Showing posts from July, 2013

Midweek Movie Review: The Wolverine

Well, we’re almost there. Although it isn’t the dark, R-rated actioner – filled with claw slashes, stabbings and sliced off limbs – that it could/should have been, comic book adaptationThe Wolverine is definitely a substantial improvement over its predecessor X-Men Origins: Wolverine. Although it ultimately becomes overblown and nonsensical, what precedes its climax is a very focused, surprisingly “grounded” (for the most part) superhero flick, that keeps viewers engaged with its mix of pathos, action and even a few well-timed laughs.

The Wolverine takes its sweet time getting set up. After a World War II sequence in which we see Logan (Hugh Jackman) doing the noble thing and saving the life of a Japanese soldier from the Atomic bombing of Nagasaki, we leap forward to present day. Traumatised by his actions during X-Men: The Last Stand, Logan has retreated from civilisation and vowed to keep his claws sheathed. Still, our sullen hero is a sucker when it comes to justice. He’s also a …

Trailer Tuesday: The Conjuring

Hoo-hah! Now this is how you do a trailer - more like a standalone short story than a rapidly edited together flurry of clips that give away the entire plot. Actually, the feature trailer for new horror film The Conjuringis similarly great, playing up the "true story" aspect of the production.

Of course, I may be a tad biased. I have a thing for haunted house films. They're my favourite horror sub-genre. And I always seem to find myself watching one late at night when I'm house-sitting somewhere solo. It really amplifies the creepiness.

Anyway, count me excited then for the latest from James Wan, the director of the first Saw and, more importantly, surprise scare hit Insidious. Insidious was a genre entry that severely cut back on the gore, focusing on atmosphere instead to set skin crawling. And, damn, was it effective.

The Conjuring seems to have been cast from the exact same "old school" mould.

Set in 1971, The Conjuring centres on real-life paranormal …

Comic-Con, cosplay fun and Lara Croft: (Retired) Tomb Raider

Following on from last week's cosplay post, here's a video of some of the most memorable efforts from the 2013 San Diego Comic-Con:

While you're at it, check out this series of pics of Meagan Marie's "more authentic" Ancient world warrior take on Wonder Woman. It's quite superb.

While we're on the topic of cosplay, I just realised that I had never posted the following pics of me putting another spin on my Tomb Raider cosplay (earlier pics here and here). Presenting Lara Croft: Retired Tomb Raider...

For the record, this was done for my brother-in-law's "Over the Hill" themed dress-up birthday party.

Perhaps I'm in the minority thinking this, but wouldn't it be great to play a series of games where we follow the character over the course of their career from young unseasoned novice to established pro, to aged, cynical veteran? They seem to be doing that with the Batman: Arkham games, and we've seen Solid Snake in both young a…

Movies out today: Superheroes vs. samurai

Four new films open in South Africa today... although it's clear in advance who the big winner at the box office will be. Turns out it's all about who has the biggest adamantium claws. Snikt!

The Wolverine:
Screening in 2D and CONVERTED 3D (in other words, avoid this format if you can), The Wolverine is the second X-Men spin-off to focus on the comic book franchise's most popular character - surly adamantium-clawed loner Logan. Hugh Jackman is back as the title character, this time battling ninjas, Yakuza thugs and his own mortality when he's summoned to Japan.

You can read Kervyn's review at here, and until I can write out my full critique, I will say I totally concur with his thoughts. Mixing pathos, action and even some humour, The Wolverine delivers the entertainment goods. Pity about its overblown ending where character motivations will have you scratching your head. For the record, The Wolverine is currently sitting with an aggregated review sc…

Happy blog-birthday to me!

Just a quick post in commemoration of the fact that today this blog turns 8 years old. How's that for a long-term commitment? This is one relationship in my life that actually has lasted...

So when you have your tea today, make sure to have a cupcake or two on me in celebration of this achievement.
Cheers, Through the Looking Glass!

Cosplay fun for Wednesday

San Diego Comic-Con took place this last weekend, and although this post has nothing to do with the 2013 event, it certainly is in the same spirit.

