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Showing posts from February, 2009

7 days... and ageing backwards!

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Company Internet is crapping out for the second day in a row so my apologies for the late, necessarily short update. Anyway, it's now officially just 1 week to the release of Watchmen, based on the greatest superhero-focused graphic novel of all time. And I have no shame making that claim!

Today, though, the big news in South African cinemas is the release of The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, which landed the most Oscar nominations this year, but could only take home a few measly technical awards on the big night. Based on the F. Scott Fitzgerald short story, Benjamin Button focuses on a man (played by Brad Pitt) who is born in his eighties, and ages backwards to infancy - and how this strange situation impacts on his life and relationships. I'm off to see the film this weekend.

Bride Wars

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If your testosterone level is higher than your oestrogen one then it’s safe to say upfront that Bride Wars probably isn’t the movie for you.


Bride Wars is not a slushy romantic comedy, but its emphasis on girlie friendship and feuding means that it is very much a film for female audiences. This said, if you’re a guy who finds Anne Hathaway irresistible, then you may be willing to endure the 90-minute running time if only to see the actress perform a decidedly raunchy dance routine in hot pants and knee-high boots.

As it stands, Bride Wars is superficial fluff that makes little to no cerebral demands of its audience. And if you’ve seen the trailer you’ve seen most of the film’s funniest moments.

The movie’s plot is straightforward – for the past 20 years best friends Liv (Kate Hudson) and Emma (Anne Hathaway) have shared a dream of one day getting married in New York’s opulent Plaza Hotel. When both friends are proposed to almost simultaneously, they turn to legendary wedding planner, M…

New Girlz 'N' Games web comic: "That's not your mother, it's a MAN, baby!"

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The following strip is based on a true story.


It all stems back to mid-2008 when fellow Durban pop culture blogger Lord Spaceman wrote a preview piece on the highly anticipated but as-yet-unreleased fighting game Mortal Kombat VS. DC Universe. As the title suggests, this unusual game pits some of DC Comics' most celebrated superheroes and villains (Superman, The Flash, Catwoman etc.) against various iconic characters from the Mortal Kombat series of games (Scorpion, Sub-Zero, Kitana etc).

In his blog entry, Lord Spaceman was especially enamored with the new character model for Sonya Blade - Mortal Kombat's original female ass-kicker. The thing was, the more I looked at the posted pics, the more I realised that Sonya Blade didn't look sexy. She looked butch! Almost exactly like a man in drag.


Of course, to be fair, if the character of Sonya Blade was real, and was a highly skilled Special Forces operative able to best most guys in a punch-up, then she probably wouldn't be …

The Best and the Worst: Results

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We'll give Trailer Tuesday a miss this week (or maybe a postponement to tomorrow) seeing as it was both the Razzies and Oscars this last weekend... and I love these specific movie awards shows.

The Razzies, as I'm sure you know, seek to "honour" the year's worst films, performances and cinematic trends. The nominees were announced a month ago, and on Saturday, the "winners" were revealed. And it was Mike Myers and Paris Hilton who came out on bottom, with 3 wins apiece for the apparently awful comedies The Love Guru and The Hottie and the Nottie.


29th Annual Golden Raspberry Award “Winners”

Worst Picture: The Love Guru

Worst Actor: Mike Myers - The Love Guru

Worst Actress: Paris Hilton - The Hottie and the Nottie

Worst Supporting Actress: Paris Hilton - Repo: The Genetic Opera

Worst Supporting Actor: Pierce Brosnan - Mamma Mia!

Worst Screen Couple: Paris Hilton and either Christine Lakin or Joel David Moore (The Hottie and the Nottie)

Worst Prequel,Remake, Rip-…

Weekend recap

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Well, this weekend was quiet, and occasionally quite lonely for me.

Friday evening went pretty much according to my tweet at the time - "wine, WOW and 30 Rock." In terms of World of WarCraft, Friday marked the first time in a good few weeks that I got to put in some serious playing time. Mostly I stuck to the daily quests I've been doing to build my reputation with 2 factions, and one of these daily quests involves a memory game with a time limit.

