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JIO MAMI 2023: Movies You Wouldn’t Want To Miss at the Mumbai Film Festival

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Official poster of JIO MAMI Mumbai Film Festival (JIO MAMI)

Following a three-year rest, the JIO MAMI Mumbai Film Festival is back. Spread over a period of 10 days, the festival will feature 40 world premieres, 45 Asian premieres and 70 South Asian premieres.

If you are a fan of cinema, then you are in for a treat as the festival will have 99 movies from more than 35 nations.  A lot of stupendous titles from across the globe will be premiering at this year’s event and we have compiled a list of 8 extraordinary films that people should see at the 2023 JIO MAMI Film Festival.

Here’s a list of movies you should definitely see at this year’s festival:

1) Anatomy of a Fall (directed by Justine Triet)

This courtroom film begins as a simple homicide story that rapidly turns into an examination of the ‘fall’ of a marriage over long periods of feelings of hatred and double-crossings. Sandra, a German essayist, winds up at the center of a horrible scenario when a French court prosecutes her for the homicide of her better half. What follows isn’t just simple a court hearing, as it takes a disruptive mental journey into the profundities of Sandra and Samuel’s tangled relationship. This is Justine Triet’s third film and went on to win the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival this year. Watch this glimmering, provocative thrill ride for some arresting court scenes and an astounding acting performance from Sandra Hüller.

2) Maestro (directed by Bradley Cooper)

Maestro is a desolate representation of the incredible American writer and music composer Leonard Bernstein and his better half Felicia. The biopic follows the couple’s journey spanning over three decades – from the time they met in 1946 at a party and their marriage. This is Cooper’s second movie as a director after A Star Is Born. His performance as Leonard Bernstein has been praised by all while Carey Mulligan as her spouse is similarly perfect. Try not to miss this film brimming with incredible performances and, superb screenplay.

Maestro. (L to R) Bradley Cooper as Leonard Bernstein (Director/Writer/Producer) and Carey Mulligan as Felicia Montealegre in Maestro. Cr. Jason McDonald/Netflix © 2023.

3) Kennedy (directed by Anurag Kashyap)

Anurag Kashyap’s Kennedy is one of the highly anticipated movies and follows the journey of an ex-cop, long remembered to be dead, but still working to save people from the corrupt system. The film has taken a lot of inspiration from the police noir books of Jean-Patrick Manchette and the movies of Jean-Pierre Melville. Kennedy stars Rahul Bhat and Sunny Leone in the lead roles. Interestingly, the movie was filmed around night time, between 12 am and 4 am, to make the story more authentic. This should definitely be on your watchlist.

Sunny Leone in a still from ‘Kennedy’ (Zee Studios)

4) Monster (directed by Hirokazu Koreeda)

Monster is a profoundly moving movie about a little fellow Minato, his mother and his educator. At the point when Minato’s way of behaving becomes inconsistent, his mom feels the educator has something to do with it and barges into his school requesting to know what’s happening. As the story unfurls, it shows how little we are familiar with our kids and the distinction between a kid’s viewpoint and that of a grown-up. Monster is another extraordinary work by the Japanese filmmaker Hirokazu Koreeda after ‘Broke’. You wouldn’t want to miss this one.

A still from ‘Monster’ (Gaga)

5) Perfect Days (directed by Wim Wenders)

Perfect Days sees Wim Wenders coming to the world stage after over 10 years. The film competed for the Palme d’Or at Cannes, where it won the Award of the Ecumenical Jury. Meanwhile, Kōji Yakusho, who plays the lead in the film, took home the Best Actor award. The movie is the ambivalent story of a satisfied toilet cleaner, Hirayama, in Tokyo. Just like Wenders’ previous movies, this one is a beautiful reflection of the regular world around us.

