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Showing posts from June, 2007

Entertainment for Friday, and other things

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Well, you know this is going to be shite!

From: Variety

Lampoon sets an epic spoof
'301' mocks '300,' 'Gladiator,' 'Braveheart'
By MICHAEL FLEMING

The revived National Lampoon, which hasn't thrown a toga party since "Animal House," is pulling out the sheets for another one.

The company has set a fall start for "National Lampoon's 301: The Legend of Awesomest Maximus Wallace Leonidas," a spoof of such sword-and-sandal films as "300," "Troy," "Gladiator" and "Braveheart." Jason Burinescu wrote the script.

Protag is Awesomest, an out-of-shape Spartan general who fails forward on a path to greatness.

Pic will be produced by National Lampoon, Dan Farah and Burinescu, who just sold an animated celebrity spoof show to MTV.

Once a prestige signature of comedies like "Animal House," National Lampoon has languished after licensing its brand name to underwhelming laffers like the Paris Hilton sta…

Entertainment news for Thursday

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Right, I'm not the first out of the starting blocks with this info, but at the end of last week the first official pic of Harrison Ford - back as whip-snapping, Nazi bashing archeologist, Indiana Jones - appeared online.


Filming is currently underway for the 4th Indiana Jones film, directed by Steven Spielberg (according to ComingSoon.net, Mr S in fact took this pic). The cast includes Cate Blanchett, John Hurt, Ray Winstone, Jim Broadbent and the ridiculously named Shia LaBeouf as Indy's son - presumably with Karen Allen's Marion Ravenwood.

I reiterate at this point that I am terrified of this 4th installment in the series. Why can't Hollywood just leave things instead of possibly sullying the memory and magic of my favourite movie trilogy of all time... Let us hope to God that they go the good old fashioned "real" stunt route instead of overdosing on the CGI.

Anyway, in more Watchmen movie news, a supposed full cast list has appeared online, starting apparent…

Fantastic 4: Rise of the Silver Surfer

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Your feelings about Rise of the Silver Surfer will probably be heavily influenced by your response to the original Fantastic 4 film. If you thought it was dumb and decidedly C-grade, then changes are that you’ll feel exactly the same about Silver Surfer.

If you, like me, have always thought of the Fantastic 4 at rather lame anyway – bickering, dorky, 3rd cousins twice removed from the far more tragic, emotionally engaging X-Men – then chances are you’ll accept this film for what it is – 90 minutes of lighthearted fluff.


Which, in a way, is in Fantastic 4’s favour. You see, Rise of the Silver Surfer is a 100% family friendly superhero film. It’s far more likely to engage a popcorn munching 10 year than Spider-Man 3, with all its unmasked whining and pining. This time around Reed, Sue, Johnny and The Thing are unburdened by any kind of emotional complexity – like the Thing’s devastation at his repulsive form in the original film.

While this unusual “family” of heroes largely play things …

Trailer Tuesday: I Am Legend

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What a great teaser. Seriously. It really sets the tone for the film without giving anything away. And it looks gloriously "Big Willy" wisecrack free.

Based on the novel by sci-fi/fantasy/horror writer Richard Matheson, I Am Legend focuses on Robert Neville, the last man left alive on earth. All alone in a rapidly decaying, deserted New York City he prepares himself every day for nightly attacks from "the rest of the world", all transformed into blood-thirsty vampires, who only wake after dark.

Read the Wiki entry above at your own peril, as it spoils a number of intriguing plot points and twists.


I Am Legend has previously been adapted for the big screen twice - The Last Man on Earth (starring Vincent Price) in 1964 and The Omega Man (starring Charlton Heston) in 1971.

I Am Legend is set for release on 14 December in North America.

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As a side note, I am rather pissed off at the moment about the following comment on the messageboard for my old Michelle Pfeiffe…

Back from the Berg

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Well, it’s Monday morning and I’m sitting back in the office after a weekend away. As usual, after a great break, I’m suffering from the Return to Reality blues mixed with my usual Monday morning “completely out of it” daze.

