Showing posts from July, 2009

Movies today, SA!

Alright, Saffers, your 2 major movie releases this weekend centre on guinea pigs and Greeks. Once again it's something of a dud set of debuts, so unless I finally get around to watching Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, my movie viewing will once again be drawn from the selection offered by the Durban International Film Festival.

Anyway, G-Force is the latest family film from Disney, combining live action footage and CGI-animation. The film centres on a group of guinea pigs who have been trained by the US government as covert operatives, and find themselves in a situation where they have to overcome the limitations of their size, and save the world.

Something about this one makes me think of Cats & Dogs, which was largely "meh", but I'm sure the kiddies will love it nonetheless. Out of interest, G-Force knocked Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince out of the #1 spot at the American box office, and it's also produced by Jerry Bruckheimer, who seems to be b…

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince reviewed

Much like the James Bond franchise, every time a new Harry Potter film comes out it is instantly proclaimed the Best Film in the Series Ever. I’m in advertising so please excuse me if I don’t buy this marketing bullshit, and actually reserve my opinion until after watching the film.

As it turns out, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince is NOT the best of the Potter films. As far as I’m concerned that honour still belongs to Order of the Phoenix, the film released prior to this one. Half-Blood Prince is a hit-and-miss affair, and, criminally, it’s the first Harry Potter film that actually drags. Half-Blood Prince feels its full two-and-a-half hours running time.

In terms of what does work in Half-Blood Prince, the simmering romantic tensions among the film’s young cast have been well handled by director David Yates. Some viewers may in fact grumble that the film focuses too much on teenage relationships, and should have been retitled Harry Potter and the Case of Raging Hormones. Howe…

Bruno reviewed

With Watchmen, the closing credits of The Hangover, and, now, Bruno, 2009 looks set to go down as Hollywood’s Year of the Schlong. Never before has male nudity featured prominently in so many mainstream films. Of course, given that Bruno is a comedy hell-bent on drawing gasps and giggles from its audience, nudity is present purely for its shock, and therefore, laughter, value.

Starring British comedian Sacha Baron Cohen, Bruno is the follow-up to the smash hit 2006 mockumentary Borat (full title Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan). This time around Cohen introduces cinema audiences to the least known, and arguably least popular, of the characters from his TV series, Da Ali G Show – Bruno, a flamboyantly gay, fashion-obsessed TV journalist from Austria.

As a comedy, Bruno is unquestionably a hit-and-miss affair. Although it follows almost exactly the same format as Borat – clueless TV interviewer comes to America with camera and loyal lack…

Trailer Tuesday: Alice in Wonderland

The Net was abuzz last week when the teaser trailer for Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland leaked online. But as fast as Disney yanked the pixelated trailer from websites, it would pop up somewhere else. Eventually though, once the Alice in Wonderland discussion panel had been held at the San Diego Comic Con, Disney was content to unleash the high definition trailer on the world - despite the fact that everyone had seen it by then. Ha!

For safety's sake, though, if the trailer above doesn't work, you can also head here to watch it in high quality.

Anyway, I've already commented quite extensively (here and here) on this new movie adaptation of Lewis Carroll's classic nonsense tales. Although, to be clear, this new Alice isn't a straight, or even hybrid, adaptation of the original books. Rather, it's a whole new tale, with a strong "coming of age/personal discovery" focus:

Alice (Mia Wasikowska), now 19 years old, attends a party at a Victorian estate on…

Weekend activities

First up, a happy birthday to this blog! Yesterday (Sunday), Pfangirl Through the Looking Glass turned 4! Readers have come and gone, blog features have been adopted and dropped, but Through the Looking Glass continues to trundle along with its mix of geeky entertainment news, reviews and personal musings - updated at least once every day, Monday to Friday.

Never say I don't take up anything without commitment.

Anyway, in terms of my weekend pop culture consumption, here's what I got up to:

I caught 2 films screening as part of the Durban International Film Festival. Both were horror films and both were the 22:15 show, which required a little tweaking of my body clock.

Of course you can expect my full reviews on this blog shortly, but I found Swedish vampire movie Let the Right One in to be a bit overrated. Its performances were great, as well as its deft hybridisation of film genres, but the actual storyline was very predictable. Lars von Trier's Antichrist was also a …

Films, films, films...

A grand total of 6 new movies open in South Africa today, some in more widespread release than others. Unfortunately, not a single one of them piques my interest. There's a whole other set of movies out at the moment that I'm dying to see, though, but more about that in a moment...

Here's a brief rundown of this weekend's new releases, nationwide:

Fighting - Channing Tatum and Terrence Howard star in this action-drama about a young man who finds himself involved in New York's brutal bare-knuckle street fighting scene. 41% Fresh on Rotten Tomatoes.

