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Showing posts from March, 2008

The weekend warrior

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The bf was well on the road to recovery this weekend – I believe he’s back to work, at least for a while, today. However, we didn’t want to subject his body to Out & About physical strain so the weekend was pretty chilled, consisting of DVDs, home made burgers, baking chocolate squares and World of WarCraft questing.

In terms of DVD watching we returned to some blockbuster groundbreakers of the past 17 years or so – Terminator 2: Judgement Day and The Fellowship of the Ring.


Apart for some rather dodgy blue screen driving sequences, I’m pleased to report that T2’s “morphing liquid metal” ingenuity still holds up visually. I have to admit that I never understood why Skynet dumped the prototype T-1000 model – it always seemed so vastly superior to the Terminatrix of Terminator 3. Anyway, as an added bonus, the DVD we watched featured both the theatrical release and Director’s Cut of the movie, incorporating 16 minutes of extra footage. Not bad special features for an Arnie 2-movies-…

Top 3… First Person Shooters

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Admittedly FPS (First Person Shooters) is not my favourite gaming genre, but every now and then I like to submerge myself in its frantic action. And, really, there is nothing better to play at a LAN than a FPS. Unlike RTS (Real Time Strategy), which stings when your carefully crafted army lies decimated on the screen, defeat at FPS isn’t nearly as painful. You die, you respawn, and keep on going.


I’ll confess right now that even though I started PC gaming with Rise of the Triad and Heretic there are plenty of FPS, old and new, that I haven’t played – even though I have watched others playing them. I’m sure titles like Bioshock, Half-Life 1 and 2 (I finished the classic first game), Halo, Gears of War (I gave up with the console version VERY quickly), Duke Nukem 3D, Quake, Wolfenstein 3D, Counter-Strike, Alien Vs Predator, Doom, Prey, the Unreal Tournament series, Medal of Honour, Delta Force, Far Cry, Crysis, Joint Operations, Call of Duty 4, Daikatana (just kidding ;)) and many, many…

All of you look here; say "cheese"...

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OK, today is very much an pic-saturated entertainment post...


First up, here's a new released still from the 6th Harry Potter movie, AKA Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. In this thrilling image, Harry shows Ron and Hermione an aged Potions textbook initialled by someone who calls themself The Half-Blood Prince. And so the central mystery of this particular storyline is set in motion...

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince opens in less than 8 months' time - on 21st November. Check out more images from the film, as well as a very atmospheric teaser poster, here at Movieweb.


Debuting in August 2009 is G.I. Joe, a live-action take on the action-packed, military themed 80's cartoon. I used to watch the show but my memory of the different characters is very blurred (I was always more of a Thundercats and He-Man fan). Anyway, here is the first pic of one of the good guys, Snake Eyes, the "world's greatest ninja." (Click the link for another pic). Snake Eyes i…

In the Pond Version 2.0

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In The Pond is my favourite, longest online forum hangout.

The reason I'm bringing it up here now is chiefly because the forum has changed servers, leaving many Pondies homeless. I had to do a little detective work this morning to find The Pond's new home, which I've linked to above, and in my Links bar. Hopefully it will direct some of the frog spawn to the new URL.


Anyway, this is also an opportunity to invite new people, via this blog, to The Pond. There's nothing worse than a stagnating pool of muddy water - we need new members to add to the diversity of the fragile eco-system if it is to survive. So please hop on in.

You'll find a smallish group of twenty- to thirty-something South Africans who enjoy everything from video games to movies to cross-stitch to wine to political discussions, and much much more.

We cover the nation, from Jozi to Durban, from Bloem to Cape Town. And there are 1 or 2 Saffers posting from European bases as well. In terms of what we do, th…

Juno

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A comedy-drama centred on teen pregnancy doesn’t sound like your typical highbrow Oscar bait.

However, the Academy, and many other awards bodies and critics groups, have dished out plenty of love for Juno. 21 year old actress Ellen Page received an Academy Award nomination for her performance as the title character, Juno was nominated for Best Film and Best Director, and the film scooped the Best Original Screenplay award.

Still, you always have to approach these highly acclaimed sorts of film with caution, given how overrated they can become as every critic jumps on the praise bandwagon.

I’m happy to report that Juno is not a disappointment. However, audiences do need to be aware from the outset that Juno in NOT another Knocked Up. If you walk into the cinema expecting a laugh-out-loud comedy with plenty of sexually explicit dialogue, you will be let down.


Juno is a thoughtful little film, with plenty of emotional bite and a sweet romance thrown in for good measure. If you find the topi…

Trailer Tuesday: Tropic Thunder

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Admittedly, this one completely slipped under my radar until some weeks back, when the first image was revealed of Robert Downey Jnr, in incredibly convincing make-up, as a black soldier. Well, actually Downey Jnr is playing an intense, multi-award winning white actor who is so dedicated to his craft that he undergoes plastic surgery to literally transform himself into a black man for his next role...


Yeah, that description just about perfectly sets the tone for Tropic Thunder, which is being described as follows:

In the action-comedy "Tropic Thunder," Ben Stiller plays pampered action superstar Tugg Speedman, who is cast in the biggest, most expensive war movie ever produced.

