Showing posts from April, 2009

Movies this weekend, SA!

It's another 3-day weekend in South Africa, with tomorrow being our last public holiday in a good long while. If you're struggling to find something to do this weekend there are 4 new movies hitting local cinemas today.

First up, as I'm sure you're well aware, is X-Men Origins: Wolverine, with Hugh Jackman returning as everyone's favourite badass Canadian superhero. Although Wolverine has been the central character in all 3 X-Men movies, now we get to see the events that transformed him into the bitter metal-clawed amnesiac we initially met back in 2000.

Unfortunately buzz about the film hasn't been good. First there was extensive reshoots which suggested that South African director Gavin (Tsotsi) Hood has had creative control wrestled from him by Fox executives. Then there was the controversial leak of the unfinished film on the Net. And there's always been the nagging worry for fans that Wolverine will be another X-Men 3 - a disappointing mess overstuffed …

Wild Weekend

I promise I'll get back to proper entertainment updates soon, but for today, here's a brief rundown of the little breakaway I had this last weekend.

Basically the bf and I (as well as Paddington Bear on his first proper African safari) headed up the KwaZulu-Natal coast, driving 3 hours from Durban, to spend the weekend at the Hluhluwe Game Reserve. We weren't actually staying inside the reserve at the self-catering Hilltop Camp chalets, or any of the bush lodges; instead we spent Saturday night at the 3-star Protea Hotel Hluhluwe & Safaris, which is just 15 minutes drive from the game reserve.

Although our room, at the start of a corridor, was a bit noisy, our hotel experience was great. Sometimes hotels that belong to big chains can be quite soulless and generic, but Hluhluwe Protea Hotel still has a lot of charm, with African wood carvings and cast iron animal statues dotted all over the place... as well as several peacocks roaming the hotel grounds. Plus, the staff …

Trailer Tuesday: Year One

Right, I can't say I've been following Year One in any particular detail, or with any great interest. Most of all my attention was caught by the unusual premise, which sees Jack Black and Michael Cera performing their usual comic shtick against an ancient Biblical world backdrop.

Watching the trailer, the film seems to be some kind of cross between Monty Python's Life of Brian and 10,000 BC, with Black and Cera's bumbling tribesmen encountering Biblical figures like Cain and Abel as they journey around the Holy Land.

Year One is written and directed by Harold (Caddyshack, Groundhog Day, Ghostbusters) Ramis, so the film's comedic pedigree is pretty solid. The likes of Oliver Platt, Paul Rudd, Christopher (McLuvin) Mintz-Plasse, Hank Azaria, Bill Hader and Vinnie Jones also all pop up in small parts, so there are enough recognisable faces around for audiences to play the usual pleasant "What's he been in?" game.

Still though, I have my doubts about Year O…

Movies today, SA!

Five new movies open in South Africa today in time for the long weekend: 1 drama, 2 action flicks (1 of them a comic adaptation) and 2 comedies.

The drama in question is Milk, the Academy Award-winning film (for Best Actor and Best Original Screenplay) which FINALLY is released locally today. Milk focuses on the true story of gay rights activist Harvey Milk, who, in 1977, became the first openly gay man voted into public office in America. Needless to say he riled up some serious opposition in the process.

Sean Penn is supposed to be quite superb in the title role, and for once he seems to be playing a cheerful, optimistic go-getter as opposed to a dark and tormented character. Milk is 93% Fresh on Rotten Tomatoes.

Also finally opening in South Africa today is Punisher: War Zone, a third attempt at adapting the kind-of popular Marvel comic for the big screen. Punisher: War Zone focuses on grieving-cop-turned-vigilante Frank Castle who has declared war on organised crime in New York. Thi…

Election Day

Hey, hey, my submitted Voting Story and pictures are on the News24 website, under the heading "Voting in Pinetown, KZN" (above 5 entries down the page). Here's an expanded version of that same personal account:

Despite it being a public holiday yesterday, I still got up at my normal weekday time (6:20am), so I could be at my closest electoral station when voting for South Africa's third proper national, and provincial, elections started at 7am.

We arrived at Benjamin Pine Primary School just before 7am to find a surprisingly long queue snaking around the school parking area and then halfway up the driveway. The queue moved pretty quickly however, with my voting process over in just 50 minutes. Obviously people's experiences at other stations varied, even at this early hour of the morning - I know voters who were finished within 5-10 minutes, while others took over 2 hours to mark their "X."

Bet you've never seen so many white South Africans together a…

Girlz 'N' Games #42: So close yet so far...

I've been meaning to do this comic for quite a while. If memory serves me correctly, Mercenaries 2: World in Flames, which was originally released for XBox, the PlayStation 2 & 3, and PC in August 2008, is already in video game bargain bins the world over.

Still though, having watched the bf devote hours and hours to this game, my sentiments remain the same.

Basically, Mercenaries 2 is a fun, free-roaming action game - pretty much an EA knock-off of the Grand Theft Auto franchise, except instead of negotiating the criminal underworld of a corrupt city, you play a mercenary in a corrupt country (Venezuela) who gets to harness all kinds of military hardware in your quest to make as much money as possible off the political chaos.

You can play as 1 of 3 characters: a punk viking with a lust for destruction, a buff former Delta Force operative and, of course, the sleek and ambitious Jennifer Mui, a Chinese-Englishwoman who used to work for MI6 until she discovered she could make much …

Monsters Vs. Aliens

It's a public holiday in South Africa tomorrow, for our most important National Elections in 15 years (my party endorsement here). Needless to say I won't be around, blogging, so I'm putting up a few extra posts now to keep you guys, my readers, amused until Thursday. So, moving on...

