Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Troll Hunter

Well, of course I had to see this. One of the best films shown at the Festival!

Troll Hunter is about someone that goes online, to internet forums, and provokes people to post rants and...

Yeah, I'm not going to continue that. This is a Norwegian mockumentary (as opposed to those real ones about Trolls), in the vein of The Tunnel and the like that shows off the troubles the one person in Norway has when he hunts down the trolls that are invading the area outside their normal area. This is all captured by student film makers who get all too caught up in events.

And it's damn fine. The performances are good (Otto Jespersen could be Norway's Geoffry Rush... in looks anyway), and then there are the trolls. Which look excellent. Exactly as you'd expect, and not at all the standard troll (if you can follow that). Although some look like they could have come from Henson Studios. There are references to folklore that everyone will get, and some they won't (I'm not entirely sure what the Christian thing is about).

Definitely check this out, and in the original Norwegian before the Americans remake it (as they are threatening to do...).


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Tuesday, 30 August 2011

DW: Borrowed Time

And yes, there is temporal shenanigans in Borrowed Time by Naomi Alderman.

This is a great read, demonstrating that we really need more female writers. Naomi has crafted quite a bizarre story of bank workers getting in extra time, and then spinning out details of what the Doctor gets up to in the future, suddenly springing in galactic events, and having a very unusual villain (and featuring yet another duo in the vein of 'Mr Evil and Mr Deadly').

The Doctor is well written, Rory is a bumbling fool cliche, and Amy nearly has some depth. Better characters are Andrew and Sameera, and Nadia (although I keep thinking the name was Naomi, however I wouldn't say it was an author-insert character). An author idea is what's under the Millennium Dome, we'll have to wait and see if anyone else does anything with that (the range of little details authors have created that have never been picked up on is so huge that I'm not expecting anything any time soon).

In all, definitely a good read and I hope she writes another book.


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Monday, 29 August 2011

DW: 6.8

Definitely better than A Good Man, and there certainly were moments I was grinning, although overall... I'm just not sure...

Hitler? Really? Did they need Hitler? I suppose you've got the big name draw card, and the idea of killing Hitler often comes up in time travel discussions, but... you get the feeling it was a plot gimmick idea and never treated more seriously than that. Instead we deal with the prequel to River Song and Dave the justice robot. (Couldn't Amy turn the privileges bracelet thing back on?) Fine, we had to deal with River, but, aside from some points of exposition, I'm not convinced we needed the tiny tots.

Mels? Okay, so any name that remotely resembles Melody/River Song might now be her in some other form. Is this the new Master? Are we going to be treated to Gnos Revir soon? And now we know why the opening two-parter was set in Utah... about as bad as Bad Wolf Bay, innit? But the whole lead up of 'soon you will know what I did' has kind of played itself out in this episode now, so less whining from her in the future, yeah? (Yes, there's still the moment of the Doctor's death to resolve, but we all know that's not going to happen as portrayed.)

A good kicker back into the season, although Amy seems to have gotten over her daughter have been kidnapped rather quickly. Some tasty episodes looking to come up, so roll on the rest of the season!

(BTW, the Question? Pretty obvious...)

Next time: Has the writer seen Alice: Madness Returns?


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Sunday, 28 August 2011

Torchwood: Miracle Day Eight

How can one show very nearly manage to do something, and yet fail so badly at it? This had exposition and plot development, then killed any forward progression... did they only have one episode of plot and everything else is delay?

Well, of course there's someone else on the inside working for the Family. Makes perfect sense. Probably many someones. Frankly, I'm surprised they only showed the one person. As for the Family it(them?)self... it's big thing is there are no records of the names? The hell? So if someone had that name who wasn't with the Family, they had their names eradicated too? Sucks to be them, I guess. (Admittedly, there is no 'Ablemarch' or 'Costerdane' in Google Search, although there are some 'Frines's.)

I guess the Danes plot line is over? Or will he not be reported now Jenny is in the Family (and that other person got shot up a few times)? Although I would think there would be plenty of preachers preaching hellfire and damnation (they have before) that I don't see Danes becoming special because of it. However, I'm not guessing we'll have some schtick where Danes joins Torchwood to help them overcome... whatever the hell is going on (eight episodes and still no explanation - I'm thinking it's not going to be something they want to give people a chance to think about).

