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Showing posts from November, 2007

Watchmen and Indy

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I get pretty tired of always having to explain to clueless people what graphic novels are. But my enthusiasm always perks up when I get to talk about Watchmen, probably the greatest superhero-focused graphic novel ever created - written by Alan Moore, drawn by Dave Gibbons, and only graphic novel to appear on Time Magazine's 2005 list of "the 100 best English-language novels from 1923 to the present."

Anyway 300 director Zack Snyder is hard at work in Canada on the big screen adaptation of Watchmen, and some new set pics are up on the official Watchmen movie site. Fans of Moore and Gibbon's work will be blown away by the minute attention to detail - though nit-pickers may notice that the couple-embracing silhouette graffitti is missing, as is the nuclear car chargers. This truly is the Watchmen world (an alternate take on the 1980s) brought to life!


Click here to see more pics. Watchmen is set for release in June 2009.

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Now let's move onto the latest addition t…

Tequila is the Devil's breast milk

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Please excuse me if I'm a little subdued on the blogging side of things today.

Last night was our company's "Wear a festive hat" Christmas / end-of-year lunch, held at Harvey Wallbangers in Durban North. It was a "lunch" that ran past 9pm. It was one hell of a good time (and surprisingly controlled, even if a company bigwig licked my palm), with excellent food, drink and company. It was also easily the most drunk I've ever been.


The advertising industry has often been presented as a collective of deranged and egotistical creative types fuelled by a cocktail of booze and illicit drugs. The drugs part is mostly a lie these days, but there's one fundamental requirement for people considering a career in advertising and marketing: the ability to drink!



I didn't have to drive last night, and I'm still pissed off at being boyfriendless for another 10 or so days (on top of 6 weeks already, hmph), so I could afford to let myself go a bit.

So there was…

The Magic Cape Race... you have been warned

So I watched The Magic Cape Race last night on SABC3, and yes, it is as big a botch-up as I thought it would be. I understand that the makers would have to be careful of infringing too much on The Amazing Race’s format, or face legal action, but there are some basic, fundamental errors made.

The main one is that the series is completely devoid of character. The Amazing Race introduces the competitors taking part: You learn that Dad A is away on business trips frequently and rarely spends time with his family; you learn that Mom B is a widow struggling financially to raise 3 kids, and you learn that Brothers C aren’t exactly enthusiastic about their youngest sibling coming out of the closet. This kind of information, whether dropped in tidbits, or painted in broad strokes, gets the viewer emotionally involved – for better or worse.

It’s no fault of the local competitors in The Magic Cape Race, but they’re presented sans personality or motivation. The series creators might as well have g…

Brace yourself for.... the Magic Cape Race!

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In a new low for South African television, it turns out that we have an uber-lame local reality series starting tonight on SABC3 at 19:30: The Magic Cape Race.

Yes, you read that stupid title correctly.

You see, instead of letting us jump from the season finale of Survivor: Cook Islands to the highly anticipated first episode of The Amazing Race: All-Stars, the "brainstrust" at the SABC has decided that it's better if we viewers first endure our very own low budget, local Amazing Race knockoff.


Here's the synopsis:

Find the clues, travel in donkey carts, taxis, buses, cars, bicycles - hitchhike - to get to the next destination - don't be last or you'll be disqualified. Join the race set in the picturesque Cape.

There's very little info available on this series other than it features 10 competing families, will run for at least 4 weeks and is heavily sponsored by Toyota, who are using the show to pimp the new Toyota Corolla Verso.

Reading all this, I'm actua…

Trailer Tuesday: Cloverfield

I've pretty much already posted my thoughts on Cloverfield, the top secret new movie project from Lost creator-producer JJ Abrams. And, honestly, this new trailer hasn't changed my opinion at all.

I've had a few discussions with people about Cloverfield's apparent Blair Witch-style take on urban monster movies, with a focus on affected ordinary people. My personal feelings are that after such an incredible (and frankly inexplicable) hype build-up, the pay-off can be nothing but a let-down. I mean, it's some big monster wrecking New York for goodness sakes - that's a B-movie schlock genre that went out of style with the rise of the contemporary blockbuster. Consider how the 1998 Godzilla remake tanked so royally.

So count me in the unexcited minority when it comes to Cloverfield... which opens in the US on 18 January next year.

The weekend

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The weekend played out pretty much as I suspected it would.

Friday evening was dinner with friends (with lots of video game discussion) followed by movies at a surprisingly quiet Musgrave. You can read my review of Beowulf below. I arrived home to find a massive box from Figure Fanatix on my bed. Turns out that Paul was attempting to cheer me up from afar with a gift – a Nightmare Before Christmas snow globe. Naturally it now occupies a place of honour alongside my PC monitor.