Of course I don’t want to bore anyone with a tedious recount of my weekend’s activities (particularly if you’re here for pop culture updates and musings), so I’ll let the pics mostly speak for themselves. All my friends on Facebook will, of course, have access to the full online album of pics. The photos here are just a choice selection.

Anyway, after we had 2 people drop out sick in the second half of last week, we decided to save on fuel costs and squeeze all 5 of us into the bakkie for the 2 and a half hour trip. We arrived around 8pm at the Bergview cottage – just next to the Drakensberg Sun Hotel and timeshare.

This is the cottage, followed by a pic of the valley containing the Drak Sun.



It actually wasn’t that cold in the evenings, but we lit a fire in the heart…

What's happening with Watchmen?

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Well, we're one step closer to potentially the most ambitious ever graphic-novel-to-film adaptation: Alan Moore's Watchmen.


First up, Wizard Entertainment just conducted a very enlightening interview with Watchmen's director, Zack (300, Dawn of the Dead) Synder, which you can read by clicking here.

Then, in terms of casting, while there have yet to be any official announcements, it seems that Keanu Reeves has passed on the role of Dr Manhattan, the one true "superhero" of Watchmen's bunch of dispirited vigillantes. This is according to Ain't It Cool News, here.

Instead, according to the same article, Jason Patric could be stepping into the blue skin of Manhattan. Patrick Wilson (my favourite casting rumour so far) still seems to be set for Night Owl while Jude Law would make a perfect Ozymandias.

Although no names are mentioned, the clues dropped in the article suggest that Thomas Jane, who recently dropped out of The Punisher 2, could be playing the Comedi…

The Dark Knight goodies

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OK, phew, back after a 2 and a half hour power cut...

Over the past few days a number of new pics from Batman Begins sequel, The Dark Knight have appeared online. First up, by clicking here you can see pics of Maggie Gyllenhaal, replacing Katie Holmes as Bruce Wayne's childhood sweetheart, attorney Rachel Dawes. On the same page you'll also see Aaron Eckhart as new district attorney (and future Two-Face) Harvey Dent.

Now onto the more exciting stuff:

Batman has a new segmented suit in The Dark Knight. For the first time ever, a movie Caped Crusader will be able to turn his head thanks to a new helmet-like headpiece. It's about time actually - street hoodlums would easily get the drop on Batman if a merged head and shoulder piece kept him facing only one direction.


You can see Entertainment Weekly's article on the suite, with a labelled breakdown of the costume here at SuperheroHype.

Also, this time around, Batman will be cruising the streets of Gotham on his Batcycle, her…

Specials for South Africans

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July sees the release of 2 hot pop culture properties to own. And some retailers, on- and offline, are doing more than others to sweeten the deal. Personally, I'm taking advantage of this "generosity"...

First up is the DVD release of 300.

You can currently pre-order the 2-disc Special Edition from Kalahari.net for R127. You'll get the film, packed with special features, as well as a movie poster, exclusive to the online retailer.


Then there's the other biggie release, for the more literary types out there - the 7th and final Harry Potter book, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Take 2 and Kalahari.net are currently letting consumers pre-order the hardback (set for release at 1am on 21 July) for R215 and R239 respectively.

Personally, though, I'm taking advantage of Exclusive Books' special, which most likely will include an invite to a launch party, as it has in the past.

Insisting that the recommended retail price is R325 (most retailers will actually b…

Trailer Tuesday: 30 Days of Night

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I love vampires but the the movies that tackle these blood drinking night owls are just never scary.

Normally the film makers get caught up in exploring the erotic side of the biting, sucking beings (The Hunger), philosophical discussions around immortality (Interview with the Vampire), or even just exploiting the vamps' supernatural powers for some kickass action sequences (Underworld, Blade). Sometimes it's a combination of all of the above.

Now, 30 Days of Night, based on the critically acclaimed comic miniseries really seems to restore the fright factor to filmic vampires.