WOW expansion Wrath of the Lich King promised greater quest variety (i.e. you're not necessarily just running around killing x number of things) and the "Alchemist's Apprentice" quest is a refreshing if challenging change. You assist an undead scientist by bringing him various ingredients, each within 30 seconds. This involves remembering exactly where each of these ingredients can be found on 12 multi-level shelves in 2 different rooms. It obviously gets easier the more you do it, but it certainly demands a gr…

Movies for the weekend

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Seeing as it's the Academy Awards this Sunday evening (very early Monday morning, South Africa time), the local distributors are finally starting to unleash the nominees and other critically acclaimed fare on local audiences. Today sees the release of 3 notable films:

Right now it looks like The Wrestler has a very good chance of landing its star Mickey Rourke (Hollywood's big Comeback Kid of the moment!) the coveted Best Actor Oscar. Rourke's only real competition in the category would seem to be Sean Penn in gay rights drama Milk. Anyway, The Wrestler comes from director Darren (Requiem for a Dream) Aronofsky, and focuses on a burnt-out pro-wrestler who puts everything on the line for one last shot at success.


Released early in the Fall Awards Season Changeling, from Clint Eastwood, wasn't quite the Oscar bait it was intended to be. However, Angelina Jolie has been nominated for the Best Actress Oscar for her role here - as a mother who comes up against police and poli…

Girlz 'N' Games now on Facebook

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Just as a heads up, my gaming and pop culture web comic Girlz 'N' Games now has its own official Facebook group. It's an open group so please feel free to join, and invite your like-minded friends.


Speaking of Girlz 'N' Games I'll be working on a new strip this weekend so a new comic should be online sometime this coming week.

22 minutes, 22 seconds: The Fellowship of the Ring

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I haven't done one of these since the beginning of the year... so let's get back into the swing of things with Part 1 of an award-winning fantasy trilogy based on J.R.R. Tolkien's epic tale.

22 minutes and 22 seconds into The Lord of the Rings' first installment, The Fellowship of the Ring, there is an important sequence about resisting temptation, and general hobbit hardiness.

Bilbo Baggins, has just made a dramatic exit from his birthday party (I'd love to do something like that one day, complete with the subtly derogatory speech), and is finding it a tad difficult to part with the One Ring, despite his plans to leave for the Elven outpost of Rivendell.

Having just accused Gandalf the Grey of wanting to steal his "precioussss", Bilbo has had sense knocked into him by the first revelation that Gandalf is actually a lot more than a doddery old illusionist with a fondness for fireworks, pipe-weed and halflings.


Still, though, the Preciousss won't leave it…

Pride and Peculiarity

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Jane Austen's classic tale of manners, class and romance, Pride and Prejudice has already been thumbed through by millions of readers - admittedly many of them disinterested high school and college students - over the past 2 centuries. Then there were the countless film and mini-series adaptations, chronicling the romantic exploits of the Bennet sisters. Hell, there were even a few novels (of varying quality) written by other authors who wanted to continue the story.

Now, Pride and Prejudice goes fully Pop Culture! And no doubt it has sent Jane Austen spinning in her grave.

First up is the release of a novel entitled Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, in which author Seth Grahame-Smith, responsible for such "classics" as How to Survive a Horror Movie and The Big Book of Porn, utilises and enhances Jane Austen's original text with passages about zombie attacks.

Here's the press release:

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies features the original text of Jane Austen’s beloved …

Trailer Tuesday: Dragonball Evolution

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Dragonball, the Japanese animated series, was a little after my chief cartoon-viewing time. This said, I remember tuning in once during what seemed to be an interesting and intense fight - spiky-haired hero Goku versus the diminutive, yet highly disturbing villain, Frieza. Cool, I thought, this may be worth watching. 20 minutes passed and the battle wasn't over. In fact, maybe 10 seconds of combat had been covered, and both characters had yet to utilise more than 1% of their power (holding back seems to happen a lot in the series!).

To cut a long story short, I made sure to watch the show the next day, and the next, and the day after that. And before I knew it, 5 weeks had passed... and the battle still wasn't over! Eventually it culminated with the destruction of a planet, but after that I lost interest in the plot - which seemed to involve time travel, Goku dying and sprouting a tail, and cyborgs, among other things.

The point is that Dragonball the cartoon was epic and rid…

Valentine's Weekend

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Lo and behold, on Friday morning - not one hour after I mocked those budget Valentine's teddy bears - I received one... as part of a flower arrangement. Although the little guy is very cute, I couldn't help but marvel at the fabulous "Made in China" craftmanship that left him with a striking resemblance to Sloth in The Goonies ("Hey, you guys!"). Remarkably the bf has never seen this 80's childhood movie classic, so he didn't grasp my reference.


