Monday, 31 March 2014

Money for Nothing

No, not Dire Straits, although this could be said to be relating to a situation in dire straits. Instead this is a documentary about Money for Nothing: Inside the Federal Reserve.

This movie takes us through the history of the American Economy as it relates to the Federal Reserve. From the creation of, and through various failures, we get the history and see that the recent crash wasn't new. And then it talks about the recent crash... and about it's still doing things wrong.

This movie places the Federal Reserve at the heart at various collapses, when it pulled the wrong lever or didn't pull the lever at all. For one reason or another, the Federal Reverse failed to do its job, although this wasn't helped by the bills placed on it to fulfil, or the various chairmen who had their own priorities about how things should work. Greenspan gets a lot of screen time, and there is a lot of picking over what he should have done.

However, while it does discuss the recent crash, and that there is still work to do... this movie doesn't really point out what should happen, only that something needs to happen. Other than as an interesting historical lesson, I'm not sure what their overriding point is.


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Sunday, 30 March 2014

Bonus Video: Tasmanian Devils

Finally recorded the more elusive of creatures, the Tasmanian Devils!


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Robotic Crocodile

Yeah, it's terrible movie time. While it's not The Asylum, it's meeting their standards!

A space launch goes wrong, and the payload lands in a zoo. The payload bursts out, encounters a crocodile, and then converts it into a cyborg killer croc. Why? Nanomachines, son! So there are hijinks at the zoo, but they don't last long, because there aren't enough teenagers to kill there... so here's a water park in the middle of what looks like spring break, so woo hoo, teen killing time! What then follows is a chase about many different places and eventually into the sewer, but fortunately there's no problem explosives can't solve...

Yep, this movie is firmly in the 'dangerous predator' genre, doing nothing original, and certainly nothing of interest. The effects look like they were done by the same group that does The Asylum, ie the croc looks clearly CGI and badly composited into shots. There are a few moments where the croc might be real (especially when it's not moving), but otherwise we get animal shots that are largely filmed... 'actor adjacent', in which we conveniently don't get the animal and the actor on screen at the same time. Oddly, the zoo seems to be open air, in which you can randomly run into the not-enclosed area containing birds of prey.

Star power, we have Corin Nemec, who isn't breaking big time. And other people who are also in this.

Definitely deep in the schlock territory here, and just another drop in the bucket.


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Saturday, 29 March 2014

Punishing Black Widows

This is probably as close as we'll get to the Punisher turning up in the Marvel Universe movies. An animated movie that looks dropped directly from a Japanese animation studio.

Frank is after people who put some guns on the street, and starts the movie with a whole lot of death (cartoon style, so not much actual blood). But SHIELD already has an operation underway to deal with it, and so he is forced to team up with Black Widow to trace them. And then they find a base filled with people being turned into organic soldiers (and no-one mentions Super Soldier Serum, although that would be an obvious thing to do), and maybe the base is blown up with the people in it? It's not clear. But then there are more soldiers and the Avengers turn up and Egghead is in here, although nothing like Egghead, and more people die. Just like a fun movie should be!

No-one was trying hard with this movie. Like the previous Stark movie, this is just something to fill time without any passion. The plot moves slow, despite the action, and co-incidences abound, and...sigh. Some effort was put into making Frank Castle look intimidating, but effort was also put in to put Natasha into an idealised version of hips and boobs in tight leather.

Just as DC have ceded live action superhero movies to Marvel, Marvel have ceded animated movies to DC.


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Friday, 28 March 2014

Paranormal Clopping Hill

Pro-tip: If you have Clophill in your movie title, you better be an MLP cross over... this isn't an MLP cross over.

In Clophill there's a ruined church where satanic rites apparently took place. And, of course, a bunch of people decided to play paranormal investigators, and spend time up there. There are such scary things as someone seeing something white in the distance, and a cracking sound and bunnies...

And no plot here at all. This is like various useless moments (ie all of them) from a standard Ghost Hunters show, in which people wind themselves up and think they are experiencing something. Even when they zoom in on strange things on screen, I still can't work out what I'm supposed to be seeing!

But because this is a movie, there is something strange going on... in a very lame way. In which we are more told that something strange happened rather than actually seeing anything.

