Yes, I'm talking about Iron Man... but not that, not yet...
I had heard (and it was generally presumed) that one of the sources of the latest film was the Extremis storyline by Warren Elis with art by Adi Granov. And the first thing I want to say is: the art is very nice! A painterly style gives it a different tone to the usual comics, while not being overly photorealistic. Stark looks different, and the characters are nicely differentiated. The Iron Man suit is... very samey, it has to be said, lots of gold and red, and I took the change in style to be as read more than I checked explicitly to see what Adi did. The art did give a more subdued note to the fights, with the lack of bright stand out colours meaning the fights lost some of their power. Still, I liked the art.
The story on the other hand... is very much on the other hand. Why are people so excited by this? We get another retelling of the Iron Man origin, and the big point of the story is the step up in the way Tony interacts with his suit. Is there more in the on-going story line with him becoming more powerful or something? From the way I've heard people talk about it, I thought he was going to be able to exude the whole armour from his skin, but it's not that exciting. It's just a new method for wearing a thin undersuit... yay? The Extremis plot device sounds like it could be a way to give more people superpowers, but other than it being a test with Tony being a guinea pig, there's no hint that it will be used for more. (Again I ask, was more done with this?)
I heard this was something different. And remain underwhelmed.
Tuesday, 30 April 2013
Yes, I'm talking about Iron Man... but not that, not yet...
Monday, 29 April 2013
Sudden thought while watching the first few seconds: "what if this is Doctor Who meets Red Dwarf? Please no!" Oh well, let's set the control for the heart of the TARDIS!
Wow. Talk about... wow. People mention a lot of episodes hit the reset button at the end, but a literal reset button... (which, note, had centered text on it, even though the text on Clara's hand was left justified). Yeah, reset everything, make the entire episode pointless...
Not that it was giving great value anyway. Why did the Doctor lower the shields? In basic mode, you want more basic protection against the user doing something wrong! But without that there wouldn't be an episode, where the Doctor gets thrown from the TARDIS... somehow. And then the van Brulen brothers have to go in (and fortunately not Red Dwarf at all), and what was the point of them? They bicker, and the big revelation is that they pranked their brother? Am I supposed to care about them?
Then there's the inside of the TARDIS. Lots of corridors, as expected (although not the same as last season, but there has been a console change, so the corridors could change too). Lots of CGI rooms put at the end of corridors where there would otherwise be blue screens. A library with a plot point that the writer wouldn't be allowed to spoil, even if Moffat actually ever told anyone. And a console that spews clips from previous episodes. A couple of different rooms again, but... I dunno if it the production set up, but overall, I just wasn't impressed. It felt too cramped, even in spite of the CGI extensions.
And the monsters... pro-tip: if you blur the picture, it just makes me think you haven't got a good monster design. And how exactly did they come about if the time line was never going to happen (for them to happen, the Doctor needed to keep his hand to his face, which he didn't as soon as he had, so there). And the designs weren't that bad, so was the director afraid of showing them anyway?
So far, the better inside TARDIS stories are ones where they focus on the characters. In this, they are running around, showing off 'ooh, we are inside the TARDIS', that they never get to that part (at least, not more than superficially). I should be more enthused about this episode that I am.
Next week: We're back with hersits and them and... *insert overly worn out sigh here*
Sunday, 28 April 2013
Ah, the movie the audience said 'Is that Titanic? No? It's some other boat disaster movie?' And indeed it is another boat disaster movie, but better than Titanic in that it is only half the length.
People are on a huge boat out in the middle of nowhere, when suddenly physics leaves. Then a huge wave turns up (they are rare and sometimes turn up when a plot needs one), and the boat is flipped in some way that I'm pretty sure would never actually happen. Then a group of unlikeable people decide to leave the safety of one place and go through the huge boat, encountering hard to cross parts and underwater parts and... and those are about it. Just more of them. And not enough people die! (I'm not counting the extras here, because who cares about them.) And in the end, the CGI is lost beneath the waves and we rejoice.
We have Richard Dreyfuss and Kurt Russell in this, but neither of them are turning in stand out performances, and could easily have had their parts played by anyone else. Indeed, no-one in the case is giving a stellar performance... but can someone tell me why Fergie is in this without saying 'stunt casting'?
I remember a lot of the trailers around emphasising the 'upside boat' nature of the boat and sets, but one boat corridor looks largely the same upside down or not. As do large rooms, once lights go out and what was on the floor is now on the ceiling.
Basically, it's a generic disaster movie. I was wondering if RTD saw this before writing the script for Voyage of the Damned, but there are no forklifts in this... because that would have been stupid.
Saturday, 27 April 2013
I had heard of him mentioned around various places, but I didn't bother to watch him. Until recently. Someone tweeted a link to his Cat in the Hat review (Blip? ugh), and so I decided to give it a shot.
Okay. I like a good take down as much as the next person, and he takes down well. Very well. Completely ripped into Mike Myers for that one. Fair enough.
But now I'm trawling through his back catalogue. Like I didn't have enough to do! Although I am being picky and not watching everything so that will help. Just nearly mostly everything.
