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Showing posts from April, 2013

Monday Movie Review: The Host

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If you take Twilight, Beautiful Creatures and, now, The Host as examples, it looks like the film adaptations of Young Adult novels file away all edge from the genres those specific stories are set in. What’s left is utterly, well, blunt. If you’ve never been exposed to supernatural or science fiction cinema before, that’s good and well. You’ll have no comparative reference. If, however, you are a fan; a seasoned consumer, of genre fare, watching these movies is like downgrading your diet to one food group. It’s impossible to be satisfied because everything is just so bland.


In the case of The Host, this sense of “seen it all before” is especially strong. And given the talent involved in the project – writer-director Andrew Niccol was responsible for Gattaca, In Time, Lord of War and the Truman Show screenplay – the disappointment level is especially high.

Based on the book by Twilight’s Stephenie Meyer The Host is set in a near future where Earth is at peace and thriving. The reason …

Movies out today: Hypnotherapy and Pyramid heads

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Less than one week until Iron Man 3 bursts onto South African cinema screens on the Public Holiday Wednesday. If you can't wait til then, here's what's new in local moviehouses from today.

Silent Hill: Revelation
I actually really enjoyed the first film adaptation of the creepy-as-all-Hell video game series (my review). For nailing the atmosphere of its source material, it's probably my favourite ever game adaptation. Anyway, once again we return to the nightmarish "lost" town of Silent Hill, with a now teenage Heather Mason (Adelaide Clemens) drawn back there despite her father's (Sean Bean) efforts to keep her far away from the sinister alternate dimension. Screening in shot-for-3D and also starring Kit (John Snow) Harington, Carrie-Anne Moss and Malcolm McDowell.

Sporting an aggregated review score of 6% Fresh on Rotten Tomatoes, Silent Hill: Revelation is evidently a major disappointment. Apparently it makes no sense whatsoever and is completely lac…

Midweek LOLs: Geek Girl fantasy vs. reality

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Just a little bit of a laugh to kick off your Wednesday. Here's a wonderful illustration from Steve Simpson that, although created for a kids' creative thinking game, also really captures what it's like to be a geek girl - or geek in general, for that matter: that constant friction between the heroic fantasy in your head and the typically mundane reality of what you're doing. I saw a LOT of myself in this. Enjoy.


Trailer Tuesday: R.I.P.D.

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This week's profiled trailer comes from supernatural/sci-fi action comedy R.I.P.D, which can probably best be described as the hybrid offspring of Men In Black and Hellboy. In fact, just like those 2 films, this one is loosely based on a comic book series as well.


When they die in the line of duty, the world's best lawmen are recruited for the Rest In Peace Division, a group of undead enforcers who protect the world of the living from demons and other afterlife trouble-makers. Ryan Reynolds is a promising young police officer who becomes the latest rather unwilling R.I.P.D. inductee. He's in turn paired with Jeff Bridges's flamboyant cowboy ghost. From the director of RED,  the film also stars Mary-Louise Parker and Kevin Bacon.



It's honestly going to be very tough for R.I.P.D. to escape the MIB and BPRD comparisons. However, despite the blatant similarities - even the demons look more like aliens - I'm certainly game. I'm sure R.I.P.D. won't revoluti…

Is the rebooted Lara Croft gay? Evidence for and against...

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As some of you know, I’ve been fangirling hard over the new Tomb Raider, the first entry in the video game series since 2008, and ostensibly a reboot for the entire franchise. Taking the form of an origin story, Tomb Raider 2013 depicts the events that transformed a beautiful, if bookish, archaeology graduate into a pistol-packing adventurer with a devil-may-care attitude.


We meet Lara Croft as a pretty, fairly ordinary 21 year old, brooding over her work notes, listening to her mp3 player and very much confined to the shadow of her male mentors. By the end of the game, however, she’s taken charge – she’s had to! – and, battered, bruised and bloody, she’s both a survivor and hero, right down to rescuing the princess and carrying her away in her arms.

Yeah, this is probably the best point to mention that there will be some Tomb Raider 2013 spoilers in this post, so read ahead with caution.

Anyway, I loved the game. Technically it’s near faultless, it looks beautiful, the overall expe…

Movies out today: Sci-fi escapism all around

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Sci-fi dominates at South African cinemas this weekend, with all 3 new releases dealing with matters of technology and extraterrestrial exploration.

