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Showing posts from 2008

Christmas Girlz 'N' Games: The Best Laid Plans...

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As promised, here's the Christmas edition of Girlz 'N' Games, just in time for the holiday. For everyone who celebrates Christmas I hope you and your loved ones have a fantastic time tomorrow.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm off for a cup of tea, a mince pie and an afternoon nap in preparation for the festivities that kick off this evening... Happy holidays, everyone!

Merry Christmas to all!

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Well, that's a wrap for 2008. Technically this isn't my last update for the year - there will be a festive Girlz 'N' Games web comic debuting here before, or on, Christmas Day. Still, I'm on leave for the next 2 weeks (starting with a retreat this weekend to the Drakensberg), so let me take this opportunity to wish all my blog readers a very merry Christmas, a joyous festive season and a happy New Year.

Anyway, if you're feeling strong enough to brave the Christmas mall rush, here are a selection of movies you can check out at South African cinemas in the last few weeks of the year, crossing over into 2009:

Today, 19 December:
Twilight - A vampire romance based on the ultra-successful book series by Stephenie Meyer. Teenage girls have made this movie a mammoth box office success. 45% Fresh.

Bolt (3D) - The latest CGI-animated film from Disney about a dog who, with the aid of a jaded house cat and over-enthusiastic hamster, travels cross-country to reunite with his …

Movies of the Year 2008

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Well, it's my second to last day before our company shuts down for a 2 week Christmas break, so I thought I better squeeze in my list of the Best, Worst and Most Disappointing films of the year. Of course this is my personal list, dependent on what I've seen, so there will be some notable exclusions. For example, based on what many, many friends have said, In Bruges definitely deserves a spot on the Best List while Meet the Spartans, Disaster Movie and Meet Dave are all Razzie contenders for the year.

Anyway, here are the Awesomes, the Awfuls and the Let Downs in order of release during the year - with links to my original reviews:

Awesome:

Juno

Iron Man

The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian

The Dark Knight

Wall-E


Awful:

Rambo

10,000 B.C.

The Happening

Wanted

The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor


A Let Down:

No Country For Old Men

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

Tropic Thunder

Max Payne

Quantum of Solace


So what were your picks of 2008?

22 minutes, 22 seconds: National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation

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In this week's installment of 22 minutes, 22 seconds, we look at another festive favourite... from the golden decade of Christmas movies, the 1980s.

And for a little festive cheer who's better to turn to than 1980s comedy icons Chevy Chase and writer-producer John Hughes? (I can't believe I just wrote that!)

Anyway, I'm sure I'm not the only one who remembers watching National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation many, many times while growing up. Mixing together cynicism, wacky physical comedy, rabid squirrels, irritating in-laws and ultimately a realisation that family and traditional values ARE important, Christmas Vacation is the ancestor, for better or worse, of contemporary festive films like Four Christmases, which is currently raking in the dough at the American box office (despite a near unanimous critical panning).


Anyway, at 22 minutes and 22 seconds into National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation, Ellen Griswold (Beverly D'Angelo) and daughter Audrey (a ver…

One weekend closer to Christmas

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A friend who emigrated to New Zealand 3 years ago, and has spent the last 6 months travelling the world, arrived in Durban yesterday for 2 weeks, so a good chunk of the weekend was spent with him.

On Friday evening we met up with him at Joe Cools, which was having its special Facebook VIP Christmas party. i.e. "If you're not a member of our Facebook group you're not allowed on the rooftop deck, and our gruff bouncers will make sure you stay below with the rest of the plebs because you're not one of the cool kids!" Ah, gotta love elitist, exclusionary business practices. At least there was a 2-for-the-price-of-1 drinks special, and we were able to secure a table on the lower deck. And looking down on the Durban beachfront it was amazing to discover how many people still walk the promenade after dark.

Saturday involved my last voluntary mall trip before Christmas (my shopping is all done!), eating way too much junk food, and our weekly Dungeons & Dragons session…

Today, South Africa... and Punishment.