And, hey, Torchwood is split up again! Really? What a shock! That's never happened before! With Gwen popping back to ol' Blighty, and Jack having taken a dirt nap (in the car), Esther on the run and Rex about to be (metaphorically) stabbed by the Family working on the inside, the writers have plenty to keep padding out the story with.

And the ultimate 'f u' from this episode? It's, again, irrelevant! And, I realise, last week was irrelevant too! Gwen kidnaps Jack, only to turn the tables on the people controlling her... only for them all to suddenly say 'let's go along with them anyway!'. And now we find out that Angelo had nothing to do with Miracle Day, so another plotline goes bang (along with Knight and Visitor). At least we got John De Lancie to help distract people from the lack of actual development.

There should be a fan-edit of this series, however I don't think they'd get a whole episode length of time out of it...

Next time: Some badly contrived plot device will save the day! (Before the last cliffhanger kicks it.)


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Saturday, 27 August 2011

A Bull and Cock Story

Since I saw The Trip, I needed to see Tristram Shandy - A Cock and Bull Story. So I did.

Um... I think this is a rare case where it the movie adaptation didn't work well for me. I say that, because I haven't read the book, and while the movie was trying to ape the book in mixing up reality and fiction and the like... I didn't really get it. I'm sure there's some great point the movie makes that is from the book, but I have no idea what that is. Even if it is "this is a load of bull", I don't think the movie made that point well either.

The plot is that Steve Coogan is Steve Coogan as Tristram (and Walter) Shandy, in the movie about Tristram life, with digressions into his birth, history of those around him, and into the behind the scenes of the movie itself... So, yeah, the plot was deliberately trying to be mixing it like the book, so I didn't really track the plot at all. Steve was good, Rob should have been in it more (so The Trip was better there), cameos by others were nice...

Not my movie, may appeal to others.


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Friday, 26 August 2011


I was reminded of GasLand a little in that this movie is about a power generation source getting into middle class America, however...

It does seem that every corporation is evil and only has its own profit margin in mind and never thinks of the little people. But this movie isn't about that. It does seem that wind turbines might have problems with them, and there could well be serious concerns about having them anywhere near residential areas. But this movie isn't about that. And it does appear that wind turbines can cause town citizen to turn against town citizen, and we can find all out about that and not about the actual cause. And that's what this movie is about.

I'm not quite sure what the makers had in mind when they came up with Windfall, but what we get is lots of talking heads about how neighbours got on with one another, until wind companies got involved, and now they aren't talking to each other. You'd think there should be some address of wind turbine issues, and there is a little, but there is more artistic shots of photographs, and maps of the town, and of people talking about the issues of being on planning boards and the like.

Yes, this movie isn't like other documentaries. But not in a good way. A rethink is needed here.


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Thursday, 25 August 2011

POM Wonderful Presents: The Greatest Movie Ever Sold

I'm really glad I saw this movie. Largely because it's Morgan Spurlock, and I enjoyed his previous one, but the basic write up sounded good. This is a film about product placement and advertising, as you might be able to tell from the title POM Wonderful Presents: The Greatest Movie Ever Sold. Although you might be forgiven of not realising that it is meant seriously, because of the brands mentioned in the movie... I've heard of one, maybe two...

The point of this movie is that advertising is everywhere, and moreso getting to be product placement in movies and tv shows. So while highlighting that, Spurlock creates a movie that is paid for entirely by sponsors - which are pimped out during the movie itself (sometimes subtly, somethings not so much). And I tell you what, I'd be interested to see what this did to sales, I would be inclined to buy those products... if not for the fact that they are American and not over here.

If you like Spurlock, if you like documentaries, if you like finding out about the secrets behind advertising (in that way I was reminded of Czech Dream), definitely see this movie.


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Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Vigil the Huntering

The subway, late at night, scene of depravity. I was riding it, sharing the car with a young woman that clearly had a high opinion of her appearance, a guy that was not hiding his leering at her, some punk kid and some guy in a coat at the back of the car.

