Outside the Frame

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Archive for July 2008

Film Review: Blow

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Nothing new but it sure doesn’t blow.

 

Blow: both slang for the drug Cocaine and a film starring Johnny Depp. Not coincidently the film is about the drug, how about that?  Based on a true story it tells a fictionalised account of the life of George Jung, the man who worked with the infamous Medellín drug cartel of Columbia, including Pablo Escobar, to flood the shores of America with Cocaine during the 70’s and 80’s.

This type of film is not all that original, with similar rise and fall stories set in the criminal world seen in Scarface, Goodfellas and Casino, just to name a few. However, director Ted Demme does manage to produce a really enjoyable and entertaining piece of cinema. This is due not least because of Johnny Depp as the ill-fated but highly likeable Jung. A good supporting cast helps a lot with Ray Liotta and Rachel Griffiths as Jung’s parents, the always wonderful Cliff Curtis in a brief appearance as Pablo Escobar and Paul Reubens, who is impressive as Jung’s business partner/contact Derek Foreal. Also, thankfully, the very hot but rather annoyingly shrill Penelope Cruz, is used sparingly. The narrative is straightforward but ever engaging, and some of the scenes are really well shot.

Look, Blow as a film is far above average and definitely in the recommended pile. But one can only think that the subject material, along with Depp’s great performance, is probably its biggest draw-card. Audiences just love tales from the criminal world. Nevertheless it is a very good film that is worth multiple viewings. 

Written by Dale Weber

Thursday, 31 July, 2008 at 8:56 pm

X-Men Origins: Wolverine – Comic Con Footage

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The new Wolverine origin film is due to be released in cinemas on 1 May 2008. Below is a link to a post on FLYLYF.com with footage from the film that was shown at Comic Con. Looks quite promising. I have my reservations about Hugh Jackman continuing on as Wolverine after the X-Men films. In the first film I thought he captured Wolverine pretty well but in the following two the character headed in too much of a “wussy” direction for my taste. The comic book character of Logan/Wolverine is much more of a “lone wolf” type, with a lot of aggression and a whole heap of natural coolness. In the third X-Men outing, his whole story line just got too soppy. However, with the “Weapon X” story line in this origin film it looks like we might get a Wolverine much closer to who he is in the comics. Also Liev Schreiber as Sabretooth seems like an odd choice, firstly he is just not physically big enough, BUT there is one moment in the Comic Con footage when he and Wolverine look to be in some sort of mexican showdown, in which we see a bit of the savagery befitting the Sabretooth character. Anyway it IS a film I am looking forward to no matter my reservations. Plus Gavin Wood is quite a promising director.

 

http://www.flylyf.com/x-men-origins-wolvering/

Written by Dale Weber

Wednesday, 30 July, 2008 at 7:22 pm

Posted in Comics, Films

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Wallabies too strong for All Blacks

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Australia jumped to the top of the Tri-Nations table with their victory over the All Blacks on saturday. The 35-19 win also places the Wallabies in good stead to take back the Bledisloe Cup this year if they continue with the same form that saw them all but dominate the All Blacks in Sydney. 

The Wallabies revealed their intentions to overpower the All Blacks early on in the match, with almost all of the first ten minutes played in the New Zealand 22. Australia threw everything they had at a desperate All Black line and soon Kiwi second-rower Brad Thorn was sin-binned for a high tackle on Matt Giteau, who himself converted the subsequent penalty. Just a few minutes later the home team was rewarded with a well-scored try for Ryan Cross. The rest of the first half continued at a fast pace with both teams playing expansive attacking rugby, and the score leveled out as New Zealand got themselves back in the game. Both teams scored two tries in the opening half and when the referee’s whistle blew for halftime Australia was up 17 – 12.

The All Blacks gained the lead for the first time in the match when Andy Ellis scored early in the second half to send the score to 19 – 17 after Dan Carter’s conversion. However that would be the last time the New Zealanders scored, as Australia ran away with the match. Rocky Elsom and James Horwil each added tries to the Wallaby score, with Giteau converting both as well as adding a drop goal, to put the points difference at more than two converted tries. And that was how the game ended with Australia victorious at 35 – 19.

