Thursday, 31 October 2013

I've Been Watching

Slowly working through my pile (oo-er) of Doctor Who videos. I've been watching second and third Doctor, so off to the Fourth with Nightmare of Eden (not The Nightmare, but the Nightmare.)

Yep, that was a story all right. It's been a long time since I saw it, but I had fond memories. Now more 'fondish' than actual. Must be one of those cheating memory things. The story goes on and does things... and there you are. Nothing really that exciting, but not sleepy dull either. Just pedestrian. I don't mind the Mandrels having flares (unlike the commentarians), but they look more cuddly than threatening (and aren't that threatening anyway). The Doctor is able to hack computers by typing 'kjhg', and special effects are more an exercise in 'what does this button on this new video console do?'

The commentary, and production notes, pretty much put director Alan Bromly front and center for the problems of this story, and since the director is supposed to be where the buck stops, that seems fair. I want to say there are other issues (budget didn't help), but all the peoples say it's him, and he was resigned so, yeah.

There is, of course, the usual talking heads... no wait, no there isn't. There is a bit from Bob Baker, there's a document where the special effects guys bitch about having to shoot on video (they say it looks more realistic on film, I say it looks like a model shot either way). And there are a trio of people talking about the show, who had nothing to do with it, to help pad things out. And an Ask Aspel where Lalla Ward tries to look excited about talking about Doctor Who.

Decidely middle tier story. And low middle tier DVD.


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Wednesday, 30 October 2013

I've Been Reading

(The title goes well with watching, so...)

Okay, technically, I've still got twenty pages left, but I doubt there will be an explosive change, so feel fine reviewing this now. Running Through Corridors vol 1, by Rob Shearman and Toby Hadoke. [Hurry up and do vol 2 you bastards!]

This is the two of them watching two episodes a day, every day, of Doctor Who, starting from An Unearthly Child, and being positive about what they watch! Well, mostly, the ambition is slightly more than the actuality, but in general, yes they are fairly upbeat about it.

But, more importantly, they are great writing about it. The two of them both have great style, certainly Rob never writes a bad word, and Toby has scripted a few things himself, and both their DW geek shines through.

In this first volume, they are tackling the 60s, so Hartnell and Troughton, watching episodes or, where they have to, listen to the audios while peering at the telesnaps. With recent finds, certain stories moan a little more about this that they can now, so I look forward to an appendix in upcoming volumes where they reassess discovered episodes [Hint hint!].

This isn't the first time Shearman has taken on a project like this (see his Ramblings from a Couch Potato in TSV), however joining forces with Hadoke gives this a separate energy [and they better bloody well get on with it!] and makes for an entertaining read.


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Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Papering myself

With the introduction of search engines, what do people do? Look for themselves! With the introduction of the internet, what do people do? Expect to find all past papers online.

Well, for a large slew of historical New Zealand papers, they are online. Papers past was a large project whereby a student was employed at the National Library and scanned in all the papers. And, of course, I looked for myself. (Although considering we are talking historical papers, I'm not finding me.) I found four instances of 'Jamas Enright', which, to be honest, was four more than I was expecting. Especially as my dad was American and so whatever Enright family this is, it can't even be related to me.

The first is Waihemo Licensing District. This is a council meeting minutes, which papers ran at the time. A hotel was transferred to Daniel Enright, and James Sim has his license renewed.

The second is McGillicuddy Relief Fund. Monies collected for the fund. M Enright gave 10s, Timothy Enright 5s, and James Fitzgerald 10s.

The third is Irish News. Rev. T Enright attended a large and enthusiastic meeting at Ballyduff. James Hayden was at a magnificent demonstration at Ballymahon, with enthusiastic proceedings.

The fourth is from Press. This looks to be a Census list (electoral?) of some kind. John Enright is a merchant in Westport. James Reddy lives in Christchurch.

What this shows is that papers were bad at printing 'e's, and make scanners think they are 'a's.


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Monday, 28 October 2013

I've Been Watching

Yes, I'm still watching Doctor Who, and what have I been seeing? The Web of Fear of course!

This story... isn't as great as you might think. There is a lot of running around, and not much actually happening. This is a Base Under Siege, in which people in the base go out into the tunnels, run into trouble, retreat back to the base... and repeat... and repeat... and... A lot of this could be cut out without harming anything. And the ending really feels like they were setting up for a third instalment, which, clearly, never came to be. (The New Series, while it does tip its hat to this, doesn't really deal with it.)