Here's one that isn't the latest one, but is a severe take down of Catwomen. Go harder man! Here is... The Nostalgia Critic:
Friday, 26 April 2013
I don't think I saw the original, and now I want to pretend I didn't see the sequel. At least, I suppose it's a sequel, what with the 2 and everything, but if they referenced the first movie, I have no idea, and it certainly seems stand alone.
The plot is: I see dead people. And they are douches. Expanding on that: a family, and the aunt, go to a new house. All the women (including the girl) can see the veil, or beyond the veil, or some such nonsense, and basically see ghosts. And in the second half of the movie, the ghosts seem to be acting up and getting scary, but it looks like all they wanted was to show what happened to them, and then everything is fine... er what? So, no actual tension about anything then? Certainly no action, when the ghosts are defeated by the power of exposition. (I probably should say 'spoilers', but I wasn't really paying full attention, so can only pass on what I gleamed from glazed over eyes.)
Looking at the cast list, there is more people there than I remember (certainly more than I would think would credits as named characters). The big name being Katie Sackhoff, sporting red hair and a Southern accent. Otherwise... meh. Along with the production, meh. There was one actually neat / spooky scene, but it gets undercut (ha! - that will make sense if you ever see the movie - don't see the movie) by it not paying off as interesting in any way afterwards.
Not even a proper ghost story.
Thursday, 25 April 2013
No matter what you do, you can't keep them murdering genetically engineered balls of hate down. I'm talkin' about my Dalek Generation, by Nicholas Briggs.
Briggs has already done his own thing with the Daleks for three (at least) audio seasons by now, so it's no surprise that this isn't just another Dalek Invasion story... unfortunately. The Dalek Federation is nice, and set up the Sunshine Worlds for everyone to live on. Aaww, aren't they nice? Except the Doctor comes across them (using the tired plot device of 'message from the future') just after they attacked a ship, leading to the death of two adults and thus leaving... three kids! Yes, another book featuring children! Because it's a book for children! Seriously, WTF? Despite it nominally being a series for children, how many actual episodes of the show featured kids? Count them! Go on! Sod all! (Okay, far higher in the new series.) And how many of Briggs' own audios (expanding over Audio/Visuals and Big Finish stories by all writers) feature kids? Sod all! So why does he all of a sudden feel the need to throw in three of them, just because he's now in prose form???
Anyway, it's a run around story with no-one believing the Daleks are evil, and of course the Daleks are evil, and there's a huge super weapon capable of destroying everything, and is it a Bernice Summerfield story all of a sudden?
It is all rather surface with no real substance, and everyone is shallow, and I can't now remember anything of note that happened in the story...
There's your recommendation. I only just finished it, and most of it has already gone from my memory. Enjoy.
Wednesday, 24 April 2013
After sitting on our asses on Charis, we... go out into space and sit on our asses. And wait for the Far Star to turn up. As soon as it did, we get aboard then take off as it has drawn unwanted Imperial attention.
In the Far Star, we [now us wider we] head for Gandle-Ott, as that is where we last knew Sarne to be. Checking the recent news upload, we see that Sarne gathered a fleet there, then planned to go searching for pirates. Oh dear. Planning, we get the course ready for Mairne, and then we arrive at G-O... and find no ships. They just left...
What remains of the administration is very welcome to see us come down (yeah, we kinda made it seem like we were Imperials). Although there was a little bit of confusion with thinking we are pirates (and Loffryn got shot at). After we get that sorted out, we are treated like royalty. Well, those few of us who are going off ship.
We've got a huge day of events before us. And by day, I mean several days. Still, we are setting a ceremony for Loffryn getting a medal in honour of the work he did in taking back the ship (which he doesn't want), so have until then to lay the idea that the Republic might not be too bad to have in charge...
Tuesday, 23 April 2013
The destitution of TV that is! This is another two-part disaster series, and it is just as terrible as the last one I wrote about. In fact, just go read that again, it is, in many ways, a reskin of the basic plot, just as this is.
What I would like to see in a natural disaster plot is one where the lead scientist (who is usually male) doesn't have a kid that immediately gets into trouble and needs rescuing. (In this case, the kid joins up with the eco-terrorists to partly cause the destruction in the first place. They are really, painfully stupid.)
I'd also like for science not to be given as the cause of the disasters. We want to explore some new area, and guess what, IT GOES WRONG! Because we should never try for understanding anything at all, and go back to being cavemen hooting at the sky in fear whenever it rains! Fuck you, you lazy script writers that can't come up with anything more original than 'we should not try to extend our understanding'. While, yes, science is nominally name checked to come up with a solution, it is usually something involving explosives, or at least something that ends up with a big boom, because again that's the only thing script writers can put (and that's largely because people in charge think that's all people want, because that's all people have been given).
At least a threat from space idea can't be blamed on us (oh wait, unless we dared to probe the heavens, and then pissed off god??), so that's something we can turn to. Then all we need is the rest of the three hours not to spent on characterisation for the point of pretending that these people have lives that we are supposed to care about. You need better writers than disaster story script writers to be able to pull that off.
Monday, 22 April 2013
What? How could they? This is the most eggregious error in the history of the entire existence of the universe! It's Me-ta-BE-lis 3, not Me-TAB-e-lis 3! That's it, illusion shattered, complete disengagement from the show, I'm leaving it's all over...
