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Showing posts from August, 2008

Today, South Africa

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After last week's dud cinema release schedule, there are 3 high profile movies coming out today to compensate... although their quality is largely questionable.

Doomsday

Filmed partly in South Africa, this film can probably best be described as Mad Max meets Escape from New York meets 28 Weeks Later, i.e. it's a deliberate hodgepodge of multiple cult action, sci-fi and horror flicks. Now I know some people who have loved the film, embracing its over-the-top B-grade crapness, and others who have hated it with a passion. Over at Rotten Tomatoes, Doomsday is sitting at an ambivalent 48%.

I say if you're curious, save this one for a Half Price Tuesday... at a budget Ster Kinekor Junction cinema.


Mirrors

Kiefer Sutherland stars in this Western reimagining of an Asian horror film. Sutherland plays Ben Carson, a washed up cop who finds a job as a security guard at a burnt out department store - which also used to be a psychiatric hospital (when is that ever a good thing in a horror …

Halfway through Hannibal

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I don't think it's a stretch to say that mediocre movies vastly outnumber the truly awful ones. These mediocre films are far from good but they just aren't bad enough to fill you with glee at the thought of shredding them to bits. All they deserve is a dismissive "meh" at most.

Last night I watched most of Hannibal Rising, based on the fourth of the "Hannibal the Cannibal" serial killer novels by Thomas Harris. Again I can't power up the sarcasm when reviewing what I saw (I did fall asleep), but man it's utter rubbish. Just really dull, superficial crap.

It's not normal for me to watch a film adaptation when I'm halfway through the novel on which it was based, but the movie was on TV last night and I felt like a break from Arakkoa Feather grinding in World of WarCraft.


I can't say that I enjoyed what I saw at all. Then again, I can't say I'm particularly enthralled by the book, Hannibal Rising either... which is a major disappoi…

What the Dark Knight has done...

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It was kind of expected... Since The Dark Knight has become the second highest grossing film in US history (not taking inflation into account), it was only a matter of time before those rusty little cogs began turning away in the heads of Warner Brothers executives.

Just how could they capitalise on the success of The Dark Knight? Of course, make sure all their films based on DC Comics characters are similarly dark, complex and intense!

And first up, it seems Superman is due for a reboot.

Here are 2 extracts from an interesting Wall Street Journal article on what Warners plans to do with its superhero properties in the coming few years.

Like the recent Batman sequel -- which has become the highest-grossing film of the year thus far -- Mr. Robinov wants his next pack of superhero movies to be bathed in the same brooding tone as "The Dark Knight." Creatively, he sees exploring the evil side to characters as the key to unlocking some of Warner Bros.' DC properties. "We&…

Trailer Tuesday: The Princess and the Frog

We have quite a wait for The Princess and the Frog, Disney's long awaited return to 2D animated musicals. The film is currently set for release during the Christmas period 2009.

Unfortunately for Disney though, their return to their creative roots may not be as triumphant as they were hoping. So far, The Princess and the Frog, which is set in New Orleans during the 1920s Jazz Age, has been dogged by controversy.

This was the film's original plot synopsis:

A musical set in the legendary birthplace of jazz -- New Orleans -- "The Frog Princess" will introduce the newest Disney princess, Maddy, a young African-American girl living amid the charming elegance and grandeur of the fabled French Quarter. From the heart of Louisiana's mystical bayous and the banks of the mighty Mississippi comes an unforgettable tale of love, enchantment and discovery with a soulful singing crocodile, voodoo spells and Cajun charm at every turn.

Since then, the film, based on the old fairy ta…

Rugby, white wine and more...

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I passed out pretty early on Friday evening, but not before watching most of Clash of the Titans on TCM. A remake is supposedly in development as I type (from the director of this year's The Incredible Hulk), and for once it's an idea I can totally get behind. Ignoring the cringe-worthy dialogue and horribly dated special effects, the original 1981 film has a lot of potential if it were to be revamped for the 21st Century. I'd love to see Pegasus and Medusa given top-class CGI treatment.

Saturday was largely consumed with Tri-Nations Rugby. I took my digital camera to the game to test it out, and here are some of the results:

What a great day to watch South Africa take on Canada... What? Oh, wait... Crazy Canadians...