What watching the episodes shows up is how important the recons are. I watched, for reasons, two different recons of episode 3, one was poor and left a lot to the imagination of what was going on, the other was quite detailed and gave a very good idea of what was happening. But they were only approximations, and not a patch on watching actual episodes. (This is probably why the DVD will be so long, so they can sort out something for episode 3 properly.)

The action in this story, while unnecessary, is decent. This is, of course, the introduction of the Colonel, who comes across as a lot more actiony than he will be in later stories. Not being stuck behind a phone suits him.

Still *looks around, clears throat and speaks clearly* we'll never find any more missing episodes....


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Sunday, 27 October 2013

Cloddy with more Meatballs

There was a movie that got a good reception, so clearly there must be a sequel. I'm not sure if its worse that it basically retreads Jurassic Park 2, or that the main bad guy acts like a PUA.

So, remember that bit in the first movie when... hang on, remember that first movie? Nope, me neither. But in this one, those characters all totally come back. I guess. And the place were they were is now a new place that everyone had to move away from so the bad guy could come in and grab that food machine for himself. No, I didn't spoil anything, because the bad guys explains this himself after about five minutes. Which means we get the rest of the movie waiting for the good guys to realise this, and for the main character (whose name I have no idea) to stop hero worshipping him. Which seems to be the point of the movie: don't have heroes, they'll only use you for their own plans and then throw you away (as I said: PUA).

One thing this film spent a lot of time on is the design. The conceit being food has become animals, the team had to come up with a lot of pun based food animals, just as shrimpanzees, tacosaurus, cheese spider... okay, so not so much puns as just food twists, but there's a lot of them. And they get a fair bit of screen time, because if you are going to make those things up, you are going to show them off as much as possible. Which makes the movie about one hour plot and thirty minutes scenic photography. And the plot is about getting to the scenic part and isn't that strong.

In all, rather meh, but I'm sure there are people who loved the first one and will line up for this.


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Saturday, 26 October 2013

Ghast Shark

I have just watched what could easily be described as the latest of the sharkploitation movies. The difference here is that the shark is killed in the opening few minutes.

But when the shark dies, it's in the middle of some mystical cave, and so comes back as a ghost. Because the bottom of the barrel hasn't been scraped enough. (Really? No Zombie Shark? How about Nazi Shark?) Aside from the ghostly nature of the creature, the rest of this movie is about as generic as you can get. Being a ghost, it can turn up in pools, buckets, and such, so spoooky! Actually, is it wrong that I laughed at every death in this (all were over the top)?

The real supernatural element in this movie is the weather. Raining one shot, may or may not be raining in another angle, it's quite bizarre.

Aside from most casting being based on the word 'perky', Richard Moll is in this! Not sure how that happened.

And it looks like there is a sequel, and it is set in Auckland??? But I'm thinking more this is someone else who came up with a ghost shark idea and whatever powers decided to tie it into the "franchise". Or is the sequel to some other Ghost Shark movie, because there can't be enough of those. But it's not out yet, so will have to wait and see.


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Friday, 25 October 2013

I've Been Watching

Yes, I've just finished watching that story that everyone has been eagerly waiting for... Day of the Daleks! I remember watching this when I was younger, school chums coming over for a sleep over, and we get some Doctor Who from the video store to watch... only they didn't have many options, but they always had Day of the Bloody Daleks, and I am so freaking sick of Day of those Freaking Stupid DALEKS!!!!

Oh, that story is just annoying. Episode three is capture, release, capture again... what's the point of it? It's complete padding! And what's up with the shoddy production, episodes 2 and 3 begin with recaps, and at the end of the recap, we get the intro sting to the end music with a fade out! They just didn't care! (Not to mention not bothering to bookend the story properly with revisiting that TARDIS scene... although, to be honest, the ending it has it perfectly fine.)

The blame, and I'm referring here to the blame thrown around by the people in the commentary track, is on director Paul Bernard. Not an 'actor's director', didn't get the Dalek voices right, didn't cut the action right, didn't give proper direction... they really slam him.

And go on, given this venting, imagine how pleased I am that on the second disk is a Special Edition (aka the Steve Broster edition). Why? Seriously, what's the point? Why this story? New scenes are added, effects are CGI'd up in an incredibly obvious and out of place way, and Nick Briggs is brought in to redub the Dalek voices. Why not just get him to provide a Dalek track for every story so they can only ever sound the same!!! At least, and as Steve points out himself, this is an entirely option extra and the original story is there for people who want that.

