Archive for the 'Movie Reviews' Category


Movie Review: Mistaken For Strangers

02816634 I went into Mistaken For Strangers with pretty high expectations because critics have rated it really highly and I’d read a bit about the premise for it and I was instantly intrigued to watch it.

This is partly because the film is about the band The National, who I know very little about despite having every one of their albums, and partly because it’s not a traditional “rock doc”.

The entire documentary is filmed from the perspective of the singer of The National (Matt Berninger’s) younger brother Tom Berninger who, unlike his older brother, is a total nobody who still lives at home with his parents and behaves for the most part like an 11 year-old.

At the start of the documentary, Matt invites Tom to join the band on tour and help out backstage as a roadie for the band. Tom takes a video camera along to film the experience which results in some of the most candid, funny, cringe-worthy and intimate moments I’ve ever seen in a documentary.

For the most part though, people who aren’t die-hard fans of The National might find the first half of the movie difficult to watch. Tom fumbles his way through a series of totally random “interviews” with the band juxtaposed with shots of them playing and scenes of Tom making one colossal fuck up after the next whilst the band’s crew members shout at him to please turn the fucking cameras off.



An amazing thing happens as the documentary passes the midway mark though. On an almost subconscious level we start to see the bigger story that’s unfolding, one of Tom’s endless struggle to make some kind of meaning, some kind of success out of a life he’s spent living in his brother’s shadow.

I would definitely say to anyone watching this documentary who feels like switching it off halfway and dismissing it as a boring, amateurish attempt at documentary film-making, not to.

The emotional heft of the last thirty minutes of Mistaken For Strangers is considerable and provides an unparalleled insight into The National as a band, their life on the road, Matt Berninger as a reluctant, pensive frontman and above all, the relationship between two brothers who, despite their considerable differences, love each other a great deal.



If I had to sum up my thoughts on this documentary having watched it, the only way to do it would be by stealing the line that Tom has Matt say at the end of the documentary after dramatically wiping the steam off a bathroom mirror so Tom can go in for the close-up on Matt’s eyes.

“The National is everyone’s now.”

If you’ve ever heard a National song and felt that deep down ache somewhere inside, that restless desire, that maddening lonliness, that defiant fury then I have no doubt you’ll connect with, and enjoy, this documentary.

Final Verdict: 8/10



SlickTiger Watches The Worst Movie Ever Made, Loves Every Minute Of It

220px-Troll_2_posterRegular readers of this blog probably know by now that I have a weird bent for things that “normal” people probably find unbearably crappy and difficult to sit through.

There’s just something about B-grade that fascinates me. It’s probably a knee-jerk reaction to the over-polished, super-slick, too-cool-for-school mass media world we live in.

There are only so many over-stylised, photoshopped depictions of “reality” I can handle before I start to get bored to tears. Show me something real fer chrissake! Show me something flawed, something fucked up, something truly terrible. It was this desire that lead me to find out about and subsequently watch the worst movie ever made: TROLL 2.

Now, before I get started I think I need to qualify just how bad this movie is.



You get run-of-the-mill bad movies that suffer from giant plot flaws, logical inconsistencies, poor character development, shocking acting, weak cinematography, clichéd writing and crap directing. A “bad” movie usually suffers from two or three of these flaws at the very most.

It’s very rarely that a movie gets everything wrong and when that does happen the end result is basically unwatchable.

Troll 2 is guilty of the following sins (to name a few):

  • Not one cast member can act (with the possible exception of the “Crazy Store Owner” who, as it turns out, is actually crazy in real life so technically he was just being himself)
  • The story makes no sense whatsoever when held up to even the slightest scrutiny. That’s the story, the surface-level “John goes to x, does y, result: z”. Don’t get me started on the plot (ie. what’s happening under the hood of this filmic example of staggering ineptitude), because it bungles the deeper themes and ideas so spectacularly, there may as well not be any
  • Your 9 year-old niece could have shot it better blindfolded. Seriously.
  • The dialogue swings violently between clichés that are so overused they have no meaning and lines that no human being should be able to say in any situation with a straight face
  • The special effects truly are “special”. Picture dwarves running around in burlap sacks with immoveable rubber facemasks and about a swimming pool’s worth of green jelly / slime dumped liberally throughout the film and you sort of have an idea of just how bad the “effects” are
  • The soundtrack sounds like something the 80s puked out after a three week coke binge. Best moment: the shameless rip-off of “You Can Leave Your Hat On” during the movie’s one and only sex scene (SPOILER ALERT: It involves a corn cob and not in the way you, or anyone reading this, could ever imagine)



Those are just the sins that come to mind. Trust me, if given the chance to watch it again, I could probably find at least another five major flaws.

But to go back to my point, usually when a movie fails miserably at every conceivable facet of filmmaking the end result is unwatchable – THAT’S where Troll 2 is different.

Somewhere underneath the layers and layers of shit, this film has a lot of heart. It’s like that kid at school that had no friends, got picked on a bullied incessantly, failed every subject he ever took, was astoundingly goofy-looking and yet grew up to be a multi-gazillionaire and married a supermodel.



