This is... an odd movie. Superhero movie, and yet... it doesn't have superheroes in it? Probably to make it easier for filming. Probably it's really about four people and their relationships, and what they do when they are being themselves.
Rickshaw has taken over a town, which is quite an impressive feat. He has kidnapped four superheroes, taken away their powers, and now getting them to run all over town to save innocent citizens by facing fatal challenges. (Why didn't he just straight up kill them? Because where's the fun in that?)
By not having their powers, this raises questions about if this is a superhero movie, because there aren't superheroes, there are just people dressed up in wacky costumes with ideas about being do-gooders. (One of them looks a little like Phoenix Jones, not sure if that is intention and this is then a statement about that.)
Anyway, the whole supervillain (and sod it, let's call him a supervillain) plan is completely incidental, as it is just a way for the four people with a 'history' to come together and be forced to work together again, and thus those old issues come up. And those issues are pretty generic 'relationship fail' and 'jealous of being in the shadow', etc. Even the superhero coat of paint doesn't make them any more non-superficial.
Jason Trost does a good turn as the lead actor, although goes over in intensity more than once. That's what happens when the writer and director don't reign the actor in... especially when they are all the same person. Lucas Till and Sophie Merkley don't quite come up to the same standard, and James Remar (Dexter's dad) is just going for the 'having fun' mania acting style (which now makes me think Joker while I'm writing this, but he doesn't come off as such on screen).
A drama masquerading as superhero dramatics, it's a decent enough character piece, but nothing that innovative.
Thursday, 31 January 2013
This is... an odd movie. Superhero movie, and yet... it doesn't have superheroes in it? Probably to make it easier for filming. Probably it's really about four people and their relationships, and what they do when they are being themselves.
Wednesday, 30 January 2013
[This was a continuation of last session, in which we ended with space combat. And so picked up that battle this session. Which went the whole session. And we had about three or four extra rounds. As you might guess, the rounds took a long time because there were a lot of ships on the battlemat.
Which is just part of the reason I felt frustrated over all this. Basically the enemy side had far more ships than we did. The tokens we had represented groups of two or three ships, or, in one case, six ships.
Because, what it comes down to, is that we did the wrong thing for this particular tactical situation. Instead we acted like typical PCs and went in for the fight. Which isn't what we were supposed to do. We were supposed to ignore the bulk of the ships and target one particular group. Which most of our ships couldn't reach. And those that could wouldn't be able to deal with in time due to imbalanced numbers (two versus six).
You can say 'this is what you were supposed to do' all you like, but then there's the other frustration of dice rolls. The dice are set up so that only rarely do you actually hit. And the hits anyone did only really chipped away at the other side, so it wasn't like there was a great whittling down of ships in play. Both sides had this, but getting decent hits was not a common occurrence more like no hits with lots of advantages and disadvantages, which just made more no hits.
Ultimately, we lost named and unnamed NPCs, and our captain was nicked. Yeah. So, at the end of the day, we aren't winning, nor even seeming to get anywhere useful, because we didn't do the right play out of the gate, and the dice aren't there to make hits happen.
... wooo! ...]
Tuesday, 29 January 2013
In an effort to make more money, Marvel reinvented their superheroes into being a whole new universe of newer, hipper versions of their standard heroes. Because why not? This is the Ultimates universe, because they are all the Ultimate heroes. Which doesn't make it at all confusing that the Avengers are Ultimatised, and called... The Ultimates. On recommendation, I got the collected sets of Volume 1 and Volume 2.
So these are the Avengers, but not. Due to being done when Marvel were reinventing the movies, these Avengers are formed under SHIELD, which is led by Samuel L Jackson Nick Fury. There's a lot of set up in Volume 1, also known as 'character development', which involves various heroes being stupid and petty and annoying. And then there's an alien invasion to take up the second part. In Volume 2, we get the team breaking up, then coming back together again, because that's what happens in superhero team comics, and could easily end up happening in the next Avengers movie.
The new versions are... interesting, but variable. Hulk is more amusing, although far more violent, and actually has some form of repercussions to his rampages. Iron Man is... more of a team with Tony at the head in the suit? It's not entirely clear, and I don't have Ultimate Iron Man to find out. And the Iron Man outfit looks stupid. Captain America comes across as a bully and a jerk, really, although his character never really interested me. And Giant Man, Wasp and Hawkeye help fill up the ranks.
While I have many a compilation, these compilations do highlight the episodic nature of the issues, with discontinuity between 'this issue is character based' and 'this issue is a big fight'. As an alternative universe, it's decent enough, but given that it is different, I do feel that I need to be aware of the wider universe to fully get these stories.