With that out of the way, I can now get around to watching a decent story...


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Thursday, 24 October 2013


This is "post-converted" in that the entire movie is almost entirely created in post. And I did see it in 3D, although aside from a few shots I wouldn't say it was particularly amazing 3D-wise... (on one hand, it was cheap, on the other I ate out, so spent a fair bit anyway).

This film should be called "Murphy's Law.. in Space!", as everything that can go wrong does. Sandra Bullock is a bad luck charm in that the space station she's on gets destroyed, so she and George Clooney have to sail through space (large chunks of this movie are in real time) to another space station and hope it has a way for them to survive, if not give them a respite before moving on to try somewhere else. Only... on the one hand, I don't want to give it away, on the other you can probably guess how everything gets screwed up.

Sandra Bullock carries this movie, in that she is pretty much in every shot. And there are are lot of long one camera shots (although given how CGI created this is, there could be a lot of smaller pieces put together for each shot). And she carries it well. MovieBob keeps going on about how a 40+ actress is headlining this successful space epic film, but get over it already! Besides, it's more a drama that happens to be in space rather than, say, a camper in the Rockies gets into trouble and has to get out (so am I saying this is 127 Hours in space?). This may be using the trappings of science fiction, but it's still a basic 'will the human spirit survive?' type story.

And, let's face it, it is a decent story. I enjoyed it... and now I'm wondering if we can take real space working footage, with a high spec camera, add a soundtrack, and make a proper popular movie out of that...


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Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Reign of Winter

So we rested up in the bottom level of the tower, then set out to clear out the rest of the tower. This involved us teleporting in mass up to the next level... by which, we then teleported in mass, just one at a time. The first up, Hogan, encountered Muriel [again, names are vague approximations of what I remember], whom we last met on the way to the village we were just at. She is also a bard and was getting ready for a performance [although I'm not sure who for, considering how empty this place seems].

After some minor banter, Hogan sets out for the wrong door, Mage and myself for nearby food. In the kitchen, we find a small spriggan who was the cook and didn't appreciate our entrance. Hogan got attacked by Muriel, but we are still not ready to fight, until there is a clearer attack, then the battle is on! And, in the meantime, Felgard has moved on, opened another door, and brought another into the frey [Hogan and Felgard are very good at triggering multiple encounters without waiting for party backup]. While I take out Muriel and her two fey companions and start in on the other woman, Mage is the one who deals with the kitchen creature, and puts down that last woman.

Investigating, I examine the food in the kitchen, and find a cookie very tempting... although it tastes awful, and now I'm extremely hungry. Food, must eat food!

After being dragged away, we move on, and find the lady that we previous rescued. However, her lies do not last, and is revealed as a doppelganger! Although I grapple it, before I can subdue it, I am distracted away, leaving it to attack the rest of the party. And another final blow to Mage.

Obviously we can't just leave ice statues around, but attacking the next pair we see leads to them attacking us. Oops.

The last creature on this level we come across is a Mandragora. And again the party faces near death, and I am too incapacitated to deal with it. And the last blow again... goes to Mage.

Feeling drained, we hole up for another rest, with still two levels to go, and the imminent return of the rest of the guards still threatening...


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Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Stanley has a Parable

Hmm... I never talked about the Half-Life Mod of The Stanley Parable... But since it's now been released as a full game, now why not?

The tricky part is to talk about it without spoiling bits... 'cos it's not that complicated a game, so you can easily complete it (there's a speed run achievement for doing it in 4 minutes and 20 seconds - got it!), but the point is you have a choice. You have lots of choice. And the game expects you to take that choice. But... do you really have choice?

This is the game of player agency that you play when you want to really think about player agency.

And have a laugh. There were so many great bits that I just had to pause and laugh (and applaud) because it is so well scripted, you have to bow to it.

The conceit is that you are playing Stanley, who finds himself in an empty office. What happened? Can you get through the game, solve all the puzzles, and find out? Can you choose to? Can you choose not to?

Okay, this isn't a commentary on it so much as it is an advert, but go play the game, it's great!


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Monday, 21 October 2013

I've Been Watching

Much like a lot of other people, I've been watching something many haven't seen for a long time... the 1936 Olympic Games! Or, possibly, The Enemy of the World. One or the other.

This is rather a good story! Having only read the book (and maybe once seen the, at the time, one remaining episode), I didn't have a high opinion of this. But it does quite move along (unlike the hovercraft). We get nicely to the conceit of Salamander being a double for the Doctor, and Patrick is clearly got this other character down, if I may, pat. (I did, before, thought he acted like a similar character in Brother Hood, but not really.)