Time to sing the SA and Australian national anthems before the match.


Here are some of the local lads in close up (putting that optical zoom to good use):


The match under way... why look, it's the ref stopping play and penalising South Africa for something! N…

Today South Africa...

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In terms of movie releases it's unfortunately another dud week in South Africa. Next week we have Mamma Mia! to look forward to (if you're into disco pop musicals, that is), but until then all we have are some new "meh" releases, and the same long-running blockbusters most of us have seen weeks and months ago.


Anyway, there's not much new to say about anything.

In terms of film, I'm still peeved that I now have to wait till July next year for Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, especially since, next to the latest James Bond, Quantum of Solace, it's really the only other 2008 blockbuster I was really excited about. Damn after-effects of the writer's strike...

Anyway, here's a new movie poster that really tickled my fancy (love that tagline!):


Click here for the other new W. posters.

Oh, wait, stop the press! The cinematic trailer for World of WarCraft's second expansion Wrath of the Lich King is now available. And it's sending me giddy wi…

The results are in...

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Some of you may remember that there was something of a mini fuss earlier this year when voting opened for the first ever "international" version of Monopoly, called Monopoly Here & Now: The World Edition.

Basically, Internet users and boardgamers the world over were invited to vote for their favourite cities. The ones that received the most votes would become purchasable properties in the game.

I'm pleased to report that Cape Town has made the list, receiving the third most votes, and securing a green spot on the board (making it part of the second most expensive set!). Cape Town is also the only city on the African continent to make the list, which is as follows:


Here's hoping that this version of the boardgame staple will be available locally. So far, whenever variant or collector's edition versions of Monopoly are released (Spider-Man, Star Wars, Indiana Jones, Disney, Transformers), they're imports that come with a sickening price tag.

Anyway, here's …

The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor

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The third Mummy film, The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor arrives in cinemas with a sad little fizzle. It’s so mediocre that it doesn’t even warrant working up the energy to rip it apart.


The Mummy franchise has always something of an Indiana Jones knock-off, and Tomb of the Dragon Emperor is no different. Adopting the same generation gap team-up that featured in this year’s Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, Tomb of the Dragon Emperor has Rick O’Connell (Brendan Fraser) and his wife Evie (Maria Bello, replacing Rachel Weisz) coming to the aid of their suddenly grown son, Alex (Luke Ford), a college drop-out with dreams of fortune and glory.

Alex’s treasure hunting aspirations unleash Emperor Han (Jet Li), a cruel, magically gifted warlord who has been trapped in a terracotta shell for centuries. It’s up to the O’Connells then to stop the emperor before he returns to full strength and resurrects his army in a bid to take over the world.


This is, of course, where the p…

Trailer Tuesday: Twilight

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To my understanding, the Twilight series of fantasy romance novels by Stephenie Meyer is to women, and especially teenage girls, what Harry Potter is to its fans. We're talking about serious rabid devotion here. So, naturally, Hollywood came sniffing, dug in their claws, and, later this year, they should be raking in the cash with a big screen adaptation of the first book in the series: Twilight.

Here's the film's plot synopsis:

"Twilight" is an action-packed, modern day love story between a vampire and a human. When teenager Bella Swan's (Kristen Stewart) mother remarries, Bella is sent to live with her father in the rainy little town of Forks, Washington. Then she meets the mysterious Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson). Intelligent and witty, he sees straight into her soul. Soon, Bella and Edward are swept up in a passionate and decidedly unorthodox romance.

Edward can run faster than a mountain lion, he can stop a moving car with his bare hands - and he hasn&#…

My weekend

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It was cold, breezy and overcast in Durban this weekend, which was kind of appropriate given some of the events and activities of the weekend. Here’s the quick breakdown of the highlights and lowlights –

In shitty SA
My sister’s car was stolen in the early hours of Saturday morning. It was parked at her boyfriend’s Durban home, behind a padlocked and chained gate, in an area with a motion sensor alarm. The car itself had a gear lock and steering wheel lock. And still it was taken, without anyone being alerted…

It just goes to show there’s no point in having anything of value in South Africa. It makes you a target in a nation where respect for ownership and other people's property does not exist. And no matter what precautions you take – usually it involves turning your home into a barred prison, complete with barb wire-topped walls and electric fences – if a piece of human excrement wants what you have, they will get it.