A still from ‘Perfect Days’ (Master Mind Limited)

6) Fallen Leaves (directed by Aki Kaurismaki)

This wonderful satire by Aki Kaurismäki is one of the pieces of a trilogy which already includes Shadows in Paradise, Ariel, and The Match Factory Girl. The story is about two desolate individuals (Alma Pöysti and Jussi Vatanen) who meet each other by chance in Helsinki and attempt to view their lives. In any case, first they should handle the man’s liquor addiction, lost telephone numbers and life’s overall propensity to put obstructions in the way of those looking for their joy. Melancholic yet brilliantly watchable.

A still from ‘Fallen Leaves’ (MUBI)

7) Dream Scenario (directed by Kristoffer Borgli)

Dream Sceanrio sees Nicolas Cage as Paul Matthews, a lonely washout who has next to zero association with anybody. That is until Paul, out of nowhere, finds out that he has an association with essentially everybody, when a few totally separated individuals see Paul in their fantasies. No one knows how this happened, not even Paul, who will track down the reasons for why he has unexpectedly made appearances in others’ psyches. This sounds like nothing short of a nightmare and it seems A24 is ready to scare us once again with a harrowing journey.

Nicolas Cage in a still from ‘Dream Scenario’ (A24)

8) Strange Way of Life (directed by Pedro Almodovar)

After making its debut at the 76th Cannes Film Celebration, Strange Way of Life has undoubtedly been one of the much-awaited releases. The film sees a man riding a pony across the desert that isolates him from Bitter Creek. He stays with Sheriff Jake. A quarter century sooner, both the sheriff and Silva, the farmer who braves to meet him, cooperated as employed shooters. Silva visits him with the reason of rejoining his companion from his childhood, and they in all actuality do, to be sure, commend their gathering, yet the following morning Sheriff Jake lets him know that the justification for his excursion isn’t to go down the world of fond memories of their old kinship.

Official poster of ‘Strange Way of Life’ (Saint Laurent Productions)

The 2023 JIO MAMI Film Festival will run from October 27 to November 5.

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‘IF’ Review | The Most Meaningful and Heartfelt Movie of The Year, Delights With Pure Imagination

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This review was made possible by watching an advanced screening

The most meaningful and heartfelt movie of the year. “IF” enchants with delight and wonder as John Krasinski crafts a love letter to our childhood, making us experience emotions that ultimately hit me right in the feels as he reminds us to never lose sight of our imagination! 

In a cinematic landscape often dominated by cynicism and darkness, John Krasinski’s “IF” is a breath of fresh air, a heartwarming and endearing tale that will leave you beaming with joy as it expertly balances the magic, wonder, and adventure of childhood with the poignancy, trials, and tribulations of adulthood, creating a narrative that is at once both nostalgic and universally relatable. The real magic of “IF” lies in its ability to tap into the collective shared childhood experience by evoking memories of our imaginary friends & the adventures we’ve shared with them. 

“IF,” is a whimsical fantasy family adventure that explores the concept of abandoned imaginary friends or IFs as they call themselves. In this heartwarming tale, Bea, a young girl played beautifully by Cailey Fleming discovers her unique ability to see these unwanted characters and reconnect the forgotten IFs with their original creators who have now fully grown up as she embarks on a magical journey through this imaginative, colourful, and creative world. As one girl learns the power of imagination and friendship. Bea thinks she must be hallucinating – until the man in the apartment upstairs reveals he can also see the IFs. 

Courtesy of Paramount Pictures

Several years ago, Krasinski, known for his work on “A Quiet Place,” penned a script intending to uplift his children who were struggling with feelings of depression amidst the challenges of the pandemic. Krasinski not only wrote the script but also took on the role of director for the film. Starring Ryan Reynolds, Cailey Fleming, Steve Carell, Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Louis Gossett Jr., and Fiona Shaw, among many other A-listers lending their voices to the characters, “IF” was inspired by the impact of the pandemic on Krasinski’s daughters, Hazel and Violet.

Having long harboured the desire to create a film for his children, Krasinski found inspiration in the imaginative worlds his daughters would delve into. Witnessing the genuine joy and authenticity with which they played, he was motivated to capture this magic on screen. Through “IF,” Krasinski aimed to show his daughters that this world of imagination and make-believe is always within reach, a place where they can be anything they desire. This magical world is ever-present and waiting for them to explore.

