Showing posts from July, 2012

Trailer Tuesday: Dredd

I have 2 confessions to make.

1) Unlike most geeks on the east side of the Atlantic, I've never read a 2000 AD comic, and have therefore never encountered the character of Judge Dredd on the printed page.

 2) I kinda enjoyed the 1995 Sylvester Stallone Judge Dredd flick, despite the outraged howls by fans of the always helmeted, all-in-one-lawman.

As a result, my interest in upcoming sci-fi action flick Dredd - which is touted as a faithful Judge Dredd film - has never been much more than mild curiosity. I'm certainly no rabid fan, desperate for big screen adaptation attempt #2 to be the satisfying real deal. Plus, after the mind-boggling B-grade mess of Doomsday, I'm going to retain a healthy skepticism about any budget British actioner that's been transplanted to Cape Town for shooting.

This said, online anticipation levels have been ramping up for Dredd, especially since the film screened at this year's San Diego Comic-Con to a very encouraging positive respons…

Fun for Monday: Girlz 'N' Games comic #102

Originally posted on my web comic, Girlz 'N' Games.
I’m sure I’m not the only woman with geekish leanings to approach Girls’ Night Out evenings, or other similar female-only gatherings, with some trepidation. These are not normally places where you feel confident flying your geek flag high.

You know, the politely masked expressions of pity – or blank stares – you receive if you mention the epic greatsword that dropped last night, or rant about the Spider-Man movie reboot. Alternatively, there are those painful minutes you sit silent, unable to contribute while your friends gush about “girlie” things: their new concealer, their kids, the cupcake icing course they’re taking.

This isn’t to say that there aren’t geek and gamer girls out there who share these interests (I like to believe we’re a pretty well-rounded lot), but some of us do feel self-conscious about our less conventionally “feminine” passions. Like Superman keeping his costume hidden beneath Clark Kent’s suit, we sup…

Movies out today: The Bat, the Cabin and the Dog

If you're in Durban, you still have 3 more days of movies to catch at the Durban International Film Festival. For the rest of South Africa there are 3 biggies to check out at local cinemas from today, as well as the Nigerian historical musical Inale, screening in limited release. Still it's obvious what most people will be watching this weekend.

The Dark Knight Rises:
Director Christopher Nolan wraps up his Batman trilogy with this 3 hour comic adaptation set 8 years after the events of The Dark Knight. This time moping billionaire-turned-crime fighter Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale) must face the threat of terrorist Bane (Tom Hardy) and cat-burglar-with-a-past Selina Kyle (Anne Hathaway). Also with Gary Oldman, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman and Marion Cotillard.

The Dark Knight Rises is a mostly satisfying conclusion to Nolan's saga, even if it doesn't engross to the same extent as its Joker-driven predecessor (Read my full review here). For the reco…

Happy blog birthday, Through the Looking Glass

A happy birthday to this blog!

Today marks exactly seven years since Pfangirl Through the Looking Glass came into existence, increasing the Internet's percentage of pop culture commentary by just that minuscule bit more. I hope you've enjoyed my brain farts over this period, and found some value in what this blog has to offer. Cheers.

So, in celebration of today, have a slice of cake on me. It's no lie, I promise;)

Alternatively, if you're in South Africa, go and enjoy Free Popcorn Day today at Nu Metro cinemas nationwide. Quite an appropriate coincidence that...

Comic fans, expand your collection now

What a pleasant surprise for comic book lovers!

The Official Marvel Graphic Novel Collection is a fantastic opportunity to get your paws on some of the greatest comic book story arcs of the past few decades: X-Men: The Dark Phoenix Saga, Iron Man: Extremis, The Ultimates Vol. 1 and The Amazing Spider-Man: Birth of Venom, just to start with.

Basically, there's a new graphic novel series available - which is a chance to play catch-up with your Marvel reading... particularly if you're more of a DCer like me, whose Marvel knowledge stems largely from animated series and Wikipedia. *cough*

Anyway, for the usual price of R110 (the first few issues are substantially cheaper), every fortnight you can pick up a signature Marvel story from CNA and other South African newsagents. Alternatively, you can order direct from the source, and receive some nifty bonus goodies and free issues delivered direct to your door.

I don't have to tell you that R110 is an excellent price for a trade p…

Midweek Movie Review: The Dark Knight Rises

Upfront, let’s get a few important questions out the way about The Dark Knight Rises, the final film in director Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy.

1) Will I be able to understand masked villain Bane?
Yes, most of the time. With concentration.

