Spling reviews This is Not a Burial, It’s A Resurrection, The Woman in the Window and Palm Springs 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 drama, a sci-fi comedy and a psychological crime thriller.
Starting off with a film now on circuit…
THIS IS NOT A BURIAL, IT’S A RESURRECTION
When her village is threatened, an 80-year-old widow finds a new will to live and ignites the spirit of resilience within her community.
Writer-Director: Lemohang Jeremiah Mosese
Stars: Mary Twala, Jerry Mofokeng and Makhaola Ndebele
– This is the last of Mary Twala’s films, a veteran South African actress with a storied face, whose haunting swansong performance cues her final farewell.
– It’s a film she can be proud of, integral to its success, one of many excellent casting decisions.
– This is Not a Burial, It’s a Resurrection is an unconventional film, which feels fresh in its approach to storytelling.
– Seemingly influenced by the work of David Lynch, sound is used in a surreal way to create an unsettling metaphysical mood.
– Mosese is self-taught, whose aim was to unfurl a fresh filmic language in this inventive, original and multi-layered tale.
– Beautifully composed and photographed, scenes play out like haunting paintings, especially the bookends, which are powerful, rich and poetic.
– Deconstructing a funeral, the filmmaker unpacks aspects relating to inheritance, legacy, mortality and religion.
– Serving as a sociopolitical commentary without becoming preachy, this drama touches on a number of timely African narratives.
– It’s an artful, unconventional and even mesmerising film that plays like a horror with visual inspiration from the work of Robert Eggers.
– A spirited performance from Twala and solid key supporting performances anchor the drama while the audiovisual treatment gives it an otherworldly feel.
– The visuals and performances are complemented by the dialogue, which has a poetic touch set against Lesotho’s culture, heritage and natural beauty.
An excellent 8 on the splingometer!
Moving on to a film on Netflix…
THE WOMAN IN THE WINDOW
An agoraphobic woman spying on her new neighbors witnesses a disturbing act of violence.
Director: Joe Wright
Stars: Amy Adams, Gary Oldman and Julianne Moore
– It’s been lovingly crafted, as you’d expect from the Atonement director, who brings a surreal colour palette into play serving as a metaphoric extension of her state of mind.
– Adams has tended towards dramatic roles more recently, following up Hillbilly Elegy with another fine performance.
– Supported by Oldman and Moore in a scene-stealing scene to match Matthew McConaughey in The Wolf of Wall Street, it’s a surprisingly strong cast rounded off with Anthony Mackie.
– Fresh by virtue of its female lead, surreal take and flashbacks, this mystery thriller knowingly tips the hat to Hitchcock, while creating something fresh in the process.
– It’s a fine production that builds suspense as we too are led to question reality until breaking point.
– Cleverly tying into the current lockdown mentality, the film taps into people’s experiences of lockdown, mental duress and over-medication.
– A smart contemporary feel, reinforced by timely themes, featuring many exquisite shots and cultivating a dreamlike state, The Woman in the Window’s an entertaining, thoughtful and mind-altering psychological thriller.
– While it starts strong, a few missteps, a minor detour and tonal inconsistencies threaten to derail the film, which stumbles but manages to recover.
– A subpar adaptation and gushing tribute, it will intrigue Hitchcock fans and serves as a stand-alone departure in another sense.
A satisfactory 6 on the splingometer!
And finally a film on DStv Box Office…
Stuck in a time loop, two wedding guests develop a budding romance.
Director: Max Barbakow
Stars: Andy Samberg, Cristin Milioti and J.K. Simmons
– Samberg has come a long way, compelled by his role in Brooklyn Nine-Nine after a rocky start to his film career.
– Palm Springs starts in a similar fashion, throwing the viewer in the deep end and not doing all that much to endear itself.
– While the “stoner comedy” vibrations make it crude and unsavoury at times, the film’s largely redeemed by its high concept and big heart.
– Employing a Groundhog Day style device in which a time loop forces the protagonists to relive a day, it’s refreshed by the arrival of a love interest.
– While toying with the idea of repeating the same day does eventually work its way to a spiritual dimension in questioning life, the power of choice and the futility of repeating the same day, Palm Springs tries to retain its mainstream comedy appeal.
– It may be rough around the edges but this modest comedy outperforms itself, leveraging an intriguing concept and co-lead chemistry to remain compelling.
– Set at a wedding, the writers have great fun with toasts, stealing the spotlight, emerging wedding party secrets and herding the oddball characters.
– It’s a funny, lively, spirited and enjoyable film that overcomes it’s distasteful moments through likeable characters, charming stars and some clever handling of twists-and-turns along the way.
– Destined to be a cult comedy hit, it’s definitely not for everyone but makes a worthwhile distraction and the breezy 90 minute voyage into the jaded realm of “romcoms” comes with a fresh and funny angle.
It did just enough to get a solid 7 on the splingometer!
So just to wrap up…
THIS IS NOT A BURIAL, IT’S A RESURRECTION… a haunting and surreal atmosphere, visionary direction, timely themes and poetic storytelling compel this inventive arthouse drama… An excellent 8!
THE WOMAN IN THE WINDOW… in spite of its flaws, this entertaining tribute to Hitchcock’s Rear Window commands a stellar cast and beautifully surreal visuals… A satisfactory 6!
PALM SPRINGS… this fun-spirited sci-fi comedy’s off-colour humour is mitigated by its compelling concept refresh and charming performances… A solid 7!
For more movie reviews, previous Talking Movies podcasts and upcoming Bingeing with Spling watch parties visit splingmovies.com.
And remember, Don’t WING it, SPL!NG it!