Now there have been a few episodes where the name of the episode isn't immediately obvious as relating to the episode itself. There certainly wasn't a lot of hiding in this episode. Unless you count the monster. In which case it should have hid more, because as soon as we had that final close up image of it... I started laughing. Yeah, that's the effect they were going for, clearly.
But my overall impression of this episode is... brown. Overall a very dull palette for this story. It is supposedly in 1974, but they dress like it's 1947. The main interior rooms are brown, the forest is a dull blue, and outside is generally just dark nothing. The red of Clara's umbrella is very noticeable against all this. And the TARDIS interior is the only thing that looks interesting.
Oh, and then there's the story. A ghost that turns out to be a descendant of the main couple trapped in a pocket universe... is there any point when Steven Moffat went 'Hey, Neil, perhaps just take out one or two elements there, make it cleaner'? Because if he didn't (and from what I've heard he doesn't actually do a lot of editing, even through that's his job), he definitely dropped the ball. Neil Cross wanted the arching theme of 'love lasts forever', but made it far too obtuse to be shown, so has to resort to telling. I hear that's a bad thing.
This comes off as a not very good filler episode (and I happy want to ignore the whole 'What is Clara?' moment, because that's a terrible forced in point). In some ways, this half-season is feeling the same way.
Next time: A story set in the TARDIS? Or just one corridor set again?
Sunday, 21 April 2013
Hey, remember Eight Legged Freaks? Wasn't that a good movie? Not really? Well, compared to this movie, that wasn't half bad. A lot of questions in this movie seemed to be answered with "Because... Shut up!", which I shall abbreviate to BS.
It seems a while ago a spaceship or something crashed in Russia, containing something. And so they took DNA and injected it into different creatures until it worked with spiders, and then they grew them in space... (why? BS!). The spiders killed everyone there, and was then knocked out space into New York, which was obviously bound too happen sooner or later. Enter... Train Transit Authority Man! With his amazing ability to run awkwardly! And be able to tell military soldiers that he won't obey them! Together with his wife, I Only Have Enough Characterisation To Be Set Up As Someone To Be Saved By Train Transit Authority Man, they investigate the crash and discover the spiders. Then the military contains everything... well, okay, 30 minutes in, and we're done! Except the spiders grow big (why? BS!) and escape (how? BS!). And the huge spider queen is resistant to guns and RPGs (why? BS!). Fortunately, there's a train parked next to a huge bank of explode-able gas (what???? BS!), and so Train Transit Authority Man is able to save the day!
So, quickly, the actors... happen to be on screen. The spiders... happen to also be on screen as well. Nothing looks good.
For the first 30 or so minutes, this could have been interesting, but it quickly descended into 'ugh, I don't care any more'. Wait... this looks to be an actual movie, and not some Syfy rubbish? What? What possible reason is there for that? ... BS!
Saturday, 20 April 2013
Instead of small hardbacks, we have a set of mid size paperbacks. The first one is a about a dentistry practice, Justin Richards' Plaque of the Cybermen. Or something like that.
How many Cyberships landed on Earth over time? Remember when it was a big thing that Mondas turned up, the first time Cybermen met their counterparts? Now they are all over the place, and all over time. In this book, it is the 19th Century (as evidenced by the back cover, no mention is given to dates in the story itself), and strange things are happening to bodies... but it isn't long before the Doctor uncovers evidence of Cybermen (which is just as well, because their presence was given away in the book title, and it would have been annoying if they were kept back as a big surprise). And then there's a lot of running around until the Doctor comes up with some way to defeat them.
Another way to view this: throw in dashes of Tomb of the Cybermen, The Moonbase, The Invasion (and a moment of The Brain of Morbius), and mix tepidly. There is only really one actual original idea here, otherwise what isn't running around is rehashing ideas from other stories. Even the companion du livre only has characterisation of 'is a teacher' and that's about it. Don't even ask me how old she is, because I never got a good impression of it.
Justin hasn't been doing great work. He is definitely capable of it, but this isn't it.
Friday, 19 April 2013
[Yes, I know I just posted about a magical unicorn...] I blame Digital Gonzo for having a podcast discussing this. So I speaking out some episodes, and knowing the internet I knew somewhere would be a Season 1 compila- Bing!
It's... adequate. There are a couple of decent moments, but with over nine hours, that's inevitable (note: I watched this at double speed, so only nearly five hours of time). But even though I watched all of it... I'm not a Brony. It's a good cartoon... but it's nothing to write to Princess Celestia about (ha! See what I did there?). And every episode has a message... but I don't think I got what I was supposed to out of it.
Presenting... my takes on the teachings of each episode of Season 1!
Ep 1/2: If you get new friends, hopefully they will fit archetypes of an ancient prophecy.
Ep 3: If you get something special, never let anyone else find out.
Ep 4: If you screw up, as long as people don’t talk, you’ll still be asked to help more.
Ep 5: The best prank is the one you don’t play.
Ep 6: If you are going to boast about something, make sure it’s something unique that will never happen again.
Ep 7: When scared, a good source of inspiration is the near death of all your friends.
Ep 8: There is no situation that friends can’t make worse.
Ep 9: Always send the youngest in first.
Ep 10: Beware Tribbles!