Monday, 28 January 2013
Oh, a sequel. First movie... not terrible, but I knew far less about Silent Hill then. Now... I wouldn't say I know too much, but certainly I could spot references.
Heather is haunted by dreams and visions of strange creatures, and continual calls back to Silent Hill. And when her father gets kidnapped and taken there, she doesn't have much choice but to follow. Then she encounters a lot of monsters and there's a fight she isn't involved in, and then the movie ends.
Being 3D, the film makers decide to poke many things at the audience. Such as explanations. Every ten minutes there's a character to suddenly deliver several pages of exposition, before leaving off screen to not be seen again. And this is interspersed with various creatures that are there to be creatures on screen that are there. Ie., there isn't much connection.
However, there is a lot of connections with the Silent Hill 3 game, which is Heather returning to Silent Hill, following on from the set up in 1. A fair few scenes are referencing levels from the game, and Heather is dressed as she is in the game. And the ending references Origins and Downpour.
Adelaide Clemens gets a lot of work to do, with few scenes not involving her. Sean Bean is there being Sean Bean, and Carrie-Anne Moss is there behind a lot of white make up. And surprise Malcolm McDowell!
The disconnect between slabs of exposition and monster shots drag the rating of this movie down, but is a decent enough adaptation of the game.
Sunday, 27 January 2013
Is this a student film? It feels like a student film. And not in a good way. These are not good thoughts to have when watching a movie when the director, at least, has spent a few years making movies. And yet...
It's the "future", in 2535 (a setting is completely cohesively maintained, and not at all ruined when, while in a created base in the "future" they go past a fire extinguisher last checked, according to the prominently displayed label, in 2010), there are robots, and they have lightsabers, Yep, lightsabers. 'Cos that's a thing that robots get in the future, despite the fact that only one robot has it and why wouldn't all when they can cut through anything? Anyway, the robots are building new robots, which is a bad thing? So a group of peoples are sent in to get info and end up fighting the new robot which picks them off one by one in an incredibly convincing way...
Because the special effects are so real. And not at all incredibly fake, which at all doesn't explain why there are only a handful of shots in which real actors are in screen at the same time as CGI creatures they normally cut away to. And the guns all fire entirely realistically and not put not muzzle flashes in post-production, except for those shots they forgot to put muzzle flashes on, although the fire was firing really. So amazingly done, guys.
And the actors were not one-note at all. There was even a twist! Which everyone could guess after the first hint, not that it wasn't original at all. And a lot was spent on location filming in that one warehouse and that one office place, and that one set they had that they reused over and over... at least the sound was perfectly clear and not at all incredibly garbled whenever they had intercom speech.
And yet, somehow, 2.1 rating on IMDB. Weird.
Saturday, 26 January 2013
The poster for this movie looked interesting, some big names in there. And it looked to be heading into humourous territory. And, I see, by the same guy that did In Bruges, which takes a while to get going, but is good.
The movie stars like a better version of a Tarantino movie, and then gets better again. It's about a guy who's writing a movie about seven people who are psychopaths, and there also happen to be seven people in this movie who happen to be psychopaths (more or less). While being slightly self-referential, it's also just engaging and absorbing, and while watching this I took moments when I recognised that I was just straight up enjoying it.
Those big names I mentioned: Colin Farrell, Sam Rockwell, Christopher Walken and Woody Harrelson. Yeah, right! (There are also some women in this, but they don't matter. And it doesn't help when the movie points this out about itself, because the women still aren't well written.) There are some great moments with these people, and it helps that the movie isn't taking itself seriously.
Definite thumbs up, check this movie out.
Friday, 25 January 2013
Peter's talking about the movie, which I already did. But since I haven't mentioned the book..
One thing that struck me when reading The Hobbit was how comedic it was. At least at the beginning. It got a lot darker towards the end, but I hear some of the chance in tone is due to rewriting after Tolkein did LotR. Certainly the blue and yellow caps of the Dwarfs speak more to Disney cartoons than a serious squad of fighting dwarfs... not that they do a lot of fighting.
I had thought I had read the book before, remembering the Riddles in the Dark section that everyone does. And yet, as I went on, I had to remembrance of anything I was reading. Did I give up? Did I just forget it? Did I never read the book in the first place, or only read that chapter? Certainly I know I had to have a second attempt to read LotR (which I'm now tempted to re-read, what with the movies and having read The Hobbit). Certainly I didn't expect that end of Smaug, and as for the Battle of Five armies...
