Despicable Me 3 (2017)

Gru and the minions are back in the third instalment of this much-loved franchise. However, this time round the focus is on Gru finding out he has a twin brother. While the twist can be accompanied by an interesting story line, I found this film to be very predictable compared to the first two films in the series. Do not get me wrong I love the despicable me movies. The first two were fantastic and I still re-watch them on a regular basis, but there seemed to be something missing with this third film.

Let’s break it down…

There were some sweet parts that received a few chuckles from the audience but the humour was nothing compared to the first films. I was really looking forward to the film because of how much I love the characters. Gru is hilarious and no one can pull off an accent like that but Steve Carell. He always brings the best out of the character. A villain who has a good heart adopts 3 girls and forms a family… It is a fantastic personality to slot into an animation! It is part of what makes the franchise so successful.

Another part of the films everyone loves is the minions! These funny, cute, yellow little things who talk a language that no one understands. My entire family adore them. My father especially, it is part of the reason why the family outing was to see the movie. However, the minions had such a small part to play in the film. The little part that they received felt so disjointed in comparison to the rest of the film. It did not really fit. I feel there was so much more that could have evolved around the minion’s storylines and I feel that they deserved to be a part of the film more. I mean, who doesn’t love the minions?!

The new antagonist “Balthazar Bratt” is such an entertaining designed character. His 80s persona is such a fun add on to the film. I loved watching the dance battles between him and Gru and for some odd reason I really enjoyed the destructive chewing gum which was his weapon of choice. He also came across as a personal challenge for Gru which added some depth to the film. It felt like if Gru were to finally catch him it would make all his own mishaps melt away and I would have loved to this play out. But I didn’t… does this mean there is an opening for a fourth instalment perhaps?

The animation is absolutely beautiful and it is always comforting to see loved characters return to the screen. This will be what carries the film. The film will do well because of the history that the characters already have with the audience, however, the story, unfortunately, is a weak spot for me. I would have loved the story about the minions needing Gru to have been developed further rather than this long lost brother plot. It almost felt misplaced. It was sweet, just rather forgettable. I doubt the third film will leave as much of as impression as the first two films did.

*lights out*

Natalia

xx

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Fun in Black and White

Even though I am a huge fan of bright colours, I really appreciate the detail that goes into creating Black and white images. Sometimes taking colour away can really highlight the beauty and emotion in a photo…

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MAKEUP ARTIST: Natalia Blumenthal

PHOTOGRAPHY BY: Jenna Echakowitz

MODEL: Cassi Gewer

xxx

Priscilla Queen of the Desert- South Africa

Hi everyone, Priscilla Queen of the

Priscilla Queen of the Desert, queen of glitter, queen of fabulous, queen of the STAGE!

OH MY GOSH, this production (currently showing at Montecasino until the 18th of June) is absolutely fantastic, to say the least! For years I have heard about this musical. SO many people have asked me in shocked tones “why have I not seen Priscilla?” I have been told from left, right and centre that Priscilla is something I just have to witness… Well, in true musical fascination fashion, when I heard this show was being done in South Africa I jumped at the opportunity to quickly book my ticket and secure my place to see this extravaganza. I was not prepared for exactly how fabulous this show actually is!

Well, in true musical fascination fashion, when I heard this show was being done in South Africa I jumped at the opportunity to quickly book my ticket and secure my place to see this extravaganza. I was not prepared for exactly how fabulous this show actually is!