Management - A quirky romantic comedy meets road trip movie, starring Steve Zahn and Jennifer Aniston. They play a mismatched couple who discover their unexpected relationship is worth fighting for. 45% Fresh on Rotten Tomatoes.

I Love You, Beth Cooper - One for the teens, this comedy stars everyone's favourite indestructible cheerleader, Hayden Panettiere. After a geeky guy declares his love for the most popular girl at…

ICON 2009: The basics

ICON, South Africa’s biggest annual games and comics convention. For the record, the title of "SA's oldest gaming con" actually belongs to Cape Town’s Dragonfire.

Jabula Recreation Centre, Sandringham, Johannesburg (Gauteng province, South Africa).

10 - 12 July 2009 (Friday through Sunday).

Entry was R15 for a day pass, or R30 for all 3 days. In addition, you paid entry fees to participate in gaming tournaments (around R20), pen-and-paper role playing sessions (R15) and Live Action Role Playing (LARPing) (R40 – R180, depending on food and props required for the scenario). If you wanted, you could also sign up for the 3 course dinner (R75) that rounded off the con on Sunday night after the prize-giving.

Things to do/see:
Card playing (mostly Magic: The Gathering, and Vampire: The Eternal Struggle)
Wargaming (Warhammer, Warhammer 40K and Warmachine)
Miniatures painting
Pen-and-paper role playing
Live action role playing
Anime viewing
Costume competi…

Girlz 'N' Games #48: The Megan Fox Effect

OK, so that's one thing off this week's Blogging To Do List - the seconds of 2 Transformers themed Girlz 'N' Games comics. The first, with my commentary, can be found on my blog here.

Anyway, I call this one The Megan Fox Effect. If only deodorant and fragrance manufacturers would realise the profit they could make by bottling the essence of Hollywood's current favourite sex goddess. Think of all those Axe/Lynx ads, but invert them so it's hunky guys going crazy for a decidedly ordinary girl... all thanks to the irresistible power of Fox, the Sexiest Woman in the World for a record second year in a row.

Oh, and out of interest, those Transformers cushions are 100% real. If you're a die-hard Tranny fan (thanks, Harry Knowles for that term) you can actually buy them to pimp up your pad and really, um, impress the ladies. Because you know how hot girls get for big robots that turn into trucks and stuff.


Anyway, given that I provided a break…

Trailer Tuesday: Gamer

If you're a fan of cheesy 80s action movies, then after watching the trailer for new action-sci-fi flick Gamer, you may find yourself thinking of Arnold Schwarzenegger's ultra-violent The Running Man. Well, at least I did.

Both Gamer and The Running Man seem to have the same basic premise: in the near future gladiatorial games are back for the amusement of the masses! Convicted deathrow inmates are forced to fight for their lives on a hit TV show watched by millions. Gamer, however, gives the concept a more hi-tech flavour, and it's not an entirely unbelievable one given the "immersive" direction gaming seems be heading with the popularity of the Nintendo Wii, and the emergence of Microsoft's much hyped Project Natal.

Here's the plot outline for Gamer:

"Gamer" is a high-concept action thriller set in a near future when gaming and entertainment have evolved into a terrifying new hybrid. Humans control other humans in mass-scale, multi-player onli…

Resuming transmission...

I told you last week's updates would probably be intermittent. Well, they were, although not for the reasons I initially thought.

You see on Wednesday evening I was floored by a very bad head cold/case of flu (whatever it was, it didn't aggravate my body below the collarbone), and I pretty much spent the next 3 days confined to bed - excluding Friday when I had to drag my bobble-headed corpse into work because of the stupid "No Sick Days on a Monday or Friday without a doctor's note" rule... *grumble grumble*.

Anyway, as my loyal blog readers know, Pfangirl Through The Looking Glass is a one woman show, so there weren't any affiliated guest bloggers to step in and post up some goodies to keep you guys amused towards the end of the week.

I have to admit I felt pretty bad about failing my duties like that. Damn Con Flu brought all the way back from Joburg!

Anyway, I am slowly returning to normal functionality, and I've been writing up a blogging to-do list.…

Happy Harry Potter Day!

To celebrate today's midweek release of the sixth Harry Potter film, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince in the States, South Africa, and various other countries around the world, I have decided to declare today unofficial Harry Potter Day!

In keeping with this spirit, today our department at work is being treated to all 5 John Williams' Harry Potter scores blared out of my PC speakers, and I've even brought a little cosplay to the office.

Commence teasing!

For the record, I'm a firm believer that if I was at Hogwarts, I would so have been in Ravenclaw House. Plus, I always really liked their colour scheme.