Anyway, Friday evening was a chilled one as we both took a break from PC-related activities, ate too much and watched episodes from the first seasons of 30 Rock and South Park.

On Saturday the weather was too good not to exploit so planned shopping expeditions were postponed until Sunday. A late start and long queues killed our impromptu plan for breakfast out. Instead we bought our groceries (kudos once again to the outstanding Knowles Superspar deli!) and headed home for a little lunchtime braai, suntannin…

Valentine's Day edition of the Girlz 'N' Games webcomic

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I've been sitting on this latest edition of Girlz 'N' Games since Tuesday evening when I uploaded it to my website. Not only is it the "sweetest" strip I've ever done, but panel 5 probably makes it the most "graphic". It's also, at 6 panels, the longest of my 37 strips. And yes, if you do care about these matters, it is based on a true story.

So, moving on, what are your plans for Valentine's Day? For me it's going to be a subdued evening, with wine and home-made pizza (and hopefully no parents!) at home. We're staying well away from restaurants, parks and malls because in Durban, people completely throw themselves in Valentine's Day with a mad frenzy. You see them forking out for overpriced roses, snapping up the cheap, heart-clutching teddies that are everywhere, queuing out the door at restaurants (what a fantastic way to spend your evening!) and often even bankrupting themselves to buy their beloved the current Gadget of the M…

Amy Winehouse... the truth revealed!

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Just a little fun for Friday... A few Thursdays ago I had the following revelation during our weekly Dungeons & Dragons session. As is often the case when the veteran players are involved in long, tedious debates about the intricacies of an uncommon spell - and I'm not dozing off - I page through the Player's Handbook, Dungeon Master's Guide or, my favourite, the Monster Manual.

As it so happens, I stumbled across the Night Hag. Reading the description, and looking at the illustration, a light bulb went off in my head. Finally we know exactly what Amy Winehouse is! Not only does she come from the Gray Wastes of Hades (AKA London), but she has ratty black hair, an emaciated frame, horrible jagged teeth, a nasty skin disease (impetigo) and can apparently spread fever and plague through her bite (although this last point has yet to be confirmed). Oh, and she mostly only comes out at night.


Amazing! I have to wonder if any other celebrities have been so accurately profiled b…

The Coke Fest saga continues

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You probably remember the roars of outrage a few weeks back when Coca-Cola in conjunction with 5FM announced the line-up for this year's Coke Fest music festival. Well, the story has just taken another unexpected turn.

The My Coke Fest blog - where people were most vociferous about the craptacular band line-up - is shutting down on 16 February. It turns out the blog was NOT, and was NEVER, the official festival website (That can be found here). Coke got wind of it, its lawyers went into attack mode and blogger Jason has had to tug the site down.


I first heard of this development over at Tech Leader. I commented after the blog entry there, and what follows below is an adapted version of what I had to say.

Out of interest, Coke has responded with their version of events, which can be read here at MarkLives.com. What is perhaps most important about this article is that apparently Coke had been putting legal pressure on Jason since December last year, and not suddenly over the past fortn…

TV to watch

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I actually don't watch that much television at all. There are a few shows that I dip in and out of, largely because I seem to be sitting in the lounge at the time they're screening, but there are even fewer shows that I watch religiously. These days I seem to stick to buying or borrowing DVD boxsets (like the excellent 30 Rock, the first season of which I'm watching at the moment). For the record, unlike a lot of South Africans online, I don't download shows from the Internet - I don't have the cap and I don't have a "download dealer" who I can pester to get me whatever I want.

Anyway, over the past week I've encountered 2 shows that seem to be worth keeping an eye on.

Fringe is the new sci-fi series from Alias and Lost creator J.J. Abrams. Think of it as a 21st Century X-Files meets Without a Trace meets CSI, in which a group of "fringe" scientists and FBI agents investigate something known as "the Pattern", a series of paran…

Fantastic news for Tuesday

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Watchmen is coming to IMAX cinemas in South Africa! From 6 March 2009 you'll be able to catch the tormented heroes at Gateway in Durban, and Menlyn in Pretoria.