Still, I can see where they will be padding out three movies out of this. Peter Jackson loves his big battles, so boom, yeah, Five Armies it is. And who knows how long the dragon attack will be...
But this is Bilbo's book, so he gets a lot to do. Even when having to incapacitate the dwarfs in order to give him something to do. He uses the One Ring (before it was known to be the One Ring) a lot, and given they're going slo-mo with the movie, I'm not sure how well that's going to come off. Perhaps that's how they will be padding out the movie? Bilbo invisible versus the spiders and in the Elf settlement... ten minutes just to cross the room!
Actually the best moment for Bilbo is in the stand-off before the Battle, when Bilbo takes events into his own hands to try to end it. Yes, this is so he will be able to get back home and stop whining about not being home. Which he does. A lot. But yeah, going against the Dwarfs with the Arkenstone is a great character moment.
This book is a good paced read, and I'm glad I gave it another go.
Thursday, 24 January 2013
Yep, it's that movie about a 6'5" guy played by a 5'6" guy. I saw this movie without any knowledge of the books, with someone who knew all about the books.
A set of murders happen, and an-ex army guy gets involves, looks at some stuff, fights some people, car chase or two, more investigating and fighting... without having the 'Jack Reacher' name attached, it isn't that exciting. In fact, it's rather slow moving action, with a fair few shots of 'look at our actors walking'. Meh.
According to the guy that knew, they did incorporate a lot of plot from the book. And there were a few Reacher-isms of how he fights, treats cars, drifter lifestyle... but not a lot is made of that. Presumably if Cruise continues with the other 18 movies, we'll see reoccuring motifs, but as yet, I'm not seeing this as someone special.
But yes, the movie does imbue Cruise with a sense of presence, and everyone acts very uncertainly around him (but then, hey, this is Cruise! Who know what he'll do next?). But knowing this was supposed to be a bigger person, I wonder how much the execs were happy to go with someone smaller to have a bigger range of actors to put up against him physicality wise. Certainly I doubt the fights would play the same with someone who has a lot more bulk behind their punches.
End of the day... whatever. Nothing exciting... but I might just check out the books...
Wednesday, 23 January 2013
The group of us struggled on to get the supplies to the band of people away in the bombed out city. On the way, we encountered a collapsed building. We were going to give it a miss (there was gas in the air), when we heard cries for help coming from inside. Myself (Scoryn) and Gunter ventured inside, leaving the other two to guard the supplies. After going through a bad patch of concentrated gas, we found a survivor trapped by a falling piece of wall. Gunter managed (on a second go) to clear the way and provide a nice exit. After that, with him to guide us, we got to the old school where the people were.
Back at the main camp, the councillor we were dealing with still wanted to talk with the Captain, so Jessa eventually got in touch with him, and arranged for the councillor to visit the ship. While the councillor wanted to take his own shuttle, Jessa didn't trust him and wanted him to go with some of us who were returning. Eventually the councillor conceeded... then his shuttle and escort followed anyway. The captain and the councillor still had a diplomatic meeting, and the captain agreed to visit there tomorrow. The attack had been a deterrent by a TIE bomber to dissuade the planet from siding with the New Alliance.
Back at the school, Ben and Mel got to thieving, with Ben making a name for himself as a contact... a name that Scoryn found out about.
In the morning, the three remaining councillors went up to the ship, collected the captain, and headed back to the planet... and that's when the escort ship with a full compliment of TIE fighters and bombers turned up. TIE Figher versus X-Wing and Defender. Capital ship vs capital ship. TIE bombers heading towards the planet. We got rather swamped by numbers, dealing some damage, but it wasn't looking good. Then the ship the captain and the councillors were in was caught in a tractor beam...
Tuesday, 22 January 2013
Since a friend commended it, I watch a Western... filmed in New Zealand! And there are plenty of landscape shots to make that point... and I went 'yep, that's the South Island all right'.
The main plot is... pretty bad really. The main male commits murder, abduction, attempted rape, murder and abduction again, of the female lead, in the first twenty minutes. And spends the movie trying to get over that 'attempted' part. But as we all know Abduction leads to Love, so that's not offensive at all. They do make the point, often, that while she might be able to run away, she'd be stuck in the South Island in the middle of nowhere, with no idea where to go... and at least the man is sort of taking care of her while he is on his 'poke' mission. I'm not sure if at the end we are supposed to root (sic) for him or not. Fine, women were treated like property, but this movie does go out of its way to make her a victim.