So, for South Africans reading this (especially Durbanites), pl…

Today, South Africa...

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Er... perhaps go and see The Dark Knight again. Because the only new release is Eddie Murphy's new "comedy" Meet Dave. And frankly, it looks appalling. That last 10 seconds of the trailer makes me wince in embarrassment. So utterly forced and unfunny.



Anyway, the glut of mid-year blockbusters is beginning to slow as the American Summer draws to its close. Here's what we still have to look forward to over the next 2 months (well, the films that have sparked my interest anyway). Unfortunately we're reaching a point in the year where there isn't something new and exciting to watch every week:

29 August:

Mamma Mia! - The feel-good musical of the season, with an impressive cast (including Meryl Streep, Pierce Brosnan, Colin Firth and Julie Walters) and the irresistibly bouncy music of ABBA. Definitely a movie to take your mom to. Hetro guys beware!


Doomsday - Hmmm, I'm undecided about this one - an action-packed hybrid of Mad Max and 28 Days Later. It looks hope…

Popcorn goes "poof"!

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There are actually quite a few things I could blog about, but unfortunately I just don’t have the time for in-depth discussions this week (see Monday’s update for reasons why). I haven’t even been able to write my review for The Mummy 3, or start sketching the latest Girlz ‘N’ Games. Ho hum.

Anyway, earlier this week I read the following article with a mix of surprise and horror – it turns out a UK cinema chain is moving to ban popcorn!

From: The Daily Telegraph

Cinemas to trial popcorn free film screenings

A nationwide cinema chain is to ban popcorn from film screenings after complaints from audience members about the noise and mess created by the traditional treat.


By Stephen Adams
Last Updated: 12:19PM BST 11 Aug 2008

While many viewers love to snack on popcorn, others find the smell of the sickly sugar-coated variety repulsive and the sound distracting.

Such concerns have led the bosses of one cinema company to draw the curtain on it.

Picturehouse Cinemas, a chain of 19 across the country,…

The Prince and the Babe

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Swoon... The first images of Jake Gyllenhaal on the set of video game adaptationPrince of Persia: The Sands of Time have appeared online. I learned of this via one of my usual blog haunts, My New Plaid Pants, but the pics originated over at Just Jared.


What can I say? Apart from looking a bit more bulked than the lean and athletic prince of the video games, Gyllenhaal bears a striking resemblance to the digital character... especially in the sequels, Warrior Within and The Two Thrones.


I'm of course very excited for this big screen adaptation, largely because Prince of Persia is one of my all-time favourite video game franchises. I've also blogged a bit about it before here, here and here.

Directed by Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire's Mike Newell, Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time is set for release on 28 May 2010. It was due for release next year, but producer Jerry Bruckheimer (POP is intended to be his big franchise follow-up to Pirates of the Caribbean) and Disney d…

Trailer Tuesday: W.

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Considering I mentioned it yesterday, it made sense to feature director Oliver Stone's George W. Bush biopic, W. as this week's profiled trailer.

I don't think there can be any doubt about it: W. is going to be a very controversial film that divides a lot of people, from the press to reviewers to the casual movie goer and man on the street. I don't think you can have it any other way when you're dealing with such a divisive central figure... who in reality is still in the driver's seat of the most powerful nation in the world.


Come time for the film's release, I think it's going to be very difficult to judge W. purely on cinematic terms, and distance it from all the strong emotional reactions and allegations it's already generating.

Personally I'm curious about the film... For one thing I'm intrigued by the thought of seeing a very impressive A-list cast (that includes Josh Brolin, James Cromwell, Ellen Burstyn, Thandie Newton, Ioan Gruffudd a…

What a weekend...

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Well, not really... This last weekend was a pretty quiet one, both in terms of getting out and about, and in terms of pop culture consumption.

