Showing posts from October, 2012

Happy Halloween cosplay

Durban, the city where I live, doesn't have a dedicated cosplay community, but there are certain local events - the Sissy Hankshaw Pub Tour and Burn Halloween party for example - where the cool costumes, and their committed makers, come out. This year has proved no different.

With Halloween 2012 falling slap-bang in the middle of the work week, most of the big themed events, as well as private house parties, took place this last Friday and Saturday. I attended 2 events, and kept my efforts - as a female MMA fighter (Gina Carano perhaps?) and deranged Azula from Avatar: The Last Airbender - relatively simple.

Otherwise, superheroes and villains proved to be very "in" this year. Riding a wave of popularity, Iron Man and War Machine won this year's costume competition at the Burn event. Meanwhile a couple of the other Avengers - and Loki - lurked about, although it was Batman's rogues gallery that made the strongest impression: a 7-foot tall Bane, Joker, Riddler, S…

Trailer Tuesday: Cloud Atlas

What is this, I don't even...?

If I could pick one word to describe Cloud Atlas it would certainly be "Ambitious." Hell, defying the usual teaser format, the film's first trailer was a full 5-minute 40-seconds long.

Based on the award-winning 2004 fantasy/sci-fi novel by David Mitchell, Cloud Atlas is a 3-hour epic adventure directed by The Matrix's Wachowski siblings and Run Lola Run's Tom Tykwer. With a cast that includes Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Jim Broadbent, James D'Arcy, Hugh Grant, Hugo Weaving, Zhou Xun and Susan Sarandon, Cloud Atlas is a tale of life, death, decisions, kindred souls and stories that span centuries. Not dissimilar to The Fountain, it looks like a visually stunning mind-fuck, filled with heady issues that will leave you with some serious brain strain as you brood over them in the following hours, days and weeks.

Having yet to read the "unfilmable" book (it's gone straight to the top of my Must Read list), I don&#…

Girlz 'N' Games comic #105: 60 Seconds of Black

Originally posted on my web comic, Girlz 'N' Games.
Resuming transmission in 3... 2... 1...

And we’re back. My apologies for the lack of comics over the past month or so. I was on vacation and then going through the painful process of readjusting to reality.

Anyway, there’s not much to say about the new comic other than we’re easing into things with some Fifty Shades of Grey absurdism. Because really, what 22 year old American woman in the 21st Century is so completely and utterly ignorant about sex? That's stretching credibility a bit far...

P.S. Pop culture has a distinct shortage of time-travelling sexual predators. They should totally be the next trend...


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Movies out today: Dead dogs, snappy fish, demons and politicians

As we near Halloween, the number of new horror films on circuit has shot up. Today, out of 5 new releases, 3 can be classified as horrors in some form or another.

Tim Burton's macabre live-action short from the 1980s gets a feature-length remake, and is given the stop-motion animation treatment. This dark family comedy centres on a young boy, Victor Frankenstein, who refuses to accept the death of his beloved dog Sparky. Harnessing the power of science, Victor brings Sparky back from the dead, but his suburban community isn't accepting of the new "monstrous" pooch. Shot in black and white and screening in 3D. Trailer Tuesday profile here.

With its "Boy and his Best friend" subject matter, Frankenweenie is my hands-down pick of the week. Although the film didn't set the US box office alight, it has racked up a very strong aggregated review score of  89% Fresh on Rotten Tomatoes. Apparently it's a touching tale made with noticeable love …

Trailer Tuesday: Hitchcock

*Sniff sniff* Do you smell that? It's that time of year that cinema output segues from fat-budgeted, CGI-heavy blockbusters to pedigreed fare, where the main drawcard is the cast and performances. Sure to be of interest in 2012 in this regard is Hitchcock.

Yup, we're heading into the end of year awards season, and Hitchcock looks to be this year's My Week With Marilyn. In other words, we get to watch today's actors impersonate some of the greatest icons of the silver screen from years gone by. As the title suggests, here we'll be focusing on legendary, macabre-obsessed director Alfred Hitchcock, as played by Anthony Hopkins. If that wasn't enough, Helen Mirren is at Hopkins' side as Hitchcock's filmmaker wife Alma Reville. And the Academy Award winning duo is supported by Scarlett Johansson as Janet Leigh, Jessica Biel as Vera Miles and James D'Arcy as Anthony Perkins, while Toni Collette, Danny Huston, Kurtwood Smith and Ralph Macchio all also app…

Monday Movie Review: Dredd (3D)

A little context first. I’ve never read a Judge Dredd or 2000 AD comic. When they were readily available and at peak popularity, I was still a bit too young to identify the appeal of these grungy comics headlined by a scowling badass in leather with big boots and an even bigger gun. And despite knowing it enraged the fans, I didn’t hate the 1995 Stallone film adaptation either. So yeah, I went into this year’s remake, Dredd, completely neutral, with no preconceptions.

And you know what? Even if you aren’t a fan of the source material (written by  John Wagner, who advised here), Dredd is a great example of a throwback sci-fi actioner. If you enjoyed director Paul Verhoeven’s gory, tangible-feeling and borderline cartoony take on the genre in the late 80s and early 90s – with RoboCop and Total Recall respectively – then you’ll love this one.

