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Showing posts from May, 2013

Movies out today: Return of the Wolf Pack and plenty of suspense

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It's a mix of mindless crowd-pleasers and thinking fare for adults this weekend at the South African box office. Four new films hit local cinemas from today.

The Hangover Part III:
I'm anti sequels to hit comedies at the best of times. You might be able to squeeze the laughs out into a second film, but by #3, no matter how far you try to push things, the freshness is gone. So view with caution the claims that The Hangover Part III is breaking from the wild bachelor party formula, simply because this time the Wolf Pack (Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms and Zach Galifianakis) are on a road trip, and actually retain their memories.

Anyway, word on the street is that The Hangover Part III has alienated a lot of series fans by going "dark, angry and cynical," playing out more as an action thriller than a raunchy R-rated comedy. Apparently it just ain't fun anymore and feels largely pointless. Better than Part II though. 20% Fresh on review aggregator site Rotten Tomatoes.



Texa…

Girlz 'N' Games comic #114: Life of Die!

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Originally posted on my web comic, Girlz 'N' Games.
Sidenote: My new strip went up yesterday on the dedicated comic site and Facebook, and it's proven to be most popular effort ever - next to the "notorious" Christmas 2010 comic, but that was for entirely the wrong reason. So I'm pretty stoked people like #114, even if it's pretty unforgivable what Lara does to everyone's favourite imaginary tiger, Hobbes. Thanks for all the shares, likes, retweets, links, etc. They're very appreciated.

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I'm sure you're all a bit Tomb Raidered out by now, so this is intended to be my last comic on the subject... for now anyway. There are likely to be some one-shots/single panels in the near future. Mostly though I am just really tired of dirtying up Lara every time I draw her! Anyway, I imagine Life of Pi would have been a much shorter movie if a certain young archaeologist had climbed onto the life raft.

P.S. I always hated having to kill animals, esp…

Trailer Tuesday: Rush

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I'm not into cars... at all. A vehicle just has to be reliable and get me from A to B. I'm not thrilled by the speed and power, or impressed by brands. I'm bored with racing games within 10 minutes. And I leave the room whenever a grand prix is on TV. It's all a big fat yawn to me.

This said, I am excited for biographical racing flick Rush. Directed by Ron Howard, Rush centres on the real-life rivalry between champion Formula 1 drivers James Hunt - a hard-living British playboy played by Chris Hemsworth - and Austrian Niki Lauda, portrayed by Daniel Bruhl. Olivia Wilde and Natalie Dormer also star.


Although the International Trailer makes the film look more formulaic than the high-octane Feature Trailer above, Rush certainly seems to offer a few hours of slick, stylish entertainment. Set during the 1970s, the film has an enticing throwback aesthetic, and refreshingly centres on an an exciting (if morbid) era in motorsport when drivers lived hard and raced hard - facin…

Your Monday morning earworm

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Right, this isn't exactly new, but it does a pretty good job of summing up my life at the moment... I'm behind on my blogging, I've stressed myself sick for the second time in a month and I seem to playing (and failing) an endless game of catch-up in related to my to-do list. So yeah, if you're at all in a similar situation to me, here's a little something fun to hopefully take your mind off things...


Anyway, meanwhile this past Saturday I put a new spin on my previous Tomb Raider cosplay (here and here), by going as veteran adventurer Lara Croft to an Over the Hill themed 30th birthday party. How awesome would it be to have the new game series cover Lara's entire career - from its start on her twenties all the way through into retirement? That would be ground-breaking for a female video game character.




Movies out today: The need for speed, singers and sex

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Only three new films open in South African cinemas today - combining popcorn escapism with crowd-pleasers and indie drama.

Fast & Furious 6:
Some movie franchises just capture the public imagination and just keep on coming. Like the Fast & Furious series. You should know the formula by now - posturing young lawbreakers + night races + close-ups of gear shifts + crazy vehicle stunts. For 130 minutes... This time the outlaw daredevils come out of retirement to bring down a rival heist crew (headed by Luke Evans) in order to gain amnesty for their past crimes. With Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, Michelle Rodriguez, Tyrese Gibson and Gina Carano.