Right, let’s go… the story is about 3 drag queens and their trip across Australia. Along the way, they encounter friendship, fear, love, discrimination and eventually come to an understanding of each other and this crazy world that they choose to be apart of. Secrets and personal situations lead these friends on an adventure of discovery and a trip of a lifetime. The music is a compilation of some of the greatest diva inspired music. Expect to hear songs like “It’s raining men,” “I say a little prayer” and “Girls just want to have fun” amongst many other songs that you can’t help but jive along to. This show is ALL about the art department. From the

This show is ALL about the art department. From the costumes to the makeup, to the set design and to the wigs. This production is an absolute visual treat. A candy floss explosion of colour, texture, glitter and creativity. There were many huge prop pieces that blew my mind. In one of the most memorable scenes of the show, a huge silver stiletto can be seen on top of the bus. I have no idea how much glitter was used to cover this gigantic piece but it was just fantastic! There can never be too much glitter and this show is a testament to this fact. The bus ‘Priscilla’ is such a wonderful piece in this production. Lights are used to bring this piece to life and the bus is as much of a character as any other person in this show.

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The cast is phenomenal. It seems like each person who was cast was chosen with such care that there is truly only talent on the stage. The three main characters Bernadette, Tick (Mitzi) and (Adam) Felicia are played by David Dennis, Daniel Buys and Phillip Schnetler. These three men are so damn talented! David Dennis becomes the character of Bernadette in such a way that I heard audience members asking if ‘she’ is a woman in real life. His comedic moments are delivered with such grace that even the crudest of references becomes funny and I-told-you-so like. Daniel Buys brings a sense of humility to his character that you cannot help but root for him to succeed. He (Mitzi) truly is such a darling on stage- I wanted to be her best friend. Phillip Schnetler… Oh wow… this guy is unbelievable! His extravagant charm was really just a joy to watch. Felicia is one of those characters that tries to prove that nothing can phase her however when she gets knocked down, she hits the ground hard and when this happened in the show all I wanted to do was run up and hug her!

The rest of the cast work so well together on stage too. The three divas Candida Mosoma, Thembeka Mnguni and Londiwe Dhlomo-Dlamini brought such glamour to the show. They have the most wonderful voices and I appreciated the effort it must have been for them to sing while being suspended from the ceiling. There was not a single cast member who brought the show down. Each individual was energetic, excited and talented. It was just a wonderful cast to watch on stage.

The true star of the show had to be the costume designer. WOW, where these costumes amazing! I have no idea how someone comes up with some of these outfits but they were truly fantastic. I loved it all, from a dress made out of slip slops to hats with rubber ducks intertwined. This wardrobe department was completely on point and each outfit was more fabulous than the last. This show was truly spectacular. It was for sure one of the grandest productions I have seen and it is going to be an extremely tough act to follow- so good luck to the team of the next big production!

I loved every second of it and was truly upset when it ended. I was not the only one wanting this show to go on for longer, many people in the audience left the theatre planning their next visit to this fantastic show. If you can, you need to make the trip and see this production. The show is full of comedy, humility, gilts, glam and everything in-between! You will not regret it- I promise.

Do yourself a favour and book your tickets through computicket now! You do not want to miss this one…

*lights out*

Natalia

xxx

 

The Edge of Seventeen (2016)

Hi everyone,

Don’t you just love the feeling when you have seen a great movie and it leaves you feeling happy, inspired and touched? I certainly do, and it is exactly how I felt after watching this goody of a film. In the beginning, the film kind of reminded me of ‘Perks of being a wallflower’ but then it became so much more…

The Edge of Seventeen is a teenage comedy about the ups and downs of growing up. It sounds like a cheesy storyline, right? But it is so far from it! Nadine is the protagonist of the story and she takes the audience on a rollercoaster of emotions. During the course of the film, Nadine loses friends, makes allies, fixes relationships in her life and grows up.

Hailee Steinfeld plays the role of Nadine and she is brilliant. At only 20 years old, Hailee has starred in one of the most popular movies- Pitch perfect and has been on tour opening up for Megan Trainor! Now she steals the show in Edge of Seventeen. I really really hope she gets the recognition she deserves for this film. Her performance was exceptionally honest, raw and hilarious. From the first moment she was on screen I felt a connection to her character, a strong connection.

Her role could have come across as pathetic and desperate but instead it comes across as completely truthful. I think she was lucky to have landed such a well-written character and she just brings it to life even more. Hailee interacts with the other actors in such a genuine way that she really invites the audience into her relationships. She makes the audience feel the emotions that her character is feeling. Her performance made me laugh, smile and cry. What more could you want from an actress?

