The weekend

The weekend was something of a mixed bag. It started with watching Pixar’s latest animated movie Ratatouille at Musgrave, followed by dinner at Circus Circus (where I had a surprisingly awesome seafood pasta).

You can expect my review of Ratatouille up here either later today or tomorrow. But the 3-word summary? Well worth seeing! My review will also be appearing on the Headshot website, which is now up and running, and rapidly growing with updates every Monday.

For those of you who don’t know, Headshot is intended to be South Africa’s equivalent of IGN, Gamespy or Gamespot – a gaming lifestyle website that is unaffiliated to any magazine publication. In terms of my contribution I’m a little burnt out in terms of video game commentary after the past 2 years with GEAR. So for now I’m sticking to movie reviews and other non-gaming articles.

Paul’s become something of a Greekophile since getting back from Athens this last week, so when we heard that 300 had FINALLY been released on IMAX (opening this last Friday, 5 October), that was our main activity for Saturday.

Personally I think the film should have been released in the mega-screen format at the same time it was screened in normal cinemas. The buzz has died down since May, and the film is already available to buy on DVD. As a result, there were very few people at the IMAX screening – probably under 20.

This is a pity since out of the recent full-length blockbusters shown at IMAX (including Spider-Man 3, and Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix), 300 is the one that most benefits from the format. Watching the film on IMAX, you really appreciate the film makers’ attention to detail in creating the movie’s “story within a story” (I still think a lot of people missed the point that 300 is not attempting to be THE story of the Battle of Thermopylae; it’s A story told by Frank Miller, and in turn, one-eyed Dilios, who is intent on inspiring soldiers in the build-up to battle. So it’s no wonder that the Spartans are fearless, muscled heroes while all opponents and traitors to the Greek cause are monstrously deformed).

Anyway, watching the film on IMAX your eyes dart around the screen as you are completely sucked into the world – and we spotted a number of little touches we’d never seen before. If you haven’t seen 300, or haven’t watched it in a while, it’s really worthwhile catching it during its IMAX Gateway run.

After the movie we joined our parents for the annual Last Night of The Proms at the City Hall. The event is pretty much modelled on the original British Last Night of the Proms, so people were wearing Union Jack polystyrene hats, throwing streamers and waving flags, while the KZN Philharmonic Orchestra and a choir performed assorted classical “hits.” I generally listen to more film scores than classical music, but it was interesting to discover just how many classical tracks have been cannibalised for use in films and cartoons – probably because they’re free to use.

I identified the following programme highlights from their use in Pop Culture:

O Fortuna – Orff (used in assorted advertisements and Excalibur)
Morning from Peer Gynt – Grieg (your standard “World is waking up” track used in vintage cartoons)
In the Hall of the Mountain King – Grieg (used in Sonic the Hedgehog and I’m sure the Smurfs as well)
La Donna e Mobile – Verdi (operatic piece used in Thomas Jane’s The Punisher when Frank Castle is having the crap smashed out of him by a monstrous Russian hitman).

On Sunday, we did the family braai thing and watched some World Cup Rugby (don’t stress me out like that, South Africa!) in between playing World of WarCraft. It’s the seasonal festival Brewfest at the moment and I accumulated enough tickets with ram riding and drinking missions to buy my Level 30 Hunter a nice little Brewfest hat.

Paul had to collect his boss from the airport in the evening so I worked on my freelance writing until eventually heading up to bed. With family visiting and my gran staying in my room while recovering from a severe inner ear infection, I have no personal space, living in the study and out of 2 cupboard shelves.

But speaking of Paul’s work, he’s off in 2 weeks' time to Chile for a full month. I’ll let the usual Durban crowd know if we’re doing anything on this upcoming weekend, the last before Paul heads off. Otherwise you’ll only see him again in mid November. *Sigh*.

I said at the beginning of this post that the weekend was something of a mixed bag. The very mixed side of it was that my 42 year old uncle (who's always been a part of our lives) has just been diagnosed with skin cancer. Melanoma. He’s going through all the tests at the moment (so far his organ scan has proved clear), and we’re just hoping and praying for the best. It was his son's first birthday 2 weekends ago.


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