The Evolution of Superheroes: Then and Now

This month we will be exploring the wonderful world of Superheroes! How the comics were portrayed on the silver screen and how these masterpieces have evolved over the years. It’s not surprising that with the evolution of technology a whole world of possibilities has opened for film makers to push the boundaries. These days you can experience a sensory explosion in a 4D Cinema, from characters jumping out at you (in 3D) to actual water spraying on you during a rainy final battle scene. We have selected a couple of retro films that have had remakes in recent years and we’re comparing them to see how much they have evolved.

And where better to start than…

Captain America [1990] vs. [2016]

During World War II, a brave, patriotic American Soldier undergoes experiments to become a new super soldier, “Captain America.” Racing to Germany to sabotage the rockets of Nazi baddie “Red Skull”, Captain America winds up frozen until the 1990s. He reawakens to find that the Red Skull has changed identities and is now planning to kidnap the President of the United States.

                                                                                                                                                                                    Synopsis from the 1990 Movie version

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Click on the images to view the trailers

His costume might have changed but the good old captain stayed the same!!

Spiderman [1977] vs. [2016]

Peter Parker has a laboratory accident that changes his life. He finds himself with greatly increased strength, the ability to stick to walls to climb them without needing hand and footholds and a “spider-sense” (presented in this series as clairvoyance) that allows him to sense danger. Designing a costume and a web shooter that allows him to fire a strong artificial web, he fights crimes as Spider-Man.

Synopsis from the 1977 TV Series version

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Click on the images to view the trailers

Not only did this legendary superhero have a change of costume, he also, thanks to the wonders of CGI and special effects, could showcase his superhero powers and not just shoot fishing net out of his wrist and parkour over a little wall here and there!!

Hulk and Thor [1978] vs. [2012]

Now for a combo. These two Marvel characters have been side by side in battle for generations and in the most resent Avengers movie and its sequel these two were seen back together owning it on the silver screen with special effects galore.

Nick Fury is the director of S.H.I.E.L.D., an international peace-keeping agency. The agency is a who’s who of Marvel Super Heroes, with Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk, Thor, Captain America, Hawkeye and Black Widow. When global security is threatened by Loki and his cohorts, Nick Fury and his team will need all their powers to save the world from disaster.

Synopsis from the 2012 Movie version
Click on the images to view the trailers

No Superhero blog will be complete without giving the woman some props…

Catwoman [1966] vs. [2012]

Though Batman escapes the Sandman’s trap, Robin is left to wander in a deadly maze. A clue leads Batman to Catwoman’s lair, where he informs her of Sandman’s plans to elope with J. Pauline Spaghetti and keep her fortunes to himself. Enraged by the Sandman’s trickery, Catwoman sets out after him. Batman, with the now-rescued Robin, also follows, and the group meet up at Spaghetti’s old deserted pasta factory.

Synopsis from the 1966 Series version

 

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Click on the images to view the trailers

Catwoman has traditionally been portrayed as a super villain and adversary of Batman forming part of the DC Universe Franchise. I don’t know about you but the universe has been kind to her and like a true lady she has just gotten better with age.

We hope this tantalised your taste buds to see for yourself how these movies have changed, and maybe even spur you on to get those old comic books you used to read as a child out from under your mattress. Stay tuned for more amazing blasts from the past in this month Superhero themed blogs. Be sure to subscribe to our YouTube Channel and Like and share our Facebook and Twitter Pages.

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Content Sources:    http://www.boredpanda.com/superheroes-then-and-now/
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DRACULA: Then and Now

Dracula has been around for years and every generation of filmmakers has their own take on this mythical creature. Where did Dracula originate from and how did filmmakers bring their renditions to the screen.

