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#OnTheBigScreen: Hobbs & Shaw, Stan & Ollie and Van Gogh & Japan

Films opening at South African cinemas, this week, include The Fast & Furious spin-off Hobbs & Shaw; Stan & Ollie; Richard Says Goodbye; Terra Willy and Van Gogh & Japan.

Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw

After eight films that have amassed more than $5bn worldwide, The Fast & Furious franchise now features its first stand-alone vehicle as Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham reprise their roles as Luke Hobbs and Deckard Shaw.

Ever since hulking lawman Hobbs (Johnson), a loyal agent of America’s Diplomatic Security Service (DSS), and lawless outcast Shaw (Statham), a former British military elite operative, first faced off in 2015’s Furious 7, the duo has swapped smack talk and body blows as they’ve tried to take each other down.

But when cyber-genetically enhanced anarchist Brixton Lorr (Idris Elba) gains control of an insidious bio-threat that could alter humanity forever – and bests Hattie (The Crown’s Vanessa Kirby), a brilliant and fearless rogue MI6 agent who just happens to be Shaw’s sister – these two sworn enemies will have to partner up to bring down the only guy who might be worse than themselves.

Directed by David Leitch (Deadpool 2, Atomic Blonde) from a story by longtime Fast & Furious narrative architect Chris Morgan and a screenplay by Morgan and Drew Pearce (Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation, Iron Man 3), Hobbs & Shaw blasts open a new door in the Fast universe as it hurtles action across the globe.  

Read more here.

Stan & Ollie

Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy are widely regarded as the greatest comedy partnership in movie history. Between 1927 and 1950, they made over 107 film appearances (32 silent short films, 40 sound shorts, 23 features, 12 cameos), defining the notion of the double act with infectious chemistry and hilarious routines that seemed effortless but were honed down to the finest detail.

Laurel & Hardy, one of the world’s great comedy teams, set out on a variety hall tour of Britain in 1953.

Diminished by age and with their golden era as the kings of Hollywood comedy now behind them, they face an uncertain future. As the charm and beauty of their performances shines through, they re-connect with their adoring fans.  

The tour becomes a hit, but Stan & Ollie can’t quite shake the spectre of Laurel and Hardy’s past; the long-buried ghosts, coupled with Oliver’s failing health, start to threaten their precious partnership. 

A portrait of the most tender and poignant of creative marriages, they are aware that they may be approaching their swan song, trying to rediscover just how much they mean to each other.

Directed by Jon S Baird and written by Jeff Pope, Steve Coogan and John C Reilly excel in this bittersweet story about the twilight years of the great double act.

Read more here.

Richard Says Goodbye

When Richard (Johnny Depp), a world-weary college professor, is given a life-changing diagnosis he decides to throw all pretence and conventions to the wind and live his life as boldly and freely as possible.

With a biting sense of humour, a reckless streak and a touch of madness, he binges through every vice: drinking, smoking, sex and hurling blunt insults at anyone who annoys him – giving him more pleasure than he’s had in years.

His rollicking journey and bravura assault on the status quo as he runs out the clock leads him to come to terms with the truth and embrace the people he loves for a final hurrah.

Richard Says Goodbye is a hilarious and devastating comedy-drama about how one man decides to live life to the fullest at the very moment he’s faced with the end of his journey.

Written and directed by Wayne Roberts.

Terra Willy

Following the destruction of their ship, the young Willy is separated from his parents with whom he travelled in space. His spare capsule lands on a wild and unexplored planet.

With the help of Buck, a survival robot, he will have to hold until the arrival of a rescue mission.

Directed by Eric Tosti.

Van Gogh & Japan

In the exhibition on which this film is based – Van Gogh & Japan at the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, it is evident that Japan had a profound influence on the artist and his work.

After leaving Paris for the south of France, which in his mind was the closest to a kind of Japan as he could find, the productive, yet troubled years that followed must be seen in the context of Van Gogh bending Japanese influences as he wanted and defining himself as a modern artist with clear Asian precursors.

The film travels to France, the Netherlands and Japan to explore the remarkable heritage that made him the artist we know of today. The sixth season of Exhibition on Screen brings to life the glorious exhibitions of the works of some of the greatest artists that ever lived. The films also offer deep insight, and exclusive behind-the-screens footage of exhibitions, while weaving lesser-known life stories of legendary artists.

Showing at Rosebank Nouveau in Johannesburg, Brooklyn Nouveau in Pretoria and Ster-Kinekor Gateway Nouveau in Durban from 3 August 2019.

Read more about the latest and upcoming film releases:

About Daniel Dercksen

Daniel Dercksen has been a contributor for Lifestyle since 2012. As the driving force behind the successful independent training initiative The Writing Studio and a published film and theatre journalist of 40 years, teaching workshops in creative writing, playwriting and screenwriting throughout South Africa and internationally the past 22 years. Visit

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