Woody Harrelson plays Nadine’s teacher, Mr Bruner, and the two of them share such a fascinating relationship.  They just get each other and their chemistry is great to watch. Their scenes are so sarcastic that it is just so funny. The way they look at life in the film is so critical but yet makes so much sense. Their scenes in the film turned out to be some of the parts that stood out for me.

There is so much I could say about this film that it is actually difficult to narrow it down. One of the things I have learned at film school is that it is so important to create something that the audience can relate to. When telling a story you need to ensure that the audience will be able to see parts of themselves within the film. This film gets that concept down to  a T! There were so many moments when I felt like I was watching a mirror image of my life. I just felt things watching this movie and it was truly an awesome experience.

The movie is based on a 17-year-old girl, but it truly transcends to any age. I am 21 years old and I related to everything. I didn’t feel like I was watching a ‘teenage’ movie, I just felt as if I was watching a portrayal of life. It is so difficult growing up. People you thought you knew turn out to be different. You think you know what you want and then it all changes. You get tested too many times to even count and you have to stay afloat when everything seems to be pushing you under water.

If I am going to watch a movie about the dysfunctionality of life, I want to be able to laugh about it. This movie not only makes you laugh but makes you cry too. It left me feeling grateful and happy, like whatever happens to me isn’t the end of the world and everything will work out in the end. I loved it.

*lights out*

Natalia

xxx

Cirque Eloize ID (30 November 2016)

Unbelievable, Unreal, Astonishing, beautiful and insane are some of the words that came to mind after watching the incredible company of Cirque Eloize ID at Montecasino last night. The show has travelled here for the second time now and I am so happy I got to attend the opening night in Johannesburg last night. It all goes down at the beautiful Teatro theatre at Montecasino.

I have been to many shows. I have seen a lot of musicals, comedy, dancing and singing. I have seen over the top costumes, incredible sets and huge dance routines. I have watched actors and actresses who are so extremely talented and I have enjoyed every minute of it all. But I have NEVER seen ANYTHING like CIRQUE ELOIZE ID before. This show is so jam-packed with energy that I felt exhausted from just watching it. Watching these performers do what they do is a privilege and I have the utmost respect for them all- and their mothers.

I am pretty certain that these performers possess some sort of magical power that makes them indestructible. The way they move, the way they perform and the tricks that their bodies are able to do are truly incredible. I actually am at a loss of where to start…

The show takes place in an Urban setting and gives off a west side story kind of feel. Throughout the show, there is a story being told. Two groups are battling it out to secure their place in ‘the streets’. There are lovers, rivals and friends. Each section of art, for lack of a better word, has an underlying theme that seems to enhance the story of an Urban city.

What was amazing for me was that these performers did not need any ‘glitter’ to make it all work and come together. Their tricks were out of this world but the way they interacted with the audience was real and raw and I felt like I got to see each performer’s personality. Often when there are many performers on stage the audience get a broad idea of the story, in this show, I felt like each performer was showing me his or her skills. I can not juggle half as well as the juggler but I felt like he drew me in so deeply that I completely connected with him.

There really was nothing complicated on stage or on their performers. On the stage was a tower of boxes- that was it- but the way these boxes were transformed to suit each piece in the show was amazing. Digital graphics were used to set the scene and give the stage a unique background and different levels and openings were used to aid the performers. The ‘box towers’ magical changed from apartment blocks to beautiful backgrounds to a trampoline! It was truly genius.

Each performer had a different talent and it was shown off so beautifully. I felt like everyone had a chance to show the audience what they can do and each act was amazing. No one outshined anyone and there was no sense of who is better than who. I want to say this was largely due to the choreography and the gap fillers in the show. The way that the other performers were choreographed while the main act was performing was so well done. They helped show the audience what was going on when the stage got very busy at times.  There was always a supporting performer on stage to help jolt your eye to the correct place or explain what the main performer was actually doing.