Australia were deserved winners with their dogged defensive reputation now backed-up by some impressive attacking potency. Their scrum and line-out were solid and even without captain Stirling Mortlock the back-line were excellent across the board. The All Blacks played well in patches but really seemed to be missing all the players who moved overseas after last years world cup. They never took the game to the Wallabies and a handling error count of 30 compared with Australia’s 13 speaks volumes. Fullback Mils Muliaina and flyhalf Dan Carter were the only two players who stood out as playing well but even Carter seemed to be playing below his ability and undoubtedly lost the battle of the flyhalves to Giteau. 

Berrick Barnes was named man of the match after an impressive game where he worked great in combination with Giteau on his inside. Mention must also go to Lote Tuqiri, who enjoyed a wonderful game on the wing. He has copped much criticism over his years in union, including myself who always thought Tuqiri played like he was still in rugby league. However on Saturday night, Tuqiri gelled well with the rest of the team and even without a try had a massive impact on game including playing a major role in the setting up of two of the Wallaby tries.

 

Final Score:

Wallabies 35 (Ryan Cross, Peter Hynes, Rocky Elsom, James Horwill – tries; Matt Giteau – 4 conversions, penalty, drop goal)

All Blacks 19 (Mils Muliaina, Andrew Hore, Andy Ellis – tries; Dan Carter – 2 conversions; Brad Thorn – Sin bin)

Written by Dale Weber

Monday, 28 July, 2008 at 5:46 pm

Posted in Rugby

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Both captains out of Tri-nations clash in Sydney

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Both the Wallabies and the All Blacks will be without their captains when they meet in Sydney on Saturday night (26/07/08). This is the first match between the trans-Tasman rivals in this years Tri-Nations series and promises to be a clash to remember. The loss of both captains, the first meeting between New Zealand coaching rivals and a match-up with the two best flyhalves on the world are just some of the ingredients that will spice up this Bledisloe Cup opener. 

Not only will both captains be missed for their leadership but also for the impact role they play. Richie Mccaw is often considered the best loose forward in the world and his work at the breakdown is invaluable for New Zealand. Likewise, Stirling Mortlock has the ability to change the game in Australias way with his bull-dozing runs often breaking the opposition’s defensive line, as seen in last weeks game against the Springboks, where one such break resulted in a try for the outside centre. 

Saturday’s game will be significant for the coaches of both teams. Wallaby coach Robbie Deans is coming up against his home country’s team for the first time, as well as many of the players he coached for 6 seasons at the Canterbury Crusaders. He is also facing the man he was overlooked for as All Blacks coach and is no doubt hoping to prove that the New Zealand Rugby head honchos made a mistake in passing on his proven coaching success. Graham Henry on the other hand is hoping to show that he was worth retaining as the All Blacks coach, especially in the face of reports that the obsessive New Zealand rugby fans are still livid with the choice of Henry over fan favourite Deans.

There will be an even more interesting clash of talent on the field when New Zealand’s Dan Carter faces Australia’s Matt Giteau. These two are considered the premier flyhalves in the world at the moment and both will be out to prove their worth. Giteau especially will be interesting to watch, with this year being the first time he has consistently played in the pivotal position for Australia after years of playing outside Wallaby flyhalf stalwart Steve Larkham. Both are exciting players to watch and their clash will be a highlight of the Sydney match. 

The All Blacks have lost some of their aura as the team to beat after the disappointment of last years World Cup and the loss to the Springboks at their “House of Pain” two weeks ago. Australia on the other hand have proven many critics wrong with their forwards picking up the slack recently, especially in the scrum, and were able to keep world champions South Africa tryless last week in Perth. The Wallabies are hungry to regain the Bledisloe Cup this year, with them last claiming it back in 2002, and will be looking to assert themselves in the first of four Bledisloe matches to be played this year. They are riding high from last weeks win and playing in front of a Sydney home crowd should be enough to push them over the edge. 

 

Outside the Frame prediction: Australia by 5

 

Wallaby Squad:

Run on: Adam Ashley-Cooper, Peter Hynes, Ryan Cross, Berrick Barnes, Lote Tuqiri, Matt Giteau, Luke Burgess, Wycliff Palu, George Smith (c), Rocky Elsom, Nathan Sharpe, James Horwill, Al Baxter, Stephen Moore, Benn Robinson. Reserves: Tatafu Polota-Nau, Matt Dunning, Dan Vickerman, Phil Waugh, Sam Cordingley, Timana Tahu, Drew Mitchell.

