Showing posts from June, 2012

Movies out today: Just one wacky critter caper

Fortunately July and August are packed with highly anticipated new movies because right now cinemagoers are enduring another dud weekend. Today there's just one new release, with specific appeal.

Ice Age: Continental Drift:
And Fox keeps churning them out... Screening in 2D and 3D is this fourth entry in the Ice Age animated comedy series. This time our prehistoric heroes, Manny the mammoth (Ray Romano), Sid the sloth (John Leguizamo) and Diego the sabretooth tiger (Denis Leary) are accidentally set adrift on an iceberg. While they try to return to land, they're caught up in various seafaring adventures, including encounters with Sid's long-lost grandmother (Wanda Sykes) and Peter Dinklage's ape pirate and his crew - which includes Jennifer Lopez's slinky feline and Nick Frost's elephant seal. Meanwhile, back on terra firma, Manny's (now) teenage daughter isn't true to herself and her best friend while she tries to fit in with the cool kids.

After a tou…

Paddington Bear hits the big screen

'I've always had great respect for Paddington… He is a British institution.' - Stephen Fry

It's happening! If everything goes according to plan, sometime in 2014 Michael Bond's beloved literary creation will finally clamber onto the big screen... 56 years after the first tale of the marmalade-loving bear was published. And decades after the classic 70s TV series crossed the Atlantic and won popularity for the character in the US.

Although a movie adaptation has been in the works since 2007, only in May this year did Harry Potter producer David Heyman - who is guiding the StudioCanal co-project - properly announce the film and explain how development was progressing. Earlier this week the atmospheric teaser poster was unveiled as well for the movie, which sees a CGI Paddington interacting with human actors in contemporary London.

I'm a big Paddington fan, and when I travel a small Paddington plushie always comes along in my backpack. So what's so great about…

Trailer Tuesday: Frankenweenie

I will always remember when King of Pop Michael Jackson died (25 June), because it coincides exactly with the traumatic day that our Golden Retriever was put down. It seems only appropriate then to post the trailer for director Tim Burton's next: the stop-motion horror-comedy Frankenweenie

In this black and white homage to Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, young Vincent doesn't cope with the unexpected death of his dog Sparky. So he does the unthinkable and scientifically reanimates his beloved pooch. But while Vincent and cheerful Sparky are ecstatic at being reunited, the rest of their home town is horrified by the "monstrous" creation. With the voices of Burton collaborators Winona Ryder, Catherine O'Hara, Martin Short and Martin Landau.

If the name Frankenweenie rings a bell it's because the project is actually a remake of the  1984 live-action short that helped to launch Burton's directing career - and which, for the record, you can find on the Speci…

Cosplay Monday: Dark Elf Sorceress

As some of you may know, I take costume parties prettyseriously. In the gaming and comic con-challenged "fishing village" where I live there are not nearly enough opportunities to dress up, so every chance to cosplay should be readily seized and planned for.

This Saturday evening was a friend's "Fairies & Folklore" themed 30th birthday party, and I loosely modelled my look on the Dark Elf Sorceress in the Warhammer video game. The costume is a tad on the skimpy side, but I've worked hard for my abs, dammit! I will show them off.

For the record, this same concept art became the visual inspiration for my half-elf warlock from an aborted DnD campaign of a few years back.

Movies out today: Slapstick, teens and Germans

Three very different movie open in South Africa today. I can't say any of the trio particularly appeal to me but perhaps one will be up your alley.

Mad Buddies:
Sure to break local box office records from today is the latest lowbrow comedy from Leon Schuster. Eschewing candid camera gags for a fictional narrative, the funnyman plays a former anti-poaching operative who is forced to road-trip from Durban to Johannesburg with his sworn enemy (Kenneth Nkosi). Little do they know their bickering misadventures are being filmed by an ambitious TV producer (Tanit Phoenix) for a new reality show.

