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Showing posts from August, 2007

Family Guy Friday: Thundercats

Following on from yesterday's post about 1980's cartoons getting a revamp for the Noughties, here's a Family Guy cutaway that puts a new spin on everyone's favourite exiled, mummy-fighting cat people: The Thundercats!

Bits 'n' pieces

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Not much news happening in entertainment land at the moment...

There's FINALLY a release date in South Africa for the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Movie: 5 October 2007!

And speaking of 1980s cartoons receiving a 21st Century revamp, brace yourself for GI Joe. According to Aint It Cool News and SuperheroHype, The Mummy and Van Helsing director Stephen Sommers will be in the director's chair.



So, with Sommers directing, what can we look forward to? I'm expecting non-stop action, cheesy acting and plenty of CGI wizardry. But considering how damn lame the above cartoon GI Joe intro looks (I used to watch the show but honestly can't remember it now), well, Sommers is probably the perfect director for the job.

Personally, if I was making the film, I'd pump up the macho posturing, fist pumping and patriotic flag waving to Team America's tongue-in-cheek proportions. "Yo Joe!"

Otherwise, in an unrelated note, my most recent Take 2 order finally arrived yesterday. …

Reality TV watch

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Well, some of South Africa’s favourite reality shows are back with a vengeance.

Numero Uno on the list is Season 4 of Idols. It’s still early days for this glorified singing contest. For many viewers this preliminary stage, where the judges weed out the “talented” and panga away at the “untalented,” is their favourite part of the series.

Personally, I only start paying attention once they’ve whittled down participants to the final 10. I really don’t get a kick out of seeing people cruelly ridiculed. “You look like a chipmunk…” How exactly is that constructive criticism? It’s only there for nasty audience gratification. And besides, how can you slam someone for “not looking like an idol” when the last time around you set a precedent by awarding the Idols title to a bloated, moley lounge singer – who has, incidentally, done nothing since winning other than screw a murderer?


Bah, perhaps I’m just irritated by the entire Idols phenomenon because of my family’s obsession with the show. We o…

Trailer Tuesday: Aliens Vs Predator 2: Requiem

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I'll admit it. When it comes to video game to film adaptations, I tend to feel a tad obliged to watch the finished product. Unless it's Dead or Alive, of course.

So yes, I did actually pay to see the appalling Alien Vs Predator film - which totally missed the point of either iconic sci-fi/horror series. And it was PG-13 to boot. After that monstrosity I really hoped that the franchise would stay as frozen as the T-Rex Alien Queen. But no. AVP made enough money at the box office, and tacked on a cliff-hanger ending, to ensure the making of a sequel: Aliens Vs Predator 2: Requiem.



Bearing in mind that the above is one of those unusual R-rated trailers, so it will be more bloody than usual, it certainly proves that AVP2 will be gloriously "No Under 16" violent - and therefore closer in spirit to the 2 original, separate film series. Sure, this trailer seems to have revealed every single gory death and jump moment in the film, but it looks like gratifying action-horror al…

Bookended days

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Proofing. A fat pile landed on my desk on Friday afternoon and that same fat pile greeted me this Monday morning. A bookend to the weekend. You need to understand that there is nothing that plunges me into an obsidian-black mood like extensive proofing jobs do. If you ever wanted me to submit my resignation post-haste just load me with error-saturated 6 page+ brochure after brochure. Oh, and then tell me that every single one of them is “Urgent.”

Otherwise I was in a pretty good mood on Friday. Payday with bonuses. And Paul and my 4 year anniversary – which we celebrated by splashing out on a seafood platter at CafĂ© Fish. Given our planned overseas trip (in fire-strippedGreece!) in 21 days time, we didn’t do anything extravagant in terms of presents. Paul bought me a Hugo Boss Woman fragrance and I bought him… well, it’s sitting still at Take 2’s Cape Town office, waiting to be dispatched. It should arrive sometime this week.



Anyway, on Saturday Paul was off doing tech support again, s…

Family Guy Friday: Knocking on the back door

Well, today is Paul and my 4 year anniversary, so for Family Guy Friday we'll be looking at one of the classic "couple" moments in the series. Unfortunately I couldn't find the exact clip I wanted on YouTube (Lois and Peter's "accidental fat sex" in episode Sibling Rivalry), or even a "Best of" moments collage. However, this clip, from Deep Throats, is a goodie.

