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Wachowski hits come to VIDI

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Lana and Andy Wachowski’s movies are now available on VIDI. The movies include include The Matrix trilogy, V for Vendetta, Speed Racer and their most recent blockbuster – Jupiter Ascending.

The Wachowskis made their directing debut in 1996 with Bound, and reached fame with their second film The Matrix in 1999, for which they won multiple awards and much critical acclaim. They wrote and directed its two sequels – The Matrix Reloaded and The Matrix Revolutions – both in 2003.

All three films star Keanu Reeves, Laurence Fishburne and Carrie-Anne Moss and have been added to the already extensive VIDI library.  A complex story, the series tells of Thomas Anderson, a man living two lives. By day he is an average computer programmer and by night a hacker known as Neo who finds himself targeted by the police when he is contacted by Morpheus, a legendary computer hacker branded a terrorist by the government. Morpheus awakens Neo to the real world, a ravaged wasteland where most of humanity has been captured by a race of machines that live off the humans’ body heat and electrochemical energy and who imprison their minds within an artificial reality known as the Matrix. As a rebel against the machines, Neo must return to the Matrix and confront the agents: super-powerful computer programmes devoted to snuffing out Neo and the entire human rebellion.

Following the commercial success of the Matrix series, the siblings wrote and produced the 2006 film V for Vendetta, which is currently available on VIDI. The film stars Natalie Portman (Black Swan) and Hugo Weaving (a Matrix regular) and tells the story of Evey Hammond and her unlikely but instrumental part in bringing down the fascist government that has taken control of a futuristic Britain. Saved from a life-and-death situation by a man in a Guy Fawkes mask who calls himself V, she learns a general summary of V’s past and decides to help him bring down those who committed the atrocities that led to Britain being in the shape that it is in. The film was directed by Wachowski collaborator James McTeigue and its controversial storyline and themes were the target of both criticism and praise from socio-political groups. It was released in 2006 and was a critical and commercial success.

The Wachowskis returned to directing with 2008’s Speed Racer, an adaptation of a Japanese manga series from the 1950s. Upon release the movie was considered a critical and commercial disappointment even though its special effects were noted as outstanding. However, in more recent years, critics have put the film on their lists of underrated or cult films.

The story begins with a young man with natural racing instincts whose goal is to win the Crucible, a cross-country car racing rally that took the life of his older brother. But along the way he uncovers a secret that top corporate interests are fixing races and cheating to gain profit. So he sets about seeking to rescue his family’s business and the racing sport itself.  The film stars Emile Hirsch and Matthew Fox (Lost) and Susan Sarandon and is available on VIDI from June 11.

The Wachowski’s latest film, Jupiter Ascending, was released in cinemas in February 2015.  An original science fiction screenplay they wrote, the movie features an all star cast that includes Channing Tatum (Magic Mike), Mila Kunis (Black Swan), Eddie Redmayne (The Theory of Everything) and Sean Bean (Game of Thrones).

Kunis plays Jupiter Jones who was born under a night sky, with signs predicting that she was destined for great things. Now grown, she dreams of the stars but wakes up to the cold reality of a job cleaning other people’s houses and an endless run of bad breaks. Only when Caine Wise (Tatum), a genetically engineered ex-military hunter, arrives on Earth to track her down does Jupiter begin to glimpse the fate that has been waiting for her all along – her genetic signature marks her as next in line for an extraordinary inheritance that could alter the balance of the cosmos.

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Arts and Entertainment

Deezer to host Hotstix’s Mandela tribute playlist

Deezer is celebrating Nelson Mandela on the centenary of his birthday by hosting a tribute playlist created by music legend Sipho “Hotstix” Mabuse.  

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Mabuse, a legendary figure in African music, first rose to prominence in the 1970s with his band Harari and later developed a name for himself as a solo artist. One of his best known songs was the global hit BurnOut in the 1980s.

The playlist takes the listener on a captivating musical journey through the life of Nelson Mandela.  It was compiled by Mabuse, who consulted with Mandela’s family and friends to ensure that the music would be relevant and accurate. The playlist also features commentary by Mabuse, which was recorded in his Soweto home.  

“I have tried to tell the story of the music that Madiba loved,” says Mabuse. “The Playlist excludes the time in prison obviously, as Madiba would not have had exposure to music in that time.  We have focused on the music we know he loved before and after that period. This recording was really an emotional journey for me, but an incredible opportunity to document these memories.”

The playlist features the music the young Mandela loved, such as The Manhattan Brothers, Solomon Linda, Brenda Fassie and Miriam Makeba.  It includes struggle songs from Chicco, Johnny Clegg, Hugh Masekela and Yvonne Chaka Chaka.  The playlist also includes Mandela by Zahara, one of the younger artists who caught Madiba’s ear.

Mabuse also offers stories of his own songs, such as Shikisha, a song greatly beloved by the former President.

“I was delighted to share my thoughts and hope the listeners enjoyed the musical journey,” says Mabuse. “Madiba did enjoy music immensely and we all have a purpose wherever we are in the world to celebrate culture and to learn from different cultures and music forms and styles.”

This playlist was inspired by the Nelson Mandela 100 campaign, calling on corporates and individuals to act as sources of inspiration and engage in conversation and action.

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Arts and Entertainment

Avengers’ all-time accolade

This past weekend Marvel Studios’ Avengers: Infinity War became the second highest grossing film of all time at the South African Box Office.

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This means that Marvel Studios now holds the number 2 and number 1 film of all time positions at the local Box Office, following Black Panther’s unprecedented record-shattering run since it’s 16 February 2018 release.

In South Africa, audiences continued to assemble in cinemas to witness the cinematic journey ten years in the making, earning Avengers: Infinity War a current total box office tally of just under R73 million with over 874 000 attendances.

Black Panther’s historic box office journey ended in June and now boasts a final box office total just shy of R107.5 million and over 1.43 million attendances, making it the biggest film of all time at the South African box office and the first to cross the R100m mark. This record builds on Black Panther’s list of achievements on the African continent and is the biggest grossing film of all time not only in South Africa, but also East and West Africa. Black Panther is now available to enjoy on DVD and Blu-ray, as well as to digitally rent or buy from retailers and providers across the continent.

Elsewhere in Africa, Avengers: Infinity War has also raked in a total of Kes 66.9m in East Africa, making it the 2nd highest grossing film of all time behind Black Panther. Similarly, in West Africa, the film hit N450m at the box office, making it the 2nd highest grossing international film of all time, also behind Black Panther.

For Marvel Studios fans, the action and adventure continues as the 20th film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Ant-Man and The Wasp, hit cinemas this past weekend and created enough buzz to fly into the number one position at the South African Box Office.

“We are thrilled at the response that Marvel Studios’ titles have continued to receive from cinema-goers across the continent,” says Christine Service, Senior Vice President of The Walt Disney Company Africa. “With Ant-Man and The Wasp in cinemas, and both Captain Marvel and the next Avengers film in 2019, we are eagerly anticipating the continuing expansion of the Marvel Cinematic Universe and look forward to celebrating with fans.”

On the animated front and with its own super hero theme, Disney•Pixar’s Incredibles 2, continues to entertain families across the country and is already Disney’s second-highest grossing animated film of all time behind Finding Dory, after only 3 weeks in release.

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