Showing posts from January, 2008

Movie release dates

I haven't been to movies in a month, frankly because there just hasn't been anything that piques my interest. I'm still keen to see Elizabeth: The Golden Age, but that's definitely not something to drag the boyfriend to.

In the coming weeks and months though there's a healthy mix of blockbusters and prestigious award nominees hitting the big screen locally. Here are some of the highlights.

1 February
27 Dresses - Rom-com starring Katherine Heigl as a young woman who has been a bidesmaid 27 times, but just can't seem to find her own Mr Right.

Atonement - A guilt-fuelled romantic drama set against the backdrop of WWII and starring James McAvoy and Keira Knightley. This year's English Patient?

8 February
Cloverfield - The latest in the "when giant monsters attack" movie genre. From the creator of Lost and filmed in the handheld video style. Massive online hype for this one.

Meet the Spartans - Yet another movie spoof, from the makers of Date Movie and Ep…

New Prince Caspian poster

My apologies for the lack of updates yesterday. My attempts to avoid the gastro sweeping my household failed miserably and I spent the whole of yesterday curled up in bed or flaked out on the couch. Today, well, I'm just not ill enough to warrant staying at home...

Anyway, here's a great new poster for Prince Caspian, the second installment in the Chronicles of Narnia film series. On this poster you can even spot Reepicheep, the rapier-wielding rodent who demonstrates incomparable bravery in both Prince Caspian and follow-up tale, Voyage of the Dawn Treader. Reepicheep is voiced by oh-so-dry British comedian, Eddie Izzard.

I'm a huge fan of C.S. Lewis's Narnia Chronicles (they're my most re-read book series), so I can't wait for May-July when Prince Caspian will be released locally. "For Narnia!"

Posted up at Ain't It Cool News:

Trailer Tuesday: Hellboy II: The Golden Army

What would the mid-year movie season be without a hefty portion of comic-to-film adaptations. Opening on 11 July is Hellboy II: The Golden Army, based on the Dark Horse comic series by Mike Mignola, and written and directed by Guillermo (Pan's Labyrinth) Del Toro.

I honestly didn't ever expect a sequel to the first Hellboy (also written and directed by Del Toro). For one thing it did well at the box office but was hardly a $100 million+ blockbuster. And while I largely enjoyed the film, and was blown away by Ron Perlman's bulky, wisecracking hero, I just felt the ending disintegrated into overblown nonsense (argh, tentacles from other dimension!).

Still, by the sounds of it, Hellboy II has potential. Del Toro, who wrote the script again, has said The Golden Army is more focused on folklore and fairy tales than demon-dabbling pulp horror.

That shift comes across strongly in the trailer above, where the visual depiction of the assorted beasties Hellboy and co. encounter is f…

The adventures of Pfanny Croft, Stream Wader

A week after the fact, but here's the report back on last weekend's Drakensberg adventures. A selection of pics is posted here; for access to the far more extensive photo gallery you have to be one of my Facebook friends.

Ah, yes, load shedding. You can’t even escape it these days when you go on vacation. Most of the Midlands area was out on Friday morning when we passed through it on our way to the Northern Drakensberg. This included the Shell Ultra Cities at Mooi River, with the result being drivers unable to refuel their vehicles, or, just as importantly, grab a good ol’ greasy Wimpy breakfast.

When we arrived at Royal Natal we discovered the power was out there as well. No point then in spending a bit more and getting a camp site with a plug point. (For the record, the power did come back on in the early evening and stayed on for the rest of the weekend).

Being rainy season in the Drakensberg, we had pretty mixed weather over the weekend. We sat huddled under our tent’s awnin…

Weekend rundown

Well, this was my last full weekend with the boyfriend before he heads overseas for work again. He's only supposed to be gone for 3 weeks this time, but overseas client demands always change things, so the absence could be for much longer. *sigh* We'll wait and see.

Anyway, as Paul will be away for Valentine's Day, and potentially our 4-and-half-year anniversary as well, we decided to treat ourselves to some good seafood and good service on Friday evening, going for dinner at New Fish Cafe. It's certainly not the cheapest restaurant in Durban but you have a fantastic view over the yacht moll and harbour, and the food is absolutely awesome - and completely customisable if you want: add a few prawns, substitute an extra piece of linefish for mussels, etc, etc.

The rest of the weekend was pretty chilled. Our plans for a beachfront swim or paddle fell through due to the weather on Saturday but we cooked quiche, baked tarts, watched The Simpsons Movie for the fourth time (whi…

Bond 22: Quantum of Solace

A press conference was held in Pinewood Studios yesterday to announce the title of the new Bond film, the 22nd in the series and the second starring Daniel Craig (after Casino Royale). The title is... Quantum of Solace.

Yup, if you thought Tomorrow Never Dies was the most nonsensical, stupid Bond title to date, it's just lost that "honour."

For the record, the title Quantum of Solace stems from a book of short stories written by James Bond creator Ian Fleming... so it isn't just a random title created late on Wedneday night by an overtired (or drugged up) marketing team.