Oblivion:
I have to admit this sci-fi actioner took me completely by surprise. I'd never even heard of it until a few months ago. Anyway, from the director of Tron: Legacy comes this tale of an "average joe" repair man (Tom Cruise) involved in the reclamation of resources on an abandoned Earth. When he encounters astronaut Olga Kurylenko, he's forced to question everything he's ever been told about Mankind's battle with feared alien Scavengers. Also with Morgan Freeman, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau and Melissa Leo.

According to reviewers, you'll be watching Oblivion primarily for its striking visuals, elegantly technical approach to filmmaking, and Cruise's charismatic performance. It's a pity though that the film's strengths are primarily visual as opposed to cerebral. Nice throwback approach though. 66%…

Girlz 'N' Games webcomic #112: Tis but a scratch!

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Originally posted on my web comic, Girlz 'N' Games.
Honestly, before March this year, the last game I pre-ordered was Batman: Arkham City. The 2013 Tomb Raider reboot/prequel, however, finally dragged me away from my back catalogue and into something brand new.

What can I say? If you follow me on Twitter or read my Pop Culture blog (here specifically), you'll know I've been completely fangirling over the game... to the point that I'm considering an attempt at fan fiction for the first time in my life. And this when I didn't even know what "shipping" meant until a fortnight ago. So, yeah, I think you can expect at least one more comic strip centred on Tomb Raider on this site.


I must have played the original 1996 Tomb Raider game at least 5 times from start to finish. This was despite having never watched any of the cutscenes because the geriatric family computer couldn't handle them. What wasn't to like about heroine Lara Croft back in the ea…

Trailer Tuesday: The Wolverine

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Wolverine is the Batman of the Marvel Universe. Translation: He's cool. He's a badass. Everyone loves him. So even though he hasn't really undergone any character progression over the years, they just keep on trotting him out for pretty much every single Marvel squad team comic. And he's appeared in every single X-Men film to date. So naturally here's Logan again in his second solo spin-off, The Wolverine.Hugh Jackman is, of course, back in the role that set him up for international superstardom.


I wasn't an especially big fan of the first solo Wolverine film (my review). It was watchable but, drawing on a variety of comic material including Origin, to stitch together its story, it just felt clawless - another safe PG-13 superhero film to satisfy teenage boys without upsetting their parents.

Sequel The Wolverine, well... here's some flavour to appreciate. Not to mention a Logan who looks more ripped and veiny than ever before!

As the Jean Grey (Famke Janss…

Monday Movie Review: G.I. Joe - Retaliation (3D)

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Upfront I’m going to say that I actually quite enjoyed 2009’s G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra (my review), from director Stephen (The Mummy, Van Helsing) Sommers. Although it seemed like the filmmakers lost their nerve in the final act and, fearful of being deprived a sequel, overstuffed the film to avoid loose ends, the first Joe film succeeded in an area few other adaptations do: it actually felt like a live-action version of the cartoon I remember from my childhood. You know, where the white ninja fights the black ninja, our sole heroine has an evil female counterpart to confront every time and while the goodies operate out of a secret desert base, the baddies have a lair under the North Pole. The whole thing was silly and cheesy… so naturally the sequel had to be more conventional, grim-faced (for the most part), and American gung-ho.


Now if the latter is your favourite style of escapist action movie, you may enjoy G.I. Joe: Retaliation (based on the Hasbro toy line). I didn’t. Delay…

Movies out today: Body, dog, booze and White House snatchers abound

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It's another bumper weekend at South African cinemas, with 6 new movies opening to tempt film fans of all ages and tastes...

The Host:
Based on the young adult novel by Stephenie (Twilight) Meyer, The Host is a a teen-centric sci-fi tale, set in a future where humanity is at peace, but that's because our bodies are being controlled by parasitic aliens called Souls. Young human rebel Saoirse Ronan is similarly "infected," but she fights back, sharing her body with a soul called Wanderer who comes to sympathise with the earthling cause. Cue a very awkward love quadrangle. Also with Frances Fisher, Diane Kruger and William Hurt. Trailer Tuesday profile.

I actually had high hopes for The Host, given its cast and the fact Andrew (Gattaca, Lord of War, The Truman Show) Niccol is behind the camera. Alas, the film is apparently too ponderous and wannabe contemplative for its own good. A poorly scripted and acted 10% Fresh on review aggregator site Rotten Tomatoes.


Olympus Has…

Introducing my first Pfangirl vlog

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Although I have appeared in a TV commercial, I've never really experimented with video as a communication medium. Before now. Above you can see my first attempt at a vlog!