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Today's sole major movie release is The Day the Earth Stood Still.

Considering I profiled this remake of a sci-fi classic earlier this week there isn't much more I can say about it... other than I hope it isn't too bland. These days, on the whole, sci-fi films seem to be far more preoccupied with showering the audience with eye candy - in the form of delicious special effects - than actually bothering about emotional depth or substance in general.

And let's not forget that The Day the Earth Stood Still stars one of Hollywood's most cardboard leading men (Keanu Reeves), which is not a good starting point.

The Day the Earth Stood Still is currently sitting on a "meh" 22% over at Rotten Tomatoes.


Anyway, in other movie news, it seems like third time wasn't the charm for Frank Castle AKA The Punisher. I don't know what it is about this grim, assault-rifle packing avenger but movie audiences and critics just don't seem to like him very much, whether…

This is madness! This is South Africa!

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Gamers in South Africa despair! Thanks to the rand's recent spectacular nose-dive, and various other international factors (mostly to do with the global credit crunch) the price of gaming hardware and the games themselves are leaping by ridiculous amounts.

PC gamers have already seen new titles leap on average from between R300-R350 to R400. (For the record, I haven't looked at graphics card prices lately).

Locally the Nintendo Wii is more expensive than the 60GB non-elite Xbox - despite the fact that it's supposed to be the budget-friendly, "family" console.

And the PS3 has always seemed to hover somewhere between the crazy figures of R5 400 and R6 000.


Now, the latest Xbox 360 price increases have been revealed, and it's similarly horrific. The guys over at LazyGamer, as well as their forums, are in quite a frenzy about it. LG has already written an article about the issue, as well as interviewed Microsoft’s Product and Marketing Manager - who pretty much co…

22 minutes, 22 seconds: Love Actually

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In this week's installment of the new blog feature, 22 minutes, 22 seconds, we look at another festive favourite. Although only released in 2003, British Romance Love Actually has already firmly established itself on many people's list of Favourite Christmas Movies.

Featuring an ensemble cast that includes Hugh Grant, Liam Neeson, Colin Firth, Laura Linney, Emma Thompson, Alan Rickman, Keira Knightley, Bill Nighy, Rowan Atkinson and many other familiar faces, Love Actually is set in London and focuses on several couples (including newly dating pairs, husbands and wives, fathers and sons, rock stars and managers) in the month leading up to Christmas. Some of the interweaving stories are funny, some silly, some some tragically realistic, but the end result is a sweet Christmas treat.


Curiously, last week at 22 minutes, 22 seconds into Scrooged, Bill Murray's character attempted to reconnect with his lost love. This week in Love Actually, at 22 minutes, 22 seconds, Hugh Grant&…

Trailer Tuesday: The Day the Earth Stood Still

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I bitch and moan about remakes quite regularly here, but I can't in all honesty say I'm always opposed to them. Sure, remakes of Rosemary's Baby, Karate Kid and Footloose (all in development at the moment) are fat wastes of time and energy. However, there are those remakes that do, kind of, make sense - largely because the original films aren't something you routinely stumble across on TV. If you want to watch these classics most of the time you have to make the effort: go out or head online, and actually buy the DVD.

The Day the Earth Stood Still, based on the 1951 sci-fi classic, is one of those remakes.

Then again, perhaps my intro paragraph above is a lot of bull. Having never seen the original Day, I'm just not precious about it. Studio execs and director Scott (Exorcism of Emily Rose) Derrickson have free reign to do whatever they want with the creative property. In fact, watching the trailer I'm certainly intrigued (mmmm... Apocalyptic city destruction), a…

Weekend round-up

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I can't honestly remember what I did on Friday evening, other than I know it was an early night after a few glasses of wine and some episodes of American Dad.

