Showing posts from November, 2006

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!


Trailer Tuesday: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Gotta love those shots of wizards flying on their broomsticks past the Houses of Parliament...

Without a doubt, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix is the darkest of the Harry Potter series of books, far beyond even Chamber of Secrets. Nobody believes Harry that Voldemort has returned (turning him into the school's hated pariah), Dementors are lurking, Dumbledore has been replaced by a complete bitch as Hogwarts principal, Defence Against the Dark Arts sucks, it's O.W.L.S. exam time, and love interest Cho Chang can't get over her dead ex, Cedric.

Harry is one angry, unhappy camper!

Of course, Phoenix is also the longest of the series, so I'm a bit concerned about how mutilated the film will be. Especially after the hacking that turned Goblet of Fire into a hyper-rushed job devoid of mystery and twists.

On the positive side, as an audience we finally get to meet Bellatrix LeStrange (played by Helena Bonham Carter), Voldemort's sinister right-hand woman. Think Myst…

A productive weekend

It’s now officially less than a month until Christmas!

And I’m proud to announce that this weekend, in hyper organisation mode, I just about finished my Christmas shopping (I even wrapped my purchases). I just have my uncle, aunt and cousin to buy for, as well as something a little extra for my sister’s boyfriend. And I think that can be accomplished with minimal fuss, even if I have to brave the parking-less (what a stupid time for construction work!) Pavilion in the coming weekends.

Anyway, the weekend technically started on Friday around lunchtime. With the directors away, and people still sheepishly recovering from Wednesday’s Christmas party, the agency was quiet. So studio made the decision to work flat out in the morning, and, healthy Christmas bonuses in hand, we headed out for lunch. Of course, with year end parties underway, finding a place wasn’t easy. We ended up having gourmet pizzas at Pizzetta on Davenport Road.

I didn’t do much on Friday night except discover how annoyi…

Michelle for a Monday

Thanks to Juanita, of my Michelle Pfeiffer Messageboard, for pointing out the following pics of our favourite leading lady in 2 of her upcoming films:

As witch Lamia about to turn a youth into a goat in Stardust:

Gotta love director Matthew Vaughn's use of the magic words, 'I'm a huge fan of Roald Dahl, and when he wrote for kids, he wrote in a way that was a bit scary, a bit funny, and a little bit risque - and that's what this is'. Hear, hear!

Also, if you have a question about Stardust, you can ask novelist Neil Gaiman on the official Stardust film site here.


And with the cast and crew of Hairspray:

Presumably that's Michelle with the big blonde hair and blue dress 3 rows in, close to the centre, next to John Travolta in drag, with his olive green dress. I wonder if anyone else has made the connection that this flick stars Grease's Danny and Grease 2's Stephanie, but this time they've both changed their hairstyling tool to spray!

New Spidey 3 poster

Say what you want about Spider-man being the whiniest superhero about, but at least the film-makers, as well the poster designers, are really committed to exploring the complexities of having a secret identity, and how it messes with perceptions of self. Not since Batman Returns have film-makers explored how such duality puts psychological stresses on superheroes... and villains.

Spider-man 2 teaser poster:

Fable 2 Updates

Probably my most anticipated game of 2007 is action RPG, Fable 2. Hopefully Fable 2 will not be an Xbox exclusive, and actually appear for PC at some stage like the original did.

Anyway, a few weeks back, some new concept art debuted on the Lionhead Studios website, along with a list of fansites worth checking out. I’m quite excited that the sequel is apparently keeping the original’s unique, borderline-cartoony look.

Also, excellent Fable fansite Ego-Maniacs put up this interview that game creator Peter Molyneux made with Official Xbox Magazine. It sounds great!

Peter Molyneux talks us through Fable 2

In the past, Mr. Molyneux has let his mouth get the better of him. And like any proud dad stating his intentions for their child, which in this case happens to be the latest release from Lionhead Studios, the final product my not reach the heights once imagined in the minds eye. But its just as well the fella like a natter, otherwise this info splurge on Fable 2 from the RPG legend would h…

The truth about advertising

I've been out all morning touring wholesale and retail stores with clients, and after last night's Christmas party, my head and eyes feel too heavy to do anything other than copy-paste the following:

The truth about advertising

1. We work weird (night) shifts...
Like prostitutes.

2. They pay you to make the client happy...
Like a prostitute.

3. The client pays a lot of money, but your employer keeps almost every penny...
Like a prostitute.

4. You are rewarded for fulfilling the client's dreams...
Like a prostitute.

5. Your friendships fall apart and you end up hanging out with people in the same profession as you...
Like a prostitute.

