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Showing posts from January, 2009

The movies of 2009: Part 3

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Right, here is Part 3 of the 2009 Movies List:

Bruno
The time is so right for Sacha Baron Cohen's Borat follow-up, the mock documentary Bruno: Delicious Journeys Through America for the Purpose of Making Heterosexual Males Visibly Uncomfortable in the Presence of a Gay Foreigner in a Mesh T-Shirt. As you may have guessed, this time Cohen adopts the persona of his third famous character, a marvelously queer Austrian fashionista, to shock conservative America.

G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra
Transformers isn't the only 80's cartoon getting the big screen live-action treatment this year. There's also that top secret squad of military operatives who keep the world safe from the evil forces of Cobra! Go Joe! The Mummy's Stephen Sommers is directing what is sure to be action-packed and utterly ridiculous, with lots of young buff bodies running around in figure-hugging body armour.


The Wolfman
A remake of the classic Universal horror film, the Wolfman has the already semi-feral Be…

Summer Sale starts today

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Just a quick note for my more bookish South African blog readers. The big Exclusive Books Summer Sale starts today (Friday, 30 January) at 7am at branches across the country.


As always it's very much a lucky dip to find something worthwhile amidst the piles of junk, but the savings really are outstanding when you do find that little piece of literary and non-fiction treasure.

As an added bonus, this year Exclusive Books is throwing in a freebie for the big buyers. For each 10 Sale books you purchase you can choose an 11th Sale book (up to the value of the most expensive of the 10) absolutely FREE!

I'm dramatically trying to cut my expenditure on entertainment goodies like DVDs, games and books this year, but I've accumulated some vouchers so I'll definitely be checking out the sale this weekend.

The movies of 2009: Part 2

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Alright, we've already looked at the first batch of films I'm most looking forward to in 2009. Here are some of the other biggies... bearing in mind, as I said before that there certainly will be omissions - sometimes I just don't see a hit title coming, or just aren't interested in something.

2009 Biggies, continued...

Coraline
This stop-motion animated film with CGI enhancements has been in development for quite a while now. Based on the creepy children's book by Neil Gaiman, Coraline focuses on a neglected young girl who discovers a secret door which leads her to an increasingly disturbing alternate reality. I'm expecting it to be a much better spiritual successor to The Nightmare Before Christmas than the mediocre Corpse Bride.


Ice Age 3: Dawn of the Dinosaurs
Yet another installment in the prehistoric adventures of Manny, Sid, Diego and, of course, Scrat. This time the dysfunctional trio have to deal with the continued thawing of their world and encounters wi…

Unhinged...

It's raining in Durban today... That means it's time to double your rush hour commute time. Plus over the past 2 days traffic seems to have exploded everywhere, with multiple serious accidents closing main freeways and clogging traffic. So my driving anxiety levels are high...

Add to the mix some crushing work deadlines, my boss being away, and everyone wanting something of me (which I just actually can't deliver, making me look bad) and well, I just don't have as much time as I'd like to devote to my blog at the moment. Much to my annoyance. And despair.

I'm just not having a very good time at the moment with so many big decisions and uncertainties weighing down on me...

So I'm afraid you'll just have to keep yourself amused today with this teaser clip for a local documentary called Unhinged: Surviving Joburg, which is apparently due for release this year. It gets a bit overly quirky towards the end, but I think it does an excellent job of summarising th…

Trailer Tuesday: Underworld - Rise of the Lycans

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You know, I was totally going to rip into this trailer for the third Underworld film, Rise of the Lycans.

For one thing, after 2 so-so movies, filled with derivative Matrix-esque acrobatic gunfights and figure-hugging latex, who really still cares about the battle between vampires and werewolves (otherwise known as Lycans)?

For another thing, they couldn't even lure back the franchise's sexy star, Kate Beckinsale, so Underworld 3 transplants the action to the Middle Ages to focus on the origins of the supernatural beastie feud. Beckinsale lookalike and former Tomb Raider model Rhona Mitra is the bloodsucking brunette babe this time around - fierce warrior Sonja, and daughter of vampire overlord Viktor (Bill Nighy), who falls in love with Lucian (Michael Sheen), the shape-shifting leader of the Lycan rebellion. So expect a derivative Romeo & Juliet rehash in between the battle scenes.


These mutterings aside, and the fact that the trailer uses the exact same Marilyn Manson tr…

Girlz 'N' Games #36: Ho(wl), Ho(wl), Ho(wl)!

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I meant to get this one up early in the new year... but better late than never. Enjoy!

Weekend #4 of 2009

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Last week was incredibly draining, so needless to say Friday evening centered on celebrating the fact that it was over - so we headed out for pizza and wine with a friend. Of course, after that the mysterious effect that even small quantities of white wine has on me took hold, and I passed out cold on my bed.

Otherwise the rest of the weekend was pretty much a stay-at-home pair of days with no exciting activities to report about.