He sets out to Southeast Asia with a "Who's Who" of celebrity co-stars. They include Kirk Lazarus (Robert Downey Jr.), an intense, three-time Oscar-winning actor; Jeff Portnoy (Jack Black), star of the popular gross-out comedy franchise "The Fatties"; multi-platinum hiphop-star-t…

Easter and MMORPGs

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Tomorrow, Friday, and Monday are public holidays in South Africa, so I'm taking the opportunity now to wish all my blog readers a very Happy Easter. Have a great break, eat lots of chocolate and marshmallow eggs, keep safe - just don't drink and drive please.


I've got a few activities planned for the long weekend - a birthday party, baby shower and going to watch Juno probably. My car is also in desperate need of some cleaning and polishing TLC. Otherwise I'll just be using the time to relax, sleep, work on some of my creative side projects and play some World of WarCraft.

I'm still pretty bummed that I missed out on this year's CokeFest. I left things too late, so that once I got my act together, I just couldn't co-ordinate tickets AND flights. When I could get a flight, tickets were gone. When I had the option to buy an unwanted ticket, flights had either vanished or tripled in price. So that was the end of that:( Once again I've paid the price for my h…

Harry P & Cheri

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Hmmm, not much exciting going on in terms of movie news today... so we'll have to backtrack a bit...

Last week the rumours were confirmed - Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, the seventh and final installment in JK Rowling's fantasy series, will be split into 2 movies, for release in November 2010 and May 2011. Order of the Phoenix's David Yates (who is also behind the camera for the currently shooting Half-Blood Prince) will be directing the 2 parts. Here's the Los Angeles Times article on the unusual, if not suprising, move.

As Mr Potter himself, Daniel Radcliffe explains in the article:

"I think it's the only way you can do it, without cutting out a huge portion of the book," Radcliffe said. "There have been compartmentalized subplots in the other books that have made them easier to cut -- although those cuts were still to the horror of some fans -- but the seventh book doesn't really have any subplots. It's one driving, pounding story fro…

Trailer Tuesday: The Incredible Hulk

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Most of you superhero junkies with an Internet addiction have probably already seen the trailer for The Incredible Hulk, which debuted online last week.

Frankly, I'm rather indifferent. Iron Man and The Dark Knight (hell, even Spider-Man 3) raised the bar for superhero movie trailers, highlighting a cynical sense of humour, complex psychological darkness and exciting action respectively. By comparison, The Incredible Hulk seems to be just going through the motions, making sure we know who the cast is (Edward Norton replacing Eric Bana as Bruce Banner, Liv Tyler replacing Jennifer Connelly as Betty Ross, and William Hurt replacing Sam Elliott as General Ross) and laying out the plot step by step.


Admittedly, it's the generic plot summary that is annoying me the most: Bruce Banner has a problem with his big green alter ego. Bruce Banner seeks help from friends to eliminate the Hulk forever. Bruce Banner is pursued by the military. Bruce Banner is caught by the military. An evil en…

Baby, baby…

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Not too much to report back on this weekend. On Friday evening and Sunday afternoon I played a decent amount of World of WarCraft, taking my Warlock to Level 58 and getting my Hunter to Level 44, having accompanied friends through the Scarlet Monastery dungeon for the first time. Kitted out in mail and dark leather, Bestilla the Hunter looks quite cool. I must remember to post a pic here sometime.

Anyway, you know you’re getting older when the hen’s parties and kitchen teas are suddenly replaced with baby showers. I went to one this weekend and I have another lined up for the Public Holiday Monday coming up. Sitting in the room with a bunch of women (many with babies and toddlers in tow) all giggling and “ahhing” over a tiny little outfit, I honestly feel so out of place.


Not that I have any problem with the idea of having a child one day, but the thought of it in the next few years is just too utterly terrifying. I mean, kiss your life as you know it goodbye forever. And watch yoursel…

Top 3… First 3!

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Time for a slightly different spin this time on the new gaming-related feature, Top 3. Instead of ranking games in terms of my personal preference, here are the first games that Destiny chose to throw my way for the various gaming platforms.

1) First game on the Atari 2600

Believe it or not, the first video game I EVER played, the title that took my gaming virginity, was a sports game. And not just any sports game. Bowling! I feel so dirty, so full of shame... My parents had accumulated a nice selection of cartridge games over the years before my birth, but for whatever reason they thought Bowling was the best title with which to introduce a 4 year old to gaming (back in 1986/1987).


My other faves on the Atari 2600 console: Pitfall, Missile Command, River Raid, Super Breakout, Space Invaders and Warlords (4 player multiplayer, baby!). By the way, our Atari 2600 still works – I guess they don’t make consoles like they used to.


2) First game on the NES

Making the leap to late 1980s Arcade …

No Country For Old Men

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No Country For Old Men is this year’s big Academy Award winner, scooping Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Supporting Actor (for Javier Bardem), Best Director (for the Coen brothers) and the biggie, Best Film.

