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Showing posts from April, 2007

Black (and White) Thursday

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The Black:

When teams make it to the semi-finals of a World Cup in any sport, you expect an exciting game, with well-matched opponents fighting tooth and nail for an advantage. In such a situation, strategy becomes vital.

Yesterday, none of that happened. The South African team, staying true to their yo-yo performance of late, were in one of their funks last night and were utterly demolished in their Cricket World Cup Semi-final match against Australia. At one point they were something like 35 for 5 wickets. It was a complete embarrassment – Men versus panicked little boys.

I think if I ever emigrated to Oz, I’d play up my British heritage instead of saying that I’m from South Africa. Traitorous, I know, but I can’t handle the shame… Not that I had much confidence in the team going into the game last night.


Whenever it comes to playing Australia, the South African Proteas let themselves be drawn into a war of words. The problem is that the South African team, especially gum-chewing twat…

Hot Fuzz

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The beauty of British satire is that UK film makers can take the mickey out of their targeted subject matter while maintaining a strong story with an emotional core. You actually care about characters.

Following the success of English-flavoured zombie comedy, Shaun of the Dead, the same team of Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright brings audiences Hot Fuzz – a simultaneous dig at big budget American police movies (like Bad Boys and Lethal Weapon) and all those British murder mysteries set in small towns (like Midsomer Murders).


The plot centres on top London cop Nicholas Angel (Pegg) whose performance is so superb that his superiors, fearful of looking bad by comparison, ‘promote’ Angel to sergeant in Sanford, the most peaceful village in England. Naturally Angel struggles to adapt in a laid-back atmosphere where the police department sits around eating cake and ice cream all day, and the town’s biggest ‘problem’ – according to a militant Neighbourhood Watch type organisation – is street entert…

The joke's on you!

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According to Aint It Cool News, the following concept pic is a fake. But it's still worth posting up in the absence of any 'leaked' pics of Heath Ledger's Joker in the Batman Begins sequel, which is currently filming.

With Batman Begins going for a more 'realistic' take on Batman and his villains, I personally think the below pic is credible. Bland but believable. If the Joker isn't going to be defaced by falling into a vat of chemicals, he might as well be a psychopath pseudo-Goth who has carved a smile into his face.



In other news, it turns out our dog didn't have a bacterial infection in her leg. She had a snake bite! Yesterday when she want for her check-up, the vet discovered 2 puncture marks above her ankle. She's been on the mend all weekend, so the snake obviously wasn't a lethal one (most likely a house snake or night adder), but it's still a scary thought.

And I'm still desperately waiting for my Avril Lavigne CD... I ordered it …

Trailer Tuesday Twosome

Both of these films have featured on Trailer Tuesday before, and these are their latest trailers.

First up: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, which is set for release in South Africa on 13 July. The book was one of my favourites in JK Rowling's series of books, but I admit I'm very concerned about the film makers condensing the 700+ page tome into a 2 and a half hour film. Will it be as choppy, and feel as rushed as Goblet of Fire? Watching this awesome trailer, my faith has been largely restored. Thestrals, Centaurs, Bellatrix Le Strange, and the spot-on depiction of ministry stooge/replacement Hogwarts principal Dolores Umbridge. This one (hopefully) will be a fantastic entry in the series.



Next up: Hairspray. I personally prefer this trailer over at Yahoo! Movies, but this all-star musical, based on the stage show based on John Waters' original non-musical film (confusing isn't it?), looks like a lot of fun. I'm getting a definite retro, Little Shop of Ho…

The Weekend

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The weekend was a very enjoyable one.

On Friday evening we joined a portion of the Durbs crowd for dinner and followed it up by elbowing through gangs of wretched teens at the Musgrave Ster Kinekor to watch Hot Fuzz. My review will follow sometime in the next few days, but I’ll say now that it’s definitely worth seeing, particularly if you’re a fan of British humour and action-packed American police films, like Bad Boys – Hot Fuzz completely takes the mickey out of the genre. The film’s hilarious high-calibre climax, however, may not be too well received in the USA, following the Virginia Tech shootings.

