Tuesday, 3 May 2016

My Magical Place: Captain America: Civil War Review

29 Apr 2016

I was sick for a week and on my return to the land of the living I found out that we were getting Civil War on 27 April (Freedom Day in South Africa). I just wasn't ready though, you guys. I was still working with that 7 May release date and I am still reeling from the first episode of Season 6 of Game of Thrones. Can the old gods and the new please give a nerd a break out here? But it's all good, I got my game face and Marvel fanboy underwear on and got ready for the biggest cinema spectacle of the year!

Civil War is the best Marvel movie to date

Captain America: Civil War is the third Captain America movie and the thirteenth entry in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. After the huge success of the second Captain America movie, The Winter Soldier, the Russo brothers returned to the helm for Civil War and they made a movie that hits all the right notes. I am going into full fanboy mode here. This movie is perfect and it seems that every year I say this about a new Marvel movie, but it’s Odin’s honest truth every time. What especially makes Civil War great is that it taps into all of the history and lore of the universe it takes place in. This movie is not here to accommodate anyone by explaining too much. It is simply the culmination of all Marvel’s Earth-based movies to date.

Plot overview

Civil War is set in a universe where all the actions of every hero in the Avengers team have led to this point in time. The world owes the Avengers a great deal for the amount of times they have saved it, but at the same time, who watches the watchmen? Who takes the Avengers to task when innocent people die in the collateral damage of their battles? This is the overarching question that Civil War poses and it is a fair question and difficult to deal with.

Civil War takes a lot of beats from Winter Soldier in that it is a political spy type of thriller, but it borrows tonnes from other Marvel movies like Iron Man 3 that shows that superhero characters don’t have to be in their suits the whole time - they can deliver powerful, emotional performances just as themselves. After an incident gone wrong in Lagos, Nigeria the US Secretary of State, General Thunderbolt Ross, calls the Avengers in to inform them that the world cannot tolerate them operating unchecked and that the United Nations has come up with what they refer to as the "Sokovia Accords", which will establish an international governing body to monitor and regulate all enhanced individuals like the Avengers.

The battle lines are drawn in a response to this development. Captain America’s response is that he does not agree to having the team effectively being run by the UN, which is a political entity and has its own agenda. By signing the act, the Avengers would only be able to work according to the say-so of the UN. Since waking up in the modern world, Captain America has had to deal with quite a lot. The guy is Marvel’s ultimate boy scout and is usually the sort of team player who would never question orders. Unfortunately politics is a messy business and the Cap has been burned on many occasions dealing with organisations like SHIELD/HYDRA and he is loath to allow the team to become puppets of such agendas. Cap thus rallies the members of Team Cap to his side, because they share the same belief, or in Hawkeye’s case, because he called first.

Tony Stark is also carrying a huge load on his shoulders since the incident in New York and even more with the incident with Ultron, which he was directly responsible for. The man has been having panic attacks and sleepless nights, because he knows there are dangers outside of our planet that the Avengers might not be able to deal with (we know that Thanos is lurking out there, after all. Does that guy just sit in his space chair all day by the way? I digress though). Ultron rose from these fears and Scarlett Witch didn’t help by giving him visions of a bleak future where everyone dies either. Tony is almost on the opposite journey that Cap is on in the sense that he starts off as this carefree character who doesn’t adhere to rules and picks up a lot more responsibility on the way to the events in Civil War. It's difficult to decide whose stance is right.

This is just the simplistic view of the plot, because there are other forces at play and there is an actual villain in the movie. Batman v Superman takes itself very seriously and Civil War finds a sweet spot between the seriousness of everything that is happening with friends fighting each other, but there are many moments where you can just laugh and have fun. The movie is long at 147 minutes, but it never feels like it and it is cut in a beautifully economic way.

Enter new characters

All your favourite characters are back and are all running around punching, kicking and shooting each other and the bad guys in super cool ways. All of them are there ... well, except for Thor, because he is doing Asgardian things and Bruce Banner is doing hiding out things. The highlights in terms of characterisation are the new people though. Chadwick Boseman makes his debut as T'Challa / Black Panther, the prince of Wakanda, the technologically advanced African Nation that is known for living in isolation and being the place where vibranium comes from. Marvel is pretty much done with long and windy introductions, so they just throw Black Panther in there with a brief but powerful introduction and the character then hits the ground running. The character is intriguing and I can’t wait for his solo movie and to explore Wakanda where, interestingly enough, they seem to speak Xhosa. I died of laughter in the cinema when T’Challa shares a moment with his father, King T'Chaka (played by South African actor, John Kani) and they just kick it in Xhosa, but with an East African accent.