In an age where so much big budget sci-fi typically adopts a hyper-styled Apple Store aesthetic, and relies heavily on CGI to make its fluidity a…

Movies out today: Sing, dance, swap bodies, scream

Six new movies open in South Africa today, mixing the lowbrow thrills with more arty fare.

Paranormal Activity 4:
After 2 prequels, we finally learn what happened to Katie (Katie Featherston) and her nephew Hunter in this fourth entry in the massively successful found footage-style horror series. It's five years later and a new family begins to experience demonic occurrences in their suburban home. Pretty blonde teenager Alex (Kathryn Newton) is especially aware of the weirdness.

At the time of writing this post, Paranormal Activity 4 had an aggregated Rotten Tomatoes review score of 33%. Evidently audiences should expect more of the same from this franchise, with the addition of some self-referential winks to other horror films. In other words, it's only for fans, and even then they'll probably find it too "safe".

This South African body-swap comedy stars Rob Van Vuuren and Sivuyile 'Siv' Ngesi as an unhinged cop and desperate ex-con respectiv…

Midweek Movie Review: Ruby Sparks

There’s that moment in every relationship where the honeymoon phase ends; where the idealist shell you’ve constructed around your partner cracks and suddenly you see the messy reality underneath. Suddenly that nice guy gentleman demonstrates a terrifying surge of temper in front of you, or the manic pixie dream girl reveals she’s not perkiness, sunshine and unpredictable sex all the time. Typically you go on to accept those flaws but there’s no denying the disappointment – that loss of the initial “love magic” – that your partner doesn’t match your dream.

Well, what if you had the power to control your lover’s behaviour; to erase all those irritating quirks? Would you use it and bend them to your will? Is happiness possible if such one-sided manipulation is taking place? These questions are central to romantic fantasy Ruby Sparks, the surprisingly potent sophomore film effort from Little Miss Sunshine directors Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris.

Upfront it must be noted that Ruby Spa…

Trailer Tuesday: Vamps

When it comes to the big screen, we've had scary vampires, romantic vampires, sexy vampires, emo vampires, corporate vampires... but not many intentionally funny vampires. Vamps looks set to change that.

This horror-laced romantic comedy reteams director Amy Heckerling with her Clueless leading lady Alicia Silverstone and centres on a pair of female vampires - Krysten Ritter is the other one - who are beginning to grow weary of their vapid party and pleasure-orientated lifestyles in New York City. After over a century of dating they're still looking for something more meaningful. But when they find it, clearly it won't be without sacrifice... especially since one of the love interests (Downton Abbey's  Dan Stevens) is a Van Helsing.

Vamps doesn't look game-changing, but there's nothing wrong with some fluff every now and then. (Just as long as it's not as irritating and forced as Heckerling's last effort, I Could Never Be Your Woman). There are certain…

Fun for Monday: Comic con style

I'm sure many of you have been introduced to catchy K-pop track Gangnam Style by now. With over 416 million views, I'm almost positive you've already seen it.

But have you seen this wonderfully geeky  tribute/parody made at this year's Dragon Con in Atlanta? Utilising an assortment of cosplayers, it fills the heart with goofy glee. Plus, who knew that a female Deadpool could be so damn sexy?

Movies out today: Revenge and redemption

Only three new movies open in South African cinemas today, and they offer a mix of revenge and redemption.

Taken 2:
Sure to be the new box office champion is this (unnecessary) sequel to the 2008 hit (my review) that established Liam Neeson as an action badass. This time a family vacation in Turkey goes wrong for retired operative Bryan Mills as he tries to reconnect with his ex-wife (Famke Janssen) and daughter (Maggie Grace). Relatives of the Albanian men killed by Bryan in Taken 1 set out to kidnap and kill the family. Big mistake!

Kervyn at The wasn't impressed by this action thriller, which suffers as a result of its weird decision to edit out the bone-crunching violence that gave the original Taken its punch (along with Neeson's intense performance of course). Taken 2 is sanitised to the point of incoherence. Internationally, critics have called the film more remake than sequel, going the "bigger and dumber" route. Neeson still delivers the goods th…

Comic book memoirs - Revisiting Batman: Year Two

So my little blogging series stalled for a while after this first post... but, inspired by Grant Morrison’s personal response to comic books in Supergods, I want to continue reflecting on the comics that have impacted on ME over the years – those tales, and even individual panels, that are forever entrenched in my mind.

Batman: Year Two scores a place on this personal list primarily for the sequence below. After all, what could be more shocking to a 12 year old than seeing your favourite superhero so resoundingly beaten and bloodied that they’re forced to flee?

Predating Batman’s crippling by Bane by six years, Batman: Year Two graphically depicts the Dark Knight’s defeat by his vigilante predecessor, the death-dealing, sickle-gun-wielding Reaper. The defeat is so thorough, in fact, that Bruce Wayne has a complete change of heart about his crime-fighting methods, picking up a pistol and committing to the use of lethal force if necessary. Hell, in preparing to take down the Reaper, he…