Anyway, on Saturday Paul spent most of the day cleaning accumulated rubbish out of the cupboards in his room. I used the time to finish the very tedious, ongoing task of transcribing all of last year’s Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu techniques from my 2006 diary into my BJJ specific notebook. Now at least I’ll be able to find specific moves easily when I want to brush up on the finer technical det…

Norbit

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A Saturday post? What is this madness? Well, I thought I'd better post this up before it sinks even further into the dark, seething vat that is my movie memory.

Norbit: The movie that cost Eddie Murphy his Academy Award! You see, Norbit was released in the period between Dreamgirls' debut and Oscar night. Oscar watchers theorised that Norbit's critical panning clued Academy voters to cast their votes in Alan Arkin's direction. So no little gold man on Murphy's mantlepiece.

Norbit may fall squarely into Murphy's collection of lowbrow comedies, but I actually didn't find it as bad as critics had been grumbling. It's certainly better than the puerile Nutty Professor II (giant hamster sodomy, anyone?).


The film centres on good-hearted dweeb Norbit, raised in Mr Wong's orphanage. Norbit's desperation for a family sees him falling under the wing of monstrously obese Rasputia, and her bullying trio of brothers. For years he meekly accepts their abuse unt…

Good movies this weekend

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Today sees the local release of 3 movies I'm keen to see:

1)Hot Fuzz, a police comedy from the British team behind zombie spoof, Shaun of the Dead. Reviews have been excellent!

2)Sunshine, director Danny Boyle's claustrophobic take on sci-fi and space travel. Chris Evans and Cillian Murphy star.

3)Hannibal Rising, yet another movie devoted to fictional serial killer cannibal, Hannibal Lecter. This time film makers explore his origins.

There's also some Halle Berry / Bruce Willis thriller called Perfect Stranger, but that looks horribly cheesy and contrived.


Anyway, my Take 2 order arrived yesterday, and it included 2 horror DVDs, the Director's Cut of Dawn of the Dead (Zack Synder's remake), and the Special Edition of Event Horizon, the "real" Doom movie. We're hoping to watch the latter sometime in the next few days.

Oh, and as a little side-note note, welcome to Team America (AKA Paul) who has just joined the blogging world with his rant-fest, Over the …

Fuck you, Guns n' Roses!

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This morning it was announced that Guns n' Roses, the headlining act for My Coke Fest 2007 has pulled out of the 2 events, to be held in Johannesburg on 27 April, and Cape Town on 1 May. More on this disappointment over at the 5fm website.

People attending the musical festival purely to see Axl and co. can receive a full refund if they want.


Now I'm not too upset because I only known something like 4 Guns n' Roses songs, and I probably would have been as bored during their set as I was during Metallica's show last year. PLus, to compenstate for the line-up gap, Evanescence (who I'm there for) will be playing a longer set. Hopefully the SA bands who were venue-specific will now be performing at both shows...

But you have to wonder why it's the international tours that always get cancelled when it comes to touring American bands? Because the Guns n' Roses bassist hurt his wrist falling down some stairs, the band's African, Asian and Aussie tours have all be…

Storms and Murphy's Movie Law

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A massive thunderstorm broke in Durban in the early afternoon yesterday and since then it hasn’t stopped raining in the city and surrounding suburbs. But forget the complete lack of drainage in Durban – I’m sure all our storm drains are clogged, and have never been cleared in the history of their existance. Last night, driving home on the N3 after Jiu-Jitsu was a life-risking experience.

The municipality has ripped up all the tar in the Tollgate area, so leaving the city is dangerous in the pouring rain. Your tyres grumble and bounce on the exposed road surface. You aquaplane all over the road now free of lane indicators. Water sits in uneven grooves and when speeding taxis pass you they literally stir up waves to pound your windscreen, blinding you completely for about 3 seconds.

Once you get past the construction to the already revamped stretch of road, things aren’t much better. The combination of overhead lights and wet, non-draining tar make it difficult to determine where the lan…

The Ancient World is in...

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The success of Gladiator ushered a number of Ancient/Historical epics into production. The massive failure of those filmic descendents, including Troy, King Arthur, Alexander and Kingdom of Heaven, crushed the genre into silence again.