Our favourite neighbourhood Spidy also gets a quick and punchy intro. Peter Parker is played by Tom Holland and he is the witty, funny, awkward Peter Parker we love from the comics. The movie also makes fun of the fact that his aunt, May, is so attractive (played by Marisa Tomei) in response to people freaking out on social media last year, because Aunt May is “too hot”.

Marvel just keeps winning and Civil War is just great. I can find zero fault with this movie. It delivers solidly on everything and all the characters are given their due in terms of screen time and personality. The action sequences are a feast, but the times where there is no fighting are also intense and while you’re still reeling from an emotional reveal they offset it with humour that provides the comic relief you need while not taking away from the gravitas of the situation. The new characters fit in and their roles aren’t just as cameos. All the Earth-based stories in the Marvel universe have led to this movie and it draws from and builds on the history and lore from the previous titles beautifully. Just go out and watch this one a few times. Just do it.

Tuesday, 22 March 2016

Respect the Hustle

Hello there, you beautiful, beautiful souls :).

I had a chat with the lovely folks over at Freelance Cape Town some months back and they decided to publish the whole affair on their blog! Here I though we were just having a nice chat between friends. But since we are airing laundry you can go check out their post on my life as an editor and freelancer here.

Stay fresh and as the kids say, respect that good ol' hustle.

Tuesday, 15 December 2015

The movies in review: A look back at 2015

The movies in review: A look back at 2015

Hi Blogger buddies,

I am closing my year in style by taking a look back at 2015 at the movies over at my other goodbuddies' house, Bizcommunity.com. Check out my article there.

All I can say is merry Star Wars! Christmas can take a backseat this year ;).

Wednesday, 30 September 2015

C.S. Bulletproofreading for Interns Abroad

Hello world! I've officially kicked off my Bulletproofreading venture and I am hoping for the best. If you have no idea what I am talking about check out my Facebook Page, like that bad boy and then tell your friends, family and pets all about it! You can also send them my nifty pamphlet with my details.

To get in touch with me simply drop me an email at csiboto@gmail.com. To learn a bit more about my work you can visit my freelance profiles on the following websites: https://www.freelancecapetown.com/profile/609 and http://www.bizcommunity.com/Profile/CharlesSiboto.

Sunday, 20 September 2015

The Journey Thus Far . . .

Journeys have been an overarching theme in my life of late, whether it’s at work or at home. Journeys are perhaps one of the overarching themes of all life. That and running a race. All my teachers in primary school loved comparing life to running a race. I digress, though. What I want to get at is that when one is on a journey it is good to stop once in a while and take stock. Just stop, catch your breath, relax and look back at the way you have come. A little break also allows you to look at the road ahead and to plan a bit. I recently joined the wonderful people over at Freelance Cape Town as a freelancer (duh!). Marius Vosloo, the guy who heads the team up, immediately made me feel welcome and at home. They recently launched their blog, called Our Voice and it serves as a platform for creative people to be heard. Marius asked me to write something about my journey as a freelancer thus far. I haven’t looked back on the way I have come in a while and this proved to be the perfect opportunity for me to pause, take stock and reflect on my journey as Charles thus far and to add my voice to theirs and see what sort of music comes of it.

Dear Reader and fellow traveller, sit down and rest your feet a while and let me tell you my story.

My name is Charles Siboto and I am a reader and lover of beautiful stories. I haunt places where I can find good stories. My love for stories has resulted in me becoming someone who works with stories, whether they are my own or stories that other people wish to tell. I mainly prefer stories that other people tell because there is nothing better for me than getting so caught up in someone else’s visions that you just cannot help but love and understand that person a bit more than you did before being moved by their story. I grew up as a reader and from early on I knew that stories are magic and that I want to be a part of that magic when I grow up. I never knew in what capacity I would help make and spread more of this magic but at least I had a general direction in which to start looking for where I can fit in.