Apparently Quantum of Solace also has to do with James Bond's emotionally desolate state at the end of Casino Royale, which motivates him to take revenge in this next series installment. From the BBC News article:

Craig said the cryptic title referenced how Bond's heart had been broken at the end of Casino Royale.

"Ian Fleming had written about relationships," he explained. "Whe…

100 books every child should read

This last week the UK's Telegraph newspaper put together a list of the top 100 books every child should read. The list is divided into 3 readership groups: Early Years, Middle Years, Early Teens.

It's a solid list despite some notable absences - where are Paddington Bear, What-A-Mess and the Mr Men series? - and bizarre inclusions (Roald Dahl's Danny, Champion of the World over Mathilda and Fantastic Mr Fox, and Beatrix Potter's Samuel Whiskers over her Peter Rabbit and Benjamin Bunny?). And, honestly, what teenager today is really going to read Great Expectations? We had to be forced to slog through it at University.

Anyway, if you want the little blurb descriptor for each book, click on each of the links above. Meanwhile, here's the full list:

Early years:

The Twits, by Roald Dahl
Burglar Bill, by Janet and Allan Ahlberg
The Tiger Who Came To Tea, by Judith Kerr
Where the Wild Things Are, by Maurice Sendak
The Tale of Samuel Whiskers, by Beatrix Potter
Yertle the Turtle,…

Goodbye Heath

Why do these things always happen in twos and threes? Last week the troubled but talented Brad Renfro (The Client, Apt Pupil) died of a heroin overdose at the age of 25. And now another gifted young actor is gone.

Heath Ledger is dead at the age of 28, apparently from a sleeping pill overdose.

This blog isn't about movie star gossip, but it is largely about movies. So to wake up to the news that one of the most versatile young performers in Hollywood is lost forever to cinema, is just devastating. Particularly when the performer is in your age bracket and you've watched their career evolve as you yourself have entered the working world, and attempted to make your mark.

Looking at Ledger's filmography on the IMDB, the interesting thing is just how many of his films I've seen, and throughly enjoyed:

10 Things I Hate About You
The Patriot
A Knight's Tale
Monster's Ball
Lords of Dogtown
The Brothers Grimm
Brokeback Mountain (Oscar nominated for this role)
and, of cou…

Trailer Tuesday: Teeth

Teeth made its award-winning debut at the Sundance Film Festival in January last year. However, it's taken a full year for it to land a limited cinema release in North America. And I have a suspicion it's going to be straight-to-DVD in South Africa.

This is really a pity because by the sound of things, Teeth injects some much needed originality into the horror genre.

Basically the film centres on high school student Dawn (Jess Weixler), who heads up the local chastity group and is remarkably naive about her body and sexuality. It's only once she is the victim of a sexual assault that she discovers her truly unique "gift" - she has teeth in her vagina. Teeth that reflexively bite off whatever is inserted. Cue the blurb that is consistently attached to Teeth: "The most alarming cautionary tale for men since Fatal Attraction."

Actually the film is frequently described by reviewers as a horror comedy, with a dark streak of satire running through the admittedl…

Unleash you inner bitchiness. It's Razzie time!

The nominees for the 28th Annual Razzie Awards have just been announced. For those of you who don't know, the Razzies are essentially the Anti-Oscars, "honouring" the year's worst films and performances. Previous notable "winners" include such disasters as Showgirls, Basic Instinct 2, Gigli and Catwoman.

Razzie nominations are announced the day before the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences unveils their prestigious list. Razzie winners are then revealed the day before Oscars' envelope-opening ceremony.

Leading the nominations this year are I Know Who Killed Me (9 nominations), I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry (8 nominations) and Norbit (8 nominations).

I had enough sense to stay away from most of these trainwrecks, so I can't comment on their quality from personal viewing experience. However, I honestly didn't think Norbit was that bad. The film was utterly forgettable and certainly offensive to the obese, but I laughed at it a lot mor…

Sarah Connor Chronicles a hit!

For those of you interested in my adventures in the Drakensberg this last weekend I'm afraid you'll have to wait a few days - holiday posts are rather lame without pics to accompany them and our digital camera was just one of things we forgot to pack this weekend. I'll only be getting my paws on the photos taken by a friend sometime later this week, so expect a report-back then.


Anyway, in terms of entertainment news, new action sci-fi TV series Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles debuted with a bang this last week in the United States. Granted the Writers' Strike means that competition for ratings is limited and television audiences are starved for new scripted series, but Terminator had an impressive debut, scoring the highest opening-night ratings of any new show in the past 3 years. It achieved 18.3 million viewers and was especially popular with audiences in the 18-49 age bracket.

Ain't It Cool News collected a number of reviews of the premiere back-to ba…

Help! I'm in a nutshell

I'll be erecting tents and scaling mountains in the Drakensberg on Friday, so here's tomorrow's post a little early, to introduce the weekend on a fun note.

I've already covered 2 cult comedies in the Most Quotable Movies feature: Zoolander and Monty Python and the Holy Grail.