In fact, that’s a pretty apt summary of what happened to Troll 2.

The film was so bad it was released straight to VHS and aired only a handful of times on HBO before history relegated it to the bargain bin of the local Walmart to collect dust for 18 years.

Then, probably thanks to the internet, word started spreading about just how shit this movie is and something crazy started happening.

People started to love it. It is so bad, so unintentionally hilarious, that thousands of people all over the world started tracking down copies, sharing them with their friends, re-enacting the scenes, making their own fan memorabilia and hosting viewings in big cinemas across America.



Somehow the original star of Troll 2, Michael Stephenson (who was about 10 years old when they shot the movie) got wind of the cult status that the movie was getting and decided to film a documentary about it.

And so, two nights after J-Rab and I watched Troll 2, we got our hands on that documentary which was shot in 2009 and is called The Best Worst Movie.

In stark contrast to Troll 2, The Best Worst Movie is actually a brilliant production. It had us pissing ourselves laughing at the almost absurd comedy of errors that resulted in Troll 2 a movie that, believe it or not, doesn’t have a single troll or even a reference to a troll in it.



If you share the same twisted sense of humour that I do, I’d strongly recommend hittin up your nearest video store to see if they have either title. If they don’t just hit up The Bay, they have great copies of both Troll 2 and The Best Worst Movie.

Before I sign off though, here’s Holly (the sister’s) infamous dance scene from the movie followed by a classic example of the acting and dialogue that makes this film so awesomely shit:



It’s like watching the world’s worst school play.

Good times I tell ya. Good times Winking smile



Movie Review: Man Of Steel

ManofSteelNokiaLumia925My good friends at Nokia surprised the hell out of me yesterday by swinging two tickets to the Man Of Steel premier my way so I could get a sneak peek at one of the most talked about movies this year.

Man Of Steel is directed by Zack Snyder (300 and Watchmen), produced by Christopher Nolan (director of the Dark Knight trilogy) and written by David S Goyer (writer of the Dark Knight Trilogy).

Add the insane trailers that have had the internet buzzing over the past few months and the movie looked like it had everything going for it, but did it stack up to the hype?

The answer is an undisputed HELL YES from your Tiger Pal. Man Of Steel is that rare kind of superhero movie that doesn’t fall on it’s own sword by relying solely on the clichés of the genre to hold the film together.

The drama is sincere, the action is so intense your heart feels like it’s going to explode like a grenade in your chest, the dialogue is lean and mean and the acting is some of the best I’ve ever seen in a superhero movie.



Man Of Steel is essentially a reboot of the Superman franchise that I’ve read was done as the first step in building a Marvel-type shared fictional universe between Superman and other DC characters.

Story-wise I wasn’t expecting too many surprises because we all know the Superman legend. Superman (real name Kal-El) is sent to Earth by his father Jar-El (expertly played by the stoic Russell Crowe) in an effort to somehow preserve their race moments before Krypton goes up in flames.

On Earth Kal-El is found by Jonathan and Martha Kent who raise the boy as their own and name him Clark. Clark endures a difficult childhood, painfully aware from an early age that he is nothing like the people around him.



Through the love and support Jonathan and Martha show Clark, he learns to control and hide his powers and to blend in as best he can.

All this changes when an ancient alien vessel is discovered in the Arctic and Clark infiltrates the scientific expedition to determine the vessel’s origin. Using a kind of Kryptonian key from the ship Clark travelled to Earth in as a baby, Clark awakens the alien vessel and with it, a hologram of his father Kal-El who tells his son the truth about his origin.

The alien vessel also triggers a distress signal that is intercepted by another survivor of Krypton, the ruthless General Zod. Zod and his cronies descend to Earth and demand that Clark be surrendered within 24 hours which is when things start to turn nasty.

Michael Shannon’s portrayal of Zod is some of the most spine-chillingly terrifying acting I have ever seen. This man is the very embodiment of malevolent fury. His malice burns like an inferno – it’s so intense watching him act that you’re torn between fist-pumping “FUCK YEAH”s and a powerful urge to hide under your seat.



The best films are the ones that make you like the bad guys and Man Of Steel follows this rule to the letter. Sure, Zod is a megalomaniacal despot hell-bent on the extinction of the entire human race, but it’s only because he wants to bring Krypton back to life and safeguard a future for him and his people.

Is that really such a bad thing? He might be heavy-handed in his methods, but you have to admire a man that dedicated to achieving a task he feels is his birth right to fulfil.

Then there’s ol Supe himself, played by the BUFFEST CHARNA IN THE LAND, Henry Cavill in a role he was born to play. The problem I always have with Superman is that I don’t connect with him as a character because he’s too perfect.



A character like Wolverine I find a lot more accessible because the guy’s a bit of a mess and is the poster-mutant for the archetypal anti-hero. Superman is different. He always does the right thing, he doesn’t suffer from the same conflict that normal people do and for that reason I always thought of him as being a bit of a douche.