Over the past week or so I've come across a couple of cosplay images and videos that I felt were too good not to share - whether that be because of how hard they made me laugh, or filled my heart with warm, syrupy squee.

Sometimes the best cosplays are the most unexpected -  "No, no, I clean..."

This No-Face cosplay (from Spirited Away) is best appreciated with the caption "Sexy cosplay: you're doing it wrong." I can't stop laughing every time I look at it. It's all in the attitude, as reflected in the stance.

Finally, there's this magnificent video shot at the London Film & Comic-Con held only a few weeks ago (God, I need to get here during the next few years!). Jaw-dropping cosplay, real stars, catchy music and stellar editing make this one unmissable. By the way, if you've never seen it, c…

Trailer Tuesday: Seventh Son

If it wasn't for the significant pedigree involved in this production, you could read the premise for Seventh Son and dismiss it instantly as another dire "Chosen One" fantasy flick - a (should be) straight-to-DVD effort shot in the stone-cobbled alleys of Eastern Europe, and probably starring Nic Cage.

 However, this "inspired by" novel adaptation stars acting heavyweights Jeff Bridges and Julianne Moore  - who don't conventionally go in for this type of CGI-heavy, magical adventure - and it's from production company Legendary Pictures. And Legendary has, of course, been involved in a number of high profile, geek-orientated projects with Warner Bros over the past few years, like most of the live-action DC Comics adaptations.

For the record, Seventh Son sees Ben Barnes play the title character, a farm boy (yes, again!) who has supernatural abilities because of the fact he is the seventh son of a seventh son. Because of his rare gift he is the only on…

Monday Movie Review: The Lone Ranger

On paper, The Lone Ranger sounds like a sure thing. For all intents and purposes the character is a Wild West Batman (who’s not Zorro), a masked hero fighting for justice outside a compromised legal system. Although older generations will remember the character more fondly than younger audiences, the Lone Ranger is an American Pop Culture icon. And he’s being brought back to the screen by the same team responsible for ultra-successful Pirates of the Caribbean series: Walt Disney Pictures, producer Jerry Bruckheimer, director Gore Verbinski and leading man Johnny Depp. A guaranteed hit rollicking family adventure, right?


Although the film is far from awful, The Long Ranger is hamstrung by the fact it can’t decide what it wants to be. Watching this two-and-a-half hour effort, you get the sense that two Lone Ranger films were shot – a goofy, far-fetched family flick and a grim, gritty, period-set actioner – and afterwards the movie-makers got very, very drunk before editing the t…

Movies out today: It's Z Day

Five new films open in South African cinemas today. It's also the second day of the 34th annual Durban International Film Festival so East Coasters have even more movies to choose from. No matter where you are though in the Rainbow Nation, you're sure to find something to enjoy!

World War Z:
Screening in 2D and CONVERTED 3D is this very, very loose adaptation of Max Brooks' instant classic zombie novelBrad Pitt stars as a former UN employee who must discover the origins of a global zombie outbreak that threatens to wipe out humanity. With the emphasis more on action and thrills than gore, World War Z is a PG-13 zombie flick.

World War Z had a very rough development period, subjected to studio meddling, rewrites and reshoots. Still, if you're not a hardcore fan of the book, the film is apparently still very watchable. Kervyn at calls it a slick, edge-of-your-seat experience... even if it's very shallow. Internationally, critics have called describe…

Ladies I Love: Part 2 - Rhona Mitra

Following on from the first post in this series, you may realise that I have a very definite type.

Anyway, today we profile model-turned-actress Rhona Mitra. This 36 year old Briton is of English, Irish and Indian descent. You'll have seen her pop up on the big and small screen multiple over the past decade and a half, although Mitra's claim to fame is that she was the second ever model (some say first if you rule out "unofficial" Nathalie Cook) to play iconic video game character Lara Croft. From 1997-1998, Mitra could be found in PR material, as well as at trade shows, events and conventions as a flesh-and-blood embodiment of Tomb Raider's kick-ass archeologist lead.

There have been many official Lara Croft models over the years, but as far as I'm concerned Mitra remains the best. In my mind, of all of them, she most closely resembles the video game character in terms of facial features. Plus she comes from money and had a rebellious boarding school past,…