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Monday, March 28, 2011

Playboy Magazine relaunches in SA

People have been commenting about the return of the once controversial magazine, Playboy.

They are arguing that it won't work because women are treated better or have more rights or live different lives, irrespective of their gender. I'm not convinced that that these arguments present the threats to Playboy SA becoming a successful magazine.

Rather, I think Playboy suffered because it became borrowing.

Yes, Playboy used to be controversial but reality TV shows like Girls of the Playboy Mansion have taken away any mischievious allure that it had in its most execiting periods.

In the 1960, 70s, 80s, even the 90s, people looked at it for naughty pictures and edgy, if sometimes non-serious journalism.

The TV show that took people into magazine founder, Hugh Hefner's house, made the magazine rather predictable.

The merchandise - aftershaves and clothes maybe made it "too safe" or conservative.

Hugh Hefner has before said he wanted people to embrace a Playboy lifestyle that empowered women but also one that included sexually confident women.

Perhaps, he succeeded and his magazine ran its course.

Another move that turned people away from Playboy was that many film and music stars just refused to pose among its pages anymore.

Marilyn Monroe was its first cover star in the 1950s - when she was one of American film's biggest stars. But even she did not pose for the mag as such - none of her nudy bits were on display.

The Wikipedia article's list of notable film stars who posed for Playboy is unimpressive.

Film:

Marilyn Monroe (December 1953) (Never actually posed for Playboy itself)
Jayne Mansfield (February 1955)
Mara Corday (October 1958)
Ursula Andress (June 1965)
Carol Lynley (March 1965)
Kim Basinger (February 1983)
Janet Jones (March 1987)
Drew Barrymore (January 1995)
Daryl Hannah (November 2003)
Denise Richards (December 2004)

What about since 2004?

Jessica Alba was in a bikini on a cover in 2006 and stopped the mag from putting any nude pics of her inside the particular issue.

As far as edgy journalism including the notable "Interview" series goes, well, that will stay strong as long as the people interviewed ensure good interviews.

I leave it to Playboy SA to find some innovative ways to keep selling then.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Redknapp the film

So, Rottenham Hotslur (Tottenham Hotspur) manager Harry Redknapp is evading the tax man - but for how long will this scoundrel keep it up?

In January this year, he was charged with cheating England's public revenue service of about £40,000, at Bishopsgate police station. Apparently he did not pay all his taxes related to player transfers and he's going trial in the July for it.

The rotter has been charged with two counts of tax evasion during his time as manager of Portsmouth. Former chairman Milan Mandaric will join him on trial at Southwark Crown Court.

Word is two payments worth £185,000 gross amount together were made to Redknapp by Mandaric through a Monaco-based bank account.

'Arry denies any wrongdoing but maybe the London Cockney gangster will be in the slammer sometime. Well, probably not - he'll slip out of it.

Still, I think it's time for a film about this football manager character.

So, here's my quick synopsis:

'Arry grows up -

Young Harry to be played by Billy Elliot star Jamie Bell.

Harry didn't really want to play footie - he wanted to do ballie!



Photo courtesy of: www.supawatch.com

Jamie Bell stars in the new Tintin film directed by film legend Steven Spielberg. Some Spurs fans think Harry is a legend - well, he's done well with the team, but they have not won any titles yet, except for the League Cup thato ne time.

I wonder if Mr Redknapp read Tintin as a boy. One of the books in the series was called Red Rackham's Treasure - wow two uses of the word, red.

Next, we have Harry when he's in his twenties or so.

How about hardman Jonathan Rhys Meyers? I rate he can play a tough drinker. As far as I know, Harry wasn't exactly a drunk in his twenties. Well, never a man to shut his trap, 'Arry has before said that too many English footballers get trashed too often, affecting their performance.

When Harry was about 40-years old he looked like Colin Firth - dead serious. Therefore, it makes sense that the Academy Award Winning Star of The King's Speech should play Harry at this stage of the biography, which will probably pick up a slew of awards. Colin Firth did star in Fever Pitch, a homage to Arsenal football club and following something, but he can be flexible. Also, Colin played a bumbling bloke who probably ate bacon sandwiches - sounds just like Harry to me.



Picture courtesy of: www.onlygoodmovies.com

And older harry, when he's 60 and playing craps in jail? The honour goes to Timothy Spall. Spall is a brilliant character actor who did a good job at portraying Sir Winston Churchill in The King's Speech, alongside Mr Firth.