The other half of the plot involves a posse after him because of who he murdered. And they provide the light note in this movie, in that the fight scenes are far more realistic to how people would actually shoot each other. Or rather, shoot at each other. A fair bit of shooting, but little hitting. I have to admit, those scenes were pretty funny.
Decent production generally, but that plot is making me raise an eyebrow at it.
Monday, 21 January 2013
Kids can be complete bastards. I know that. I was a kid once. I was with other kids. They were annoying. I probably annoyed some of them. And yes, I was bullied. Not extensively because I was one of the bigger (taller) kids around, and didn't give good value for being bullied. And while there were bastards, it wasn't an excessive amount. (At least, not for me. No idea if others in my schools suffered more.)
Bully is the story of several kids who are bullied. Some of the stories follow the kids, and show them getting bullied. Some of the stories are about what happens after some of the kids take their own lives, being so depressed from the bullying. Terrible stories, mostly, and shows a lot of the victims, and how they are trying to be strong.
And how the schools and parents did, basically, sod all to stop it. Most adults just want the kids to get through the day, and as long as nothing amazingly physical happens they have to deal with, that's a win. Worn down? Don't care? Side with the bullies because they are afraid the kids will bully them? Yep, but when kids continue to be bastards, even after adults say 'don't do that', it's easy to see why the victims don't put a lot of faith in what the adults are doing, and everyone starts not wanting to acknowledge is issue of bullying they can't deal with.
But... the main problem with this movie is that it's all about the victims, how they were bullied... but little looks to be coming from it. It's not like, even with various things some adults are doing because they are personally affected when their kids are bullied, we've got headlines of "there are no more bullies anywhere!" That's not going to happen. And with parents teaching kids their ways of doing things, and with a lot of bullying coming from nurture, it ain't stopping any time soon.
So, yeah... one wonders about the point of this movie. Bullies aren't going to care. And most kids won't be seeing this movie (I assume, unless this is being shown in schools, no idea about that). This is something that's happening all around, not just America, and this just throws some light on some problems, but not a lot of answers are here.
Sunday, 20 January 2013
So that's it. There shall be no more... unless there is a huge fan clamouring and they decide to for a movie or something... but short of that, there is no more Fringe.
It's had a spotted history. The first season, as these things run, was rather variable, and more than one comparison to X-Files. It was 'odd happening of the week', with occasional mythology developing. Some of the mythology episodes works, some of the plot fell apart once you actually need to explain what's going on (again, like X-Files). And more than once we have 'here's what's really going on / what we set this up for' in story explanation that goes from mad person who wanted to destroy universes to... another mad person who wanted to destroy the universes to... another bunch of people who wanted to wipe out our time lines...
The last season was completely different. No more 'odd event of the week', no, now we have 'here's a big event we need to fight against'. Can't say I liked it that much, I liked the odd events. I do wonder how much of this is 'okay you've now got half a season to wrap everything up', and might we have had a more relaxed story line with odd events, whereas now we get a 'fetch quest of the week' again with a hurried... no, wait, with no ultimate explanation of why we need these pieces and let's just ignore that we are missing pieces and/or hand-wave that away and say the magician did it.
Ultimately, I think the creators liked their plots more than... certainly more than I did, and with the low ratings the series got (which is why it got cancelled), I wasn't the only one. I can't say this was entirely original, but it was a decent enough series that at least got more wrap up than most series manage.
Saturday, 19 January 2013
Remember guy called Psy? No, me neither. But it seems he did a thing... no idea what, but the kids all went crazy for it. (Well, kinda.) Anyway, when Maddy was in New York last November, she did a thing with him...
What interests me is how well 'Give It To Me' fits the 'Gangnam Style' music. Partly it's because they are both 4/4 beats with upbeat tempo and other music stuff I don't know, but still Maddy doesn't seem put out by the not-normal music that she sings to at all. (And some of the singing, especially in 'Music', doesn't seem to require much effort from her at all...)
Friday, 18 January 2013
I'm not a Green Arrow fanboy. I'm aware of the character, he's had a fair bit of interaction with Green Lantern, and his main schtick is being really, really good with a bow and arrow. (And he was around before Hawkeye.) His background has him being a millionaire (as so many characters were) who became an environmentalist, but although he's occasionally been associated with the JLA, he's never been a huge main A list hero. So I'm not sure why they decided to make a TV series about him.
There are several changes. Oliver is in his early twenties, and was shipwrecked five years ago due to (plot) reasons, and upon returning to Starling City (which sounds stupid, why not use the original Star City?) he now goes vigilante on the criminals of the city. In a green hood and eye make up which apparently makes his famous face completely unrecognisable. And is currently known as the Hood. Um, what? Although they do seem to be avoiding superhero names (and superpowered beings).
