Showing posts from 2006

Festive Friday & Merry Christmas!

I'm on leave until the 2nd of Jan as of lunch time today. I'm sure I'll squeeze in some blog updates in that time (I need to put up my review of Flushed Away) but they certainly won't be daily occurrences.

Just in some last minute entertainment news, the title of the 7th and final Harry Potter book has been revealed, the ominous sounding Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows!

And according to, USA Today has revealed the first pic of the CGI-ed Silver Surfer in the second Fantastic 4 movie (out next year). I never liked the character, or Marvel's Galactus storyline (I like my superhero comics earthbound), but I must say they seem to have done the Surfer justice. He looks pretty cool.

Oh, and there's a whole bunch of new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles stills and the new poster up at as well.

Moving onto more festive matters, there are a few great Christmas films depicted in 30 seconds with bunnies over at Angry Alien. Watch National Lampoo…

Bah, humbug!

Alright, it’s not that I don’t like Christmas. Quite to the contrary in fact. I’m quite upset Christmas seems to be dying in secular South Africa. What I am in a bad mood about is my current bad mood… if that makes sense?

Mostly I’m bummed because I had started to get my hopes up about getting the last few days of this week off. That didn’t happen. Instead, I’ve been wading through 10+ proofing jobs (and I have come to despise proofing, which demands complete brain-pulping concentration and is one of those invaluable, but utterly praiseless/unnoticed tasks). And I’ve been contending with an always difficult client who is sitting bored in her office and making my life considering painful over one stupid job. I’m now on my 5th revert.

I want my holidays now, dammit! I’ve reached my ‘actually giving a shit’ threshold and want this week over with. At least I can console myself with the knowledge that today is probably (hopefully) the last official work day. Our day ends tomorrow at 12 with …

South African movie release dates

Perhaps it's time to consider some of the movie highlights of the coming weeks and months in South African cinemas:

22 December 2006
Déjà Vu
She’s The Man
Little Children
Deck The Halls

29 December 2006
Charlotte’s Web
The Departed
Tenacious D in The Pick of Destiny

5 January 2007
The Queen
Night At The Museum

12 January 2007
Saw 3
The Fountain

19 January 2007
Blood Diamond

26 January 2007
Jackass Number Two
The Prestige

2 February 2007
DOA: Dead Or Alive
Rocky Balboa

My most anticipated movies on this list: Apocalypto, Rocky 6, and The Prestige.

Stardust new pics

Ow, why is it that stiffness only sets in 24 hours after the exercise? Damn. Anyway, I was quite productive last night, finally wading through the mound of papers where I throw all my bank statements, accounts, receipt slips, flyers and scribbled-on scraps of paper. I threw away all the crap (filling the dustbin) and filed away everything important. How's that for festive organisation?

Anyway, in terms of movie news, three new Stardust pics have surfaced online at Cinema Blend. The pic of Michelle on her enchanted chariot we've seen before, but I really love the one of fallen star Yvaine (Claire Danes) riding a unicorn.

And Ain't It Cool News is reporting that Ian McKellen will be the film's narrator. Fantastic!

The offbeat fantasy, based on Neil Gaiman's novel, will be released in mid 2007.


In other news, Quidditch is taking off! On the ground that is. Although I unfortunately can't access the subscribers-only article on the Wall Street Journal site, Harry P…

Trailer Tuesday double-up: Shrek The Third and I Could Never Be Your Woman

It's been killing me to sit on this one since last Friday, but the trailer for the latest Michelle Pfeiffer film, the age-gap romantic comedy I Could Never Be Your Woman is finally online.

Now the trailer was supposed to be attached to The Holiday, currently in cinemas, but there have been some major hassles in terms of the relationship between studio MGM and production company Bauer Martinez, which you can read about here. I Could Never...'s release date, despite what has been mentioned in the trailer (Valentine's Day), is still uncertain, which is not at all a good thing!

Anyway, I was pleasantly surprised by this trailer, which suggests the film is nowhere near as forcibly kooky as it could be. Michelle and Paul Rudd have some great chemistry, although in no credible reality would Michelle Pfeiffer and John Lovitz ever be a couple. Ever, ever, ever. This said, here's a weird movie connection between the glamorous leading lady and the comic actor:

The trailer for Sh…

The weekend and coming week

The weekend was another wet and muggy one in Durban. On Friday night I helped Paul decorate his family’s Christmas tree. Nothing says ‘The Festive Season’ like stringing up lights and balancing out a tree’s baubles while Steven Segal’s Nico kicks ass on TV in the background.