But Hollywood is hardly known for its originality. When something makes money it’s suddenly back as the number 1 hot property. As 300 had proved… So brace yourself for 2 more Ancient/Historical epics with a fantasy flavour.

Yay for the Persians

Anyway, a little while back, I reported that a movie adaptation of action-adventure video game Prince of Persia was getting a Pirates-style rework (don't forget it all started with a theme park ride) to become Jerry Bruckheimer’s next ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ Summer success story.

This week it was announced over at IESB.net, well, semi-officially, that Prince of Persia: Sands of Time is set for a Summer 2009 release.


The director in charge of the wall-running acrobatics? Michael Bay. Yes, the hit-and-miss man…

Trailer Tuesday: Pathfinder

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Viking movies are few and far between. The last pretty decent one to feature the bloodthirsty Scandinavians was The 13th Warrior. Now there's another one.

Pathfinder was released in North America this last weekend.

Just don’t get too excited up front though. The film’s release was delayed multiple times from mid year 2006, it tested very poorly in pre-screenings and it only scored 13% on Rotten Tomatoes.

Apparently the main problem is that the film ignores interesting opportunities, and substitutes them for Action Movie clich├ęs instead. Certainly the history drawn upon for the film is intriguing: Viking raids and settlement in North America 600 years prior to Christopher Columbus. Sounds like the perfect opportunity for some badass Viking vs. Native American confrontation.


By the looks of it, there is some element of this to Pathfinder. Apparently the film is action-packed and filled with limb-hacking gore. However, instead of having the locals fight back, the film makers decided to m…

Mischief. Mayhem. Superhero.

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In what has to be the most bizarre casting news of the week, Edward Norton has been cast as the new Bruce Banner in Marvel's The Incredible Hulk. This is according to a Variety article posted on SuperheroHype!


What makes this casting really strange is that it doesn't seem to fit with direction Marvel wants to take the Hulk film series. Ang Lee's take on the big green gamma boy was considered by many to be too cerebral. So now it's Louis Leterrier (director of the 2 Transporter films, God help us) in the director's chair to give the film a more lighthearted, action-centred feel.

The Incredible Hulk was shaping up as B-grade all the way (Prison Break's Dominic Purcell was rumoured to replace Eric Bana)... and now this?


Surely Norton is too good an actor for this kind of thing...

The Weekend

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On Friday evening we joined the Durbs crowd for a DVD evening at the flat of Mark’s girlfriend. After watching Brit zombie comedy Shaun of the Dead, we watched Stephen Chow’s Kung Fu Hustle, a truly bizarre, CGI-saturated tribute to martial arts movies.

Essentially the plot revolves around a Shanghai slum in the 1940s under threat from a powerful criminal organisation, The Axe Gang. The thing is, the slum is secretly home to several kung fu masters who are forced out of retirement to defend the local community with their different fighting styles.


It all sounds simple enough, but the film is an unusual mix of everything from Eastern martial arts flicks to Kill Bill to Sin City to Looney Tunes cartoons. It’s a wild entertaining ride, and the combat (sans philosophical mumbo-jumbo) puts the second and third Matrix movies to shame.

I wasn’t in the best mood on Saturday morning, having been woken at 7am, with less than 6 hours sleep (I had to recover the deficit in the afternoon). With my u…

I think I'm in love...

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I think I've found my luxury item purchase for May... this brand new Kratos figurine at Figure Fanatix.


I don't collect figurines because I don't really have space, but for the God of War, I think I might just have to make an exception. Plus, he'll look very cool next to the single figurine I do own - a Todd McFarlane Fire Clan dragon. There is a second Kratos figurine available, in the middle of a combat combo, but I definitely prefer the one with the Medusa head.

And man, oh man, is this Lara Croft awesome.

Dishing out some Stardust this Friday afternoon

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It comes to my attention - via the Web Elf manning author Neil Gaiman's blog at the moment - that new Stardust pics have appared online over at Film Ick.

This time there's plenty of pics of the fantasy film's leading ladies - Claire Danes as fallen star Yvaine, Sienna Miller as Victoria (hero Tristan's crush), and, of course, Michelle Pfeiffer as Lamia, the all-powerful witch queen.