Ep 11: Cleaning is easy if you just sing a song.
Ep 12: Being unique is the only important thing in life.
Ep 13: No-one cares if you cheat if you come in last.
Ep 14: Get less fussy friends.
Ep 15: Beware of ponies carrying things in the sky.
Ep 16: There’s always someone prettier to get attention.
Ep 17: Kids get away with the darnest things.
Ep 18: Trying and accidentally succeeding at something is better than trying and failing at what you want to do.
Ep 19: Whining and complaining are the best ways to get a job done.
Ep 20: Models just can’t do anything wrong.
Ep 21: Singing is the cause of war and devastation.
Ep 22: Phoenixes are dicks.
Ep 23: Everyone will talk about themselves at the drop of a hat.
Ep 24: There is no chore that can’t be ignored by sleeping.
Ep 25: Never throw a party for a manic depressive.
Ep 26: Never have hopes and dreams when attending a party.
(And yes, I have season two to watch as well.)
Thursday, 18 April 2013
A while ago, I kickstartered a manga translation, and the first item they intended to produce is... Unico! 400 pages, full colour... ooooooh.... And it is indeed a nice wee (well, rather large and slab like) book. There is anime/movies, but this brings out the manga in English.
Unico is... surprise surprise, a unicorn! And if someone loves him, he can do amazing magical things for them. Except the queen Venus is jealous of the woman he is currently a pet to, so the wind Zephyrus takes him to strange far away locations where his memory is gone. But at each location he finds someone to help, be it woman, boy, cat, or other.
As they say on the kickstarter: Think Quantum Leap meets classic Disney, with a dose of Tezuka's unique, humane spiritual sensibility.
Some of those stories are quite unusual. A place where a computer controlled factory loves a little girl? Both wonderfully strange and creepy, but Osamu Tezuka makes it work.
The pages are interestingly illustrated to, in that the panels take up most of the page, but the images continue out to the edge of the pages (you can see examples on that site).
(And if you are interested, it is available for sale soon.)
Wednesday, 17 April 2013
I don't read as much manga as I would like to. There are some great stories told in that medium, but the main problem is that they are long, and spread out over many volumes. So either be patient about collecting them, or get a whole set at once. Which is expensive. But there was one story recently that intrigued me, and so I picked up the entire set. (That is an affiliate free link to Amazon. I don't do affiliate links.)
"If a human's name is written in the Death Note, that human will die."
The story is of Light Yagami, who finds a Death Note, and decides to make the word a better place by getting rid of all the criminals. Against him is L, the best detective in the world. Oh, and they are both teenagers. And so is the battle on between Light and L as L closes in on him. And then... it is actually an interesting story. Light is picking on criminals, so we are less against him than we might be with other victims (and most happen off screen), so while Light is a murderer, on some level you want to see if he can get away with it.
And then there's Misa, and Near and Mello... and the Shinigami of course. A huge cast of characters that make the story spin out over 108 chapters / 12 volumes. And in the set I got, there's also the 'behind the scenes' book volume 13.
Because this is manga, there are other stories spinning off from this as well. More L, more Shinigami, more Death Notes... However, I'm going to say no. As it is, I have this big 13 volume set, and no idea where to store it. I doubt I'll read it again, so now it's just taking up space. I'm glad I got it, glad I read it, but... Trade Me maybe?
Anyway, decent story, check it out. And if you want to buy mine, let me know...
Tuesday, 16 April 2013
I haven't heard of Rza before. I see he had a part in GIJ, and I'm guessing he's a rapper or something. And an actor, writer and director, it seems. Although with varying success with this evidence.
There's a guy with spiky armour whose father was killed by Lions, who joins up with Russell Crowe who likes the ladies, and a blacksmith that joined the monks of blacksmithing. On the other side are the Lions, and a chap with a golden CGI body. There is also Lucy Lui and her female crazy 88s, and... a bunch of other people, I couldn't keep track. The problem with this movie is that there is a lot of different people thrown at you, with different skills, who having varying alliances, and...
The problem with this movie is that it is a lot of small set pieces with lots of action. But connecting them together produces a convoluted plot that is simplified only by lots of people dying, but since I don't know who any of them are, or what they have to do with the plot, it's hard to know if any of it matters.
There is quite the cast though. Aside from Rza, there is Rick Yune, Russell Crowe, Lucy Lui, Byron Mann.. and surprise Pam Grier! Eli Roth was also involved in this, and Quentin Tarantino... has his name presenting it.
This wants to be up there with full on kung fu epics with lots of action pieces and some humour and... it doesn't quite make it. It wants to... but no.
Monday, 15 April 2013
Mark Gatiss turns in a workman script. Given how closely he's working with Moffat on various things, is he being considered to shoulder tap for taking over the show runner spot? Personally I think Rob Shearman would be a better choice as a successor, but since I've personally had dinner with him, I could be biased.
The first part of the episode was pretty hectic. But good. And HADS? Really? It didn't work for a reason (too convenient), so why bother bringing it back? But then the middle of the episode slowed down to a crawl as Mark Gatiss tries to shoehorn in some characterisation, but doesn't go anywhere. Was I the only one thinking seaQuest at the ending? (Psst... keyholes don't turn like that.) Overall, the plot isn't asking too much of the audience, and the 1983 setting seems largely just so he can get a Cold War joke in.