I am not even all that picky in my love for stories. I love the stories my grandmother told me as a child and listened to Gcina Mhlope on the radio every Saturday morning on a show she had that was sponsored by Joko tea. I can’t remember the name of the show but I loved the monsters she always told of and how the children in the stories always outsmarted them. I read books, comic books, played video games, watched movies and listen to weird radio dramas. I landed up studying English Literature, Linguistics and Literary studies and I loved most of it and hated some of it. I remember one instance in my fourth year of university where I read the comic book, Final Crisis by Grant Morrison and had one of the greatest moments of my life reading a story and it shook me to my core. Final Crisis is a massive story in its complexity and when Zillo Valla (if my memory serves me well), one of the beings in charge of protecting the multiverse utters the following words it just gets me every single time I read that story: "Behold: we monitors who were faceless once . . . We all have names now, and stories. There are heroes and villains . . . secrets and lovers." Things like this unstitch me. Somewhere in that comic book Superman asks that the words, To Be Continued be carved on his tombstone because humanity’s story never comes to an end, it always carries on. I read and love J.R.R. Tolkien and he taught me that some stories can break your heart and yet still strike you with sorrow as sharp as swords, eucatastrophe he called it, the good ending that breaks your heart.

Stories lead me to where I am today. My name is Charles Siboto and I am an editor of children’s books by day at one of South Africa’s biggest publishing houses. This is a great honour and privilege for me because it was a struggle for me to get my foot in that door but like any good character in your favourite stories I persevered and always kept on going. I am also a freelancer in the sense that I use the majority of my free time to blog and write about books, movies, comic books, video games, technology, lifestyle events and even a dash of politics for various online media. I also offer my services as a proofreader and editor to almost just about anyone who needs it. Interestingly enough, French engineering students turn up on my doorstep with reports for me to proofread on a regular basis. This led me to my exciting new venture, Charles Siboto Bulletproofreading forInterns Abroad. A bit of a mouthful, right? But it’s all very exciting and I hope the venture does well. I have even dabbled in doing voiceovers, officially becoming the voice of one our book characters at work, Dogtective William.

This, dear Reader and fellow traveller, is where I find myself currently. I am juggling a publishing career and exploring many avenues as a freelancer. I am learning a lot in both spaces and I love it. I’m working with stories and helping people who tell them find ways to tell them as clearly as possible, whether it’s an author writing a book for children or a company that needs content written to succinctly share their vision. My own story remains, always, to be continued . . .

Wednesday, 2 September 2015

Not so Fantastic Four

Not so Fantastic Four

I watched Fantastic Four so you don't have to. I'm a nice guy that way. Check out my review on Bizcommunity.com.

Tuesday, 1 September 2015

Out and About: Winelands Chocolate Festival 2015

You really can’t go wrong with wine and it’s even more difficult to do so with chocolate. This is why a festival dedicated to these two things is a great idea. Chocolate and wine is by far a much better love story than Twilight. Almost exactly a month ago I got to be part of this love story at the 2015 Winelands Chocolate Festival at the beautiful Lourensford Wine Estate in Somerset West, which is part of the Stellenbosch Wine Route. The festival took place from 25 to 26 July. I am in love with the Cape Winelands and visiting the various wine estates is one of my favourite things to do. The Lourensford Wine Estate is one of the more beautiful wine farms and provided a lovely gathering place for lovers of chocolate from all around the country.

My lovable friend and I went on Sunday, the second and last day of the event. Though the weather looked like it was leaning more towards the miserable end of things I jumped into my friend’s trusty ol’ Corsa Lite (or the Erin-mobile, as I like to call it) and off to Somerset West we went with a song in our hearts and chocolate and wine on our minds. The weather turned out to be quite mild and lovely by the time we arrived at the venue and we were immediately taken in by the bustle of chocolate aficionados walking around and stopping at the various stands to nibble on some chocolate and chat to the masters of chocolate behind the beautiful and tasty heaps of chocolate goodness on display everywhere. I am a sucker for chocolate fountains and those bad boys were on display everywhere. You’d think my friends call me Chocolate Charlie because of the hue of my skin but, no, Sir, you’d be wrong! They call me Chocolate Charlie because I’m a sucker for chocolate fountains. Exhibitors at the festival included chocolatiers like Alexander Avery, Chocolat Frey, Gayleen’s Decadence, Honest Chocolates (who does not love chocolate that does not lie to you?), LINDT (a brand that we all know and love) and My Sugar. There were loads of other chocolatiers in the mix and everyone had a really good showing.

