Tuesday, 31 July 2012

The Ravening

Everyone remember how Edgar Allen Poe went all bad ass and joined up with the police to fight crime? Yeah, you know, they made a movie out of it.

Some guy gets over hyped on EAP's work and decides to kill people because... the script says that's what happens. That makes about as much sense as the actual reason. And EAP gets involved because this is a movie that centers around him... Yes, I'm saying this movie is fan service to EAP, and has no reason in itself to exist. And the EAP aspect is the only thing that separates out this movie from all the other movies that feature random serial killer person. Meh.

John Cusack is the initialed one, and does a good job of wearing a beard. Alice Eve is the love interest, who is basically half his age, so that's not at all creepy (although keeping in line with EAP's actual weird love interests). Luke Evans gives an actual decent performance, not being directly tied into EAP's story. And, hey, Brendon Gleeson!

Although I've been EAPing recently due to MC Lars, I can't say this movie is worth it.


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Monday, 30 July 2012

Marbly Hornets

Following on from talking about the Thin One, I have been directed by a few people to watch Marble Hornets, a youtube series in which a guy making a movie fell apart after being stalked by a tall stretched out figure, and now the 'hero' is trying to piece together what happened.

This is a slow burn series. Like freaking long term slow burn. It's been running for... three years now, and has clocked up over 60 videos (on the main channel, there are some side ones). They've released two seasons of DVDs now, but...

As I said slow burn, so nothing has been revealed about what's really going on. You can piece together some mythology, and I have my own ideas about the relationship between the creatures and the people involved, but... yeah... nothing coming up in the videos themselves.

Which makes it really frustrating. I burned through the lot over the last week, but am not expecting the next video for another week, and then maybe twice a month... but they have taken months between releases before. And when each video is only a few minutes each (admittedly the latter ones are tending towards 10 minutes), there's not a lot of content each update.

Going forwards, there are some other channels I might watch as well, but I can see me forgetting about this (well, I have subscribed, so will know when new stuff has come out), and unless they get somewhere soon, this is going to be historically niche, instead of the present niche it currently is.


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Sunday, 29 July 2012

Reccing Genesis

Yay, there is a third movie to the series! (Please don't let there be a third American movie...)

The [REC] movies have been stuck in a house, people trying to run away from the zombies, all recorded on some version of handy cam... and this movie shakes up those rules. It's a wedding, and Uncle got bit by a dog, so you know what's coming... and it does! And then people run around! Woo!

This isn't a Genesis, as in a prequel. This still seems to be following the line, with the government knowing all about it, but there is a line about how this is a Genesis of something more. And this movie does indeed extend the mythology, and loads more on the religious aspects initiated by the second movie. Will there be another one that takes it another step? Are we heading towards some kind of demon/angel war or something? I have no idea, as this has always been a low budget type of movie, so I don't know if there will be a fourth, but I would like to find out where Paco Plaza is going with this. (Maybe this?)

(With this being a change up, and looking at the poster... I am also wondering if there is an influence of The Bride?)

Anyway, clearly Paco is trying different things, and I'm willing to go with him on this. Let's see what else he's got.


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Saturday, 28 July 2012

Indie Movie: The Game

Getting more into gaming, and always been interested in documentaries, of course I was going to watch Indie Game: The Movie. This follows the creators of Braid, Super Meat Boy and Fez.

There is a common theme of: these programmers grew up wanting to be involved in computers, and devoted many, many years of their lives to creating games... and most of them consider this to be their social interaction. It's easy to see them as arrogant asses, and yet they are just as insecure and trying to get value and appreciation from the world that everyone else wants.

And another common trend is that, as indie game makers (the 'company's was either one or two people) they are at the mercy of big companies they are trying to sell their game via, and having no money. Once their game sells, bam, they get the money in (assuming they don't put their foot in their mouth like Phil Fish (maker of Fez) did). But it becomes a very tortuous process when trying to get their game to market.

Which raises the perennial documentary question: how many people did the makers follow? Just these three games? Or lots more and have many of them disappear into obscurity? ...I wonder how many documentaries disappeared when their subject did...

Anyway, while interesting, this movie isn't that gripping. The stories for the three games are similar, and not very surprising. It's hard to say that there is lots of new and surprising details here... if you are interested in this topic, give it a go, but I wouldn't recommend it as a general movie.


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Friday, 27 July 2012

Star Trek The 1!

So, as a Doctor Who fan, I'm supposed to hate Star Trek. Or something. Certainly I was never into it like I am Doctor Who. But the remastered DVDs were cheap, so... yeah, I have just finished watching season one of "classic" Trek.