"Ludicrous" is the word that has most often been applied to Fast & Furious 6 by critics. Of course, depending on your blockbuster tastes, that isn't a bad thing. Movie #6 has apparently embraced its silliness. Fans should lap it up; but if you're less accepting of a generic plot and weak…

Trailer Tuesday: Gravity

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Is there anything as frightening as the prospect of becoming unmoored in space and floating off alone into the great black abyss? Is there anything potentially more boring to watch for 2 hours on the big screen? That will certainly be the major challenge facing Gravity, the latest effort from Children of Men and Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban director Alfonso Cuarón.


This contemplative sci-fi thriller stars Sandra Bullock and George Clooney as astronauts who find themselves stranded in space when their shuttle is destroyed. And that's really it, plotwise. Then again, it's foolish to prejudge Gravity. After all, there have been many harrowing and completely engrossing movie survival tales in the past - think Cast Away, 127 Hours and Open Water.

Cuaron is also a director known for his visual flair and Gravity promises a 17-minute unbroken opening take, which should certainly be interesting.

Still, I'm reserving judgement with this one. Initially set for release in…

Monday Movie Review: The Great Gatsby (3D)

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It’s honestly quite difficult writing a review for The Great Gatsby, this fifth film adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s classic American novel. Coming from Moulin Rouge and Romeo + Juliet director Baz Luhrmann, the film is visually dazzling and energetic – at times almost manic – but it also seems to be unable to decide what it wants to be: a grand love story or a tragedy about clinging to idealised memories.


It honestly doesn’t help that I watched the 1974 adaptation with Robert Redford and Mia Farrow – arguably the definitive, most famous take on the book – only three days ago, and it’s all too easy to make continual comparisons between the two films. Avoiding that for the most part though, the older movie feels far more authentic; populated by real, emotionally complicated people. Luhrmann isn’t known for his subtlety as a filmmaker and despite some valiant teary-eyed efforts by leading man Leonardo DiCaprio, in particular, this new Great Gatsby looks and feels completely artific…

Movies out today: Infidelity and action

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Four new movies open in South African cinemas today, although it's obvious upfront which of these new releases will end up the big box office winner of the weekend...

The Great Gatsby:
Screening in 2D and 3D is this fifth big screen adaptation of the classic F. Scott Fitzgerald novel loathed by high schoolers the world over. Baz (Romeo + Juliet, Moulin Rouge) Luhrmann directs Leonardo DiCaprio, Tobey Maguire, Carey Mulligan and Joel Edgerton in this tragic romantic drama set in New York during the Roaring Twenties.

You can read my full review here, but in short, despite how colourful and kinetic it is, the new Great Gatsby just doesn't seem particularly ambitious artistically. Everything is just so obvious. Internationally, the film has split reviewers, scoring an aggregated Rotten Tomatoes review score of 51% Fresh. Some have called it a soulless spectacle. Others have praised it for capturing the Era's sense of out-of-control excess. Of the cast, Leo has won much criti…

Fan fiction - Tomb Raider 2013 follow-up (Part 1)

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Now because I don't want you lot thinking I've been slacking off (or regaining my sanity), here's a little something I've been working on.

I don't often write fiction - this character introduction for my last Dungeons & Dragons campaign was the last notable attempt. The reason for this is mostly because I have to fit the demands of fiction writing around my usual blogging commitments, hobbies and those pesky things like a paying full-time job and sleep.

Anyway, as my continued obsession with this year's Tomb Raider reboot refuses to wane, I decided to write my first ever piece of fan fiction. This is what I've been doing if you've been wondering why blogging and reviews have been a little sparse around here...

Set in the weeks following the events of the game (so beware slight spoilers), the story is split into three parts. This is the first. I hope you enjoy it.

Can't Go Home: Part 1 - Suffocated

Trailer Tuesday: The World's End

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You should know the drill by now: When the creative efforts of writer-director Edgar Wright, Simon Pegg and Nick Frost combine, the results are a highly entertaining mix of Hollywood genre expectations and distinctive everyday Britishness.