Picture courtesy of: http://cavebabble.blogspot.com/2010/04/unknown-actor-appreciation-timothy.html

So, now I'm just waiting for my 4 hours masterpiece full of Harry surrounded by impending doom music, to be accepted by a big studio company, or I'll film it - I'm easy either way.

Here are some Harry quotes that justify a biogrpahy film -

When he picked the ball up, I'd be a liar if I said I thought he would score. I thought he was going to head it!

On why C. Ronaldo is better than Kaka, in a Sun interview:

“The kid’s a genius." "He’s built like the Incredible Hulk with skill like you’ve never seen. He’s a special talent. Kak√° is a brilliant player but I wouldn’t swap him for Ronaldo - a wide player who will get you 20-odd goals a season."


Alistair Anderson

Monday, March 14, 2011

Ramfest - Well-oiled Music Festival for SA

Alistair Anderson

SA's Ramfest 2011 held last Saturday in Johannesburg was a well-organised, entertaining event.

Held at Riversands Farm in Fourways, it only filled up at about 4pm, even though it started at 12pm. But, many of the concert goers who did attend thoroughly enjoyed listening at least to US act Alkaline Trio and British band Funeral for a Friend.

Hundreds of people ran moshed and danced in "circle pits" while the aforementioned Welsh nutters Funeral for a Friend were rocking, and a few sang along to the 90s-college-band-like Alkaline Trio. Neither band preached that much about visiting SA, which was refreshing.

The local acts also put on solid performances. Relatively-junior metal band Knave pleased many of the metallers at the venue. Older Pestroy had a few people hurting their necks and Not My Dog, who have been quiet since the nu-metal music genre faded in SA, brought back pleasant memories. This band must be appreciated for becoming a part of the nu-metal style before it had developed in the US. They also performed some new tracks, which were solid but probably need a few more listens before many new fans join their base.

Unfortunately, many festival goers had left by the time SA shock performance band and headliner Die Antwoord had hit the stage. People seem to hate this band because of how crass and "apparently" short of talent they are. But other people rate their lyrics and style. I still enjoy their creativity. They are using the stage and props and whatever other gimmicks to entertain audiences, like few other local acts have. Not every musician needs to dance around in a children's Japanese Pokemon cartoon suit or blurt out the foulest possible South African slang to justify the entrance at the gate but Ninja does it, because it works.

Yo-Landi Visser - his cohort in depravity - also entertained a few observers with her naughty gyrations. If Lady GaGa can have young men asking why is this so alluring to me when it's so bizzare, why can't Yo-Landi?

I hope Ramfest 2012 is equally interesting.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Night Drive's driven producer - Susana Kennedy



ScreenForum SA's Alistair Anderson (AA) met with Susana Kennedy (SK), the producer of a new horror film with real undertones - Night Drive. An ex-cop joins a group of tourists on a night drive safari...


AA - Is film a pursuit for perfectionists?

SK - Yes, it is. I am a perfectionist and a workaholic and have to be doing something all the time. You work many hours and lose a lot of sleep. I often get asked by parents how their kids can get into film and I say if you cannot do anything else, do film.

AA - Is Night Drive your first major feature?

SK - It is but I have made some documentaries. They helped me create Night Drive as I learned so much from their creation.

AA - You made a soccer documentary with African Cup of Nations 1996 winning coach , Clive Barker's son, John. Have you always been into football?

SK - Yes, “Soccer: South of the Umbilo” was released last year. John directed it and I produced it. I knew very little about the sport. I think I was picked by John to move in with an outside perspective and to use my understanding of narrative cinema. It was an insane amazing experience though. I met the crew on the Monday and we were shooting on the Tuesday. Within two and a half months, it was on screens, so it was incredible to get it out there in time for the Soccer World Cup.

AA - What got you into film?

SK - Since I was a girl, I wanted to entertain people. I did bits of acting and studied film but I have wanted to make a difference.

Will Smith said in everything you do leave something better than it was before and I live by this quote.

AA - So producing has major aspects that appeal to you?

SK - It's a misconception that producing is not creative. I am in the process of making seven films, six of which come from my concepts. But beyond this, many aspects of producing films are creative. Just the marketing side alone, for example, is very creative. Half of a film is marketing. I did not know that before but I know it now.

AA - Why haven't you gone abroad as a film maker like Battle: Los Angeles' director Jonathan Liebesman yet?

