Showing posts from September, 2013

Mini movie review Monday - World War Z and Elysium

I’m playing catch-up today with mini reviews of two recent releases that I never got around to reviewing in full when they hit cinemas.

World War Z:
If you go into World War Z expecting a faithful adaptation of author Max Brooks’s instantly classic tale of zombie apocalypse, then you will be disappointed. Marc Forster’s film version is World War Z pretty much in name only, as it zeroes (ha!) in on Brad Pitt’s ex-UN employee as he darts back and forth across the globe, searching for a cure to the pandemic.

Still, for a horror thriller that has a very troubled production, plagued by reshoots and hefty reediting – and the signs of this meddling are very evident in the theatrical release – World War Z delivers the entertainment goods surprisingly well. This is a largely bloodless PG-13 zombie film that nonetheless manages to put viewers continually on the edge of their seats.

The airplane scene and laboratory climax are especially thrilling and it helps that Pitt is such a charismatic ac…

Movies out today: A week for music

It's a big week for musical entertainers at the movies, with three new films opening in South Africa that fit this theme. Actually, it's a big week for new movies in general, with seven flicks debuting locally today.

Runner, Runner:
Justin Timberlake stars in this crime thriller about a Princeton student who is sucked into the highly profitable, if dangerous, world of online poker. He becomes the right hand man of unpredictable kingpin Ben Affleck. Also with Gemma Arterton.

Runner, Runner has yet to release in North America, but it's currently sitting with an aggregated Rotten Tomatoes review score of 22% Fresh. It's evidently not terrible, but it's not compelling either, and none of the leads is able to generate any charm.

Metallica - Through the Never:
Catch the iconic heavy metal rockers in 3D. This movie blends concert footage with the surreal tale of a roadie (Dane DeHaan) who must complete a mission for the band while being pursued by a dark horseman. Directed b…

Tomb Raider cosplay teaser

It is coming...

During last week's vacation, I recruited the uber talented designer-art director-photographer Shirley Berko of CuiZine for my first proper cosplay photoshoot.

A few pics have already appeared on my Twitter feed (check out the photos and video feed on the left), but know that a comprehensive set is coming to this blog soon - hopefully next week.

Needless to say I very happy with the amazing results. I've been working and building on this cosplay for over 6 months now. And it's really come together as more and more detail has been added. This where it started, followed by this evolution.

Movies out today: Ghosts, deadly retirees and little blue men

Five new film hit South African cinemas today, and the full spectrum of audiences is being catered for... 

The Conjuring:
My pick of the week is this haunted house horror film based on a true story. From the director of creepy sleeper hit Insidious, The Conjuring stars Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga as a couple of paranormal investigators summoned to a ghost-plagued Rhode Island farmhouse in the 1970s. Trailer Tuesday profile.

The Conjuring has been incredibly well received critically and commercially. Although it doesn't break new ground in the genre, it has won praise for being performance and atmosphere-driven as opposed to relying on special effects. 87% Fresh on review aggregator site Rotten Tomatoes.

RED 2:
The original RED - based very loosely on the comic book of the same name - wasn't exactly screaming for a sequel. But here it is anyway, with the action, comedy and impressive stunts going global this time. Retired CIA agent Bruce Willis is forced to fight for his li…

A break in transmission

It's that time of year again - time for a much needed vacation before I completely burn out. And I've been at that point for a while now - my concentration shattered; my enthusiasm gone.

Basically there will be a blogging break in transmission for a week while I head off the grid, disconnect and lie mildly intoxicated (probably in cosplay) on a beach in Mozambique. See you on the flip side. Adieu.

Movies out today: Team-ups and teen fare

Four films open in South Africa today, although it's a pretty low-key week for new movie releases with none being truly high profile must-sees.

2 Guns:
Denzel Washington and Mark Wahlberg star in this action comedy about two morally dubious undercover agents (one from the DEA, the other the Navy) masquerading as criminals... without knowing their partner is also a lawman. Based on a graphic novel, interestingly enough.

It's apparently heavily derivative, but 2 Guns is made worthwhile by the sheer charisma of its two leads, who work incredibly well together. Reviewers have been calling it silly, bloody fun in the vein of 48 Hrs and Lethal Weapon63% Fresh on review aggregator site Rotten Tomatoes.

The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones:
Here's another supernatural teen romance trying to leap on the Twilight bandwagon. Also based on a hit Young Adult literary series, The Mortal Instruments sees Clary Fray (Lily Collins) discover she is a part-angel Shadowhunter like her mother …

Movie review: Kick-Ass 2

In all honesty, Kick-Ass 2 isn’t a film that needed to be made. The first movie, based on Mark Millar and John Romita Jr’s comic miniseries, was pretty self-contained and capped off nicely. The darkly comic real-life superhero tale did make a decent chunk of money though, so I suppose a sequel was inevitable.

