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Showing posts from April, 2008

It's official - a hobbit director for The Hobbit

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Another plumpish, bearded, curly haired, spectacles-wearing director - with a ton of geek street cred - is tackling the Tolkien universe.

Spain's Guillermo del Toro, the man behind the Hellboy movies, Blade II and, most importantly, Pan's Labyrinth, has finally been officially announced as the director of The Hobbit.


Split into 2 films, to cover the Hobbit storyline and events that fill the 50-60 year gap between the events of this tale and the beginning of The Fellowship of the Ring, The Hobbit is being produced by LOTR director Peter Jackson and his producer-screenwriter partner Fran Walsh.

In attempting to keep a strong sense of continuity between The Hobbit and the LOTR trilogy, The Hobbit will be filmed in New Zealand, and involve the considerable talents of many people involved in the LOTR movies. That includes the WETA and Wingnut Films teams, the same concept, make-up and special effects artists, as well as composer Howard Shore. You can also expect Ian McKellan, Andy Se…

Tomorrow!

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Iron Man opens in South Africa tomorrow, Thursday, 1 May - surprisingly a full day before the North American release.

Despite the fact that tomorrow is a public holiday, I won't be sleeping in. Instead I'll be at the 9:15am first screening of the day. And this from someone who has never even liked the Iron Man comics... but is desperately craving a classy antidote to the whininess and forced angst of the Spider-Man series. Despite steering clear of all early reviews, I'm 99% sure Iron Man will deliver!

Happy 50th birthday, Michelle!

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Look, I know I didn't go and watch I Could Never Be Your Woman at the cinema, but that doesn't mean that I can't do the right thing as a pfan and wish my favourite leading lady a very happy birthday.

Can you believe this woman is 50 today?

Trailer Tuesday: Quarantine

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Coming out this October is Quarantine, a horror thriller based on the (apparently) terrifying Spanish film REC. (Watch the REC trailer here).

Of course, mainstream American cinema audiences – just like South Africans – can’t handle foreign language movies, so despite the fact that the highly acclaimed REC debuted in its home country just 5 months ago, on 23 November 2007, and has yet to be released States side, it’s already received remake treatment.


In Quarantine, Jennifer Carpenter (The Exorcism of Emily Rose, Dexter) plays an ambitious young television journalist who, accompanied by her cameraman, follows a crew of firemen on a routine rescue mission to a Los Angeles apartment block. Inside the building, the crew discover that residents have been infected with a highly contagious virus. Now trapped, the firemen and reporters have to survive as best they can, while keeping the camera rolling.

Granted the film’s concept isn’t that original - 28 Days Later and Resident Evil have alrea…

Entertainment bits for Friday: Caspian, Batman and Joe

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Some images, moving and still, for this Friday morning, to kick off the weekend on a good note.

First up, here's the new trailer for The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe sequel, The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian, which is due out next month in the States and on 6 June in South Africa.



The emphasis in this trailer is squarely on action - no doubt to appeal to older males who were so dismissive of the first film as a boring family film.

I was definitely NOT one of those viewers.

I'm a firm believer that Narnia is not Middle Earth and should not be treated as such. So, watching this new trailer, I am a tad concerned about the close resemblance to The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King - oh, look, trebuchets hurling rocks at a castle under siege!

However, the more I think about it, the more the imagery grows on me. Out of all of CS Lewis's Narnia Chronicles, Prince Caspian (next to The Last Battle) IS the most war focused. If Disney and Walden Media keep on making Narni…

Disney's animation slate

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I love animated movies. Granted the 1980s were a dark time for animation, with only The Secret of NIMH, The Fox and the Hound, An American Tail, The Land Before Time and Basil: The Great Mouse Detective sustaining me until Disney refound its groove and unleashed the awesome foursome of The Little Mermaid, Beauty & The Beast, Aladdin and The Lion King on audiences.

Well into my teens I flirted with the idea of becoming an animator. So naturally I pay attention when Disney, the studio that started it all - elevating animation into a serious, acclaimed art form - holds a press conference to announce their upcoming projects for the next 4 years - many of which will be in 3D (a gimmick I personally have yet to warm towards).

Anyway, I'm especially keen to see how Disney's one sole return to the 2-D animated musical, The Princess and the Frog, turns out. Otherwise, as one of the few people who seemed to enjoy Cars, I'm excited for its sequel. Although, naturally, I would be fa…

Wacky Wednesday

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Well, the Wednesday update on this blog looks like it’s going to be changing for a while. Due to load shedding (fuck you, Eskom!), we have to make up the lost work hours by either:

A) Coming into the office at 6am, so that people can go home when the electricity is cut at 2pm.
B) Coming in at normal time, but remaining in the office during the 2 hour power outage, to carry on working on a laptop.