 

All Black Squad:

Run on: Tony Woodcock, Andrew Hore, Greg Somerville, Brad Thorn, Ali Willliams, Rodney So’oialo, Daniel Braid, Jerome Kaino, Andy Ellis, Dan Carter, Sitiveni Sivivatu, Ma’a Nonu, Richard Kahui, Anthony Tuitavake, Mils Muliaina. Reserves: Keven Mealamu, John Afoa, Anthony Boric, Sione Lauaki, Jimmy Cowan, Stephen Donald, Conrad Smith.

Written by Dale Weber

Friday, 25 July, 2008 at 10:03 pm

Posted in Rugby

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Album Review: Lullabies to Paralyse – Queens of the Stone Age

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The fourth album by Queens of the Stone Age, Lullabies to Paralyze, lives up to its name. While none of these songs could be ever be used to lull a child to sleep, they do manage to lull most listeners into a form of paralysis. Once you start to listen, it is difficult to stop.

Often categorised by the generic labels of alt-rock, heavy metal or stoner metal, none of these terms sufficiently encapsulate the sound of Queens of the Stone Age. Far surpassing most bands labelled as hard rock in terms of talent, QOTSA have managed to carve out a unique sound that takes the hard-hitting, power-driven beats of heavy metal and infuses them with delicate melodies and original lyrics.

Although the QOTSA line-up has changed numerous times, it has remained centred around founder, Josh Homme. The first three albums seemed to evolve out of each other, all clearly recognised as Queens of the Stone Age albums but also remaining unique. And the fourth, Lullabies to Paralyze, is no different. While not as mainstream as their third album, Songs for the Deaf; this album remains just as accessible, while creating a much darker, almost scary undertone.

Beginning with the sombre intro “This Lullaby”, sung as if recited from a Halloween-themed nursery rhyme book, each song then seamlessly flows on to the next. The album contains slow-burning songs such as “In My Head” and the captivating “I Never Came”, as well as rough and powerful punches like “Little Sister” with its blistering guitar solos and the bouncy, distorted and aptly-named “Broken Box”. The standout piece of the album is the utterly unique “Burn the Witch”, which captures the general mood of the album. A song that could comfortably pass as a Halloween bedtime story, “Burn the Witch” creates a mood that is haunting and spooky, while remaining a head-banging, heavy rock piece, highlighted by the gruff, baritone of guest Billy Gibbons from ZZ Top alternated with the evocative wailing of Josh Homme.

Pick up this album and be lulled into musical paralysis. 

Written by Dale Weber

Wednesday, 23 July, 2008 at 5:46 pm

Wallabies down Springboks in close match

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Saturday night’s tri-nation game between South Africa and Australia in Perth ended up as a tough defensive tussle with the home team winning 16 points to 9. The Wallabies proved that they are probably the toughest defensive line to penetrate in international rugby. Much of the game saw South Africa having a go from every position on the field to find some points but the Wallaby defense was just unbreakable and the Springboks failed to cross the line for a try. The South African’s also made too many errors in their attack, which is never going to be good enough to crack that Australian defense.

The South Africans also showcased their scrambling cover defense, which was often tested by Australia’s strong midfield attack led by Matt Giteau. With both teams so determined in their defense, it was always likely that whoever managed to cross the try-line first would be able to hold on and take the match. That is exactly how it ended up with the first try in the game scored by Wallaby winger Lote Tuqiri. After some impressive runs from George Smith and Peter Hynes into the Boks’s 22, a quick succession of passes saw Tuqiri cross the line in the corner.

The rest of the game was an ebb and flow of each team enjoying periods of sustained attack only to be held out by the opposite team’s equally impressive defense. Penalties and drop-goal attempts were traded until 5 minutes into the second half the Wallabies scored again with captain Stirling Mortlock bull-dozing his way through the Springbok line. From then on it looked like the South Africans had to come up with something special to win the game, a task that eluded them, but not for lack of trying. The Springbok loose forwards always looked menacing with ball in hand and halves Ricky Januarie and Butch James kept trying to unleash their speedster wingers Habana and Pieterson but were unsuccessful with Pieterson plagued by handling errors and Habana constantly shut down by a desperate Wallaby defender.