SK - SA offers more freedom. I'm proud of Jonathan. He worked hard and used his family's support well. I believe that as a film maker in SA, I can make myself into a relatively decently sized fish, while in the US I would be plankton.

AA - What brought you to make Night Drive? What should audiences know about it?

SK - Night Drive was made with people I studied with. We have become something of a family. It's my first feature film baby.

The film is not just an action movie. It has a real social comment under all the crazy action. Refugees are poached for their organs in our country which is scary People have told me that what is so petrifying is that the horror is real.

AA - Night Drive was criticised for its controversial advertising campaign where it had a doctor offering money for organs. The agency responsible for the adverts has since apologised. Can you comment on this?

SK - We dealt with the issue but I think it's good to be controversial. But we respect accuracy.

In the film itself, we have tried to be as accurate as possible. We consulted anti-poaching units. We have also worked with the awareness group RAG, which supports anti-poaching drives. I want to give to society wherever I can through my films. Night Drive's actors have been at cancer drives to show their support for people with the illness too. We actually address cancer in the film in what I think is a respectable way.

AA - So are you going to continue to ruffle feathers?

SK - Yes, you have to be bold in this industry. I am working on a comedy about a "BEE (Black Economic Empowerment) guy" and the humour around the luxurious and other things that enter his life. But we try not to take sides and have ripped of everyone in the film.

AA - Are South African audiences limited to a few genres?

SK – Definitely, our audiences like Afrikaans films and then a few local films such as Jerusalema and White Wedding have done well. (Leon) Schuster's films are in a different league.

I want to make films for English South Africans, films that can travel, that feature characters that are universal. This is happening.

We have sold Night Drive in the Middle East, Japan and Germany. This is even before the film was released to the market.

AA - Tell me about the cast and crew.

SK - I have been humbled to work with people who do their jobs so well. Brandon Auret, for example, has impressed me tremendously.

AA - What can be done to improve SA's film industry?

SK - I have worked at every level of film in different areas of the craft. People in our industry need to understand that there is much for them to learn. People get out of film schools here and they think they know it all. I want to build a star system here. Equity shares of the profits for Night Drive will be given to the actors so that they can afford to do things like going for acting classes and voice classes. Anyone who has worked with Al Pacino will tell you that he prepares intensively for a role. He spends three months in voice classes before he acts in a film.

AA - How did you fund your film and how do people get money for films in SA?

SK - For your first film, you turn to family, friends and any other source. Many investors in our films are from outside of the country or from outside of the industry completely. Hopefully, more people will risk their money in film.

AA - The government has made 2011 the year of job creation. How has a small project like Night Drive created employment?

SK - Our crew was small, about 40 people but we worked with interns, many of which were from AFDA film school.

AA -What are your future plans?

SK - I am always learning. I want to study more when I can find the time and continue to learn about film.

AA - What keeps you in film?

SK - It is something that I am passionate about. I am a perfectionist and I live to work.

AA - Do you still have time for family life? Or does that come later or in between? Many people say film crews can be like families.

SK - Honestly, sadly I don't get to see my family as much as I'd like to, but I make a huge effort to see them as much as possible. I am extremely family orientated, we are all very close and supportive of one-another, so at times the lack of contact is difficult. My neighbourhood friends have also become like an extended family to me, we have a place we refer to as "Cheers" (like the series) at any given time I can go there and a couple of good people I know will be there, we are always happy and excited to see each other and we always have a great time together.

So any gap I get, I am either at "Cheers", with my family or cooking. I love feeding people, cooking up a storm with thirty odd people drinking and being merry at my house - which unfortunately does not happen often.

But I have decided that this year is my year for balance, I am reaching for the ideal; make time for family and friends and yoga and running and studying and still making awesome films. I know it's a lot, but you've got to have goals, so they might as well be great ones.

Night Drive opened last Friday March 4.

Learn more about Night Drive here:

http://www.nightdrivemovie.com/

Poster courtesy of website - http://www.nightdrivemovie.com/

This interview is also available on ScreenForum SA - http://screenforum.blogspot.com

A new term - you heard it here first

Cock Blocker - person who stops you from getting ass. Don't stand around and block my cock when I'm working that woman in the bar.

Cock Buffer - person who empowers your ability to get ass. Do buffer my cock by saying I'm a designer without borders and not just an interior designer.