DRACULA (NOSFERATU) [1931]

This movie is based on the novel written by Bram Stoker and even though it had been put into a film in 1922 under the name ‘Nosferatu’ this German masterpiece was still not a match for this true cinematic classic that was ‘Dracula’. The main actor, Bela Lugosi, rose to instant fame when he played the part of this suave and sophisticated nobleman who had ladies swoon with his cultured Hungarian accent.

Synopsis

After a harrowing ride through the Carpathian Mountains in eastern Europe, Renfield enters castle Dracula to finalize the transferral of Carfax Abbey in London to Count Dracula, who is actuality a vampire. Renfield is drugged by the eerily hypnotic count, and turned into one of his thralls, protecting him during his sea voyage to London. After sucking the blood and turning the young Lucy Weston into a vampire, Dracula turns his attention to her friend Mina Seward, daughter of Dr. Seward who then calls in a specialist, Dr. Van Helsing, to diagnose the sudden deterioration of Mina’s health. Van Helsing, realizing that Dracula is indeed a vampire, tries to prepare Mina’s fiancé, John Harker, and Dr. Seward for what is to come and the measures that will have to be taken to prevent Mina from becoming one of the undead.

Now, fast-forward to present day and we have a smorgasbord of Dracula / vampire movies and TV series to choose from and most of them have the common thread, that Count Dracula was the first vampire and their character origins relate to the Count himself. Let’s have a look at a couple of these variations…

BRAM STOKER’S DRACULA [1992]

Synopsis

This version of Dracula is closely based on Bram Stoker’s classic novel of the same name. A young lawyer (Jonathan Harker) is assigned to a gloomy village in the mists of eastern Europe. He is captured and imprisoned by the undead vampire Dracula, who travels to London, inspired by a photograph of Harker’s betrothed, Mina Murray. In Britain, Dracula begins a reign of seduction and terror, draining the life from Mina’s closest friend, Lucy Westenra. Lucy’s friends gather together to try to drive Dracula away.

The cast includes Gary Oldman as Count Dracula, Winona Ryder as Mina Murray / Elisabeta and Anthony Hopkins as Professor Abraham Van Helsing and directed by Francis Ford Coppola.

DRACULA: UNTOLD [2014]

This movie being the most recent in the telling of Dracula’s tale.

Synopsis

At the turn of the century, the young lord Vlad and his family live a peaceful life ruling over their small kingdom, but when a Turk warlord demands from Vlad a thousand boys and his son to create an army Vlad seeks a terrible power that will allow him to protect his kingdom and family from the Turks at a terrible cost.

The cast includes Luke Evans as Vlad, Sarah Gadon as Mirena and Dominic Cooper as Mehmed and directed by Gary Shore.

A couple of honorable mentions when it comes to spin-offs from the original movie would definitely be….

Interview with the Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles [1994]

Synopsis

It hasn’t even been a year since a plantation owner named Louis lost his wife in childbirth. Both his wife and the infant died, and now he has lost his will to live. A vampire named Lestat takes a liking to Louis and offers him the chance to become a creature of the night: a vampire. Louis accepts, and Lestat drains Louis’ mortal blood and then replaces it with his own, turning Louis into a vampire. Louis must learn from Lestat the ways of the vampire.

Directed by Neil Jordan and cast includes Brad Pitt as Louis, Christian Slater as Malloy and Tom Cruise as Lestat.

Queen of the Damned [2002]

Synopsis

After many years of sleeping in his coffin, the vampire Lestat awakens only to find that the world has changed and he wants to be a part of it. He gathers a following and becomes a rock star only to find that his music awakens the ancient Queen Akasha and she wants him to become her king…

Directed by Michael Rymer and cast includes the late Aaliyah as Queen Akasha, Stuart Townsend as The Vampire Lestat and Marguerite Moreau as Jesse.

And Last but not least…

DRACULA [2013 – 2014] TV Series

Synopsis

Dracula travels to London, with dark plans for revenge against those who ruined his life centuries earlier. However, his plan is complicated when he falls in love with a woman who seems to be a reincarnation of his dead wife.

