Showing posts from May, 2011

Trailer Tuesday: Fright Night

Some of you may remember classic, darkly comic 80s horror film Fright Night? I certainly was tormented as a child every single time I saw the poster in my local video store. Well, the movie is the latest genre hit to be given the remake treatment.

The trailer for Fright Night 2011 suffers from a serious case of over-revelation (talk about killing all potential ambiguity upfront), but it lays out the plot basics. Star Trek cutie Anton Yelchin is high school senior Charley Brewster, who has finally cracked the cool crowd and is dating one of the hottest girls at his school (Imogen Poots). However Charley's hard earned reputation goes out the window when he becomes convinced that his charismatic new neighbour, Jerry (Colin Farrell), is actually a vampire.

Another horror remake, you say? God they're such pointless rubbish, you mutter? Well, I still think Fright Night deserves a mention... largely because of its surprisingly impressive cast. Along with man-skank Farrell being perfec…

True Blood: Season 4 trailer

The official trailer for Season 4 of HBO TV series, True Blood made its online debut last week, giving fans a taste of what's in store this year.

Loosely based, and I mean very loosely based, on Dead to the World, the fourth book in Charlaine Harris's The Southern Vampire Mysteries, Season 4 will likely be most notable for introducing witches to the supernatural mix at the heart of this saucy, Louisiana-set drama. Of course Wiccan waitress Holly appeared in Season 3, but this time magic - particularly necromancy - plays a much more central role.

Personally, and without giving anything away, I'm curious how faithful Season 4 will be to its source material. Dead to the World is probably one of the most popular of Harris's books, given certain *ahem* long-awaited events that occur in it. I'm sure many fans, like myself, are apprehensive about what will makes the transition from the printed page to the small screen. This is an especially big concern because, since Seaso…

Movies out today: animated animals, girl assassins and the return of the Wolfpack

Opening in South African cinemas today are 3 different films, catering for 3 very different audiences.

1) For families, there's CGI-animated Animals United. Screening in 2D and 3D is this environmentally conscious tale set in the Okavango Delta about a group of animals who are forced to join forces when a dam disrupts their water supply. Made in Germany, the English-dubbed version of the film features an all-star voice cast including Stephen Fry, Dawn French, Joanna Lumley, Jim Broadbent and Vanessa Redgrave.

I can't say I'm particularly excited to watch Animals United. For one thing the trailer is dominated by slapstick and fart jokes. For another, it reminds me a lot of the Spanish-made The Missing Lynx, which was similarly environmentally focused, featured sub-par plasticy animation and was unfortunately really, really juvenile. As in, don't bother if you're over 5 years old.

And unfortunately, judging by the film's 29% Fresh rating on review aggregator site R…

Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides film review

Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides is definitely a mediocre movie. However, this fourth entry in Disney’s massively popular fantasy-adventure franchise is certainly not as terrible as some people have been calling it. Some things work, others don’t but in the end it’s easiest to view it as just another Pirates movie. If you enjoyed, tolerated, or hated the first 3 films, then you should have much the same response this time around.

Watching Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides is like having drinks with friends you haven’t seen for a few years. Regardless of the experiences and adventures of the interim period, you soon slip into a pleasant, if superficial, groove and it feels like nothing has changed. Pirates 4 is certainly more of the same. This isn’t the first time we’ve seen eccentric Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) swashbuckle his way out of and into trouble. This isn’t the first time the character has found himself contending with an imposing “demon” ship, capt…

Trailer Tuesday: Conan the Barbarian

I should be ecstatic that we're finally getting a Conan reboot. As fun as the Arnie movies were, they didn't exactly explore the full scope and potential of Robert E. Howard's beloved pulp literature creation. The time is ripe to transport cinemagoers to the dark and brutal Hyborian Age, when sword and sorcery were both legitimate paths to power.

Conan the Barbarian, however, isn't quite what I was expecting. Although the trailer above makes me feel a lot happier about the film - particularly its ability to look and feel like an action-fantasy epic - there's still no denying the B-grade nature of it all.

Marcus Nispel, the director of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Friday the 13th remakes, is the man behind the camera for Conan. Stargate: Atlantis star Jason Momoa has bulked up to play the title character, Avatar's big bad Stephen Lang is the villain while G.I. Joe's Scarlett, Rachel Nichols is Conan's love interest. If that isn't enough B-grade king…

Harry Potter humour for Monday

It's less than 2 months until the final Harry Potter movie adaptation, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 opens in 2D and *yawn* 3D on 15 July.

To celebrate this fact, here's a cleverly done parody of Rebecca Black's Friday, entitled Ravenclaws. As a sidenote, I've always like to believe that the Sorting Hat would have placed me in Ravenclaw House.

