Showing posts from June, 2008

Full stomach, empty fuel tank

The weekend seemed to be filled with driving and junk food. Driving in that we had a lot of picking up and dropping off of people to do that related to our activities. And junk food because we seemed to eat a lot of rubbish this weekend – not exactly the kind of fuel I really wanted to be giving my body one week before my BJJ tournament next weekend.

Anyway, Friday was the bf’s birthday and after doing the presents and cake thing in the morning, we celebrated in the evening by going to movies – to see Kung Fu Panda. As always, you can expect my full review up here shortly, but the crib notes version is that the film is very enjoyable, even if it feels incredibly short. The film’s major selling point is its impressive action sequences, probably the most thrilling in an animated film since Pixar’s The Incredibles.

After the movie I stumbled across the Nelson Mandela birthday concert on TV. I don’t know what it is about these annual star-studded events, but they are always so incredibly …

Today, South Africa!

Everybody is gonna be kung fu fighting... The big movie release of the weekend is Dreamworks' latest animated film, Kung Fu Panda. Just in time for South African school holidays!

And apparently it's actually a pretty awesome little movie, much better than some of Dreamworks other more recent efforts (*cough* Madagascar, Shrek 3). Kung Fu Panda is currently sitting on 88% on Rotten Tomatoes and the general consensus seems to be that while the film is pretty derivative, storywise, it's a lot of fun, the action sequences are cleverly choreographed and exciting, and the overall package is a much more satisfying homage to martial arts movies than Jackie Chan and Jet Li's Forbidden Kingdom.

I'm hoping that Kung Fu Panda is Dreamworks' best animated film since Over the Hedge.


On a totally unrelated note, fuck you Debonairs Pizza! Not only are your online menus and prices hopelessly out of date, giving buyers a price shock when they order your overpriced pr…

Blog this! ... and some new movie posters

Well, that's a nice surprise in my mail box first thing this morning... It turns out that one of the editors at came across my blog and reviewed it.

Pfangirl Through the Looking Glass received a score of 8.4 out of 10. This score was based on the following criteria: Frequency of Updates, Relevance of Content, Site Design, and Writing Style.

I'm pretty chuffed about the achievement.

Anyway, I have the feeling today is going to be a very long day. It hasn't helped that I've been up since 5:20, making a chocolate cake in preparation for the bf's birthday tomorrow (mmmm... cake mixture, the breakfast of champions!).

The bf doesn't come here often so I don't mind posting his presents here - the RoboCop and RoboCop 2 DVDs (relating to a bet we once had) and the book The Alphabet of Manliness by love-him-or-hate-him Internet personality Maddox.

Included in the same order for myself were the LEGO Indiana Jones: The Original Adventures video ga…

The Happening

The Happening is the latest from M. Night Shyamalan, writer-director of such excellent supernatural-tinged thrillers as The Sixth Sense and Signs, and the less than excellent Lady in the Water and The Village.

It needs to be said upfront that Shyamalan’s work divides audiences, so it’s likely you’ll have to see The Happening and make up your mind for yourself. I know people who have loved the film and others who have hated it. Personally, I didn’t find The Happening appalling but it’s still a very mediocre movie.

Without spoiling the plot, The Happening focuses on a catastrophic “Event” that strikes the American East Coast. Wherever it hits, people die… in some very strange ways. Fleeing inland from this menace is good guy Science teacher Elliot Moore (Mark Wahlberg), his aloof wife Alma (Zooey Deschanel), good friend and fellow teacher Julian (John Leguizamo) and Julian’s young daughter Jess (Ashlyn Sanchez).

When you strip away the unusual premise, The Happening is pretty much a deriva…

For the Horde!

It's taken us pretty much a full year, but our World of WarCraft guild is finally up and running.

If you have a Horde character on the Burning Steppes server (European region), you are welcome to join Castle Drekmore - named, of course, after the impressive looking base used by the Gummi Bears' arch nemesis, Duke Igthorn, his sidekick Toadie and the other idiot ogres.

To join the guild just whisper Owik, Bestilla (that's me!) or Rygnk, and don't forget to say that Pfangirl sent you.

For the Horde!