You can see even more pics of Michelle's witch queen on the same site by clicking here.


God, I hope she runs the full gamut from slinky Catwoman naughtiness to ice-cold White Oleander evil.


Stardust is released in North America on 10 August, and in most other countries in October...

Bits 'n' Pieces

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God, there is like next to nothing going on at the moment in terms of interesting entertainment news. The most I can think to comment on is what seems to be a style throwback in terms of pop music currently receiving airplay.

The latest Christina Aguilera track Candyman has a great 1940's swing/Big Band feel and the music video has the WWII retro style to match.



Meanwhile, Avril Lavigne's Girlfriend sounds like a rock-flavoured version of Bow Wow Wow's I Want Candy, from the 1980's. Speaking of the petite Canadian punkette, judging by the first 2 singles, I think her third album, the 12-track The Best Damned Thing will be awesome when released later this month. I still regret missing her in concert back in 2005.


Speaking of concerts, My Coke Fest is now 2 weeks away and yesterday we sorted out accommodation for our first 2 nights in Jo'burg.

Otherwise, it's a wet, cold day here in Durban... ideal for lazing about in your PJs, sitting under a duvet with a good boo…

Updates

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Well, this week marked the one year anniversary of me doing Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. And despite the fact that I've accumulated a whole notebook of staple techniques, and my hip movement has improved a lot (vital when you have someone in your guard) I still have a long, long, long way to go... I'm nervous to compete in the June tournament.

Speaking of Martial Arts, I installed Jade Empire: Special Edition last night. The installation took a while (there are a zillion sound files to decompress) but the game runs sweet, even on my older CPU. I've enabled all the special effects, as well as 2x anti-aliasing and am running it at something like a 1260+ resolution. Running the game on high settings really improves the beauty of its distinct Oriental look, but it also shows up the flaws of the low-res occasional cut-scene that remains from the Xbox original version of the game.

Anyway, here's who I'm playing as - Monk Zeng!



There are 8 different characters to choose from, who …

First Iron Man suit pic

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I can't say that I'm a big Iron Man fan at all, largely because I never liked the Mandarin as a villain.

However, hero Tony Stark is a surprisingly fallible, human hero (he even has a heart defect), and the comic in which he succumbs to his alcoholism, and causes all kinds of chaos as a drunken Iron Man, is legend - and a very good read. Although, this said, in the first Iron man film, Stark's problems apparently aren't going to be the focus. Quite disappointing, actually.

Now what sets the Iron Man film apart from B-grade Marvel Comics adaptations is that it features a cast of 'actors' - the unconventional, Michael-Keaton-esque choice of Robert Downey Jnr as billionaire industrialist inventor Tony Stark, Gwyneth Paltrow as Pepper Potts, Terrance Howard as James Rhodes, and Jeff Bridges as a mentor character of some sorts, apparently. (See pics of Downey Jnr and Paltrow here...)

Anyway, Aint It Cool News posted up the first pic of the grey Iron Man suit. Anyone …

Transforming expectations

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Relationships involve a lot of negotiation...

If I want to watch Danny Boyle's sci-fi flick, Sunshine, I'll be dragged to Eddie Murphy comedy, Norbit. If I want to see British cop comedy Hot Fuzz, I'll be going to see Michael Bay's big budget CGI-fest Transformers.

Speaking of Transformers, intellectual geeks may be pleased to know that a special Transformers chess set is being released. Unfortunately, though, it doesn't look like the pieces transform into the robots' truck, helicopter and vacuum cleaner alternate forms.


Personally I prefer the far more controversial T-shirt worn in Clerks II by a Christian geek who has managed to reconcile his Transformers obsession with his religious devotion:

Ghost Rider

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Let’s get some things straight right now. Ghost Rider is not Constantine. Hell, it’s not even Spawn. Despite dealing with a motorcycle daredevil, Johnny Blaze (a moping Nicholas Cage), who sells his soul to the Devil and becomes Satan’s flaming-skulled bounty hunter, the film manages to strip out any potentially interesting occult themes. So don’t expect any disturbing exorcism scenes, angels in business suits or corrupt priests literally drowning themselves in alcohol.