In what looks quite 28 Days Later-ish, 30 Days of Night focuses on a secluded Alaska town called Barrow, where the sun sets and doesn't rise for over thirty consecutive days and nights. When sunlight-hating vampires capitalise on this darkness and turn Barrow into their own personal hunting and recruiting ground, it's up to the town's Sheriff (Josh Hartnett) and Deputy (Melissa George), a husba…

The Weekend Update

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This last weekend was a really enjoyable one. Friday night was a chance to catch up on some quality relationship time after Paul has spent the last few days of the week working down in Cape Town.

My most recent Take 2 order of DVDs had finally arrived (including 13th Warrior, and a Terminator 2/Total Recall Special Edition 2-for-1 combo) so we started watching Total Recall while gorging on Scooter’s Pizza. It had been one helluva week though and we ended up having a very early night.


Saturday morning was exceptionally lazy. After sleeping late, we played our only bit of World of WarCraft for the weekend. I managed to level my female Orc hunter up twice, to Level 10. Next playing session I’m contemplating taking up the complementary Skinning and Leatherworking professions. And I must be close now to getting my hunter’s pet.

Not that we’ll be doing any playing this coming weekend – because we’re escaping to a cottage in the Drakensberg mountains. Hooray!

Anyway, on Saturday afternoon we jo…

Fun for Monday

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ICON 2007 and more

Please excuse me while I try to calm down from my road rage. Apart from growing increasingly pissed off by the ever increasing amount of trucks on the road – isn’t it illegal for them to be on the roads during rush hour? – I was cut off this morning while turning across traffic.

An impatient bastard decided that instead of waiting for me to cross the 2 oncoming lanes, he’d overtake me on the inside while I was turning. He sped off then but I would have loved to get into a situation where I could get out of my car, lure him out and then smack my ASP baton down on his collar bone and face.

Man, what I would give for telekinesis. One thought and “pop”, he keels over his steering wheel with an embolism.

Anyway, after last night’s D&D campaign session, it’s likely my character is going to die. I’m actually quite disappointed about that because I was really starting to enjoy my half-elf paladin. Last night everything was going so well – we’d killed rabid dogs, wood elves, wolves, a snak…

Heroes, The Amazing Race and Redbelt

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Hmmm, not much exciting happening in the world of entertainment right now. I started sketching the next Girlz 'N' Games last night - which I'm sure you'll get a kick out of when it's ready - but progress is likely to be slow.


Other than that, I've been absolutely LOVING Heroes on SABC 3 (Sorry, Lost, you lost out). I've had access to the series for a while now but just never got past Episode 2. With a weekly screening, I'm actually scheduling it in, and am now eagerly waiting for Episode 5 next week. The show really is outstanding. It manages to realistically capture what it would be like to be a superhero in the real world - characters veer convincingly to the "dark side" of their powers for personal gain very easily.

Also, I've been having a blast with the current season of The Amazing Race (for Internationals, we're watching Season 9, just before All-Stars). My mother and sister are insisting that Paul and I would be like the geek/ne…

Updated release date schedule

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I was moaning a week or so back about the lack of announced local release dates for some of the biggest releases this (North American) Summer. It seems the web masters at Nu Metro have heard my mutterings because they have just updated their Coming Soon section through to August.

Here are the biggies:

22 June 2007:
Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer
Premonition


29 June 2007:
Shrek The Third
Zodiac

6 July 2007:
Pan’s Labyrinth
Die Hard 4.0

11 July 2007:
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix


13 July 2007:
Hostel Part II

20 July 2007:
Transformers
28 Weeks Later

27 July 2007:
The Simpsons Movie


Finally something to look forward to! With nothing enticing on circuit, I haven't been to movies for weeks now.

Thelma and Louise of the High Seas

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The following post forms part of the Action Heroine Blog-A-Thon, o so cleverly devised by Nat at The Film Experience.

Alright, this isn’t so much an examination of a great action heroine as it is a look at a great project that could have been.