Although episode four does go rather bizarre with this rather sudden introduction of the whole underground business. Before it was political machinations, and then the plot serves into decidedly science fiction territory without much warning. I'm not sure how people at the time took it. I'd also be interested to know how many people thought it was the Doctor who turned up at the end (although only for a little while).

[I'm going to get to this story in Running Through Corridors soon, so no doubt there'll be references to not being able to watch this that we can now all laugh jovially about.]

I had a big grin after watching this. Now if there was another story to follow it...


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Sunday, 20 October 2013


Hey, you liked Men in Black, right? Well, how about a remake of that with dead guys instead of aliens!

Nick is... well, not a good cop, but a not crap cop, so when he dies he's enrolled as an MIB... I mean, a member of Rest In Peace Department, with partner Roy. And, as it typical with these sorts of movies, immediately gets involved in dealing with his killer as part of his first 'case'. And, as is also typical with these sorts of movies, the big bad is something really big so they can be all important and save the world, etc.

Yeah, it's not at all innovative. I hope the comic is a lot better, but this feels very smoothed out to appeal to the masses. Where it needs to impress most is in the creature effects... and they rely a little too much on CGI for it to be believable. And the comedy is not exactly on the high brow side either.

Ryan Reynolds is Nick, the naive one who nonetheless knows drive the story forward emotionally. Jeff Bridges is playing Roy, in cowboy mode turned up to 11, and often rather unintelligible with his speech. Kevin Bacon gets the bad guy role, but doesn't stretch himself for the part.

A by the numbers take on the idea. Could be better. Could be worse... but definitely could be better.


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Saturday, 19 October 2013

Zorld Zar W

I haven't read the book (I know, shocking!), so I can assess the movie as a separate identity.

In this quest movie, zombies happen, so Garry has to go to various places around the world and find the hidden secret items that point to the conspiracy that caused the assassination of JFK... no wait, that's something else. Instead, Garry travels the world, bringing misery to everywhere he visits as zombies immediately overwhelm every place he goes to. Seriously, I know this has to be an action movie, but zombies occur everywhere Garry is, so assumptions are made...

Meh, it's zombies. Never going to be that interesting. I know a lot of people disparage a lot about this movie, but since I don't know the book, it works fine as a meh zombie movie. Even the ending solution... whatever. Sure, why not? I've seen worse. The worst part is the family aspect of Garry that plays no relevance after about the first quarter of the movie.

Brad is there, needing a haircut, and a lot of other people are in this movie, but frankly most of them die, so don't bother remembering who they are. The zombie makeup is nice enough, but the CGI is really obvious.

This is (I supposed) an expensive zombie movie, but doesn't do anything really exciting.


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Friday, 18 October 2013

Paranormal Assylum

I watch a lot of stupid movies in search of rare gems... and this was an incredibly stupid movie.

Two guys want to find out about Typhoid Mary, who was at some asylum, so they set up equipment there (really? who leaves these places around with electricity on and everything?) and immediately capture ghosts and strange activity that they acknowledge and also dismiss... okay. And the fiancée of one of the guys is a cod psychic, who gets possessed really easily, and the guy completely refuses to believe there's anything bad. And then the ending happens in which everything goes to crap because this movie is just random.

Seriously. This movie just has random moments strung together for no reason than... because the writer wanted to shove as much weird things as possible without regard for coherency? Also there are a lot of screen effects, which when filmed by the guys is sort of fine, but also happens in non-filmed reality, so there's no excuse for that, but it's still there! Because it's cool and spooky? Nope.

This film stars the rather hansom 'not Josh Holloway' Aaron Mathias and a bunch of rather inexpensive day raters? The effects are decent enough, expect the Mary make up, which was over the top and not at all scary. And I don't know what the editor was on when choosing when to make cuts, but that's not how to do it.

In all, a complete mess of a movie, and well deserving its low rating.


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Thursday, 17 October 2013

Thunderbirds go go go go go go!

Yes, I watched the Thunderbirds movie! Okay, so a Thunderbirds movie, but does anyone want to talk about that live action thing?