And a lot of it was familiar. It was on endless repeats when I was a kid, so I saw a lot of episodes, and it was one of the few science fiction shows around, however... there were shows that were new to me. Either that, or I had erased them from my mind. While I did try to see all the episodes, not being that engaged at the time, I didn't try to religiously catch it like I did Doctor Who. And yet... there were shows that were new to me that I already knew. Because there had been so much talk about them, I was able to go 'hey, I know what that episode is about!' A rather odd experience.

Specific comments: The Naked Time - a fantastic episode that is far superior to The Naked Now. The Corbomite Maneuver - better than I remember. The Conscience of the King - slightly less dull than I remembered. The Squire of Gothos - makes me want to reread Q-Squared! The Return of the Archons - could be easily adapted into being a Call of Cthulhu module. The Devil in the Dark - the episode gets overshadowed by McCoy's "I think I can cure a rainy day!", but it is a great episode. The City at the Edge of Forever - deservedly a classic. Operation Annihilate! - a fun season ender, even if the Spock plot line is resolved in a hugely absurd manner.

The extras could do with some work. The one about connecting the actors is a waste of time. Most of the extras seem to fit into either 'because we could' or 'we had the footage'. Meh.

I enjoyed all that, and think I'll head straight into season two.


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Thursday, 26 July 2012

Night walk!

When I took this video, I said I wanted to do a night version of it. And so I did. While it was often raining, so that was stupid... but here it is anyway.


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Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Heresy of Darkness!

After running (tactical retreating!) from the bar, we established a defensible position in the lobby of the hab-block where we had talked to the sister. There, we established watches to find out what happened during the night.

During my watch, I saw [excellent will check!] an abomination until the Emperor nearby, and the lobby started to rain with blood. Alerting my colleagues, they seemed to not be able to see the man, however they saw the gangers rushing towards us. While they engaged them, one of my colleagues did also see the man, and took him out with one shot [before the psy guy could go... so sad]. The gangers themselves were a rowdy lot, only armed with bones and metal pipes. We put them down, but kept one back for interrogation.

However, then we spied some... Very Bad Things outside and... I became momentarily startled [or fainted, whatever], others around me reacting in different ways [oh, the fun of failed will checks]. They attacked us, but were not either capable of hitting us or damaging us [yah low skills and decent armour!]. While it appeared that hurting them was just as difficult, the five of us did manage to [just!] put down the three of them. And they were exhibits of the abomination that we had come to find.

We had samples, but we were no closer to the source... [good combats, and I survived unscathed. My characters have been doing that recently!]


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Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Tornadoes of Badness

Three disaster science fiction movies involving tornadoes. I'm guessing the fiction here is that there is a thing called 'science', because it doesn't actually exist in these movies.

Metal Tornado: Yes, that's right, a tornado made out of metal. Because of the sun. Science! harnesses the sun's rays (detectable on Earth before they arrive, so faster than light technology also exists!), but creates a tornado of bad CGI that sucks in metal - which can depend a lot on how easy it is to animate or turn into CGI. Fortunately, it is in yokel territory, so we get lots of shots of yokels going 'hey, sumfink weird be goin on'. However, with an application of random plot device, everything can be solved, except for Paris which gets it, because it isn't in Amurika! Starring Lou Diamond Phillips and Nicole de Boer, so clearly their careers are going places now. And look out for Greg Evigan doing a great Bruce Boxleitner. Thanks for the film Canada!

Alien Tornado: Yes, that's right, a tornado made out of aliens. Okay, not really, but aliens are making tornadoes. Not that we find that out quickly as most of the movie is set up that 'weird tornadoes are happening' and very, very slow reveal of what is happening. Then the last part of the movie is trying to make the audience believe that some quickly garbled rubbish will solve everything, because aliens run in base 11 code or something... no-one cares, so whatever. Admittedly the cast are pretty good, and have fun with going over the top. Jeff Fahey and Kari Wuhrer are the main guest stars, with Willard Pugh and David Jensen enjoying themselves the most. Syfy are known for disappointing movies, and this isn't breaking that trend, but it is marginally decent if you can ignore the story.