Let's dish about the new Ice Warrior design. The outfit, fine. Quite fitting with the previous stuff, although a little disappointed there was no clamp hand. But... what the hell was up with the usb finger wires? What? And then there's the Martian inside. The claws don't fit (and fingernails?). But the CGI face... completely doesn't fit, especially the mouth, which we saw when he was in the suit, was not this wide morphing CGI rubbish. Overall... 7 for the armour, 3 for the creature. And can someone tell me why exactly it was clicking away like it was a freaking Predator???
Liam Cunningham, Tobias Menzies... Game of Thrones cross-over much? (In that I note they also appeared on GoT in some role or another.) And just how Russian is that name Stepashin? Then there's David Warner, acting much like he's too old for this. By which I mean he's looking like he's 71. Nice to see him, of course, but not exactly bouncing around like he's a possible casting choice for the Doctor any more. Shame.
End of the day, it looks like Mark was trying to do for the Ice Warriors what Rob did for Dalek... but worse. Meh.
Next time: wasn't that a Sarah Jane Adventure episode?
Sunday, 14 April 2013
Another new series is Hannibal, featuring everyone's favourite insane madman, Anthony Hopkins! This series is an 'adaptation' of Red Dragon, with Anthony being played by Mads Nikkelsen and Will Graham by Hugh Dancy. It's been a long time since I read that book, in fact didn't even recall Will as a previously established character. It's by Bryan Fuller, who also did Wonderfalls... and now those two universes have been combined, which I'm sure Tommy Westphall appreciates.
The specific set-up here is that Will is a brilliant profiler who can turn back time... a shtick that involves a lot of CGI and reverse film to accomplish, so he can put himself in the mind of the killer of the week. Possibly going too far, his boss Jack (played by Lawrence Fishburne) brings in another psychologist to help with a case, and then with Will, one Hannibal Lecter.
At least in this case, we don't have the problem of the good guys needing to be excessively incompetent for the bad guys to win. Partly because the bad guys are going to be 'killer of the week' disposable fodder, but mostly because Lecter is on the inside and can either help out or deal with the bad guys himself. Phew about that. On the other hand, we the audience know Lecter is evil, so there will be many cases of moments of 'oh, why can't you realise he's evil, because he just got away with so many things, and we like narrative justice to take place'. (Which won't happen for a while or we'll run out of book/series too quickly.)
Only had two episodes so far, but it is watchable... although I do admit to having problems understanding Nikkelsen's accent. Aside from that, I'm liking it so far, and want to see how it develops.
Saturday, 13 April 2013
It's about to start, the generic 'can we survive post-apocalypse' where the apocalypse at the moment is an alien invasion thing. Doesn't sound that inspiring, not even sure I'll bother to check it out.
However, the big thing about it, is that there's an associated video game (MMO style). And they have claimed that what happens in the show will affect the game, and vice versa. There are many events in the video game to deal with, but there are 'Ark' events that will be big. However, I see some issues with this, and this 'big thing' can't be that big at all.
First of all, this really depends on being able to watch the series to really get it. Which is limited to people who get the Syfy channel. (...and whoever else can get a hold of it...) But mainly Americans. So, on behalf of the rest of the world, thanks for that. I guess you don't want me in this game then? And if there are overseas screenings, will there be repeated on the associated video game moments? (Let alone reruns... and then there are DVD sales...)
Beyond that, events in the video game will be referred to in the show. Let's just think for a moment about production cycles. How many shows do you think record the week leading up to screening? Let alone still have actual production (not post-production) up to then. No, the episodes are recorded several weeks in advance. So any references will be limited at best to what they can drop in at the last moment. Probably easiest if they just have some audio dialogue without needing to have associated screen lip sync, but they could also record different versions of the 'they succeeded'/'they failed' moments. Assuming it is any more than 'hey this thing happened... yeah... over there... just beyond the side of the screen... and it's a thing... over there... anyway, over with us'. (Psych, for its 100th episode, had an ending that depended on how much twitter chat there was... yeah, like they didn't have different endings pre-recorded to drop in. Would have been more impressed if it was a live show.)
But another point is, the show has its plotline, which, again given the lead in in the recordings, can't be disrupted too much by what is happening in the video game. What if the players all fail? Or no-one shows up? Or win so decisively, the eventual upcoming combats aren't even in doubt. (Let alone any technical issues that cause the show to be delayed, or servers to go out.) The show has to be ambivalent to this. So, at best, there will be references of 'this thing happened, and we kicked ass', but nothing else relevant to the outcome will matter. If someone/something is being delivered in that moment, that will have to happen regardless of the players killing everyone/stealing everything.
Ultimately, the video game cannot be anything other than irrelevant to the game, aside from minor token mentions.
Unless I'm completely wrong and this integration is amazing... but based on how well the game has been made, I'm thinking they don't have that level of production quality.
Friday, 12 April 2013
Do you remember a Go Joe movie in which the Joes were this huge international team, and had lots of cool toys and a big underground base, and lots of people with varied skills and SHUT UP, IT DIDN'T HAPPEN! LALALALALALA!!!!!