This TV Series consists of 10 episodes, directed by Cole Haddon and the cast includes Jonathan Rhys Meyers as Alexander Grayson, Jessica De Gouw as Ilona and Thomas Kretschmann as Abraham Van Helsing.

If the supernatural is your kind of thing, then it’s safe to say you are familiar with the Count and all the variations of his origin and existence. We might have mentioned a couple of movies that you have not seen yet or we might have rekindled some spark in you to watch them again. Either way vampire stories are here to stay so if you love them, welcome them into your home and if not, stock up on the garlic…. It’s gonna be a long night.

Movie Information courtesy of IMDB: http://www.imdb.com/?ref_=nv_home

Creature Features: The Classics

Seeing as it’s October and Halloween is around the corner we have decided to make this month’s theme a compilation of the horrors and thrillers the film industry has to offer. We have chosen a couple of movies that are definitely worth a mention and that might spark some memories from your childhood.

It [1990]

In 1960, a group of social outcasts who are bullied by a gang of greasers led by Henry Bowers are also tormented by an evil demon who can shape-shift into a clown and feed on children’s fears and kill them. After defeating the demonic clown as kids, it resurfaces 30 years later and they must finish it off as adults once again.

This TV Mini-Series based on the book written by Stephen King was definitely one of the scariest movies of its time and most definitely one of the main reasons people are afraid of Clowns. It is currently being remade under the direction of Andreas Muschietti and will be released in late 2017.

The Fly [1986]

Seth Brundle, a brilliant but eccentric scientist attempts to woo investigative journalist Veronica Quaife by offering her a scoop on his latest research in the field of matter transportation, which against all the expectations of the scientific establishment have proved successful. Up to a point. Brundle thinks he has ironed out the last problem when he successfully transports a living creature, but when he attempts to teleport himself a fly enters one of the transmission booths, and Brundle finds he is a changed man. This Science-Gone-Mad film is the source of the quotable quote “Be afraid. Be very afraid.”

#DidYouKnow, the infamous cat-monkey scene where Brundlefly fuses a cat and the remaining baboon and then beats it to death with a lead pipe was cut following a Toronto screening. According to producer Stuart Cornfeld the audience felt that there was no turning back for Seth and they lost all sympathy for his plight, which caused the rest of the film to not play as well. In Cornfeld’s own words: “If you beat an animal to death, even a monkey-cat, your audience is not gonna be interested in your problems anymore”.

Gremlins [1984]

Miniature green monsters tear through the small town of Kingston Falls. Hijinks ensue as a mild-mannered bank teller releases these hideous loonies after gaining a new pet and violating two of three simple rules: No water (violated), no food after midnight (violated), and no bright light. Hilarious mayhem and destruction in a town straight out of Norman Rockwell. So, when your washing machine blows up or your TV goes on the fritz, before you call the repair man, turn on all the lights and look under all the beds. Cause you never can tell, there just might be a gremlin in your house.

#DidYouKnow, the set for Kingston Falls is the same one used for Back to the Future (1985). Both movies were filmed in the Universal Studios backlot.

Leprechauns [1993]

When Dan O’Grady returns to the U.S. after stealing some Irish leprechaun’s pot of gold, he thinks he can settle down and enjoy his newfound wealth. He thought wrong. The leprechaun followed him and O’Grady barely gets away with his life, having locked the little monster in his basement. Ten years later, J.D. and his spoiled daughter Tory move in. By accident, the leprechaun is released and almost immediately the annoying creature starts to look for his gold, not displaying any respect for human life.

#DidYouKnow, according to the director, Warwick Davis, the movie was originally planned as a scary kid’s film, but the studio thought it would work better as a more adult horror, so inserts were filmed to increase the gore and violence.

