mess around when they take over a franchise. We will have Star Wars for Christmas in one way or another for the rest of our lives. As long as there are Star Wars fans and Disney can make money from us there will be Star Wars. 

Last year gave us JJ Abrams’ beautiful love letter to the original trilogy, Episode VII: The Force Awakens. This year, we get the first of probably one million anthologies that are meant to tide us over in between the main movies, of which we’ll get one every two years. The first anthology feature that we will receive is titled Rogue One and it looks brilliant. You know how you have always wondered how the rebels got the plans for the first Death Star? Or exactly how many Bothans died to get information on the second Death Star? No, you never wondered? Well Rogue One will answer the former question for you anyway. Just take a look at the trailer and get excited about more Star Wars. 

The cast looks to be pretty impressive too with Felicity Jones (The Theory of Everything, 2014) in the lead role and cool people like Mads Mikkelsen (Dr Strange, 2016), Alan Tudyk (Firefly) and Forest Whitaker (Arrival, 2016) lending their support.

2. Marvel v DC: Comic Book Movie War

This war is rather one-sided with Marvel pretty much still dominating. 2016 saw them release their first entries in Phase 3 with Captain America: Civil War and Dr Strange, both of which received favourable responses at the box office and with the fans. 2017 looks like it will up the ante with Guardians of the Galaxy 2 set to drop in May (hopefully with another killer soundtrack); our favourite neighbourhood Spider-Man gets his time in the sun with Homecoming in July; and things get apocalyptic in Thor: Ragnorok in November.

The DC Extended Universe (DCEU) has had a rocky start with Batman v Superman being a hit in some ways and quite a miss in many other ways. With Suicide Squad, their heart was certainly in the right place, but it also failed to hit the mark in many ways (and you thought Deadshot never misses). What DC does have is some strong characters to work with and a good foundation for their Justice League venture. Batman and Wonder Woman were amazing in Batman v Superman and Harley Quinn became an instant hit in Suicide Squad. 2017 will give us the much anticipated Wonder Woman movie in June and the first Justice League movie in November.

Superheroes seem still to be a thing for the foreseeable future. Who knew?

3. A little nostalgia

You are over superhero movies you say?

Say no more, Fam. Say no more. 2017 knows that you are all about reliving your childhood and will hook you up with that good stuff. Remember watching Power Rangers before school in the morning and then ending up being late? Well, now you get to see the movie in March 2017. 

Baywatch? Hot bodies and slow motion beach running. May 2017 will have that for you and there is no hotter body to do the slow beach running for you than The Rock himself. Speaking of The Rock, you liked Jumanji as a child, right? 2017 will hook you up with that too in December and throw The Rock in for good measure. The whole The Rock thing probably made you think of Vin Diesel and 2017 is like don’t worry we know you didn’t like the XXX 2 movie with Ice Cube, so we will hook you up with XXX: The Return of Xander Cage in January and Fast 8 in April just for fun. You know how it is, The Rock, Vin Diesel, fast cars, hot women, family and not really eight characters. It’s like 12 people who are somewhat fast. 2017 is lit. It even has the live action version of Beauty and the Beast up its sleeve for you in March. All I will say is Emma Watson. Hopefully that means something to you (#heforshe).

4. Dropping names and all that

You always have to end off with that name dropping session, just to show that you know who’s who in the biz. In 2017 you’ll also have Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, Kong: Skull Island, Logan (that’s Wolverine by the way), Transformers: The Last Knight, Alien: Covenant, War for the Planet of the Apes, The Dark Tower, King Arthur: Legend of the Sword, Ghost in the Shell (we’ll have to talk about Hollywood whitewashing when this hits), John Wick: Chapter 2 and Fifty Shades Darker.

There are many more titles scheduled for good ol’ 2017, but those are the ones scheduled to make some waves.

Here’s to a happy 2017 at the movies.

