Showing posts from July, 2010

Movies releasing today: It's INCEPTION time!

Seven new films open in South Africa today. Curiously two of these films have already been released by one of the nation's two main distributors - if the Nu Metro and Ster Kinekor websites are to be believed. So, yes, apparently as of this weekend you can finally watch Lars von Trier's controversial arthouse horror film, Antichrist (48% Fresh on Rotten Tomatoes), as well as "uplifting" Christian cancer drama Letters to God (17% Fresh) , at selected Ster Kinekor cinemas.

Also screening at select Ster Kinekor cinemas is filmed concert The Big Four. Gods of metal Metallica, Slayer, Megadeth and Anthrax rock out for three and a half hours on the big screen. Fans will no doubt love it! Completely different, but also showing in limited release, is the Oscar nominated German drama, The White Ribbon (85% Fresh) about a village that falls prey to suspicion and mysterious events just prior to World War I.

Meanwhile, screening more widely at local moviehouses from today are inter…

Wonder Woman DVD reviewed

As I’ve mentioned before, Wonder Woman has always been an enigma to me. I feel that I should like her. After all, not only is Wonder Woman the first and greatest of all superheroines, but her origins are steeped in Greek mythology. Still, I never understood the appeal of the character, or her motivations… until last week when I finally watched Wonder Woman, the 2009 animated film from Warner Bros. and DC.

Wonder Woman is arguably the best and most enjoyably adult-orientated of DC’s direct-to-DVD animated films – which, for the record, also include Justice League: The New Frontier, Batman: Gotham Knight and Green Lantern: First Flight, among others.

Featuring an all-star voice cast, the animated Wonder Woman film is an excellent showcase of the character, and highlights the immense potential of making a live-action film centred on Diana, the Amazonian Princess. As the film reveals, there is enough thematic depth in the original depiction of Wonder Woman, without needing to revamp her as …

Girlz 'N' Games webcomic #72: Something for the Starhards

In all honesty you can apply the above Girlz 'N' Games comic to the release of pretty much any high profile video game. Call of Duty. Gears of War. The latest World of WarCraft expansion. And, of course, yesterday's worldwide release of StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty - arguably the most highly anticipated real-time strategy game (RTS), if not ANY video game, of 2010.

Fans have been waiting 12 years for Blizzard Entertainment to finally release the sequel to 1998's StarCraft. StarCraft is of course a seminal title in the RTS genre, for its strategic gameplay AND the fact that it helped turn turned video gaming (in South Korea especially) into a professional, star-making sport.

Given the StarCraft II excitement I've witnessed recently in real life and online, I couldn't help but think that all the giddy, frothy mouthed StarCraft fans are oddly reminiscent of Twihards - especially those who attended special midnight functions so that they could be first to get their…

Happy StarCraft II day!

Considering that long awaited StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty releases worldwide today, sending gamer guys to Twihard levels of squeeee-ness, I thought it would be fun to pull one of the most popular ever Girlz 'N' Games comics - which is StarCraft themed - from the archives. Enjoy!

Trailer Tuesday: The Goon

It typically takes something like 4 years to make an animated film, which may explain why it seems like it's taking forever for The Goon to hit the big screen. Based on the twisted Dark Horse comic series from writer-artist Eric Powell (who you can follow on Twitter), the CGI-animated film adaptation of The Goon was announced back in 2008.

Since then, bits and pieces of news about the project have surfaced online. So we know that Fight Club's David Fincher is producing the film, while Clancy Brown and Paul Giamatti voice The Goon and his diminutive sidekick Frankie. Meanwhile, the project, unlike the vast majority of comic-to-film adaptations, has maintained a surprising amount of creator involvement - with Eric Powell writing the script himself.

We've also already had one very brief peek at the film's look, when a few stills and concept poster were released back in 2009.

One year later, and the film's first trailer has just screened at the 2010 San Diego Comic-Con, d…

A very happy blog birthday to me!

This is just a short blog post to commemorate a milestone: the 5th birthday of this blog.

I hope you've enjoyed all the movie, comic and general pop culture geekery - interspersed with the occasional personal reflection, over-share and meltdown - that have made up half a decade's worth of blogging around here?

To celebrate, grab a cup of tea or coffee, and have a cupcake on me!