Courtesy of Paramount Pictures

Imaginary friends, these elusive entities existing solely in a child’s vivid imagination, serve as a comforting beacon amidst the chaos of adulthood. In this whimsical tale, away from the foreboding presence of sightless extraterrestrials, audiences are treated to a cascade of endearing characters and a wave of nostalgic charm that instils a heartwarming sense of joy and wonder. “IF” is a delightful escapade that celebrates the virtues of curiosity, creativity, and innocence, rekindling the essence of childhood wonder, and reminding us that the magic is always within reach.

Featuring a star-studded lineup of IFs including Steve Carell, Emily Blunt, Matt Damon, George Clooney, Bradley Cooper, Keegan-Michael Key, and more, the film introduces a mix of charismatic imaginary beings brought to life through the distinct voices of these esteemed actors. Each character, with its unique backstory and quirks, adds a human touch to the ethereal world, resonating with both younger viewers and their older counterparts.

The film’s exploration of imaginary friends serves as a poignant reminder that our childhood aspirations and dreams are not just fleeting fantasies, but rather tangible time capsules that hold the power to shape our future. These creations, born from our imagination, are a manifestation of our hopes, desires, and innermost ambitions – a reflection of who we wanted to be and what we wanted to achieve. As we grow up and face the harsh realities of adulthood, it’s easy to lose sight of these childhood ideals, but the film suggests that we don’t have to let go of that spark. By tapping into the imagination and embracing the spirit of our youthful selves, we can reignite our passions, rediscover our sense of purpose, and continue to evolve into the best versions of ourselves. In this way, imaginary friends become a powerful tool for self-reflection, creativity, and personal growth, reminding us that even as we age, we can still hold onto the essence of our childhood dreams.”

Through the vibrant personalities of figures like Blue, Unicorn, Sunny, Spaceman, and Ally, the movie explores the boundless bounds of a child’s imagination. A blend of conventional and eccentric companions, such as Blossom, Ice, Cosmo, and Marshmallow creates a tapestry of humour and charm that engages viewers in a realm where the fantastical meets the mundane in delightful ways. Most significantly Lewis, an old teddy bear voiced by Louis Gossett Jr sadly passed away and the film is lovingly dedicated to him with such a touching tribute after the credits rolled.

Courtesy of Paramount Pictures

To render the unseen into vision, director John Krasinski enlisted the expertise of VFX supervisor Chris Lawrence and the revered effects studio Framestore, weaving together around 800 meticulously crafted shots featuring a diverse ensemble of 42 CGI characters. Within this narrative realm, a poignant blend of fantasy and magical realism flourishes, engendering a profound sense of belief in the audience as they witness these ethereal beings coalesce on screen. Employing a blend of physical puppets and digital animation, the film sought to honour the sanctity of space and performance, poised on the precipice of seamlessly integrating these otherworldly entities within the tangible fabric of the film universe.

Courtesy of Paramount Pictures

Through this meticulous fusion of technical prowess and artistic vision, the film emerges as a testament to the transformative power of storytelling, poised to captivate audiences with its charm and artistry.

With a captivating blend of computer-generated CGI forms seamlessly integrating into the real world, expertly led by the dynamic duo of Fleming and Reynolds, As the live-action leads, they exhibit effortless chemistry on-screen, commanding attention and drawing the audience in. The initial wariness between Bea and Cal gives way to a warm and engaging rapport, characterised by witty banter and exasperation.

As Bea navigates the challenges of transitioning through her teenage years, she finds solace in these quirky and unique imaginary friends, embracing the comfort and security of childhood delights. Meanwhile, the film’s relationships take centre stage, led by the charismatic performance of Ryan Reynolds and standout Cailey Fleming, alongside Fiona Shaw. The movie’s greatest strength lies in its nuanced balance between lighthearted moments and emotional depth, evoking a sense of warmth and family, particularly during poignant reunion scenes.

Courtesy of Paramount Pictures

One of the film’s most endearing relationships is that between Bea and her father, played by Krasinski, which is charmingly tender and heartfelt.

