Reviews

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It’s Britney, Bitch!

Britney Spears - Circus Tour Memorabilia Even before we arrived in Australia, I knew that Britney Spears would be bringing her ‘The Circus’ tour to the land down under. However, I never thought I would actually get a chance to attend the concert.

For starters, Britney’s last show in Melbourne was on the 13th November and we were only set to arrive in Melbourne on the 16th. Furthermore, tickets to the event were not exactly cheap, ranging from stadium seating at $250 (R1700) per person to the insanely priced ‘Love Seats’ for $1500 (for two tickets –> R10 000 ). Consequently, chances of me attending Miss Spears’ performance were pretty thin.

Or so I thought.

Through a fortunate turn of events, Britney had actually extended her tour due to popular demand, adding three extra shows to her repertoire. One of those shows, as luck would have it, was in Melbourne.

I would be lying if I said that I was not excited at the possibility of watching the princess of pop perform in the flesh. After all, like the Queen (Madonna), it is not as if Britney would be making her way to South Africa. So it was pretty much a ‘This Is It’ kind of scenario.

Amazingly, my parents ascertained that this would be a fantastic experience and wholeheartedly agreed to buy tickets to the show. Not only that, but they even allowed me to opt for the ‘stool’ seating, which is directly behind the ‘Love Seats’ and, as it turned out, was literally a meter and a half away from the stage.

Britney Spears - Circus Tour Tickets

Without a doubt, ‘The Circus presenting Britney Spears’ was the best concert I have ever been to. I am unable to truly relay how awesome the experience was. The circus elements to the show, alone, were worth the price of admission; from acrobats, to martial artists, clowns, mimes, weapon artists, magicians… you name it and it was there (animals excluded). In addition to the circus element, I have never before been privy to a live performance with as much pyrotechnics and stage theatrics as this. The ‘wow’ factor was simply phenomenal. I do think that the experience was made just that much better courtesy of our seats which, as I have mentioned before, allowed us to be almost within two arm lengths of the pop princess.

Britney Spears - Circus Tour Performance

Contrary to the controversy surrounding Britney’s performance in the land down under, I can honestly admit that I would watch it again. So what if she lip-synchs? Anyone who has heard of Britney Spears knows that she is infamous for lip-synching (along with many other famous artists). So this was really of no surprise. In my opinion, if you want to hear an artist sing, buy the album. If you want to watch them perform, go to a concert. Whether they sing ‘live’ or not is irrelevant. With that said, it is worth noting that Britney did sing at least one song live, the ballad ‘everytime’. To all the naysayers who think Britney Spears cannot sing, let me tell you, this chick has a good voice. As a matter of fact, she actually sounds better live than through her recordings. So it is a shame that she does not perform ‘live’ more often.

Britney Spears - Circus Tour (Performing Everytime, Live)

Considering how close I was able to get, I was quite surprised to realise how small Britney Spears actually is. She is tiny. Then again, I am 6’4”, so a lot of people are smaller than I am. After two kids, she does look very good. While I’m on the topic of her body, it is worth noting that she is rather fit. She has good muscle tone; most definitely what could be described as a dancers body. So she is not petit and does appear to have some extra junk in her trunk. I think the biggest surprise to me was how small her boobs were. For those who know we, I’m a boob man. Britney has a good handful, but not what one would expect after all of the boob job debates. Have a look for yourself, in the album below.

I am truly so thankful that I could have this opportunity and would like to send a huge ‘I love you’ and ‘thank you’ to my loving parents who made it all possible.

Until the next time “Milieunairs”!

 

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“Who is Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf”?

The Twilight Saga - New Moon Before we left South Africa for our Australian holiday, I was aware that I would be missing the midnight screening of the latest cinematic instalment of the Twilight Saga: New Moon. An event that I was not only looking forward to but one that  I had made partial plans for with friends and family. I will not beat around the bush, I was bummed about it. Not only would I miss the midnight premiere but I would also be unable to share the experience with those closest to me. However, that all changed once I stepped foot in the land down under.

District 9 – South African Premiere and Review

“Why did van der Merwe keep a pair of scissors in his racing car?
So he could cut the corners!”

For the last several months, ever since first viewing the initial teaser trailer, there has only been one movie to have successfully garnered my obsessive anxiety.

Not Slumdog Millionaire. Not Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. Not even the infallible Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. No, this exclusive obsession could not be for any ordinary movie or typical Hollywood cash cow.

Instead, my focus has continuously been drawn to a movie which is set, surprisingly, in the very city within which I live.

District 9 – Official Teaser Trailer

That movie has been none other than this years science fiction sleeper hit, District 9.

See how deep that bullet lies…

A few months ago, regrettably only after breaking my arm, I was approached by a well known South African public relations firm for my review of the ‘South African Premiere of Slumdog Millionaire’. Subsequently, I was kindly asked if I would be interested in being a part of their mailing list and any future ‘events’. Of course I responded with a resounding ‘yes’!