Wednesday, 20 July 2016

Honest Trailers - Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice

When BvS: Dawn of Justice came out I wrote a review for it over on and I had many mixed feelings about it. It seem the guys over at Honest Trailers agree with me.

Monday, 13 June 2016

Book Review: Affluenza

Wow, this is such a great read for anyone interested in satirical stories about all the crazy and weird things that make up South Africa. Niq Mhlongo tackles issues like racism, xenophobia, homophobia, crime, land redistribution and economic equality with a flair that is just magical. They stories really speak to me and I relate on so many levels with the South African (but especially Jozi) culture of continuous hussle to attain wealth and status to impress people you don't know. The stories are a lot like Herman Charles Bosman's Oom Schalk Lourens stories in their tone and satire.

"This is Johussleburg and everyone here is suffering from affluenza. Almost every black person pretends to be rich while staying in a rented room."

Tuesday, 7 June 2016

#YouthMonth: Like kids these days say

07 Jun 2016

Heita da! What's drugs my dealer? What's crack-a-lackin'? Umoja? Fo' shizzle my nizzle? It's all good in the hood. You'd best keep your urban dictionary close by for this one.
Language, it’s something special isn’t it? In his song, Sing for the Moment, Eminem says: “I guess words are a motherf*cker, they can be great / Or they can degrade, or even worse, they can teach hate”. Words move us and have a magic about them, especially when you use them in ways that defy the rules of grammar. Language is fluid and ever-changing and there is always a tug-of-war between the powers that be in university ivory towers and everyday people who use language as a tool to communicate as to what the rules of language are.

#YouthMonth: Like kids these days say

The beauty of slang

June sees us celebrating the school pupils who lost their lives during the 16 June 1976 uprising in Soweto. Those kids stood up for the right to be educated in a language that they could understand. The great thing about this is that once you understand your own language, you find appreciation for the beauty of other languages. 40 years after those kids stood up for their right to understand what they were being taught, we live in a multilingual South Africa that has become a unique place in the world in terms of the amount of languages that are used in our interactions on a daily basis. This is most evident in the slang we use. We have 11 official languages, and many others from other regions of the world, spoken in our streets and the slang that has emerged is just typically South African and a thing of beauty.

We all have this unique flavour of speaking to which the world at large cannot compare. Think of how we confuse foreigners when we tell them to turn left at the second robot. Where else are you in a taxi (like a proper South African taxi) and you shout “sho’t left” from the back and the driver knows what you want? Nowhere else, pappa! 


We have the kids from koKasi with their township flow whose levels of cool you cannot even hope to compete with. Libala tsotsi, just forget. The urban slang of my home, the dirty south of Jozi, with okes chasing binnets for days, my china. The language that only my goons and I use when we get together for some sips and my one friend always ends up being such a chop. I remember the days of 1337 (elite) speak when gamers thought replacing words with letters was the height of cool and n00bs would be pwnd (owned). Eish, and then Twitter came with its hashtags and no community took to it better than South Africans, especially our Minister of Sport and Recreation, Mr Fikzo Mbalula. The dude’s always #onfleek on Twitter. Even the way we discuss politics and serious matters like students protesting the increase of fees has changed since 1976. Think of movements like #feesmustfall, #zumamustfall or #blacklivesmatter. Only in Mzanzi do we have hunky politician referred to as ‘The People’s Bae’. That being the EFF’s Mbuyiseni Ndlozi.

Language is fun for days, you guys. Eish, mara it can be dangerous too, if we use it to break people down instead of building them up. Racism, sexism, homophobia and all kinds of other prejudice have their own slang. That’s the stuff we don’t need. As young people, we face many obstacles, but we are ambitious, we are hungry for success and we can always push to be better. Every day we are hustling, as the motto goes. There is a magic here, you guys, even when things get hectic. Slang is a way to cross language boundaries and unite South Africans... and the youth is way ahead of the curve in this movement. 

As the kids say these days, “we are just out here living our best life”.