Movie Review: Deadpool resurrects superhero movies


Starring: Ryan Reynolds, Ed Skrein, Morena Baccarin

Directed by: Tim Miller

Vuvu Rating: 9/10

The film is based on the Marvel Comic anti-hero mercenary Wade Wilson, played by Ryan Reynolds, who contracts cancer. Wilson is disfigured after being subjected to a tortuous experiment by villainous scientist Ajax, played by Ed Skrein, forming the scarred and indestructible Deadpool with his twisted sense of humour. Deadpool embarks on a quest to have the side effects of the experiments reversed in order to return to his fiancé (and stripper) Vanessa played by Morena Baccarin. What follows is a lot of gory action, flying bullets and a dark sense of humour never seen before in a comic superhero.

This is the ideal superhero comeback for Reynolds after his lukewarm portrayal of the Green Lantern in 2011 and seems to be a role written to all of the actor’s strengths. His portrayal of the rebellious character somewhat hints at Jim Carrey’s style of humour and physicality. The wise cracks are non-stop from the credits, where the filmmakers and crew call themselves “tools” and “asshats”, to the post credit scenes that poke fun at the audience for staying to watch them. This quirkier version of the tradition comic book films builds on the type of humour we are beginning to see in films like Ant-Man and Guardians of the Galaxy and takes it just a step further by finally bringing us the depraved super-hero we have all been dying to see.

Directed by Tim Miller the film takes notes from Quentin Tarantino’s infamous style of depicting violence with blood splatter flying across the screen and unexpected gore. The film also tends to say all the things you were thinking but were too afraid to say out loud. It manages to poke fun of its self and previous Marvel films whilst still keeping the audience immersed in the world of superheroes and mad scientists. What makes the film even more enjoyable is the throwback soundtrack that features classics from the likes of DMX, Wham and Salt-N-Peppa.

The only drawback of the film is that it is carried mainly by the lead character with minimal impact coming from the supporting cast. Like a rebellious cool kid the film is trying very hard to get the audience to like it and after making a record breaking $132.7 million on its opening weekend it seems that’s exactly what’s happened.



DUT student’s death clouded in mystery

The student, Lindelani Myeza, who allegedly committed suicide at Durban University of Technology (DUT)  due to lack of funding from the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS), did receive funding according to the Minister of Higher Education and Training Blade Nzimande.  (more…)

Zuma SONA skirts #Feesmustfall


South African President Jacob Zuma at the Sports for Peace Gala 2010 in Johannesburg. By South_African_President_Zuma.TIF: Sportsforpeace derivative work: Rosentod (South_African_President_Zuma.TIF) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

South African President Jacob Zuma at the Sports for Peace Gala 2010 in Johannesburg. By South_African_President_Zuma.TIF: Sportsforpeace derivative work: Rosentod (South_African_President_Zuma.TIF) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

The fees crisis and financial shortfall in tertiary education were only briefly mentioned in the State of the Nation Address (SONA) on Thursday. This comes despite the anticipation of many students, faculty and analysts who hoped that President Jacob Zuma would outline the details of how the financial shortfall will be dealt with.

“Government has responded to the financial shortfall arising from the zero per cent university fee increase, as agreed in meeting with students and vice-chancellors last year,” said Zuma during the 2016 SONA. Zuma postponed discussing the details and rather referred to the budget speech later this month. “The minister of finance will provide the details of education shortfall funding in the budget speech,” said Zuma.

In a statement by Witwatersrand University, the university expressed their surprise that the issues relating to student access and finance were not raised during the speech. “We are hopeful that these matters will be dealt with in detail in the upcoming budget speech,” according to the statement.

Prof Ruksana Osman, the dean of humanities at Wits, expressed her concern over the lack of details discussed by the president. “The issue was not addressed sufficiently because it lacked in finer details around the big questions on how the shortfall with work, for who and under what conditions,” said Osman.

She also raised concerns over the lack of acknowledgement of the far reaching consequences of the fees crisis. “The speech was measured and did not acknowledge the magnitude of the financial crisis and the socio economic impact on the country as a whole,” said Osman.

Many now look towards the budget speech on Feb 24 to tackle the issues that Zuma deferred to the recently appointed Minister of Finance Pravin Gordhan.

“My expectations are not of dramatic moves at this point – perhaps a budget raided here or there to help universities meet immediate shortfalls but probably not much more than that,” said Prof Daryl Glaser the head of department of Political Studies at Wits University.

The president added that a Judicial Commission of Inquiry was appointed into higher education and urged all stakeholders to cooperate. However, some think that the government may not be able to take on the financial burden of moving towards free education after Zuma’s speech focused on the economic situation and the tough time ahead for the country.

“This enables the executive to delay action in financially straitened times, but of course it’ll be necessary to see what the commission finds,” said Glaser.