At least, that's what this movie would have you believe. While the events did happen, all the technology and... well... budget is ignored here. Oh and yes, I saw it in 3D, and there were actual 3D moments when I blinked my eyes because there were things coming towards the screen. Woo!
In this version, the Joes are, basically, an elite marine corp team that has guns and shoots things... and that's about it. They work for America (it seems), and can be easily taken out by anyone with a helicopter or two. And then go on to have big flashy fight scenes that... well... bored me. Oh, I could tell they were big and impressive, but... they didn't mean anything. No scope to them. Just... dull. (Actually, I do like Cobra's world domination plans. They are very effective! Also, they seem to be the ones with the budget in this movie.)
As for the cast, they aren't much better. While the enhanced Channing adds nothing to the plot (such as it is), we get the Rock and... some other people wandering around. Jonathan Pryce isn't stealing the scene, so what's up with that? And Byung-hun Lee fails to fill his role with any point at all.
Can an entire movie just phone it in? If so, this did.
Thursday, 11 April 2013
I only just talked about the start of the series, but I'm caught up now. And there is an aspect of it that is totally pissing me off. I think I have talked about this sort of thing before, but I'm going to do so again.
Yes, there are spoilers, but I only talk about broad general points, no specific details. If you've seen up to episode seven, that's enough.
For the good guys, we have Ryan Hardy and co. For the bad guys, we have Joe Carroll and co. I'll refer to Ryan generally as short hand for the good guys, and Joe for the bad guys.
Basically, for a television plot, we need to have the good guys over coming adversity. So the bad guys need to be somewhat competent to actually create a threat. However, this series has decided on another approach... namely, the good guys are extremely incompetent. How do the bad guys get again? Easy if the good guys are continually unable to find their own ass with an entire team helping!
This is, basically, bad writing. In one sense, we are now supposed to have flawed heroes, so Ryan has a pacemaker, a troubled past (as does the lead agent, and she really does), and the team have no idea how far things are going, and don't know if someone is a killer or not. (PRO-TIP: Every guest so far is either a victim or a killer. Usually the victim ends up dead quickly, so treat anyone standing after five minutes as a killer.)
But if they are so useless, how will the bad guys be taken down? What we have is the killers all in a house... so Joe and co are in one confined location, and everyone in there is a psychopath to some degree... um... So here's what will happen. The bad guys will fail, not because the good guys will prevail, but because they will self-destruct. How is that good writing? We are supposed to root for the good guys, but they can't do anything without being hampered by the plot of the bad guys needing to get away!
Which leads me to how I predict this series will end (and I know there is a second series). In the last episode, there's going to be a climatic battle between the teams, many of the bad guys will die, but Ryan and Joe will run away and go on a chase... and then Joe will just manage to escape (because Ryan is so flawed/incompetent/hampered by the plot) and the final revelation will be a whole new house of killers accepting Joe.
Because the plot must march on despite anything like reality (in which there is no way there will be all these killers) or plot narrative (in which minor things like the good guys winning are just minor road bumps to extending the series).
Oh, and I know the good guys are supposed to be law abiding and all that, but seriously there comes a point in their reality where enough is enough and just kill Joe when you have the chance. But no... because he's the Joker.
Wednesday, 10 April 2013
On the planet of Charis... a group of us land. Well, nearly. We get called up as soon as we enter the system, and we pretend 'we're just traders'. Then they are 'send us your details'. Oops... one faked set of details later, we land. And then the dock master wants our details too. Really? No communication on this Imperial world it seems. Fortunately, we fake up... I mean honestly report our cargo manifest.
Out in the city, we decide the best place to find rebels is in bars, because.... so we go to two bars. One group of us is in a posh bar, where Ben sets up a meet. The other group is in a more skeevy joint, where they manage to get out without getting killed. After meeting up, we find a tail from the posh bar, confront him, but don't get anywhere before Imperials turn up, but manage to get away and write off that meeting.
Going to the skeevy bar, Ben sets up a meeting with an emaciated wookie, while Glom sets up a meeting to get information about our captain. The ship we fought is on this planet, the ship that kidnapped the captain. Hacking the information net, we find out the captain has been shipped off planet. Damn.
Meeting with the wookie, we hand over our weapons to find out the Moff took the captain to Gandell Ott yesterday, and get coordinates to/from the planet Mairne. Glom, on the other hand, annoys his contact and barely gets away. I'm sure that won't be an issue.
Down weapons, up information. Yeah, we're doing well.
[Not entirely convinced we managed to do anything really useful. Maybe getting information, not entirely sure. System-wise, I'm preferring the non-combat skill checks over actual combat.]
Tuesday, 9 April 2013
Wow, worked my way through the entire series of Buck Rogers. Have to say... the latest change is going from first season to second. What the hell happened there? Half the cast gets changed, the premise is shifted, and bam. It's odd because I definitely remember bits of season one, bits of season two, but that change caught me entirely by surprise.
Most of the episodes... don't stick in my mind. Something happens, Buck, the manliest man this side of the devastated earth, gets involved and because he's the manliest man he's able to deal with. Usually with some kind of fight scene. See? Nothing rememberable.
