Spling reviews 1, #LANDoftheBRAVEfilm and Kodachroma 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 mystery drama thriller, a crime drama thriller and a coming-of-age road trip drama.
Starting off with a film now on DStv Box Office…
A truffle hunter must return to the city in search of his beloved foraging pig after she’s kidnapped.
Co-Writer/Director: Michael Sarnoski
Stars: Nicolas Cage, Alex Wolff and Adam Arkin
– Cage may have a reputation for hit-and-miss movies but as hammy as he gets, he’s never dull and almost always entertaining.
– He’s done a number of violent against-the-grain performances but this one is more shamanic as he emerges from the woodlands in a determined and relentless pursuit of his beloved truffle hog.
– You’d probably think Cage was trying his hand at the special skills subgenre of vendetta thrillers in the vein of Taken and more recently John Wick.
– Toying with genre, Sarnoski essentially does a bait-and-switch that will surprise audiences with its depth of human drama and philosophical slant.
– Contrasting extreme urban materialism with barebones rural earthiness, the drama thriller remains compelling as the road trip reawakening finds a man leveraging his former glory in a “Denny Crane” way to mine the system.
– It has a number of parallels with Captain Fantastic as a road trip turns into an earnest journey of enlightenment.
– The same moody spirit of Cage’s raw and rugged performance is translated into the cinematography, operating mostly in shadows to accentuate its melancholic feel.
– This is a dark, brooding and entertaining film that constantly defies expectations, delving into the arena of fine dining with great dialogue and one-liners.
– Powered by an unusual, sullen yet compelling lead performance from an effortless Cage, a surprisingly delicate human drama and a darkly comic yet driving tone, Pig keeps viewers entranced by its swirling mystery and heartrending porcine pursuit.
– Much like it’s namesake, Pig seems like it belongs in the mud and destined for the trough, but makes some miraculous overtures that help us realise just how noble and intelligent the creature can be.
An excellent 8 on the splingometer!
Moving on to a movie on Showmax…
A tough cop’s investigation unravels when a reporter publishes dark secrets from her shady past.
Writer/Director: Tim Huebschle
Stars: Elize de Wee, Armas Shivute and Pieter Greeff
– #LANDoftheBRAVEfilm is an unsual movie title for a Nambian crime drama thriller.
– A driving soundtrack, gritty edge and cantankerous lead with a drinking problem and dark past recall the Nicole Kidman film Destroyer.
– Unfortunately, while aiming for these lofty heights with drone work to give #LANDoftheBRAVEfilm a sweeping feel, it’s undermined by its TV quality and poor decision-making.
– The serial killer police story leans heavily on Hollywood, distinguishing itself against a dusty Namibian backdrop.
– While you can sense there’s a firm understanding of the genre with a promising start and a female lead, things begin to deteriorate.
– The performances have a staggered and unnatural vibration with lines being delivered in a consistent rhythm.
– The production design is sparse, limiting the lived in feel of apartments, bars and offices with conspicuous product placement.
– While the characters have some texture, the film runs into numerous issues with its heavyhanded villain losing steam as soon as they’re revealed.
– It’s wonderful to see a Namibian film with such high aspirations but sad to see it undone by naive storytelling with a screenplay that could’ve used a few more drafts.
A flimsy 4 on the splingometer!
And finally a film on Netflix…
A father and son hit the road in order to reach the last Kodachrome photo lab in Kansas before it closes for good.
Director: Mark Raso
Stars: Ed Harris, Jason Sudeikis and Elizabeth Olsen
– The film has had a mini revival in the wake of Sudeikis’ recent success with award-winning comedy, Ted Lasso.
– Playing a record label representative, this coming-of-age dramas is one of those father-son bonding films that you could probably predict from the outset.
– Featuring a stellar trio of actors in Harris, Sudeikis and Olsen just enriches the family bonding exercise as a cranky photographer father and his estranged son try to rekindle their fractured relationship.
– Prickly comedy, petty squabbles and some authentic emotional moments are the currency of this drama, which has enough heart and spirit to make you care.
– Solid performances from the name stars guarantee your entertainment with some thoughtful and smart dialogue to compel the characters.
– The premise glosses over a few hinderances in order to gather momentum, requiring you to roll with it, but its earnest ambitions keep it entertaining and on track.
– Kodachrome makes an interesting, nostalgic and sentimental commentary on the passage of time and preservation of memories.
– While it’s somewhat restrained by its predictable and sentimental flow, it benefits from Harris whose sharp and spirited performance stirs things up.
A satisfactory 6 on the splingometer!
So just to wrap up…
PIG… Cage’s raw performance underwrites an equally dark, entertaining, gritty, thoughtful and expectation-defying mystery drama thriller… An excellent 8!
#LANDoftheBRAVEfilm… while impassioned, this driving yet contrived and naive TV quality crime drama thriller makes too many missteps… A flimsy 4!
KODACHROME… a predictable, sentimental yet enjoyable coming-of-age road trip drama bolstered by a fine cast and thoughtful writing… 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!