Back in the early 1990s, “girl power” was the buzz word in Hollywood. Sarah Conner was bulking up to fight Terminators. Catherine Tramell was dragging police detectives around by their tongues – and other appendages. Thelma and Louise were exploding fuel tankers. And Catwoman was giving the Caped Crusader a licking.

It was only natural to start digging for other properties that were equal parts oestrogen and ass-kicking. And from the murky depths emerged Mistress of the Seas, over a decade before Davy Jones and his mutant crew popped up from beneath the waves of the Caribbean.

Mistress of the Seas was to be based on the surprising true story of 2 famous female pirates in the 18th Century: Anne Bonney and Mary Read.

After setting fire to her wealthy…

Trailer Tuesday: Ratatouille

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I had completely forgotten about Ratatouille - the latest Pixar flick from Iron Giant and Incredibles writer-director Brad Bird.

In the hilarious new animated-adventure, RATATOUILLE, a rat named Remy dreams of becoming a great chef despite his family's wishes and the obvious problem of being a rat in a decidedly rodent-phobic profession. When fate places Remy in the city of Paris, he finds himself ideally situated beneath a restaurant made famous by his culinary hero, Auguste Gusteau. Despite the apparent dangers of being an unwanted visitor in the kitchen at one of Paris' most exclusive restaurants, Remy forms an unlikely partnership with Linguini, the garbage boy, who inadvertently discovers Remy's amazing talents. They strike a deal, ultimately setting into motion a hilarious and exciting chain of extraordinary events that turns the culinary world of Paris upside down.


Thanks to advances in technology, it seems that everyone these days is making CG-animated films - as la…

A good weekend

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This last weekend was a very enjoyable one. It sort of started around 13:00 on Friday with a 2 and a half hour lunch with work colleagues down the road at Beanbag Bohemia. They make the most fantastic, gourmet prawn and chicken bunny chows in Durban. Awesome

Back home in the evening, the eating continued with home made subs, followed by some Season 10 episodes of South Park and last weekend’s episode of Rome. After a severe sleep deficit accumulated on Wednesday and Thursday night we were passed out by 8pm, but woke to the tail end of the creepy The Exorcism of Emily Rose on MNET. From what I saw, it looked superb – although they unnerve me, these kinds of realistic demon flicks go a long way towards jerking my faith back into belief mode again. Strange how easy it is to believe in manifestations of supernatural evil, than supernatural goodness. Anyway, I’ll definitely be setting the VCR to tape it when it’s on again later this week.


Friday was also amusing because my kettlebell weigh…

Snakes in a Mutherf$%@#n’ Dream!

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I’m one of those people who tends to remember their dreams quite vividly upon waking, and I’m well aware that I have two types of dream that reoccur regularly.

The first is the chase dream. No matter how hard you run, or how hard you try to hide, or even how hard you negotiate, your enemy pursues you mercilessly. Thanks to 28 Days Later and Dawn of the Dead, in recent years those unstoppable pursuers have become rapid, groping zombies, with speed to match their hunger.

The second reoccurring dream motif is snakes. While I don’t like them, I’m certainly not phobic about the belly crawlers in consciousness / waking life. However, snakes feature in a lot of my dreams, usually biting me or my loved ones. Like last night.

While buying Fathers Day cards at an outdoor toy store (as one is prone to do in dreams) I ended up using a dinner fork to fight off a large black snake with an even blacker mouth. During the fight, the snake bit deeply into my right hand, paralysing my pinkie and ring fing…

Pop goes Idols in Durban

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In case you haven’t heard, everyone’s favourite televised singing contest is back! The South African version of Idols is returning for its 4th season, with the first round of auditions kicking off in Johannesburg on the 23 June.

Of course, my overall hope is that this time around we get an idol with staying power – I insist that last time Karin won simply for playing the “poor, overweight single mom” card. She was definitely more lounge singer than pop idol, and proved that by doing nothing post-Idols except gain notoriety for her boyfriend’s murderous activities. OK, maybe that is behaviour expected of pop idols.