2) Is Anne Hathaway’s Catwoman bland?
In combat yes. As a character, definitely not.

3) Is there an after-credits sequence I should wait for?

4) Is The Dark Knight Rises as good as or better than The Dark Knight?
Unfortunately, no. Rises is very good. It’s worth watching on the big screen. But it’s not the brilliant series conclusion that audiences wanted.

Now The Dark Knight Rises is a very different kind of superhero film to, say, The Avengers (my review). Apart from its sombre tone and commitment to deeper thematic exploration, its greatest difference is that this is a big screen comic book adaptation with something you rarely see: Finality.

In the Marvel Cinematic Universe, even though every film ends with the restoration of peace, you kno…

Monday Movie Review: The Woman in Black

Toxic prolonged grief… Just like the mists that continually envelop the forlorn English village where The Woman in Black is set, the disturbing effects of pathological mourning are everywhere you look in this consciously old-fashioned horror film from resurgent Hammer Films. The movie is made all the stronger for this consistently applied thematic focus (so often AWOL in contemporary genre entries), as well as its retro approach to supernatural chills.

Based on Susan Hill’s popular novel and its theatre adaptation, The Woman in Black centres on young Edwardian Era solicitor Arthur Kipps (Daniel Radcliffe), who is still brooding over his wife’s death in childbirth 4 years earlier. Arthur is so distracted in fact that his job is at risk, so he certainly can’t refuse the task of trekking off to remote Eel Marsh House on the English coastline and wading through piles of paperwork to wrap up the estate.

Making Arthur’s work even harder is the hostile local community, sent sullen and dist…

A bad week for Batman fans

This has been a very upsetting week to be a comic, and specifically Batman, fan. To everyone bullied this week, for everyone affected by the Colorado cinema shooting, I share your sadness. I'm sorry that Bane and the Joker have won in our world.

Movies out today: Scares, strippers, soldiers and orphans

If you are on South Africa's east coast for the next week or so, there are dozens of movie screenings to choose from as part of the 2012 Durban International Film Festival. For everyone else across the nation, you have 4 new cinema releases to check out from today.

The Woman in Black:
Daniel Radcliffe's first role post-Harry Potter sees him confronting vengeful spirits in this surprise horror hit, based on the novel and its stage adaptation. Radcliffe plays a young Edwardian Era solicitor whose latest assignment takes him to a coastal village plagued by child deaths and sightings of a fearsome woman in black.

It's taken 5 months for The Woman in Black to reach our shores, but the wait is worth it if you like your horror in the throwback style - creepy and well-crafted instead of gory and gimmicky. Read my full review here. For the record, overseas the film has racked up an aggregated Rotten Tomatoes rating of 65% Fresh. Put simply: The Woman in Black is an old-fashioned ghos…

Get ready for Durban International Film Festival 2012

This post originally appeared at
Today marks the start of the 33rd annual Durban International Film Festival (DIFF) – South Africa’s largest and longest-running film festival.

From 19 - 29 July, festival attendees will be able to choose from nearly 300 screenings of feature-length movies, documentaries and short films from around the world. These showings take place at various venues around the city, including Gateway Cinema Nouveau, Musgrave Ster Kinekor, Suncoast CineCentre and the Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre. In many cases, filmmakers will be in attendance to answer questions afterwards.

Bookings for DIFF screenings can be made via the individual venues - by phone or online where available.

Every year, movies are chosen according to themes, and DIFF 2012 selections include a focus on African cinema, contemporary European life, eco-exploitation and Japanese moviemaking.

As usual, DIFF also includes the Wavescape Surf Film Festival, a mini-festival that caters specifica…

Midweek Movie Review: The Amazing Spider-Man (3D)

No doubt about it: franchise reboot The Amazing Spider-Man is a lot of fun, and successfully rectifies many of the gripes that audiences – or was it just vocal comic book fans? – had with Sam Raimi’s stylised, borderline cartoony take on Marvel’s most iconic superhero.

This said, cinematic reboots are supposed to be a golden opportunity to break an over-used mould, and start fresh. Free of franchise formula and the narrative restrictions set by series predecessors, the filmmaker can do what he wants. Except, sadly, in the case of The Amazing Spider-Man, the big decision makers seem to have lost the courage to go all the way. Despite promises that Amazing was going to be “The untold story of Spider-Man’s past,” the old, familiar “origin” mould has been reassembled and reused with a bit of extra buffing. The result? Retreading much of the same narrative turf and themes as its Spidey predecessors, The Amazing Spider-Man feels like a pop art painting that’s simply been replicated in a m…

Monday Movie Review: Coriolanus

Upfront I can say that Coriolanus is definitely not a film for everyone, given that it transplants one of William Shakespeare’s lesser known tragedies to modern times while retaining the Bard’s verse. This isn’t the first time that Shakespeare has made the leap to present day, language intact (Romeo + Juliet is a smash hit example), but it’s a bold choice that can alienate a lot of viewers.

