Tuesday, 22 July 2014

The Stranger

Orson Wells stars and directs The Stranger and doesn't rate it his best film. I can't argue with him about that.

Using the old (by now) trap of releasing a prisoner and following him, Wilson tracks through to Harper, Connecticut, the home of a retired Nazi. And there is absolutely no question about who it is, because the movie tells us immediately. And there is little doubt about will Wilson find out, because he does so pretty much immediately. And then the rest of the movie is just marking time while everyone waits for the truth to come out.

While this is a "thriller", it's a slow thriller... and not very thrilling. We know who all the players are, their true selves, so we just sit and wait for the movie to plot along. While Orson Wells doesn't seem terribly interested, Loretta Young gives a great performance opposite him. While I can't recall seeing Edward G. Robinson in other pictures, he seems to be doing solid pedestrian work here.

A rather flat movie, overall.

And this song kept going through my head:

The film society is taking a break while the NZIFF is on, so I'm sure I won't see any movies until it comes back...


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Monday, 21 July 2014

100 Yen: The Japanese Arcade Experience

It's all about the arcade... the Japanese Arcade! This was kickstartered and such, but not from me, so I waited for the normal version like a pleb.

We get a pottered history of Japanese Arcade, starting with Taito and running through shooter games, fighting games and dance games. We get some time with each, and the core of all points is that these people spend a lot of money to become good at games. The opening point is that Japan ran out of 100 yen coins as so many were pumped into arcade machines. They touch on American arcades, and how they fell over, and Japanese mom and pop stores are doing the same... but the big names are still going hard. Consoles are a big more of a problem, but that's gonna happen.

Japan's culture is one of being quiet in homes, so to socialise they go to arcades and the like, so that has a definite leg up in the being popular stakes. I am reminded most of gambling joints, with the large flashy machines drawing people in and taking their money. This just offers no chance of getting money back and less movies are made about them.

Decent documentary, but I'm not sad I didn't back it.


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Sunday, 20 July 2014

Sax-Strang Samura

I've heard a few people talking about this, so of course I wanted to join the band wagon...

In the post-war America, after bombs obliterated it all in the 1950s, Elivs rules Vegas until he died. Introducing Buddy, who's heading to Vegas to take his place, along with other rockers. We start with him rescuing an extremely annoying kid, who then follows him, and then... we get fight, then moving on, then fighting, then moving on, then fighting... I can't remember how often that repeats, but we eventually get to the end when they get near Vegas.

That kid is really annoying. He screams out some sound instead of talking, and sounds a lot like the kid from Ico. One of the writers also plays the main lead, so guess who gets the cool scenes, the women, and all the other great moments in the film? Really, Buddy can do no wrong.

I do like the outfits in this, they are well put together. The rest of it... I can't summon the energy to get invested.

As a gimmick, this film just doesn't grip me.


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Saturday, 19 July 2014

What, now?

So here's a new problem my computer seems to have developed...

Whenever I download anything, there's a good chance the file is corrupted. Video file, PDF, Install exe, anything! And so I need to check every file immediately and then might have to download it again! That's really slowing me down when I can't trust the download.

Let alone videos don't play properly (flash problem?) and even some images won't load!

And yes, I tried switching things off and on again. It is just my laptop, but I have no idea why. Is it a virus? Did I change some setting? Did some hardware fail? Is it a loose connection in a wire? It could be any of those things... or more!

While I don't want to consider getting a new laptop, that might be the easiest solution if I can't track this problem down, or it doesn't reliably go away. But for now...


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Friday, 18 July 2014


It was two years ago that Pratchett wrote and published this, and I've only now gotten around to paying attention to it... am I going off him? Or just don't read his non-Discworld stuff avidly?

Dodger is one of the poor of Queen Victoria's London, and gets involved when he finds a woman being beaten. From that small event, he gets caught up in events that are bigger than him, and what people want to believe about him doesn't reflect his truth, but that doesn't matter. While still staying small scale, Dodger gets rocketed up to high society and even, in a way, gets involved in the political stage. Mainly while toshing around the sewers...

This was short, but my overall experience of it was... this really felt like a way for Pratchett to shove in historical figures he likes (which he largely admits in his afterword). And the plot goes really well for Dodger, he's so lucky that it gets near immersion breaking just how easy the story is for him.

The other aspect was this reminded me a lot of his Guards novels, although, of course, this is from the other side. It does kind of want to make me go and read the Guards novels.

While still Pratchettian, Dodger feels like he didn't try too hard.


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Thursday, 17 July 2014

NZIFF 2014

Hey, it's that time! The New Zealand International Film Festival! And here, as ever, is some of the movie I'm interested in.

The Epic of Everest
Black Coal, Thin Ice
Yves Saint Laurent
Dior and I
Land Ho!
At Berkeley
National Gallery
The Double
Fish & Cat
Under the Skin
The Great Museum
Particle Fever
Print the Legend
notes to eternity
The Kingdom of Dreams and Madness
Jodorowsky's Dune
The Babadook / Eloise

Not that this is everything that is interesting... but it's enough. Although I have no idea how many... well, few of these I'll see, given I don't intend to go to the Roxy or Penthouse in the evening, and won't be anywhere near Lighthouse... but no doubt I'll blog here.


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Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Escaped Rosecliffed Islanded

It's another hidden object game! Yay! And it seems it only took me about four hours to play Escape Rosecliff Island.

You are stuck on an island, trying to find objects to help you escape. Which you go by completing hidden object games, and then complete a mini-puzzle... and that's it. Each hidden object screen contains ten items and two locks, and there are generally four or five screens per level... and there are 25 levels! Which is where the problem is, in that that's all there really is, and all it is. This is from back in 2009, and I'm glad more has been done since. There is no story, there are only four mini-puzzles it cycles through, and one relies on luck more than skill, so that's annoying. And the whole thing is timed, but that didn't pause me at all.

The locks open two mini-games. One is a match 3, which is one of the mini-puzzles, the luck based one. And there are tons of match 3 games if I wanted to play those. And the other is an infinite search mode... which just sounds tedious.

One mechanic here which I didn't have in the previous game was that whenever we went back to the same screen (and there are only 10 "rooms", so we go back often), all the items are there. In the previous game, when you removed an item, they stayed gone, which gave a nice sense of progress in each screen, even if it did make the screens easier because there are less items. But I liked that! Here it's just messy and stays messy.

So... not much fun. Fortunately, I have many other games to play.


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