There were so many outstanding acts that it is so difficult to choose ones that I loved more than others. I loved the hip-hop element to it and the acrobatics were insane. The way these people fly through the air is truly amazing. Juggling is always a fun thing to watch and the contortionist was awesome to watch. How she gets her legs all the way over her head like that I will never know- and that’s ok because I just want to enjoy it. The skipping section is so energetic and the aerialists were amazing. The chair balancing piece made me cringe in the best way.

What made the whole night even more exciting was that I got to meet some of the performers after the show. This was a wonderful moment because it reminded me that they are still just people. I watched these incredible artists leave their lives on the stage- literally- and then I got to speak to them like humans do. It was a wonderful contrast that really put the entire experience into perspective.

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The show is running until the 24th December at Montecasino. If you want to treat yourself and someone special to an amazing experience, this is it! GO GO GO!!!

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*lights out*

Natalia

xxx

 

Robin Hood and the Babes of the wood (2016)

Hi everyone,

It’s that time of year again. Schools are beginning to quieten down for the year, Christmas presents are beginning to be thought about, last minute holidays are being booked and the annual PANTOMIME is on! This year Director Janice Honeyman chose a new story to share- Robin Hood and the babes of the wood. The show has a star-studded cast including Kate Normington as The spirit of the wood fairy, Izak Davel as Robin Hood, Graham Hopkins as the evil Sheriff of Nottingham, Carmen Pretorius as Maid Marian as well as many other talented South African stars.

There is such a sense of fun at the Pantomime. Everyone just wants to have a good time and relax. It really is a great atmosphere to be a part of. There is always plenty to keep everybody entertained. Cultural humor for the adults, extravagant costumes, heroes for the boys, fairies, and princesses for the girls and music that everyone can enjoy. It truly is a family affair.

The cultural references in this year’s script were so up to date that it felt like the characters were living in our present South African society. Someone must have their fingers on the pulse in the creative team because everything was so current and SO funny. Everything from taxes to social media culture, the South African government and the American election were thrown together to create a pop of well, culture.

My only problem this year was that I found the story a bit hard to follow, however, this did not lessen my enjoyment because there were plenty of costumes, sets, jokes and music to keep me going… Going back to set design, I am SO impressed with the set design that I have seen in the past few shows I have been too. Each show out does the previous one when it comes to the art department and this show was no exception. The sets were so colorful, interesting and unique that it truly brought the characters to life.

The cast of this show is so talented. Having seen a number of cast members, Natasha Van De Merwe, Bongi Mthombeni, Candida Mosoma and Nurit Graff (to name a few) in other productions I got so excited at the prospect of seeing them on stage again! Everyone who walked on stage performed with such enthusiasm, energy and commitment that it made me happy to watch people enjoying their craft and succeeding. I always feel that any actor, singer or dancer on stage is so brave because they put themselves forward for public scrutiny and they hardly receive enough credit for their hard work and dedication.

There was some stand out moments of course. The merry men performed a hilarious song about their manly-ness, which my 11-year-old brother found most amusing. The two babes Tokkel (Dale Scheepers) and Tina (Kyra Green) brought some heart into the show. Friar Tuck (Desmond Dube) and Little John (Phumi Mncayi) do a Hilarious rendition of ‘the bear necessities’… the list could go on and on…

Naturally, the only thing left for me to say is congratulations to the entire cast and crew on a fun-loving, entertaining and exciting production!

The show runs at the Joburg Theater until the 30th of December so be sure to book your ticket for an awesome day out….

*lights out*

Natalia

xxx

What it takes to fly…

We were asked to create a look inspired by birds and the idea of flight. It needed to be beautiful, slick and different from something we had done before. This was what I came up with…

img_0124img_0125img_0130nataliabird-2Model: Ashlee Zlotnick

Photography: Jenna Echakowitz

Makeup & Styling: Natalia Blumenthal