Space Twister: (also known as Mega Cyclone - I can't tell which title is worse...) Yes, that's right, a twister made out of space. Well, aren't they all? For this one, a twister forms because... Earth is like Jupiter? Or something? I don't know, they don't explain it, and the science they do try is just painful. Anyway, in Act One, a cyclone attacks a town, in Act Two we meet a lot of plot devices that are used in Act Three, in which an ending is hastily attempted. To be honest, the only decent thing in this movie are the effects. Which are quite good, considering this is a C grade movie. For names we have Mitch Pileggi and Erica Cerra, so this is clearly a Canadian movie. But, basically, just stop it Syfy.


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Monday, 23 July 2012

Dark Kniggit Arosen!

Yes, I have seen it, you may bask in my presence. Just reaffirms my annoyance at seeing it with other people, when people in the corner of my eye like to check their email or something every half-hour. Stop it! Can you not last that long without checking? Do you have an actual addiction that you should see someone about? Either way, sod off!

Anyway, in this movie Batman mopes about, and Bane goes around destroying things. I would be more concerned about what Bane did, but when watching the horrendous events, I found myself thinking "Oh, if only someone would stop him... like Batman... come along movie, we all know what's coming, get on with it", so the emotional impact was lacking somewhat.

There is a small twist that I should have seen coming (having been completely unsurprised by it in another movie - to the extend I was confused when the characters were getting it wrong, only for the movie to go 'Aha!' and just annoy me because it was obvious), but it was well played here. The music was a little overwhelming, and there were some lines (for example, why Bane has to wear the mask) that I missed because of it. And one character I was thinking 'they should do that with that character', and indeed that is what happened, so I was pleased I was in alignment with the movie.

As for the acting, it was good from those you'd expect it to be good from. Burn Gorman's presence distracted me, and I never really got his character's name. Some others were familiar, although possibly because they reminded me of other actors (Tom Hardy was doing an excellent Sean Connery).

While this is definitely the third of the trilogy, this movie just happens more than really does anything too amazing. You'll see it anyway, won't you?


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Sunday, 22 July 2012

More Hunter, More Vigil

We are back into the lair of the Spider Queen, only this time there is no queen... but there are still spiders enough. We tool up this time, but it really doesn't help.

This felt like one long combat afterwards, and it was a long combat, although we did spend time before hand getting tooled up. For a change. Which just meant that the GM was able to throw bigger monsters at us. Either we need to rethink how we are fighting (we totally do), or there is a power scaling issue at play.

Listen for yourself to Game 5. (I missed Game 4.) Rapidshare. Hotfile. Note: although there is nearly six hours here, the last (two?) hour is just myself and Nick chatting about random things that I left in because I am lazy at editing.


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I'm a winnah!

While I was in Australia, I got an odd text:

Congratulations, You have won 400,000 POUNDS in the 2012 UK mobile draw, Send your REF No: UK/MG-6491377 to email: ikbinfo@yahoo.com for more info to claim.

...you know, call me doubting, but... a) I'm not UK, b) I never entered nothing, and c) a yahoo address? There's something about that that just doesn't strike me as true.

And this because I was in Australia. Can't remember the last time I got spam, but the second day I was there, bam! So I'm blaming the entire country.

On the other hand, if you want to claim 400,000 POUNDS, feel free to do so in my place.


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Saturday, 21 July 2012

In the words of Lizzie Sladen

I can't say I've read a lot of biographies/autobiographics, but for (I think) obvious reasons, I have read Who-related biographies. Although, for some reason, I've only gotten around to reading many them until after they died... and keeping that trend going, I've just finished listening to the Elizabeth Sladen autobiography, as read by Caroline John.

It reminded me a lot of Nicholas Courtney's audio autobiography, in that there is a lot of time spent on non-Who items. Yes, that happens. These people are actors. While we know them for Who-stuff, they did have other jobs. This can lead to 'get to the Who', but I didn't mind, and Lizzie did drop in occasional mentions of new Who/SJA enough to keep things moving along. And her earlier reminiscences were interesting in and of themselves.

Of course, there are revelations, and her relationship with Jon Pertwee was very revealing. Shows that the on screen presentation doesn't always reflect what is happening behind the scenes. And there are other revelations that make me want to know what other people (who were involved) think about it, for example about her time on School Reunion.

The afterword gets bittersweet, as it would, written (and read) by Brian Miller, and Sadie, after Elizabeth's death. While she might have had many doubts about doing an autobiography, I'm glad she did. It was an interesting listen.


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Friday, 20 July 2012

Fat Head

I did see Supersize Me, it looked impressive, fed (sic) into prevailing beliefs about how bad fast food was... and Fat Head is a response to that, to show that it is possible to live healthily on fast food. And indeed it can if you control your intake and still exercise (which Spurlock was not doing). So yeah, sure, why not? Indeed, it is entirely likely that people could if they were controlling themselves. Most people don't, most people don't want to.