All these movies have a few things in common: Growing up they were the scariest movies around and it haunted our dreams for years to come. We were definitely not allowed to watch them and because of that reason we wanted to watch them even more no matter the consequences. At Retro Afrika Bioscope we love our old Classics so we hope this sparked a new flame of nostalgia so you can curl up in front of the TV with your favorite childhood scary movie this October, if you dare!!!

Movie content source: http://www.imdb.com/?ref_=nv_home

Retro Afrika Bioscope celebrating Heritage Day

This Saturday South Africa will be celebrating Heritage Day. And with Retro Afrika Bioscope playing such a significant role in restoring and preserving this beautiful country’s diverse film heritage it seems only fit to dedicate a blog to this awesome day!!! It’s also very important to remember where it all started and what significance it has to the people of South Africa and our rainbow nation.

The History

In an address marking Heritage Day in 1996, president Nelson Mandela stated:

“When our first democratically-elected government decided to make Heritage Day one of our national days, we did so because we knew that our rich and varied cultural heritage has a profound power to help build our new nation.”

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And thus Heritage Day was born, to be celebrated every year on the 24th September. With such a diverse culture and rather than focusing on the cultural divisions, a recent initiative by the Braai4Heritage called upon all South Africans to celebrate their common roots by having a Braai (BBQ) on Heritage Day.

Retro Afrika Bioscope has been dedicated to preserving and restoring lost and forgotten films produced in the 1980’s. These films might never have been seen by modern audiences if it wasn’t for this project. We started the long process of sourcing these films and restoring them to their former glory and today they are accessible on various platforms such as DVD and Video on Demand. In South Africa we have partnered with DSTV’s Mzansi Bioskop, channel (164) in bringing these once forgotten African Classics into your living room and this Sundays movie will be ‘Isiqalekiso’ [1980]’.

Isiqalekiso [1980’s]

After hearing a story of missing golden treasure, a group of young boys set out on an adventure to look for it. After some time, they eventually find a box believed to be the missing gold. But very soon, the group of friends is overcome with gold-fever and it’s not long before they start turning on one another. When a local thug discovers that the boys have indeed found the hidden treasure, he manages to steal it away from them, and the friends are forces to reconcile and come together in order to retrieve their find and get their own back on the thief.

So how are you going to spend your Heritage Day? If you’re living outside of South Africa. why not go onto FilmDoo, Hoopla Digital or Bigstar to browse through our catalog of movies and stream these Lost African Classics. You never know, you might find your next favorite between the rich treasures that is South Africa’s film pride and joy.

 

International Women’s Month: Quotable quotes by Famous Women in Film

In honor of women in film we have compiled a list of famous quotes by these elegant, beautiful and talented women. So sit back, relax and enjoy the trip down memory lane!!!!

Practical Magic [1998]

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Nicole Kidman as ‘Gillian Owens’ in Practical Magic

Midnight in Paris [2011]

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Marion Cotillard as ‘Adriana’ in Midnight in Paris

The Color Purple [1985]

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Whoopi Goldberg as ‘Celia’ in The Color Purple

Pretty Woman [1990]

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Julia Roberts as ‘Vivian’ in Pretty Woman

My Big Fat Greek Wedding [2002]

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Nia Vardalos as ‘Toula Portokalos’ and Lainie Kazan as ‘Maria Portokalos’ in My Big Fat Greek Wedding

The Help [2011]

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Viola Davis as ‘Aibileen Clarke’ in The Help

Before Sunset [2004]

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Julie Delpi as ‘Celine’ in Before Sunset

Sex and the City [1998]

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Kim Cattrall as ‘Samantha Jones’ in Sex and the City

And finally this quote might not be from a particular movie but it sure is worth adding and very true!!! Marilyn was the pure embodiment of female strength, beauty and empowerment. And even though she was not always well behaved in her short but fulfilling life, she definitely made history!!! Happy Women’s Month to all the wonderful women in the world that are making a difference.