Anyway, this year auditions have yet to get underway and controversy has already hit the show. You see, there are no auditions in Durban this year. Instead, auditions for the KwaZulu-Natal province will be taking place down in sleepy Summer holiday town Margate – a 2-and-a-half hour drive from Natal’s biggest city.

Needless to say, local wannabee idols are not impressed. The …

"I have the power"

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Prepare for much magical sword lifting on the big screen in the next few years. The CGI TMNT did very well, and even though Transformers hasn't yet achieved its guaranteed $100 million opening weekend, already film studios are jumping on the "Let's resurrect 80's cartoons" bandwagon, with assorted live action and animated movies in development.

Tintin and Speed Racer are coming in 2009 and 2008 respectively.

A few weeks ago, it was reported that a new live-action He-Man had been greenlit.


Here's an extract from the Variety article, to refresh your memory about the character:

He-Man was born as a Mattel action figure, and the toymaker created an animated series in hopes of selling dolls. The series became a cult favorite, but the brand was hardly helped by its first bigscreen incarnation, the campy 1987 flop "Masters of the Universe" that starred Dolph Lundgren as the title character and Frank Langella as his nemesis Skeletor.

The toymaker, which now l…

Trailer Tuesday: Bug

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Alright, I admit it was this very disturbing poster that first alerted me to Bug, the latest film from Exorcist director William Friedkin, starring Ashley Judd and Michael Shannon.



Bug's plot synopsis:
A lonely waitress with a tragic past, Agnes rooms in a run-down motel, living in fear of her abusive, recently paroled ex-husband. But when Agnes begins a tentative romance with Peter, an eccentric, nervous drifter, she starts to feel hopeful again - until the first bugs arrive...

Probing the blurry lines between paranoia and nightmarish reality, Liongate's BUG is an intense, mind-bending psychological thriller in which nothing is quite as it seems.


Considering the glut of family friendly films on circuit at the moment, it seems appropriate to give mention to something more unnerving, pretty much guaranteed to disturb, or at least get your skin crawling. Plus, as something of a novelty, Bug is that rare example of a psychological thriller based on a play - an off-Broadway hit adapte…

I'm a jock... at 25

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It’s actually amusing. At the age of 25 I have just received my first ever medal for sport. I guess I better watch out now in case some jealous, deranged geek gets upset and pulls out their semi automatic pistols to go all Counter-Strike on my ass…:-)

The 2nd Africa Cup Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Championship was held on Saturday at Gateway, with our “host” club Novagen competing against clubs from Cape Town, Port Elizabeth and Johannesburg.

The event ran a lot smoother and faster than last year, with some very exciting fights as a bonus. Paul and myself were score keepers for the event, which included kids’ divisions, a women’s division and assorted weight divisions for the men – from Under 65kg, to Over 95kg, and an Open Weight section, in which any of the guys could compete again.

There were only 3 women at the event on the day – Lara and myself from Novagen (both Under 65kg) and then a girl from P.E (who should have been in an Over 65kg division if there had been more competitors). So, yeah…

The game that will let you "have the time of your life"

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Alright, I learnt this rather bizarre piece of news from Penny Arcade…

Earlier this week, I reported on the weird choice of The Sims for a game-to-film adaptation. Now, it seems to be time for an equally strange film-to-game adaptation.

Yes, it’s time to brace yourself for… Dirty Dancing: The Video Game! Forget how crap and inconclusive the original 1987 film is (the game forms part of the film’s 20th Anniversary celebrations). Simply submit yourself to reality-blurring nostalgia as you finally step into shoes of pampered teen Baby, and launch yourself into the arms of Johnny, that hunky rebel dance instructor from the wrong side of the tracks.


The marketing blurb on the game’s website:

Work alongside the team at the Kellerman's resort, play through a fantastic variety of fun mini-games and earn camp dollars to purchase Dirty Dancing® memorabilia, cabin furnishings, and the all-important dance lessons with Johnny and Penny. How will you fare in the end of season dance contest?


The Dir…