Showing posts from April, 2010

Movies Today, SA: An Iron Man is back to have you staring at goats

Five new films make their debut at South African cinemas today, including Love Happens, the Jennifer Aniston and Aaron Eckhart romantic drama that suffers from dreaded entiremovierevealedintraileritus and is 18% Fresh on Rotten Tomatoes. Also releasing today are Ang Lee's Taking Woodstock (48% Fresh), a comedy-drama that centres on the iconic 1969 music and hippie lifestyle event, and Bollywood romcom musical Housefull.

Anyway, my 2 picks for the weekend are as follows:

Iron Man 2 - While the original Iron Man film, based on the Marvel comic, lacked the dramatic weight of The Dark Knight, there was no denying that it was the most entertaining blockbuster of 2008, and arguably one of the best comic book adaptations of all time. I certainly loved it - apart from the overblown climactic fight of course.

A sequel was inevitable, and Iron Man 2 picks up essentially where Iron Man left off. Cocky billionaire and genius weapons developer Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr) is continuing to make w…

Meet the new member of the Adams family

The sound of barking has finally returned to the Adams household after 10 months with the arrival of 8 week old Scottish terrier Bonnie (AKA Bon Bon).

Please note that I had nothing to do with the name choice. I would have preferred Ewok or Wicket, although on meeting the wee lass, I think the name Toothless would be far more appropriate - black, stealthy, quick, oozing attitude and most definitely NOT toothless. Those razor-sharp puppy fangs can really leave a mark.

Kick-Ass reviewed

Based on the relatively new comic book series by Mark Millar and John Romita, Jr, Kick-Ass certainly won’t be for everyone. However, if you love masked heroes and adore Kill Bill Vol.1 for its cynical sense of humour and stylish violence, then it is pretty much guaranteed that you will get a kick out of Kick-Ass. Apart from being the coolest film of the year so far, by far, Kick-Ass is also one of 2010’s best releases.

Directed and scripted by Layer Cake and Stardust’s Matthew Vaughn, Kick-Ass’s premise is pretty simple. Having been mugged one too many times, unremarkable teenager Dave Lizewski (Aaron Johnson) decides to become Kick-Ass, a real life superhero – or, rather, a masked do-gooder seeing as Dave has no special abilities or combat training. Things don’t go especially well for Dave but when Kick-Ass’s exploits are captured on mobile phone and posted on YouTube, a superhero phenomenon is triggered. Not only does Dave have to hide his secret identity but he also has to contend w…

Daybreakers reviewed

Better late than never with this review…

Daybreakers is a vampire movie. But it’s a vastly different vampire movie to the likes of Twilight. For one thing it’s essentially romance-free, and for another thing the film sits more comfortably in the science fiction genre than horror. This said, Daybreakers is a very gory film, akin to something like 28 Days Later. If you are squeamish about blood you may want to skip this one, but know that if you do, you will be missing out on one of the best, if still very flawed, vampire films in years.

The basis premise of Daybreakers is that in the very near future, a plague transforms the vast majority of the world’s population into vampires. However, in becoming a vampire a person’s nature does not change. You’re still you, although you now drink blood-based coffee, don’t age and work at night because sunlight will burn you to a crisp. By 2019, the world has adapted to this strange situation.

Probably the strongest impact Daybreakers makes on viewers…

Amusements for Monday: Clash of the Titans and Comic Book Cheesecake

Technically I'm not here. It's a public holiday in South Africa tomorrow (Tuesday), and I've been treating myself to a 4-day long weekend. I'll be back blogging bright and early on Wednesday, 28 April. However, in the meantime, here are a few bits and pieces to keep yourself amused in my absence.

1) As you may recall in my Clash of the Titans review, I bemoaned how many interesting characters seemed to be underutilised, and the film was disappointingly Greek god-lite. Well, now it all makes sense. This spoiler-heavy article reveals exactly how the original screenplay and filmed version of Clash of the Titans was drastically altered in the reshoot stage. And it fills my heart with sadness at the thought of what was lost. Although I know chances are slim, here's hoping that one day there will be a Director's/Original Screenplay cut of Clash of the Titans 2010, much like Richard Donner's Superman II (a fascinating read by the way!).