Trailer Tuesday: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

OK, let's take a break from superheroes, explosions, animated characters and big Summer blockbusters in general. Here's something that we have to look forward to over the Christmas period: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.

All I can say is "Wow." How gloriously unusual and beautiful does this film look - a 20th Century fairy tale centred on love, life and the effect of ageing on them both? Plus, I was a complete sucker for Legends of the Fall and Meet Joe Black so Brad Pitt returning to the tragic romance sub-genre always works for me.

Benjamin Button reteams Brad Pitt for the third time with visionary director David Fincher (Se7en, The Game, Fight Club, Panic Room, Zodiac). And if that wasn't enough, Cate Blanchett and Tilda Swinton, two of the finest actresses working today, also boost the star package.

Here's the film's plot synopsis:

"I was born under unusual circumstances." And so begins "Benjamin Button," adapted from the classic…

Weekend recap

Well, the weekend just seemed to fly by – it was way too short.

In terms of pop culture consumption over the past 2 or so days, I revisited episodes of the excellent Family Guy Season 3, and finished the Firefly TV series. Now I really need to seek out the wrap-up Serenity film and then return to where I left off with Season 1 of Heroes last year.

I didn’t manage to catch Speed Racer at the cinema this weekend. I learnt on Friday that it’s showing at the local IMAX, and the more I think about it the more keen I am to watch it on the “real” big screen, transforming a colourful family film into a genuine movie “experience.”

Unfortunately I also learnt at the same time that I can’t use my free IMAX ticket (from my East Coast Radio Big Walk goodie bag) for the film. Although the ticket has no restrictions written on it – not even a “Terms & Conditions apply” – a phone call to the Gateway IMAX informed me that I can only use it for 2 of 4 films currently screening there. Typical South Af…

Today, South Africa!

Alright, I know Speed Racer completely disappointed in the US, and that it has absolutely no nostalgia value to South African viewers. However, I'm still keen to see this heavily-CGIed, live-action cartoon sometime soon. It's from the Wachowski brothers after all.

I just hope 2 things:

1) That the visuals aren't so overwhelming and confusing that you actually can't make out what is happening.

2) That I don't have a seizure from the swirling bright colours.


An Update on The Spirit

I blogged a short while ago about noirish comic book adaptation, Will Eisner's The Spirit, written and directed by fellow comic book legend (albeit still living), Frank Miller.

Since then there have been a few other tidbits of information released online about the film, which, like the Golden Age comic, centres on a rookie cop who returns from the dead as masked hero The Spirit - to fight Central City crimelord, the Octopus and contend with an assortment of beautiful women who either want to love or kill him.

Gabriel Macht, Samuel L. Jackson, Scarlett Johansson, Eva Mendes and Jamie King star.

Anyway, here are some new posters of Eva Mendes and Scarlett Johansson as the oh-so fantastically named Sand Saref and Silken Floss respectively.

More importantly, after the debut of the film's trailer in April, which I also commented on, Frank Miller was quick to reassure fans on the official The Spirit blog that the film will not be a Sin City clone:

And THE SPIRIT as some sort of SIN CITY …

The Incredible Hulk

Forget Ang Lee’s 2003 film version of Hulk. Five years on, Louis Leterrier’s The Incredible Hulk is a complete reboot of the movie series that centres on one of Marvel’s most iconic superheroes.

Ignoring events from Hulk, The Incredible Hulk kicks off several years after scientist Bruce Banner first fled from the US military, and began his desperate quest to rid himself of his monstrous alter ego.

It’s in these early scenes that Edward Norton (replacing Hulk’s Eric Bana) really shines as the long suffering, physically unassuming Banner. This time the audience receives a strong impression of what it’s like to live with a vicious beast in your blood and bones. Norton’s Banner exists in a permanent state of anxiety about his body, closely monitoring his heart rate, shying from meaningful human contact and avoiding conflict at all costs, even if it offends his moral code.