The beauty of Goyer and Snyder’s Superman is his vulnerability. It makes him more human. It makes you instantly like him because what Goyer and Snyder show so convincingly in the film is how tough Superman’s life growing up was.

The real clincher though is Cavill’s performance. Not only is the man ridiculously good-looking and built like a brick shitter, but he can actually act, which I’m pretty sure has never been a pre-requisite in a Superman movie before.



The emotion Cavill can convey in one look is more than I think any previous Superman has conveyed in their entire acting careers. He draws the audience in close and keeps them there for the entire film. You actually like Cavill’s Superman, you empathise with him, you want him to beat the bad guys – that surprised me more than anything else in the movie. I left the movie actually liking Superman.

The only one issue I had with the film were the (brace yourself) Christian undertones. I suppose at its core (man with superpowers is sent from above to save mankind) the Superman story has always had Christian parallels, but having Superman chat to a priest in a church before making his mind up to “take a leap of faith” and reveal who he is to mankind had me squirming in my seat.



Also, he’s 33 years old. The same age as Christ when he was crucified. There are probably more parallels if you scratch around for them, but just those two left me a little cold so I chose to actively block out any others that may or may not have been included because I just feel that there’s a time and place for religious sermons and it’s not in Superman movies, especially ones with Snyder, Goyer and Nolan at the helm.

The bottom line however is that Man Of Steel was everything I’d hoped it would be and more. It’s the kind of movie you can watch with high expectations and still be satisfied by, which is saying a lot in this age of over-hyped blockbusters that are mostly epic disappointments.

Watch this film on the big screen. Splash out and go for the 3D version, I guarantee you it will be worth every cent.

Final Verdict: 9/10



Movie Review: Django Unchained

DjangoUnchained_TeaserPoster_Print.inddOn Friday last week me and the missus were treated to the premier of Tarantino’s new offering Django Unchained by the kind folks at Oude Meester because their posterboy for the brand, Jamie Foxx, IS Django.

After wining and dining us with a few signature Oude Meester cocktails and some light finger foods, we were ushered into the cinema and given a brief welcome by the Oude Meester p1mp daddy himself, Arthur Lindani.

To the brand’s credit they didn’t dwell on the formalities for too long – we were shown the extended version of the Jamie Foxx Oude Meester commercial (which was shot entirely in Cape Town) and right after that the movie started and wow! We were BLOWN AWAY!

The best way I could describe it is that it felt like we were watching a live performance. The audience was so engaged in the film that the atmosphere in the cinema was alive in a way I haven’t felt in a long, long time.



This was not your normal cinema experience where the audience sits there slack-jawed, eyes glazed over munching their popcorn while scene after scene floats on by until the end credits when everyone files out in silence.

This was like watching a goddamn play. There was this palpable energy in the cinema that moved with the story. Tarantino had us hook, line and sinker from the first scene to the last and we left the cinema still buzzing even though we were almost completely emotionally spent.

THAT is the mark of a truly excellent film. It strikes every emotional chord in you, keeps you glued to the screen throughout, delivers a satisfying ending and keeps you thinking about it for weeks afterward.

Like almost everyone else I know, I’m a HUGE Tarantino fan and went into Django Unchained with very high expectations.

With the possible exception of Jacky Brown and Death Proof I’ve loved every film Tarantino’s written and / OR directed, my favourites being Reservoir Dogs, True Romance, Pulp Fiction (obvious!), Natural Born Killers (which he co-wrote), Four Rooms, Kill Bill (especially Vol.2) and Inglorious Basterds.



Like a true master of his craft, Tarantino seems hell-bent to master every genre of filmmaking and he’s doing a pretty bang-up job so far.

He revolutionised the gangster / heist movie with Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction, gave us two unforgettably cool Kung Fu movies in Kill Bill 1 & 2, tried his hand at European-styled filmmaking with Inglorious Basterds and knocked it out of the park and now with Django Unchained he tackles the spaghetti western genre and delivers one of the best films I’ve seen in a very long time.

Django Unchained is set in 1858 in the Deep South and follows the story of the film’s titular character Django from when he is freed from slavery by Dr King Schultz (played by Christoph Waltz) a bounty hunter posing as a dentist who is on a mission to track down and kill the Brittle Brothers.

Dr. Schultz enlists Django’s help because Django knows what the Brittle Brothers look like as they are the very same people that captured Django and his wife Broomhilda (Kerry Washington) and sold them into slavery.



Thus begins an adventure that forges a strong friendship between Django and the good doctor and culminates in the two of them hatching a plan to track down and free Broomhilda from “Candyland” a plantation owned by the maleficent Calvin Candie (Leonardo DiCaprio).

It’s a truly epic story and is by far the funniest movie Tarantino’s ever written and directed.

All the best playwrights knew it – humour is the most effective way to make your audience connect with your characters and follow them willingly through the story, and I’d have to say that Tarantino’s use of humour in Django Unchained is one of the films strongest points.