First there was 2004 zombie comedy Shaun of the Dead, where our heroes' grand plan involved holing up at their local pub to survive the Undead Apocalypse. Then there was 2007's Hot Fuzz, which brought Bad Boys-level buddy cop carnage to a picture perfect English village... And now there's The World's End, in which a pub crawl becomes an epic battle to save the world from alien invasion.  You know, just your typical Saturday night...


Also starring Martin FreemanPaddy Considine,Eddie Marsan, and Rosamund Pike, The World's End focuses on five childhood friends who return to their hometown on the cusp of their forties to complete the ambitious pub crawl they were never able to finish in their earlier years. Except something is ve…

Fun for Monday: More Tomb Raider cosplay - this time zombie style

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Last Friday evening, the monthly DBN Gamers social gathering was taken to the next level with a themed Dead Island: Riptide event to celebrate the launch of the game in South Africa. For the first time, the meet-up had a cosplay element. Because I've been working on my Tomb Raider outfit for a while (earlier pics here), and was short on time, I went as a zombie-fied  Lara Croft - in other words extra bloody and ill-looking.





"When raiding tombs, Lara Croft always chooses the Dew!"

You can see more images and even video from the Dead Island event here, here and here.

Anyway, as I said, I've been working on the Tomb Raider cosplay, upgrading bits and pieces - like making Lara's make-shift first bow, and this thigh holster.


On the same night as the zombie evening, I came home to a power outage, and a little experiment with lamp lighting produced these pretty atmospheric effects... combined here of course with Photoshopped backgrounds.




And just a few more from this s…

Movies out today: Crime, comedy and 3D dinosaurs

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Seven new movies open in South Africa today, so there should be at least one flick to tickle your fancy.

Jurassic Park 3D:
Showing for a limited time only is this 20th Anniversary (doesn't that make you feel old?!) re-release of Steven Spielberg's 1993 classic - screening in converted 3D. Based on the bestselling  novel by Michael Crichton, Sam Neill,Laura Dern and Jeff Goldblum are scientists invited to Richard Attenborough's theme/game park, which features cloned dinosaurs. Naturally, nothing goes according to plan.

If you've never seen this fantastically entertaining blockbuster on the big screen, this is your chance. Mixing science fiction, action, horror, thrills and awe-inspiring adventure, this is a timeless, full package deal.  And apparently the post-production 3D actually adds to the experience for once. 92% on review aggregator site Rotten Tomatoes.

Blitz Patrollie:
For something more lighthearted - and local - catch South African buddy cop comedy Blitz Patro…

Iron Man 3 reviewed

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When the first trailer was released, it looked like Marvel comic adaptationIron Man 3 would be going the way of the Dark Knight trilogy. In other words, it was replacing superhero Tony Stark's signature snarkiness with angst instead, striving for a gritty, sober feel. Well, I'm pleased to report that the third film in the series hasn't sacrificed the franchise's identifying, arguably most appealing, feature. With writer-director Shane (Kiss Kiss Bang Bang) Black on board though, the movie is quite different to its predecessors, which were helmed by Jon Favreau (who also plays Stark bodyguard Happy Hogan in the films, for the record).


Iron Man 3 is a breathless experience, not always coherent, and not always pleasing for fans of the comic. It is however buoyed by its memorably smart rapid-fire dialogue and easily the best action scenes of the franchise – if not the year – so far. Although far from perfect, Iron Man 3 is a very strong, well-crafted popcorn flick. Just a…

Trailer Tuesday: Elysium

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Cinematic science fiction clearly isn't the easiest thing to get right. These days it's pretty difficult to avoid comparisons to predecessors in the genre. Novel adaptations, remakes and reinterpretations dominate, with original quality sci-fi films being quite rare. Particularly the creatively ambitious, A-grade ones...

Well, it seems that Oscar-nominated writer-director (and South African!) Neill Blomkamp has accepted the challenge of making the latter. Yet again. Check out the trailer for his District 9 follow-up project, Elysium above.


Set in 2154, Elysium is blatantly social commentary through science fiction. In this future, Humanity is very much split between the minority Haves and majority Have Nots. If you're lucky, you can buy yourself a spot on Elysium, a space settlement reserved for the very privileged - and named, of course, after the very exclusive Ancient Greek "heaven." If you are less fortunate however, you're stuck on an overcrowded shitho…