Showing posts from May, 2009

Movies today, South Africa

A grand total of 7 new films open in South Africa today. None of them really pique my interest though so I think I'll be giving the cinema a miss this weekend.

The most high profile of these new movies is undoubtedly Duplicity, a breezy comedy-drama about 2 former spies who turn to corporate espionage for personal profit. Clive Owen and Julia Roberts star, and the film has been described as charming, smart and packed with plot twists. It's apparently ideal for fans of stylish crime caper movies like Oceans 11. Duplicity is a solid 67% Fresh on Rotten Tomatoes.

Horror movie junkies will probably want to check out The Uninvited, yet another remake of a hit Korean psychological-thriller. This time the action centres on a young woman, Anna (Emily Browning), who, after the tragic death of her mother, is admitted to a mental hospital. She returns home to discover her father (David Strathairn) is suddenly engaged to her mother's former nurse (Elisabeth Banks). When various spirits …

Remakes, reboots all around: Part 1

The film industry is a business. If movie executives find an easy way to turn a profit, even if this method is incredibly lazy and/or creatively bankrupt, they will embrace it with open arms. Remakes, or reboots, of hit films and franchises give them this opportunity. And so far so good for Hollywood - the remakes of Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Friday the 13th and Halloween have all hit paydirt, while The Incredible Hulk, Star Trek and Christopher Nolan's Batman films, to name a few non-horror examples, have also been massive success stories.

Whether its feelings of nostalgia they dredge up, curiosity or concern, these movies still get bums in cinema seats. And as they say, if something works, don't fix it! Hollywood seems to have embraced that saying with a vengeance. We're set for a flood of remakes and reboots, most of them dredged up from the 1980s...

I was planning to post up an extensive remakes list in one go, but given that my blogging time is limited, I'm actually…

Star Trek reviewed

One of the big “oooh” moments of Star Trek is undeniably the first time the audience sees the bridge of the new USS Enterprise. Its design seems to have come straight out of Apple’s head office; all smooth white surfaces, shining glass and glowing display panels. It’s the iBridge, incredibly pretty to look at, sleek and sexy, and this same description pretty much sums up the new Star Trek film, the eleventh in the series, as a whole. Star Trek is a lot of fun and very visually engaging… but little more.

With a convenient time travel storyline, Star Trek is essentially a reboot of the franchise, erasing events that fans of the old TV series, as well as 1979's Original Motion Picture through to 2002’s Nemesis, are familiar with. This kind of negation of Star Trek history is in its way sad, but at the same time it doesn’t mean director J.J. Abrams and his writers are treating the Star Trek universe, and its various beloved characters, with disrespect.

In fact, Star Trek draws a great d…

Trailer Tuesday: Sherlock Holmes

Ohboyohboyohboyohboy... I have to say that this first trailer for Guy Ritchie'sSherlock Holmes makes the action-adventure-mystery look like a rollicking good time - tonally a sort of Victorian era Pirates of the Caribbean. And I love the fact that the storyline seems to involve dark rituals and the occult. How very Alan Moore.

Anyway, as I'm sure you have worked out from watching the trailer, Richie's film is somewhat of a departure from previous Sherlock Holmes movie and TV adaptations. This can be explained by the fact that the film isn't based directly on Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's classic novels about the genius gentleman detective, but rather on a as-yet-unreleased comic/graphic novel by the film's producer Lionel Wigram.

This said, Conan Doyle's Holmes is apparently far more bohemian in the books than he has ever been portrayed onscreen. Although the character's amazing intellect remains the same, he is also known to be an excellent combatant and has …

Weekend rundown

Well, I can't say I did anything especially exciting this last weekend. The same can't be said for other women in my family: my sister did her first ever tandem skydive as part of her boyfriend's birthday celebrations, and my aunt made a triumphant return to the Comrades Marathon after a 3-year break. She completed the world's oldest, largest ultra-marathon in just over 10 hours.

I suppose I did achieve one thing this weekend and that was a return to proper paint-on-canvas painting after a break of 9 years. You see we've recently repainted our office boardroom and bar area, and everyone at the company has been given a little canvas and challenged to paint some sort of alcohol-related image as decoration (deadline is 17 June).