What passes for ‘darkness’ and embodied evil are a group of pasty faced men, walking around in black trench coats with sharp teeth and permanent smirks on their faces. Apart from exploding light bulbs and killing people with their index finger, they apparently completely lack demonic power (they don’t raise an army of undead, or even summon criminals to them). You know things are supposed to be hardcore because a lot of characters wear studded leather and bandanas and the soundtrack is predominantly nu-metal. Meanwhile…

Getting around...

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The only problem with 4-day weekends is that it’s such a downer when you have to return to the drudgery of your normal working weekday routine.

Anyway, the weekend was a very good one, and despite the overcast, chilly and frequently wet weather in Durban, where me managed to get all around Natal in that time.

On Friday we went to see 300 again (and be drowned in vodka advertising at 9:30 in the morning). Second time around, I actually found the film to be more of an emotionally moving experience. Paul, who had also read the graphic novel, loved the film overall, but hated the frequent cut-aways to political manoeuvring in Sparta, which was not included in the book. You can understand it. As a cinema audience it’s sort of like being forced to eat your carrots when you know there’s chocolate pudding waiting for you…

After movies, were surprised to find most stores in the Pavilion closed for Good Friday. So I didn’t have a chance to check out Incredible Connection’s game selection. Back ho…

Trailer Tuesday: Halloween

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I'm in two minds about this remake. On the one hand it could be as utterly pointless as that all-star, shot-for-shot Psycho remake that Gus Van Sant treated us to back in 1998.

On the other hand, the Halloween reimagining comes from Rob Zombie, whose Devil's Rejects and House of 1000 Corpses (I haven't seen them) which have their roots in the 1970's Exploitation genre. Think disturbing characters, plenty of gore and ample nudity.

The only problem is that apparently Zombie's film devotes a lot of time to explaining why Michael Myers is evil. Like Hannibal Rising, the film makers seem dead set on stripping the Enigma from Evil. And I fear that might rob Halloween of something. Out of all the 1970's-1980's horror villains, Michael Myers was always my favourite just because he was such a hulking, silent, inescapable, and unexplainable menace. I really don't want to 'learn' that he's like that because that he was molested as a little boy by a gan…

Happy Easter

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Well, we have a long 4-day Easter weekend coming up, so I won't be posting until Tuesday. So to all the Christian blog readers who pop in here... may you a very enjoyable and peaceful Easter.


Fun for pre-long weekend Thursday

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The latest Movies in 30 Seconds with Bunnies hit the Net towards the end of last week. This time, Spider-Man was the spoof target of the team from Angry Alien Productions. It's awesome. Check out the Flash clip by clicking here.


Next up for the Bunnies: Pirates of the Caribbean!

The 300 fun continues with Popped Culture's own unique take on Spartan infancy. Isn't baby Leonidas cute... cute but disturbing? Click here to see the rest of the pics.


Last but not least, I heard about Figure Fanatix, South Africa's premiere figurine/entertainment collectibles website for the first time this week. Yesterday I saw an ad in the DSTV Guide, and decided to check out the site. What an awesome selection of competitively priced goodies! Everything from the Lost series to the new 300 and Grindhouse figures to Hannah Barbera, to DC collectibles to Wallace and Gromit. I thought the Jay and Silent Bob cartoon-style collection was especially cool, although I'm super keen for a plush Mogw…

What's up in my little world?

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I'm so looking forward to the long Easter weekend. Paul came up with quite a nice itinerary to max out our time with awesome activities, so I hope nothing pops up to ruin our plans for 300, game reserve visiting and maybe even fly-fishing.

Anyway, I was at the Pavilion last night for dinner at John Dory's with Paul's family - it was Paul's father's birthday. And for the 3rd time, I witnessed the start of a brawl between high school boys.

This happens every school holidays, when the hormonal brats, dropped off by their parents, have nothing better to do than hang out at malls with an entourage of smoking, teeny bopper girls in the shortest miniskirts imaginable. And the situation is only getting worse... like UK worse. Hell, there was a fatal stabbing last week at Gateway. I was so keen to flick out my ASP baton last night for some crowd control...

Anyway, in an unrelated note, I bought the April NAG over the weekend, and with it comes a R50 voucher for any game fro…