At the next stop, an African woman entered the carriage, followed by three guys that yelled at her to give something back. And they had weapons. I stepped in, tried to disarm one of them, but clearly he as on drugs or something and resisted me. The woman who was in the carriage stepped in to help fight these guys, but I lost track of the leader as he went after the African woman.

I was having enough trouble with the guy in front of me. I didn't see the leering guy try to stop the car (and fail), nor him get two other passengers to come in. One of the intruders went to fight him, while I held off one, while the leader fought with those at the end of the carriage.

At one point, the guy was stabbed, but I saw the wound heal over. Yeah, as it that could happen. Clearly it was the drugs they were on that did this to them. I didn't see the leader grow a pair of fangs (LARPers, eh?).

The woman being chased jumped out the back of the train, and the two minions we managed to put down. The leader got away though. When we got to the next station, I stayed to keep an eye on the scene as did the guy from the back of the carriage, who turned out to be a doctor. The others left to do their own thing. I think the punk kid took stuff from the pockets of the minion, who knows what he found.

The police kept us for a while, but finally ran out of questions. What a city. I would love to get away, but this could be the sort of weird thing that happened to Phylly...


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Tuesday, 23 August 2011

DW: Paradox Lost

Hmm, this set of books seem to be about time travel in some way. This one is Paradox Lost by George Mann.

The teaser line is "The key to the future lies in the past..."... um, doesn't that always happen? "I lost my keys." "Well, where did you put them?" See, the past helps the future! Anyway, here we have monsters in the past because of the future, so you could say "the key to the past lies in the future..." would be more accurate.

This is a sparse cast book. In the past we have Professor Angelchrist (with hints he worked for Torchwood), a typical self-supported inventor/scientist type that can only exist in the past because there was less science to be expert about. In the future we have Arven, and I kept picturing these guys. Arven is nearly fleshed out (sic*) as a character, but clearly George cared more about Angelchrist and put more effort into him, although, as I say, he still comes across as stereotypical. (* Okay, that 'sic' only makes sense if you've read the book.)

Decent enough story, keeping the pace up with the monsters continually on screen, but not deep.


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Monday, 22 August 2011

Guilty Pleasures

This film started with a short, Greensplat. A personal tale about the wee village of Greensplat, when it was a village and before it become a (literal) hole in the ground. Nee wee film, and suggests a bigger documentary possibility.

The main feature then was Guilty Pleasures, about the guilty pleasures of reading Mills and Boon romances. It's quite a humourous movie, but when they read out segments, you can hear why. Oh, and one of the segments is read out by the writer, an elderly man. It's quite odd.

What they don't explore is why women read them, or why they are popular, and only touches a little on the impact of these novels, in that women get expectations that aren't fulfilled by reality. More or less, the film follows a few people around, and some of the couples do end up not extremely out of sync with M&B romance... although not all people are like that. (Amusingly, we also follow one of the models that poses for the cover, the male model that is, and his regime and his life and getting to be with a woman... although it's a shame he doesn't seem to be admitting that he is clearly gay.)

While the reader side is nice to see, I would have liked a little more about the other side of the whys for the books. Enjoyable documentary either way.

(No trailer on Youtube, but here's an interview with the director.)


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Sunday, 21 August 2011

Of Steam, Steel and Murder

How crazy can a plan get? Pretty crazy, do something really stupid, really come up with a completely moronic plan... we don't do that. We say 'bah, why even have a plan?' Just go for it, see what we find, and deal with that.

So, yeah... despite what we discuss last time, this time we just go for it, go hard... and do pretty damn well. Although, death is still very much on the cards...

Improvise your own plan to hear Game 40. Hotfile. Rapidshare.


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Torchwood: Miracle Day Seven

For a long time I wondered if this story was even supposed to be a part of this arc. And look, more scenes for the BBC to cut!

Big surprise, Captain Jack manages to find someone else who he can immediately tell is gay. And then the sex. And then murder... although does it count as murder for Jack? Well, "Dead is Dead"... oh wait, that was a one episode thing and never mentioned again. Like the masks. And Club 45. Continuity, who needs it?