Another is the undeniably high standard of acting in the film. Tarantino has this way of coaxing the best performances out of his actors – he brought Travolta back from the dead, practically made Samuel L. Jackson, turned Uma Thurman into one of the most badass female leads a film’s ever seen and don’t get me started on Christoph Waltz.

“Christoph who?” I hear you ask. Christoph Waltz – the man who played the “Jew Hunter” Hans Landa in Inglorious Basterds.


His portrayal of Dr Schultz in Django Unchained is so riveting that I swear to God, if all he does in his next movie is paint a fence for two hours, I’ll be queuing at the cinema for tickets on the opening night.

If he doesn’t get the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor I will hunt down the Academy and take them out one-by-one, bounty-hunter style.

Though his performance stands out, that is not to say that the rest of the cast fade like wilted wallflowers in the background.

Jamie Foxx, the master himself, brings the tough-as-coffin-nails Django to life and though he’s a man of few words, when he speaks, you listen.

Leonardo DiCaprio shows us a character we’ve never seen him play before and thank God for that.

Sure, he’s one of the very best actors in Hollywood but let’s be honest, he honed a certain type of character in The Departed and he’s played the same character type in Blood Diamond, Revolutionary Road, Shutter Island and Inception.

He brings something new to the screen as Calvin Candie. A malevolence that is made all the more chilling by his easy charm and charisma.



Simply put, DiCaprio looks like he’s finally having fun again in Django. He’s loving every minute of playing the ruthless Calvin Candie and his performance is exceptionally entertaining.

Then there’s good ol’ Samuel L. and the less I say about his performance and character the better because I don’t want to ruin anything for you guys. I was NOT expecting the knock-out performance he delivered – the man practically steals every scene he’s in.

Again, this is a character Samuel L. has never played before but wow, he does it with so much panache, so much meticulous attention to detail that you’d swear he’s been playing this character for the past 20 years.

In a way this review is a little superfluous because you were probably going to see Django Unchained anyway, but if you were umming and ahhing about going to see it at the big screen, you can stop right now.

Get to the movies tonight, buy the biggest drink and popcorn you can (it’s a LONG movie), make sure you make a bathroom stop before it starts and go lose yourself completely in the epic tale that is Django Unchained.

Final verdict: 9/10



Movie Review: Looper

looper“Oh dear,” said J-Rab as she read the title of this blog post.

“Oh dear,” I agreed because that’s really the best way to sum up how we both felt after watching writer / director Rian Johnson’s third movie, the terminally flawed, futuristic sci-fi romp Looper.

Which is sad because I really, really wanted to love this movie.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt (the film’s protagonist, Joe) is fast becoming one of my favourite actors and even though Bruce Willis (future-Joe) can only play three different characters, he plays those characters so fucking well that I’ll pretty much watch anything he’s in.

I was also intrigued by Rian Johnson’s indie debut, Brick, which was one of the films that first put Gordon-Levitt on the map as a serious actor.



Throw in a plotline that involves criminal organisations who send the people they want killed back in time to be taken out by specialised assassins called “Loopers” and you’ve got a sure-fire winner right?

Kind of…

My main issue with Looper is that when the plotline is held up to any kind of scrutiny it collapses in on itself so spectacularly that basically nothing in the movie makes any sense whatsoever.



Simply put, time travel movies either subscribe to the premise that their are a multitude of futures that can exist parallel to one another or there is a singular timeline where actions in the past directly influence actions in the future.

The problem at the core of Looper is that it would have you believe in the singular timeline theory, which makes the whole movie a giant paradox.

Simply put, [MASSIVE SPOILER ALERT AHEAD, SKIP THIS PARAGRAPH IF YOU HAVEN’T SEEN THE MOVIE AND STILL WANT TO] the premise of the film is that Bruce Willis (old Joe) ironically “creates” the Rainmaker when he goes into the past to find and kill him. This of course makes no sense whatsoever because in old Joe’s original timeline he closes his own loop, so who created the Rainmaker?



But gigantic plot flaws and glaring paradoxes are pretty much par for the course when it comes to time travel movies so putting those aside, how does the movie hold up otherwise?

To be fair, Gordon-Levitt does an admirable job of portraying a younger Bruce Willis and there are times when his Bruce-Willisness is so spot on it’s scary.

BUT, I found the prosthetics they put on his face to make him look more Bruce-Willisish as clumsy and distracting as the very term “Bruce-Willisish”.

At best, he looks like the love-child of the two actors. At worst, he looks like a ventriloquist doll I see in nightmares sometimes.



As for the man himself, it’s hard to tell if he’s acting or just being Bruce Willis. Either way, his performance was pretty standard Willis fare – nothing we haven’t seen before or won’t see again.

The film’s third act, most of which takes place on an old farm house owned by Sara Rollins (Emily Blunt) where she lives with her five year old son Cid (Pierce Gagnon) was by far the best part of the film for me and the surprise performances by Blunt and especially Gagnon were one of this film’s saving graces.