In this movie (the last puppet based movie, now I've read the trivia), Brains helps design a new airship with anti-gravity technology (pro-tip: gravity doesn't work like in this movie). Immediately, it is taken over by the bad guys in an extremely long game that seems really pointless. The airship, with some members of International Rescue on board, take a two month sight seeing tour (so the bad guys are posing as captain and stewards the entire time - I'm sure "join the bad guys and be a waiter" was an excellent recruiting strategy) while they record snippets of dialogue to fake a call to IR. Meanwhile Brains is working on designs for the new Thunderbird 6, but the fake message sees him get involved in the final climax in which the air ship is poised on top of a pole... and finally, we have the unveiling of the new Thunderbird 6!

As this is 90 minutes long, we get a chance that isn't part of the usual episodes... to have really long pointless scenes with nothing happening but a lot of padding shots of air craft flying around. This could easily have been trimmed down to a tighter paced movie, but they had shots of the models, and by damn they were going to use them!

Still, while I'm not a TB aficionado, it was nice to see them all in action, even if TB 3 and 4 only get mentioned in the opening, and 5 is a brief cameo. The action (when there is action) is well done, and these people certainly know how to get the puppets to do their things by now.

This may be 45 years old, but it still holds up, and indeed is better than, many of today's movies.


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Wednesday, 16 October 2013


I remember going out with friends to a packed theatre when I saw this movie, which was one of few anime movies in a film festival. And the instant we saw them, we all wanted kodama toys... And having watched some Legend of Korra recently, I wanted to check it out again.

This is one of those classic progress of man (or rather woman) vs nature. Progress has unbalanced nature and it is running amok, leading Ashitaka to become cursed and wanting to find the source. Which he does in the form of Lady Eboshi and her ironworks, taking from the land and making guns. Opposed to her are the animals of the forest, the wolf and boar clans, and the main wolf's 'daughter' San. (Interestingly, in the Japanese version, Moro is male, but for the English version, Moro is female.) Lady Eboshi wants to kill the Deer God and claim the forest, but that doesn't go very well...

It's a Miyazaki film, so of course it is great! Great characterisation, wonderful creature designs, and a spiritual movie that awes as much as it provokes discussion. While the English version has some big names, I prefer to go for the Japanese version (because I'm a snob - or because I can then speed up the video and watch the subtitles without getting distracted by hearing the dialogue - even if the subtitles had some rather interesting errors).

If you haven't seen it... why not? Go and see this!


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Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Meiner Games

There is indeed a mine, and there are what could loosely be called games, so I guess this movie has an accurate title.

Remember how Cabin in the Woods turned the 'kids in a cabin in the woods' on its head? How do you think I felt when this started with random bunch of kids going out in the middle of nowhere and in a house? But this script is more than that, because they find themselves in a nearby mine... by which I mean, they literally find versions of themselves in the mine. Not necessarily alive versions either. So how does that happen? Is there anything they can do about it? The latter is what they address, as to the question before it...

And this is where the script tries to be clever but fails. In that it gets all the time travel right, in that it answers all sorts of questions around 'how did that happen?', but at no point do we get 'why did that happen?' There are bits we can assume... but frankly that is the audience wildly guessing to fill in the huge gaps. (The forum section of the IMDB page has one answer, which mostly fits.. but even that leaves big holes as to 'what the hell?'.)

Still, of note in the cast, we have... actually, I have never seen any of them before. At least, not so I noticed. The production values aren't terrible, but low budget should be able to get decent make up effects and such nowadays (although that isn't always the case).

Even on fast forward, I wouldn't recommend watching this movie.


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Monday, 14 October 2013


The tagline reads "the only more terrifying than the last 12 minutes of this film... are the first 83". This is supposed to be the uncut version, so why is it shorter than what IMDB reports?

A new student arrives at a ballet academy just as a previous student leaves and is then killed. Strange things seem to happen while she is there, including her friend disappearing. She hears tales of witches, but what is it the teachers are really up to?

This is the first Argento film I've seen, and is it typical of him? Certainly, from the trailers, it isn't an Argento film unless someone is getting their head shoved through glass. This film has large blocks of colour, usually red, green or blue... but I'm not entirely sure what the significance of the colours are. The blurb calls this a "hallucinatory horror movie", and that is true enough, with the colour and the surreal soundscape and the strange characters. However...

I didn't find the first 83 minutes terrifying. And definitely not the last 12. Did people in the 70s get scared by people standing in rooms? And yes, there are deaths, but not so much as the killer being nasty, more that the women do stupid things and basically kill themselves.

I don't know if it's a cultural thing (either of language or the time), but this just doesn't work as a horror movie for me. I suspect it's more because they did things differently thirty-five years ago, but this supposedly scare movie is now just a meh.


