Talking Movies: Blue Miracle, Shaleen Surtie-Richards: I Am Who I Am and The Devil All the Time

Spling reviews Blue Miracle, Shaleen Surtie-Richards: I Am Who I Am and The Devil All the Time as broadcast on Talking Movies, Fine Music Radio. Listen to podcast.

TRANSCRIPT

Good morning – welcome to Talking Movies, I’m Spling…

This week, we’re talking about a crowdpleasing coming-of-age sports drama, a celebrity documentary and a sinister drama.

Starting off with a film now on Netflix…

BLUE MIRACLE

A cash-strapped orphanage join forces with a boat captain to take their shot at winning a fishing competition.

Director: Julio Quintana

Stars: Dennis Quaid, Jimmy Gonzales and Bruce McGill

– This coming-of-age comedy drama has many shades of blue, playing like a lightweight comedy in the vein of Spare Parts yet delving into some surreal dream states to offer greater depth and a poetic multi-dimensional undertone.
– A playful comedy concept, this naïve spirit is refreshing in an age where entertainment has grown quite dark.
– Quaid is becoming a regular when it comes to starring in faith-based films such as Soul Surfer and I Can Only Imagine, yet he’s quite selective about his roles.
– He’s perfectly cast, offering a sharp contrast against the charming and warmer Gonzales.
– Delivering a sturdy performance as a washed-out sea captain, there’s an infectious charm at play as a cantankerous fisherman, an earnest orphanage manager and his boys work towards a common goal.
– The film is taken from Omar’s perspective as he tries to hold it all together, keeping things upbeat in the most dire of circumstances.
– The colour palette reinforces the title, recalling Big Blue yet functioning as a rather surreal experience with so many blues coming through.
– Earnest performances, an entertaining adventure, sleek cinematography and a heartfelt story make for an uplifting family-friendly gem of a movie.
– A faith-based film it’s still enjoyable enough as a lightweight distraction even if you don’t align yourself with its core values and beliefs.
– Spirited, breezy, touching and fun, it’s a fresh burst of sweet, chipper entertainment made all the richer for it’s heartwarming true story.

A solid 7 on the splingometer!
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Moving on to a documentary now on Showmax…

SHALEEN SURTIE-RICHARDS: I AM WHO I AM

A chronicle of the legendary film, TV and stage star.

Director: Diana Lucas

– While filmed from the perspective of a lifetime achievement, encompassing highlights with interviews from friends, family and peers, its a fitting tribute after her passing.
– Starting with her iconic performance in Katinka Heyns’s Fiela se Kind, a landmark performance with many layers of significance, the documentary returns to her upbringing in Upington where she excelled as a young performer.
– Chronicling her early theatre work, influential role as Fiela, kingpin character on the long-running TV soap Egoli and some of her prominent theatrical performances, we get a comprehensive overview of her award-winning performance career.
– Interviewing Marc Lottering, Pieter Dirk-Uys, Royston Stoffels and many other collaborators from her most successful acting career, it’s an intimate character portrait.
– Her passing highlighted the inequalities of policies relating to residual payments with Surtie-Richards becoming a martyr to the cause.
– Grounded, authentic and charming, she captured the hearts of South African audiences with a number of lovable characters who she played with affection, also realising the political influence and true inspiration of her work.
– Humble, authentic and an absolute force, it comes as some comfort that she wouldn’t have done anything differently if she had to do it all over again,.
– A simple, unpretentious, warm celebrity documentary, this collation of performance excerpts, photographs and charming interviews characterise the legend, highlighting her generous spirit, in-the-moment performance style and capturing a great spirit who will be sorely missed.

A solid 7 on the splingometer!
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And finally a film on Netflix…

THE DEVIL ALL THE TIME

A young man takes extreme measures to protect his loved ones in a dangerous backwoods community.

Director: Antonio Campos

Stars: Tom Holland, Robert Pattinson and Riley Keough

– This multigenerational crime epic panders to its small town vibrations turning the story into an ensemble piece.
– Holland and Pattinson’s glassy-eyed vigour almost make the film worth watching on their performances alone.
– Grappling with very dark subject matter from hypocrisy to exploiting positions of trust, The Devil All the Time is rather bleak and violent.
– Gathering together a number of breathtaking moments where the cinematography, imagination, writing and performance shine simultaneously, these glimmers are largely numbed by the film’s heaviness and slow-build.
– Dealing with a crisis of faith where individuals treat their God like a magic 8-ball, sinister characters meet their end and hypocrisy reigns supreme.
– Surprisingly, this two hour plus crime drama doesn’t gather momentum or much in the way of substance – electrifying yet wispy.
– Playing like a darker version of Fargo, The Devil All the Time has the potential to be a TV series, showing great promise, a broad selection of curious characters yet lacking the eagle-eyed vision and focus to extract an overarching message.
– While visually powerful and swathed in thought-provoking themes, it’s something of a chore with limited identification points and everything so open-ended – trading in shock value.
– It’s still worthwhile based on the performances, visual aesthetic and filmmaking finesse, yet is undermined by a bloated and scattershot feel.

A satisfactory 6 on the splingometer!
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So just to wrap up…

BLUE MIRACLE… while predictable, this sleek, charming, uplifting and touching comedy drama is well-acted and based on a powerful true story… A solid 7!

SHALEEN SURTIE-RICHARDS: I AM WHO I AM… this entertaining and unpretentious celebrity chronicle turned tribute mirrors its character’s authenticity, warmth and generosity of spirit… A solid 7!

THE DEVIL ALL THE TIME… powerful performances lift this dark, grand yet hollow and violent ensemble crime drama thriller from its muddy waters… A satisfactory 6!

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!

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