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Showing posts from September, 2012

A Dreddful weekend for new cinema releases... and that's a good thing

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Six new movies open in South Africa today... although I'm sure the geek and comic-loving crowd have eyes for one film only.

Dredd:
The last high-profile comic book adaptation of 2012, based on the character from Britain's seminal 2000 AD. This Stallone-free franchise reboot sees  Karl Urban playing the title character - a helmeted, all-in-one law enforcer in a Dystopian future. Olivia Thirlby is the rookie at Dredd's side as he fights his way to powerful drug peddler Ma-Ma (Lena Headey). Shot for and screening in 3D. With a Rotten Tomatoes rating of 76% Fresh, Dredd is apparently gritty and gratifying.... even if it's unapologetically B-grade grungy and unambitious plot-wise. Trailer Tuesday profile.



Hotel Transylvania:
Also screening in 3D (and 2D) is this family-friendly animated comedy from Sony Pictures Animation. Directed by Genndy Tartakovsky, Hotel Transylvania centres on a remote holiday resort for monsters. Things are going well for proprietor Count Dracula (v…

Movies releasing today: Sequels and art house fare

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This week at South African cinemas, new entries in hit movie franchises are evenly matched with art house fare. Take your pick...

The Bourne Legacy:
Matt Damon is out and Jeremy Renner is in for this fourth film in the action-espionage Bourne film series, stemming from Robert Ludlum's spy thriller books. A rogue black ops agent - who isn't Jason Bourne! - tries to get to the bottom of a shady government scheme to create drug-enhanced super-soldiers. Also with Rachel Weisz, Edward Norton, Joan Allen, Oscar Isaac and Albert Finney. Overseas critics are divided between calling Legacy well-constructed, electric entertainment or unnecessary franchise milking. 55% Fresh.


Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days:
The second sequel in the family-friendly comedy series, based on Jeff Kinney's popular book series. Mixing live-action and cartoon illustration, the film follows self-absorbed tween hero Greg Heffley (Zachary Gordon) during his incident-filled Summer break. Sitcom-like with slapsti…

Monday Movie Review: Beasts of the Southern Wild

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If you’re allergic to arthouse cinema, then you will probably find Beasts of the Southern Wilda bit too obscure and meandering for your tastes. However, if you’re a more open-minded cinemagoer, this first-time feature from writer-director Benh Zeitlin (based on a one-act play by Lucy Alibar) is a striking mix of poignant drama, humour and dream imagery. It’s a highly original piece of cinema – and film festival darling that could potentially score awards love come early 2013.


Beasts of the Southern Wild plunges the viewer into a world and community we’ve rarely seen onscreen before, except in caricature form. Set in the Bathtub, a ramshackle informal fishing settlement on the outside of Louisiana’s levees, the film focuses on a group of eccentrics. Eschewing conventional society, the inhabitants of Bathtub live off the grid for various reasons, mostly a mix of insanity, irresponsibility, alcoholism and fierce independence. It’s a harsh life but the Bathtub’s denizens are a united com…

Movies out today: Undead action, animation and magic realism

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From hyper-stylised zombie slaying to quirky arthouse fare, there's a trio of new movies releasing at South African cinemas from today.

Resident Evil: Retribution:
Shot for, and screening in, 3D is this fifth Resident Evil film, moving further and further away from the video game franchise that kicked off the movie series. Under the direction of Paul W. S. Anderson, Milla Jovovich is back as ass-kicking heroine Alice, taking on hordes of undead, as well as the Umbrella Corporation, which unleashed the zombie apocalypse in the first place. The gimmick in this action-horror combo is the return of multiple characters from the other films, including Sienna Guillory's Jill Valentine, Michelle Rodriguez's Rain and Oded Fehr's Carlos.