Anyway, we have three guys holding each other by the wrist... say, that almost looks like a triangle. And Angelo is running the whole shebang. Can't say I'm surprised about that. Still a big reveal as to what exactly happened and I can so wait for that. No, hang on, I mean I can't wait.... no, come to think of it, I was right the first time.

And speaking of disappearing plot threads, Oswald gets a name check but that's it. I hope Bill got a contract that says he gets paid for ten episodes, 'cos right now that's easy money. The big name star we have at the moment is Nana Visitor. Although she got easy money this episode too.

But just what has this episode got to do with PhiCorp and, well, the rest of the series? Three episodes to go, and there'll be lots of infodumps... or not if they continue with their current practices...

Next time: Colonel Kira kicks ass!


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Saturday, 20 August 2011

Being Elmo: A Puppeteer's Journey

Everyone knows of Elmo, but do you know the man behind the puppet? Being Elmo is about Kevin Clash, and how he became the one to incarnate Elmo.

This is a nice movie that goes from Kevin's root to his career in puppeteering, from early beginings to finally having to take a break because he was Elmo all the time. All the time, you get the sense of his enjoyment of the role of puppeteer, his interest in finding out how puppets work, making his own, being on TV, and eventually meeting Jim Henson. It's only 75 minutes, but it's the right length for this movie.

However, just because it's a movie about a kid's puppet, doesn't mean this movie works for kids. There are plenty of moments where only the adults are really going to get what he (and the others) are talking about. I can definitely say this, as there was a kid sitting behind me, and I could tell he was bored because he was often kicking my chair (until I told him to stop it). I think this movie promoting Elmo is going to make parents think that they can drag their kids along to it and they'll enjoy it too. Nope.

It is an enjoyable movie, and worth checking out if you'd like to see a man passionate about his craft.

(Not a trailer, just a 'cute' interveiw with Elmo.)


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Friday, 19 August 2011

Rocking at Panic Island

Remember the movie Outbreak? The fun and exciting of Dustin Hoffman running around, trying to find out how to cure a lethal virus... well, this is the Australian/New Zealand version.

In this version, a lethal disease from Afghanistan ends up in a tunnel connecting Sydney to Goat Island and two New Zealanders (boo!) end up infecting the people at Goat Island... where a rock concert is happening, so cue the kids dying! And there's a plot line about some guy trying to get the government to do something, 'cos his kids are on the island, so you know he's going to have to run around to save them! The movie wraps up pretty quickly when it gets near the 90 minute mark, when resolution comes at the hand of... the page count, I'm guessing.

I would point out all the big name New Zealand actors in this (eg Grant Bowler), but since I've never seen any of the other shows they've been in (despite being very popular ones), I can't.

Currently scoring just under 50% on IMDB, this movie isn't that bad. I've seen worse virus movies, and this one does keep the pace going until it hits the brick wall at the end. Check it out for some local flavour.


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Thursday, 18 August 2011

How Much Does Your Building Weight, Mr Foster?

This was preceded by a short Stick Climbing. An odd movie that starts with walking through a (German?) village, then the camera man climbs up a cliff with the aid of some bamboo sticks attached to the cliff-face. Nice view.

How Much Does Your Building Weigh, Mr Foster? looks at the work of Norman Foster, architect and cross-country ski enthusiast. (The movie is more the former than the latter.) Mr Foster has come up with some rather unusual designs, lots of curves and open spaces. Nice buildings, and his work is still going on despite some set-backs in his personal life.

That said, I would have liked a bit more analysis of the buildings. Why are they considered so impressive? We get to see them, briefly, and told that people like them... but why? What about them makes them so impressive? Do they fit the flow of air? Do the curves psychologically sooth people? Do people just have a fetish for lots of glass? What???

Nice movie, but it does seem to be aimed more at those that know the buildings and want to know the man, rather than a more general audience.


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Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Sauce Code

Is this the real life? Is this just fantasy? Caught in a landslide, no escape from reality... yeah, another movie about what is real, what is artificial reality?