On Saturday I had a haircut and did some much-neglected admin tasks like vacuuming my car and watering my cacti. Back at Paul’s place in the afternoon we helped his feeble grandparents wrap their mountain-size Christmas presents and devour hamburgers while vegging on the couch. Channel surfing we came across something we’d only ever see on ESPN – professional paintball. Now don’t get me wrong. I love playing paintball, but to see guys running and jumping behind brightly coloured beanbags, with commentary and interviews, is pretty amusing.

Paul and I also made a half-assed attempt at exercising, which ended up in grappling. Although Paul submitted me we’ve finally reached the point were I’m technically more advanced…

Festive Season Friday

Well, as regular visitors to this blog know, this December, ever Friday will feature nostalgic Christmas entertainment. I was intended to stick only to festive movies, but Jeremy at Popped Culture reminded me of some great Christmas TV specials. I was never a big fan of the Peanuts special, but I absolutely lo-oo-oved the Garfield special. My family would watch it every year.

You can watch Part 1 and Part 2 on the YouTube site, but here's the big finale sequence... in which Garfield shows he has some heart, and Odie finally reveals his top secret Christmas present:

Snow White Christmas was another of my childhood festive faves. Basically the 60-minute animated film was a non-Disney sequel to Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. After the Wicked Queen is defrosted she casts a spell over Snow White, her husband, the King, and their subjects, freezing them at a Christmas banquet. Only Snow White's daughter, also named Snow White, escapes. With the Wicked Queen in pursuit, Snow White is…

Entertainment updates

Hmm, let's see...

The Film Experience points out that there are some new little thumbnail pics from Michelle Pfeiffer's next film, the romantic comedy I Could Never Be Your Woman right here.

I Could Never Be Your Woman is set for North American release in March.

The first Pirates of the Caribbean 3 high-res pics are online at Looks like going to the 'end of the world' is giving things a more Eastern feel. Hopefully they reign this one in at around 2 hours so I won't fall asleep in the cinema again.

And this isn't exactly super-fresh news, but I learnt recently that director Guillermo del Toro (Hellboy, Blade 2, Pan's Labyrinth) is adapting Roald Dahl's The Witches. This would be the second time The Witches is being made into a film, with an awesome 1990 adaptation starring Angelica ("Veetches off Inkland!") Huston and Rowan Atkinson.

Apparently it's del Toro's mission to give his version the book's original darker endi…

Dec GEAR column: Getting into Gear

This isn’t an advice column about entering gaming journalism. It isn’t even about getting the best performance out of your PC. Rather it’s a look back at 2006 – a year when gaming shifted into a higher gear, and raced onto the pop culture mainstream, particularly here in South Africa.

For one thing, GEAR is now one year old, and improving with every issue. The local gaming scene has matured to the point where it can accommodate multiple gaming-focused magazines.

Retail chains, devoted entirely to games and related merchandise, are opening in South Africa’s main urban centres. Such franchises may be common overseas but they’re novel here, and as such are an excellent indication of gaming’s local growth, as we play catch-up to international trends.

Path of Neo and other games have enjoyed prime time TV advertising, and even car dealers have resorted to luring buyers with PSPs.

Still, we’re forgetting the two biggest gaming stories in South Africa this year. Broadband Internet access is beco…

Trailer Tuesday Double-up: 300 and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

Last weekend saw the online debut of new trailers for 2 of 2007's most anticipated 'geek' films - 300, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

The new trailer for 300 (out in March) just upped the coolness factor tenfold. I repeat again - the film looks bigger, better and more fleshed out than Frank Miller's graphic novel, on which it is based. I'm actually scared that after such superb trailers I'm going to be let down by the final, finished film (like I was with Troy).

After a great teaser trailer, the new trailer for CGI-animated Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is a bit of a let-down. With clumsy Michaelangelo, an extended burping sequence and 'monsters from another dimension', it looks like a kiddies' film. Admittedly it looks very well made, and chances are I'll give this one a chance in cinemas, but where is Shredder? What the hell is a Turtles film without Shredder and the Clan of foot soldiers?

A wet weekend

Bah, Durban seems to have slipped into this nasty weather cycle where all week long it’s beautiful and sunny, and as soon as it hits the weekend, it clouds over and pours with rain. Now I thoroughly enjoy the rain and cold, but I would like some sun on the weekend, particularly since I have UShaka vouchers that expire on 31 Dec.