Resident Evil: Retribution releases today with no prior screenings for critics. This is typical for the Resident Evil films though, so chances are if you enjoyed the other entries in the franchise - especially the gimmicky but fun Afterlife 3D (r…

See you later, South Africa. Good morning, Vietnam

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As of today there will be a blogging lull for a fortnight because I'm taking a much-needed break, heading off to the East for the very first time in my life, and vacationing in Vietnam for 2 weeks.

The next few weeks of Friday Cinema Releases have been scheduled and will appear here as usual, but in my absence, why not revisit the major posts of the past few months (see below)?

Till then, xin chào y'all.


Features, News and Opinion pieces:
Warrior bears and the Mists of Pandaria
RIP Michael Clarke Duncan
Batman rebooted!
The Dark Knight Returns... to DVD in 2 parts
25 movies to watch in 2012 – July to December
Calling all Joburg geeks: It's ICON 2012 time
Get ready for Durban International Film Festival 2012
A bad week for Batman fans
Comic fans, expand your collection now

Film reviews:
Ted
The Expendables 2
Brave (3D)
The Cabin in the Woods
Haywire
Magic Mike
The Dark Knight Rises
The Woman in Black
The Amazing Spider-Man (3D)
Coriolanus
The Dictator
Men in Black 3

Trailer profiles:
Bachelorette

Trailer Tuesday: Bachelorette

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No doubt capitalising on the success of last year's surprise mega-hit Bridesmaids, here's another raunchy comedy about women behaving badly in the lead-up to wedding celebrations. The big selling point with Bachelorette though is its fantastic cast of comically gifted young women - Kirsten Dunst, Isla Fisher, Lizzy Caplan and Rebel Wilson.

Given that these ladies are some of my favourite actresses, I'll be watching Bachelorette for its strong female ensemble alone. For the record though, the plot is based on a play by writer-director Leslye Headland -whose blog, Cinephilia I used to read before she headed to Hollywood, weirdly enough - and centres on a trio of high school friends (Dunst, Caplan, Fisher). Each of the young women reacts differently to the impending nuptials of their "fat" friend, Becky (Wilson): Overachieving maid of honour Regan (Dunst) is smarting over the fact that she's not first down the aisle, Gena (Caplan) appears to be a promiscuous cy…

Motivational quotes in popular culture: Kung Fu Panda

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Following on from some choice life advice in the graphic novel Superman: Earth One, today we're turning from the printed page to the silver screen.

What would a mentor and pupil martial arts movie be without inspiring, mystical sayings? DreamWorks Animation's Kung Fu Panda certainly doesn't stray from expectation. Although Shifu (Dustin Hoffman), the kung fu master directly responsible for the training of chubby panda Po (Jack Black), is disgruntled and impatient, Shifu's mentor, the (apparently) doddery tortoise Oogway (Randall Duk Kim) is the model of zen thinking and shared wisdom... as the following lines of dialogue reveal.


One often meets his destiny on the road he takes to avoid it. - OogwayQuit, don't quit? Noodles, don't noodles? You are too concerned about what was and what will be. There is a saying: yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, but today is a gift. That is why it is called the "present." - Oogway
At the same time, let…

Movies releasing today: From sharks to Savages, aliens to Katy Perry

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We may be exiting the midyear blockbuster period but that doesn't mean the number of cinema releases are slumping. Today 7 new movies open in South Africa.

The Watch:
All-star comedy meets sci-fi in this tale of a mismatched, buffoonish Neighbourhood Watch who must defend their Midwestern community from alien invasion. With Ben Stiller, Vince Vaughn,Jonah Hill and Richard Ayoade. Apparently this one suffers from a serious case of "All the best bits are in the trailer." Kervyn, over at The Movies.co.za, called the film disappointing, unfunny and entirely seen-it-all-before. International critics agree - The Watch features good chemistry but otherwise is lazy and crass. The film has a dire aggregated Rotten Tomatoes rating of 16% Fresh.