Saturday morning was productive however. While the bf ran errands, I collated, coloured and shaded my latest Girlz 'N' Games web comic - which you can see above this blog post. In the afternoon we started to watch Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi, but apart from snickering at how much Jabba the Hutt reminds us of our dear sweet future president Jacob Zuma, we didn't get very far with the viewing.


Instead, we ended up downing a bottle of red wine while playing several games of Jenga (I won!). The more cerebral gaming alternative, chess, was sa…

The Best and the Worst

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I'm no awards season analyst, or even a dedicated awards body watcher, but I thought I better share the following. Over the past few days the nominations for the Razzies (which "dis-honour" the year's worst movies) and Academy Awards (which honour the year's best) have been announced.

The short of it: Mike Myers' spectacular bomb The Love Guru is leading the Razzies with 7 nominations, while The Curious Case of Benjamin Button has gobbled up a lot of Oscar love with 13 category nominations. Golden Globe winner for Best Picture (Drama), Slumdog Millionaire scored the second most nominations - with recognition in 10 categories.

Honestly the 2 lists aren't particularly surprising: Uwe Boll makes ultra-crap movies; Heath Ledger's posthumous Oscar nomination has been a sure thing for a long time. Speaking of superhero stuff and the Academy Awards, it's nice to see that The Dark Knight has done well in the technical categories (although it's sorely a…

Crapfest 2009

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Yesterday 5FM and Coca-Cola made their big announcements about their annual 12-hour music festival, most commonly referred to as Coke Fest. This year it's being called Coca-Cola Zero Fest, and will be taking place at Johannesburg’s New Market Racecourse on Friday, 10 April 2009, and Cape Town’s Ostrich Farm (WTF?) on Monday, 13 April 2009. For the third year in a row we Durbanites aren't getting our own show, but that's no real surprise - I'm the first to admit our attendance rates suck when it comes to supporting these kind of events...

Anyway, although some South African support acts apparently still need to be announced, the following would appear to be the final Zero Fest line-up (unless the organisers have some surprises still up their sleeves):

International acts:
Oasis
Bullet for my Valentine
Snow Patrol
Panic at the Disco

Local acts:
Zebra and Giraffe
The Dirty Skirts


Now consider for one moment that festival draw cards in previous years included Korn, Muse, Metallica, E…

Hellboy: Seed of Destruction

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Up until last week, although I'd seen both Hellboy movies, I had never read a single one of the comics from Hellboy's creator, writer-artist Mike Mignola.

So, having received the trade paperback for Christmas, I started right at the very beginning of the Hellboy series - with the first 4-part mini-series Seed of Destruction.


I won't go into too much detail about the plot, but I was very surprised to find how closely it paralleled the first Hellboy movie (so often film adaptations of comics are viciously and stupidly wrenched away from their source material). Starting with Hellboy's summoning to our plane in the closing days of World War II, Seed of Destruction focuses on the attempt of the "World's Greatest Paranormal Investigator" to stop warlock Rasputin before he brings Ragna Rok to Earth.

At this point I must offer my sincere apologies to film-maker Guillermo del Toro. For the past 4 years I have always bemoaned the overblown climax of the first Hellboy …

Trailer Tuesday: Defiance

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Let's be honest: when it comes to Holocaust movies most of the time Jews are depicted as passive, miserable shadows sadly shuffling towards their doom. Defiance, the new war drama from director Edward Zwick sets out to change that - by chronicling a largely unknown, courageous true story.

In a dream teaming, Daniel Craig, Liev Schreiber and Jamie Bell play Jewish brothers in Eastern Europe during World War II, who escape massacre by fleeing deep into the woods they have known since childhood. From there they stage daring guerrilla attacks on the Nazis. However, as news of their acts spread, desperate men, women and children start joining them in the forest, seizing a chance to rebuild their community and fight for their freedom - even in the face of a harsh Winter and an even harsher foe.

Given that Defiance comes from the director of Glory, The Last Samurai and Blood Diamond, I'm sure we can expect things to not exactly end happily for all the main characters and their charges.…

Weekend report back

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I can't say I had one of the busiest weekends. In fact it was pretty lethargic, as I was feeling largely washed out and mildly depressed for a good portion of it. After staring intensely at a computer screen and grey wall all of Friday the last thing I wanted was to pass my evening doing more of the same. So we watched (and dozed through) some DVDs - Bad Boys, for the hundredth time, and Freakazoid Season 1 (which we've found can be digested when sober as long as you only consume a single manic 30 minute episode at a sitting).


Saturday was more productive although the weather didn't really play fair. After a week of illness and taking it easy I started the day with a solid 30 minute session of skipping (which my calves are still moaning about). After that we headed to the Pav to run a few errands (including swapping my duplicate copy of The Dark Knight DVD for Iron Man) and then in the afternoon we headed to the beach in the drizzle. The bf and his cousin went bodyboarding;…

The movies of 2009: Part 1

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I've been meaning to comment on my most anticipated movies of 2009 for a little while now, but compiling a list has been no simple task. In fact, I'm pretty sure I've forgotten some titles, but c'est la vie. Deal with it... or remind me of my omissions in Comments.