In set A, Jake plays a teacher that is trying to stop a train from blowing up. In set B, Jake is a captain, trying to work out why he's continually on set A. And then set C has people presenting lots of different explanations about what is going on. And going around those three sets makes up the movie.

To be honest, I already knew the big reveal before it happened, and they really don't examine the full implications of it. The last reveal should have been the start of an epic movie, instead of the end of this luke warm action movie. Not that I'm wanting a sequel (not at all), but there could have been something better done with that premise (which is the third or fourth explanation for what is going on, so possibly a last minute tacked on story note anyway...).

Of the case... I thought Vera Farmiga did a great job, the rest were... adequate. (Just seen the cast list again and noticed 'Coffee Mug Lady' and 'Soda Can Guy'... classic cast listing techniques, and demonstrates their role in the well thought out movie narrative.)

Not that great a movie. Jake Gyllenhaal fans probably quite like it, and the rest of us can check it out if time permits.


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Monday, 15 August 2011

DW: Touched by an Angel

Yeah, more DW books, looking like being set in the first half of series 6 (from the look of Amy on the cover), although no mention of Amy seeing strange faces. Indeed, one incident later on would place this before Space and Time. Anyway, this is Touched By An Angel by Jonathan Morris.

An aphorism states that "an unexamined life is not worth living". Here's another "an examined life is not worth reading about". Jonathan does give us a tale of time travelling, as is his want, provided by the Angels this time, but... Mark is sent back in time to interact with his past self to set up the moment where he can stop his wife dying (you get this within the first few chapters, so I'm not spoiling). This means that we spend a long time with young and old Marks, learning how they pass the years and get to know the wife-to-be, and... I'm wondering if this is at least a little autobiographical, which might explain why Jonathan wanted to tell this story (although it doesn't explain why people would want to read it).

Jonathan tries to keep it light, and certainly the TARDIS crew are there for the comedy side of his writing, but most of this could be any general BBC couples drama piece, and about as enjoyable. Mark's life just isn't thrilling me to make me want to know more (as part of a Doctor Who book. Maybe in some other context?).

This book is below Morris' usual standards.


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Sunday, 14 August 2011

Torchwood: Miracle Day Six

Wow, they very nearly had a decent episode. And yet they are still dragging their heels over advancing the plotline... oh, and the religious themes continue...

Three different plot lines, and no Owen Danes. Huh. In the Rex/Esther plotline, they find out that the guy in charge is a douche... and that's about it. In the Gwen plotline, she gets her dad out, leaving all the other cat 1s to suffer whatever fate awaits them, and blows up a building killing whomever was inside (they say flesh burns). And in the Jack plotline, he finds out that there is someone pulling EvilCo's strings... and the word of the day is "Blessing". Yeah, google-search that for answers!

And yet, this episode, more or less, is a decent character piece. The focus of this arc has constantly been on the characters (certainly hasn't been on the plot!), and this episode has given the characters something to play. You know, there's a reason series 1 and 2 worked well, and that's because there was a range of episodes, and one could focus on the characters, one could be indepth plot, one could try something off-kilter... and now we have arc series which is trying to address all points spread out over all the episodes. No wonder it's generally having problems creating effective episodes. Here there was minimal plot (even more so than some), so it could be a more character-centric episode. And nice to see the military guy grow a pair. (And, hey, Ernie Hudson!)

However, there's still four episodes to go and hints of the bigger plot are attempting to show through, so it's a worry that we're suddenly going to get a cram of plot and exposition, and have episodes with too much of that, which is just as bad. They are having problems getting it right.

Next time: The bad guys win, the series ends!


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Saturday, 13 August 2011

Screamingly Four

Another franchise, another milking. This one supposedly all hip and self-aware. So self-aware, it starts meta, and continues that idea to various degrees throughout the entire movie.

Ugh. Sydney, Gale and Dewey are back, Ghostface is back, people get killed... then more people get killed. Sometimes they need to be excessively overstabbed to die, sometimes just one stab is enough to off them in seconds (and really, through the forehead? Really? That's a solid lump of bone right there, and there's no way you're punching a knife through that easily... then again, it is a CGI knife, so 'woo, magical!'). Eventually the killer is revealed, of course, and it's no-one you suspect. Or suspect the most. Or the middlest...