We do get Dinah Lance, but little sign of her being/becoming Black Canary. So far we've had Deathstroke and Firefly, but they are very low powered versions of their comic selves, and aren't really worth the effort of including them. And the Huntress has an origin story here, although she's more associated with Batman I believe. (This does give us two of the three Birds of Prey. Barbara Gordon to show up?) But none of them have been called that, so unless you are aware of those characters, you might not pick them as as references.
It's odd that, but then the whole series is odd about that. Why use the Green Arrow property, but not the actual names and characters? Are they pulling an The Incredible Hulk by writing a completely different series under the basic trappings of the character? It's a decent enough series overall, but I do wonder what the "not we" are getting from this, are they seeing it as something generic?
It's got a full first season, but I'm not entirely positive it will get a second...
Thursday, 17 January 2013
Over the past more than 100 years, we've had film committed to... well... film. But now we have digital medium available to record images. Side by Side looks at the rise of digital recording over film.
And this documentary interviews a range of directors and cinematographers, all with different opinions about whether or not digital is anything worth paying attention to. Some say they will always use film. Some say they will never look back after moving to digital. The history of digital is gone into in some detail, and at each stage there are people who remember using it and, usually, talk about what a great change it was. And the ease of digital means that anyone can get in on it... which causes trepidation to some (in the same way that the internet has given a voice to everyone online, with just how great that is!). Although digital storage has changed a lot over the years that film is a better medium for that than digital is. Quite an extensive look really.
Amusingly Keanu Reaves is the one doing the interviewing, and his facial hair and hair length varies incredibly wildly, showing how long this film was done over. He's good at it, and shows genuine interest.
Definitely an interesting film to check out if you are interested in the medium of film itself.
Wednesday, 16 January 2013
Since I talked about Part One... Part Two was inevitable!
This time we have Batman versus the Joker... was Frank Miller the first to actually kill the Joker? (Which, spoilers, I think ends up not happening in the second Dark Knight Returns - which was bollocks all round - or it was his son or some stupid thing.) Joker is pretty fun here, voiced by Michael Emerson who knows a thing or two about playing the dubious bad guy (no, I haven't seen the Batman Animated series, so I have zero to less loyalty towards Mark Hamill playing that role, and so I also fail to care that Peter Weller is voicing Batman over Kevin or whoever that other chap is. Peter has a nice hard edge to his voice, so works well for elderly Bruce/Bats). (Gee, that was a large parenthetical.)
And, also, Batman versus... Him. I can't recall if in the comic they ever actually say His name, but definitely doesn't get said here. The moment with the sunflowers... kinda falls flat here. In the comic, it's either Clark taking the energy from the planet or the planet giving it up to him (can't recall, but it's definitely something surreal), here it is just a flat moment that really seems out of place and only works because I know the moment from the comics. There's no... tension here, just 'hit by nuke, touch ground, touch flower, get power back, get on with it'. Meh).
Again we have a lot of images that are basically the comic panel on screen (in the style of the artists of this movie). It relates the comics, so works as that. Not sure it would work without knowing the comic, but I can't comment on that. Here's hoping they don't do the sequel.
Tuesday, 15 January 2013
You remember this? You've probably seen it before... but here it is again!
Yeah, that. It is still funny but... there's a lot of 'modern' (at the time) songs which... when was the last time you listened to Cotton Eye Joe? Yeah, they were bit hits at the time, but now... sheesh. Hardly sustained in the culture for eternal reference.
But, hey, he did eventually do a follow up. (And I got to this one from his website, so it is legit.)
Which, while shorter, still has some of the same problems with modern songs. And you can spot Rap/Funk songs there as well, more than in the first one. I've thought (biasedly so?) that there are more of that genre in the current music charts, so not surprising to see it reflected here.
But... the first was posted in 2006, the second in 2009... guess another one is due?
Monday, 14 January 2013
I like the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen... because it's a great set of comics by Alan Moore and Kevin O'Neill. The latest set is Century, covering, well, a century of time (looking in at the beginning, middle and end), with an overarcing arc of the plans of Oliver Haddo.
In general... well... there are a lot of references in there, which is why I generally get the Jess Nevins books. I do get a fair few, but can tell there are lots I'm not getting... and generally I'm not in love with Alan Moore that I know others are, so a lot of this then comes across as indulgent and showy. It puts me off a bit. And then there's Kevin O'Neill's fascination with drawing women's breasts.