Michael Giacchino’s music score for the movie “If” is a masterclass in emotional depth and thematic complexity. The composer delivers one of the best scores of his career, weaving a sonic tapestry that perfectly captures the film’s poignant exploration of connection whether that’s from human or imaginary. Giacchino’s themes are creative, heartfelt, and sincere, expertly conveying the emotional highs and lows of the characters’ journeys. From the tender warmth to the soaring grandeur of the score’s more uplifting moments, every note feels carefully crafted to elevate the film’s emotional impact. Giacchino’s score is a stunning achievement, showcasing his remarkable composer skill and ability to tap into the heart of a story.

FINAL THOUGHTS

In essence, “IF” is a cinematic celebration of the power of imagination, brought to life through a tapestry of endearing characters and heartfelt moments that left me feeling nostalgic and uplifted. With its colourful jumble of personalities and whimsical storytelling, the film is a captivating journey into the enchanting world of make-believe that will warm the hearts of viewers of all ages. 

IF” hits theatres on May 17. 

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Throwback to Comic-Con Cape Town 2024

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Jacques van Zyl at Comic-Con Cape Town 2024 at the Cape Town International Convention Centre

The annual Comic-Con Cape Town 2024 was a blast! Come join on me, Jacques van Zyl on a throwback to a very marvelous event!

Guests at Comic-Con Cape Town 2024

The local South African movie guests included Aidan Scott, Albert Pretorius, Alexander Maniatis, Arno Greef, Bianca Oosthuizen, Brett Williams, Celeste Loots, Chioma Umeala, Grant Ross, Langley Kirkwood, Leroy Siyafa and Theo Le Ray.

International stars who made a turn were Lesley-Ann Brand, Sean Gunn and Veronica Taylor.

Lesley-Ann Brandt is famous for her role as Mazikeen on Lucifer. Sean Gunn portrays the role of Kraglin in the Guardians of the Galaxy. Veronica Taylor does the voice of Ash Ketchum in Pokemon.

Lesley-Ann Brandt as Mazikeen in Lucifer (IMDb)
Sean Gunn as Kraglin Obfonteri (Marvel)
Veronica Taylor (IMDb)

Overview of Programme

The annual Comic-Con Cape Town 2024 ran from 27 April 2024 to 1 May 2024. Here follows a brief overview of activities that caught my eye during the convention.

Saturday, 27 April 2024

Veronica Taylor, Lesley-Ann Brandt and Sean Gunn was available for photos and autographs. The cast from the One Piece television series on Netflix had a discussion panel and a spotlight session was held on the latest Boy Kills World movie.

Boy Kills World Official Trailer (RoadsideFlix)

The following question for discussion was posed to our fellow comic book artists, “Is traditional comic book art dead?” A panel was held on the concept of investing in comic books versus buying just to collect.

Games, games everywhere at Comic-Con Cape Town 2024

The day ended with an amazing after-dark event, the Pokemon quiz.

Sunday, 29 April 2024

Gavin Thomson, a South African cartoonist shared some insight on how to bring life to cartoons and a panel of comic book writers came to share valuable insights on writing comics. A workshop was hosting on helping you deal with stage fright.

Monday, 29 April 2024

Horror Monday delivered a good scare with cosplayers dressing up as some of their favorite horror character. I came in early on the day to help with horror decorations at the main entrances. A discussion was held on how to write horror. One of the attendees who presented on this topic was Paul Blom who coordinates the annual South African HorrorFest.

Jacques posing with Paul Andre Blom

A quiz was held on the Conjuring Universe and a tutorial was offered on how to do your make-up for cosplaying as a horror character. The art of toy photography was one of the topics of the day. Sean Gunn and Veronica Taylor was around for more photos and autographs. The one discussion that caught my eye was on how artists can overcome artificial intelligence since most jobs are phasing in the use of artificial intelligence as a tool.

A movie screening was held on the movie Fried Barry.