I would honestly have preferred to work in acrylics, but seeing as that would mean forking out for a whole new set, I turned to my trusty old oil paints instead. "Old" being the operative word. My painting only requires 5 colours, but…

Movies today, SA!

Three new films open in South Africa today: a whimsical family adventure, a horror-thriller remake and a dark drama rich with social commentary. The last film on that list is the only one that piques my interest.

No doubt the big box office winner of the weekend will be family film Night At the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian, the sequel to the 2006 smash hit. True to the spirit of sequels, everything is bigger this time around, from the A-list cast to the special effects, to the slapstick silliness.

Ben Stiller is back as failed inventor-turned-security guard Larry, who relocates to Washington DC when the New York Museum of Natural History is closed for renovations, and all its exhibits are put into storage at the world's biggest museum complex. Chaos ensues when the New York and Washington exhibits all start coming to life.

Joining returnees Robin Williams, Owen Wilson and many more are Amy Adams, Hank Azaria, Ricky Gervais and Seth Rogan.

Night At the Museum: Battle of the Smiths…

Angels & Demons reviewed

“ Verb: Nerf - When game designers reduce the effectiveness of a game aspect to improve balance in play.”

Using that definition, Dan Brown’s bestselling novel Angels & Demons has definitely been nerfed in its translation into a 2-hour film. Hardcore fans may complain that such an approach dulls the final product, but on the whole, the changes made are intelligent improvements, enhancing the realism of the film by filing down Brown’s more ridiculous characters and situations, and reshaping them into more credible forms. As a result, mystery-thriller Angels & Demons is a vastly superior film to its plodding, pedantic predecessor, The Da Vinci Code.

It immediately helps that the puzzle-solving that is so central to Angels & Demons comes with large stakes attached, as well as a time limit. This isn’t just Harvard symbolist Robert Langdon (Tom Hanks) on the run from the law as he was in The Da Vinci Code. Here Langdon is summoned to Rome to the assist the Vatican at its greatest…

Girlz 'N' Games #44: The male miscarriage

This comic will probably make a lot more sense if you're at all familiar with the controversial, much maligned "miscarriage" strip, and related storyline, that appeared last year on gaming web comic, Ctrl+Alt+Del:

I'd been waiting a long time to take Tim Absath's strip and flip the gender roles around (hopefully to amusing effect), and just a few weeks ago I finally received my chance when it was announced that game development studio 3D Realms was shutting shop and/or firing all its staff.

The significance of this closure was that it basically meant the cancellation of Duke Nukem Forever, just as the First First Shooter seemed to be nearing release... after 12 YEARS of development.

Now I was never a Duke Nukem fan - my "oldschool" FPS of choice were Rise of the Triad and Heretic - but I do understand the warm, fuzzy place Duke Nukem 3D occupies in many gamers' hearts.

Duke Nukem 3D was, after all, one of the original "irresponsible" games, ga…

Trailer Tuesday - Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen

I made a few comments about Transformers sequel Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen back when the 30 second Superbowl spot first appeared online. Watching this atmospheric teaser trailer above, or the second full trailer here, honestly my opinion hasn't changed much at all.

Clearly if you loved the first overblown action/sci-fi flick from director Michael Bay, you'll love this one because it looks like more of the exact same CGI-enhanced silliness. To be fair, I never really got into the animated TV series (or related toy line) growing up, and I wasn't a fan of the first film. In fact, I still delight in yelling out "Bumblebee, NOOOO!" whenever Transformers is mentioned. So yes, I'm clearly not the audience demographic Transformers is targeting, and I may be biased as a result.

I included the teaser trailer in this post, as opposed to the full trailer, because it is packed with so many "WTF is going on?!" moments, it was impossible to resist (I half e…

Weekend of ups & downs

This last weekend came with its fair share of pros and cons. On the pro side, Friday evening was pretty productive from my side. I did my World of WarCraft dailies, and got my Fishing skill up another 10 points; and scanned, collated, corrected and began colouring the latest Girlz 'N' Gamesweb comic. And, in my 2nd evening of doing ordinary things at unexpected times, I baked a chocolate cake after 10pm.