But why are people getting fat? Is it fast food places? No, it's the government. Tom Naughton (director and star) shows that everyone on the government side is incompetent / in it for the money / deliberately getting it wrong. This movie is very anti-government, making it hard for me to buy into this too much. Sure, the government gets things wrong, but to only present that angle is just as bad as a sole anti-fast food stance.

It is important to take nothing at 100% face value. Don't trust everything in Supersize Me. Watch that, but with caution. And conversely, don't trust everything in Fat Head. I do think you should watch it, especially if you have seen Supersize Me, but with caution as well.


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Thursday, 19 July 2012

Amozing Spidderman!

Purely because they want the money, Sony has rebooted Spiderman. Have to say I largely agree with other complaints I've read/watched.

Peter Parker becomes a spider. Curt Connors becomes a lizard. Gwen Stacey becomes a block of wood. A lot of plot threads fail to become anything at all... the real 'amazing' part here is the number of plot points that are brought, but then ignored. It's like they wrote the first half of the movie, then picked which element to make the second half of the movie out of, and do so quickly.

Andrew Garfield, for some reason, only seems capable of one emotion per scene. He acts that emotion to the hilt, but it is only one emotion at a time. Which is more than Emma Stone gets, with her "I'm the supposedly intelligent love interest, but have no character development whatsoever." Rhys Ifans just reminded me of Peter Stormare's Lev Andropov for some reason. Denis Leary clearly outclasses everyone else. And... Martin Sheen and Sally Field? Really? ...really???

At this point, CGI is all over the place. Although I still find it odd that the spider suit looks to be all one piece, yet the head piece comes off and on easily. And what's up with the first-person perspective? Trying to revive Mirror's Edge?

While not going to stop anyone from going to see this, and indeed it didn't stop me, this isn't a movie worth seeing... but, like me, you'll see it anyway.


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Wednesday, 18 July 2012


From the people who brought you Despicable Me (you can tell, because they call back the Minions to make everyone start with an opinion of 'oh, that was good'), we have a movie of 2D drawings, detailing how sex leads to corporate destruction.

Well, 2D in the sense that we see a flat image, but CGI created really. Although at the end we see actual Seuss-ian drawing, emphasizing the desire I already had to re-read the actual story. Anyway some kid, in an effort to impress a girl, decides to launch himself into reckless endangerment by going out at night and seeing some lone guy who hasn't interacted with people for years (where does his food come from), get attacked by devices (which are probably coated with rust and the tetanus), and then take actions that put local leading businessmen out of business. Yeah, thanks kid. However, all the rest of the town, out of their minds due to materialism, think that's okay, which shows how society has gone down hill recently.

Ehh... not that this was bad, just that Seuss has never had an entirely successful translation to the screen (yes, we remember Mike Myers), and this feels more like "inspired by an old story that we can make totally cool and hip and with it for today's kids daddio!". A lot of charm of the actual work has gotten lost.

Go read the book, it's a better work than this movie...


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Tuesday, 17 July 2012

There and Back Again: A Sydney Tale

Strangely enough, I went there and back in an airplane... whodathunkit? But had different experiences each time.

Going there: Wellington International is really boring. There's one cafe place (Mojo?), and it is stupidly expensive. So much for duty free costs. And then there are spaces to sit... and that's it. Oh, and a Whitcoulls, but still... and the wireless connection sucks terribly. The flight was mediocre, no frills (of course). And at the other end, luggage took a while to arrive.

Not mine, mind you. I took just one carry on bag (which shocked people "You can take everything you need in just one carry on?"), so I could slip through Customs, but I was with a colleague, who had a bag, so... meh. Get to the hotel, get some food, and not do much else. (Evening flight, tired.)

On the way back, for some reason, had the Works, so I got a meal and drinks! Wow! More impressive! However...

Since we were back in town, there was no need for us to be together in Customs, so I should be able to skim through. Although I think he got his bag quickly enough that I didn't see him anyway. As for me... a male, alone, occupation "Analyst"... "Can you step over here please sir?"

Yep, Customs search! Fine, they are doing their job, but I had a week of bad sleep, it was another evening flight, so near midnight, I just wanted to go home. Still, I made sure to be light in tone, so "low threat", and everything was fine. (They did scan my computers... nothing for them there either.)

Way over: nothing much. Way back: good and bad. ...you'll forgive if I'm not leaping for another overseas trip any time soon...