I'd probably classify this third entry in the series as a cult comedy too, because although it lead to 2 massively successful sequels, the first movie was only really "discovered" by audiences when it reached video stores. In other words its release predated the mainstream leap onto the bandwagon, when suddenly we were inundated with horrible "Shagadelic", blobby font advertisements and our parents started gleefully using catch phrases like "Groovy, baby, yeah!"

I'm talking, of course, about Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery. Personally, I think it remains the best of the series.


Austin Powers: Th…

Deathly Hallows Part 1 and 2?

The latest Harry Potter movie rumour is that the last installment in the series, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows will actually be split over 2 movies to cover the incredible amount of content and resolution material of JK Rowling's final book.

The first publication to report this rumour was the UK's Daily Mail, right here.

Also being discussed is just who will direct Deathly Hallows. Names being flung about include Steven Spielberg, Guillermo Del Toro (Pan's Labyrinth) and the return of previous Potter helmsmen Alfonso Cuaron (Azkaban), David Yates (Phoenix, Prince) and Chris Columbus (Stone, Chamber). Personally I'd pick Yates again - the only British director on that list.

The Leaky Cauldron, my personal favourite HP website, has delved a little deeper into the rumour. At the moment a 2 part finale is being considered by Warner Brothers, but it is still far too early to say. In fact, screenwriter Steve Kloves, paralysed by the Writers' Strike, has yet to even …

Indy & Goku

Yes, I'm sure you never thought you'd see those 2 names alongside each other, but it's a slow day for brand spanking new movie news. So, anyway, 2 bits of info for today, related to 2 highly anticipated 2008 releases:

A few weeks on the stale side, but Vanity Fair magazine recently ran an exclusive First Look article on the upcoming Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, set for release on 22 May 2008.

The article is, of course, an interesting read, but more importantly it includes a number of never-before-seen pics of the cast and filmmakers, taken by legend Annie Leibovitz. This includes the first released pic of Cate Blanchett as sinister Soviet operative Agent Spalko. Check out the article here.


Meanwhile, I've been keeping an cautious eye on the live-action Dragonball Z film that is currently being filmed in Mexico. Lord Spaceman is devoting a lot more blog time to covering the film, and is the far bigger fan, but I did my fair share of DBZ viewing in…

Trailer Tuesday: Mamma Mia!

You know, deep down inside I must have been a stereotypical gay man in a previous life. Because movie musicals and ABBA still totally do it for me. Needless to say, having watched the trailer I'm extremely excited now for Mamma Mia!, a movie musical based on the hit West End production.

Now I know this blog's readership is heavily skewed towards young men, so chances are that nothing I can say will convince you to watch Mamma Mia!, this year's Hairspray (i.e. this year's irresistibly joyous musical). So this is specifically directed at all the ladies out there - when Mamma Mia! comes out grab your girlfriends, mom, gran and leave the straight boys at home because Mamma Mia looks to be a chick flick of the highest pedigree.

In case you haven't realised from the trailer, Mamma Mia! is NOT a biographical take on the band ABBA. Rather it is a "jukebox musical" that tells its own fictional story but features the music of ABBA as its score. We Will Rock You, whic…

Golden Globe winners

On a normal year, some very drunk stars would be dragging themselves home right now, with either a Golden Globe in hand or a half empty bottle of Jack Daniels. South African movie fans would be eagerly looking forward to tonight's delayed broadcast of the awards show on MNET.

However, due to the ongoing Writers' Strike, this is no normal year. This year's Golden Globe Awards were announced at an abrupt press conference, with the results as follows:


Film Categories

1) Drama: Atonement
2) Comedy or Musical: Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street
3) Actor, drama: Daniel Day-Lewis, There Will Be Blood
4) Actress, drama: Julie Christie, Away From Her
5) Actor, comedy or musical: Johnny Depp, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street
6) Actress in a comedy or musical: Marion Cotillard, La Vie En Rose
7) Animated film: Ratatouille
8) Foreign Language Film: The Diving Bell and The Butterfly
9) Supporting actor: Javier Bardem, No Country for Old Men
10) Supportin…

The weekend round-up

The weekend comprised of lots of gaming and watching of games. Of course I managed to get in a decent amount of World of WarCraft - Bestilla the orc hunter is now just 2 levels short of 40 (mount purchasing time, yay!), and Euridycce the undead warlock is sitting at Level 44.

I've been trying to be more aggressive, taking on whatever Alliance player characters (within my level range) I see. Basically it's revenge for all the times I've been "ganked", normally by 2 Alliance bastards at the same time, and normally while I'm busy fighting NPCs as part of a quest. But I guess I'm a bit too honourable, prefering not to sneak up on people, because my success has been limited. Then again, maybe my reflexes are too slow for PVP. Perhaps I should just roam around contested Level 20-30 areas, causing endless frustration by taking out lowbies.

Anyway, on Saturday I spent the whole day in the sun at the cricket. It was the deciding final test match between South Afric…