Fried Barry Official Trailer (Shudder)
Some horror decorations
More horror

Tuesday, 30 April 2024

This day was called Pajama Tuesday and visitors could grab their favorite sleepwear for the day. A Harry Potter quiz was held to test the knowledge of fellow muggles and wizards and a disco party brought much needed entertainment. Veronica Taylor was back for more photos and autographs. A session was held to guide new and upcoming writers on the approach to follow when writing for different genres.

Wednesday, 1 May 2024

Paul Roos Orchestra came to open the day with amazing music.

Paul Roos Orchestra at Comic-Con Cape Town 2024

The One Piece cast and Veronica Taylor made a last turn for the day. A Disney quiz was hosted to test everyone’s knowledge about our favorite Disney movies and characters. Brandon Reynolds came to share insights on how to do a comic book strip at and helpful advice was shared on becoming either a scriptwriter for movies or a stunt professional. The concept of artificial intelligence was touched on since it is a tool that is also used for creating content.

Tabletop games, dungeons and dragon sessions, Pokemon card games, Yu-Gi-Oh and Star Wars Unlimited session took place everyday at the Tabletop Game area. Video games were also on offer throughout the week from racing to fighting games.

A mobile application was developed to help guide fellow comic-con fans throughout the journey. Maps were provided at the reception area as well which made the journey easy throughout the convention.

Cosplayers Galore!!!

I had the chance to catch a few photos with some of the cosplayers at the comic convention. Many of the cosplayers went to the next level with their outfits.

To me, my X-Men

Here I am posing with cosplayers who dressed up as X-Men. As a huge Marvel, and X-Men fan in particular, I couldn’t pass an opportunity for a photo.

X-Men Cosplayers at Comic-Con (Jean Grey, Scarlet Witch, Jacques, Wolverine, Cyclops)
Jacques and Rogue.
Wolverine and Jacques

DC

There weren’t as many cosplayers dressing up as our favorite DC heroes and villains. As usual Batman put crime-fighting aside for a week to surprise us at Comic-Con.

Batman (DC) and Jacques
Scarecrow (DC) and Jacques

Horror Monday

Lunchtime I disappeared into the crowd as Ghostface from Scream to take a few photos with some of the cosplayers embracing their favorite horror character. Many cosplayers decided to do Pyramid Head from Silent Hill and we saw Freddy and Jason also run around at the convention.

Pinhead (Hellraiser) and Ghostface (Scream)
Jacques and The Nun (Conjuring Universe)
Pyramid Head (Silent Hill) and Jacques
Jacques and Freddy Krueger (Nightmare on Elm Street)

We had other cosplayers who made a turn during the week. I found the Witcher, but sadly couldn’t toss a coin to him this time. I saw a few Mortal Kombat cosplayers as well. Even Tomb Raider decided to skip treasure hunting day and visit the convention.

The Witcher and Jacques
Round 1: Jacques versus Kitana (Mortal Kombat)
Round 2: Jacques, Raiden and Sonya (Mortal Kombat)
Jacques and Lara Croft / Tomb Raider

Comic-Con Cape Town 2024 was really amazing and I’m definitely looking forward to the next comic convention. The organizers went totally Super Saiyan with the programme and all the planned activities were next level.

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Masters of the Universe Gets An Official Summer 2026 Release Date

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The very long anticipated Masters of the Universe has received some excellent news. The IP has moved from Netflix to Amazon MGM Studios and Mattel Films, while also naming a Director  in Travis Knight (Bumblebee 2018). Chris Butler is set to write the screenplay, following initial drafts written by David Callaham and Aaron and Adam Nee.

The official synopsis of the film: “Masters of the Universe” introduces a 10-year-old Prince Adam, who crashed to Earth in a spaceship and was separated from his magical Power Sword — the only link to his home on Eternia. After tracking it down almost two decades later, Prince Adam is whisked back across space to defend his home planet against the evil forces of Skeletor. But to defeat such a powerful villain, Prince Adam will first need to uncover the mysteries of his past and become He-Man: the most powerful man in the Universe!” 

There is no casting news as of yet.

Masters of the Universe is set to hit theaters, June 5, 2026.

 

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