Maybe you will be able to overlook the gigantic paradoxes, multitude of plot holes, Gordon-Levitt’s creepy make-up and the flaccid, goofball performances of Jeff Daniels (Joe’s boss), Paul Dano (Joe’s irritating-as-fuck friend) and Noah Segan (Joe’s comically incompetent arch-nemesis), in which case you’ll probably enjoy the film, but yeah.

That’s a lot of maybes.

Final Verdict: 6/10



Movie Review: Skyfall

skyfall-main_1Your Tiger pal was fortunate enough to get invited to a premier of the new James Bond film Skyfall on Tuesday night by the Hunter’s Dry brand team and man-o-man did they get it right!

I’ve been to three events at the Nu Metro cinema Prive this year and of all three, Tuesday night’s shindig was the best because Hunter’s stuck to a couple of simple rules that can literally make or break an event.

Namely, if you’re hosting an event after work, serve lots of food. The Hunter’s team not only did this, but they also kept the free Hunter’s flowing. So the start of the evening was awesome – they showed us the new Hunter’s Dry advert, people clapped, it was great. Then Skyfall started…



Just so we’re clear right from the get-go, I’m not the world’s hugest Bond fan but to be perfectly frank, I don’t know anyone who is.

Bond movies are an unstoppable force of nature. Part of me admires the franchise for churning out movie after movie after movie (Skyfall is the 23rd Bond film in a series that spans exactly 50 years) and part of me wishes they wouldn’t.

The main problem I had with Skyfall is that the answer to the central question the movie asks, namely “does the world need James Bond?” is answered so half-heartedly, it left me asking the question “do I care?”

To its credit, Skyfall does introduce one new twist into the James Bond story which I’m pretty sure the franchise hasn’t touched on in the past – ol’ Jimmy-boy is (IRONY ALERT!) getting old.



After a botched mission in the beginning of the film, Bond goes into a kind of self-imposed retirement and, predictably, things at MI6 go completely to shit when an enemy operative gets hold of all the secret identities of MI6’s agents and starts offing them one by one.

Never one to stand idly by and watch the bad guys win, Bond gets back on the dead horse and starts flogging it for all its worth through one meritless scene after the next.

When the film’s villain (played by Javier Bardem) was revealed in a bizarre, homo-erotically charged scene, my give-a-fuck switched over from “some” to “none whatsoever” as it quickly became apparent how badly Bardem’s character, Raoul Silva, is modelled on Heath Ledger’s Joker in The Dark Knight.



In simple terms, Skyfall is 143 minutes of fence-sitting. The film touches on Bond getting old and questions are raised as to whether or not he  is fit for service and then, three scenes later he’s performing athletic feats that would put most Olympians to shame.

M is hauled in front of a public inquiry to investigate whether she is fit for service, the answer of which, after the inquiry itself is attacked by Silva’s goons, is a resounding “no”, despite her impassioned recital of some moving poetry.

Bond’s past is mentioned, as are his unresolved childhood issues from losing his parents and being trained as a secret operative from a young age, but the film’s solution to these issues is to have Bond return to his ancestral home and blow the place to kingdom come.



As for Bardem, he comes across as more silly than menacing as a villain and delivers a muddled performance that left me confused as to whether I was supposed to feel sympathy or repulsion toward his laughably flamboyant character.

Daniel Craig is as stone-faced as ever in his portrayal of Bond and was almost terminally incapable of landing any of Bond’s weak one-liners. Sure, that’s more due to poor scripting than Craig himself, but I still felt like something was lacking in his portrayal of 007.

Where is the Bond he brought to the screen in Casino Royale? Where is that lovable, poker-playing rogue that had more swag than all the other Bonds put together? 



Instead Craig played the weariest Bond I think the franchise has ever seen, which I think was the whole point so credit where it’s due, but as I’ve already mentioned, I think they could have done so much more with that idea than just have him look hungover in some scenes and fail a few physicals.

I could go on but I’d just be picking holes in the film for the sake of it. If you’re some kind of Bond junkie then by all means go and see this film and let me know what you think.

If not, avoid paying to see this movie at all costs. The abundant product placement alone will probably cover the production costs of this film which is why I feel no remorse in thoroughly recommending that you raid Pirate Bay / a buddy’s hard drive for this movie and watch it only if you’ve exhausted all your other options.

Final Verdict: 4/10



Movie Review: Searching For Sugarman

sugar_manOn Friday last week, J-Rab and I decided to forego our usual routine of rocking out together in our flat, playing music loud, making supper, drinking whisky and passing out stone-cold by 10.30.

Instead we caught the 9.40 show of Searching For Sugarman because my close friends Peggles and Graumpot had both seen it and said it was life-changingly good and I hold their opinions on movies in high regard.

Simply put, Searching For Sugarman is a documentary about the life of Rodriguez and how his music has influenced South Africa over the last forty-odd years.

So powerful was Rodriguez’ appeal in South Africa that two men in particular, Stephen ‘Sugar’ Segerman and Craig Bartholomew Strydom, dedicated a great deal of their lives to unravelling the mystery around this phenomenal and hugely enigmatic artist.