Still, you never can tell with the Academy, and the assorted critics associations. Although admittedly not often, they can throw their support behind some highly flawed films – leaving ordinary movie goers disappointed when they’re lured into cinemas by the praise. Scorsese’s over-rated, dull The Aviator springs to mind.


No Country For Old Men, fortunately, is a very good film. However, I certainly wouldn’t classify it as the best film of the year, as many awards groups would let you believe.

The film offers an unusually quiet, contemplative, and, dare I say, consciously arty approach to the Thriller genre. The film’s plot centres on a reticent Vietnam veteran, Llewellyn Moss (Josh Brolin), who stumbles across a botched drug deal in rural Texas and decides to take the $2 million he fin…

Movies and game movies

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First up, here’s the poster for Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. I love the fact that it’s keeping with the illustrative style used for all the other Indy posters. Very retro.


Speaking of Indy, apart from a whole bunch of Indiana Jones Lego, an Indiana Jones Lego video game, action figures and all kinds of other merchandise, there's also going to be a neat Indiana Jones version of Monopoly released (following in the steps of Lord of the Rings, Spider-Man and Star Wars Monopoly), complete with wooden crate-like box. This said, it would appear images of the game have been removed from the site where it first appeared, Throw Me The Idol.com, as well as pulled from assorted other Indy and boardgame sites. Ho hum...


Meanwhile, the Max Payne movie has its sultry brunette assassin – That 70’s Show’s Mila Kunis will presumably be playing Mona Sax. I say “presumably”, because while this Variety article doesn’t mention Kunis’s character name, the description sounds exactly …

Trailer Tuesday: Iron Man & Wanted double-up

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Well, both Iron Man and Wanted have both been featured on Trailer Tuesday before. However, over the past 2 weeks new, final trailers have been released for both blockbusters.


Of the 2 films, I'm definitely more excited for Iron Man. I was concerned after watching the first trailer that Robert Downey Jr's Tony Stark would become an over-serious bore after his life-changing kidnap experience. This new trailer confirms that the billionaire weapons designer survives with his cockiness and sense of humour intact. Good stuff. Iron Man opens in early May in North America. No clue yet of the South African release date.




My enthusiasm for Wanted is somewhat more tempered. Sure it has James McAvoy and Angelina Jolie in the lead roles, which is a major plus. However, the film looks a little overburdened with over-the-top gun battles and crazy car stunts... and my tolerance for Matrix-esque movies has dropped dramatically in recent years.

And unless the trailer is deliberately keeping mum on…

I need another weekend

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Not that I didn’t have a break this weekend but the 2 days just seemed to pass in the blink of an eye. I’m so glad there’s a long weekend coming up in 2 weeks’ time, even if it’s already pretty packed with activities...

Friday evening was spent gorging on braai meat and potato salad, followed by maybe 30 minutes of World of WarCraft, which was about all the gaming I accomplished the whole weekend. I can practically taste Level 58, I’m so close! Pity a warlock quest with really nice rewards means I have to gather together a group for the Sunken Temple dungeon. Ho hum…

Saturday
Most of Saturday was spent making the trek inland to and from Nottingham Road. In the process I got to read The Goon graphic novel Chinatown and the Mystery of Mr Wicker, by Eric Powell. I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone who hasn’t read The Goon series of comics (or the collected trade paperbacks from Dark Horse) because Chinatown fills in probably THEE vital piece of Goon backstory, without bothering to reintrodu…

Watchmen character pics

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Ah, what a fantastic start to Friday. Get up nice and early, plan to just beat the morning rush… and discover your 2 week old, R300+ front tyre is flat. The only good thing is that it didn’t decide to blow last night while I was driving up or down the death magnet that is Field’s Hill, otherwise they’d be pouring me out of a body bag into a coffin right about now.

Thing is, I’m not sure if the flat tyre is the result of bad construction, or from hitting one of the many holes in our local roads. The damage could easily have been inflicted when I drove past a burst water pipe last night. Flowing dirty water is an excellent form of camouflage for potholes and ragged curbs.

To top it all I pull in at the petrol station this morning to put air in the spare tyre… and learn that their compressor is broken. Whoo hoo, gotta love South Africa, land of broken everything.

Anyway, on a less frustrating note, I was very excited yesterday when the first images of the Watchmen cast, in their superhero o…

Bits 'n pieces of news

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Well, assorted bits and pieces of entertainment news have surfaced online over the last few days. Here goes...

Quick, before they're ordered off the Internet by Disney, you can check out some fantastic new images and concept art from The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspianhere at Spoiler TV. See battle scenes, the Pevensie children in their war gear, dashing Prince Caspian, evil King Miraz, centaurs, minotaurs and Trumpkin the Dwarf. Prince Caspian is set for release on 16 May.


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The kinda anticipated Dragonball movie has been postponed from a 15 August 2008 release, to April next year. No real surprises there considering they're still apparently in the principal photography stage. I'm actually curious about this one, and whether they'll be able to resist the temptation to kiddiefy Dragonball to the point where it resembles The Power Rangers.

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In what is perhaps the dumbest and most anger inducing of the recent remake announcements, it seems that