The context: In a bid to win a musical talent show, Peter and Lois turn to dope for some songwriting "inspiration". Their return to the hippie days of their youth leaves their family... rather surprised.


That's the difference between Lois and Peter, and Homer and Marge. While Lois can sigh just as deeply at her husband's thoughtlessness as her Simpsons counterpart, she actually succumbs far more easily to her husband's silliness, and joins in the fun - whether it's getting high, flashing people at a KISS concert, engaging in water fights with a hosepipe and ra…

Hairspray

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If you visit this blog for commentary on video games, and the latest news on badass film adaptations of comic and graphic novels, then you’re probably not the ideal, intended audience for Hairspray.

This said, Hairspray is probably the most commercial, accessible movie musical of the past few years. It’s not as arty and frenetic as Moulin Rouge. It lacks Chicago’s cynical, venomous take on human nature. And Dreamgirls’ strutting, bad-tempered R&B divas are noticeably absent. Hairspray is designed to be a happy, crowd-pleaser: a joyous celebration of being different –whether you’re overweight, a social wallflower or an oppressed racial minority.


Honestly one of the big drawcards of Hairspray is the perverse curiosity of seeing late 70s-early 80s hearththrob, and Grease star, John Travolta in drag here as fat, frumpy Edna Turnblad, the painfully insecure mother of heroine Tracy (vibrant newcomer Nicole Blonsky).

Once you get past Travolta’s weird Dr Evil accent, he’s actually credible …

The Punisher 2

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A month or so back it was announced that Ray Stevenson (who won plenty of fans as Rome's likeable if brutal Titus Pullo), was taking over the role of uber-violent Frank Castle AKA The Punisher from Thomas Jane.


SuperheroHype.com posted up the following comment Stevenson made via email to a fan asking about the project:

Although i am still very much in the embrionic stages of developing and discovering FRANK CASTLE's character; what i can say about my approach so far is that I dont wish for anyone to walk out of the theatre wanting to 'be' FRANK CASTLE - Let me explain, I would be mortified if, for any reason, some kid at high school wanted to reach out and right the wrongs of bullying or rejection or isolation by deciding to "tool up" and take out the bad guys !

It is my full intention to have FRANK in such a dark place and do such violence on those beyond redemption that you should feel glad that there is someone who lives in the dark so we may live in the lig…

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

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It’s very difficult to say anything about the final book in the Harry Potter series. On the one hand, you want to keep things as spoiler-free as possible for fans yet to read the book. On the other hand, if you’re a fan, you’ll be reading the book regardless of what any reviewer says, good or bad.

For these reasons, I’m going to keep my commentary pretty short.


Personally I’m very curious how the last of the books will be adapted into a film, seeing as Deathly Hallows is by far the most action-packed of the series. Typical of JK Rowling’s “unfolding mystery” approach, events are all interconnected. Remove one link from the event chain and it’s essentially impossible for the characters to reach that next point of understanding.

One thing that I will really give JK Rowling credit for with Deathly Hallows is her ruthlessness. Like the title suggests, death dominates the final instalment in the Harry potter series. Cast members, whether new, minor or beloved, drop left, right and centre. By…

Trailer Tuesday: Superbad

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Everywhere I turn these days on the Internet (well, on movie sites anyway) I see the name Superbad. Aint It Cool News has been punting this latest gross-out high school comedy for months. Plus, it just debuted in the US last weekend, taking the number 1 spot at the box office with a haul of $30 million+. Oh, and it's currently sitting with a very impressive 87% Fresh rating at Rotten Tomatoes - apparently the film successfully mixes vulgar laughs with a sincere take on high school awkwardness.


Still, I can't say I was especially blown away by the trailer. Maybe I'm just getting old. Maybe I'm a bit tired of the whole "drunk high school dorks have one last chance to score" story arc. Maybe I'm one of those people who have realised that high school should not be celebrated as the defining period of your life.

Either way, here's the film's synopsis:
From producers Judd Apatow and Shauna Robertson (The 40-Year-Old Virgin), screenwriters Evan Goldberg &am…

The weekend

Once again, (for those of you interested) here’s the highlights package of my activities these last few days.