Anyway, the weekend was a very chilled one. With my cold, I ended up passed out on the couch by 8pm on Friday night. 10 hours of sleep helped, and I was well enough on Saturday to finish off my Christmas shopping (as well as find some very nice, 3/4 camo pants at the Roxy store). I’m just waiting now for my last 2 online orders to arrive. After I’ve wrapped these arrivals, I’ll be finished entirely. And at least now I don’t have to brave any more shopping malls before 25 Dec.

Other than that, with my head cold, it was an intimacy-free weekend. Cuddles, kisses and hugs were substituted… naturally… with Battlefield 1942 co-op. There’s nothing that screams ‘lovey-d…

Plans for the weekend

Well, tonight we were supposed to getting a crowd of people together for a good time at Waxy’s, but A) Paul has no airtime to phone people, and B) the sore throat I’ve had since Monday finally exploded yesterday into a nasty head cold. My chest aches from sneezing. And with my red raw nose I look like someone in Outbreak at the early stages of virus infection. Needless to say Paul is a bit concerned about taking me out in public like this, or probably spending time in close proximity to one another.

So I don’t know what I’ll be doing this weekend. Certainly nothing energetic, which means I won’t be using my UShaka waterpark vouchers. I’ve got one or two bits of Christmas shopping still to take care of. Anyway, the weekend could very well end up as a repeat of last night, where, instead of doing anything constructive like working on a Girlz ‘N’ Games, or doing DVD backups, I spent the evening lying on my bed watching Superman III (the one with a horribly unfunny Richard Pryor, and paran…

Festive Season Friday: Santa Claus, The Movie

I thought I’d run a little weekly feature this holiday season, focusing on some Christmas films and TV specials that played a role in my childhood. So, first up, Santa Claus: The Movie:

I haven’t seen this film in years, but I remember watching it at least once ever two years from around 1988 to 1993. I remember certain key elements, like Dudley Moore’s elf mass-producing dud toys for the world’s children, Santa teaming up with a runaway, and John Lithgow’s evil corporate-type floating around and laughing manically after eating magical elvish lollipops.

Wikipedia refreshed my memory, with a much more substantial outline, but I think I’d still be afraid to see it again now – I imagine it would appear incredibly mediocre, and dated.

Fun for Thursday

I don't normally post up random pics on my blog but this one really tickled my... er... tail feathers;)

Entertainment news & wish list time

So, in case the news hasn't filtered down to you by now, the all-star, big-budget fantasy film, Stardust had some test screenings over the last weekend, and has been receiving good to excellent responses. You can read the 2 report-backs at Aint It Cool News here and here.

Apparently Robert De Niro as the captain of a flying ship, and (the most important thing!) Michelle Pfeiffer's sinister witch queen are scene stealers.

Meanwhile, over the past few months, assorted test screening comments have been appearing on Aint It Cool News about Frank Miller's 300, the Ancient Greece set war pic that is my other uber anticipated movie of 2007. You can read these talk-backs (some with spoilers, some without) here, here, here and here.

This has got to be my favourite comment from one of the above reviews - the comparisons the reviewer makes hit all my excitement 'zing' buttons, because these are some of my favourite 'adult' fantasy films of all time:

300 is about a differe…

Random thought...

I just got back from watching Casino Royale again (a company-related thing) and the thought struck me - Daniel Craig could be the 21st century McQueen, with his blue eyes, blonde hair, deep tan, habit of throwing himself into the action fray without concern for injury, and, of course, his cool-cocky hero combo:

Happy Feet

Don’t be misled by the trailer for Happy Feet, which makes the new Warner Bros animated film look like Pop Idols with Penguins. In reality, the film is actually a sobering look at the social stigma of being ‘different’, and how Mankind’s gluttonous consumption of resources is affecting the world’s animal inhabitants.

This is not to say that there isn’t a lot of singing and dancing – all very entertaining and stunningly choreographed – but Happy Feet is far from the frivolous nothing its trailer makes it out to be.

Essentially the film follows the adventures of Mumble (Elijah Wood), an unusual-looking Emperor penguin who, having been dropped as an egg, is born without a ‘heart-song’ (essential to attract a mate). Tone-deaf he may be, but Mumble is one helluva tap-dancer. Unfortunately this doesn’t go down well with the community elders who consider him an aberration responsible for the penguin gods withdrawing all fish from Antarctic waters.

Mumble spends much of the film trying to solve …

Lest we forget

Forget talking like a pirate. Happy international Day of the Ninja!

You are encouraged to spend the day wearing black, jumping out of ceilings, throwing stars and generally being quiet and deadly. Ironically, a little bird boyfriend tells me that our friend, the infamous Naked Ninja has taken the day off from work, no doubt to do some ninja-ing!