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Monday, 16 July 2012

See Sydney

Video time!

When we were wandering around, we hit the Harbour, which looked stunning... and so, of course, I took a video of it.

And, of course, I had to take it at night:

(More below the fold.)

I was in the area of the Town Hall... although missed the Hall proper.

When we turned up one morning at the University of Sydney... we had bells!

And, because I was in Sydney... yes, I took video of the Sydney Opera House!


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Sunday, 15 July 2012

Of Steam, Steel and Murder

Pirates about us! Will we fight or will we surrender? Answer... we surrender of course! And then fight, pulp style! But can we possibly win?

Bert, it seems, got the combat slightly wrong. Can't say I know the rules well enough to notice, I just roll what I get told to... I just go pulp, come up with wacky ideas, and boom! Hope in the dice! 'Cos that always works! Still, it may have been in our favour.

Hear our insanity in Game 59. Rapidshare. Hotfile.


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Bonus Video: JJ Murphys

Here's me going to JJ Murphy's, aka short guide on how to get there.


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Sydney and me

I wasn't here last week. I was away in the land of the... actually, I'm not sure how it is described. I was over in Australia. In Sydney to be more precise. A city with the population the size of New Zealand...

It was a business conference, so I didn't have time to wander around. But I still have some observations, the main one being: Australians have little sense of personal space. Or possibly shoppers do. Certainly when I was walking around in a local supermarket, I was bumped by so many people. Yes, could do with wider aisles, but still...

I manage some walking around. And took a lot of photos. Yes, mainly of buildings. Buildings are less likely to raise an issue if they don't want to be photographed. I might separate the photos into University of Sydney and city... but don't hold your breath.

I also managed the spectacular effort of not spending any money. I did very nearly buy something when I was at the Museum of Contemporary Art, but there doesn't seem to be a book of the artist I liked.

Videos to come!


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Saturday, 14 July 2012

Trio of Starving Fellars

Trading in on Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's name (seriously, this audience would have been a fraction of the size if Hugh wasn't involved), we have Three Hungry Boys: Thom, Tim and Trevor.

Their mission was to spend a month holidaying in Scotland, living off the land, and get by without spending any money at all. They did some work for food in a lot of cases, but they did do quite well, with a lot of people willing to have them do something for a day in return for a fair bit of grub.

Suspiciously too well. Considering these people would have had to agree to be on television, I do wonder how primed they were. Some people might have been surprised, but business owners don't take anyone on, with necessary oversight and training, without some recompensation. Being on telly would be one obvious reason, the camera is going to get a lot of people to say yes, but I now wonder how many other people are roving the hills up there trying the same tactic on... and failing.

Anyway, a fun enough series, and they certainly got some publicity from it. We can only watch to see more shows like this spawned...


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Friday, 13 July 2012

Battle for the Apes

Previously on Apes! That's how this movie begins as it shows that it is the third of a trilogy. And in continues everything by showing... a battle between apes and humans, just like several movies ago.

They also bring up the 'time is like a motorway' canard from a few movies ago, because that's an underlying theme. We've seen the Apes in charge, we've seen the humans in charge, how about apes and humans? Can't we all just get along? Won't someone think of the children?

It's just a mediocre film really. It's very much part of the trilogy, but did we need a trilogy? The ending message of 'ape human hugs' is completely at odds with the need to make a movie with action that people will watch. And so it goes on, and then it stops. Eh.

Roddy is back once more, and Claude Akins is good opposite him. Severn Darden puts in a fine Donald Pleasence. But this is the movie that "introducing" Paul Williams! The world was not the same. Great stuff from him as well!

But, finally, it really is over! Yes, I know there is the television series. Don't plan on watching that.

And just because one actor happened to be called Claude:


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Thursday, 12 July 2012

Conquest of the Apes

Yes, we all knew the son would come back, and he did in this movie. Completely going against ape history (wasn't it supposed to be some ape beginning with R who first said 'no'?), and against evolution too. Twenty years may have passed, but there's no way you are going to get gorillas, chimpanzees and orangutans to look like... well... people in jumpsuits and face masks. You need far longer than that. (Actually longer than the 2000 years the first movie had too, come to that.)

Anyway, Caeser wanders around, gets caught up with other apes, and then in the last half hour of the movie turns apes into the masters of everything. This movie is just plain boring. Nothing happens for a long time... then more nothing happens, then something actually happens, only I gave up caring by that point.

