Showing posts from October, 2013

Some Simpsons Horror, Del Toro style

Happy Halloween! In celebration of this spooky, spirit-filled day, here is the extended intro that monster-loving fanboy director Guillermo del Toro developed for the The Simpsons' Treehouse of Horror XXIV episode.

How many horror, thriller and fantasy film references can you spot in these 3 minutes of animated awesome?

Midweek movie review: The Conjuring

For a while it seemed that the only horror films on circuit were sordid torture porn, shaky-cam efforts masquerading as “true stories”, and reimaginings of older (and international) classics. Well, in the midst of these releases, director James Wan was carving out his own retro-style route, winning critical and commercial love for low-budget but classy-looking efforts that downplay special effects in favour of atmosphere and character-building.

Following 2011’s Insidious, The Conjuring is Wan’s best film to date, a haunted house tale that is granted extra skin-crawling oomph by being based on real life events. In 1971, the Perron family (headed by mom Lili Taylor and dad Ron Livingstone) with their five daughters move into a Rhode Island farmhouse. Immediately they are subjected to unexplained events which escalate in intensity until they’re forced to seek out paranormal investigators Ed (Patrick Wilson) and Lorraine Warren (Vera Farmiga) – both of whom are still shaken by a recent e…

Trailer Tuesday: Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Coming out third in the string of second wave Marvel Comics adaptations - after Iron Man 3 and Thor: The Dark World - that mark the lead-up to The Avengers: Age of Ultron, is sequel Captain America: The Winter Soldier.

Despite my enthusiasm for a World War II era superhero film, I was disappointed by the 2011 original Captain America. I found it the most unengaging of the Marvel Cinematic Universe movies up until that point. And watching the first trailer for follow-up Winter Soldier, I can't say I've been hooked from the outset... despite my fondness for Cap's dark new duds.

For the record, Winter Soldier is a political action thriller set after the events of The Avengers. Unfrozen after nearly 70 years in stasis, Captain America AKA Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) is disconnected from our modern times and throws himself into his work for secret government organisation SHIELD. His allies include fellow agents Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) and Falcon (Anthony Mackie), while…

Movies released today: Escapism abounds

Five new films open in South Africa today, offering something for everyone, from R-rated action junkies to families with young children.

Vin Diesel's last-of-his-kind antihero returns to his stripped down Pitch Black roots in this third installment in the action sci-fi franchise. This time Riddick must evade bounty hunters, mercenaries and the beastly inhabitants of a desolate planet. Also with Katee Sackhoff and Karl Urban.

Critics seem to be divided about Riddick. Evidently it's at its strongest when its lead is simply picking off foes slasher-style in the dark. Otherwise, according to The Movies' Kervyn, it's a clumsy mix of badass elements that work and others that don't - including unnecessary misogyny. A not bad but not great 60% Fresh on review aggregator site Rotten Tomatoes.

About Time:
This British romantic comedy comes from Love Actually writer-director Richard Curtis. Domhnall Gleeson is a young man who learns from his father (Bill Nighy) that al…

A lifetime of fandoms

A lot of time passionate fandom gets a bum rap. Like online dating participants and video game enthusiasts, the more "hardcore" fans are routinely presented by the media as hysterical teenage girls or anti-social, unemployable basement dwellers who are glued to their computer screens and one step short of a restraining order.

For sure there are the stereotypical nuts out there, but fandom - where the infatuation typically strikes as suddenly and unpredictably as any crush -  is also a powerful creative stimulus.

You may argue that the time spent fixating on, and creating content around, pre-existing intellectual properties is a waste of efforts that could be better applied to a person's own original creations. Personally though, I think creative output is creative output. And it is always better to be "doing" instead of simply sitting on your arse in front of a screen, mindlessly consuming.

The more I think about it, my life has consisted of a series of fandom…

Trailer Tuesday: The Hunger Games - Catching Fire

Honestly the film I am most looking forward to seeing before the end of 2013 is novel adaptation and sequelThe Hunger Games: Catching Fire. It took a while to get going, and I wasn't a big fan of the altered ending but I thought the first Hunger Games film was a solid adaptation of Suzanne Collins' hit Young Adult novel, a page-turner that mixed action, survival and science-fiction... and had genuine cross-audience appeal.

The Hunger Games sequel looks like much of the same, although this time the scope extends beyond the Arena and District 12, to reveal the dissatisfaction in other Districts of Panem (a future Dystopian America), and the totalitarian measures put in place by the Capitol to squash unrest.

Catching Fire kicks off in the weeks following the events of the first film. Having emerged as the victor of the 74th annual Hunger Games - a reality TV spectacle where teenagers are selected by "lucky" draw and forced to fight to the death - Katniss Everdeen (Jenn…

My Tomb Raider cosplay: location shoot finale

As promised a few weeks back, here is a selection of pics from my Tomb Raider 2013 cosplay photo shoot, which took place while I was on vacation in Mozambique in September.

I've already mentioned this but it's been a very long time since I've fangirled as hard as I have over the new Tomb Raider game (I'm writing fan fiction, for God's sake!), and apart from cosplaying at this year's rAge Expo, this photo shoot was the culmination of a project that started as this back in March, and proceeded to evolve over the coming months.

The following is a selection of pics from the photo shoot. The complete gallery can be found on Facebook here.

At this point I must say a huge thank you to friend-photographer-art-director-extraordinaire Shirley Berko of CuiZine (on Twitter here) who humoured me and got up before dawn on her much-deserved vacation to shoot the following.

You won't believe it from the way some of these shots mimic scenes from the game exactly, but she ha…