In terms of gaming, I finally got to Level 70 in World of WarCraft this weekend. It might shock some of you to hear that it's taken me a full year to accomplish this (power levellers can apparently max out a character in a few weeks), but I do at least have a second character (at Level 66), who is already in sight of the current level cap. And I certainly wasn't short for cash when it came time to buy my flying mount.

Anyway, here's my warlock in her first complete blue item set (Imbued Netherweave). It's pretty generic gear, but it's a starting point as I decide what direction to take my character from here - equipping for raids or PVP or Arena. Decisions, decisions... time for some research.


Anyway, apart from WOW, the Olympics opening ceremony, and a boardgame-and-braai evening on Saturday, the weekend was quiet. I rounded o…

Today, South Africa... and other bits 'n pieces

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Just one high profile film release hits South African cinemas today - The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor.

I'm sure I'll be seeing this third installment in the Mummy movie franchise during the next week or so. I saw the others in the cinema and I admit I was sold on this film (which moves the mythological-flavoured action from Egypt to China) purely by the fact that Michelle Yeoh is in it, and there's a sequence in the trailer in which World War II fighter planes strafe an army of reanimated terracotta soldiers.

I have simple entertainment needs like that:)

Anyway, I'm not expecting Tomb of the Dragon Emperor to be especially good - it has scored a dire 9% on Rotten Tomatoes - but I'm hoping it will be a fun, diverting way to pass a few hours.


Anyway, while we're on the topic of movies, just in case you didn't see it when it debuted a few weeks back, there's a new trailer online for The Spirit. I've bloggeda bit in the past about this comic boo…

You Don’t Mess with the Zohan

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I have a confession to make. I actually quite like Adam Sandler and his comedies. I wasn’t a big fan of Waterboy and Little Nicky, and I hated the mawkish Click, but The Wedding Singer and 50 First Dates are two of my favourite romantic comedies. And Happy Gilmore and Billy Madison are just silly, harmless fun.

You Don’t Mess with the Zohan is something of a throwback to the Happy Gilmore days. It could just be the character he’s playing – a super-cool, always confident Israeli counter-terrorist – but Sandler doesn’t seem to be straining to be funny. He’s a relaxed presence around which the action takes place.


You also have to give Sandler credit for having the guts to make a comedy about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which so easily stirs up strong emotions whenever it’s discussed. While You Don’t Mess with the Zohan offers no solution to overcoming the decades of hate, the film makes a great deal of effort to highlight the similarities between the 2 groups – such as a shared love…

New DVDs for children of the 80s and early 90s

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I don't normally report on DVD releases on this blog, but I came across the following while I was staring wistfully at the San Diego Comic Con website, and thought it might be of interest to some of you nostalgic types... It certainly brought back some warm fuzzy memories for me.

On 29 July, Warner Brothers finally released Tiny Toons Adventures and Freakazoid! on Region 1 DVD, after other hit series, Animaniacs and Pinky & The Brain, have been available since 2006.


As much as I remember enjoying Tiny Toons (as well as playing the old Konami video game to death), I don't think I would rush out and purchase the DVD boxset. The series - a hip, family friendly spin-off from the Looney Tunes - was a lot of fun, but doesn't occupy as special a place in my heart as some other animated series from the same period.

I'm talking of course about the late 1980s into the mid 1990s, when Disney was treating us to DuckTales, Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers and Darkwing Duck, Warner…

Trailer Tuesday: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

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Sorry, no trailer to embed today - Warner Brothers and YouTube have yanked them all down for some ridiculous reason (It's a trailer for God's sake! In terms of a movie you want the word out there as much as possible!)

Anyway, to watch the HD streaming trailer of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, click here.


I'm always excited for a new Harry Potter film - especially after I enjoyed the most recent film, Order of the Phoenix, so much. The big selling point of Half-Blood Prince is that the film delves into the dark, disturbing back-story of the series villain, Lord Voldemort.

And as an added bonus, Order of the Phoenix director David Yates is back at the helm for the second time, and should be directing the last 2 films as well (the seventh and final Potter book, Deathly Hallows, is to be split into 2 movies to round off the saga).

I'm probably slightly more familiar with Half-Blood Prince than a number of Potter fans, having re-read the novel relatively recently (las…