Zuma announced that fees would not increase at tertiary institutions last year. This came after university students across the country embarked on the #FeesMustFall protests, demanding a zero percent fees increase, curriculum transformation, an end to outsourcing and a commitment toward free tertiary education.

Movie Review: The Hateful Eight

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Starring: Samuel L. Jackson, Kurt Russell, Jennifer Jason Leigh

Directed by: Quentin Tarantino

Vuvu Rating: 7/10


The Hateful Eight is director Quentin Tarantino’s eighth feature film and continues in the same vein as his previous Western Django Unchained.

The film is set in a wintery Wyoming after the Civil War, when a stagecoach heading for Red Rock gets caught in a blizzard. Aboard the stagecoach is bounty hunter John “the Hangman” Ruth, played by Kurt Russell, and his prisoner Daisy Domergue, played by Jennifer Jason Leigh, who is bound for the hangman. Along their journey to the shelter of Minnie’s Haberdashery they pick up Major Marquis Warren, a former Union cavalry officer, who is played by Samuel L. Jackson and Chris Mannix, played by Walton Goggins, who claims to be the new sheriff of Red Rock.

This ignites the tension between the intriguing characters that the film is built on. Once they arrive at their pit stop and sanctuary from the storm they come across four other strangers that will be snowed in along with their paranoia, guns and secrets in a small cabin. But not everyone is who they seem to be.

The deceptive opening scene shows the picturesque snowy landscapes of the mountainous West before entering a single room packed with eccentric and suspicious characters, where it remains for the duration of the film. This setting is more reminiscent of a stage play rather than a film helping to heighten the sense of confinement among the characters.

The plot is a culmination of an Agatha Christie mystery novel and a rugged Western generated by a barrage of bullets and cascade of blood which is what we come to expect from any Tarantino film. The narrative of the Hateful Eight isn’t as rounded as his previous films, the storyline is weaker and doesn’t have a lot of death. They’re stuck in a room, they fight, they kill each other. But is nevertheless filled with twists and revelations that make for an interesting watch.

Dialogue is the main driving force behind this slow paced film that is best described by the films own words, “molasses like”.  However the dialogue is excellent and allows the actors to each have their own moments of brilliance. This wordy film is however punctuated with not only over the top violence but also humour. The clever one liners will remain with you long after the lights come on and the popcorn is finished.

The characters of the film aren’t self-restrained or politically correct which is common in the way Tarantino’s reimagined historical and political issues that are particularly seen in Django Unchained and Inglorious Bastards. However each character is intriguing with excellent performances from Oscar nominated, Jennifer Jason Leigh and Jackson.

The Hateful Eight is an enjoyable film that any Tarantino fan would relish, but if you’re not a fan of lengthy rambling films broken by excessive violence then this will be a hateful experience.

Wits fights back in Varsity Shield

Tanisha Heiberg

KICKING SUCCESS: FNB Wits Fly half, Warren Gilberts, kicking for the posts during their second Varsity Shield game where his team dominated with a 53-0 win against FNB TUT. Photo: Provided by Catherine Kotze

KICKING SUCCESS: FNB Wits Fly half, Warren Gilberts, kicking for the posts during their second Varsity Shield game where his team dominated with a 53-0 win against FNB TUT. Photo: Provided by Catherine Kotze

FNB Wits beat FNB TUT by 53 points when they played their first home game this season in the Varsity Shield rugby match on Monday.

Enjoying home ground advantage, Wits were hoping to redeem themselves from not only their 26-18 defeat against UKZN last week Monday, but also their 2015 defeat against the same team in the varsity shield finals.

The rainy weather, which threatened to disrupt play, didn’t dampen the spirits as Thato Marubela scored the first try to put his team 5-0 up. Captain Conor Brocschmidt brought the score up five more points to bring his team back into double digits. Fly-half Warren Gilberts, who missed his first conversion, managed to add three extra points on his second attempt. Wits continued piling on the pressure with a try from Constant Beckerling and another successful conversion. The Wits defense held firm against a desperate and physical FNB TUT side, bringing the halftime score to 21-0 for the home team

In the second half continued in the same vein, with Scrum-half Ruan MacDonald scoring three consecutive tries and his teammate AJ van Blerk putting the final nail in the coffin when he converted a penalty try, ending the game with a whitewash final score to 53-0 for FNB Wits.

“They were more physical than I expected but I don’t think they were as tactically prepared as we were,” said Brocschmidt.

The Wits team managed to regroup from a disappointing loss lost week and improve on their backline to clinch not only a confidence boosting win, but also an excellent birthday present for their team captain. “It was quite a good birthday present,” said Brocschmidt.

Even with a slight break, the Wits team won’t lose sight of their target to improve on last season’s form, when they travel to the University of Fort Hare to play FNB UFH next Thursday at Davidson Rugby Stadium.

“Every opposition is a strong opposition but I think we are pretty confident … the boys will be hungry for more after this,” said Brocschmidt.