I've been meaning to do this for a while - and it took losing a bet to trigger my making the effort, finally - but basically I'm looking at the vlog becoming a companion piece to this blog. Basically every so often, instead of writing on a subject, I'll mix things up and make a more off-the-cuff video on the same topic.

I don't foresee future efforts being as long as this first attempt (sorry about that) but if you have the willpower to stick with my snarky discussion of the Fifty Shades novel trilogy until the end of this video, there's the chance for you to win a DVD.

Please leave your comments about what you'd like to see me discuss and/or do in future vlogs. Cheers.


Trailer Tuesday: Kick-Ass 2

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What if superheroes were real? What would it be like if someone in our all too unpredictable and vulnerable reality decided to become a masked vigilante to fight crime? It's been the subject of a handful of films, but none has really seen their reputation grow over time like the unapologetically R-rated action comedy Kick-Ass. The film, based on Mark Millar's comic book miniseries of the same name, was one of my personal favourite movies of 2010 (review here). Now three years later, it's time for Kick-Ass 2, also based on the Millar comic sequel.


A couple of years have passed since high schooler Dave Lizewski (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) first caught the public's attention after donning a wetsuit and beginning to patrol the city streets as Kick-Ass. In that time, he's been joined by other masked vigilantes like the unhinged Colonel Stars and Stripes (Jim Carrey) and they've formed their own league of "superheroes".

Unfortunately Dave's old ally Chris …

Girlz 'N' Games comic #111: Close your eyes and think of Middle-earth

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Originally posted on my web comic, Girlz 'N' Games.
All I really want to know is when did dwarves get so damn sexy? Are you absolutely sure you guys don't need a fifteenth member for your company?

P.S. Curiously this isn't the first, second or even third Girlz 'N' Games comic revolving around facial hair...

P.P.S. I'm a stubble fan myself.


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Movies out today: Action heroes... and Hitchcock

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Three films open in South Africa today. And it's all about the escapism, baby!

G.I. Joe: Retaliation:
Screening in 2D and converted 3D is this sequel to the silly 2009 sci-fi actioner, based of course on the Hasbrotoy line and its related animated and comic franchises. Most of the original film's heroes are gone (Channing Tatum's Duke and Ray Park's Snake Eyes are exceptions), with Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, Bruce Willis and Adrianne Palicki stepping forward to avenge the elite military team exterminated by Cobra's Zartan (Arnold Vosloo), who's been masquerading as the US president (Jonathan Pryce).

For better of worse, G.I. Joe: Retaliation is more serious than its predecessor. Some have appreciated this tonal shift; others have said the fun has gone out of proceedings as a result. Either way, Retaliation is not short on explosive action scenes and impressive special effects. It's an unapologetically mindless popcorn flick. Currently 29% Fresh on …

Cosplay: A personal perspective

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I was inspired to write this after reading Meagan Marie's post on an incident at this year's PAX regarding the disrespectful treatment of cosplayers. It's not a pleasant read, mostly because it's a reminder of the many times I've just smiled weakly when I really should have said something and stood up for myself. Some of us are just naturally fearful, shying away from confrontation. Some of us. But ALL of us have personal stories, and this is mine...



First things first: I don’t presume to speak for every cosplaying woman out there. I’m not going to make generalisations. This is my specific story; why I enjoy dressing up – or stripping off, as required – to appear in public as my favourite pop culture characters. Other cosplayers are sure to have their own motivations. You’ve only to watch the cosplay segment of Morgan Spurlock’s documentary, Comic-Con Episode IV: A Fan's Hope to get a sense of the different reasons for cosplay. Surprise, surprise, it’s not abo…

My Tomb Raider cosplay and character thoughts

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So what did you do this Easter? I indulged in a little cosplay. Not for a fancy dress party. Nope. Just because I wanted to.


If you follow me on Twitter you'll know that the past few weeks I've been completely fangirl-ing out over the new Tomb Raider video game. I'm actually a bit embarrassed about how obsessively I've been tweeting and RTing on the subject as a grown woman, but it's been a very long time since a piece of pop culture has just so completely satisfied me on so many levels. And I mean that sincerely too; not in the snarky fun-derived-from-so-much-mockery way (*cough cough* Prometheus...).



I loved the original Tomb Raider. I must have played the 1996 game from start to finish about six times. Indiana Jones was my greatest childhood hero; the first movie I ever saw, and here was his female equivalent - combining feats of intelligence and athleticism to get to the world's greatest forgotten treasures. Over the years Lara bounded into cheesecake terr…