6. When you have to meet the client you always have to be perfectly groomed...
Like a prostitute.

7. But when you go back home it seems like you are coming back from hell...
Like a prostitute.

8. The client always wants to pay less but expects incredible things from you...
Like a prostitute.

9. When people ask you about your job, you have d…

Children of Men

"The last one to die please turn out the light"

Everyone was very excited when Alfonso Cuarón jumped into the director’s chair for Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. Personally, I wasn’t overwhelmed by his take on the HP universe, although for many Azkaban is their favourite Potter flick.

After seeing Children of Men though, I have new respect for Cuarón. Based on the novel by P.D James, Children of Men is set 20 years in the future, when the human race has been mysteriously infertile for the past 18 or so years. With the rest of the world plunged into civil unrest, England alone soldiers on. Literally. England has become a police state in which illegal immigrants (fleeing to the UK from world conflict) are rounded up and placed in brutal camps, and terrorist groups like the Fishes are resisting government control.

This is a world where schools are deserted, and women collect little porcelain baby ornaments. Commercially advertised suicide pills are available and social…

Free game... Nyy-ice!

Oooh, I received a free game from the GEAR offices yesterday. Now we have a new FPS to play multiplayer at the next LAN gathering (not that those happen anymore):

Very nice!

Paul and I discovered a fantastic time for watching highly anticipated movies this weekend – the 9:15am show. On Friday night it was apparently impossible to get in to see Borat in any cinema across Natal. On Saturday morning, there were maybe 10 of us in the cinema.

As for Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan, the film really is a lot of fun. I can’t say it is the most unforgettable film of the year, but Borat is certainly the most consistently funny – the best comedy of the year, with plenty of quotable lines to snicker about for ages. And, surprisingly, even some genuinely touching moments.

I won’t go into too much detail about the film, but I will say that my 2 favourite sequences of the movie take place at a rodeo (‘May George Bush drink the blood of every man, woman and child in Iraq!’), and a garage/front lawn sale (‘I will look through your treasures, gypsy. Is this understood?’). And there is an awesome gag involving an ice cream t…

Trailer Tuesday: Rocky Balboa

... Or Rocky VI, if you want to go by the number of films in the series. I grew up watching Sylvester Stallone's Rocky series of films. Like James Bond, they were 'family' films in my household, where everyone gathered together in the lounge to watch Sly's bloody, bruised struggle to overcome his underdog status.

I'm far more fond of Rocky than I ever was of Rambo, so I actually am curious about this Christmas release, which sees a 60+ Rocky come out of retirement to fight the current young heavyweight champion after a virtual computer simulation pits the 2 boxers against each other. I'm sure most of you are snickering at the the thought of how unrealistic such a challenge would be, but you know what, I think I'm up for 'just going the distance' again. Particularly if it finally washes away the horrible taste in my mouth that was Rocky V.

GEAR November column

Probably one of the most frustrating things about working remotely for GEAR is that I never get any feedback about my columns. I know my feature on Women in gaming was well-received via comments on the Letters page, but have no idea how or even if people are responding to my back-page opinion piece. Anyway, here's November's column:

Messing with our minds

There’s a dark secret that most gamers keep buried. It is a dangerous secret that, if revealed, would send Jack Thompson, Hillary Clinton and other anti-gaming activists into a frothy-mouthed frenzy.

You see, as much as we deny it, gaming does affect us. It leaves a mark on our psyche, and, like a spreading stain, impacts on other parts of our life.

I’m not talking about anything as dramatic as embarking on a Manhunt-inspired killing spree. That would be admitting defeat to anyone eager to slap the label ‘Evil Gaming Influence’ on violent acts committed by teenagers.

I’m talking about those moments where you wish reality was mor…

Pop Culture Updates

Yay, Borat opens in South Africa today. Paul and I are doing something a little different and we’re going to the Saturday early morning show at Musgrave. That’s 9:15. Anyone is welcome to join us.