What they discovered is a story that is so heart-breaking and yet so incredibly uplifting and inspirational that it defies all logic and rationality that it actually happened.

More than that I really can’t say because a huge part of the charm of this movie for me was the fact that I went into it knowing so little about it and so little about the story of Rodriguez’ life.

What’s important is how I came out of it which I can only explain by relating the following story.

When I was 11 years old, I signed up for classical guitar lessons at my school because, like every other angst-ridden kid back in those days, I wanted to play like Kurt Cobain.

In that instrument I found shelter. I found a place that I could shut the world out of completely, I found comfort in loneliness, I found belonging in alienation, I found purpose in meaninglessness.



I got good fast because I played obsessively. The first guitar I had was on loan from the school and God knows I knocked so many dings and dents into that guitar that I was surprised the school even agreed to take it back when I sheepishly handed it to them before leaving for highschool.

I played that much. I wrote songs throughout my teenage years and played in various bands all doomed to failure because the Johnson electric guitar I bought was a total piece of junk and I couldn’t afford anything better.

My parents were also dead against any ambitions I had of becoming a rockstar, so that effectively put an end to that dream in highschool.

However, the minute I got to varsity, the dream came alive again and my playing kicked into overdrive.

It became a ritual for me – the gunshot sound of the latches on the case springing free, the fresh scent of rosewood I would breathe in through the sound hole before I began playing.



The deep-down jangling sound of the first chord I would bang out – E minor, always E minor, my favourite. I could write you a novel about that chord.

I left varsity having played a number of live solo gigs that went about as well as you could expect considering my audience was blind drunk and had never heard my material before.

But once in awhile someone would come up to me afterward and say how much they enjoyed my stuff.

This probably happened five times over the course of my “career”, but it was an amazing feeling to know that what I was putting out there had resonated so strongly in a complete stranger that they felt the need to come up to me afterwards and say, “Hey man, great set.”

Music has that power. The power to unite people from completely different times and places, completely different religions and creeds.

It’s inside us and has been since the first heartbeat thundered inside the first homo sapien. It is as primitive and imperative to the survival of our species as fire, only it burns with an intensity no inferno could ever match.



Even if you destroyed every scrap of music ever written and smashed every instrument ever made, you could never stop it. It is a force of nature made human.

Searching For Sugarman reminded me of the power music has to change lives and affirmed one of the only truths I have ever found that I know will never change no matter how old I get or how fucked up this world becomes.

Music will save us.

For that reason alone, you have to see this movie. I don’t think it’s on at the cinema for much longer, but even so, rent the DVD when it comes out, it’s an incredible affirmation of the benevolence of the human spirit and will make you unbelievably proud to be a South African.

Final verdict: 9/10



Movie Review: The Dark Knight Rises

the-dark-knight-rises-new-featuretteJ-Rab and I hit up the Dark Knight Rises premier last night courtesy of Nokia, who used the opportunity to officially launch the Lumia 900, and wow, what a brilliant movie.

Because I realise most of you haven’t seen it yet, I’m going to try and keep this as vague as possible in terms of the actual plot.

Co-writer and director Christopher Nolan is nothing if not a master of genius plot twists and the last thing I want to do is give his art away so don’t worry, this review is spoiler-alert free.

For starters, and I think this goes without saying, don’t go into The Dark Knight Rises expecting a movie that is anything like its predecessor.

Co-writer / director Christopher Nolan has wisely chosen a totally new direction for DKR that explores a fresh side of the Batman legend and makes it impossible to say DKR is better or worse than The Dark Knight.



DKR takes place eight years after The Dark Knight during which time Commissioner Gordon (Gary Oldman) has successfully managed to clean up Gotham’s streets by passing an act in commemoration of Harvey Dent that puts an end to organised crime in the city.

Eccentric billionaire Bruce Wayne has all but disappeared off the face of the earth, as has the Batman who, having taken the fall for Harvey Dent’s murder, is widely regarded by Gotham as a monster that the city is better off without.

Enter ruthless mercenary Bane (Tom Hardy), who amasses an army of equally ruthless and unquestioningly loyal soldiers and followers in the sewers of Gotham City.

With the help of Selina Kyle, aka Catwoman (Anne Hathaway), Bane begins systematically dismantling the structures of power that run Gotham City and the ensuing chaos makes The Joker’s efforts to destabilise Gotham look like a child’s attempt to sculpt Michelangelo’s David with edible play dough.



Much like Batman Begins, Christian Bale is in the driving seat once again this time around because where the late Heath Ledger’s Joker was psychotic, unstable and loveable, Bane is methodical, stone-faced and detestable, so there’s no one to steal Bale’s thunder.

His portrayal of Batman is like nothing seen in the previous films and he brings a vulnerability to the character that emphasises the fact that under the suit is just a man, like any other, and that all that sets him apart from the rest of us is his unfailing belief in an ideal for which he is willing to fight to the death for.