The latest CGI-animated film from DreamWorks, Monsters Vs. Aliens is unfortunately a bit too much like the old B-grade science fiction films it takes much of its inspiration from. The film is a brisk, amusing way to pass 90 minutes, but ultimately it’s complete fluff, easy to forget and utterly unexceptional.

This is disappointing, especially since Monsters Vs. Aliens had one of the funniest trailers for an animated film in a good long while. Then again, the film’s relationship to its trailer may be part of the problem. Many of Monsters Vs. Aliens’ funniest moments have already been revealed to cinemagoers months in advance, spoiling multiple surprises. This said, Seth Rogan’s brainless blob of…

Trailer Tuesday: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (again)

Right, I know I've covered the 6th installment in the Harry Potter movie franchise twice already as part of the Trailer Tuesday blog feature (here and here) but Warner Brothers just keeps releasing sweet new trailers for Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, sending me into geektastic seizures. Plus, the cruel film executives postponed the film's release from November last year to this July (to boost the studio's 2009 offerings after the 2007-2008 Writers' Strike), extending my agony and excitement even more.

This latest trailer above really places the emphasis on the film's action and magical content. And they show quidditch footage, which is always a big plus for me.

For those of you who don't know, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince finally offers an explanation of Lord Voldemort's powers, and a good portion of the film, like JK Rowling's book, involves Harry and Professor Dumbledore taking the first steps to weaken and kill the most powerful d…

Weekend report-back

Mostly this last weekend was consumed with gaming and movies, as well as some major work on the next Girlz 'N'Games web comic, which you can probably expect to be up tomorrow.

Anyway, our return to the Battlefield 1942 mod, Desert Combat continues - with more enthusiasm than any real skill on my part. I still can't fly the planes and helicopters, preferring instead to cruise around in the American Bradley and Abrams tanks when I'm not gunning down the Iraqi bots with my beloved heavy assault rifle, the SAW (who says video games never teach you anything?).

I also got in a decent amount of World of WarCraft this weekend. I'm still not questing, fed up as I am with tedious dailies. Rather, I'm currently obsessed with leveling my secondary skills, picking up the various related achievements and just generally making gold. So my Cooking is now sitting at 409/450 and I took my Fishing from 0 to 150 (man, is it boring to level).

And by some weird economic principle one s…

Movies today, SA!

Well, considering last Friday was a public holiday, I missed outlining the new movie releases for the weekend of 10 April.

For the record these were:

1) The FOURTH movie in the braindead Fast & the Furious saga, simply called Fast & Furious (26% on Rotten Tomatoes)
2) Dragonball: Evolution (14% on Rotten Tomatoes), a much maligned live-action American film based on the Japanese Anime
3) Tornado and the Kalahari Horse Whisperer, another local drama from the makers of Faith Like Potatoes and Hansie. Expect lots of troubled country bumpkins and slo-mo horse riding scenes.

Out of these films, the one I would most likely watch is Dragonball, and I would be watching it in disguise... at home on TV... in a year and a half's time.

Anyway, today there are 4 high profile new releases in South Africa.

First up is big screen comic adaptation The Spirit, from Sin City and 300 creator Frank Miller. Based on Will Eisner's groundbreaking cross-genre comic, which dates all the way back to …

Vote DA!

Well, yesterday was pretty shitty - my American Summer Camp application was rejected largely because my listed skills were too "cultural," and the con-artists at Youth Discovery Programme won't refund me my R500 interview fee (which I was forced to pay upfront) despite the fact that I didn't even reach the interview stage. Fuckers...

Anyway, yesterday did at least include one bright sparkling moment. I went to my first ever political meeting to hear Helen Zille, the leader of the DA (Democratic Alliance) speak in Westville. Now, normally politics doesn't feature at all on this blog, but seeing as we're now less than a week away from what is probably South Africa's most important election since our first proper democratic one back in 1994 (when ALL adult South Africans could vote for the first time), I thought I'd make an exception.

For the record I was largely inspired to go to the meeting after watching last year's American elections with much inte…

The Easter Weekend

Well, technically this post should have gone up yesterday but I thought you guys would prefer the usual Trailer Tuesday feature first. Plus my body decided to rebel yesterday morning after a weekend of overeating rich, oily and sugary foods - forcing a very rapid, painful and involuntary detox on my system to the point where I had to retreat home and work from there for the day to avoid embarrassment.

Anyway, the 4-day Easter weekend included several family get-togethers, celebrations and meals which saw us shuffling between Yellowwood Park, Pinetown and the Midlands. However, I'm sure that doesn't interest you at all, so I'll just stick to chronicling my pop culture consumption of the past few days.

I finally got around to watching Monsters Vs. Aliens on Thursday evening - in the traditional 2D format as opposed to 3D, which was double the normal ticket price. Anyway, as usual, you can expect a full review of the film up on this blog soon (probably tomorrow) but t…

Trailer Tuesday - Crank 2: High Voltage

I actually quite enjoyed the original Crank, an over-the-top action flick that focused on a poisoned hitman (Jason Statham) having to do all kinds of things to keep his adrenalin levels up (including taking drugs, having sex, hijacking cars etc.) in order to keep the effects of a deadly toxin at bay while he exacts his revenge. This said, I really enjoyed Crank until its closing moments, when the film made one final leap from engaging silliness to jarring ridiculousness. Think the entirety of Shoot 'Em Up.

Anyway, the sequel to Crank, Crank 2: High Voltage kicks off exactly where the first film ended. Chev Chelios's ordeal isn't over. This time his indestructible heart has been stolen by a Chinese mobster and replaced with a lousy mechanical one that continually needs jolting with an electric charge to keep Chev alive.

Looking at the new trailer, Crank 2 seems to be pretty much exactly the same as the first film. I.e. the filmmakers aren't messing with the formula that …