Or I just don't care. Even the scares didn't scare me. It was just all too... obvious and familiar. Given the meta nature of the opening, I wasn't sure when did stopped doing that and did actually start, it was all so identical (which is partly the point, but that doesn't make it any better). And when the killer was revealed... I was disappointed. Not surprised, not even disconcerted, just... meh.

Neve Campbell, Cortney Cox and David Arquette are back, and looking like several years have passed. We get the new generation of scream queen tryouts, and none of them are anything beyond generically pretty and capable of screaming. Got to wonder if anyone was really excited to be a part of this...

We've Screamed enough. Please, no 5... please?


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Friday, 12 August 2011

El Cappitano Americano

This is probably the main 'Avenger' with whom I have the least knowledge, outside of the 1990 version.

In this movie, a guy takes drugs, and becomes a better person (hey, didn't I just see this?). On the way, he punches some guys, and people like that, then goes on to punch more people, one of whom is 'skin challenged', but since this is in the 1940s, there isn't a call for political correctness.

Overall, I can't say I was that fascinated by this movie. Lots of critics seemed to applaud it, but... meh... it just didn't really do anything. This might be because the story line was basically 'beat up Hydra', and, character-wise, wasn't more challenging than 'will he get the girl?'. [Overthinking also tackles this lack of imagination.]

Chris Evans is decent enough, and Hugo Weaving is stealing all the scenes. Keep an eye out for the Dream Lord, Toby Jones, and the other Jones, Tommy Lee, is playing himself having fun more than a character.

If you're watching the Marvel set of movies, you'll see this. Otherwise, I wouldn't bother.


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Thursday, 11 August 2011

The Trip

Did you a series from last year, The Trip, starring Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon? It's a mockumentary, the basic premise of which is they go around some restaurants in the north of England. Now, given the cameras, and the events caught, and that we are seeing dreams... you know, I think it's almost entirely mock and hardly any umentary. So much so, I'm not sure if even the restaurant parts aren't completely faked up! (I'm not sure why they would, but then they mock up the rest of it...)

Although given that these two are improv comics, some of this is probably improvised between them, if not then they are acting very well. But most likely they are just free-wheeling takes between (or possibly even during) scripted scenes. During which, we find out that Steve Coogan is a lot of a c*nt, and that Rob Brydon really, really, really needs to cut down on the impressions he does. Small man in a box, funny, but every other line he does is him pretending to be someone else! Cut it out man!

Still, quite funny and worth a watch. Six episodes, one main food meal a day, but space it out.

The Trip, on the other hand, is a cut down version that cuts out about an hour of material and then ends up as a movie people pay to go see. Sod the freak off.


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Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Credit where it isn't due

Over the weekend, I got an email from my bank, the National Bank, to say there was a suspicious charge from the Apple App Store of $0.00. (I presume this was an automated email, unless someone really was up at 3.43am.) Now, I had brought something from the App Store a while ago, so this could be an odd thing associated with that, but I didn't get an email about it...

I email back that it's odd, so they send it on to their Fraud Squad. What? Nuts, so how long is that going to take? Then I get a call Monday morning from them (okay, they are onto it). They ask about the Apple charge, and about a $280 charge from the SuperMedia store... the what? Okay, that wasn't me, or even related to anything I did.

Damn, my card was hacked.

So, yes, I do need a new card, and that's ready today... Wow, so... go National Bank! They're onto it!


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Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Hot Coffee

No, not a movie about GTA, instead a movie about that famous case of a women that sued McDonalds for spilling hot coffee in her lap...

...only there's more to the story than people think. She wasn't driving, the car wasn't moving, and the burns caused thousands of dollars of medical fees. And there's the case of medical incompetence. And the judge that was accused by the other side with more money. And the case of Jamie Leigh Jones.

This movie is about how civil law isn't on the side of the civvies, and providing a face to the cases that are decided against, or caught up in legal games of big companies. Now, I'm not entirely buying that every case is like this, these are anecdotes. There need to be proper studies about this, however this shows what can happen. (Note: this is American law, of course, I have no idea if New Zealand is better or worse.)