1910: Eh, my least favourite. The whole song motif is a good example of going over my head, as I haven't ever encountered the Threepenny Opera, which makes a lot of this vague at best. The obvious story isn't that interesting, the biggest point being the new Nemo, but... it's a lead in for the rest of the books, and doesn't feel like a full story in itself.
1969: There's far more Haddo plot here than in the other issues, and the main characters are very much is solid form with no huge character movement for them. Kevin O'Neill gets to go weird here, and does so well. I was surprised by the Tom reference, and this also saw a Doctor Who reference (with another one next issue).
2009: Getting down and wrapping things up, with a lot of 'where are they now?' taking up a lot of page count... and that pretty much becomes the point of the issue. The actual Haddo story is very secondary (and no, I don't know who that woman is) and you wonder why Alan Moore bothers with an actual story when he can just have characters without an excuse for them to be around.
And of course there's the text story in the back, which is largely straight-forward, but brings up various plot points from previous volumes, which is nice.
(For a more in-depth and interesting look at 1910 go there, and he'll get around the to the other two.)
Ultimately, nice to see, but I feel like I need someone to explain it to me to fully understand what I read.
Sunday, 13 January 2013
It's been a while since Jackie Chan was around so... why not this movie?
The Chinese Zodiac has been commemorated in the past by having the twelve animal heads cast in bronze. In the current times, several of them have been auctioned off to private individuals, but many are missing. Enter JC (yes, Jackie is known as JC in this movie) and his team that go after the heads, and other items, and retrieve them for EvilCorp to resell. Usually in some wacky set of events that involve lots of physical action. Oh, and there's some other personal notes about trying to get families back together, but that's tacked on, and those plot threads are wrapped up for everyone in about two minutes. There's also a line about trying to get treasures back to the governments that originally created them... but...
A few threads are a bit of a mess. Mainly I'm not sure why various events meant the good guys won. It might just be a translation thing. But just because it came from a particular country doesn't mean the current government has any right to it either. But aside from that, which is only really a minor point, this is a fun movie centered around lots of physical comedy moments that JC is famed for (and this was written by JC and directed by him too). There's a lot of varied set pieces, with the island one being one of the stranger ones where this movie goes. Maybe too many? Meh, I liked them.
JC is good as ever, although there's no major romance plot to see his fully acting side. Oliver Platt makes a cameo, but most of the cast I've never heard from before. But it's a good range of international peoples, with international languages (I'm not sure what would happened for a plain American release, you can't expect people in a movie theatre to sit around reading subtitles! You don't go to the movies for anything other than mindless entertainment! You shouldn't have to read! That's too hard!).
I liked this movie, but can understand how it isn't rating highly.
Saturday, 12 January 2013
People like DRM. And by people, I mean companies, because none of us do. DRM = 'oh my god, people might be able to use a company's product without giving them every dollar in their bank account... FREAK!' And for BluRay this is particularly annoying as discs come out with new keys every now and then so BluRay players need to be updated with the new keys.
Fortunately, if you are hooked up to the internet, the player can go and get the update. All you need to do it tell it to update. Or it will bug you. Constantly. Continuously. (And yes, I'm mainly thinking Windows here.) That little balloon pops up again and again and again to see 'hey, update me already! Or you might not be able to play the BluRays you have... even through you don't have anything that uses the new keys, update anyway! Update! Update! Update!'
Fine, I did that... and what happened? My player stopped working, and didn't play any BluRay at all. Nice one. Thanks for that. Once again we clearly see a stable Windows-based product, able to handle any situation.
Annoyingly, trying to un-update the software is not an option. There is no rollback function... and no repair either! I tried downloading the update from their website and applying that... but my software wasn't the right base or something (I presume the update was looking for the un-updated software, but who knows? Clearly it wasn't interested in making sure the actual software was working properly).
My solution... uninstall it, and install the base player again... and hey presto, I can play my BluRays! Problem solved! Except...
'Update! Update! Update! Update! Update! Update! Update! Update!'
Friday, 11 January 2013
Minecraft seems to be a big deal. Winner of all sorts of awards. Mojang is big enough now that they don't consider themselves to be indie anymore. However... I'm not interested in the playing of it. I get that people like it. It's got survival, it's got exploration, it's got hours upon years of gameplay... and yet, I just have intention of ever installing it.
Which doesn't stop me from watching a movie about it. This is the story of Mojang, with relating the history of Minecraft, attending with Notch to various conventions, and lots of interviews with other people as they say how much they like the game and various videos of it.