Nolan is, as always, masterful in his careful construction of his plot and characters. It’s like watching someone set up an entire football stadium of dominos, each one perfectly placed so that at the right time, all he has to do is nudge one of them ever so slightly and the entire lot come crashing down in a breath-taking moment of utter chaos.



The Dark Knight Rises is the most fitting conclusion to Nolan’s Batman trilogy that any fan or casual movie-goer could ask for.

There is hardly one character, whether it’s Hathaway’s silky Catwoman, Michael Cain’s endearing, scene-stealing Alfred or Joseph Gordan-Levitt’s unflinchingly courageous patrol officer John Blake, that doesn’t light up the screen with every line of carefully weighed and scripted dialogue.

Sure, the characters might not land the one-liners with the panache of a film like the Avengers, but this is not a happy-go-lucky Marvel outing. This is DC, it’s dark, it’s broody and from the first scene right through to the end it had my heart pounding like a Slipknot drum solo in my chest.

Chances are you were going to see this movie whether I wrote this review or not, so I realise that writing this review is almost superfluous, but The Dark Knight Rises is deserving of the best praise a critic can give and I feel it’s my duty to add my voice to that already deafening chorous.

Watch this film. You won’t be disappointed.

Final Verdict: 9/10



5 Reasons Why Prometheus Failed

PROM-003 - A monolithic figure towers over the explorers of a distant planet.As you guys may have read a few weeks back, I was so excited about the Alien prequel Prometheus that I went out and hired all four Alien movies in anticipation of what people were saying was going to be one of the best movies of 2012.

In retrospect, I needn’t have bothered. Prometheus is so vastly different from the other four Alien films, it’s probably better if you go into it without any preconceptions from the other films whatsoever.

In fact, it’s probably better if you straight up don’t go and see this movie at all, it is honestly that infuriating and here’s why.

Reason No.1: It has more loose ends than a bowl of bolognaise

Don’t get me wrong here, I’m all for leaving a few questions unanswered at the end of the film, it’s a great way to inspire debate and ensure the film lives on in people’s minds after they’ve seen it.

But I draw the line where a film leaves you guessing what the hell was going on from pretty much the opening scene right through to the final fade out.

Writer Damon Lindelof and director Ridley Scott entice the audience with provocative tidbits throughout the film that hint at a much, much bigger story that is never developed or revealed.



The result is that about two thirds of the way through the movie, you start to feel like either you’re the biggest idiot on the planet for not understanding what’s going on or Lindelof an Scott are deliberately obscuring everything to mind-fuck the audience.

Both conclusions inspired the same reaction in me – outright fury for spending so much money to see a film that basically doesn’t make any fucking sense.

Reason No. 2: Every human in the movie is shit

Notice how I said every human in the movie. Michael Fassbender’s portrayal of the android David was probably the best piece of acting in the movie, despite the fact that his character’s motives throughout the film as clear as mud.

As for everyone else, I challenge anyone outright to find one character they actually like in this movie.



Archaeologist Charlie Holloway (Logan Marshall-Green) is a leery jerk who opts to get drunk after making possibly the biggest discovery of human history, Weyland Corporation head honcho Meredith Vickers (Charlize Theron) has not one redeeming quality and is as interesting as dry toast throughout, Captain Janek (Idris Elba) doesn’t seem to give a shit one way or another until he (SPOILER ALERT!) bizarrely sacrifices himself at the end of the movie and Guy Pearce is a disillusioned old turd who you just want to die from the minute he appears on screen.

And then there’s the film’s heroine, Elizabeth Shaw (Noomi Rapace) who is basically the made-in-Japan version of the original Ripley from Alien, only where Sigourney Weaver looks badass and like she could kick seven shades of shit out of you, Rapace looks timid and like she might be better suited playing the over-looked love interest in a quaint English rom-com.

As for the rest of the cast, they’re nothing more than fodder. I’m not sure why they even bothered to name them, I would’ve just gone with “dude who dies first” and “token Asian guy”.



It’s a big problem when you produce a movie that doesn’t have any likeable characters because there’s very little chance of your audience investing in the movie if the characters all feel like cardboard cutouts.

But to make things worse…

Reason No.3: The characters do one epically retarded thing after the next (HILARIOUS SPOILER ALERT)

You’re on the surface of an alien planet that could contain any number of unidentifiable and harmful bacteria and you take your spacesuit helmet off the second your suit tells you the air is breathable?!

You encounter a weird dick-like, alien snake thing that flares open like a goddamn spitting cobra and you decide to approach it like it’s a harmless Labrador puppy?!



Your crew members are stranded in the bowels of a hostile alien planet but instead of ensuring their safety until they get back you decide to go off and have a shag?!

You receive a signal from one of your crew member’s suits who you know is dead right outside your ship so you decide to open it up and invite him in for tea?! (Not quite, but they might as well have).

A gigantic spaceship is about to roll right on top of you and you don’t veer right or left but opt instead to run directly in its path?!

I could go on, but I think you get the point by now. The characters in this movie put TIMMAY! to shame on the tardometer.

Reason No.4: Christianity

Yep. You heard me. The big “C”. This film is riddled with it.

