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Movie of the Week

Men in Black: International

The Men in Black have to protect the universe from intergalactic villains, but their biggest worry is not what’s on Earth, but who’s operating within the organisation.

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The Men in Black have always protected the Earth from the scum of the universe.  In this new adventure, they tackle their biggest, most global threat to date: a mole inside the Men in Black organisation.

It might take one a while to get used to the way Columbia Pictures, Amblin Entertainment, and Tencent Pictures handle the portrayal of the Men In Black but, after a while, it’s very apparent that this film is more of a spin-off than a continuation of the iconic Men in Black trilogy. The film takes a step in the right direction, by being inclusive of women, starring several strong female roles within the agency. The plot line is very standard, and the Men In Black facade of men dressed in black falls apart towards the end. This highlights a disconnect between the comic books, the previous trilogy, and this film, and it feels as if this edition took a very hard fork in the representation of Men in Black.

Chris Hemsworth and Tessa Thompson make a great team in the film as Men in Black partners, and the dynamic between them and their loyal alien team sidekick, voiced by Kumail Nanjiani, is one of the best aspects of the film.

Men in Black comic book fans, don’t get your hopes up by the look of the poster. Some cameos were promised in the poster of the film, but aren’t delivered for long enough (or at all) in the film. In particular, Frank the Pug barely has a walk-on role or, rather, a brief sit-down role. 

Bottom line: The film is family friendly and will make its money with younger audiences, but it’s not necessarily for hardcore Men in Black fans. The cool aliens going about ultra-normal daily activities remains a highlight. – Bryan Turner

Movie of the Week

Dolemite Is My Name – A Netflix Original

Stung by a string of showbiz failures, floundering comedian Rudy Ray Moore (Eddie Murphy) has an epiphany that turns him into a word-of-mouth sensation: step onstage as someone else.

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Borrowing from the street mythology of 1970s Los Angeles, Moore assumes the persona of Dolemite, a pimp with a cane and an arsenal of obscene fables. However, his ambitions exceed selling bootleg records deemed too racy for mainstream radio stations to play. Moore convinces a social justice-minded dramatist (Keegan-Michael Key) to write his alter ego a film, incorporating kung fu, car chases, and Lady Reed (Da’Vine Joy Randolph), an ex-backup singer who becomes his unexpected comedic foil. Despite clashing with his pretentious director, D’Urville Martin (Wesley Snipes), and countless production hurdles at their studio in the dilapidated Dunbar Hotel, Moore’s Dolemite becomes a runaway box office smash and a defining movie of the Blaxploitation era.

Comics and rappers have praised Moore as a pioneering influence over the past few decades, and Dolemite Is My Name is a celebration of a singular talent who made his own legend. From director Craig Brewer (Hustle & Flow, Empire); Emmy and Golden Globe-winning writers Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski (Ed Wood, The People vs. O.J. Simpson); and the producing team of Oscar and Golden Globe nominee John Davis (Ferdinand, Joy), Golden Globe nominee John Fox (Joy) and Eddie Murphy. 
The film features an all-star supporting cast — including Mike Epps, Craig Robinson, Tituss Burgess, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Snoop Dogg, Ron Cephas Jones, Barry Shabaka Henley, Tip ‘TI’ Harris, Luenell, Tasha Smith — plus costumes designed by Academy Award winner Ruth E. Carter (Black Panther). 

The film is available to stream now on Netflix.

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Movie of the Week

Kanarie – Now streaming on Showmax

Schalk Bezuidenhout’s breakout movie, Kanarie, is now streaming first on Showmax in South Africa.

Click below to watch the trailer and to read more about the film.

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Schalk Bezuidenhout stars as Johan Niemand, a fashion-loving gay teen in small-town South Africa in 1985, a time of apartheid, religious conservatism and war, an era when not even his idol Boy George had dared to come out publicly as gay yet. 

When Johan is called up to serve his compulsory two-year military training, he escapes the border war by joining The South African Defence Force Church Choir and Concert Group, known as Die Kanaries (The Canaries), where he discovers his true self through hardship, camaraderie, first love and the liberating freedom of music. 

The film was the 10th most popular South African movie at the box office last year.

Bezuidenhout is one of South Africa’s top comedians: the winner of two Comics’ Choice Awards, described by Skhumba recently as “the one white comedian loved by black people.” 

On the basis of his performance in Kanarie, acting might still be his true calling, as much as we hope we still get to laugh with him often on stage. The Los Angeles Times compared him to the legendary Buster Keaton while praising his “clear talent for drama” and the way he “superbly juggles Johan’s many moods and modes,” while FilmThreat raved about his “confident, raw performance.” 

It has a 100% critics rating on Rotten Tomatoes; a 7.9 rating on IMDB; and has won 15 awards around the world. As The Los Angeles Times put it, “Kanarie ably hits the high notes… rich, poignant and finely observed…”. Similarly, Indiewire picked it as one of seven films to watch at Outfest, North America’s premier LGBTI festival, calling it a “surprisingly fun” musical about “the effects of nationalism on a tender soul, and the bond of brotherhood among misfits.” 

So whether or not you’re gay, or Afrikaans, or want to support proudly South African products, Kanarie is the film for you, next time you’re in the mood for an uplifting musical love story about finding individuality in a world of oppression and uniformity. Watch it first on Showmax here.

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