And... while decent enough... not being involved with Minecraft itself does make me not engage with this movie fully. I like a good documentary, but this seemed to be more 'hey, you like Minecraft then watch this movie' rather than 'want to find out about Minecraft? Then watch this movie!' And I've seen lots of great reviews of this from people who do like that game, so I know it works for them.
I guess this is a different perspective. For me, it didn't entirely work. I'm getting used to 2 Player Productions due to their work with Double Fine, so I know they do good work from a more objective view. And yet, from a subjective view... nope.
Worth checking out, but consider your own Minecraft feelings before thinking about what to get out of it.
Thursday, 10 January 2013
I've definitely using the "" for TV there, as it isn't TV I'm talking about the interwebs. How often have you decided to pack it in for the night, and decided to do one last sweep through your common websites before switching off the computer... then finding out there's a new episode of Spoiler Warning. And of course Extra Credits came out. They look shortish, so maybe just watch them before powering down...
This is quite insidious. We all know we should get decent night sleeps, and yet we want to watch just one more thing. And it can even get more annoying when for some of us it's extremely late, where as were the show is posted (which, let's face it, is probably America) it might be a far more reasonable time. So if you leave it to the morning then everyone else has a chance to get a leap on your and talk about all the good stuff before you even have a chance to experience it for yourself. (You know, like what happens with movies.)
Fortunately there is one call to rationality. Internet loading times. Ah, there you go. You'll just watch this... but then see the loading process bar creep along... maybe I don't need to watch it right this minute... (But will you remember to watch it the next day?)
So, what do you try to squeeze in when it's too late at night?
Wednesday, 9 January 2013
[Remember that game of Star Wars I was talking about a month ago? No? Well, we barely did either. Anyways, we finally had our first session.]
The Far Star was hardly in orbit for any time at all when it received a distress signal from a not too far planet, a mere four days away. We left quickly. While in route, Scoryn took the opportunity to get the crew used to the ship with the aid of drills, not to their enjoyment. The doctor got medical supplies at the ready. Lofryyn dealt with a strange power quirk of the ship (I'm sure it was nothing), and Jesse argued for setting the X-Wings down early. While she didn't get her way, we went in cautiously... and met TIE Fighters... that wanted to escort us in.
On the planet's surface we found the extent of the damage. The main city of the planet had been hit by TIE Bombers, and nearly eradicated. Medical personnel went to help, some of us sorted out food provisioning, and Jesse went looking for the incoming help from other cities... to no avail.
One far off camp of survivors needed food, so Scoryn (me) and some red shirts (other PCs) were tasked with delivering it. One small issue was a bomb in the way, which we left. Oh, and looters. Scoryn shot one, and got rid of that group. Ben shot another and dispersed another group. Gunther and Mel took longer to beat the last group off, but soon there were four dead looters and no other people stepping up. Certainly our troubles were past us...
Tuesday, 8 January 2013
This is a nice family movie. When they start with the dad and mom divorced and with two kids in the balance, you just know that by the end of the movie the parents will have reconciled because of the kids, and they'll all be one big happy family.
Oh, and there's an evil ghost thing that takes over the littlest girl, and it's all a bad rip off of Exorcist. It so wants to be Exorcist. But it just isn't very good. You can see exactly where it's going as soon as... you see the poster. Actually look at this poster. Then this poster. Similar? And Sam Raimi was involved...
Acting wise, none of them are putting in any real effort. Jeffrey Dean Morgan (I recognised him from Supernatural more quickly now as he has been in other things) is in generic dad mode. And I think it's supposed to be shocking that kids are involved, but since we are already getting the Exorcist vibe, so...
Nothing spectacular to see here...
Monday, 7 January 2013
Over my holidays, I played a fair few Hidden Object games... and so will talk about them now.
But first... Sherlock Holmes: The Mystery of the Mummy is not a hidden object but it is terrible! Broken and crashes and... argh! Don't play it!
Anyway, what I like in a Hidden Object game is being able to take my time, not being penalised by mis-clicking, and knowing what the object looks like (which considering the games set in other times can get really hard).
Samantha Swift and the Hidden Roses of Athena is a fun game. Not hard, but hits good points from above.
Samantha Swift and the Golden Torch, the sequel, is also fun, but too easy. You have like a 'radar' that can find objects so hints were not needed.
The Clockwork Man actively says that you can click anywhere without penalty, so click fest away! Still needed hints as I had no idea what some objects were. Oh, and terrible accents.
The Clockwork Man: The Hidden World had more puzzles a little more complex. Still needed hints for some bizarre items.