The weekend started around an hour earlier than usual when I headed off to meet Paul at the travel agent. We’d been oohing and aahing about an overseas trip for a while now, and with Paul heading off to Europe for work in mid September it seemed like the logical point to attach a vacation. The plan: a 4 day guided Contiki tour (to Ancient historic sights like the Athens Acropolis, Corinth, Mycenae, Olympia and Delphi), followed by 3-4 days lying on a beach in Mykonos.

It’s something of a compromise: the first part provides me with some much needed “adventure” and lets me put the knowledge I gained from all those University Classics electives to good use ;) And the second part of the trip is for some R&R, especially since I’m sure Paul will be incredibly stressed after 10 days of work-related problem solving.

Now to ask for 5-6 days leave… Tum-ti-tum.

Anyway, back to the week…

The Dark Knight pics

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A fresh batch of pics from The Dark Knight appeared online yesterday - including plenty of clear pics of the new Batsuit, and Heath Ledger's Joker. Since then, however, Warner Bros has been ripping them offline with a vengeance, so they might not be available for much longer. Still, I found them here, so you can enjoy them while they last.

Anyway, here's my favourite of the bunch...

Family Guy Friday: "You Shall Not Pass!"

Slap-bang in the middle of Petergeist, an episode which quite faithfully followed the Poltergeist storyline, the story cut away (as usual) to spoof another film classic - The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring.

The LOTR moment that received the Family Guy treatment? Gandalf's one-on-one with the Balrog, of course! Except, in true tongue-in-cheek style, the Family Guy creative team have substituted the demonic Poltergeist tree for the Balrog, and replaced Ian McKellan's scruffy old wizard with the neighbourhood's decidedly creepy, decidedly decrepit old paedophile.

28 Weeks Later

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28 Weeks Later is the sequel to Danny Boyle’s 28 Days Later, the 2002 horror thriller that pumped adrenaline back into the zombie genre.

28 Days Later was something of a flawed masterpiece. It had a fantastic premise – British animal activists accidentally unleash Rage, an Ebola-like virus that, through blood and saliva contact, instantly transforms victims into berserk, blood-spewing beings. Within 28 days, England is decimated, and the few remaining survivors have to outrun this new breed of frenzied “zombies”, while simultaneously struggling with distrust of one another. The Rage-fuelled chase sequences were the stuff of nightmares, but the film lost momentum once the core group of survivors reached a lone military outpost.

Much of the early buzz around sequel 28 Weeks Later, this time directed by Spain’s Juan Carlos Fresnadillo, was that it kept the terror tempo cranked to the max.


The film certainly starts off well, with a group of disparate survivors sheltering together in a board…

The Simpsons Movie

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It’s actually very difficult to comment on The Simpsons Movie because essentially it is one very extended episode of the iconic TV series.

If you’re a fan of the show then chances are you’ll enjoy yourself. If not, then don’t bother. Because the Simpsons Movie doesn’t try anything new now that everyone’s favourite, yellow, dysfunctional family is up on the big screen. Which is perhaps a good thing, after all... South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut alienated a lot of people with its unexpected foray into musical comedy.


The Simpsons Movie contains many laugh-out loud moments, and for once the trailer hasn’t spoiled the best gags and one-liners. In fact, it’s probably justifiable to say that the humour in The Simpsons Movie is significantly tauter than in most recent episodes of the series. This is no doubt helped by creator Matt Groening and co. recruiting many of the Simpsons best writers to script the film. The result is plenty of laughs and a number of surprisingly touching moments…

Trailer Tuesday: The Dark is Rising

Now I'm a big fan of family orientated fantasy films. I'm really looking forward to the second Narnia film, Prince Caspian (due for release next year), as well as The Golden Compass this Christmas.

I'll admit I'm not familiar with the Susan Cooper books on which The Dark is Rising is based, but the film adaptation seems to have over-stepped that boundary into generic kiddie crowd-pleaser a little too far. There seems to be very little on offer for adult viewers.

