Showing posts from January, 2010

Walk like an Egyptian...

Well, this blog post is just a short entry to let my regular readers know that I'm going to be absent from this place until 2 February. You see, in my bid to see as many great ancient world monuments, tombs, structures and *erm* rubble sites as possible - I've already ticked Rome and a good chunk of Greece off the list - I'm about to embark on a 17 day tour of Egypt and Jordan. What one does to feel like Indiana Jones and Lara Croft...

Keep well. Behave yourselves. Pop in on occasion to pump up my hit count. And see you on the flipside.


Movies for the next few Fridays

I'm doing things a little differently today, and the reason for this will be explained in my next blog post... Anyway, here's my pick of the best new films opening in South Africa today and on the following 2 Fridays:

Today, 15 January
There's a distinct shortage of rousing Hollywood blockbusters being released today. In fact, the most high profile film of the week is low-key romance/war drama Brothers, starring Tobey Maguire, Jake Gyllenhaal and Natalie Portman.

Based on the acclaimed Danish film, Brothers tells the story of two brothers who are polar opposites - devoted family man and dedicated marine, Sam (Maguire) and recently paroled drifter Tommy (Gyllenhaal). When Sam goes missing during a tour of duty, Tommy uncharacteristically embraces responsibility and steps in to console Sam's wife Grace (Portman) and her children. This slowly healing family unit is however put under strain when a mentally unstable Sam returns, and becomes suspicious of Tommy and Grace's…

Sherlock Holmes reviewed

Sherlock Holmes is director Guy Richie’s much anticipated, and potentially very risky, reimagining of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's beloved super-sleuth. Gone is the deerstalker hat; the aloof intellectualism, and in its place is a bohemian hero just as capable of using his fists as his unsurpassed brain power.

Sherlock Holmes’ unconventional approach to an iconic character could have backfired horribly, alienating fans of the novels and the assorted Sherlock film and TV series. The fact that the film effortlessly pulls off its new interpretation is one of the best things about it. Unfortunately though, the film is also let down by one of the worst things about it – a convoluted storyline that only begins to make sense right at the very end.

Sherlock Holmes starts off superbly, with the title character (Robert Downey Jr.) and his sidekick Dr. Watson (Jude Law) pursuing Lord Blackwood (Mark Strong), an aristocrat-turned-serial killer, who dabbles in the occult and has harnessed dark forc…

2012 reviewed

Better late than never…

2012 is the latest film from director Roland Emmerich, who could perhaps also be called contemporary cinema’s Master of Disaster, seeing as he has already given moviegoers the big, dumb, but highly enjoyable disaster epics Independence Day and The Day After Tomorrow. 2012 is no different.

The film uses as its basis the infamous Mayan prediction that the world as we know it will end on 21 December, 2012. Fortunately the filmmakers get the numbskull scientific explanation for the apocalypse out the way very early on and don’t tend to dwell on it. For the record, it has to do with solar flares penetrating through to the Earth’s core, and heating it to the point that the planet’s crust becomes unmoored – leading to catastrophic earthquakes and tsunamis.

Like the great ‘70s disaster films The Poseidon Adventure, Earthquake and The Towering Inferno, as well as more recent genre entries, 2012 centres on various groups of very different people - played by recognisable Hol…

Trailer Tuesday: Shutter Island

Of course I was tempted today to run the brand new A-Team trailer, but I decided it could wait, especially after I saw the trailer for the latest film from uber-director Martin Scorsese.

I loves me a good horror-tinged psychological thriller and Shutter Island looks like it delivers in terms of mind-bending plot twists and haunting imagery - both of which are major genre requirements. Speaking of genre, Shutter Island is Scorsese's first "commercial" thriller since 1991's Cape Fear. And I'm hoping that Shutter Island will be to his filmography what The Shining was to Stanley Kubrick's - a classy Grade A mindfuck.

Anyway, Shutter Island is based on the 2003 bestselling novel of the same name by Dennis Lehane, and it centres on 2 U.S. marshals, Teddy Daniels (Leonardo DiCaprio) and Chuck Aule (Mark Ruffalo), who, in 1954, are summoned to a mental hospital for the criminally insane - which is located on a secluded island off the coast of Massachusetts. It turns ou…

So here we are after another weekend

After working hard last week, and living out a box since Monday when my grandfather arrived from England (and was assigned my room), I decided to reward myself this weekend with some of my favourite pop culture things.

First of all, in terms of Gaming I took my third World of WarCraft character, Herkon the blood elf paladin up 3 levels to 50. Herkon is modeled on my sexually ambiguous, pen-and-paper Dungeons & Dragons character, who incidentally reached Level 17 a few weeks back. In celebration of WOW Herkon reaching such a pivotal level, I decided to give him back a shirt to wear under his armor - in a bid to combat the "gayness" that was this.

In terms of Film, I finally watched my recently purchased copy of The Fly. I haven't seen Cronenberg's classic in years and I was pleasantly surprised by the revisit now as an adult viewer. The fact that the film uses make-up and puppetry as opposed to CGI to achieve scientist Seth Brundle's (Jeff Goldblum) increasingly…

The War of Art giveaway: And the winner is...