2) Anyway, still on the top…

Kick-ass movies hit SA cinemas today

Six new films open in South Africa today. These include the Harrison Ford-Brendan Fraser medical drama Extraordinary Measures (28% Fresh on Rotten Tomatoes), Uma Thurman's straight-to-DVD romantic comedy The Accidental Husband (0% Fresh, sheesh!) and Food, Inc., an Oscar nominated documentary film about the disturbing truths behind American corporate farming (97% Fresh). Finally there's Jakhalsdans, a locally made Afrikaans drama about the attempts of a small Karoo town to keep their school open... through music!

My movie picks for this weekend though are as follows:

1) Kick-Ass: If you think comic books and superheroes are just for kids, you're probably going to be shocked by the ultra-violent, profanity saturated, and VERY R-rated action-comedy Kick-Ass. Based on the comic book series created by Wanted's Mark Millar and John Romita, Jr, Kick-Ass is set in our world, our reality, and centres on a very ordinary teenager (Aaron Johnson) who begins to wonder why there are …

Introducing emo Elora... D&D talk and fantasy fiction

Although it is traditionally bad luck to become too emotionally attached to your new role-playing character early on in the campaign, I have to admit I'm enamored with my new half-elf warlock, Elora - well, as much as a straight woman can be in love with a fictional female creation.

Last week our Dungeons & Dragons role-playing group started our first 4th Edition campaign. And we're certainly a very odd party. Not a single human among us, there's instead a massively built 15 year old dragonborn fighter called Celix, a 24 year old dwarven invoker called Firskaren (Norwegian for "Stumpy") and 18 year old Elora. The character interactions are very different from our last campaign, with business-minded Celix despising rich bitch (and cocktease) Elora, Firskaren mostly consumed with thoughts about beer, and Elora disdainful of everyone in her party while she laments the "misery" of her life... and maybe sometimes even cuts herself.

Emo Elora exists as some…

Clash of the Titans (2D) reviewed

Clash of the Titans, from The Incredible Hulk and Transporter director Louis Leterrier, is a remake of the 1981 mythological fantasy film that seized the hearts and imaginations of many children of the 80’s. This is not to say that the original Clash of the Titans was especially good. The film – loosely based on the myth of hero Perseus slaying the Gorgon, Medusa, and rescuing princess Andromeda from sacrifice – was highly cheesy and dated-looking even at its time of release.

Still though the original Clash of the Titans was charming in terms of its straight-faced silliness and the way it happily embraced stylisation. Clash of the Titans 2010 isn’t charming – it’s trying too hard to be macho and aggressive for that – but it’s undeniably cheesy and highly stylised, although not quite to the same extent as that other cartoony Ancient Greek film, 300.

The new Clash of the Titans is also likely to be considered dated very soon. It’s worth noting up front that the CGI-special effects in the…

Trailer Tueday: Splice

I love a good, dark, sci-fi film that leaves the audience feeling unnerved and morally conflicted. And Splice looks to be one such movie... although I'm basing my opinion here more on what I've read about the film - as well as its disturbing concept art - as opposed to the fairly conventional trailer above.

Although only made for $26 million, Splice comes with a solid pedigree. It stars the young and talented Adrien Brody and Sarah Polley, and is produced by Pan's Labyrinth, Hellboy and future The Hobbit director Guillermo del Toro. For the record, Splice is written and directed by Canadian filmmaker Vincenzo Natali, who was responsible for psychological thriller Cube, which I admit I know little about but which is apparently a cult favourite.

Anyway, Slice centres on a pair of superstar scientists, Clive and Elsa (Brody and Polley), who have a reputation for bending genetic engineering rules to create startling new creatures. They cross the line though when they illegally i…

Clashing Boondocks Aren't that Into You: Mini movie review time

The only significant pop culture consumption that happened in my life this weekend was some movie viewing on the big screen, DVD and TV.

On Friday evening I watched the Clash of the Titans remake at the cinema. Of course my full review will be up on the blog this week Wednesday, but the short version is that the film is, as expected, a big brainless blockbuster. It's about as cheesy as the original, but in a very 21st Century way. The film is very flawed and the ending is particularly grating in its limpness, but the overall result is one of those movies that will be great fun to dissect with friends. Particularly if they're of the geeky persuasion.

On Saturday night a friend hired The Boondock Saints II: All Saints Day, the action movie sequel a decade in the making... that still went straight to DVD in South Africa. Now Boondock Saints II is not a project hijacked by another filmmaker and a padded out with new cast members. Pretty much everyone involved in the cult favourite,…

Unleash the Kraken! Movies today, SA!