Take the cliched plot synopsis, for example:
Based on the acclaimed novel by Susan Cooper, THE DARK IS RISING is the first film adaptation of the author's acclaimed The Dark Is Rising Sequence. The film tells the story of Will Stanton, a young man who learns he is the last of a group of warriors who have dedicated their lives to fighting the forces of the Dark. Traveling back and forth through time, Will discovers a series of clues which lead him into a showdown with forces of unimaginable power. With the Dark…

Heads up!

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I’m really not looking forward to this week. With my copy creative director away, and no replacement for my sidekick copywriter (who left last week), I’m going to be almost the only copywriter in the building – well, apart from the senior copywriter director who works chiefly in multimedia. Anyway, that means plenty of writing, proofing and decision-making on my plate.

What that means for this blog is that you can expect updates to be a little disrupted this week. You’ll still be getting at least 1 a day, but their timing might be a little unpredictable…

Anyway, you can look forward to quite a few things this week. There are reviews I need to write up for The Simpsons Movie as well as 28 Weeks Later. Plus, I finally finished Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows on Sunday, so you can expect my (relatively) spoiler-free commentary on that.

As for events this past weekend, it was a very busy one. This was largely because Paul was flying off to work again on Sunday so we had to cram all our…

Awesomeness for Friday

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How awesome is this pic from the upcoming Iron man film? It originally appeared in Empire magazine, apparently.


Iron Man, starring Robert Downey Jr., Terrence Howard, Gwyneth Paltrow and Jeff Bridges, is set for release in the US on 2 May next year.

Oh, and also set for release next year, which we musn't forget, is Batman Begins sequel, The Dark Knight. God knows where this pic is from but it's Heath Ledger's Joker tormeting the new Rachel Dawes, Maggie Gyllenhaal.

Family Guy Friday: The A-Team

Clearly a good portion of the Family Guy creative team grew up in the 1980s. There can be no other reason for the frequent references to hit TV shows and cartoons from that specific era of shoulder pads and super-shrunk stonewashed jeans.

Anyway, in the episode Brian Goes Back to College, Peter Griffin and his guy pals win a TV costume contest, dressed as the A-Team. Their success inspires them to actually become a "real" A-Team of helpful commandos for hire. This YouTube clip is a spot-on parody of the A-team intro sequence, using Family Guy characters. It's a great little nostalgia piece.

Transformers

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There’s no question that Transformers is a movie targeted squarely at the young male demographic. Everything-but-the-kitchen-sink action sequences. Mass destruction and explosions. Extensive military hardware. Robots that turn into hot cars between giant brawling fist fights. A racially balanced squad of buff soldiers. A fat black man for comic relief. And hot, permanently sweaty girls with a knowledge of cars, cryptography and a soft spot for the geeky hero.

In other words, it’s your standard Michael Bay movie.


It’s actually surprising to see massive movie-making muscle like Bay and executive producer Steven Spielberg behind Transformers, which is, after all, a movie based on a 1980s toy line and animated TV series. The subject matter doesn’t seem like it would be worth their while.

However, from the moment the film begins, you recognise the polish they bring to this explosive, special effects extravaganza. Obviously DreamWorks and Paramount are serious about setting up a very respecta…

A good day for Pfans, a bad day for others

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Yesterday, Monday, 6 August, was a very good day for Michelle Pfeiffer pfans. Our favourite leading lady FINALLY received her star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. I won't say much more than that because Nat (from The Film Experience) has typed up an enjoyable commentary on the event. Now pfans have an additional reason to make a star-struck pilgrimage to Los Angeles.


Here's the Associated Press article on the ceremony:

Michelle Pfeiffer gets Walk of Fame star
She thanked parents for supporting her decision to become an actress


LOS ANGELES - She may be playing a villain in two summer movies, but Michelle Pfeiffer was all smiles and grace when she received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame Monday.

The Academy Award nominated star of “The Fabulous Baker Boys” and “Dangerous Liaisons” thanked her mother and father for supporting her decision to become an actress.

“She taught me that I could do anything and that I should have a career before I get married,” she said. Her father, she sa…

Trailer Tuesday: Alvin and the Chipmunks

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I spoke a little bit about this one when the poster was unveiled online a few months back... And frankly, watching the trailer, my opinion hasn't changed much at all.