If you have a more sophisticated sense of humour, stay far away from Mad Buddies, which sticks to the Schuster formula of slapstick gags ad nauseum - typically involving body functions or an accident-prone midget. If, however, you enjoy puerile poop jokes, you'll probably love the film. For the record, The gave Mad Buddies 3 and a half stars out of 5... although that score didn…

Magnificent Malificent

On Tuesday, less than a week after filming kicked off in England, the first official image was released from Disney's upcoming fairy tale movie, Malificent. This live-action film delves into the character and motivations of  Malificent, the disgruntled dark fairy, dragon shape-shifter and antagonist from Disney's 1959 animated classic - based of course on the Sleeping Beauty story.

With Angelina Jolie playing the title character, the first official pic is a delicious tease - showing the actress in make-up and related prosthetics (including fake cheekbones) designed by the legendary Rick Baker.

Now with dozens of other live-action releases still to come, fairy tale films are currently sitting somewhere between comic book adaptations and video game movies on the quality scale. Nobody has quite cracked it yet, with the makers of this fantasy sub-genre typically getting so caught up in world creation and CGI-visuals that they forget to deliver a good story and captivating chara…

Trailer Tuesday: Sinister and The Possession

We're doubling up the demon-delivered scares today with trailers for 2 upcoming horror flicks, the haunted house tale Sinister and exorcism thriller The Possession.

Now I loves me a good skin-crawler but these days I very rarely watch horror movies at the cinema given the dire quality of most of these genre releases - which are often sloppy and formulaic. I've come to prefer watching horror films at home. Perhaps it's because you're kind of letting evil into the safety of your personal  space, but even the shittiest supernatural horror flick has extra emotional oomph when you watch it alone late at night on the couch, with the lights off...

Anyway, upcoming releases Sinister and The Possession both seem to suffer from the standard problem of over-revelation in their trailers. Although both films feature contorting possessed children, powerful demonic foes and desperate parents, The Possession seems to be the more overblown of the two - despite apparently being based on…

“Just the Kitty I’ve Been Looking For”: Defending the character of Catwoman

Well, well, well, it seems that Batman’s feline femme fatale, Catwoman is back in the spotlight as a result of her latest comic cover – essentially breaking her spine to emphasise all her enticing lady lumps at the same time. Much to the amusement of various cartoonists.

Basically the online reaction to this cover pose – which varies between eye-rolling and outrage – is a resurgence of the controversy that greeted the character’s relaunch in September last year during the first wave of #1s unveiled as part of DC’s New 52 reboot of their entire comics universe. Catwoman #1 began with Selina Kyle fleeing her apartment, half undressed, and ended with her astride Batman for a little rooftop nookie. (More pages from Catwoman #1 here, and from #2 here).

Now the reason I feel the need to weigh in is because too often lately I’ve seen Catwoman dismissively referred to as Batman’s one-dimensional “fuck buddy,” and that angers me. For sure, Warner-DC’s current treatment of the character on t…

Movies out today: Here come the crowd pleasers

It's all about comedies for the masses today at South African cinemas, with 2 of the 4 new releases being glossy, light-hearted efforts from big Hollywood  studios.

Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted:
Screening in 3D and 2D is this third film in DreamWorks Animation's"neurotic zoo animals escape" series. This time the gang from New York's Central Park Zoo (including Ben Stiller's lion, Chris Rock's zebra, David Schwimmer's giraffe and Jada Pinkett Smith's hippo) are hiding out in a travelling circus while being chased across Europe by Frances McDormand's Animal Control officer.  

Personally I've always found the star-studded Madagascar comedies a bit too hyper and juvenile for my liking. After all, I this is a pretty good assessment of the type of person who finds Madagascar funny. This said, Europe's Most Wanted is sitting with an solid aggregated Rotten Tomatoes review score of 76%. Like its franchise predecessors, the film app…

Spreading the posts

Just a quick little heads up about where else online my writing has been appearing, along with mentions of this blog.

I haven't done one of these opinion columns in a while but I weighed in on the Booth Babe Controversy on Lazygamer today.Pfangirl Through the Looking Glass has just been profiled as Blog of the Week on Through The Dirty Window.

Girlz 'N' Games comic #100: Achievement Unlocked!

Sure, Falkor is probably an epic flying mount, but I think we can safely assume that Erin put in the time and effort grinding for him once she met all the other requirements...