Movies releasing today: Pirate vs. Knight

Only 2 films of notability open in South Africa today. The reason for this lack of cinema releases is that one of these debuts is likely to be a box office behemoth that few other films can stand to compete against.

The blockbuster in question is Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, the fourth film in Disney and Jerry Bruckheimer's hit fantasy adventure series. Johnny Depp is front and centre this time around as quirky pirate Jack Sparrow - who is racing against the fearsome Blackbeard (Ian McShane) to find the Fountain of Youth. Geoffrey Rush is back as Barbossa while Penélope Cruz joins the cast as Sparrow's fiery on-off-on again love interest.

Filmed for 3D (i.e. it's not a conversion!) and still screening widely in 2D, Pirates 4 is unfortunately at the moment just 37% Fresh on review aggregator site Rotten Tomatoes. Critics are complaining that the 2 hour 20 minute film is noisy, boring and disjointed, with everyone involved - including Depp - just going through…

Wonder Woman TV series no more

By Hera, it didn't even make it out the starting gate.

Following on from my earlier post, and prediction that NBC's new Wonder WomanTV series would last a handful of episodes before being cancelled, the news hit last week that the show will never even be made. NBC has officially rejected the option to turn the already filmed pilot (check out pics from the location shoot here) into a weekly series.

NBC's official explanation is that the series "just didn’t seem to fit in" with their schedule plans. Online mutterings are more cynical. Many believe that David E Kelley's scripted pilot was even worse than initial reviews suggested it would be.

There is a very slim chance that another TV network will pick up the series, but given that they all initially passed on the pilot - including NBC until they had a change of heart - I think that possibility is unlikely.

So what does this mean for the already filmed pilot, starring Adrianne Palicki as the Amazonian princess turn…

A geektastic weekend of new movie releases (13-15 May)

Due to issues with Blogger during the last few days of last week, the following blog post was lost. It may therefore be a tad out of date, but I'm sure it's still of use to movie fans considering a visit to the cinema over the coming days and weeks.

It's a big week for new movies. Ignoring the big fantasy and action films with geek appeal there's still Tyler Perry's all-star feminist drama For Colored Girls (33% Fresh on Rotten Tomatoes), animated franchise reboot (and actual AA Milne story) Winnie the Pooh (70% Fresh), and Master Harold... and the Boys, the South African interracial drama based on Athol Fugard's classic, award-winning play.

If you're in the mood for more escapist entertainment however, you may want to check out the following:

Beastly: Beauty and the Beast receives a contemporary retelling in this teen romance (and novel adaptation) clearly trying to cash in on the Twilight craze. I Am Number Four's Alex Pettyfer is a rich, popular and ha…

Movie review Monday: Jane Eyre

Although it’s debatable how much enjoyment the average male cinemagoer will get out of Cary Fukunaga’s Jane Eyre (I’m actually curious to know), there’s no denying that this gothic romance-drama is a classy, engaging production. For anyone still thinking fondly of award season with its feast of pedigreed movie releases, or for anyone seeking cerebral cinema fare as we enter the typically brain dead midyear blockbuster season, Jane Eyre is definitely recommended.

Based on Charlotte Bronte’s classic novel, Jane Eyre centres on the title character (Mia Wasikowska) a passionate, principled young woman who has for the most part endured a lonely, loveless childhood. Jane enters adulthood educated, but plain and penniless, and with a practical grasp of her situation she takes up a governess position at remote Thornfield Hall, where she is charged with educating the young ward of Mr Edward Rochester (Michael Fassbender). Moody and despondent, Rochester challenges Jane continually to express he…

Girlz 'N' Games comic #87: Happy (hypocritical) slapping

No doubt there will be complaints that this Girlz 'N' Games comic is only going up now, over a month after the initial uproar regarding loooooong-awaited shooter Duke Nukem Forever.

My apologies but life got in the way of updates - I've been living between homes with my computer in a moving box for the past month. I'm hoping to get back into a more regular updating routine from here on.

Anyway, for anyone unclear about Duke Nukem's "Capture the babe" controversy, it was announced in late March that the game would replace conventional "Capture the flag" multiplayer mode with "Capture the babe." Basically, instead of stealing your opponents' flag, banner or battle standard, you'll be kidnapping their hot chick, and hauling her off to your base.

If the idea of treating a woman as an ownable object doesn't provoke a negative reaction (this is Duke Nukem after all. "Shake it, baby!"), then there's the fact that the ba…

A trio of disappointments – Jonah Hex, Black Death and Splice reviewed

When a movie meets expectations, or even exceeds them, it’s a great sensation. For a moment you feel like there’s still hope for cinema as a storytelling medium to compete with the new generation of big “event” TV shows. However, the disappointment experienced when a movie fails to meet expectations can transform a mediocre film into a complete turkey.