The food wasn’t to be scoffed at either. There was some mean grub available from the restaurant, Bistro 13 and three great food trucks. I you wanted some coffee Origin was on hand to sort you out and the Tipsy Gypsy Art Bar looked after you needs in terms of drinkables

We had a great time at the Winelands Chocolate Festival. It was just amazing soaking up the sun, drinking wine, tasting and buying a whole lot of chocolate. The venue was just spectacular and the people were all lovely. This festival definitely goes onto my annual calendar of things to do. It was also lovely to receive a free gift in the form of a digital gift voucher for Yuppiechef.com’s Indulgent Chocolate Creations course in my email box a few days after the festival.

Sunday, 23 August 2015

My Magical Place: Ant-Man Review

As a movie reviewer/blogger do you ever just wake up in the afternoon (that’s when everyone wakes up, right?) and just think how Marvel Studios possesses absolutely no chill? Can they just stop being so amazing with their movies and series! I am a fan, for sure but it just feels like I spend half my time writing about some new great thing they did. After the sheer joy that was Avengers: Age of Ultron I figured I’ll tone down any and all excitement about Ant-Man. In fact, I’d just wait for it to come out on DVD. Seriously, they can’t just leave out Hank Pym and Janet van Dyne from the original Avengers line-up and then hope to somehow make it work now, can they? They can’t just give Ultron, Pym’s creation to Tony Stark and just get away with it, can they? I finally went to see Ant-Man and Marvel did all these things and made it work! Ant-Man is my favourite entry into the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). I hate Marvel, dammit!

Ant-Man is reminiscent of the Daredevil series in terms of its scale in the MCU. It takes place after the events of Age of Ultron and whilst still quite a major event it is more of a closed-in story about characters that are a bit more accessible than the Avengers. While the Avengers are busy dropping cities on people characters like Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) are just trying to get by. The story kicks off with Lang just being released from prison and trying to make amends with his daughter and keep away from his former life as a thief. He then gets caught up in some superhero stuff with Dr Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) and the brilliant man’s daughter, Hope van Dyne (Evangeline Lilly) and eventually becomes Ant-Man. The villain of the piece is Darren Cross (Corey Stoll) who ends up donning the Yellowjacket suit. Cross’s motives are very much like those of Loki in Thor, which is to say he is just a whiny child, really. Loki has a certain charm so ends up working as a character people are interested in but Marvel still seems to struggle to create compelling villains. The Kingpin is the only villain they have really done well to date. Pym and Janet’s backstory is merely hinted at but enough to let you know how they fit in with Howard Stark and Peggy Carter’s S.H.I.E.L.D.

Like Winter Soldier was a political spy thriller Ant-Man is a heist film more than a superhero film and a very funny one at that. This movie knows how to push all the right emotional buttons with the audience. Scott Lang is the sort of character you can really root for and his misfit team of friends provide a lot of very funny comic relief in the film. Michael Peña (Fury, 2014) as Lang’s fast-talking friend, Luis plays the role of the funny guy to perfection. David Dastmalchian (Animals, 2014) and rapper, T.I. appear as Lang’s other wacky companions, Kurt and Dave and they also deliver a pretty solid performance. Ant-Man sees Peyton Reed (Yes Man, 2008) in the director’s chair and fan favourite, Edgar Wright (Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, 2010) as one of the screenwriters. Wright was first signed up to direct Ant-Man in his popular zany style but got replaced with Reed later.

Do you guys remember how much fun old school movies like Honey, I Shrunk the Kids (1989) were? Ant-Man’s action sequences are reminiscent to that in their hilarity. When Lang shrinks down to the size of an ant he retains his strength as a normal sized adult male and can also control various ants with the aid of a device behind his ear created by Pym. This allows for some really fun action sequences and also introduces us to one of the cooler characters in the movie, one of the ants that Lang lovingly names Antony.

Ant-Man is a really great entry into the MCU and is well worth your time. The 3D effects are really good and I imagine seeing it in IMAX would be great as well. It’s been on the local circuits for a while now so if you haven’t seen it yet I’d recommend you do so. Take your mom, dad, grandparents, children and strangers in the street with you.