Saturday was less productive from a "working on hobbies" perspective. The bf was busy programming a video game with a friend, so I used my free day to get some shopping done. I had some loyalty reward vouchers to spend before they expired, and was desperately in need of some new jeans before I wear out my favourite pair, so I spent a good portion of my time in clothing shops. Being an annoying in-between size, I've found I have to be grateful for whatever flattering pants cut I can find, and I spent most of my time on Saturday running back and forth between the fi…

Movies out today, SA

You can tell we're entering midyear blockbuster season. There are too many movies to watch, and too little time to do so. Five new films hit South African cinemas today. Two, in fact, have been out since Wednesday for some inexplicable reason...

First up, and my viewing priority for the weekend, is Angels & Demons, the sequel to the controversial smash hit, The Da Vinci Code... which of course was based on Dan Brown's bestselling novel.

Angels & Demons reunites the creative team that brought audiences The Da Vinci Code, including director Ron Howard, writer Akiva Goldsman and, of course, Tom Hanks as celebrated Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon (this time with a new haircut).

I've blogged about Angels & Demons before, but basically this mystery-thriller sees Langdon racing around Rome to stop a deadly threat to the Vatican and, by extension, the entire Catholic Church.

Angels & Demons is only 39% Fresh on Rotten Tomatoes, but I'm a firm believer it just h…

DVD delights

I don't normally blog about DVD releases, but every once in a while a batch comes out, or is about to come out, that gives me a warm fuzzy feeling inside. For example, a North American (Region 1) release date has been set for the Watchmen DVD and Blu-ray releases. And it's 21 July. Of course the South African (Region 2, like Europe) release date is still unconfirmed, but given that we received the film in cinemas at exactly the same time as the States, I would expect the DVD release to be around mid July as well.

Thing is, as much as my fingers are itching to get hold of the Director's Cut of the film (with over 30 minutes of additional footage... *swoon*), I'm wondering if I should wait.

You see, on 21 July, 3 versions of Watchmen will become available:
1) A standard 1-disc DVD with the cinema release version of the film
2) A 2-disc extended Director's Cut DVD, with assorted special features
3) A 2-disc Blu-ray Director's Cut, with even more special features than …

Coraline reviewed

New animated film Coraline comes with an impressive creative pedigree. It’s based on the acclaimed children’s bestseller by author Neil Gaiman, who is probably still best known for his seminal Sandman comic series. Coraline the film is directed by animator Henry Selick, the man responsible for stop-motion classics Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas and James and the Giant Peach.

In terms of its storyline, Coraline is essentially a dark Stephen King-esque take on Alice in Wonderland. Coraline Jones (voiced by Dakota Fanning) is an imaginative and resourceful young girl who moves with her overworked, neglectful parents to a remote apartment block called The Pink Palace. The Pink Palace is in fact a sub-divided house over 150 years old, and during her explorations, Coraline finds a secret door that leads to a world where, well, everything is just too good to be true.

In this mirror universe, where everyone and everything has buttons for eyes, Coraline meets her Other Parents, who…

Trailer Tuesday - Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs

Sorry for the late blog update today. Our office Internet was down all morning... Anyway, I'm going to have to keep this post pretty short as a result. Not that I really much much to say about today's trailer.

Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs is the third film in Fox's popular CGI-animated Ice Age series. This time the migrating mammals stumble across a secret subterranean world where dinosaurs still thrive. Of course it isn't long before Sid the Sloth (John Leguizamo) gets into all kinds of trouble when he decides to adopt a nest of dinosaur eggs. Meanwhile, his friends all have problems of their own.

The trailer for Ice Age 3 looks funny enough (hopefully it hasn't revealed the most amusing moments a la Monsters Vs. Aliens) and yes, the franchise's entire all-star voice cast is back - including Ray Romano, Queen Latifah and Denis Leary. For some new flavour this time around the filmmakers have even added Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz's Simon Pegg to the cast…