A paranormal movie that doesn't try to do anything original... or even interesting.


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Thursday, 27 March 2014

Early Monk

I'm rewatching Monk... because I can! Only season one so far, but it's interesting how much the character is different from later seasons. I can't say I'm that surprised, as time goes on loading more problems on Monk gives more opportunity for humour, but this first season gets by with only a few quirks.

Watch the opening:

Just in that we can see differences. In his wardrobe, he has two cop suits, and gets his usual suit out from between them... Monk would never put it in there like that in the first place. And tellingly, when he's leaving the house, he turns the third umbrella around... and yet, in later seasons, Monk hates odd numbers. There would be no way he would have just three umbrellas, let alone a three prong hanger. Two or four, he would throw away a three one.

Also he only have a few phobias, heights, germs, milk... not the whole volume he gets saddled with later. He can ride in elevators, so that will only be done under duress later. And he seems to be quite capable of getting around with Sharona, and yet later on he seems reluctant to even get in a cab.

If anything, Monk gets worse over the show, not better. So much for that therapy then!


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Wednesday, 26 March 2014

As a coffee stain

Have you seen these recently? Okay, this isn't a recent phenomena, but I've noted a bit of an uptake of them recently. I'm talking about 'let's take characters of a TV show and imagine what they would look like as these other things.'

A good example is Doctor Who as Dogs. Now, these are well drawn, and well chosen, but the overall point will stand.

How about Disney Princesses as Apocalypse characters? Or as in Star Wars? Or as in Game of Thrones?

Or let's make bands out of Lego figures? Or Batman villains as Sharks?

This is all creative work, and they are doing better than I can draw, but that's not what's bothering me. It's how I know about them.

At the moment it seems that every time someone does of these things, it's deemed newsworthy enough to be reported on on various game related websites and such. Really? Do we need to know every time someone puts these out? Are you so desperate to fill up the news page that your job entails telling everyone must see this work.

These are the sort of items that are shared, but as 'hey have you seen this?' causal posts on forums. Not as headlines.

At least I know that when I do 'Doctor Who Monsters as Coffee Stains', it'll be well reported.


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Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Explode Everything Man

Know what the movie is yet? How about if I say three shells?

From a realistic view of Los Angeles, we skip many years into the future in which everyone has forgotten how to be violent. Simon Phoenix is brought back to life by the most obvious bad guy ever, and so John Spartan is also resurrected. Hilarious fish-out-of-water moments happen between lots of explosions. Seriously, pretty much every main set that is introduced gets blown up, but then that is the point of the movie. Eventually, after enough explosions, Spartan brings ruin and decrepitude back to modern civilisation.

So the point of this is, as I said, the demolitioning. The effects were impressive at the time... but you can definitely tell they are from the 1990s. Nowadays there would be bigger explosions and lots of CGI everywhere. The plot is entirely inconsequential, and most of the humour of the story is directed at how stupid the future is presented.

Sylvester Stallone is rather comprehensible, and plays it up well. Wesley Snipes is trying for comedy bad guy... and goes for the ham, and doesn't succeed well. Sandra Bullock was in her 'I'm in everything and I'm cute' phase... yeah.

Decent action flick at the time, and only really stands up well if you are willing to put yourself back in the 1990s mindset.


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Monday, 24 March 2014

Free to Play

It's a documentary... and you can watch it too, because it's free!

You've played Dota 2 right? Then you know of Fear, hyhy and Dendi, and this is their tale of them in the international... okay, I got no idea. There's some international Dota competition, where bright sprites move around on a computer screen, and I have no idea what's going on, but it sounds exciting. We follow three players and find out about their histories and how well they do in the games. Some well, some very well. It's interesting enough, but I'm sure it would mean more if I knew what was happening.

You can see also watch it on YouTube, but there are extra features on the Steam version. You can see some behind the scene sound recording sessions, alternative openings, and Dendi and hyhy going about the place... okay not missing much there, but there are also commentaries!

This adds to the 'games as sports' genres... and about as confusing as an actual sports movie, so... yay?


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Sunday, 23 March 2014


I got this movie in some bundle, can't remember which, took me a while to get around to watching it...