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Sunday, 13 October 2013

Revisionating Tomb Raider

One Tomb Raider related thing that completely passed me by was Revisioned, a series of ten episodes, with seven stories, by different creators. One is by Peter Chung... whom you might know from Aeon Flux... and this is done in exactly that style, with an unusual take on religion as he does. And this also means that Lara Croft has cannon breasts, but then most of the segments have her rather sexualised. Another segment is by Gail Simone, who is writing the bridging coming between the recent Tomb Raider game and the next one.

In general, they are just short, some are wacky, most are generic 'Lara gets into a quick adventure about some strange artefact', and while nice... they don't really go anywhere that interesting.

Still... the segments were short... so here they all are!


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Saturday, 12 October 2013

11 Murder

Inspired by true events... I'm guessing the true event was "I want to make something dark and gritty like Se7en, but I only have a budget of ten dollars..."

In one plot thread, a killer has a prostitute tied up and ready to be killed, when his wife turns up and tries to talk him out of it. In another plot thread, two newly paired cops are trying to find the killer of ten prostitutes. And then the two threads are tied together in the very last scene...

This did remind me of Se7en, in that the camera work was dark and there were lots of two shots. But that's about it. In lieu of anything like a budget for killings, there is a lot of people talking in rooms. A lot of that. In fact, the entire movie is just two pairs of people talking to each other, occasionally changing what room they are in! This movie wants to be a dark drama, instead it is just a painful watch that isn't clear at all about what it wants to do.

I get that this movie is trying to do something different, but it just doesn't make it.


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Friday, 11 October 2013

Hard Rain's a-Falling

It's another Christian Slater movie! And I enjoy this one as well.

There's rain falling... a lot of rain... like, really a lot. You have to wonder how well the actors enjoyed being wet all the time. Anywho, in this town, two security guards are trying to get the money out of the way, but on their way out get stuck, and then some others turn up, who want to help... themselves to the money! And so Tom is on the run, hiding the money, then trying to keep out of the way so they won't kill him, and comes up against the token woman in the money, and the sheriff and his crew... and what makes this movie really interesting is that the allegiances between the groups change constantly over time. Who's bad? Who's good? Who's good enough when others are bad? It's the various combinations that keep this movie fresh, as well as the building up of water.

Christian Slater is his usual 'good man trying to do good' charming self. Morgan Freeman gives us a big presence, with rather interesting earrings. Randy Quaid is in this... but he's not making the movie terrible! Indeed, he seems to be having fun, so his character works well. And Minnie Driver isn't a helpless female (and there's a good reason she needs to be saved in the final moment).

I can see that a lot of people wouldn't rate this high (and indeed, barely a 5 on IMDB), but I like it, and it's a quick moving film that keeps the plot changing.

And because you can't talk about this movie without thinking of this song:


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Thursday, 10 October 2013

Another VHS

The easy to create horror anthology series came back for another attempt! Ignoring the framing device... two good segments out of four.

Tape 49 is the framing device, and as the point of it is to get to the horror segments quickly, it's pretty basic. It has a build of horror itself, but the final payoff just makes it stupid. It could have worked... but not really.

Phase I Clinical Trials is like a very short version of The Eye. Dude gets a bionic eye (so we get lots of first person footage without needing to hold up a camera) and sees ghosts. It's not bad, although the obligatory sex scene (for some reason, four of these shorts feel the need to include sex scenes) is really unnecessary. It's not bad, and more could be done with it, but it is well done with what they do.

A Ride In the Park is another zombie inspired short. Sigh. Although we get a slight variant of a zombie POV, so there's that... but we still get people with bad entrails props being dragged and lots of blood make up, and I just don't give a damn.

Safe Haven was very nice, and brought in some non-English flavour. (Why do we get to get away from America to get some decent horror?). I really want to turn this into a horror mod for some rpg, but you'd need to balance out the probability of making it lethal enough that most of the players would be dead before the end vs the need to keep them engaged (and keeping within the plot line).

Slumber Party Alien Abduction is... exactly what it says. A short were aliens abduct kids at a slumber party. And... yeah, that's about it. Not at all interesting.

As ever with anthologies, some good, some bad. Worth checking out for the good bits, and skim over the rest.


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Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Reign of Winter

With the attack on the guards, we are keen to leave the village and head out towards the Pale Tower. [Around about here Felgard realises that Nadya is familiar... and that the ghost we dealt with looks a lot like her... that could get awkward...]