Anyway, fans of the 2010 original shouldn’t be disappointed. Kick-Ass 2 isn’t as consistently entertaining as its predecessor – in fact it’s rather unfocused and bitty at times – but it has just enough moments to make it worthwhile. Particularly if you are a comic book fan and are familiar with the tropes related to hero and villain squads.

Because that really is the central concept of Kick-Ass 2.

High school senior Dave Lizewski (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) returns to costumed crime-fighting, joining an assortment of ordinary citizens who were inspired to become real-life superheroes by Dave’s alter ego Kick-Ass. Problems arise though when Dave’s nemesis Chris D’Amico (Christopher…

Trailer Tuesday: RoboCop

You know, I didn't hate last year's Total Recall, a remake of director Paul Verhoeven's sci-fi actioner. It's just that it was kind of bland - slick, superficial and soulless - when compared to the memorably distinct, brutal and dark comic book-y stylings of the 1990 original.

Now, frankly, I'm getting the same vibe from next year's RoboCop remake, which is also based on an R-rated Verhoeven classic from the same time period.

When the above trailer debuted online last Friday, public response was actually quite positive. People were intrigued at least. I, however, am not one of them. Despite the presence of a strong cast (Gary Oldman, Michael Keaton, Samuel L Jackson, Jackie Earle Haley and Jay Baruchel all appear in supporting roles), RoboCop 2014 looks like it has sucked out everything that made the original franchise-spawning film such a hit.

Chiefly, the new RoboCop just doesn't look fun at all. The original was gleefully over-the-top; an R-rated cartoo…

Cosplay fun for Monday

Here's some geek eye candy for you to start off the week - a selection of the outstanding cosplay seen at this year's Dragon Con in Atlanta.

For a longer clip, check this out too.

Movies out today: Superheroes and speedy snails

It's a busy week in terms of new movie releases, with five new films hitting South African cinemas today. For the record, the emphasis seems to be primarily on comedy of the action-packed kind.

Kick-Ass 2:
Mark Millar's "What if costumed heroes were real?" comic book sequel gets the movie adaptation treatment with this decidedly R-rated action comedy. This time Kick-Ass (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) and Hit Girl (Chloe Grace Moretz) are joined by a number of other mask-wearing vigilantes (including Jim Carrey's Colonel Stars and Stripes), while Red Mist - rebranded as The Motherfucker (Christopher Mintz-Plasse) - forms his own band of super-criminals. Trailer Tuesday profile.

Judging by critics' comments, Kick-Ass 2 suffers from a classic case of Sequelitus. It's lost the original's freshness and overstuffs its cast in compensation. Even worse, it's evidently lost its heart and smarts with the departure of the original's writer-director Matthew Vaughn.…

Tomb Raider fun and fan art for Wednesday

Busy week is busy, so just to give you something to look at today, and keep the blog updates ticking over, here are some fan-made image creations inspired by the new Tomb Raider game that I really like... for various reasons.

By Asynca

By Cate Rangel (Available to buy here)

By Gabe Rose

By David Villegas

By Mineworker

By Terribilus

For the winners of the official Tomb Raider 2013 fan art competition click here, and while you're at it, check out this sweet DeviantArt contest gallery.

And finally, for shits and giggles, there's this:

Trailer Tuesday: 47 Ronin

Alright, so my inherent soft spot for samurai swords and shiny CGI-enhanced visuals (yeah, The Warrior's Way is one of my guilty pleasures) means I'm probably more keen for upcoming fantasy actioner 47 Ronin than is wise...

Particularly when you consider how troubled production on this movie has been. Shot in 2011, the release date for 47 Samurai has already been pushed back twice, by over a full year. In that time, control was wrestled away from the first-time feature film director by the studio, the budget ballooned to close on $200 million and reshoots were made to apparently increase the size of star Keanu Reeves's role.

None of these is a good sign!

Neither is the fact that 47 Ronin is set to open in North America on 25 December, a time normally reserved for embarrassments and/or oddities that Hollywood distributors don't know what to do with.

Regardless, 47 Ronin looks like a load of escapist - probably very stupid and superficial - fun. Shot specifically for …

Monday Movie Review: Now You See Me

I love a good heist movie. The Ocean’s trilogy. The Italian Job. And my personal favourite, The Thomas Crown Affair (the 1999 remake). There’s something immensely satisfying about watching our trickster hero, or heroes, enact an intricate plan that leaves the authorities scratching their heads over an empty safe. So what could possibly be better than a heist movie centred on stage magicians who steal from the privileged rich to give to the poor everyman?

A lot actually. Sadly.

And yes, action-thriller Now You See Me certainly starts off with incredible promise. Four magicians – an illusionist (Jesse Eisenberg), mentalist (Woody Harrelson), escape artist (Isla Fisher) and street magician (Dave Franco) are brought together to perform a series of high-profile robberies that will grant them fame, fortune and entry into an exclusive order that teaches its hand-selected members the secrets of real magic.

It sounds fantastic, and it looks even better. Director Louis (The Transporter, The In…