Wednesday, 5 August 2015

Deadpool Trailers

Seriously, you guys, I am freakin' super hyped about the Deadpool movie project! Since seeing footage last year and the shaky cam Comic-Con stuff I am on-board and I love how aware the project is of the past blunders with Ryan Reynolds and uses Deadpool's breaking the fourth wall shtick to poke fun at stuff like Green Lantern and how the Merc With a Mouth appeared with his mouth sown shut in Wolverine: Origins.

Fox has released the official green and red band trailers and both are just fun, especially how the green band trailer pokes fun at you for not just watching the red band version. The trailers also reminded me that I once liked DMX.

Here are both trailers and the trailer from yesterday with Deadpool narrating the debut of this official trailer. Sonic BOOM!

The Deadpool trailer trailer

The green band trailer

The red band trailer

Thursday, 16 July 2015

Comic-Con 2015 Geekgasms

So Comic-Con 2015 has come and gone and as per usual we were teased with comicy goodness that had us salivating for more and now we have to wait for all that good stuff to come out. But being the industrious geeks we are we will spend the next few months speculating about every little detail in all the trailers we saw.

Here are some of the stuff I thought was cool and look forward to:

Well, Star Wars is obviously going to be the biggest deal for me because that's how my geekiness was born. I have a love/hate relationship with the old movies but I constantly returned to them and I always wanted more of the stories and often read up on all the non-canon lore to get my fix. The Phantom Menace is rather silly but I still watched the nonsense out of it and collected the posters and figurines. Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith were okay for me but the old movies were still the most fun, especially The Empire Strikes Back, I love that movie. Looking at this reel from Comic-Con it looks like The Force Awakens is really a labour of love for everyone working on the film. It also looks like J.J. Abrams and his team are making Star Wars fun again, which is great because that's what Star Wars should be. Nobody cared for Anakin's pained facial expressions, what when we had cool shit like Boba Fett, R2-D2 and Chewie dammit!

Marvel have become so big with their Marvel Cinematic Universe that they don't even need to bother showing up at Comic-Con anymore. This gave DC a great chance to show off some things they have planned and although it was not the best showing (they really should have gone bigger with Marvel not being there to hog all the attention) this trailer for Batman V Superman has me a little excited. Man of Steel was more of a miss than a hit and lots of people don't have much faith in the whole Batfleck situation but this trailer gives me some hope. Zack Snyder is good with the darker and more serious stuff, which is why Man of Steel didn't go down so well but add a Frank Miller, The Dark Knight Returns sort of Batman to the mix and maybe that dark tone can work. I love what Snyder did with Watchmen and the political stuff happening with Super Man in this trailer is very reminiscent of that. Then we also have Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman and we know Snyder is not the greatest with how he represents female characters so that could really go any way. I'm really hoping this one is good though, we deserve a good movie with Superman in it. Do good for us, Mr Snyder and crew.

Then there is Suicide Squad and from what I can see in the trailer I'm sold. I can roll with all this silliness. People seem not to be reacting so well to Jared Leto's Joker but I think it can work. Really, this whole thing looks so ridiculous that I can't wait to see it. I'm also pretty much cool with how the members of the squad turned out. Margot Robbie looks fun and sexy as Harley Quinn. Will Smith makes for a decent Deadshot and we have the wonderful Viola Davis as Amanda Waller. I have always thought that in a world of ridiculous villains Captain Boomerang is still quite silly but it works for him and Jai Courtney looks quite cool as the character. The way Adewale Arkinnuoye-Agbaje's Killer Croc looks reminds me of the character in Brian Azzarello and Lee Bermejo's Joker graphic novel. So, yeah, I'm pretty hyped about this one.

The official trailer may not be released yet but from the leaked versions floating around the interwebs Deadpool was probably the coolest thing at Comic-Con this year. I'll dare say that it was even cooler than Star Wars in some regards. The Merc With a Mouth has always been a fan favourite and it's good to see that it looks like 20th Century Fox will be doing right by him.

Those are my Comic-Con highlights and there were loads of other stuff to see and love that will be all over the interwebs by now. All I can say is cheers to the next few years of geeky goodness :).