Viewers are encouraged to truly feel for Banner, especially post-transformation where he typically is reduced to beggin…

Cry, the God forsaken country

Great news this morning for South African online shoppers! We've been blacklisted by God knows what this means for those of us who use local e-tailers like Take2 and I always assumed their American goods came via but perhaps they have a private arrangement with Amazon and co. that lets them avoid the South African post office. Does anyone know? Or should we consumers brace ourselves for the fact that import books, DVDs and games will now be insanely expensive as opposed to real bargains?

Source: Business Day

Amazon halts SA Post Office deliveries
By Lesley Stones

RAMPANT theft by Post Office workers has infuriated the internet retailing giant Amazon so much that it will no longer send goods to SA by post.

Anyone wanting to order directly from the US-based website must now pay for a private courier service — adding about R420 to the price of a DVD.

SA’s postal status makes the country the pariah of Africa, since no other country has had postal deli…

Hollywood is creatively bankrupt

The remake... the reboot... they're all the rage in Hollywood at the moment, as studios cotton on to the fact that they can make money off existing groups of hardcore fans and feed off their hype instead of attempting anything "new" from scratch. And it looks like the 1980s is currently the decade of choice for cinematic grave robbing.

Here's what we can expect in the coming few years (Please note that this list is far from exhaustive - it's merely what I've stumbled across over the past few months):


RoboCop - "Part man. Part machine. All cop." Coming in 2010, this project is either going to be a reboot, or *gasp* yet another sequel. Whatever it is, this teaser poster, which debuted at The Licensing International Expo 2008 in New York, looks fricken cheap.


Highlander - "There can be only one". Penned by the co-writers of Iron Man. According to the Hollywood Report…

RIP Stan Winston 1946 – 2008

It's always a bit of a shock when you get into work, head online and discover that an iconic film figure has died. The name Stan Winston may not mean much to the average filmgoer, but many of the greatest blockbusters of the past 30 years would not have been the same without the loving touch of this legendary master of make-up, visual effects (especially animatronic) and "creature creation".

Having won 4 Academy Awards and received countless nominations, Winston was only the second special effects artist ever to receive a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Here's just a short taste of Winston's groundbreaking work (check out his IMDB page for his full filmography):

Stan Winston died after a long battle with multiple myeloma. He was 62 years old.

Trailer Tuesday: Get Smart

The over-enthusiastic but hopelessly incompetent secret agent is nothing new to cinema. Rowan Atkinson, Jackie Chan, Eddie Murphy, Owen Wilson, Mike Myers and others have all donned tuxedos (or garish 60s safari suits) and packed pistols in recent years. Now it’s Steve Carell’s turn in the new action-comedy Get Smart.

Here's the plot synopsis:

In "Get Smart," Maxwell Smart (Steve Carell) is on a mission to thwart the latest plot for world domination by the evil crime syndicate known as KAOS.

When the headquarters of U.S. spy agency Control is attacked and the identities of its agents compromised, the Chief (Alan Arkin) has no choice but to promote his ever-eager analyst Maxwell Smart, who has always dreamt of working in the field alongside stalwart superstar Agent 23 (Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson).

Smart is partnered instead with the only other agent whose identity has not been compromised: the lovely-but-lethal veteran Agent 99 (Anne Hathaway). As Smart and 99 get c…

And for those of you interested...

Anyone who is in Durban on Saturday, 5 July, and is not being swept up in the usual Vodacom July style frenzy is welcome to head on over to the Gateway Theatre of Shopping.

The 2008 Africa Cup Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Competition is taking place all day in the upstairs foyer at the IMAX theatre (on the same side of the mall as the Wave House and Barnyard Theatre).

For more information on the tournament, as well as the sport, click here. For the record, I'll be taking part in the Women's Division.

My favourite time of year

Ah, I love this time of year... glorious sunny, humidity-free days (even if you only get to gaze at them out the office window), cold evenings perfect for snuggling under the duvet... and a local movie release schedule that closely mirrors the US one.

For example, this weekend's 2 major film releases are also the 2 high profile ones in North America.

1) The Incredible Hulk, which apparently is a lot more exhilarating than the vanilla first trailer suggested - and which I'm hoping to catch sometime this weekend.

By the way, Iron Man's Tony Stark makes a cameo appearance as well in the movie - it's all part of Marvel's scheme to set up their shared character universe in cinematic form, in preparation for the Avengers film in 2011.