Certainly a good movie for checking what you think you know...


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Monday, 8 August 2011

Team Xero #011

Two agencies are again emperilling the world in their eternal battle for world superiority! And, in this special episode, a very special guest star!

And again, the eternal battle with non-English accents to make the words semi-intelligible.


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Sunday, 7 August 2011

Torchwood: Miracle Day Five

I received some negative feedback about my last negative review... in which case, let me advise that, generally speaking, this is not the review series for you.

A lot of set up again. They want to find out what's happening to category one patients, and so they spend over half an hour infiltrating various overflow camps to find the secret of the Module. Are the writer's really trying to stretch things out to only one small plot point per episode? What about PhiCorp, what's going on there?

Anyway, the big reveal... the overflow camps are... yes, I'm going to say it... implementing the Final Solution. Although we have yet to find out how much you need to incinerate someone to destroy them. And I would have thought that, presuming PhiCrop is behind the construction of the module, that they'd come up with a better way to eradicate people than with fire... especially with all the alien tech that's lying around... But that's dancing around the point that we are in full on Nazi territory here. Does Godwin's Law now state that the series will end?

So, goodbye Doctor Alverez. Can't say I'm that shocked about it (she was just a guest star after all). But that's what happens when you start accusing people who are more than a little unstable... but what about Phil? Bit of a wet noodle there, doesn't reflect well on the military. Did anyone complain about that? Be interesting to see if what's-his-name-in-charge gets comeuppance for doing that...

Since I've been talking about the last ten minutes, I also need to talk about Danes. This is the first credible performance I've seen from Pullman this series! This kicks that plot line up a bit, however he's still playing puppy to PhiCorp. However... Angels? Not sure about that, but, hey, Danes is whack.

This series could be at a turning point, but it better turn hard. We're half-way into it, so ramp it up people!

Next week: I'm guessing the head of PhiCorp is revealed to be Hitler's brain?


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Saturday, 6 August 2011

Page One: Inside the New York Times

This is about the New York Times (as you might be able to tell from the title), and the fight to get onto the front page, Page One. It's also about: is the mainstream media still viable?

This really is a movie of pieces. The movie bounces around several topics, mainly concentrating on the media desk (which is reporting about how the newspaper media is operating), and some colourful characters (it's obvious why David Carr is often front and center before the camera). However... it's that it's a collection of items that causes problems, it hard to say that there's a central story that the movie is trying to tell, instead it gives brief snippets of little ideas that hopefully come together to make something as a whole (hey, it's like a newspaper, lots of articles! ... if the director was deliberately doing that, he can bite me).

Should have been a better film... and I bet Andrew Rossi is kicking himself that this is screening around the time of the Murdoch explosion...

[I saw this at the Paramount, and I was waaaaay in the back. If I had watched this on my netbook, I would have seen a bigger picture! Not doing that again...]


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Friday, 5 August 2011

Something Ventured

This film is not about the companies that have become big, in particular the computer companies. No, Something Ventured is about the people that gave those people money.

This is a talking heads documentary, and most of the people... basically all of them... look to be retired now, so you can tell this is about the last century. There are several success stories about small money being ventured and big returns, and one or two less successful stories.

This is the history of venture capitalism, and we get to meet powerful people... but the blurb said they "speak frankly about risk, loss, gain and the ruthlessness with which business can treat its innovators". Not really. They told their stories, but it was just the stories, no particular lessons learnt (aside from about firing people), so there was an aspect missing there.

Mildly interesting, but nothing incredibly fascinating.


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Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Five of the Furious

Obviously some exec asked "how can we have a Fast Five million?", to which the answer is "crack out another in the Vin Diesel franchise (and sure sure the series can crank out more)".

In this movie, Vin blah blah races cars, blah blah races more cars around blah blah Rio. Yeah, a simple cookie cutter plot that doesn't stretch itself in any way. Lots of set pieces, although that last one in the movie completely defies any real physics of this world.