First things first this Monday, entries closed at midnight on Friday, 8 January for The War of Art book giveaway on this blog.

As regular readers of this blog will remember, a few weeks back I posted a Questions and Answers session with The War of Art author, acclaimed novelist Steven Pressfield. The blog entry ended with a chance for one lucky reader to win a copy of The War of Art, also known by its full, more explanatory title, The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles.

I received a grand total of *ahem* six entries, and literally drawing a name from a hat the winner was Gareth Fouche from Durban, South Africa. Congratulations, and thank you for making it so convenient to get the prize to you!

For the non-winners, and anyone now interested in the powerfully motivational, quick-to-read book, I still recommend you get hold of it. Online shopping seems to be the way to go to procure it, and if reading isn't for you, you can even download the book …

Movies today, SA!

I'm a bit snowed under with work at the moment, as well as vacation preparations, so I'm going to keep today's blog update brief. Basically, instead of profiling every single film opening in South African cinemas today I'm just going to stick to my personal top 3 - which I believe to be the movies that will most likely catch the attention of local moviegoers.

Where The Wild Things Are - I have no idea how much interest there will be locally for this big screen adaptation of Maurice Sendak's beloved 1963 children's book. I have my suspicions that it be viewed as too dark and weird by the man on the street.

Anyway, Where The Wild Things Are centres on lonely but imaginative young boy Max (Max Records), who, feeling miserable and misunderstood at home, retreats to a fantasy world populated by emotionally unpredictable creatures. The film is the pet project of director Spike (Being John Malkovich, Adaptation) Jonze, who has developed a reputation for creating memorab…

My first foray into Witchblade

I admit I've never really read much in terms of graphic novels and comics from publishers other than the big 3 of DC, Marvel and Dark Horse. I'd heard about Image Comics partner Top Cow and I knew that their most popular titles were The Darkness and Witchblade, but I'd never really bothered to seek out these comics or their collected trade paperbacks. Why veer away from tried, tested and enjoyed comic reading habits?

However, a few weeks back, while scrounging on my bookshelves for something to read I discovered that I did actually own Witchblade: Origins (consisting of issues #1-8) and Witchblade: Revelations (consisting of issues #9-17). Given that I've never read many superhero comics with a female lead (Catwoman being the only exception), and given how popular I knew Witchblade to be - having spawned a Yancy Butler TV show, and a movie adaptation supposedly on the horizon - I decided to give the series a try.

Let's just say that I now know why I've never both…

Girlz 'N' Games #60: "But it's so nice and feminine!"

I think this Girlz 'N' Games comic will probably have more significance for the geeky gamer girls out there. I don't really know if guys are ever in the situation depicted above unless they receive "sensible" gifts like socks, deodorants and neck ties. Blergh.

Anyway, I'm sure I'm not the only woman out there to have had this Christmas morning gift-receiving experience. Some people just do not "get" how a woman can enjoy supposedly masculine things like gaming and hi-tech gadgetry. These people have a built-in resistance to giving us anything technological, with the end result being that we receive toiletries, hair clips, frilly tops and assorted other girlie crap while the guys get all the good stuff!

The natural response to this situation is seething jealousy. Or the hijacking (at least for the day) of the much more interesting gifts that the men and boys received. Graphic novels and comic treasuries, DVDs, remote control helicopters, MP3 playe…

Trailer Tuesday: Inception

I must confess that I knew pretty much nothing about Inception, the new twisty thriller from director Christopher Nolan. Sure I had heard of the film's name and I knew that it featured a fantastic "youthful" cast, including Leonardo DiCaprio, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Marion Cotillard, Ellen Page, Cillian Murphy and Ken Watanabe. However, due to the amount of secrecy swirling around the project, I just never bothered to pursue information about it further.

The reason for this is that basically I realised I was going to see Inception regardless of what I knew about the film. And I certainly don't want to spoil the movie for myself. Christopher Nolan is one of my favourite directors, having made some of my all-time favourite films of the past decade, including The Prestige, Insomnia and Memento. Ironically, and this puts me in the minority here, but I always thought his biggest box office hits Batman Begins and, to a lesser extent, The Dark Knight were the weakest films in …

What you missed, what I did

Well, I know the past week has been very quiet in many offices and businesses around the world, as people took leave between Christmas and New Year's Day. I know that for many today is a case of "back to reality." You may still however be in a less than enthusiastic mood for work, so in case you need any procrastination material, here's a rundown of the most important pop culture blog posts that appeared here over the past fortnight - please check them out and comment:

The Best and Worst Films of 2009
Q&A with writer Steven Pressfield - with a book giveaway (Entry closes this Friday)
Girlz 'N' Games web comic #59: Have yourself a sparkly Christmas!

Avatar film review
Paranormal Activity film review

Trailer Tuesday: The Hurt Locker
Trailer Tuesday: Iron Man 2

Anyway, in terms of my activities this past long weekend I saw in the New Year at Inanda Dam with my sister and her friends. Apart from some cruising around on a ski boat and leaping off a cliff into the dam …