Saturday was spent at the Submission Wrestling Tournament in Durban. I hadn’t slept very well the night before because of nerves, but it turns out that all the stress and additional training was unnecessary because not a single woman competitor pitched. Why is it that women are such faders when it comes to sporting commitment? Anyway, as usual I did my bit, keeping track of the tables, collecting the entry fees and score keeping. I got a free competitor’s T-shirt out of it, and everyone got to watch some intense, …

Beowulf

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Probably the first question you’ll find yourself asking while watching Beowulf is “Why didn’t they just film it live-action?” Because the action-fantasy is the most realistic looking animated movie ever made.

As with director Robert Zemeckis’s previous animated film, The Polar Express, Beowulf has been created by first motion capturing the performances of actors like Anthony Hopkins, Angelina Jolie, Robin Wright Penn and Beowulf himself, Ray Winstone. With the exception of Winstone, all the characters played by these stars closely resemble their real life counterpart, which makes you wonder why they weren’t just filmed normally in the first place.


Once the action kicks off however, it becomes clear why Zemeckis would choose such an unusual technique for this adaptation of a centuries’ old, epic English poem – which focuses on the monster-fighting exploits of a Scandinavian hero with a weakness for beautiful women.

For one thing the animated format fits perfectly with the mythic nature o…

Plans for the weekend

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OK, this is officially my 2nd to last weekend solo. In theory Paul gets back next weekend, but late on Sunday, so it'll likely be a case of greeting him; then letting him crash into bed to recover from jet-lag. Because, of course, he'll be working Monday:P

As for this weekend, there are 2 definite plans:

1) Tonight, dinner and Beowulf (finally, the festive movie glut starts tonight!):


2) The Submission Wrestling Tournament tomorrow. Once again I'm not sure how many female competitors there will be, but "good luck" wishes are always appreciated anyway. I'll be there all day, assisting with scorekeeping, the competition tables and club points tallying.

Otherwise this weekend I have episodes of The Tudors and South Park to catch up on, a "creative" Christmas gift to make and, if the lag isn't too shocking, I'd like to get in some more WOW, pushing my delicate little Warlock ever closer to Level 30. "For the Horde!"

"I'll be back"

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With the Writers' Strike and American Thanksgiving, there doesn't seem to be much exciting happening in entertainment land at the moment.

Rumours about a 4th Terminator movie have been brewing for a while now, especially since Terminator 3 set the series up for some Post-Apocalyptic Man vs Machine action. This week it was "kinda" announced that *gulp* Charlie's Angels director McG will be directing the film, currently titled Terminator: Salvation.

And according to a scooper on Ain't It Cool News, none other than Christian (Batman Begins) Bale is gearing up to play humanity's saviour, John Connor.

Meanwhile, Entertainment Weekly posted up some pretty cool promo posters for Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, a TV series that makes its debut on 13 January in the States (Click on the EW link to see the other posters). 300's Lena Headey steps into the role made famous by Linda Hamilton - that of a sweet-hearted waitress who transforms into a gun-toting…

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince updates

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The series of books may be complete but fans of Harry Potter still have 2 more movie adaptations to look forward to. Next up is Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, in which JK Rowling's wizarding world is on high alert after realising that Lord Voldemort (real name Tom Riddle) is back with a vengeance.

You can expect plenty of flashbacks in Half-Blood Prince, which focuses a great deal on Voldemort's back-story as Hogwarts principal Albus Dumbledore and Harry Potter, now 16, try to uncover He-Who-Must-Not-Be Named's secrets and weaknesses - if they are ever to defeat the dark wizard.


Order of the Phoenix's David Yates in back in the director's chair for Half-Blood Prince, working with a script by Steve Kloves (who has, incidentally, adapted all the Potter books except for Order of the Phoenix).

In terms of new additions to the Potter cast, Jim Broadbent will be playing the extravagent new Potions professor Horace Slughorn. It's excellent casting, and I can&…

Trailer Tuesday: Enchanted

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Disney's big release for the festive season is Enchanted, a romantic comedy that deftly mixes animation with live-action and CGI special effects. The film focuses on a princess, Giselle (Amy Adams), who is tricked by an evil queen (Susan Sarandon) and finds herself whisked away from her magical kingdom to the harsh reality of New York City. Giselle's true love, a dashing prince (James Marsden) valiantly chases after her, but in the meanwhile Giselle finds herself developing feelings for the handsome, if flawed, divorce lawyer (Patrick Dempsey) who befriends her.

Enchanted screams "family movie", but unlike the vast majority of films in the traditionally lightweight genre it's been receiving fantastic reviews (100% on Rotten Tomatoes this morning). Most of the praise seems to be going to leading lady Amy Adams, as well as the film's hilarious spin on animated fairy tale conventions - the very conventions that Disney helped establish in the first place.