On the way to the tower, a crow leaps into Hogan's pack and makes off with the lock of hair, one of the keys we need to activate Baba Yaga's hut. We chase it, and convince the crow ('cos it's a talking crow, of course) to hand over the hair in exchange for the mirror we got from the guard back in the village, and some information about the tower, in which we find out the main witch is not there but an assistant is. Mage also convinces, with the aid of a magic arrow as payment, to get the crow to tell those at the tower that the Black Rider was seen off to the north west [handily removing some of the guards we would otherwise have to fight].

At the tower, the guards are not interested in letting us in, and claim not to know of Nadya's daughter. We convince them that we must leave the supplies, so we are let in to the walled area. While discussing possible tactics, I try to shoot one of the guards, but am spotted, so instead I cut down the guard attacking me. An Ice Troll nearby comes out, so I strike at that, while the others take care (eventually) of the other guards. With some powerful strokes, I put it down, although I am not unscathed.

We continue inside, to the first floor of the tower. Felgard tries to put on a show for the guards there, but his performance is short, and so we must to fight. I strike down many of them, but between them and the water elemental that guards the place, I am nearly downed [I get to my last round of Rage and am in the danger zone for hit points, right when we finally fell the last creature].

With all our reserves spent, we huddle down for some rest, to ready ourselves for our attack upwards...


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Monday, 7 October 2013

The Conjureratering

I wasn't holding up much hope for this movie... but the first ten minutes were better than an entire other movie by the same director I could mention.

A family moves into a large spooky house... and of course there are actual weird things going on. A couple investigate paranormal events... and of course there are actual paranormal events happening. So from that point of view, and this is supposedly based on a true story, this is the same as other movies...

But this movie gets atmosphere damn right. It does slow build, has actual moments of scares that are more than just jump scares (although there are a few of those), and a decent ending. The final scene is a little twee... but aside from that, it doesn't go on about the 'what/why' so much as just gets on with weird events.

The actors have some familiar faces, but the hairstyles are definitely in the 70s, so well recreated there. No-one is going too hammy, and even the children are tolerable. There are some great one-shots that have strange events happening in them, so those work very well.

I'm an extremely harsh critic of horror movies, but this is a damn fine one. If you like the genre, check this out.


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Sunday, 6 October 2013

A Filum with Him in it

I picked this up because it looked like an interesting wee black comedy movie. And having Dylan Moran in it didn't hurt.

Two non-working men are slowly living degrading lives... and then one day some bad things happen. Like deaths. Not their fault, but there are deaths. And then they have to deal with that... Unfortunately, it takes half the movie to get to the point of the premise of the movie, and in that first half the movie is very slow. Or 'character building' if you want to be nice. But when everything points to 'hey, there are deaths they have to deal with', you want to get on with it, because that's what you came to see!

Dylan is his usual acerbic self (I need to watch Black Books again... and Spaced), and other stars are the writer and his friends. And it's shot at the writer's flat. So... low budget, but it still works (the big effects being the death make ups).

The extra features are a Q&A Session with Dylan, in which he can't really answer the questions because he was just an actor, not the writer nor director. A behind the scenes featurette which serves as a better trailer than the actual trailer (which is also on here) which, once you've seen the movie, you wouldn't advise people to watch.

Half of it was good, but I can't see me watching this again.


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Saturday, 5 October 2013

Age of Ughtron

If you are on the internet, then you would have seen the huge spoiler filled trailer for the Age of Ultron movie:

...I'm just going to go ahead and say it: Ultron looks goofy. His open mouth looks like a bird beak, and those stupid wings on the side of his head aren't impressing anyone. His big deal is that he is an AI that hates humanity and wants to destroy it... so? That makes him just like all those other villains, with an easy reason for beating him up (robot!) and for him coming back (robot!).

To help prepare for this, I read the Age of Ultron 10 book series... and it's rubbish. While we, of course, know no details about the movie, I can't see Joss Whedon taking anything from this other than the title. This series starts with no introduction (so I have no idea how the world got into the state it's in), and quickly brings up time travel to explain things, and then they get to have universe number #345 so they can have another variant take on their favourite heroes, and I had enough of that in the House of M story line!

The worst thing about this is this is written by Brian "Powers" Bendis, so I don't know what the hell happened here. Was he given a tight story outline and told to write to that? And then it all just leads into another big cross over story arc thing!

Unless you are super into Marvel and know exactly what the hell is going on, I'd say file this under 'don't read'.