Roddy McDowell is back, yay, but goes over the top as only Roddy McDowell can. Ricardo Montalban isn't in it enough, as expected. Hari Rhodes gives a great performance. And... others are in it, but I can't be bothered working out who any of them are.

We've come full circle, that's it, right, no more movies needed?

Still, at least we know what this movie was remade as:


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Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Escape from the Apes

Well, with the planet destroyed, where to next? Why, back to the planet of course! Only now, they have to escape from it!

They, in this case, being Cornelius and Zira, and the Planet of the Apes being Man. Somehow, in about the day or so that was the 'war' in the last movie, Milo got Taylor's ship out of the lake in the Forbidden Zone and got it working enough (with what fuel?) to get the three of them off planet. And end up back in time. Because that's what happens. And then we see the Apes being subjected to Man just like Man was subjected to under Apes, which is what Apes were subjected to under... um, I'm not sure what point they were going with here, and what point we just get to 'because we were told to make another movie'. It is more 'aliens amongst us' than 'apes can talk!'

And hey, Roddy McDowell and Kim Hunter still came back! (Voluntarily? Under contract?) Clearly make up have an easier time with only three actors needing it (the baby chimp simply being subjected to bad film editing), and Kim could probably do her own by this point. Eric Braeden gives the more interesting performance for the humans, actually nearly having a nuanced character. But frankly I was waiting for Ricardo Montalban to start chewing the scenery, and he didn't disappoint.

But now, finally, with the hero chimps dead, that's it right?

And today's random clip:


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Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Beneath the Apes

Next movie is a direct follow on, Beneath the Planet of the Apes.

And yet... it takes half the movie until they get Beneath the Planet! The first half is simply a repeat of the previous film, astronaut lands, gets captured by the apes, runs away... and then we find out the humans are still dicks. And idiots. And able to pad the movie with unnecessary fight scenes. Very little of this movie actually advances the plot at all.

While Charlie is back... for a small part, we get James Franciscus instead. It's easy to see why the apes can't tell them apart, 'cos they do look similar. Linda, Kim and Maurice are all back, but Roddy McDowell has transformed into David Watson! Still, it's easy to recast when their faces are hidden. (Was it just me or were the masks more rubbery/less realistic this time?) And James Gregory does a good Christopher Lloyd.

The movie is rather disappointing, with a lot of running around but very little progression. I'm finding it hard to believe this is little more than a cash grab to create an Ape franchise. (There is probably a huge backstory to all this, but I have no idea.) Still, with that ending, how can there be any more movies?

At least I now understand this:


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Monday, 9 July 2012

Planet of the Apes

Been a long time since I saw this movie, but I decided to watch it again.

And yet, it was like I hadn't watched it much at all. The first thirty minutes... no apes or anything, just the three astronauts wandering along the Forbidden Zone. The second thirty, it's the apes and Charlie unable to talk. Then the talking Charlie versus the ape society. And finally, they are treating each others as equals (although certainly not friends) before finding out the true nature of the planet. Very distinct parts to the movie. The religion vs science aspect is very obvious, hamhandedly so. And yet, nothing really is done with it here. It's more set up than pay-off.

Charlie and Linda Harrison get plenty of face time, but I always admire the make up effects here. Roddy McDowell and Kim Hunter give great performances through their masks, and all the ape faces are exceptionally well done. Did they win awards for this?

While I have seen this movie, I haven't seen the others... yet.

But, of course, what I really remember is this:


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Sunday, 8 July 2012

Esther Dear

I played Dear Esther. Then I played it again. Is this a game, strictly speaking? Is it an interactive novel?

You wander an island, while hearing excerpts from letters to Esther from the narrator. Something happened (hint: it gives a little away on the game page), and now the narrator is coming to terms with everything, and you are going on the trip with him.

Um... game wise, there are motion controls, but no jump button no matter how many times I hit space bar. Nor a run button so you go at the same pace all the time. Don't expect to run through this, because you can't. Your job is wander around and look at things. Exquistly realised things, this is Valve's Source engine, but this isn't a game in the sense of items to discover, doors to open and certainly nothing to fight. It's a story, for the player to piece together.

Because what bits of narration depends on where you go. And what you see can change to. I'm not sure how much of that is determined randomly by the game when you start a new game, and how much is determined by where the player goes. I don't see me playing it again soon to find more differences.

Because... it's a nice wee thing, but, despite the changing nature, I wouldn't say this was eminently replayable. [And I'm glad I got this half price.]

Now to get around to playing the Stanley Parable some time...