Then again, you may want to hold back on your suggestions for now... this blog post has grown so long and involved that I'm going to have to split it over a few posts - especially since I've just had a ton of work dumped on my desk, all of it with ridiculously tight deadlines. This better NOT be the norm in 2009 :(. Anyway...

The Top 2:

These are the 2 films I am most excited for. If their release meant that no other new films would come out all year, well, I'd be alright with that. Of course, every time my anticipation levels are so high I tend to be horribly disappointed (Troy, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull) so I'm trying to moderate my expectations a bit. Still though I&…

Bolt

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The best way to describe Bolt, the new CGI-animated film from Disney (not Disney-Pixar) is a cross between Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey and The Truman Show. You see Bolt centres on a young dog (voiced by John Travolta) who was been raised on the set of an action-packed TV show. To maximise the credibility of Bolt’s performance, the cameramen are hidden, and special effects secretly engineered, leading Bolt to believe he really has super powers.


In fact, the only thing genuine about Bolt’s life is the love his “person,” young TV star Penny (Miley Cyrus) has for him. She hates the charade Bolt is forced to live with, but is advised to go along with it by her sycophantic, money-grubbing agent.

Eventually though Bolt takes his role as Penny’s protector too seriously and after a cliff-hanger episode ending, where it looks like Penny has been kidnapped, he escapes in a bid to rescue her. Now stranded in the real world, Bolt embarks on a cross-country adventure to return to Penny – a…

Back and bits...

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My apologies for the lack of updates yesterday. I was becoming an advocate for the fastest, most effective weight loss system known to man: gastric flu. 2kg weight loss in 24 hours, with outstanding appetite suppression! And the only "exercise" it requires is shuffling between your bed and the bathroom. Works best in conjunction with a dry toast and Energade diet. Highly recommended! Try it today!

Ugh...


This time I didn't get it nearly as bad as last year's horrible bug, so after a visit to the doc and lying in bed all day yesterday I'm back at the office today. Monday evening was the worst - I just lay shivering under the covers, dozing through the season premiere of Grey's Anatomy and lying wide awake during the Golden Globes. (Because of the time difference between SA and the States the show is shown on TV 12 hours after the actual live ceremony).

In case by some strange chance you haven't already encountered a list of the nominees and winners at my favo…

Birthday weekend

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This birthday weekend was one of my busiest and best in a good few years. Yay for birthdays on a Saturday! Anyway, it started a bit earlier than normal on Friday when our bosses decided to give the 20 or so people who weren't on leave that week a half-day. Hooray!

So I headed off to the Pavillion to run some errands and treated myself to a PC game birthday present: action-RPG Rise of the Argonauts. Actually I was torn between 3 games - Argonauts, the new Prince of Persia and Dead Space. POP's R400 price tag immediately ruled it out, and while Dead Space looks like it had a nifty FEAR-meets-Doom 3 horror/sci-fi premise, ultimately I couldn't resist a mythology-focused game set in Ancient Greece. Especially since they are so rare (out of interest the Look & Listen Pav store had it for R350, while all other retailers are selling it for R400).

I've yet to play Rise of the Argonauts but my understanding is that it's been racking up decent review scores in the 60s and…

Goals for 2009

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I don't do New Years resolutions. They just don't seem to have much motivational force. By the time May, or even March, rolls around, the people who you now see pounding the pavements or sweating it out in gym are nowhere to be seen... probably they're putting in overtime at the office or already lazing around at home with a lukewarm, half-eaten Big Mac and a beaded bottle of Coke sitting next to them.

Anyway, my birthday is close enough to the beginning of the year (just 10 days in) to use it as an opportunity to set some goals for the coming 12 months, as well as evaluate the accomplishment of my goals over the past year.

You get those people who insist "Life is a journey, not a destination, so enjoy the ride." I agree. Kind of. Life isn't a destination. It's multiple destinations... And those multiple, spaced-out destinations are goals to work towards, giving you direction as you continually strive to improve yourself, your situation and your quality of…

22 minutes, 22 seconds: The Incredibles

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I know I said this one was going up yesterday but I kinda underestimated how long it would take me to screencap and then resize all the pics. Anyway, I've now installed some image software that will make the task considerably easier, so that should make the process a lot smoother and faster now.

But moving right along...

The Incredibles is, as far as I'm concerned probably Pixar's best ever animated film. Toy Story was of course groundbreaking, Finding Nemo featured a great storyline and characterisation, Ratatouille spoke powerfully about following your dreams, WALL-E was sweet and emotionally affecting... but The Incredibles, well, it combines all of the qualities mentioned above.

And, if that wasn't enough, it focuses on spandex-wearing superheroes, and draws a lot of its influence (including a Monty Norman-esque score) from Connery-era Bond films. What more could you possibly want?

Repeatedly rewatchable, the film is perfect entertainment for kids and adults alike, s…