Alice: Madness Returns in 2011

During March last year I blogged gleefully about the announcement of video game sequel American McGee's Alice 2. Now I'm pleased to report that there's been a fat batch of new information and images released relating to Alice 2, including the revelation of the game's official title, Alice: Madness Returns.

The video game - for PC, Xbox and PS3 - is the long-awaited sequel to 2000 action-adventure American McGee's Alice. As with the first game, Alice 2 is designed by American McGee (and developed at his Shanghai studio Spicy Horse studio), while Electronic Arts is the game's publisher.

The original American McGee's Alice was a macabre take on the beloved characters created by Lewis Carroll, pushing the Alice mythos into nightmarish territory that Tim Burton didn't even get close to touching in his recent film. American McGee's Alice ran with the premise that sweet, innocent Alice survives a fire that kills her entire family. Shattered by guilt, Alice…

Movies releasing in South Africa today

Between South Africa's two big cinema chains, Nu Metro and Ster Kinekor, local moviegoers have a grand total of ten new films to choose from this weekend. Still though, despite such a glut of new releases, I can only single out one that caught my attention - making it my movie pick of the week.

Before we get to that though, here's a rundown of all the other movies debuting on the big screen this week.

Goal! 3: Taking on the World: I honestly didn't even know there was a Goal! 1 and 2. Anyway, this sports drama continues the tale of Mexican footballer Santiago Munez (Kuno Becker) as he strives for glory. This time he has to overcome personal demons and play against his best friends at the 2006 FIFA World Cup.

The Mighty Macs: Get your "inspiring real life sports drama" fix with this tale of a wannabe female basketball star who accepts a coaching job at Pennsylvania's Immaculata University in the early 1970s. Watchmen and Sin City's Carla Gugino stars.

The W…

Popping your Pop Culture cherry

Just a fun nostalgia-driven blog post for today. Basically after fondly browsing this webpage, I got to thinking about my various pop culture firsts back in the 1980s. What various bits of plastic, magnetic tape, vinyl, celluloid etc. took your pop culture virginity back in the day?

The following is my personal list. If you run a similarly themed blog to mine (or even not) maybe you feel like doing the same thing on your little portion of the web? And for non-bloggers, please trawl your memory banks, give it some thought and share your "firsts" in the comments section below this post.

First movie:

I have mentioned this on my blog before, but the first film I ever saw at the cinema was Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. It was very early 1985, I was 3 and my mother was heavily pregnant with my sister. Unholy terror that I was, I ran around the cinema until the movie started. From the moment that Kate Capshaw started warbling Anything Goes though, I was rigid in my seat; my ey…

Shrek Forever After (2D) reviewed

Shrek Forever After is the fourth and supposedly final film in the popular CGI-animated franchise. The fairy tale-themed family comedy is also one of the biggest hits of the American Summer, maintaining the top spot at the box office for an impressive three weeks even when faced with serious high profile competition. But despite being such a commercial success, Shrek Forever After is a dud. While stronger story-wise than Shrek the Third, this concluding chapter of the Shrek series is dull and, worst of all, criminally unfunny. The film’s title may as well be Shrek: Four Times the Meh-ness!

The problem with Shrek Forever After is that it has no heart and vibrancy. Those qualities, which made the first two films in the series so enjoyable, have largely evaporated. Everyone involved in the project seems to be just going through the motions. Eddie Murphy as Donkey, in particular, is on auto-pilot. Most of the character’s rapid-fire quips are gone, and his hilarious comic unpredictability h…

Trailer Tuesday: Tangled

Thank you Shrek for putting the idea into Hollywood's hive mind that audiences don't like faithful film adaptations of fairy tales. No, apparently moviegoers can't stomach watching the classic stories depicted onscreen without embellishment. Viewers only want goofy action, pop music and "clever" contemporary spins on centuries-old narratives. Even Disney - the company synonymous with animated fairy tale films - seems to have embraced to this mistaken mindset.

So of course now that it's finally time to give Rapunzel a high profile animated treatment (the less said about Barbie as Rapunzel the better), audiences can expect a very loose adaptation of the original folk tale recorded by the Brothers Grimm in the early 1800s. In fact, the fairy tale's proper name hasn't even survived the translation to the big screen. Although known as Rapunzel and Rapunzel Unbraided during earlier stages of development, Disney's next CGI-animated film will officially…

Calling all Durban movie lovers! DIFF 2010 is here

Despite being disparagingly referred to as "Dirtbin" by many of its inhabitants, as well as the residents of South Africa's much larger, much more high profile cities of Johannesburg and Cape Town, coastal Durban (my home town) does have a few advantages over its bigger city siblings. There's Durban's new pretty stadium (which has triggered a 2020 Summer Olympics campaign); our generally warm, sunny Winters; our excellent surfing and general water sports conditions... and the Durban International Film Festival (DIFF).