Enchant…

And now for something completely different...

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In a break from misery-wallowing, here's another cult quotable movie. Some people love it, some people hate it, but there's no defying the absurdist humour of Monty Python and the Holy Grail...


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Knights of Camelot: [singing] We're knights of the Round Table, we dance whene'er we're able. We do routines and chorus scenes with footwork impec-cable, We dine well here in Camelot, we eat ham and jam and Spam a lot. / We're knights of the Round Table, our shows are for-mi-dable. But many times we're given rhymes that are quite un-sing-able, We're opera mad in Camelot, we sing from the diaphragm a lot. / In war we're tough and able, Quite in-de-fa-ti-gable. Between our quests we sequin vests and impersonate Clark Gable / It's a busy life in Camelot
[solo]
Knights of Camelot: I have to push the pram a lot.

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Minstrel: [singing] Brave Sir Robin ran away.…

Whatever weekend

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This last weekend wasn't my most enjoyable one, mostly because I seemed to be frustrated by everything I attempted.

For one thing, I could barely play World of WarCraft. The CD a friend wrote - containing the massive 2.3 patch update - just wouldn't copy or install, so I had to download the entire patch myself, gobbling up a hefty portion of our 1GB cap. I'm now going to have to ration out my playing for the rest of the month.

So that was my Friday evening... downloading updates. What made matters worse was that, due to lag, the game was virtually unplayable until late on Sunday evening. As a warlock it's impossible to layer curses effectively when you seem to freeze while casting the most basic spells. And the long pauses when you pick up loot, or gather herbs, open up opportunities for enemy attack.

Instead, I decided to play The Ship, that quirky First-Person-Shooter-meets-Management game. Unfortunately it's Steam powered and let's just say that my first experi…

Kingdom Come

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I just finished reading Kingdom Come, Mark Waid and Alex Ross’s award-winning comic miniseries (collected in graphic novel form). And although this 1996 text doesn’t quite have the subtlety and thought provoking impact of superhero graphic novel granddaddies, The Dark Knight Returns and Watchmen – both published in the 1980s – Kingdom Come gets pretty damn close. It’s a solid read, with plenty of depth.

What’s immediately obvious about Kingdom Come is that it has higher aspirations. It isn’t just “some comic book”. It’s Art. And what makes this most resoundingly clear is the illustration by Alex Ross. Kingdom Come is perhaps the most beautiful comic ever drawn… and painted. Although some of the epic battle scenes become a bit visually confusing, Ross’s similarly epic treatment of the characters is stunning – the heroes are solid, credible figures; not overmuscled brutes straining in their tights. The characters look “real”. And for this reason, Kingdom Come is worth buying for the artw…

Most used movie quotes

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British movie website, My Films recently conducted a survey to find the memorable movie quotes most used in real life. Over 2 000 people responded, and this was the final Top 10:

Top 10 Movie Lines We Use The Most
1 "I'll be back." (The Terminator)
2 "Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn." (Gone With The Wind)
3 "Beam me up, Scotty." (Star Trek)
4 "May the force be with you." (Star Wars)
5 "Life is like a box of chocolates." (Forrest Gump)
6 "You talking to me?" (Taxi Driver)
7 "Show me the money." (Jerry Maguire)
8 "Do you feel lucky, punk?" (Dirty Harry)
9 "Here's looking at you, kid." (Casablanca)
10 "Nobody puts Baby in the corner." (Dirty Dancing)


Of course, this got me thinking about the movies that are most consistently quotable - single films that are crammed with memorable lines you just love to whip out at parties and appropriate moments in day-to-day life. I thought I'…

What's your soul animal?

Family fantasy film, The Golden Compass is out in 3 or so weeks, and there's this great little feature on the official site where you can discover your daemon - your lifetime soul animal companion, which all humans in the alternate reality of The Golden Compass possess.

Here's mine: a spider. I must admit the thought of those itchy little legs crawling all over me for my entire life is rather unnerving:


Take the quiz and post your daemons here...

Game-to-movie adaptations coming your way

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"The flesh of fallen angels..."

If those words strike a chord in you, than you're as big a fan of the Max Payne video game series as I am. In fact, last week there were major announcements regarding film adaptations for 2 of my all-time favourite games: Max Payne and Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time.

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First up, Max Payne:


Turns out Mark Wahlberg is in talks to play the grim, monologuing detective...


Here's how The Hollywood Reporter comments on the matter:

Mark Wahlberg is in negotiations to star in "Max Payne," Fox's adaptation of the hit video game. John Moore is directing.