Sherlock Holmes and the Hound of the Baskervilles (which is faithful to the novel, with Sherlock Holmes there from the beginning and there's time travel and pocket dimensions) is more puzzle than hidden objects. While there isn't penalty per se, there are badges. And an Easy and Hard mode. The story is weird, but I might be back for getting more badges.
A decent collection of hidden object games, some far better than others (I want more Samantha Swift!). And for those of you who want one for free, here's a music based one.
Sunday, 6 January 2013
Yes, another SSM game! Run by me! AARRGGHH!
The peoples find a body. Then mess around a while... a long while... a very long while... LOOK, I have this island I want to have the adventure on, get over there!
Eventually we got there, and I try some different mechanics. We have a discussion about sanity mechanics, which, if I had had first, I would have incorporated far more of that into this. Oh well, next time.
Session 63: Introducing the Blue Man Group. Rapidshare. (Hotfile is too slow for me to deal with.)
Here is the map and the journal.
I'm wondering if I'm the worst demographic for this movie? While I know a lot about the games they are referencing, I don't know them all... and it's bugging me that I can spot that it is a reference, but I don't get what it is a reference to. (Eg, is Calhoun supposed to reference bro-shooters or Samus?) And yet, I don't not know enough that I can ignore that side of it and just enjoy the rest of the movie.
Not that the rest of the movie is that terribly exciting. After some game fan service, it settles into generic 'help the kid race' movie that could be any 'feel good family summer movie'. I do wonder if the writers/directors (yes, you, Rich Moore) went soft on the game side in order to not turn off all the non-gamers. Although there are a lot of game references and contexts in this, most of them are nostalgia references (eg Donkey Kong) and the two modern games are bro-shooter and a car racing game, so it's not like they are severely pushing the envelope. So I'm saying that, despite this is a movie about a game character and set in the world of computer games... the game side could have been more, and kind of disappointed it wasn't.
The performances are good. John C Reilly sounds familiar, but I can't recall what major thing I've heard him in. Jack McBrayer and Sarah Silverman are turning in performances as... well, themselves in many ways (at least, their screen selves). Alan Tudyk... I didn't spot that it was him at all, and nearly want to rewatch the movie just so I can appreciate it. Jane Lynch didn't quite match with the character appearance, and I go wonder if she was cast because of Glee or she was cast and happened to also work on Glee.
Due to timing, I did see the 3D version of this... meh. I'm not not impressed by 3D, as it is simply faking 3D, and this didn't add anything to the argument.
Decent enough movie, but too generic outside of the 'hey, hey, look at this game, remember this?' parts.
Saturday, 5 January 2013
This is probably the first anime movie most people saw, [was the Transformers movie Japanese originally? It's considered western anyway]. This is full on anime style. And note this is just the first one I saw. I'm not saying it is good, just that it was the first and left an impression. And howdy...
Yep, Akira. Based on a series of manga that hadn't been completed at the time, so the director made up his own ending. (I have the full manga. Annoying while the first volume (which I think was the British one) is full colour, the rest (American) are black and white.)
Now, it's long and somewhat bloated and slow. Not exactly different to other anime movies (dear gods some of the sequences in the Ghost in the Shell movies go on) in that respect though.
But yeah... it was my 'first'... yours? (As in 'what's yours?' but also 'was it yours too?' if you like.)
Friday, 4 January 2013
When I was much younger, I grew up on 80s cartoons. Not surprising, considering it was the eighties. So, cartoons based on toys. American shows. Badly translated Japanese shows. Basically, not exciting fare. The most exciting cartoon I might come across was possibly Duckman (I can't entirely remember if I saw Duckman before or after below).
Then Liquid TV came along, and with it a whole new styles of animation. Including one segment in particular...
This was the first time I had seen anything like this. I didn't even know it could be like this. And it pretty much blew my mind. (Before you get all 'ha, I knew about blah' there was a point when you didn't know about blah.)
And then I hit my first anime movie... but that will be tomorrow. But anyway, this opened my eyes to what anime could be. Great stuff, and hooked on it ever since.
Thursday, 3 January 2013
And here is the last part. Nearly four hours all up. One achievement is for doing the game in under five hours. I got that on my first play through without knowing what I was doing.
May be more play throughs to come?
Wednesday, 2 January 2013
Second part of the play through. This would have been the second half, only the game crashed at one point, and then after resuming at one point the down key stopped working. Watch me fail to get off a wall for minutes!
(Part 3 continues with me having successfully dismounting... which involved quitting the game.)