Because I pretty much have to wait in Durban until till 5pm for Jiu-Jitsu class anyway, I’m taking Option B. But that does mean I can’t exactly come in here and leisurely write up a blog post when my co-workers are already slaving away.

So… until the load shedding schedule changes again, Wednesday will be a “Funnies” day, comprising some images or articles or jokes that have amused me recently.

To start off with, here’s something from the frequently very funny, frequently very arb, Married to the Sea:


It's damn funny, but I also think this is a very real "problem" as pop culture addi…

Trailer Tuesday: The Spirit

Speak of the devil... er... Spirit. Yeah, it was only last week that I commented on this comic book adaptation, written and directed by Frank Miller, based on the classic Will Eisner comic series.

Honestly, watching this teaser trailer, my initial opinion hasn't changed much. The Spirit film clearly isn't as gritty or intense as Miller's 300 and Sin City film adaptations - this is understandable, considering Eisner's groundbreaking hybrid source material, which supposedly mixed crime drama, film noir, lighthearted adventure, mystery, horror, comedy and romance. (I say "supposedly" because I'm largely unfamiliar with The Spirit series).

Anyway, returning to the trailer, the film makers clearly aren't doing much to distance themselves from the hyper-stylisation of Sin City and 300 - which is a bit concerning if they don't want to be seen as derivative. There's the black, white and red colour pallet of Sin City; the swirling cloaks, the stark urba…

Weekend report back

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For those of you who are actually interested in what pop culture I consumed this last weekend, as well as what I generally got up to, here’s the summary:

World of WarCraft: As usual, I played a good deal of this on Friday evening, Saturday afternoon and Sunday afternoon, running around with the characters of real life friends. My Hunter is now Level 55, has just completed the Sunken Temple dungeon, and about to specialise her leatherworking profession, going down the Elemental Leatherworking route. I hate killing Elementals but the gear I will eventually be able to make is worth this specific grind.

Boardgames: Following a braai on Saturday evening we decided to play something other than Settlers of Cataan and tackled the WarCraft strategy boardgame instead (please note, this is not the *ahem* R800 World of WarCraft boardgame). WarCraft plays almost exactly like the computer game RTS, but in its way is even more strategic as you unleash ranged, aerial and melee units into and out of co…

Rambo

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Writer-director Sylvester Stallone’s new Rambo film is an unusual combination of over the top 80’s action (think Commando) and realistic commentary on Third World political upheaval (think Blood Diamond). This makes for a very strange cinematic experience, where on the one hand you want to cheer on the carnage, and on the other you find it all rather uncomfortable and off-putting.

For example, the film opens with a prologue on the political situation in Burma, complete with authentic newsroom footage of bloated corpses and decapitated bodies. This is promptly followed by an introduction to the film’s villains, the Burmese military, who are almost cartoonish in their villainy. They’re everything that conservative America fears, as they go about slaughtering Christians, raping women, bayoneting toddlers and indulging in a nasty game involving terrified peasants, a rice paddy and land mines. There’s even a bit of homosexuality thrown in for good measure.


With the exception of the suggest…

Bits & pieces for Friday

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Got into the office a little late thanks to our good friends at Eskom (fuckers!)... so this update will be a tad on the brief side today. Anyway, here are some pics for your enjoyment:

First up, here's the new poster for The Incredible Hulk. You can read my thoughts on the trailer here, but so far the whole project looks more like a case of The Generic Hulk. Bring on Iron Man instead! For the record, The Incredible Hulk opens in South Africa on 13 June.


You can also check out some new pics and a character guide from The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian right here at the Moviefone website. If that's not enough for you, you can also find even more pics at the NarniaWeb site. Apparently Lewis's heroic mouse Reepicheep was the inspiration for Shrek's Puss in Boots, so he should be an especially cute character. Prince Caspian opens locally on 6 June.


Oh, and here's the first image of GI Joe's fiery redhed ops agent, Scarlett (played by Rachel Nichols). Chicks in ca…

The Spirit

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I'll admit that I'm not too familiar with The Spirit, a Golden Age noirish comic book from the legendary Will Eisner - I often confuse the series with The Spectre. As it turns out another comic book legend, Frank Miller has chosen The Spirit as his first proper film project (he directed some portions of 2005's Sin City, based on his own graphic novel series).