However... that last episode does stick in the mind.. mostly because I only just watched it, but because it ended on a down note (about the only episode to do so) and with an actual science fiction premise underlying it all. A lot of episodes are often 'people in trouble' that could be out west or different city suburb, or anything else with just a painting of sci-fi over the top of it. But this episode The Dorian Secret, while it does have a lot of that, actually has people acting like jerks out of fear and self-interest, and questions what it means to have an identity. If only all the other (or at least some of the other) episodes were as weighty, this series might have continued.
On the other hand, despite the attempt with Deering, this isn't the most women friendly series (while Princess Ardala is a commanding woman, someone get her some clothes!), so perhaps just as well.
It's definitely a series that a lot of us saw growing it. It mostly still works, but I doubt I'll ever rewatch it.
Monday, 8 April 2013
For some reason I keep thinking of this title as The Rite of AshkEnte. And I may accidentally keep mistake Steven Moffat as the writer too, for some odd reason...
It's hard to see what this episode is trying to do. Half of the episode is gone before we even get to the singing and then the danger, and the actual sun god is only about ten minutes. Clearly, that's all secondary. There's a lot made of the power of stories, and memories and songs... and then the classic defeat by too much power. But... every thing has infinite things it doesn't do. Even the Doctor does. So why the leaf so much? What? What the hells is going on with this episode?
(BTW, is it just me, or is that entire system now without a sun... um... could be an issue...)
And are we going to do the drop off/pick up for every episode? Just like in the first half of season seven? Not just this episode, but what the hell is up with this season? Is everything still going to tie into the fields of whosiwhatsit? And the Silence? Are they going to team up with the Great Intelligence? Or is the GI this part season's thing, and the Silence the big set up for the anniversary story? Not clear at all.
Back to this episode, tell me. Did anyone else get reminded of: The Beast Below, Gridlock, The Satan Pit? It came along as a steal of plot elements of all those. Only... lazily done, because of the intention of the episode, which I'm not sure about, overriding the need for a cohesive story.
I'm sure someone got this completely, and so I will eventually re-watch this episode with that new understanding and totally get it then. Until then... it's a mess.
Next time: Oh yes, a historical. Yep. Tick that off.
Sunday, 7 April 2013
A big reason people watch any series if there is a big name involved. That's why I started watching House. And so I was dragged in by the Baconator himself, Kevin Bacon. The Following is a series that is about a serial killer, who is in jail, and his Following, who are not. Bacon is playing a decommissioned FBI agent who caught the killer the first time, and is dragged in when the killer gets free again. And when the killer is caught again, it's then about those people who he set up as his cult.
And so a lot of this series is about mind games. Why does the killer want to spin out some new thing with Bacon? What plans for him do the followers have? And, for the longevity of the series, who else will turn out to be a follower?
However there are other, less intended, questions. How do various followers managed to get into places and out again, killing as they go, then get suddenly undermined when they come face to face with Bacon? (There's probably a trope for that.) How many people will suddenly be revealed as working for the killer? Will there be more than a usual season of 24? So far, I'm only four episodes in, and yet I've come to the conclusion that every guest star will either be killed or be a killer, and about half the main 'good' cast will probably be unveiled as evil before the season ends. And why are the followers having more soap opera moments than the entire run of Dynasty?
Again we seem to have the problem of Ultimate Evil suddenly needing to get their legs cut off from underneath them in the last moment because Good needs to prevail, but I'll see. There are only 15 episodes, so it shouldn't be too stretched out, but I'm sure they can.
I'm watching for now, but I hear that there will come a lot of painfully contrived set ups to allow Bacon to not die every episode, so I may yet crash and burn the series.
Saturday, 6 April 2013
I was listening to the latest Digital Gonzo where they had video game music, and for some reason, while they were playing Plants vs Zombies, I was reminded of...
Monty on the Run!
This was a game I played many years ago on the Amstrad CPC 464. (Oooooo.) With a green screen monitor, so all those lovely colours I missed. A game that was part of a series (not that I knew this then), and in this game you are Monty, on the Run! So run through various levels to escape. The main gimmick was that when you start, you select five items to help in your escape kit... and while I was good at the game, I worked out two of the items, but no idea what the others were, and thus always got stuck at one point... which was the ending! Gah! Just watched the playthrough, and I completed the game, except I never had the right items to get to the final screen! WAAAAAAAAAAAH!
The most annoying part of it: the damn teleporters! The first time, teleport, fine, you need to go there, but then you need to get through without teleporting, and timing got so annoying! Gah! They were colour dependent, and having what was basically a black and white screen made that impossible.
Anyway, here is the rather catchy theme. And a gameplay video (although I'm sure I took far longer than 12 minutes).
(How about them enemy designs, eh? Or the amazing 'you can travel as long as you are touching something' ability?)
Friday, 5 April 2013
How many people wrote off Fringe as a mere X-Files clone? Or gave up on Supernatural in the first season? Ooh, ooh, pick me! And yet... Fringe and Supernatural got really good (then Fringe crashed at the end). Anyway, the point is some series can have a very rocky beginning.
What then of judging a show based on just a descriptive line or two? Check out this guide to TV Pilots for 2013. How many of them would you pick just based on that?
To be honest, I write off most of the comedies straight away. So many of them are about 'comedian suddenly has to deal with a family situation... COMEDY!!!!!' Urgh. Those plots were overly worn out by the eighties, when I saw them then.