In fact, when viewed through the stained-glass window of Christianity, the film makes a lot more sense, even if it is only on a symbolic level (thank you Cavalorn for shedding some light on what the hell this movie might have been eluding to).



Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against Christianity, or any religion for that matter provided a) they are not taken to murderous extremes and b) they are not used in the goddamn prequel to Alien!

Reason No.5: Complete and utter lack of any kind of originality

If this article from Forbes is legit, then all Prometheus comprises of is a patchwork of characters, concepts, themes and designs stolen from Dark City, Contact, Stargate, AI: Artificial Intelligence, and Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.

We’ve seen this all before. Sure, it’s a visually stunning piece of film and when the gut-churning violence gets going, it pulls no punches, but otherwise there is very little going for this movie.

Of course, I might be missing some crucial thread that ties everything together and makes Prometheus some kind of sci-fi game changer, so feel free to hit me up in the comments section if you think I have.

Prometheus aims high and misses. The only thing that could possibly save this film is a sequel but the big question is, after this disappointing prequel, would anyone watch it?

Final verdict: 4/10



7 Things The Alien Movies Taught Me

alien_from_the_movieLike I mentioned in my last post, over the long weekend we hired all 4 Alien Movies, watched them pretty much back to back and came away from that experience with some profound insights.

I mean, when you stop and think about it, have YOU seen all 4 Alien movies? And if you have you hardly remember them right? Mmmyes, that’s what I thought…

It wasn’t easy tracking them all down, that’s the first thing you need to know. Aliens, Alien 3 and Alien Resurrection are widely regarded by movie critics the world over as being ok, shit and godawful respectively, so most video stores only have the first one.

If you live in CT, DVD Nouveau was the only store that had all 4, so bank that if you wanna watch them like we did, but you probably won’t because the next thing you’re about to read is The Tiger’s List Of 7 Things The Alien Films Taught Me:



1. Ellen Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) is the hardest woman known to man

Not only does she survive three separate alien attacks, but after she voluntarily swan dives backwards into a gigantic furnace to prevent an alien queen from bursting out of her at the end of the third movie, they bring her back from the dead by cloning her in Alien Resurrection so she can create and kill another shipload of aliens.

2. Numero cuatro es el mejor!

The first one is a classic. The second one is cheesy, the third one is vacuous, but for me Alien Resurrection was the best. Movie critics be damned, the fourth one is the only movie that hasn’t aged, doesn’t take itself too seriously, introduces new and significant plot twists and kicks more ass than the other three combined.

3. Ron Perlman can only play two characters: Hellboy and a jerk

I’ve seen him play a jerk many times, but his portrayal of the jerk “Johner” in Alien Resurrection is what finally made me realise how amazingly jerky his jerk-based acting style actually is.



4. Robots are evil. No wait, they’re good. No wait, KILL THEM ALL

The robot Ash in the first Alien movie is a total asshole who loses his shit, rolls up a magazine and forces it into Ripley’s mouth in an attempt to somehow kill her (?), making him a very bad robot indeed. Fifty-seven years later, robots are rad (“Bishop”, the robot in Aliens actually saves the day) but fast forward 200 years and robots are whiny, emotionally insecure and constantly questioning the validity of their existence. Needless to say, choosing Winona Ryder to play that role was nothing short of genius.

5. Somewhere between Prometheus and Alien, technology regresses back to DOS

The “technology” in the original Alien movie (which was released in 1979) looks like it was salvaged from a plane in the mid 60s. You interact with it by typing questions onto a black screen with green writing. Would you trust technology like that to keep you safe in space? That shit was scarier than the alien!



6. For the love of God, you cannot use aliens as weapons!

Alien = let’s send a towing ship to this creepy planet to bring back some aliens for us to study on the off chance that we can use the aliens as weapons. Don’t tell anyone. Aliens = let’s send Ripley to the planet the aliens came from because we colonised it to try and study the aliens on the off chance that we can use them as weapons and now everyone’s dead. Don’t tell anyone. Alien 3 = let’s go on a 5 week drinking binge and try make a movie. Alien Resurrection = let’s just not even lie about it this time – clone Ripley, cut the alien queen out of her, get it to lay eggs so that we can make as many aliens as possible and study them on the off chance that we can use them as weapons because you know, things will be different this time…

7. Airlocks are your friend

End of Alien Ripley survives thanks to bum luck and a handy airlock that she opens and schloomf! Sucks the alien into space. End of Aliens Ripley survives thanks to bum luck, being a bit of a badass and a handy airlock that she opens, thus schloomfing the alien queen out into space. End of Alien 3 Ripley dies, possibly because there were no airlocks in sight. End of Alien Resurrection Ripley uses her ACID BLOOD to burn a hole through a glass porthole behind the human / alien monster, thus creating a vacuum that sucks the creature out into space similar to, you guessed it, a vacuum cleaner.

Needless to say, watching all those movies just made me all the more excited to see Prometheus. Watching those movies and THIS trailer:



June couldn’t come faster 😉