It's something of a quiet day at the movies, with just 5 new films hitting South African cinemas this weekend. These movies include the highly acclaimed, Academy Award-nominated drama The Messenger, about the US Army’s Casualty Notification service (91% Fresh on Rotten Tomatoes); and Hachiko: A Dog's Story, starring Richard Gere, and based on a remarkable true story about canine loyalty (55% Fresh on Rotten Tomatoes).

Of course it's no surprise to anyone who regularly reads this blog that my movie pick of the week is Clash of the Titans, the remake of the beloved 1981 Greek mythology cheesefest. I have bloggedmany, many, many times about Clash of the Titans 2010.

If you're feeling too lazy to click through those links though, what you need to know is that Clash of the Titans, much like the 1981 original, centres on Perseus (Avatar's Sam Worthington) - the demigod son of Zeus (Liam Neeson) - who finds himself caught in a battle between the gods that will likely destro…

The Big and Blockbustery... Movies to look forward to in the rest of 2010

I probably should have written this post early in January but the first 3 (almost 4) months of the year just really got away from me. Here though are some of the 2010 films that have been on my radar for a while. Please note that this list does not pretend to be exhaustive - although it certainly was exhausting compiling it, ha!

I'll admit now that this list has a lot of geeky pop culture bias. Plenty of conventional "big star" projects are absent, as are many comedies because they seem to have the habit of triggering my interest only at the very last moment before their release. Of course very often it's better to be pleasantly surprised like that.

Anyway, here of some of the movie biggies we have to look forward to and when - although release dates are always subject to change, particularly in the second half of the year.

Clash of the Titans: High intensity Noughties remake of the 1981 Greek mythology cheesefest. With Avatar's Sam Worthington, Liam Neeson, Ralph F…

Girlz 'N' Games webcomic #65: Gadget-slut guys!

This week's Girlz 'N' Games comic is actually based on a true story. I've known guys who done thorough online research only to have their all-important graphics card choice finally swayed by something as superficial as the box art.

Graphics, or video, cards are known for featuring lithe and sexy, computer generated heroines on their packaging. Every new card is associated with a new fantasy or sci-fi character figure. 80% of the time these figures have breasts - when the marketers aren't going for the whole badass, macho image that is.

Just think of the sultry box art as a geeky version of all those techno-slut models molesting gadgetry on the covers of PC Format magazine. Alternatively, consider it to be equivalent to selling a car by draping a bikini-clad babe over it. Evidently this "Sex sells" strategy still works VERY WELL with visually orientated guys. Even if there are sometimes obvious exceptions...

Anyway, this new comic also gave me the chance to b…

Trailer Tuesday: The Expendables

Given that nostalgia levels for anything 80's are at an all time high at the moment (2010 sees the release of an A-Team movie, a Predator sequel and Nightmare on Elm Street remade), it makes sense that someone has finally turned the greatest 80s' action movie fantasy - brawny stars Sylvester Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Bruce Willis ALL in the same movie - into a reality.

The Expendables is unofficially known as the Manliest Movie of the Year. There are jokes online that anyone woman who watches it will emerge from the cinema pregnant. You see, The Expendables is the ultimate action movie - packed with action icons, old (Stallone, Schwarzenegger, Dolph Lundgren), new (Jason Statham, Jet Li, Stone Cold Steve Austin, Terry Crews) and always Goddamn cool (Willis, Mickey Rourke). MMA stars Randy Couture and Gary Daniels are also there for good measure.

Written and directed by Stallone himself, The Expendables exists as a kind of cross between The Dirty Dozen and 2008's Ra…

Game on!

Gaming really dominated my activities this weekend.

Thursday evening's Dungeons & Dragons session marked the end of our 3 year-plus campaign. The party's 3 heroes engaged evil god Veccna in combat, and the dice rolling deities were kind... very kind. Veccna was by no means an easy opponent - at one point he split into 3 versions of himself, wielding spiked chains, wearing jade armour and dishing out fat chunks of damage on anyone he automatically flanked. Later on in the battle he even summoned 2 ghost dragons that caused strength and constitution point damage when touched. Still though, equipped with our kickass new magical weapons (gained last week when we found a dragon king's treasure hoard), good rolls, good saves and correspondingly average to poor rolls by the Game Master controlling Veccna, we did it.

Our characters got to retire in glory at Level 18 or so, having saved the Empire from demon domination. One hero became a pirate queen and island dictator; another …