I'm exceptionally happy about this news, because Watchmen looks to be one giant piece of cinematic eye candy... which will be even more delicious on the giant IMAX screen. I wasn't quite sure it would happen though, seeing as we have missed some major IMAX drawcards in the past. 300 for example only arrived in IMAX cinemas 6 months after the film's release, when you could already purchase the film on DVD.

Anyway, 24 days and counting...

Trailer Tuesday: Coraline

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Coraline, based on Neil Gaiman's best-selling children's book, has been a long time coming. I remember getting all excited about it back in late 2002 when it was prematurely announced that my favourite actress, Michelle Pfeiffer would be playing the Other Mother.

As it turns out, that casting never happened - instead, that most annoying of Desperate Housewives Teri Hatcher voices the film's villain while Dakota Fanning is the film's heroine and title character.

Still, I've been tracking Coraline for quite a while now, especially since it comes from Henry Selick, the animator-writer-director responsible for The Nightmare Before Christmas and James and the Giant Peach. And, like Nightmare and James, Coraline is traditional stop-motion (not CGI!), one of my favourite old school animation sub-genres.


I personally haven't read Neil Gaiman's novel, but I have read a lot about it, and basically Coraline is an Alice In Wonderland-esque tale about a young girl who f…

Weekend report-back

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Right now I'm still recovering...

On Friday evening I joined my sister (henceforth to be known as Lady Gaga thanks to her new hairstyle!) and her friends for my sister's birthday celebrations. The party started with pre-drinks and snacks at her boyfriend's house before we headed down in taxi convoy to Durban's club-of-the-moment, Clapham Grand.

This was an amusing experience for me, seeing as I haven't actually gone clubbing in a good few years now. I think the last time I was at Burn, my most common hang-out, was in 2007 sometime. Anyway, Clapham is a throwback to the likes of long-gone Tiger Tiger, in that it's very trendy and very commercial, with some really bizarre music choices for a crowd that is in the 24 - 30 age bracket. Wigfield's Saturday Night, Carly Simon's You're so Vain and Queen's Don't Stop Me Now were just some of the tracks played along with the usual current crappy "hits" you can't escape from on 5FM.

This sai…

The Geek Hierarchy

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Now apparently this flow chart is ancient as far web humour is concerned. It's been online since January 2002!. However, I only stumbled across it in the past month or so, so I thought I'd post it up here for those, like me, who have never seen it before.



I'm still wary about asigning myself the geek label. I'd rather be called a nerd any day, or, of course a fangirl.

Looking at the hierarchy, I'm embarrassed to say a number of categories refer to me, although mostly in the upper tiers *phew*. I'm not an anime fan, I don't read sci-fi, and yes, the furries I have encountered (mostly online) have proven to be some of the most fucked up people I know.

Anyway, to be fair I'll be honest and point out exactly what categories apply to me.

Science Fiction / Fantasy Literature Fans
I don't think I've read a Science Fiction book in my life (although I've been meaning to read the original Dune for ages). As for Fantasy, I am very selective. There is so mu…

In exactly 1 month from now...

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...you WILL be watching WATCHMEN - the grand daddy of comic book adaptations - when it hits the big screen!

After all, Hollywood studios and various film makers have been tossing around the idea of the film version for over 20 years now. That's how long this film has technically been in the making. Anyway, as I've mentioned before Watchmen is my most highly anticipated film of 2009.


The buzz surrounding the film seems to have petered off over the past few months, but I'm thinking the Hype Machine should be going into overdrive any day now.

Diarise the 6 March 2009 now!

RocknRolla

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Although each is a little different it's impossible to deny that all of writer-director Guy Richie's crime capers follow the same format: After a series of stuff-ups some incompetent small-time hoodlums find themselves indebted to a dangerous crime boss. The crime boss normally has problems of his own. As the small-time crooks try to extricate themselves from their situation, they draw in other lowlifes, and find themselves with at least one apparently indestructible hitman on their tail. Eventually all the various interweaving storylines come together in a comically overblown climax where bullets fly, blood spatters and it all ends with a pile of bodies on the floor.

RocknRolla, Richie's latest film fits the formula exactly, so there's no real need to discuss the plot further.


The film features an outstanding English cast, including Tom Wilkinson as the abusive, racist crime lord, Mark Strong as his disillusioned right-hand man, Thandie Newton as an ice queen accountant…