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Saturday, 7 July 2012

Bonus Video

Since I was in the area, here's a video of the Basin Reserve.


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Get Down with SCP, yeah you know me

So, another thing that I found out about at the same time as Slendery, is a whole slew of stuff to do with Secure Contain Protect. This is a Foundation tasked with tracking down the odd and bizarre and dangerous items and documenting them in a way for quick access when you are running in panic when it gets out of control. All generated by people just thinking weird things up, possibly inspired by pictures.

With anything that comes from a group of people, there are good and bad entries. These are the top rated ones, and there are other rated ones... the content ranges from the engagingly developed, to the humourous, to the Loganesque, to the freaky, to the just flat weird.

One thing this all has inspired are some computer games. And they work well as them, particularly the stairway, which has inspired two games. You can watch TipsyRam play some (and I do mean you can watch her, she has set up a 'reaction cam'). While the games are freaky, especially when played in the dark, working off jump scares, and I wonder if there are low frequencies in the sounds....

What occurs to me is... RPG Source! However, I'm not sure what system could use this. This is all about evoking things in the mind, and the computer game is best played in the dark by oneself, but RPGs are typically in a group. And a group will quickly dissipate tension through humour. And if it was being run over Skype or similar, you can kiss any real spookiness goodbye. Cthulhu, for all it's horror RPG-ness, doesn't make people scream in shock. So while I would like to use this... I'm not sure how.

Anyway, read some entries and see what bizarreness is out there.


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Friday, 6 July 2012

This is a (thin) thing

There is a man... thing. It is tall, and thin. It's arms and legs can stretch out and people, children, walk into its embrace... it is the Slender Man. And it was made up by the Something Awful forums.

Now, let's be honest, all the mythical creatures were made up by someones, whether deliberately or through misunderstanding, this one is just more open about it. Although there are Slender Man documentaries (bad ones, considering the rubbish out there for UFOs and ghosts and such, couldn't we get a better one?) and blogs, so... as I said, this is a thing. Can't say I've ever heard of it before... but there might be material one could mine for RPG adventures...

Oh, and it's a computer game. Very Amnesia like, it's main gimmick is SURPRISE IT'S THE SLENDER MAN!!!!

Fortunately, it's free, because it's just beta, so there's a long way to go. Survival horror doesn't appeal to me, but I am interested in this whole Slender Man thing.

I must make up my own mythical creation some time...

Source: The Escapist Magazine.


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Thursday, 5 July 2012

Fight the Fish!

Hugh has a fight with fish. Or at least about fish. About how they are not being caught sustainably, and how, in fact, trawlers are catching fish and throwing, 'discarding' it back into the ocean... dead. Yes, that's as pointless as it seems.

This is a three-part series with a follow up of Hugh trying to get European Commission laws changed to ban discarding. Spoiler: he does quite well. Sort of. In the follow up, they have the person leading the reform discussion, Maria Damanaki say 'all catches are landed and counted against quota'. So banning discard, yes, but... I'm really hoping that's a bad phraseology or sound biteness, because that would say that you could easily go over quota with a catch and have that count against you, which I'm sure is not what is wanted, and will lead straight back to discarding.

They also introduce the mackerel bap, look at salmon fishing, and take on various super stores to own up to proper fishing practices. Spoilers continue: Hugh continues to do well. ...and now I want to go for a mackerel bap. I just ask for 'fish and chips' (or, sigh, 'fush and chups' if you insist), with whatever the typical fish is. Cod? Shark? No idea. It could be mackerel for all I know.

Anyway, if you want to support proper fishing, even if you aren't in Europe, let along Britain, you can sign up at www.fishfight.net.


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Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Kidsy Malone

Ah, yes, I saw that movie many many years ago... and again last night! I remembered very little about it, which was useful as then I could watch it again with fresh eyes. Neat.

The basic premise is gangster movie where the introduction of better guns is played out as a guy and a gal... who cares? 'COS IT'S KIDS PRETENDING TO BE ADULTS!!! GET IT!!!!! IT'S FUNNY!!!!! Okay, it's not that funny, and the whole cream shooting guns is at best 'cute', but... IT'S KIDS PRETENDING TO BE ADULTS!!! GET IT!!!!! IT'S FUNNY!!!!! Sigh. It does lead to an ending that most people do remember that could be best described as Mel Brooks-ian.