Organised by the University of KwaZulu-Natal's Centre For Creative Arts, DIFF is South Africa's biggest and best film festival. And, in good news for local movie lovers, the festival kicks off this week, running from 22 July to 1 August at assorted venues around the city.

2010 marks the 31st anniversary of the Durban International Film Festival. The big selling point this year is the world premiere of nine South African movies (from some of th…

Movies releasing in South Africa today: Shrek Forever on Elm Street

Seven new films open in South Africa today. The release schedule is heavy on high profile blockbusters this week, but for the more culturally inclined, there's limited screenings of ballet Stravisky and the Ballet Russes, as well as Bollywood drama Udaan, about a young wannabe writer struggling with repressive family circumstances. There's also South African-set, presumably uplifting, drama, Themba, about a young Xhosa boy from the rural Eastern Cape who dreams of overcoming his family's dire circumstances and becoming a soccer star.

Of course, if all the movies above sound too emotionally "heavy", then you may be in the market for some star-saturated action. Fortunately there are two new films releasing this weekend that cater for anyone with an appetite for blood and bullets. First up is Brooklyn's Finest (43% Fresh on Rotten Tomatoes), the latest from Training Day director Antoine Fuqua. Richard Gere, Don Cheadle and Ethan Hawke appear as morally conflicted…

The Runaways reviewed

Although they’re based on true stories, rock biopics, on the whole, tend to stick to a single, predictable storyline: ambitious musical performer pays their dues and overcomes the odds to become a star. Then, as a result of various addictions, family problems or scandals the performer squanders their talent and their career crashes. Finally, if things don’t end in death, the performer achieves some kind of redemption, whether it’s in the form of a professional resurgence, or inner peace.

New filmic biography The Runaways doesn’t stray from this tried and tested formula, but that doesn’t mean the film is bad. Although it struggles with some pacing and predictability issues, The Runaways is still a fascinating look at a tumultuous era – for both music and gender issues – and is bolstered by several excellent performances.

The Runaways takes place in mid-Seventies California, at a time when the music industry was in a state of flux. The glam rock and punk movements were simultaneously brea…

Girlz 'N' Games webcomic # 71: Home Alone 2010

I honestly came up with the idea for this Girlz 'N' Games comic last year, and have just been waiting for the right moment to put a cynical 21st Century spin on a classic '80s/early '90s movie. July seemed an optimal time to finally draw this strip, seeing as the midyear blockbuster season is dominated by nostalgia-driven remakes and reimaginings. This year alone we've already seen the release of Clash of the Titans, The A-Team, A Nightmare on Elm Street and The Karate Kid.

Anyway, the idea behind this comic was to take Home Alone, the highest grossing live-action comedy of all time, and, in celebration of the film's 20th anniversary, transplant the characters from 1990 to 2010.

In the original Home Alone, Macaulay Culkin's Kevin McAllister was a sweet, likeable 8 year old, who uses his freedom to gorge himself on ice cream, watch violent videos, play with his brother's BB rifle and jump on the furniture. Two decades later, I imagine Kevin's chos…

Trailer Tuesday: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

It is here. Almost. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, the seventh and final film based on JK Rowling's beloved fantasy series of novels, is being released in November. Or, rather, Part 1 of The Deathly Hallows is releasing. You see, much like upcoming The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - whose filmmakers clearly emulated Warner Bros. in this regard - the final installment in the Harry Potter saga is going to be split into 2 films, released about 6 months apart.

The supposed reasoning for this 2-part approach is that The Deathly Hallows, the book, contains too much action in its 600+ pages to be adapted into a 2-hour movie without massive omissions, that would no doubt anger fans. Of course you could also argue that by making 2 movies, Warner Bros. has found a cunning way to milk the fantasy franchise just a little bit longer, and shake a bit more cash from moviegoers.

While the reality is more likely to be the latter, I'm choosing to throw my support behind the first reason be…