Tuesday, November 17, 2009


The arts and entertainment section of The Daily Tar Heel, my college paper, is called “Dive”. Our cute little shorthand for “Diversions.” Anyway, I thought it might be an appropriate title for this and other reviews of stuff I’ve seen, read and heard. Today you get a movie and a book.

Skin” Flick
First up for review, the movie “Skin” staring Sophie Okonedo as
Sandra Laing, Sam Neil as her father, Abraham Laing and Alice Krige as her mother, Sannie Laing. “Skin” is currently playing at E Street Cinema.

According to the movie’s Web site, which says it better than I can, “10-year-old Sandra is distinctly African looking. Her parents, Abraham and Sannie, are white Afrikaners, unaware of their black ancestry. They are shopkeepers in a remote area of the Eastern Transvaal and, despite Sandra’s mixed-race appearance, have lovingly brought her up as their ‘white’ little girl.”

Apparently, as much as the Afrikaners hated the idea and thought it impossible, many of them had black genes running through their veins. Usually not a problem, until two of them got together and had children in
Apartheid-era South Africa.

I’m not going to ruin the film by going into deeper details of the story, suffice it to say Sandra has a difficult life caught between two worlds, neither of which accepts her. While the movie is “based on the incredible true story,” this means some things are left out or added or changed to help it flow better. They don’t tell the whole story, but this doesn’t lessen the movie. The only thing missing are a couple 10-year-or-so gaps in her life, but the film hits the high (or rather, low) points in Sandra’s life.

Two thumbs up and 3.5 stars out of 5. One warning: If, after seeing the movie, you go out for dinner or drinks, just be careful discussing Skin. The folks at the table next to you might have no idea what you’re talking about, and when you use the word “
coloured” they may look at you funny.

Thanks to my friend
Alice and her random number generator, I came into possession of what is probably one of the best books I read this year (and I’ve read a bunch according to the list on your right).

The book is
World War Z, An Oral History of the Zombie War, by Max Brooks.

Even though it seems the walking undead are as popular as beautiful teen vampires, I highly recommend this book. First, it’s a quick read that draws you into the story and makes you want to know more. It’s also a bit of a critique on today’s society, but not so much that it bogs the story down. And finally, the style it’s written in, a series of interviews with survivors of WWZ, is pretty gripping.

WWZ attacks, so to speak, the idea of a world-wide infection (that starts in China, of course), and the fight against the undead created by the infection on several fronts. Think about it, how do you fight an enemy that’s already dead and can only be stopped by destroying its brain? An enemy that doesn’t need food, water or air – which means they can walk under bodies of water – and is only slowed by freezing weather, but start moving again in the spring. Oh, and how do nations that hate each other, or can barely get along within their own borders, come together to fight the zombie hoard?

All good questions, all answered well in WWZ. Get it, read it and maybe you too will survive.

Oh, one last thing. On the WWZ Web site, there’s a “
Risk Calculator.” By answering the questions like “where do you live” and “what are your skills” you can find out how well prepared you are for WWZ. The Foggy Dew has a 42 percent chance of surviving, how ‘bout you?

The Battle of Yonkers


Alice said...

ha, i've only got a 29% chance. basically, i'd have to team up with woody harrelson from zombieland to survive :-)

Shannon said...

39%! All that bizarre security and nerve agent antidote training I did in Sarajevo must have paid off.

FoggyDew said...

Alice - That was a great movie. And I don't know, one out of three chance is probably pretty average.

Shannon - 39 percent? Wow. That's pretty good. You never know what will pay off in the long run.

Brando said...

28%? Uh oh, better start stockpiling guns...

JoLee said...

35%. Hmmm, that disappoints me a bit. I need to buy a boat and some guns.

FoggyDew said...

Brando - Really? Shannon scored 11 percentage points higher than you? In fact, all the girls did. Hmmmm.

JoLee - You get the boat, I got the guns.

Lisa said...

So funny - you're the ONLY reason I've ever given the DTH a second of thought since I left. But you know we had very different Carolina experiences.