Monday, 2 February 2015

The Attica! Institute

All right, time for another found footage movie. This one presents itself as a documentary, with some rather familiar faces of known actors in there... yes, very much real life.

This is the story of the Atticus Institute, from back in 1976. They studied paranormal people and even found someone with telekinetic powers... until it was found out that it was someone nearby with a neodymium magnet, which can even effect iron in cornflakes! [Uh, movie, you're cheating wrong.] But then they have Judith handed over to them, and she's the real deal. Effecting all sorts of things. Except there's an evil inside her, influencing her and people around her. So... clearly the government should be involved, that never goes wrong.

This was actually better than I expected. The 1976 bits were nicely 1976, with appropriate clothing and hairstyles and camera quality. And the modern stuff was nicely crisp in comparison. Okay, the younger versions and older versions of the character didn't look much like each other, but what the hey.

The main reason it works... they don't go for jumpscares, but instead build a tense atmosphere. All the movies I think work do so because of the atmosphere they build, and this does it well. Slow and deliberate, with cranking up the strangeness, full ticks.

I'm not surprised it didn't score bigger, but I will give it a full thumbs up.

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Sunday, 1 February 2015

My Japanese Husband Thinks I'm Crazy

And yes he does... oh wait, she's talking about her husband. In another project I kickstartered.

This is tales from Grace Mineta, a Texan who married a Japanese man and now lives in Japan, and has a blog Texan in Tokyo. This is a collection of comics and writings of hers. And it's quite funny.

She also touches on the idea of mixed marriages, and how people can have problems with them, and how she's a lot fed up with how people see them. Fair enough, love is love, and race often doesn't matter (except when it does to everyone else).

These are amusing and useful insights into Japan, so feel free to pick it up (the blog links to Amazon, and I don't want to).

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Saturday, 31 January 2015

The Silmarillion

Well, I did the Hobbit, and Lord of the Rings (which I will re-read), but inbetween I read The Silmarillion. Well, I say read. I meant listened to.

So the bulk of the story is about the creation of Middle Earth, setting up the initial races and powers, and culminating in the creation and the story of the Silmarillion, gems what were made by the Elves. And many tales are told along the way. Many tales, with many names. Yeah, I'm going to complain about the names. This wasn't a final draft, and I wonder how much JRR intended to expand on entries and not just have lists? Because the lists don't come across well at all, it's when there's a fuller story that we get engaged.

And then, at the end, a few other stories, including a minor tale involving Sauron and the Istar. When we learnt that Peter Jackson incorporated The Silmarillion into The Hobbit, I was expecting there to be more than around 5% of the book! But we did get the scenes put into the movie and more. No wonder he got three movies out of it.

Still, there's plenty of material here for a Silmarillion trilogy... but we're not expecting that any time soon. And the beginning is very biblical anyway, so there'll be that overtones. Then it gets rather fractured, with lots of different narratives... which would be suitable for a Silmarillion mini-series? Either way, Jackson is unlikely to be involved any time soon.

Interesting material, but I do wonder what a finalised version would have been like?

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Friday, 30 January 2015

Losted in SPAAAAAAACE

One of the many movies that came out in a splurt based on a TV series.

The Jupiter 2 (launched inside the Jupiter 1) is heading for Alpha Prime to set up a HyperGate to allow travel to and from Earth. However, bad guys get Dr Smith to sabotage the systems, and so they need to randomly jump around to avoid the sun and then they get... title drop! And beyond being lost in space, they kick it up a notch by being lost in time as well, with random time travel elements for no readily good reason. And spiders. Which also don't really have much to do with the plot about how John Robinson is a bad father. Also featuring a kid we don't care about who is replaced with an adult we don't care about.

Yeah, this is a mess of a plot. This doesn't have anything to add to the 'father doesn't get on with son' trope. There was a subplot with the women, but that got cut for time, despite sounding more interesting. Also more interesting is what the writer had in mind for the sequel... but I can't say I'm shocked it never happened.

Okay, at the time, I liked this. I even have the soundtrack CD somewhere. Some decent thumping tunes. The acting isn't that great, outside of Gary Oldman, but I had lower thresholds when this came out. Although I will point out this was doing the slow motion pan around characters before The Matrix did it!

When I watched this the other day, what I got from it was a better idea about how to use time travel portals... so there's that.

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Thursday, 29 January 2015

Very Near Mint

It's another set of comics that I Kickstartered! Mainly because I could get the whole collection at once. I'm more inclined to back for that.

The story starts in a comic store, making me feel reminiscent of Clerks, only in a comics store. But then there's a rival comic store opening across the street, and it all goes crazy from then! There's a long backstory as to why the other comic store opened, and how it relates back to them, and how the phrase 'Very Near Mint' ties into it all... but I won't give it away, because you can read it for yourself.

This is mainly black and white, with a nice art design. Some of the speech bubbles were hard to follow (being 'cute' with layout is no excuse for making narrative hard to follow), but otherwise fine.

This is a large story spread over three volumes. It's an easy read, and no doubt you can get it from their website.

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Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Ghostbusting!

Yeah, let's talk about this great movie! As is Peter! As is Al! As is GuanoLad! And listen to the Digital Gonzo podcast for an indepth discussion.

Everyone knows the story, so I'm not going to talk about it too much. If you don't know it... go watch this movie! It's great! I watched a BluRay version of the movie, and saw lots of things in high definition... which they didn't probably want me to see. But while a lot of people can cite random bits and jokes from the movie, it is good to see the original again, with the actors' expressions, and full comic timing. Classic stuff. And not great animation effects, let's be honest. The dogs really don't work well, and Stay Puft gets transparent at times... but hey, it's all good.

I saw this when I was young... must have been around 10? I do know that that night I didn't like that I had my wardrobe so close. It was already not zero on the creepy factor, and the idea of a large dog hiding inside it didn't help at all.

But now, I went for the BluRay version, optimised for 4K TVs... I don't have a 4K TV, so had to go for the standard image. But one thing I was very disappointed about was that there was nothing else on the disc! No trailer, no Ray Parker Jr video, no commentary, nothing! The DVD was better in that respect. Was so much of the disc taken up with the large format that nothing else was available? For shame.

Anyway, this is a classic movie. The second one... I did like, but it didn't rate as high, but that's a story for another day.

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Tuesday, 27 January 2015

The Room Two

I played The Room, and said I would play the sequel... which took me a few days, but I did!

This continues on from where the first left off. We are trapped, but now we have some puzzles to solve to get us out. It seems to involve us jumping around in time? Maybe? Or space? Or distorted dimensions? Or something. And then the ending happens, which I summarise with "pardonfuck?!"

The puzzles are more of the same (although there no instances of where you need to physically tilt the tablet). There were one or two that were not at all obvious, but for the most put it was clearer what to do than in One. There was more disconnect with the groups of puzzles too, just jumping around with no real overarching connective story. Oh... and it went for a little too long. They could have cut one or two of the rooms out without taking away from the adventure. (Although I am now levelled up to level 11 on Google...)

Still, a fun experience, and definitely one to go for if you like your interactive puzzle games. There may be a Three some time?

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