And, surprisingly, the kids are quite good. When they are not being sung over by adults that is (the Tallulah song is just bad). Scott Baio and Florrie Dugger give fine performances and it's it great to see how their careers flourished afterwards? And of course Jodie Foster as the uncomfortable Tallulah. Looking through the rest of the names, no others spring to note... except for one Bonita Langford (I thought it was her, but didn't pick on the character name until looking through the list). Belting out the tunes even back then, eh?

It's a movie that might be worth seeing as an oddity, but thankfully hasn't been repeated even though IT'S KIDS PRETENDING TO BE ADULTS!!! GET IT!!!!! IT'S FUNNY!!!!!


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Tuesday, 3 July 2012


Wow, a movie either so recent or so bad it doesn't have an IMDB entry worth noticing yet...

So, family of women get caught out in a storm, shelter at a nearby house, and get trapped by, basically, hillbillies with mutated family members. You know, as it normally happens. So freaking often. Seriously, there isn't anything more in it. Oh, there's handwaves about why the locals are acting weird and there's a hint there's an asskicking coming at the end, but... meh.

Okay, I wasn't paying complete attention, but still, I can't imagine I missed anything of note. Certainly even the make up effects aren't worth noting. The director goes for the 'less is more' aspect of not showing a lot... but the flip side is that we don't get to see anything that makes us get scared or not bored or anything...

The film tries to do more character wise with the woman than usual, but still doesn't make any point of difference. Frankly, you can tell what's going on from what I've said here. Not given spoilers, but it isn't anything new.

Unless you really want to see this... you've already seen this.


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Monday, 2 July 2012


What's the worst thing about earthquakes? If you said, Spider attack! then this is the movie for you! However, for the rest of us, this is an atrocious mess... comparable to Asylum! It is a Syfy movie, so they are clearly setting their benchmarks.

In New Orleans there was an earthquake (we don't get to see it, the characters tell us there was. On the one hand, we can live without it, on the other hand, show don't tell), and now there are spiders. Of increasing size, of course. And lo!, there were a bunch of no-bodies that have to deal with it, while pretending to have interesting characters, and whose death scenes are no more than 'oh, they died'. And yes, there is the huge spider fight, because you have to have a huge spider fight. (Yes, yes you do have to have one. If there wasn't one, I would have docked major points from this movie, because the audience demands a giant spider fight, so we got one! Yay!) It's a stupid fight, but it's there.

And in the slumming it stakes, we have Ethan Phillips, and if there was anyone else of note in this movie, they had the grace to not have a career I've heard of. I do note with amusement that the main guy is an actor named Bug Hall. The spiders are clearly CGI, although there is a nice large prop one they play with.

You get what you expect with this movie, and it's as terrible as you'd think.


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Sunday, 1 July 2012

Quantum Conundrum

The past few days I've been sinking time (upwards of 10 hours!) into playing an extremely new game: Quantum Conundrum.

It's a first person puzzle game involving strange physics, and a disembodied voice leading you on. Yes, okay, let's get it out of the way: it's reminiscent of Portal. But then, so are so many other first person physics games. It would be hard to create one that isn't reminding people of Portal, and many people have said other non-first person physics games remind them of Portal, so... where does it end? Okay, one of the people designing this game also designed Portal, but...

In this game, you have a device that changes the physics of the world to being fluffy (aka everything is light), heavy, slow motion or anti-gravity. Very much or. There are many levels where you need to quickly switch from one to the other and getting your fingers to the controls in time can be very tricky (certainly it proved very frustrating for my brain to try to get around it). And by the way, if you watch people playing, if you see them often switching to the fluffy dimension when they don't want to... that's because they are hitting the E key as the Use key. Did that a lot too.

(And I'm sure there are videos of people playing this. And completing this. And getting speed runs. And people will have all the achievements already and everything... you know what, some of us aren't hard core and have to work and such...)

Anyway, I finally made my way through the story mode, and got to the ending. However... the very last note of the game is odd... is that the bad ending or something? And if I go back to 'continue' game, do I lose all the collectibles or something? I don't know... I could try, but...

And this is the problem. Having completed the basic story... I'm not eager to jump back in and play more. Maybe I need more of a break? I brough the season pass, so I'm getting the DLC, but I can't say that I'm wanting to play it...

Maybe it was too much of a slog in places? (Some places were excessively 'make a little progress, then do the next section over and over and over again'... hitting bits of the geometry could easily screw things over that you have to start over. And because of the collision detection being fernickity, I wasn't always sure what I did that caused me to die. That was not fun.) Maybe I should have waited until I saw more of it? Maybe the game wasn't really for me?

It should have been. Yet... having completed it, all I can say is "...meh...".


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