In the end the Wallabies emerged deserved victors with a 2 try to nil win. 

Final Score:

Wallabies 16 (Lote Tuqiri, Stirling Mortlock – tries; Matt Giteau – penalty; Berrick Barnes – drop goal)

Springboks 9 (Francois Steyn 2, Butch James – penalties) 

Written by Dale Weber

Tuesday, 22 July, 2008 at 9:05 pm

Posted in Rugby

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Springboks announce adjusted line-up for Wallaby match

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There are four changes to the South African starting line-up to face Australia in Perth on saturday night (19, July). Drop-kick whiz Francois Steyn replaces the injured Adrien Jacobs at outside centre, hooker Schalk Brits replaces the suspended Bismark Du Plessis, while Conrad Jantjes and Pierre Spies get the nod over Percy Montgomery and Joe van Niekerk at fullback and No. 8 respectively. 

Neither van Niekerk nor Montgomery will be on the bench with Ryan Kankowski as the back-up loose forward, while Springbok coach Peter de Villiers has opted for only two backs on the bench in the form of scrumhalf/utility Ruan Pienaar and flyhalf Peter Grant. Replacement flanker Luke Watson is also missing from the 22, while two props Brian Mujati and Tendai (the Beast) Mtawarira appear on the bench. South Africa will also be fielding a third-choice hooker in Brits, with du Plessis having replaced injured Springbok captain John Smit. This means new reserve hooker Adriaan Strauss could make his test debut this weekend. 

This is the first Tri-nations match of 2008 for the Wallabies but will be the third in a row for the Springboks, who recorded a loss to New Zealand in the opening match but rebounded for an amazing win in the final few minutes of last weekend’s game in Dunedin. The Springboks will be firing after their win over the All Blacks, which was especially sweet for the Boks as they had not won in New Zealand for 10 years and it was only the fourth loss for the All Blacks at Dunedin’s House of Pain. However, the Australian’s will be well rested, while the Boks could be tiring after two heavy games for what is looking to be an exciting match in Perth.

Outside the Frame sees a South African win this weekend, of course being a huge Springbok supporter I always think they are going to win before any match. But looking through an objective view: the South African squad is full of players from last years world cup winning team, they are coming off a morale-boosting match, their gameplay is becoming much more all-rounded under new coach Peter de Villiers and they seem to be shedding their poor away record that has hindered them in past Tri-nation tournaments. The Wallabies on the other hand have not yet proved that their scrum is all that is should be and will struggle against a Springbok scrum that is looking as dominant as can be. The Australians are also still finding their feet with a few backline positions and even though it is a homeground match for them, Perth is full of South African expats who will no doubt be out in full colour following last weeks win. BUT, the Wallabies always have a knack for overcoming the odds and pulling out that last minute win. Plus, they have a highly-rated new coach in Robbie Deans who has just come from coaching the Super14-dominating Crusaders and whose free-flowing coaching style will no doubt suit wonder-kid Matt Giteau in his new international position as flyhalf.

 

Outside the Frame prediction: SA by 6 points.

 

Springbok Squad:

Run-on: Conrad Jantjes, JP Pietersen, Francois Steyn, Jean de Villiers, Bryan Habana, Butch James, Ricky Januarie, Pierre Spies, Juan Smith, Schalk Burger, Victor Matfield (c), Bakkies Botha, CJ van der Linde, Schalk Brits, Gurthro Steenkamp. Reserves: Adriaan Strauss, Tendai Mtawarira, Brian Mujati, Andries Bekker, Ryan Kankowski, Ruan Pienaar, Peter Grant.

 

Wallaby squad:

Run-on: Adam Ashley-Cooper, Peter Hynes, Stirling Mortlock (c), Berrick Barnes, Lote Tuqiri, Matt Giteau, Luke Burgess, Wycliff Palu, George Smith, Rocky Elsom, Nathan Sharpe, James Horwill, Al Baxter, Stephen Moore, Benn Robinson. Reserves: Tatafu Polota-Nau, Matt Dunning, Hugh McMeniman, Phil Waugh, Sam Cordingley, Ryan Cross, Drew Mitchell.

Written by Dale Weber

Thursday, 17 July, 2008 at 6:54 pm

Posted in Rugby

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