Since that time, I have been kept up to date and privy to the latest in South African box office records, figures and events. Often incorporating the information into my posts whenever I deem the data to be informative, applicable and or appropriate. To my surprise, it appears that the fruits of my labour have begun to ripen.

The Human ContractLast week, I unexpectedly received an official invitation to an actual ‘press screening’ of an as yet unreleased film. It goes without saying that I was incredibly taken aback and immensely excited. After all, it was the first time that I had been invited to an event as a ‘recognised’ member of the press.

The invitation was to the screening of ‘The Human Contract’, which serves as Jada Pinkett Smiths debut as both a writer and director.

The Human Contract focuses on charming, self-made marketing entrepreneur Julian Wright (Jason Clarke), who is constantly tormented by a viciously disturbing secret that he has harboured from childhood. With his personal life in shambles and physical pain his only means of solace, Julian becomes entrapped in an open styled love affair with a gorgeously elusive stranger, Michael Reed (Paz Vega), who tempts him from the rigid confines of corporate life to try and explore a bohemian laden lifestyle. A decision that will not only dramatically affect his life, but also the lives of his co-workers, friends and family.

The Red Carpet screens: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood PrinceThe movie was, for lack of a better word, incredible!

Like most book to movie conversions, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince is, unfortunately, not a visually literal word for word transfer; but that was to be expected. If a literal conversion was what you were hoping for, then I am afraid that you may be sorely disappointed.

What people fail to remember, is that the movie is only based on the book. As a result, for better or worse, a certain degree of creative freedom was bestowed on the director and screenwriters. Consequently, the movie is rather different when compared to the original telling of The Half-Blood Prince, with several ‘what were they thinking’ moments. However, for what the movie is, an artfully driven visual gateway into the world of Harry Potter, the movie was, in my humble opinion, magnificent!

With this latest movie installment of the Harry Potter series, the visual cinematic flair is flush with the book. It is the first time that one of the Harry Potter movies has managed to effectively capture the progressively dark themes found in the books. This is, no doubt, in part due to the maturation of the target audience and the actors, who now have a broader and more refined range of acting skill. In this sense the Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince movie is the closest, in feeling and atmosphere, to any of the books in the Harry Potter series, thus far.

Harry Potter & The Half-Blood Prince is a dark, magical, funny and charming adventure that is both gripping and spellbinding. This is how Harry Potter should have been adapted from the beginning. David Yates takes the fantasy from the heights of a broomstick-flying romantic comedy right down to the depths of a bone-chilling adventure. The whole mix of genres is perfectly balanced, shifting from one foot to the next as the audience is introduced to a new facet of the story, each chapter as funny, exciting and scary as the previous one (Spling Movies, 2009).

View The Red Carpet Screens - Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

The screenplay and production values for the movie are spectacular. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince will make you cringe with familiarity, jump in your seat with fear, laugh out loud with joy and cry with sorrow. The movie is splendidly well rounded and an absolutely fantastic journey from start to finish, for both the young and the old. Furthermore, the movie has spectacularly noteworthy special effects, amazing camera work and a visual flair that will make any audience member dry eyed.

Hans' Harry Potter Memorabilia

Although fans of the books may be disappointed with the overall translation from text to screen, it is important to enjoy the movie for what it is: a visual smorgasbord of Harry Potter goodness, no matter how off base the movies are to the books. That said, fans brought up on the movie renditions of the books will naturally love this movie.

I consider myself to be a true Harry Potter fan, having read all of the books multiple times, owning various pieces of memorabilia (see the above photograph) and having many intense late night discussions, with friends and family, about Harry’s inevitable fate. Even so I thoroughly, no, immensely enjoyed the movie and would recommend it to anyone who enjoys a well produced action and adventure movie!

The Red Carpet gives Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince 8/10. The movie is a must see!

The movie was screened at the Il Grande theatre in Monte Casino, Johannesburg. On a side note, I would like to mention that the evening was a ‘magical’ success, with only one discrepancy. Toward the end of the evening, members of The Red Carpet made their way to Cafe Fego, in Monte Casino, for the after movie discussion. Upon settling the bill, with a fairly generous 10% tip, and just as the group was about to depart, our waiter turns to us and asks if everything was to our satisfaction. To which we replied that it was. He then proceeded to ask for a bigger tip indicating that what we had given was not enough. Have you ever heard of such insolence? A tip is not mandatory; it is merely a showing of good will. To have the audacity to ask for more is not only unprofessional but ungrateful. Consequently, Cafe Fego has lost several customers for the foreseeable future. What is the moral of the story? Take your change and tip well where it is appreciated, either at Seattle Coffee or Mugg & Bean.

*UPDATE*: For an almost perfect Butterbeer recipe, click here.

Until the next time “Milieunairs”!

 

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