2) The Happening, the latest psychological thriller from M. Night Shyamalan... which may or may not have something to do with a mysterious gas that triggers mass suicides.

You either love or hate Shyamalan's films - with viewer enjoyment h…

The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian

“You may find Narnia a more savage place than you remember.”

Back in 2005 when the first Chronicles of Narnia film, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe was released, a number of adult fantasy fans dismissed the film as brightly coloured kiddie fare.

Of course the movie adaptations of C.S. Lewis’s Narnia Chronicles will never be Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings trilogy but audiences who prefer their fantasy more brutal and battle-filled may find Prince Caspian more to their liking.

In fact, Prince Caspian is surprisingly violent for a family film. Audiences witness firsthand the slaughter of trapped Narnian creatures, loveable mouse warrior Reepicheep (voiced by Eddie Izzard) slices through throats with glee and Prince Caspian’s (Ben Barnes) struggle for the Narnian throne is filled with backstabbing and betrayal of Shakespearean proportions.

All of this makes Prince Caspian sound dreary and depressing, which couldn’t be further from the truth. Plenty of gentle humour counters the film’s…

Girlz 'N' Games #29

I've been working to make the Girlz 'N' Games comic strip at least a fortnightly event. Above is the latest. Again you may notice more of a geeky/pop culture slant than a gaming one, and that's because, well, I can:) Seriously, sometimes I feel inspired more by film and other aspects of contemporary pop culture than gaming subjects, and Girlz 'N' Games is still finding its niche. However, I can promise the next few strips will be gaming focused. Enjoy!

Trailer Tuesday: The X-Files - I Want To Believe

Sex & The City isn't the only long gone TV series making the leap to the big screen in the coming months. Apart from Get Smart and Speed Racer, we also can expect a second X-Files movie, subtitled I Want to Believe.

The question is... does anyone, apart from a hardcore collective of fans, really still care? The mad frenzy around the TV show, which debuted in 1993 and ran until 2002, has long since evaporated. It's also been 10 years since the first X-Files film was released to capitalise on the massive 90s pop culture phenomenon.

Jeremy of Popped Culture has a very different take on the muted anticipation for the film, but I have yet to be caught up in any excitement, or even interest. And I used to be a big X-Files fan... well, during the show's first 4 seasons anyway. I just can't seem to fire up any nostalgia towards the series.

The plot for I Want to Believe, which is written and directed by the show's creator, Chris Carter, is currently top secret. Here's…

Weekend round-up

So another weekend just flew by... Ho hum.

On Friday evening I watched The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian. Of course you can expect my review up on this blog, as well as on the ScreenScene SA website, in the next few days. However, the single sentence version is that I can seriously recommend the film. It’s excellent movie fantasy, probably the most gratifying since the Lord of the Rings series.

Saturday was an incredibly lazy day. After waking before 7am – Paul was heading out to look at new cars with his father – I rolled over and only opened my eyes again at 10am. After that I lazed around in my pyjamas and played games until late into the afternoon.

The evening was spent revisiting late-1980s/early 1990s cinema. For the first time ever I managed to stay awake through The Hunt for Red October, which actually turned out to be very good. We then followed the DVD up with Who Framed Roger Rabbit, a childhood obsession of mine, and which I haven’t seen properly in years. The visual…

Most Quotable Movies: 300

We haven't done one of these "Most Quotable Movie" features in a while. Here's a recent goodie from last year - and one of my favourite films of 2007.

If you had to describe 300 in one word, it would have to be "Stylised". And that visual stylisation carried through to the film's dialogue as well, which was just so deliciously over-the-top and epic. Pretty much every line seems to end with an exclamation mark.

Of course, it's all in keeping with the fact that Frank Miller's graphic novel, on which the film was based, is not meant to be a historically accurate account of the Battle of Thermopylae. Rather, it is history filtered through a patriotic Spartan storyteller who is attempting to inspire soldiers by transforming history, with all its inconvenient greys, into legend, with its stark whites, blacks and archetypes.



Leonidas: This is where we hold them! This is where we fight! This is where they die!