Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Shorts

The Wellington Film Society showed shorts from members. See a full list here, but I'm only going to talk about a few.

The Salt of the Earth is more interesting because the presentation. The story is a strange one about a child and a mirror and a golden spade... but the format is an old style cabinet with manual opening doors, and then the film is narration over a moving sheet on which various paintings are painted. We saw this happening live as well as on screen.

[Psst: cat videos bore me on youtube. Putting a filter on it, and adding annoying music doesn't help.]

Plastiphobia is about plasticine figures. Although it starts relatively simply, it builds up and the end circus sequence is quite amusing.

Here Be Monsters I had some hope for. It starts with a great premise: a man is bitten by a zombie and returns home to be with his family before he 'dies'. The story outline gives the hint that there is something more going on... but there wasn't really. The ending should also have been a bigger beat than it was.

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Monday, 15 September 2014

Red Panda'ring

Get ye to the Wellington Zoo and have a Close Encounter with the Red Pandas. I did! ( < - moar photos )




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Sunday, 14 September 2014

Posesion of Michel King

I really need to stop watching bad movies. Which is most of the movies I watch, so that would dry up this content... on the other hand, this movie was incredibly obvious.

Michael loses his wife in an accident, and decides that because she took advice from a psychic he will prove that religion is bunk. And so he starts trying to invoke the devil. Which, because this is a movie, he succeeds, although he's oblivious to it because we're only half way through the movie. Then in the second half of the movie, he goes crazy while putting up with the possession, and gets thrown around the house and such, and it's clear that in the movie the devil is real, so sucks to be him.

It's just... there's nothing new here. What was the movie trying to say? Losing your wife is terrible?Yeah, I knew that. Don't give in to the devil? Not really a problem. The devil is real? Again, not news here. The producers can make a movie in which there's effects and such? Not breaking boundaries there either.

Shane Johnson as Michael is all over the place. Mainly he comes across as complete tool, but when he's swinging into full devil mode, he's just completely unbelievable. And considering that most of the movie is just him, that's not great. The effects are decent, but not surprising (not even the moment when the ants crawl on the lens).

This is just another entry in the wanna be ghost movie genre. And it's not worth paying attention to.

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Saturday, 13 September 2014

Second Raidering

I barely remember the first movie, but, eh, whatever, it doesn't matter too much. This is the sequel!

There are two gangs controlling the city, and Rama from the first movie is recruited to go undercover with one of the gangs to find out what cops they are controlling... only the movie doesn't really get around to that and we just have gang moments and gang war and set pieces beating people up...

The first movie had a cohesive story, with everything contained in one place. This movie sprawls over different places, and has a fight in each section, and seems to be just an excuse to have a fight in different scenes. "Hey, we got a warehouse, let's have a fight there!" "Hey, here's a kitchen!" "Hey, here's a mud yard!" Which isn't to say these aren't good fight sequences, because they are, but they don't really have the proper sense of why beyond "we need to get over here for this fight".

Iko Uwais is good as Rama, and Arifin Putra is dashing as Uco. But my favourite part would go to Yayan Ruhian as Prakoso (he played Mad Dog in the first movie). The production is good, but there are times when I spotted that "yeah, that's CGI blood". Still, realistic enough looking.

So there will be a Raid 3, why not? Just make it more cohesive please?

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Friday, 12 September 2014

Trans Toys

While talking about Transformers, there was something I forgot to mention... the toys!

I had a few toys. One I had was Astrotrain, so when he turned up in the movie, I went yay! A toy that has three different forms? Huzzah! Although the scale confused me. The toy itself it the same size as all the others, and yet in the movie he's big enough to house several Decepticons... and seems even bigger as the space plane. Wut? (Although speaking of scale, Megatron transforms from a standard size robot into a hand gun that Starscream wields... wut??)

Another one I had was Twin Twist, which was supposed to run along the floor and then flip up and stand... I can't remember that ever happening.

There's another toy I want to talk about that I played with a lot... but it's not a transformer. But it does transform. I can't find details about it, but it was a robot... and a gun... and a tank... and a camera! Four things! Now that's amazing! (Although the tank and camera was an add on piece which one way was a turret and a camera lens on the other side.) You can see this in an auction, a little. If you know what it is, please sound off in the comments!

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Thursday, 11 September 2014

Black Horizon

Hey, do you like Gerry Anderson? Sure, he made a lot of great shows, but he was also working on a book. But was unable to finish it. But now... it's been Kickstartered!

Now, stop if you've heard this before but Gemini Force One is an international rescue operation. Wait, wait, this time is isn't a family! Ben Carrington, a 16 year old kid, encounters them after his father dies and... this book gets way darker than your typical Anderson adventure. This first book, Black Horizon, has a few deaths in it, and it doesn't try to sugar coat them. And along the way Ben must find his place while he should be at school, and he shouldn't be going on rescue missions, but he isn't and he is. And the big rescue at the end involves an oil spill in the ocean and a blowout prevention system called the BOP and... yeah, I'm thinking it might not be that subtle a reference...

After having our Kickstarter monies, they are now signed up with a publisher for three books. I got the first one, and signed at that, and... I'm not sure I will get the other two. Maybe because I get collections, but I'm not really getting a proper Supermarionation feel from it. It's a decent enough story, although slightly simplistic and goes weirdly dark, so... a mixed bag.

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Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Formtransers

With Digital Drift now getting into the Transformers movies they started with the 1986 movie, and I'll join them (on that one at least, I doubt I'll watch the big movies... although I do have the Rifftrax versions...). I think I watched it about ten years ago, and first saw it at the Odeon in Lower Hutt back in... 1986? 1987?

Now, this movie takes place in the middle of the cartoon series (which I probably saw, but don't recall it), so we have a brief paragraph introducing Cybertron, the Autobots and the Decepticons... and then the movie gets into it. Lots of 'bots, doing things, transforming, we hit a battle almost straight away... See, Bay! This is how you do it! Trust the audience already has a clue before they get involved and just say "you want robots, here are robots!" And we also get the only two humans in the entire movie, Spike and Daniel... because all the rest of the universe is all robotic. Oh, and one such planet got eaten by the Transformers version of Galactus, Unicron (although I'm sure I heard 'Unicorn' at least once). I like Unicron, huge menace (See Tim Story? You can bring Galactus to the screen as more than a blob!), and quite the effective villain. Converting Megatron to Galvatron is an interesting idea, as is changing the others, and he comes across as very overwhelming (to be honest, when Unicron transforms into robot form, although he looks neat, he does seem to be somewhat more vulnerable).

Anyway, where was I? Unicorn uses Galvatron to hunt down the Autobots and chase them across the... galaxy? universe? random space area? until they have a big fight over Cybertron until the space macguffin ticks over and solves everything. Huzzah!

There are some big moments in this. Optimus Prime dies, Megatron nearly dies, other Autobots die (although I have no idea who most of them are), and some severely weird scenes including the sharktacons and Eric Idle voicing a robot while Dare to be Stupid plays - what???

This is very 80s, and... I can't honestly say it holds up well. There are some great moments (mainly involving Unicron), but there are many other moments that are not as good. And the soundtrack has about one song for every other minute. Still, this is the best Transformers movie that played in the cinema.

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