The wine and wind-down was needed. It had been a long week of arriving early and staying late at work as, in my car-deprived state, I had to wait to catch lifts with some very busy colleagues who live in my direction. I was also cheesed off at an impromptu decision, reached on Friday afternoon, to reshuffle the studio layout. While the designers got to stay where they were (and have their area repainted), the 3 copywriters were "demoted" downstairs into the area I unaffectionately refer to as The Dungeon. I can understand the decision for space reasons, and can think of no better alternative, but I don't think splitting up the "creatives" is healthy at all. When I started at the company I was in the Dungeon and I hated the sense of isolation it produced. So all I want now is my Christmas break!

Anyw…

Today, South Africa!

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Four new movies hit South African cinemas today as the Summer school holidays kick off, and employee concentration goes out the window in anticipation of the festive season run of public holidays. Two of today's films, comedy-documentary Religulous and concentration camp drama, The Boy in Striped Pyjamas are out in limited release. The remaining two films are high profile mainstream releases:

First up, for the kiddies, is the CGI-animated Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa, the sequel to the hit 2005 film. This time around the pampered, neurotic zoo animals attempt to fly from Madagascar back to New York, only to crash-land in Africa - where Alex the lion (voiced by Ben Stiller) is reunited with his family.


I'll admit right now that I wasn't the biggest fan of the original Madagascar. Although beautifully animated it was hamstrung by all the typical failings of Dreamworks animated movies: an over-reliance on wacky humour and the gimmick of a celebrity voice cast (Stiller, Chris Roc…

Alice in Wonderland

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I'm a huge fan of director Tim Burton so I always sit up and take notice when he's working on a new film. Currently filming, and set for release in March 2010, Burton's next project is a big screen adaptation of Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland.

I'm actually really excited for this one. Sure it's not the long-stalled movie adaptation of twisted video game American McGee's Alice, but given Burton's dark, Gothic sensibilities, I'm sure we'll be in for a similar treat.

For example, take this image of Johnny Depp as the Mad Hatter, which surfaced online a few weeks back. There has been debate about whether or not this image is fake, but seeing as Cinematical was asked by Disney (the studio behind this latest movie adaptation) to remove the pic, it seems to be the real deal... whether its a photo of Depp in costume and make-up, or just a really outstanding piece of concept art.


Apart from Depp, Alice in Wonderland's stellar cast includes:

Burton…

22 minutes, 22 seconds: Scrooged

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Welcome to a brand new blog feature on Pfangirl Through the Looking Glass - 22 minutes, 22 seconds. I'll admit I was heavily inspired by the 20:07 series over at one of my favourite movie blogs, The Film Experience, but imitation is the highest form of flattery. Or so they say...

Anyway, the idea behind 22 minutes, 22 seconds is for me to dig into my DVD collection and screen capture what's happening 22 minutes and 22 seconds into my favourite films. Why this specific moment in a movie's running time? Well, 2 reasons:

1) 22 is my favourite number.
2) Normally with films, by the time 22 minutes have passed, character and plot basics have been established and it's time for the movie to really get rolling. It's a point where some very interesting, often pivotal, events take place.

Seeing as we're in the lead-up to Christmas at the moment, I think it's appropriate to start off this feature with some festive hits of yesteryear.

First up: Bill Murray's 1988 com…

Trailer Tuesday: Star Trek

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I don't think it's a stretch to say that while Star Wars fans have had much to crow about over the past few decades, what with George Lucas dishing out re-releases and a whole new trilogy, Trekkies, those devoted followers of that other hit sci-fi franchise, Star Trek have been waiting patiently for someone to throw them a cinematic bone.

Sure there were the Star Trek: The Next Generation films, which I admit I thoroughly enjoyed - especially since The Next Generation was the only one of the Star Trek TV series that I ever watched. However, as the original Star Trek cast, including William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy, grew ever older and passed away, it looked like the further big screen adventures of the original Starship Enterprise crew were forever over. And man, the formula was growing tired.


Then Alias and Lost writer-director, J.J. Abrams came up with the idea for a franchise reboot (all the rage these days!), or, rather, a prequel that focuses on how Kirk, Spock, Uhura, Bon…