And the dramas aren't much better, because they sound like they are too dramatic and no fun at all. Urgh, emo, not interested. (And more then a few are simply US versions of UK shows.)
And yet there are a few I want to know more about. The Tomorrow People (yes, based on the UK show, at least they hopefully pick the right one to rip off). Sleepy Hollow (which isn't original either). The Blacklist (which hopefully isn't an 'edgy' White Collar). The Sixth Gun (based on the comic, which I haven't read). ... Hmm, I thought there was more than that, but just skimming through now, I can't see them.
Point is, I'm disregarding most of them already. Too quick? Give them a chance? To be honest, I just don't have the time. Let me know if I've missed something truly amazing on the list.
Thursday, 4 April 2013
Well, not me. But Goose Goose does. And gets very in depth and highly analysis on it. Or rather did. For a reason, the videos he did all disappeared, but people captured them and uploaded / redid them in HQ. This is his commentary for Half-Life 2.
That person is working on the next two... and just finished Episode 1. And here is a low grade version of Episode 2.
(He also mentions a Half Life commentary, but I haven't seen that.)
Wednesday, 3 April 2013
On one hand, I need to educate myself more about diet and healthy eating. On the other hand, this documentary could easily be just another example of someone promoting the latest flavour of randomly changing nutritional whims.
In the first part we learn that every diet, every discovery about how we should eat properly, what foods to avoid, is wrong. The second part goes on about how we can use technology to uncover how we ate over the last millions of years. Leading to the third part, in which we should eat like them, which basically seems to come down to avoiding grains.
Um... right. So if everything is wrong, then we know this is right because...? Because 'that's how we used ta does it, dagnabit!' And the new bad guy has shifted from carbohydrates, to fat and now on to grains. (I tell ya, if corn every gets declared the enemy, the entire economy of America goes down the toilet.. so that'll never happen.)
And, of course, all the people who talk in these things are fit people, regardless of what diet they are recommending. We keep hearing about how there's an obesity epidemic, but how come in health documentaries, the epidemic is only in crowd shots? Statistically, some of these people should be over weight, even if it is because of big bonedness!
Anyway, as ever, it comes down to good balanced overall nutrition, proper eating sizes, and exercise, and consult your doctor before taking on some latest media hyped health advice.
Tuesday, 2 April 2013
Spec Ops: The Line came out, and then, after it had a chance to sink in, everyone went crazy about it (where 'everyone' = the few people I read who are into gaming). There was this big twist, and how to talk about it would ruin the game, seriously you guys, you need to play this game.
Being a military shooter, I wasn't going to play this. I'm barely able to play any kind of shooter game, and military examples just don't interest me. However, now, finally... I've watched the LP. And... since I don't play military shooters, and was only watching, and already knew the twist, I can't say it blew my mind. The LPer, having played it before, wasn't showing his mind being blown either (which it might have the first time around, he didn't say).
However, I want to address one particular point. One question that continually occurred to me, but no-one answered because my questions were ignored as being from someone who isn't noticed, is: "How does this work if this is someone's first foray into military shooters?" It's supposedly such a devastating take down of the military shooter genre that I wonder if it can work if one isn't saturated in said genre.
And having watched the videos, and not being a military shooter, I might be able to get a little closer than others to answering this. What this watches is as 'here's a decent story that happens to be in the military shooter genre'. I've seen lots of games of decent stories, Mass Effect to name one that comes to mind, and yeah, I see similar 'story + shooting here'. If this is so innovative to military shooters, it's beyond me to contemplate.
I think some of it is 'hey, you military shooter, look how much mass murdering you are doing!' But since one mass murders in other genres, I'm not seeing this as needing to point fingers at this genre in particular. Perhaps I was into military shooters more?
So yes, people were up in arms, and tell me this is an amazing thing. But telling me it is amazing is about as amazing as I will work out it is, because it reminds me a lot of other big video games out there. Perhaps, then, I should stay away from military shooters if this is seen as innovative?
Monday, 1 April 2013
I have no idea what the episode number is so... oh, and I'm guessing Dave worked out what the title referred to three months ago, 'cos he does that.
So at last Clara joins the Doctor to be a companion. More or less... well, we know she's going to say yes. And character wise, she's pretty much the same as already has been introduced, with extra computer hacking skills... although this is an episode where hacking skills is equated exactly with ability to randomly strike keys on the keyboard, and not just the couple of mouse clicks we know it would really be.
Can't say I'm overly impressed by the plot of the episode, but it was supposed to be more about introducing the new girl and not about the menace, much like Rose. And then it all got linked in with the Great Intelligence. Not sure how it relates to, eg. Web of Fear and the like. Messier connection than last time. But we have our over-arching villain of the piece. Yay (said without enthusiasm.)
And clearly I forgot about the new TARDIS interior, because I was amazed by it anew. Less impressive was the extremely clumsy edit between getting to the TARDIS door and then going out on the plane (changing the background lighting didn't help). And those were the spoon heads... not the Cardassians...
Overall, it was a 'we really want this to be a big come back for the second half the season', and it was about as inspired as the last time Moffat did it.
Next week: The Doctor shouts a lot. Again.