The story centers on a DEA agent named Max Payne who is framed for the murder of a fellow agent and finds himself in the middle of a mob war, which gives him a chance to avenge the Mafia slayings of his wife and child.

Beau Thorne wrote the most recent draft.

Julie Yorn and Scott Faye are producing.

Wahlberg, shooting Peter Jackson's "The Lovely Bones,…

Trailer Tuesday: Wanted

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Believe it or not, Wanted is actually based on an adult comic miniseries by Mark Millar. The reason it's a case of believe it or not, is that in researching this big screen adaptation, the much feared words "loosely adapted" keep popping up.

Wanted, the comic series, takes place in a world where super-villains have banded together and eliminated all superheroes. Unchallenged, these villains secretly rule the world, rewriting history in their favour so that there's no evidence the world was once a more hopeful place.

In this context, young Wesley Gibson discovers that his father was one of these super-villains, a deadly assassin called The Killer. Now Wesley himself has been recruited to fill his father's role.


Now either the film makers are keeping their plot cards close to their chest, or the film has taken a big step away from its source material - because very little of the world context comes through in this first Wanted trailer.

Frankly it looks like yet another…

Weekend report back

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Well, this weekend was a pretty uneventful and quiet - if you discount the Bosnia-like "explosions" of Diwali on Friday evening. No word yet on how many obnoxious little fucks managed to blow off their fingers this year as they played with the usual mini sticks of dynamite.

Anyway...

Friday:
World of WarCraft. I was invited to a braai but neither the family, the bf, or myself, like the thought of me driving great distances alone after dark - especially since the N2 / N3 split has become a hijack hotspot of late.

So, after watching this week's taped episode of South Park - a hilarious spoof of all those nanny/child discipline reality shows - I teamed my Paladin, Herkon, with a friend's warlock, and levelled him a handful of times. As you can see below, he now looks considerably more masculine (well, as much as is possible for a blood elf).


Saturday:
I got my room back. Finally. After 2 months. First there was family visiting from overseas, and then my grandmother needed a …

Superhero compendiums

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In case you didn't know, work is underway at Warner Brothers on a live-action Justice League movie - based on the decades-long DC Comics series, in which the world's greatest superheroes unite as a team to fight the greatest threats to Earth.


Details are still pretty sketchy regarding the Justice League movie, but there are a handful of definites amongst the many, many rumours. The following bits and pieces of information were plucked from SuperheroHype and Ain't It Cool News:

- George (Mad Max, Happy Feet) Miller will be directing.
- The film will include Justice League icons: Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, the Flash (apparently both Barry Allen and Wally West), Green Lantern, Aquaman and the Martian Manhunter.
- Christian Bale and Brandon Routh WILL NOT be playing Bats and Supes in the movie. Miller is intent on casting young unknowns to "grow into the roles", and frantic auditioning is underway.
- At this point the plan is to start filming in February 2008, wi…

101 books to read before you die

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Christmas is coming up and what better gift to give than a book? I'm a big advocate of books as presents - whether they're a novel, non-fiction tome or a nice shiny coffee table book, they're special and substantial. And they last way longer than a bottle of wine, a tin of biscuits or even a new T-shirt.

Anyway, earlier in the year, Exclusive Books posted up a list of the Top 101 Books to Read Before You Die, as voted for by the bookstore's customers. Any 1 of these fiction titles would make a fantastic gift this Christmas, and if you're considering ordering online, now is the time to do it - you'll save big on import titles, but usually need to factor 10-15 working days (3 weeks) for delivery.


From the Exclusive Books website:

The 101 best novels of all time, as voted for by Exclusive Books customers:

1. The Lord of the Rings - J.R.R. Tolkien
2. The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini
3. Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
4. To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee
5. The Harry…

Festive season movies

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This November is a bit of a dud in terms of movie releases in South Africa. However, things do pick up at the end of the month in preparation for the festive season film splurge. Here are the highlights (as far as I'm concerned) of what we have to look forward to:

The Kingdom: 9 November
Jamie Foxx, Jennifer Garner and co. are a crack FBI team sent to investigate a terror attack in Saudi Arabia.
52% on Rotten Tomatoes.
Official site.

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Beowulf: 23 November
There be dragons, demons and Angelina Jolie! The bus-stop posters are already up for this motion-capture-CGI flick based on the epic poem. An all-star cast lend their likenesses to this experimental project from director Robert Zemeckis and screenwriter-novelist Neil Gaiman. Super excited for this one!
Offical site.


Balls of Fury: 23 November
A spoof sports comedy that takes place in the shadowy world of illegal ping pong tournaments. Christopher Walken looks like he has a ball in his weirdo role.
25% on Rotten Tomatoes.
Official site…