During the past few weeks I’ve unfortunately had my hopes dashed several times. Finally watching a handful of films that I was really looking forward to, they just refused to deliver on their potential. Letdowns all around.

Jonah Hex: It was a surprise when pulpy Western comic adaptation Jonah Hex went straight to DVD in South Africa. Sure it had bombed spectacularly in the US but many a turd pile has still been dumped on South African cinemagoers.

And Jonah Hex certainly has a big name cast and interesting premise: Hex (Josh Brolin) is a hideously scarred bounty hunter with the ability to communicate with the dead. When his arch nemesis, …

Geeky Fun for Monday: Roll a D6!

Parodying Far East Movement's Like a G6 is this clever little tribute to the appeal (and embarrassment) of Dungeons & Dragons as a role-playing game.

RPG players will no doubt find little things to nitpick over - like why a wizard is equipped with a ranger's bow and quiver, and why there is so much excitement over rolling a D6 (6-sided die) when a D20 (20-sided die) is your campaign-making and breaking die (yes, yes, I know they had to use "6" because of the original track being spoofed). This said, the makers' hearts are clearly in the right place, and a few gripes aside, there's a lot of good, amusing attention to detail demonstrated in the clip. This applies particularly to the importance of caffeinated soft drinks and sugary snacks during a late night role-playing session.

Movies releasing today: Fast cars, plain girls and kiddie vampires

Three notable new releases hit South African cinemas today, and they offer entertainment for highbrow audiences and undemanding viewers alike.

Fast 5: Sure to be the big hit of the weekend is Fast 5, the *ahem* 5th film in The Fast and the Furious series. I've never been a fan of the franchise but a certain moviegoing segment laps up these adrenalin and testosterone fueled tales of young rebels driving fast cars, breaking laws and just generally being douches. Series stars Vin Diesel and Paul Walker return for this installment, where the film's big hook is its exotic Rio de Janeiro setting and the casting coup of Dwayne Johnson as the badass government agent out to catch Diesel and co.

As loathe as I am to admit this, Fast 5 has received the best reviews of any Fast and the Furious movie. It is currently 79% Fresh on review aggregator site Rotten Tomatoes, where it has been praised for its mind-blowing stunt work, a great heist at its heart, Johnson's presence as a more inte…

All about April's blog posts

Given the number of people who took leave during the Easter holiday period, and were just generally away from their computers over the past fortnight or so, here's a handy reminder of everything that's popped up on this blog during April and early May.

Film reviews:
Rio (3D)
Thor (3D)
Sucker Punch
No Strings Attached
Tangled (3D)

Trailer Tuesday profiles:
Green Lantern

Features and fun stuff:
A Disney Sucker Punch
An interview with moi
What's up with Wonder Woman?

Rio (3D) film review

Given the Easter period’s emphasis on quality family time, there are sure to be many parents looking for entertainment that they, and their entire brood, can enjoy together over this holiday period. Well, look no further than Rio, the new animated comedy adventure from the makers of Ice Age. It’s very cute, and colourful, and completely harmless. And, fortunately, it’s also free of the irritating supporting cast that made the Ice Age series increasingly teeth-grating.

Rio centres on timid Blu, (voiced by Jesse Eisenberg), a rare Macaw who has grown up in Minnesota as a pampered – and flightless – pet after a traumatic pouching experience as a baby. Blu, however, is the last male of his kind, and with his beloved owner Linda (Leslie Mann), he returns to his home country of Brazil to mate with feisty Jewel (Anne Hathaway), in an attempt to save their species. Together Blu and Jewel are a prime target for poachers and, chained together, they’re soon on the run in the streets and surroundi…

Trailer Tuesday: Immortals

It's been so long coming that I almost forgot about this year's big treat (hopefully) for mythology fans, Immortals. Previously known as War of the Gods, you can think of Immortals as this year's Clash of the Titans-meets-300, but with a much artier British pedigree.

Picking and choosing from Greek mythology, the exact plot of Immortals is a bit confused at this stage. However, it's clear from the trailer that King Hyperion (Mickey Rourke), who may be Titan god of the same name, is the film's villain - an aggressor rampaging through Greece with his Heraklion army in search of a legendary artifact that will help him defeat the Olympian Gods - Zeus (Luke Evans), Poseidon (Kellan Lutz) Athena (Isabel Lucas) Apollo (Corey Sevier), etc.

Some plot synopses insist that Hyperion is simply after power, over all humanity and the gods themselves. Others suggest that the mad king is out to free the Titans, the generation of gods before the Olympians - who were defeated in battl…