Adapted from the legendary comic strip, THE SPIRIT is a classic action-adventure-romance told by genre-twister FRANK MILLER (creator of 300 and SIN CITY). It is the story of a former rookie cop who returns mysteriously from the dead as the SPIRIT (Gabriel Macht) to fight crime from the shadows of Central City. His arch-enemy, the OCTOPUS (Samuel L. Jackson) has a different mission: he's going to wipe out Spirit's beloved city as he pursues his own version of immortality. The Spirit tracks this cold-hearted killer from Central City's rundown warehouses, to the damp catacombs, to the windswept waterfront ... …

Perhaps a Brokeback prince...

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Right, well, the news broke last week that Jake Gyllenhaal is being courted to star as the Prince (Dastan (?)) in the live-action Prince of Persia: Sands of Time film, based on the critically acclaimed video game.

Granted Gyllenhaal's involvement is still at the rumour stage, but I couldn't be happier about it - as well as the related news that Orlando Bloom has passed on the project. Yes!

Bloom would have been such an uninspired choice for the role. As a hero he really has no personality whatsoever - as the Lord of the Rings and Pirates of the Caribbean movies have proved. Gyllenhaal, by comparison, often presents a slightly cocky but loveable side in his performances, and that's a vital quality if he's to play the Prince. Plus, he was almost Spider-Man (apparently), so you know he can pull off the Prince's acrobatic, sword-fighting physicality as he strives to undo the chaos caused by the evil, terminally ill Vizier. I really hope his casting happens.


Just to keep y…

Fun for Tuesday

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I'm just having a bit of a funky Tuesday morning, weighed down by load shedding and general life frustrations, tired of waiting, living in limbo but also scared of moving forward and making dramatic changes. If you are in a similar mood, perhaps this will cheer you up?




Trailer Tuesday: Hancock

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I’ve always thought that if superheroes were real, that they’d be like Ozymandias in Watchmen or Greg Kinnear’s Captain Amazing in Mystery Men – cashing in on their name, launching a line of action figures, and running around with logos (from their various corporate sponsors) slapped all over their costume.

Will Smith’s new action-comedy-drama Hancock has a different take on the issue.

There are heroes, there are superheroes, and then there’s Hancock (Will Smith). With great power comes great responsibility - everyone knows that - everyone, that is, but Hancock. Edgy, conflicted, sarcastic, and misunderstood, Hancock’s well-intentioned heroics might get the job done and save countless lives, but always seem to leave jaw-dropping damage in their wake. The public has finally had enough - as grateful as they are to have their local hero, the good citizens of Los Angeles are wondering what they ever did to deserve this guy.

Hancock isn’t the kind of man who cares what other people think - u…

The Weekly Report Back

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This last weekend just seemed to fly by and I’m sitting here now at my desk with a major sleep deficit. *Yawn* Tonight is definitely going to be capped with an early evening, especially since I’m sure our work function tomorrow evening is going to be a semi-wild, boozy affair.

Anyway, I played a lot of World of WarCraft this weekend, largely teaming up with real life friends for some dungeoneering, helping them out with quests and collecting resources for the big money-spinners of my leatherworking profession. We managed to all go up quite a few levels in the process.

Otherwise, on Saturday afternoon I met up with friends at trendy Durban hangout, Bean Bag Bohemia for a pleasant lunch – even though the service was pretty slack and I’m sure we were billed for a few extra drinks that we didn’t receive. It was good seeing most of the Durbs crowd though, as well as an online forum buddy down from Johannesburg. Long tables of people suck though – there inevitably are friends you end up negle…

Most Quotable Movies: Forrest Gump

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Some fun for Friday…

I actually completely forgot about this one, which is strange because even in our office it’s one of those rare movies which everyone can quote back and forth.

I know a lot of film fanatics will always be prejudiced against Forrest Gump, given how this unashamed, often quite corny crowd pleaser trumped the ultra-hip Pulp Fiction at the Academy Awards that year. However, 14 years have passed since Forrest Gump’s release and time has mellowed people’s reactions to some of the Diabetes-inducing, greeting card-style quotes the movie spawned. You no longer automatically vomit a little bit when someone begins, “Life is like a box of chocolates…”


Please bear in mind that to maximise enjoyment of these quotes you need to adopt Tom Hanks’ Southern sing-song idiot accent from the movie.

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Forrest Gump: My momma always said, "Life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you're gonna get."

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Forrest Gump: Stupid is…