Dark Tide:
Halle Berry seems to spend most of her time in a bikini for this thriller about a marine biology expert and "shark whisperer" who loses her nerve after an awful diving accident. An ex (Olivier Martinez) convinces her to g…

Sexy Wonder Woman cosplay

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I'm a relatively quiet, contemplative person but I do love an opportunity to dress up and slip out of my skin for an evening. Those of you who visit these here parts regularly will know that I especially enjoy cosplay (evidence here, here and here).

And this past Saturday there was a high-profile costume party to prepare for - the annual Sex & Candy, this year held at the surprisingly upmarket Empyre nightclub in Durban North. Although Empyre is admittedly situated a bit out of the way in terms of the established Durban club scene (and the crowd who used to attend the old S&C's parties at Burn), this year's event really deserved more support than it received, given that the whole thing was far less grungy and disorganised than previous years, and the dance floor music was fantastic mix of commercial and alternate rock.

Anyway, I'm naturally shy so this year's costume was a personal challenge to overcome my insecurities... particularly in terms of having my…

Girlz 'N' Games comic #104: The Super Friendzone

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Originally posted on my web comic, Girlz 'N' Games.
The Justice League are back... in a strip that could also be called the Justice Out of Your League!

So by now most of you will be aware of the latest attention-grabbing stunt direction-change happening at DC Comics as part of their New 52 universe overhaul. Human partners are out and superhero hook-ups are in! Dumping those too-vulnerable mortals, Superman and Wonder Woman are the new bulletproof power couple – beginning their union officially in Justice League #12 with some skybound make-out and bondage sessions. Kinda.


I’m still in 2 minds about the latest twist in the never-ending super soap opera. On the one hand there is definite dramatic potential to be mined. Wonder Woman and Superman may both be super-strong “aliens” in Man’s world, but Kal-El has at least been raised as a human with Midwestern values, whereas Diana is a complete outsider, entering society with unbridled Amazonian spirit. She’s a passionate warrior-di…

Trailer Tuesday: Looper

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Just last week over at TheMovies.co.za we were discussing our favourite science fiction movies of all time... and I realised that a hefty chunk of my picks have to do with time and/or time travel as opposed to extra-terrestrial encounters.

Count me officially excited then for hybrid crime thriller/sci-fi actioner Looper. Set less than 40 years from now, the film centres on "Looper" Joseph Simmons (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), a young man who lives the good life thanks to his job as a specialist mob hitman. In essence, the Mafia from 2077 use illegal time travel to send their enemies back to 2047 for evidence-free extermination. It's clean, quick and highly effective, as long as the victim doesn't escape... Which is exactly what happens when Joseph is faced with the task of executing his 55 year old self (Bruce Willis) - who has already lived through all this.

Woo-oah... Cue some serious brain strain!

Looper also stars Emily Blunt, Paul Dano, Jeff Daniels and Piper Perabo

RIP Michael Clarke Duncan

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Your name is John Coffey?
Yes sir boss. Like the drink, only not spelled the same.


RIP, Michael Clarke Duncan. Gone at only 54. At least thanks to the magic of the movies his powerful presence won't be easily forgotten.

Monday Movie Review: Ted

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A cute teddy bear that embraces every disreputable thing you can think of – foul language, drugs, that trashy check-out girl in a supermarket store room. Yup, the contrast between cuddly appearance and sordid behaviour is pretty much the single gag that fantasy comedy Ted rests upon. However, against all odds, this slim concept actually manages to support the film for 106 minutes – thanks also to some relaxed, likeable performances and a script that allows levels of audacity and fanboy silliness to soar.


Ted is the first live-action film from writer-director Seth MacFarlane, who is most famous for creating and voicing cartoon TV series Family Guy and American Dad! Ted in fact feels very much like a non-animated version of MacFarlane’s television work, complete with absurd fantasy cutaways, 80s pop culture references, politically incorrect one-liners and immature fart gags.

This said, the fart gags in Ted actually have a justified place. You see, the film centres on 35 year old John Be…