Spling reviews Murder Mystery, What’s My Name: Muhammad Ali and The Colour of Wine as broadcast on Talking Movies, Fine Music Radio. Listen to podcast.
“Good morning – welcome to Talking Movies, I’m Spling…
This week, we’re talking about a crime comedy caper, a sports documentary and a local wine documentary.
Starting off with…
A New York cop and his wife go on a European vacation , but end up getting framed for murder.
Director: Kyle Newacheck
Stars: Adam Sandler, Jennifer Aniston and Luke Evans
– films like Clue, based on the popular board game also known as Cluedo in South Africa, are fun dark comedy romps in which anyone can be the killer including the Butler
– the popular murder mystery game adaptation has a DVD feature which results in a random outcome, testament to the compelling and lasting intrigue of a whodunnit comedy
– while Murder Mystery pivots on this concept, it’s also influenced by films like Date Night and The Out-of-Towners, centring on an ordinary couple in an unlikely predicament who are wildly out of their depth
– Sandler and Aniston are comfortable together having co-starred in Just Go with It, which is excellent advice for this fun comedy crime caper
– lightly amusing, moving from billionaire yachts to French city-living, the film has a holiday feel as a bumbling cop and hairdresser find themselves on the run
– Sandler’s films have become quite base and crude, yet Murder Mystery aims for mainstream appeal, toning down his fraternity style sense of humour
– there’s a South African connection, featuring John Kani and produced by Charlize Theron
– while star-studded, it’s a fun-filled and lightweight caper with plenty of twists-and-turns
– far from sophisticated and just good enough to tip the balance in its favour, it will appeal to those who have enjoyed any of the aforementioned films
A satisfactory 6 on the splingometer
Moving on to…
WHAT’S MY NAME: MUHAMMED ALI
Director: Antoine Fuqua
Features: Muhammed Ali, George Foreman and Malcolm X
– Muhammed Ali’s name has been immortalised in sporting history as one of the greats, a charismatic and singular boxing icon, whose influence is still felt today with many posters, books, films and retrospectives
– while the name and catchphrase “float like a butterfly, sting like a bee” have become embedded in pop culture, this eye-opening documentary doesn’t even reference it and makes you realise how little you actually do know about the man
– comprehensive, covering his highly publicised name change from Cassius Clay to Muhammed Ali, his religious and political affiliations, his philanthropic side and his rugged determination to continue well beyond his best years, the almost 2 and a half hour documentary gives you a much fuller picture of his life’s work and impact
– relying almost exclusively on interviews with Ali, sport, newsreel and never-before-seen footage, Fuqua manages to assemble a compelling chronological tapestry of Ali’s career, highlights and controversies
– surprisingly funny, ushering in the next generation of sports entertainment and dedicated to being the greatest, arguably at psychological warfare, this entertaining documentary from HBO gets the lowdown without having to punctuate the footage with retrospective commentary or narration
– masterfully edited, full of vitality and able to capture the essence of the sports icon against the rich social history of the United States, it’s a documentary that works on many levels
An excellent 8 on the splingometer!
THE COLOUR OF WINE
Winemaking in post-Apartheid South Africa according to industry professionals through the eyes of several students.
Director: Akin Omotoso
Features: John Platter, Michael Fridjhon and Ntsiki Biyela
– winemaking in South Africa has been shaped by a number of political ages, from firm government control to the deregulation of the industry
– graduating from the export of about 20 million litres, the industry is now closer to 400 million litres
– it’s appreciation has come to be associated with the elite and sophisticated, yet even some experts would argue it’s more about the discovery, challenging one to order the cheapest bottle off the menu
– director and actor Akin Omotoso, sets about uncovering the industry, its turbulent history under Apartheid, its challenges, its racial divisions and ultimately it story of gradual transformation
– gathering interviews from the Cape Winelands to New York, Omotoso gets commentary from winemakers, writers, governmental figures and academia to get a wealth of experience, history and opinion
– while a modest production, the subject matter is curious and interviews are diverse, representing a full spectrum of people from different walks of life
– focusing on several students, who have each become established within the wine industry, he assembles their interviews to mine their experience of making it in the wine industry despite their social backgrounds during a period of transformation
– attempting to shatter stereotypes, dislodge the notion that wine is reserved exclusively for some over others, it’s an interesting and provocative journey that attempts to mimic the qualities of an easy-drinking wine
– while it has some good notes, it does come across as scattershot and could have been more effective with fewer talking heads and a more personal focus on one student’s journey
A satisfactory 6 on the splingometer
So just to wrap up…
MURDER MYSTERY… a lightweight, fun-filled and star-studded whoddunit-holiday-style crime comedy caper… A satisfactory 6!
WHAT’S MY NAME: MUHAMMED ALI… this cleverly edited and comprehensive sports documentary captures Ali’s essence and relives his iconic career… An excellent 8!
THE COLOUR OF WINE… an overview of South Africa’s turbulent social politics and transformative history via an array of wine industry people… A satisfactory 6!
For more movie reviews, interviews and previous Talking Movies podcasts visit splingmovies.com.
And remember, Don’t WING it, SPL!NG it!”