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Friday, 4 October 2013

BAHLS of Few-ree

Yeah, okay, this is never going to be the greatest movie of all time, but it is the number one comedy martial arts ping pong ball movie.

Randy Daytona is a retired ping pong player, but when the FBI needs someone to go undercover in a ping pong tournament and get into the base of the worst villain ever to be a fan of ping pong, there's only one person to call. And then he gets into the Chinese ping pong scene to train, but can a white man really survive? All this leads up to the greatest ping pong match against his childhood opponent ever...

Okay, so this is amusing, but not hilarious. They have jokes with no subtly, which kind of works, but often the joke is presented, then the movie pauses to let you enjoy it before moving on. But the main reason to watch this is, of course... Christopher Walken. Which, of course, immediately inspired some very Very VERY bad impersonations of Mr Walken. And James Hong is good too. As is Maggie Q. George Lopez is decent. And Dan Folger is also in this movie.

The DVD has some deleted scenes which... yep, were removed from the movie. There's a Behind the Scenes bit, in which the crew tries to be funny, and a small bit about the Ball Wrangler... and it remains as subtle as the rest of the movie.

I wanted to see this movie because I liked the trailer... just watch the trailer, and that's enough really.


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Thursday, 3 October 2013

A Gent of Sheild

So the greatest event ever in the history of TV and Movies has happened! At least, according to some. Actually, while the expectation is high, most of the reactions I've seen are, while enthusiastic, aren't overboard with the hypeness.

Despite the link to the Marvel universe, and lots of references to the movies so far (they really need to start establishing their own identity, but it's early yet), the actual show is largely 'generic monster problem of the week', as done through a government lens... so yes, it is another X-Files. Now, X-Files was very popular, as was another like series Fringe, so there's no reason to think this will fail... but we need more than just generic. We need the mythos episodes that will obviously come. We've had set up, we've had what could be a very generic episodes, we need the reason to not be able to swap in an episode from another series and be able to spot the difference. Still, I'm going to keep watching for it.

There are some cameos, but the main carry over star is, of course, Agent Coulson. We get a lot of other actors, some of whom are familiar, (so far no mainstay Whedon actor is in there full time), and the prerequisite love interests have been set up. While I'm sure the budget is high, I can't say that I feel overwhelmed with production value yet. I'm not sure what they are waiting for, but even the pilot didn't pull out all the stops.

This is clearly a series people will be watching, but as yet I'm still waiting for that Whedon magic to shine through.


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Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Explodering Sol

Hey, look, a two parter Scy Fy disaster movie! And it's hitting all those beats...

Because the government is useless (topical!), an independent company builds their own space capable ship. Including using an engine that runs on solar power... and there's a solar flare up happening, but that doesn't mean anything. A bunch of nobodies are sent up with some actually capable people, so we get to see the families of those nobodies so that we can have "people that we care about". And mission control is a soap opera drama, and because of that, when something goes wrong, they are too incompetent to be able to save the ship properly, and so it goes into the sun, making it solar flare all over the earth... and then, in part two, the earth is in trouble, the "people that we care about" are in trouble and going through adventures that "we care about", and the mission control people are the only ones who can solve anything, by throwing a bomb into the sun...

So, yeah, disaster movie in which the disaster is at the end of part one, and then people are suffering until the solution works in part two. Sigh. Really? Can we (and by we, I mean Scy Fy) not come up with any other formula? It's just dull. I don't need to pay attention to know what's happening, and that's a terrible state for a movie to be in.

Starring in this is... a bunch of people I've never seen before. And the production is fine, the pace is a little slow, but that's because it's just treading a formula.

So... yeah, you've already seen this, don't worry about it.


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Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Hulket Plan

What's the best way to deal with the Hulk? Fire him off to another planet, of course! This actually happened in the Marvel Universe, and this animated film is a 80 minute version of an entire plot arc.

Hulk lands on the wrong planet, and is taken captive and forced to fight in a gladiatorial arena, because what else happens on alien planets but gladiatorial fights? After beating up some people, including not the Silver Surfer because of licensing restrictions Beta Ray Bill, he and his posse get away, but then get caught up more in the petty machinations of the Red King, leading to a big fight. Because, well, this is the Hulk.

According to this synopsis of the arc, this looks to cover all the main bases, so that's one more set of comics I don't need to catch up on. Animation is standard for Marvel animated films, and is decent enough. Voices... were none I recognised.

Nothing that exciting, just an easy way to catch up with some continuity.


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