Saturday, 30 August 2014


Well, this is what happens when we don't get a Black Widow movie. Other people make action movies featuring Scarlett Johannson.

Because this movie is short, it gets to the point quickly. We know from the trailer that Lucy gets drugs put inside her which then infects her... and yep, that's exactly what happens in the first act, and it gets done quickly. There are cuts of Professor Norman to bring in his character, and there's a lot of background exposition, but still we quickly get to the action scenes of Lucy going hard. And surreal. This is Luc Besson, so we get a lot of imagery, with some of it so obvious it's Lord Privy Seal, and other times you need to know fairly obscure cosmic theory to get what's happening.

And let's take a moment to talk about the "10%" problem. The movie makes it clear that it is talking about "cranial capacity"... but what the hell does that mean? And it certainly doesn't address the misconception. They could have had someone directly reference it if the movie is trying to distinguish itself from that myth, but nope. And then what happens when you start using more... not even Morgan Freeman can make that credible. I don't care how much brain power is chugging along, you aren't doing the things in the trailer.

What is really going on is "being in tune with the universe", which isn't much better, but they could have phrased it like that instead of going for cranial capacity.

Acting wise, we get some great performances, but Scarlett Johansson is clearly doing the heavy lifting... and not quite managing it. Not on her, that, but the script is asking us to buy some big supposed revelations, and that just isn't happening. Just because someone says something that could be philosophical and awe-inspiring doesn't mean it is.

A pretty movie that is trying to make a point that switches between being a blunt sledgehammer and so sharp it cuts itself.


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Friday, 29 August 2014

DW 8.01

I think I'm now too cynical for Doctor Who. Or maybe this just wasn't the best episode ever? Certainly there are huge chunks where not much happens and... then the episode's over. [Note that this contains spoilers, rather severe ones, so the bulk of this post, and all new DW episode posts, are hidden on the main page, click through for the full entry.]

Isn't it wonderful how in new regeneration stories the Doctor is always involved and we get great insights into the new character? Oh wait, that never happens, and it's just a big tease so we can muck about before settling down to anything concrete. Like an accent. Sometimes it's strongly Scottish, other times you can barely detect it.

Ah, but I kid. Seriously now... this was just a lot of nothing. The first half, before they get to the restaurant, was all padding. And trying to give Clara some character moments, but since it's been ages since I saw her in anything, I can't remember what her character was before to know if this reinforced anything or contradicted it... or maybe it just gave her a personality? I can't tell. And the Doctor is just running around, looking at newspapers and being mad, and marking time.

But then the restaurant happens, and we spend the next while hearing them bicker and having the Doctor leave Clara, only to make a triumphant return, and needing to be rescued by the leather lesbians and the comedy Sontaran. And why is the Sontaran having a hard time fighting these robots? He should be loving this!

Still at least we have Peter Capaldi and... his eyebrows? His hoarse madness? His ultimately getting upstaged by Matt Smith? Hopefully the next episode will develop his character and not be based on some gimmick... never mind. And yet another long term Moffat tease with Missy (whom I immediately associate with Iris Wildthyme, but fortunately Moffat won't be going there).

As I said, too cynical these days. And I do seem to be the only one who isn't overly impressed by it.

Next time: A new and innovative idea... a competant Dalek?


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Thursday, 28 August 2014

Gondola to Walter Peak

A busy day had me going on the Skyline Gondola and Lugeing (and incompetently getting out of Luges...)

And then I went out to Walter Peak on the TSS Earnslaw. I highly recommend the BBQ lunch if you go out there, the food was delicious! And then we saw some farm operation in action, and so can you!


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Wednesday, 27 August 2014


It's classic 80s movie time! And this one is from the start of the decade when we saw a young man who would later be from "the upper vest side". As ever, go check in with Peter and Paul for their views.

What do you do when someone asks you to kill a dragon? Get killed, of course! And then it's up to an upstart apprentice to step into his shoes and get the magician they want. And right royally screw things up. Literally royally too! While this is swords and sorcery, this doesn't go for the standard tropes too much, and people die because the dragon is just that much better, or because people are as competent (or not) as they are supposed to be. No special snowflakes with sudden surges of abilities here. And I also want to make the point here is that this movie does have strong females (within the limited scope of being a medieval fantasy movie). The victim tries to save herself, the princess isn't willing to turn a blind eye, and the main female lead isn't sitting around waiting for guys to do things.

[And I'll admit that yes, for the first time in a movie, I was taken in by her deception.]

And then the MacGuffin steps in to wrap the movie up, but it looks visually nice. Which is one of the unexpected surprises of this movie. The dragon is well realised, the puppet dragon kids are good, the make and other effects are competent... the one weakness is the composition that puts them together sucks a lot. Bad edges everywhere. Otherwise quite successful.

On the acting side, the main leads are fine. The king is a bit off (the crown didn't help), and there's a whole Christian subplot that people aren't committing to and thus hard to follow. The wizard is going full pants on head crazy, but has fun with it. Aside from Peter MacNicol, the other names I note are Ian McDiarmid and John 'Ghost from Ghostlight' Hallum.

A decent movie that holds up well even today.


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Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Sounding out Milford

A long day to get to Milford Sound. I booked with Milford Sound Select because they had a luxury bus... which, I'm guessing, was on holiday that day?

We stopped at various places along the way, including one Mirror Lake

And here are some other views, including of being out on Milford Sound itself.


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Monday, 25 August 2014

Lord of the Queenstown

One thing I did while I was down there was go on a Paradise Safari... aka a Lord of the Rings tour. Now, this was mainly scenery, so the photos are largely "here's a piece of land that was on film 10 to 15 years ago". Probably not that exciting. But I was there, nonetheless!

And some scenes recreated.

Me overlooking the coming of the oliphants (the actual ridge!).

I am a Pillar of the Kings.

But, like all Sean Bean involvements, I end up Boromiring...


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Sunday, 24 August 2014

A Town for a Queen

I was on holiday last week... because why not? In particular, I was in Queenstown. And I took a fair few photos.

One aspect that got me was that I had my north/south direction completely screwed. What I thought of as south was more west (I think), so yeah, completely off line. On the other hand, it didn't really matter because I was navigating streets and the town isn't that big. I could easily walk from my motel and back again without much problems.

However... a lot of those photos are of mountains. Because Queenstown has a lot of them. And a large lake. But I did do various things while I was down there...

Some scenic views:

And around the lake:


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