Other than that, on Saturday evening Paul and I are dressing up and going to the Durban Pops for a little bit of year-end culture. It’s an annual event at Durban City Hall where the KZN Philharmonic orchestra and guest singer and musicians perform extracts from popular operas, musicals, movie themes and assorted ‘safe’ pop songs that middle-aged whiteys with expanding waistlines love (Ricky Martin, Bette Midler etc.). No doubt we’ll be among the youngest people there, as usual.

Otherwise this weekend I’ll be tweaking my next GEAR column, due on Monday, and maybe (considering the weather is going to be miserable in Durban again this weekend) doing some miniature painting, drawing and reading.

I realise now I didn’t say anything about my ‘cultural’ exploits last weekend, and during this week. I f…

Christmas update

Heh heh. I love online shopping. It’s the 16 November and I’ve just sorted out Christmas gifts for my sister, her boyfriend and Paul. Unfortunately it looks like Paul occasionally pops in here now, so I can’t brag about my ingenious ideas and purchasing decisions. It has to be a total surprise. But he’ll love it.

What is less loveable is that it looks like we’ll be trekking up to Paul’s sister’s farm for Christmas day lunch. Yay, the morning’s present-opening with my family will be rushed so that I can spend over 3 hours of my favourite holiday on the road, and then sit in a cramped farmhouse lounge with nothing to do except probably be bitten by something dirty and smelly. What fun.

Order of the Phoenix teaser poster

The 54 second teaser trailer, according to my favourite Harry Potter website, The Leaky Cauldron, will be attached to Warner Bros' new animated film, Happy Feet.

One sexy mother

2007 is going to be a very good year for Michelle Pfeiffer Pfans. After a horribly long dry spell in which Michelle had turned her back on movies to do the whole ‘mom’ thing, she’s finally back!

First up next year is I Could Never Be Your Woman, a romantic comedy from Clueless director, Amy Heckerling, in which Michelle does the age-gap relationship thing with always very cute Paul Rudd. These new stills have just been placed on the studio’s website:

I Could Never Be Your Woman is supposedly set for release around Valentine’s Day.

Anyway, if that wasn’t enough, around July Michelle can be seen in villain mode in 2 other movies – the all-star fantasy Stardust where she plays a knife-wielding, chariot-riding witch, and the musical Hairspray, where as nasty radio station owner, Velma Von Tussle, she causes all kinds of hassles for the film’s plump heroine

Prepare for Doomsday

Hello, former Tomb Raider model turned Boston Legal/ Nip/Tuck actress Rhona Mitra is going to be starring in the new film from writer-director, Neil Marshall. The plot for Doomsday (see below) sounds a bit derivative (28 Days Later, Resident Evil), but I have faith in Marshall seeing as he is responsible for The Descent, probably the best horror-thriller of this year. And he's the man behind little-seen werewolf flick, Dog Soldiers.

There are very few directors who can essemble a cast of young, attractive women and treat them as real, human beings instead of resorting to superficiality and licentiousness. Marshall did that in The Descent. Let's see what he can do with Mitra.


Rhona Mitra Faces Doomsday
Source: The Hollywood Reporter November 15, 2006

Rhona Mitra has signed on to star in Rogue Pictures' Doomsday, a futuristic action thriller that will be Neil Marshall's follow-up to his much-buzzed-about horror movie The Descent.

Doomsday, written by Mar…

This Friday, South Africa!

See you there!

Trailer Tuesday: The Simpsons

I kind of have mixed feelings about the release (FINALLY) of The Simpsons Movie in 2007. It just seems odd to only now be making a film based on a series that, as much as it still amuses, is growing pretty tired. It’s like making Garfield movies now, a decade and a half after the fat cat’s peak popularity. Hell, at least South Park and Family Guy had the sense to cash in on their popularity with the timing of their big screen adventures.

Of course I’ll be seeing The Simpsons Movie anyway, so my commentary is pretty pointless. Anyway, the trailer above is fun, but it is nowhere near as hilarious is this little work-in-progress clip, also from The Simpsons movie. Head here for Homer hilarity!

Oh, and speaking of trailers for highly anticipated movies, there’s a work-in-progress trailer lurking about online for Spider-Man 3. Essentially it’s an alternative for the trailer just released, except it’s vastly superior in terms of plot revelation, ‘evil’ Spidey footage (he even knocks MJ down),…

Better late than never

OK, a week late, but here are some pics from last weekend's adventures in the Drakensberg. For the record, this is 2 and a half hours' drive from Durban.