Alvin and the Chipmunks looks like pretty harmless, if utterly conventional, family fare - complete with the usual poop jokes. But I'll give credit where credit is due... the CGI chipmunks actually look pretty well realised - much better than Garfield. It is a bit surprising though to see the singing rodents shrunk down to actual chipmunk size. I mean, seriously, would you go to a stadium concert where the main attraction could fit in the palm of your hand?


Alvin and the Chipmunks is set for a 14 December release in North America. And in case you've forgotten what the old cartoon characters used to look like, here's a reminder:

The weekend

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The weekend was a bit of a weird one: On the one hand we seemed to get around quite a bit but it just didn’t feel that gratifying. That’s largely because Paul and myself, despite spending a week apart – Paul was up in the Mpumalanga “firelands”, replacing melted computers and re-setting up systems – still had very little “couple” time together...

Time to move out to our own place I think, to escape being imprisoned in the house by an endless series of family commitments just because we’re around. Not that I can really say anything of course, because then I’m being a royal, selfish bitch – but I think I’ll put my foot down this coming weekend (well, as much as I can) and make it solely about us having a good, chilled time.

Anyway, some of Paul’s family was down from Johannesburg for his grandfather’s funeral on Friday afternoon. That meant keeping them occupied, and culminated in a 2 hour drive down the coast on Saturday for lunch at the awesome Ramsgate Waffle House.

I can’t say much a…

Family Guy Friday: Fire truck

Family Guy is known for taking absurdism to the highest, hilarious level. Take the following clip from the episode Petarded, where Peter and Lois's games night culminates with an intellectually skewed game of Trivial Pursuit.



You have to know that spotting the fire truck sequence above on the back of the Family Guy video game played a HUGE role in my buying the PS2 title. And yes it was incredibly gratifying being able to play the fire truck mini-game - chasing down buck and smacking them with the vehicle's extendable ladder.

The Modem Marriage

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OK, haven't posted one of these columns up in a while... This one dates back to May.

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Gaming and the Internet have a complicated relationship. The love affair has been ongoing long enough now to wonder about its eventual outcome. Will the marriage easily reach its ruby anniversary, to be celebrated as the ultimate romance? Or is it really heading for the divorce courts?

We all know the vital role the Internet plays for up-to-the-date gaming news. It’s also been a Godsend for independent developers, who have harnessed the medium for cost-effective advertising and game distribution.

The gaming-Internet relationship, however, is not just about information availability. Far more intriguing is the actual meshing of the online and gameplay.

Gaming and the Internet are actually childhood sweethearts, with their relationship dating all the way back to the Internet’s infant years. MUDs (Multi-User Dungeons) allowed role-players to unite online for text-based adventures, and spawned the gra…

Harry Potter sales...

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Yes, I know I haven't finished Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows yet (I'm currently a few pages into Chapter 14), so the embargo on spoilers still exists - you tell me anything important and I hunt you down and HURT you ;)

Anyway, I was a tad slack-jawed at the first day sales figures for this last of the Harry Potter books. I have this image in my head of JK Rowling building a huge money vault like Ducktales' Scrooge McDuck, so that she can literally swim in her millions of pounds. Perhaps I should get my ass in gear and get back to work on that novel of mine... or either of the other 2 concepts I've been brooding over.


Anyway, here's an interesting article from IOL on Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows sales figures:

Final Harry Potter book sets new record
July 23, 2007

By Mike Collett-White

London - The seventh and final volume in the Harry Potter series has become the fastest selling book in history, publishers said on Monday, with more than 11 million copies so…

Whip-cracking fun!

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Screw E3, rAge and all those gaming conventions. If I could go to any entertainment themed convention it would be the San Diego Comic-Con... The most awesome comic and fantasy related material makes its debut there. For example...

The Indiana Jones video greeting!

Now I'll admit I'm cautiously excited about the 4th instalment of the intrepid archeologist's big screen adventures. Indiana Jones has an exceptionally special place in my heart. Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom was the first ever movie that I saw at the cinema - at the ripe old age of approximately 2 years and 10 months. And what an explosive, non-stop, action-filled introduction to blockbuster film - monkey brains, booby traps, heart extraction, blood drinking, mine-car chases, hungry crocodiles.

Those images were burned onto my mind forever, no doubt playing a large part in my imagination's formative years. And Temple of Doom remains probably my most watched movie... ahead of even Batman Returns.

So, yea…