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Bringing Lost African Gems Straight to your Living Room on Mzansi Bioskop

Gravel Road Entertainment Group’s Retro Afrika Bioscope and Mzansi Bioskop have teamed up to bring you a starlit line up of lost and forgotten South African films. Over the next couple of months, you can tune in every Sunday at 8pm to DSTV Channel 164, Mzansi Bioskop to feast your eyes on some of the most authentically South African films that was produced in the 70’s and 80’s. These films showcase all-African casts and in a number of local languages with English subtitles.

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“Umbango” will have it’s first ever TV premiere this coming Sunday. The film was produced and directed by Tonie van der Merwe, starring Popo Gumede, Hector Mathanda and Kay Magubane and is arguably one of the first all African cast isiZulu Westerns. The film was digitally restored by Gravel Road Entertainment Group and was, together with the film Joe Bullet, official selection in the Forum section at the Berlin International Film Festival in 2015. Both films had sell out audiences at the festival. “As the first producer and director of an African language film, it gives me great pride to finally get some recognition for our contribution to the South African film industry. I am proud of what we have achieved and it’s a great honour and privilege to experience this moment. It’s a shame that most of these actors such as Ken Gampu, Joe Lopez and Hector Mathanda cannot be here today to see these films on TV. Thank you again to all the actors and my colleges. I salute you!!” says Tonie van der Merwe.

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About “Umbango”
When Kay Kay, a powerful, ruthless businessman sets out on a mission of revenge against two men accused of killing his brother, he strong-arms the local sheriff into forming a posse of thugs to aid in his vendetta. But when Jet and Owen, the two easy going friends, learn of the gang out for their blood, they prepare to stand their ground and fight back. It all comes to a head in a final gun-fight, a showdown in the small western town where blood will have to be split if the friends wish to come out of this alive.

Retro Afrika Bioscope is Gravel Road Entertainment Group’s specialty release label for classic retro African content. In 2013, Gravel Road launched an initiative to locate, digitally restore and re-release films produced for the oppressed majority (African) audiences in the 70’s and 80’s under the old South African film subsidy schemes. All films being released by Retro Afrika Bioscope undergo a highly specialized digital restoration process.

The line-up of films for the month of July includes, Abathumbi (Starring: Innocent Gumede and Khulekani Magubane), Zero for Zep (Starring: So Mhlanga and Khulekani Magubane), Umgulukudu (Starring: Roy Dlamini and Mandla Ngoya) and Thunder Valley (Starring: Roy Dlamini and Mandla Ngoya).

More information on these films are available on:
Facebook Page – https://www.facebook.com/retroafrika/
YouTube Channel – https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCMR66tlg7C2Yp-10tHNH1SA

Finding the Forgotten Cinematic Jewels of Africa

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Gravel Road Entertainment Group is a Cape Town based entertainment company that focuses on creating quality film content. Aimed to enrich people’s lives and designed to be distributed across all market channels.

We then thought of an innovative idea to be distinct from other Film Companies and gave birth to a creatively genius idea. This is when Retro Afrika Bioscope was born. The initial idea behind this speciality release label was to locate, acquire, restore and expose once discarded and forgotten Classic African films to a whole new generation of African Cinema lovers around the world. Many of these films were banned from South African screens back then.

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These stories brought some form of elude from what was happening in South Africa during 1960 till 1990. We all know that apartheid was brutal at that time and entertainment was very minimal due to South Africa’s harsh policies.

Even though black South African actors were very exploited back then we could see from the content they were generating that they loved what they were doing and enjoyed the platform they received which means they were made for this and nothing else made them happier than being in front of the camera.

All in all, these films, filmmakers and actors created a legacy for themselves and made a historical monument which Gravel Road Entertainment Group has brought forth and allowed our generation to enjoy Mzanzi’s own film ancestors. “Mayibuye I’Retro Afrika Bioscope Mayibuye” enjoy the African Cinematic jewels!!!

Written by: Thokozile Nwebani