More on Day of the Ninja here!

Trailer Tuesday: The Nativity Story

Tis the season... for The Passion of the Christ: The Prequel. Well, kind of. The debut of The Nativity Story in cinemas worldwide this December is no doubt as a result of The Passion's massive box office. And Nativity certainly seems to be, like The Passion, a big budget, more authentic take on life in the Holy Land in early AD. At least they're finally showing Mary to be in her early teens.

Anyway, the big difference though between The Passion and Nativity is that Nativity looks suitably family friendly, and devoid of bloody shock value (without being one of those sugary, Christian-sponsored productions). As a result, some of the early reviews have found it to be a little 'tame', if a sincere, and interesting take on Mary and Joseph's typically unexamined relationship.

I'm actually interested in seeing The Nativity Story. Christ seems to have pretty much exited the festive season these days and it will be interesting to do something with religious significance …

Casino Royale

It’s official. I’m happy to report that Casino Royale is the most exhilarating action blockbuster of 2006. It also sees the resurrection of a Bond franchise that was increasingly becoming a silly exercise bloated with stupid world domination plans, product placements, crap CGI effects and Halle Berry – as you may have guessed, I was not a fan of Die Another Day.

What I was a fan of (and I was in a minority for years) was Timothy Dalton’s Bond films, in which Bond was less a debonair playboy and more a sleek killing machine, functioning in a world in which blood flowed freely and technological gadgetry was kept to a realistic minimum.

Casino Royale fits more into this tradition of Bond films. The film’s villains have no megalomaniac desire to take over the world; rather they are motivated by a desire for money, and as one scene proves, are just as vulnerable to threats as Bond.

Speaking of Bond, Daniel Craig’s 007 is a master combatant (in one scene he kills a man with a rear naked chok…

Weekend Plans

Well, there is only one set-in-stone activity for this weekend and that’s CASINO ROYALE! Once again, Paul and I are watching the Saturday morning first screening of the day. So, if you aren’t a lazy ass, you’ll find us at Musgrave Ster Kinekor at 9:30. We haven’t seen anyone for ages, so please come along and join us for the latest Bond extravaganza.

Anyway, after seeing the trailer so many times, Paul and I have become addicted to that fantastic rock/choral remix of the 007 theme. Scrounging around on the Internet, I found the mp3 to download right here. Enjoy.

Other than that, this weekend I want to try and come to grips with Sid Meier’s Railroads (I’m totally clueless when it comes to management sims), finish off my Christmas shopping, make a photo collage of my cousin, and maybe catch some sun while reading out in the garden. Although, it looks like we’re heading into yet another weekend cold front. Hmph, at least that’s weather appropriate for the cleaning of Paul’s horrifically me…

A Good Wednesday

I’m afraid entertainment updates will be a little thin on the ground today as our international Internet line has been incredibly slow since yesterday and will no doubt continue today until at least tomorrow. I’m just hoping the connection is good enough for me to at least be able to post this entry.

Anyway, yesterday was a pretty good day. I’m in something of a state of hyper festive and gift-giving glee at the moment, which no doubt I will come down from when I realise Christmas is still 26 days away. It’s just nice to be super organised in terms of presents for once.

Anyway, my Take 2 Christmas order was dispatched yesterday so it should be arriving today. Included in it is a little present for myself – Gummi Bears Seasons 1 – 3 on DVD, which I am so looking forward to watching. I borrowed a video of taped episodes from Ashley last year, and was surprised to discover how enjoyable and timeless the series still is. My mother has also shown some episodes to her class of Grade 1s, who, …

Open Season

Open Season is the 2nd to last of the current hefty batch of animated films focused on a domesticated animal forced to readjust to life in the wild – South Africans still have to wait for Dreamworks / Aardman’s Flushed Away to open in December.

As it stands, this film, from Sony’s animation department is pretty solid, but largely forgettable. It’s probably closest in style and tone to Dreamworks’ Over the Hedge, but a big problem I found was that generally all the funniest sequences have already been revealed in the trailer. And, most disappointingly, it takes forever to get to the much promised ‘revenge on hunters’ sequence, which, although satisfying, could have been longer.

I’m also a tad tired of the mismatched buddy approach that so many animated films seem to have adopted lately, so the interactions of Martin Lawrence’s pampered bear Boog, and ‘loser’ deer Elliot (Ashton Kutcher) are rather tired.

I can’t be entirely negative about the film though. The animation is of a very high …

South Africa, this Friday!