But, you know, at least they attempt to put in something approaching a character arc. Whether trying to save the girl, or get back at someone over a girl... there's always something (involving a girl, it seems). And yet, in this one... there's some token effort about 'family', but even then those scenes have absolutely nothing to do with anything, provide no motivation, and aren't so much an 'arc' as 'something shown on screen'.

This movie features such characters as... Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Ludacris, Dwayne Johnson, Joaquim de Almeida... yeah, they aren't playing characters so much as just being themselves, largely because the script isn't really about people, it's about set pieces involving cars.

Blah blah heist movie blah blah cars blah blah see if it you like those things...


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Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Ghost Riders of the Storm

It's that Nicholas Cage movie where you get to see inside his head! Literally!

Nicholas Cage goes around riding a bike. Then Mephistopheles contracts him to... ride a bike. And get into CGI fights. All in the name of... well, hang on, if Mephistopheles didn't try to get the contract, Blackheart wouldn't have after it either, so it's all his fault... (Law and the Multiverse discusses how the soul contracts work, although they don't address what damages Mephistopheles is liable for when Ghost Rider goes around setting everything on fire.)

Anyway, Cage is there, on screen, doing his thing, and being entirely believable as someone who's skull is on fire. And this comes across as two different movies. Until the end, Johnny Blaze is doing his thing, and Ghost Rider is doing his thing, and eventually the two plotlines meet up. Eve Mendes is there to show off her cleavage (seriously, woman, do some buttons up!). Sam Elliot is there to steal all the scenes Cage is in (note: not actually that hard). And Peter Fonda is there for no-one to recognise him.

I'm not the first person to say this is not a good movie. Moreover, at this point, I'm going to jump on the bandwagon that the sequel probably won't get much better.


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Monday, 1 August 2011

Raising Hell four more times

I liked the first Hellraiser movie (which was very faithful to the book). The second one was bizarre but fun. The third was more of a sequel to the first, although still weird. And I though the fourth capped things off nicely, although it's not as well liked. But, of course, there was money to be made with the franchise, so here's another four movies. (There look to be more, but these were the ones I could get my hands on.)

Inferno (2000): Joe is a Bad Cop(tm). Fools around on his wife, takes evidence from crime scenes, uses others to cover his tracks, etc., etc. So when he stupidly, accidentally opens the gate to the Cenobites, they make his life Hell, tearing apart everything he knew. Yeah, it's not subtle, and the only reason to keep watching is to see what horror tableau the filmmakers came up with next. The best actor by far is still Doug Bradley as Pinhead.

Hellseeker (2002): Not a great movie. Kirsty (from the first and third movie) returns, and it killed in the beginning of this movie. Her husband (who decided that the cube was a good anniversary present) starts descending into hell as all women want to be with him, and it seems that he might have had some nefarious purposes that he now can't remember and so are unraveling all around him. Given the central conceit of this movie (which I won't give away) is stupid, the rest of the movie is just a shell trying to hide that fact, and it doesn't pay out. Doug Bradley, yay, Ashley Lawrence, nay.

Deader (2005): As in 'this series has become' it seems. Amy Klein is tracking down a story, and it leads to a group that can bring the dead back to life, but it interacts with the domain of the Cenobites, and they are not happy about that. It seems there's some kind of war going on, which could be interesting, but that plot line isn't explained further in the preference of investigating Amy's backstory. Which involves a knife, which becomes highly significant as... actually, no, not really. Nothing is significant here. And this seems to be the tenth take on explaining the Cenobites and not doing it well. Another waste of time. This one involve Doug Bradley, Kari Wuhrer and Marc Warren.

Hellworld (2005): [yes, churned out, it seems, the same time as above] Um... is this movie the same franchise as the rest of them? People known about the cube, young people go to a party about it, and then... well, the (near) ending sequence is like it's from another horror series entirely. It's like this was another script entirely that had Pinhead inserted into it (which, you know, it was). This might have been a decent enough movie itself, but hooking it into the Hellraiser series, at number eight, just makes it sad. It does star Doug Bradley, Kathryn Winnick and Lance Henriksen for some reason!

(I even have one of the Hellraiser Cube replicas!)


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