The wonderfully remote Injisuti camp - self-catering chalets nestled in the valley:


A protea:

Saturday evening braai:

A cave where you can camp overnight:

Sequels to movies... and games

The new Spider-Man 3 trailer is up!

My, oh my, it looks pretty sweet. Although, I thought the Troy and X-Men 3 trailers were fantastic, and both proved to be horribly misleading in terms of the finished films' overall quality. So I think I'll be entering the cinema in May next year with some caution.

Anyway, the lack of Venom in this trailer makes me think we'll only be introduced to the slack-tongued villain in this film, in preparation for a much bigger clash in Spidey 4.

In other news, an expansion has been announced for PC game, Titan Quest. I'm not quite sure how the expansion's storyline is going to work seeing as the original game ended conclusively, but I'm hoping that this time around we'll be visiting some other ancient civilisations (Norse, Aztec, Mayan, Indian, and more Persian), and fighting their mythological beasties.

From: Firing Squad

The Holiday 2006 dated issue of PC Gamer magazine has the first concrete info on the upcoming Titan Quest expans…

Fun for Friday

I’m a big fan of Ctrl-Alt-Delete, which has always seemed more story-strong than Penny Arcade, with more developed characters. In fact, I’d probably go so far as to say Tim is my webcomic role model.

Anyway, this recent strip, on the totally unrealistic ‘jiggle’ technology of Dead or Alive: Extreme Beach Volleyball / Extreme 2, is absolutely hilarious!

"I don't be-leeve it"

If they're expecting me to buy this with a premium price, they have another thing coming. However, if it comes with a reasonable price tag, it could be a lot of silly fun...

What is a more concerning in the article is the revelation about a US series being developed based on the show. How the f*^@% is that supposed to work? Can't Yanks enjoy / relate AT ALL to creative products from other countries? They need to have their own versions of Men Behaving Badly, Fawlty Towers, One Foot In The Grave, The Office, etc etc.

From: Gamespot

Little Britain video game announced
Blast Entertainment to publish game based on the hit TV comedy series.

"Computer says yes" for cult comedy Little Britain--a game version of the British sketch comedy show will be coming to the PlayStation 2 and PC in January 2007, with a PSP version following shortly afterward.

The game will simulate an episode of the BBC show, with gamers having to complete minigame challenges to move on to the next skit and …

Entertainment updates

I’m hobbling around a bit today, having presumably rolled over my left big toe while grappling last night. I must have sprained the joint. At least I got 2 submissions last night – via guillotine and cross choke, and I fumbled my way through 4 rounds of grappling in the Durban Summer humidity.

Anyway, I’m sure that doesn’t classify as Entertainment news updates, so here’s a few pieces:

According to author Neil Gaiman, the Stardust movie (with its all-star cast) will now be released in July 2007, as opposed to its original release date in March/April. So it’s going to be competing in a very jam-packed Summer movie season. I’m sure the film will be marketed well, but I don’t know if little known fantasy has much pull for cinema goers when they’re being distracted by so many other high profile films.

The very striking Lena Headey (Brothers Grimm, The Cave, Frank Miller’s 300) will be playing geek boy icon Sarah Connor in a new TV series that fills the gap between Terminator 2 and Terminator…

The Man Doesn’t Stop

How the hell does Uwe Boll keep finding funding to make his films? I’d really like to know because… brace yourselves… he’s now making BloodRayne 2! This time the story is even more of a departure from the video game on which the films are based. Instead of Nazi blood-guzzling in WWI Germany, BloodRayne 2 is being set in the Wild West!

I can just see the Quick And the Dead style sex scene, with Rayne being humped by the town’s sheriff up against the jail’s bars. Oh, wait, they already had that scene in the original ‘masterpiece’.

Anyway, it would appear that Kristanna Loken has somehow survived the career hari-kiri of starring the first BloodRayne. She’s now playing comic book heroine, Painkiller Jane. Stepping into the black and red leather is another professional model turned actress, Natassia Malthe. Most cinema goers may remember Malthe as Typhoid Mary in Jennifer Garner’s Elektra spin-off.

Presenting the new BloodRayne!


Malthe in Uwe Boll's BloodRayne 2