What I always find surprising is how easy it is for me to remember the Harry Potter terminology and world mythos, especially since, with the exception of Half-Blood Prince, I've only read JK Rowling's books once. I'm a bit hazy with character names, but surprisingly I can tell you what a Grindylow is, or explain the difference between Butterbeer and Fire…

Back, busy... and bad news

Right, I'm back from ICON (Facebook page here) - had a fabulous time, met some fabulous people, saw some fabulous things and played some fabulous games. I can promise you'll be receiving a detailed report-back on this blog in the coming days.

However, I have to apologise now for potentially irregular updates over the coming 4 days, as well as a delay of the next Girlz 'N' Gamesweb comic (#48) until next week sometime. Sorry.

Apart from the need to catch up with some movie viewing (Bruno, The Proposal and Transformers 2, as well as Harry Potter & The Half-Blood Prince SQUEEE!) for reviewing purposes there's also my paid 8-to-5 writing gig to consider. Not only is there the issue of catching up with 2 days of missed work; but apparently my boss is away sometime this week, leaving me the head of the copy department. *Gulps down Urbanol capsule...*

More dramatically, in my personal life I returned home to very bad news. My 79 year old grandmother collapsed on Saturda…

Calling all SA geeks!

As I mentioned briefly in my previous post, I won't be blogging tomorrow or Monday. You see I'm heading up to Johannesburg for ICON, South Africa's biggest games and comics convention. Now in its 17th year, ICON isn't a RAGE, with a dominant video game and technology focus; rather ICON caters for all sectors of the geek and gaming hobbyist community: there will be role playing, board games, PG gaming, anime screenings, cosplay and costume competitions, war gaming, miniatures painting demos, Magic the Gathering tournaments, comics and collectibles to buy, etc etc.

But if you really want to know more, why not download the ICON brochure?

ICON will take place this weekend from Friday, 10 July to Sunday, 12 July at the Jabula Recreation Centre in Sandringham, Johannesburg.

Anyway, I hope to see some of you there. If you are a Gauteng based geek or geekette and you've been a silent reader of this blog for a while, please come over and say hi. I'll be around for prett…

Movies out Friday, SA

Right, I'll be AWOL from this blog tomorrow and Monday (I'll be up in Johannesburg for 4 days but more about that in my next blog post!), so here’s a brief outline of tomorrow/Friday’s major movie releases in South Africa.

First up, and my pick of the week, is Bruno, the latest from Sacha Baron Cohen, the English comedian who has already gifted the world with the idiotic antics of Ali G and Borat. Bruno is Cohen’s third, and least known, fictional persona – a flamboyant, gay fashionista and TV show host from Germany. Following much the same mockumentary (or should that be shockumentary?) format as Borat, Bruno chronicles the title character’s outlandish adventures in the United States as he interacts with Americans who have no idea they’re the victims of a giant movie prank.

Given the rising tide of conservatism and anti-gay backlash that has afflicted the States and many other parts of the world in recent years, the timing of Bruno’s release couldn’t be better. I’m expecting a …

Get ready to Potter with a Half-Blood Prince

Well here we are just one week from the 15 July (that's a WEDNESDAY, South Africa) release of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, the 6th installment in the beloved fantasy film franchise - based, of course, on the penultimate book in J.K. Rowling's bestselling fantasy novel series.

As you may recall, Half-Blood Prince is my second most highly anticipated film of 2009, next to Watchmen. And it appears I'm not the only one going giddy with excitement over a return to Hogwarts. I personally know people who have already reserved their seats, and that's almost unheard of in South Africa.

Meanwhile, Fandango sent me some very interesting statistics about advance ticket sales for Half-Blood Prince in the United States. Two weeks before release the film was already accounting for 28% of ticket sales on the site, so personally I'm expecting it to flatten Transformers at the box office. And I'm really hoping that it's on the same quality level as Order of the Phoe…

Trailer Tuesday: Jennifer's Body

OK, honestly there are only 2 real reasons I'm posting up the redband trailer for horror comedy, Jennifer's Body. The first reason is that it stars Transformers hottie Megan Fox, so there may be some substantial interest in the film from guys reading this blog. The second reason is that Jennifer's Body comes from the pen of stripper-turned-Academy Award winning screenwriter Diablo Cody (who incidentally is great fun to follow on Twitter). Cody won her Oscar for the hit comedy-drama Juno so I'm expecting a lot of witty dialogue and general quirkiness to accompany the blood and guts in Jennifer's Body.

Anyway, looking at the trailer it would appear that Jennifer's Body will be as much an acquired taste as Drag Me to Hell in that it's clearly not afraid to be an offbeat genre-blender. Or just downright silly.

Personally, although I'm intrigued about the project, I'm not quite sure where I stand yet in terms of my anticipation level: Rush out on opening …