For the most part though, Coriolanus does get it right. Well, at least during the film’s first two-thirds. During this period the experiment pays off and the audience finds themselves engrossed in what can probably be best described as Bard Hawk Down.

So, as the film opens, we meet brilliant, battle-hardened military commander Coriolanus – star and first time director Ralph Fiennes – who is a faithful servant of Rome, but has earned the hatred of the public after he’s responsible for suppressing unrest during a grain shortage. However, Coriolanus is soon viewed as a hero again after a successful m…

Movies out today: It's Spidey time... again

A trio of new movies hit South African cinemas today, although I'm sure the public will only be flocking to one...

The Amazing Spider-Man:
Screening in 2D and shot-for-3D is this fourth film (out during the past decade) based on Marvel's most popular comic character. This franchise reboot goes right back to the beginning, depicting the transformation of Peter Parker (Andrew Garfield) from high school nonentity to masked superhero. Emma Stone is Gwen Stacy and Rhys Ifans scientist Doc Connors, who has some connection to Peter's long-gone parents. Trailer Tuesday profile here.

Alas, The Amazing Spider-Man apparently isn't all that amazing. With Sam Raimi's trilogy still fresh in many people's minds, the comparisons were inevitable. And Amazing just doesn't do enough to distinguish itself from its predecessors. The gave the film a middling review score of 3 stars out of 5, adding that the project has individual elements that work very well (the…

The Dictator film review

"I love it when women go to school. It's like seeing a monkey on roller skates -- it means nothing to them, but it's so adorable for us...” If there’s one thing you can say about comedian Sacha Baron Cohen it’s that the man has balls. Really. He’s completely audacious, doing and saying things for a laugh that other “safer” humorists would tiptoe away from. Jokes about totalitarian regimes? Torture? Rape? Terrorism? You got it. They’re all prominent in Baron Cohen’s latest no holds barred satire, The Dictator. So if you’re someone who is easily offended when people make light of sensitive issues, avoid this controversy-stuffed film at all costs! If however you’re an open-minded adult who’s quite happy to alternate shocked gasps with a good laugh, then I can recommend The Dictator – an outrageous R-rated comedy that’s more hit than miss.

This said, your enjoyment of The Dictator may be determined by your familiarity with, and fondness for, Baron Cohen’s distinctive, politi…

Calling all Joburg geeks: It's ICON 2012 time

Pretoria locals had their chance to geek it up at UPCon back in April. Now it's the turn of the Joburgers to rock out with their... uh... D10s out. Because, yes, this coming weekend (13 - 15 July) is the 21st annual ICON Games and Comics Convention. And although the entire set-up would likely fit into a single panel hall at Thee Almighty San Diego Comic-Con, ICON is South Africa's biggest convention of this type.

Everything you need to know about ICON 2012 can be found in this PDF brochure.

In a nutshell though, the 3 day event is taking place at Jabula Recreation Centre in Sandringham. Entry is R20 per day, or R40 for the whole weekend.

(For the record, this year's theme "Raiders of the Last ICON" is referencing the supposed Mayan Doomsday prophecy and doesn't mean 2012 will be the final ever event).

Anyway, at ICON 2012 There will be tabletop role-playing, board games, wargaming, assorted card games, anime screenings, evening LARPs, a miniatures painting …

Monday Movie Review: Men in Black 3

After a massively disappointing second film, nobody really expected or wanted a third entry in the sci-fi comedy franchise (that originated as a comic book series, out of interest). However, 10 years after MIB II and 15 years after MIB, everyone who matters has been lured back, including stars Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones, director Barry Sonnenfeld, special make-up effects artist Rick Baker and composer  Danny Elfman. And the end result is... alright. Men in Black 3 is nothing special, but it’s neither insulting to your intelligence nor agonising to watch. If you enjoyed the first 2 films back in the day, you should still find enough to appreciate right here and now in 2012.

MIB3 starts off strongly with a prison break introduction to the film’s villain, Boris the Animal (Flight of the Conchords’ distinctively voiced Jemaine Clement). Immediately the audience is reminded of one of MIB’s greatest strengths: the series’ wonderfully inventive character design. At first glance, Boris i…