Anyway, here we are: the milestone 100th Girlz ‘N’ Games comic! It’s been a bumpy ride at times, but to the GNG fans out there, thanks for sticking around. Your support is appreciated. Now let’s all have some cake to celebrate.


P.S. If you got a kick out of this Girlz 'N' Games comic, please "Like" the Girlz 'N' Games Facebook page.

Trailer Tuesday: Wreck-It Ralph

When it comes to the second half of the year there's an usually high percentage of animated movies on my 2012 Must Watch list - including ParaNorman, Rise of the Guardians, Hotel Transylvania and Frankenweenie. Freshly joining this list as well is Wreck-It Ralph, Disney's big non-Pixar release for the holidays.

The first trailer for Wreck-It Ralph was unveiled just last week and it outlines the film's plot nicely: The title character (John C. Reilly) is a burly arcade game villain who, after 30 years, is tired of being a much maligned platformer bad guy. Looking for some appreciation, and a chance to prove himself a hero, Wreck-It Ralph sets off on an odyssey through video gamedom. Along the way he encounters Jane Lynch's tough Gears of War-style sergeant, Sarah Silverman's insufferably cute heroine and a ton of characters from famous games like Super Mario Brothers, Street Fighter and Pac-Man - all of which Disney have licensed for use. 

I don't see what'…

Monday Movie Review: Prometheus (3D)

Prometheus is actually a pretty difficult film to review, given that any discussion of it almost automatically veers into spoiler territory. As such, I will try to avoid the biggest revelations but be warned if you have yet to watch the film. This review may be best read once you have experienced Prometheus for yourself.

In short, Alien and Blade Runner director Ridley Scott’s much trumpeted return to the science fiction genre is a big fat dud. Prometheus is a disappointment in virtually every category, sunk particularly by a lazy script that deprives both characters and plot of the believability that’s essential for the audience to become invested in events onscreen.

To be fair, Prometheus starts off fantastically, with breathtaking shots of Earth in its most primordial, untouched state. Taking its cue from the Greek myth of Prometheus, the audience witnesses what we can assume – given later events in the film – is a rebel alien being gifting our world with its DNA.

Fast forward mil…

Movies hitting SA screens today: sci-fi clashes with indie drama

At this time of year, fantasy and science fiction dominate at the box office. This week is no different, with the release – in South Africa and the US – of one of the most highly anticipated sci-fi thrillers of 2012. Meanwhile, the only other 2 releases with the courage to open against this behemoth cunningly cater for a very different audience: those who prefer small budget, relationship-focused dramas.

Grown-up science fiction fans have been waiting with bated breath for this “is-it-or-isn’t-it-an-Alien-prequel?”. Academy Award-winning Alien and Blade Runner director Ridley Scott has assembled an impressive cast – including Noomi Rapace, Michael Fassbender, Charlize Theron, Idris Elba and Guy Pearce – for this moody tale about a band of space explorers (scientists, corporates and androids) who find trouble when they go hunting for Humanity’s extra-terrestrial origins.

What looked like an instant genre classic is in reality a mixed bag. That’s according to Kervyn in his …

Midweek Movie Review: Snow White and the Huntsman

Here we have it, ladies and gentlemen – the best so far of the new wave of live-action fairy tale adaptations. This isn’t to say that fantasy actioner Snow White and the Huntsman doesn’t have its flaws, but visually it’s so sumptuous, and its magical scenes so breathtaking, that you can overlook a good chunk of the film’s many plot failings. If rival Snow White film Mirror Mirror (my review) felt like it would captivate little girls, there’s the sense that PG-13 Huntsman could easily capture the imagination of all children… like its similarly dark, imperfect fantasy predecessors from the 1980s.

As a revisionist, mature take on the Snow White fairy tale, Snow White and the Huntsman is, on the whole, satisfying. There is enough of the original Brothers Grimm story to be recognisable, but also enough well-considered changes that the audience can’t always predict what’s coming next.

So the stunning Ravenna (Charlize Theron) marries and murders the king. Evidently having no reason to harm…