This is a Czech movie about Kooky, a toy that is thrown out and wants to return to his owner. (No, this is nothing like Toy Story). He enters the forest and encounters a range of creatures and gets involves in the political battle between the assigned guardian and wanna be guardian... and it's a fun romp! And also the kid (who owns the toy) is sick and what he is going through in no way influences what he thinks Kooky is going through, and this isn't just a dream of his.

And despite the child in danger aspects (which are minor), this is a fun action comedy, with a pink toy as the main lead in the typical 'sheriff challenged' trope. The Captain (whose name sounds like 'Goddammit') sounds like he is voiced by Donald Sutherland, but unless there's a non-disclosed English language cover, no it's not.

The film style is a mixture of puppets and live action animals, and I'm impressed they got the birds to 'act' so well (he says, probably about to find out they were all CGI). There's a lot of work on screen, and there's even a large mix up of forest, sandstone rocks, and snow.

Enjoyable, and definitely "kooky".


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Saturday, 22 March 2014

Weetbix Squares

I can't believe I haven't already posted this. These were biscuits I used to make as a kid. I could just rattle off the recipe, and put it together like that... Now, not so much (not least of because of the butter and sugar). But this is simple to do. (And if you are not sure what Weet-bix are.)

2 Weetbix
1 cup flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon cocoa
1 tea spoon baking powder
6 oz. butter

Crush the 2 Weetbix into a bowl, then mix in all other dry ingredients.
Melt the butter and pour into the mixture, and mix thoroughly.
Spread evenly into a tin (I use a 20cm/8in tin), then bake in an oven preheated to 180C for 15-20 minutes.
While still warm cover with chocolate icing (for a treat, put a layer of peppermint icing on first). Leave the icing to set for a few minutes, then cut, and leave to set.

Easy! :)


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Friday, 21 March 2014

Puffin' "Stuff"

This is one of those movies where you put it down gently, and back away slowly, not making eye contact.

The kid is kicked out of band and then realises his flute can talk to him. Rather than realise this is an obvious psychotic break, he gets on a talking boat, deals with a witch and is saved by a dragon, who is the mayor of Living Island. The witch really wants the flute, and successfully steals it, only to have it stolen back. Then in the second episode... I mean second half of the movie, she kidnaps everyone else and has a witch convention and Jimmy must get everyone free of the castle. By adopting a series of rather well costumed disguises. That kid's got talent! Fortunately everything works out as the witch blows herself up.

While I'm sure everyone involved was working hard, this is one of those times when you start to wonder what large quantities of drugs were involved in the production. I saw this as a kid, didn't make much sense of it then... and it's not much better know I can follow it. This was a film created at the same time as the H R Pufnstuf series, and serves as a pilot to set everything up (I'm not sure it was intended as such, but it is a good introduction). Aside from Jimmy and the witches, everyone else is wearing costumes that... could look more convincing, especially the main character of Pufnstuf.

This is one of those 'I can't believe what I just saw' movies... and it's probably better left in the mists of time.


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Thursday, 20 March 2014

Touring Weta

I did it! I took the plunge at did one of them Window into Workshop tours at Weta! It's $20 for a 45 minute tour (so a bit more expensive than one of their movies)... but it's a lot of fun.

However one definite restriction is that you can't take photos... hence I don't have any photos to show. But I can talk about it... only, not really. What I will say won't shock anyone, so I should be safe (he says, before the lawyers are unleashed).

Anyway, we start with some details on how they make models. Did you say 'make a 3d model which they make other models from?' I bet you did, because that's what every effects studio does, and certainly nothing you wouldn't have seen on any behind the scenes documentary.

Our guide also talked about how they use light weight versions for weapons and even lighter stuff for the main filming when people are being hit. (Again, to be honest, this shouldn't surprise you.) Despite the 'no touching' policy, I did get to handle a weapon. Even light weight, there is some definite heft to it and could still do some damage.

We got a close up look at the Warthog they made as part of their Landfall special. Full working craft and everything. We were told about the swords, and if you want one made you have to wait a while, and saw one of their CNC milling machines in action.

Lastly, we saw some creators in progress, and (sshh... this is a secret...) I got to see one of the trees being made for the upcoming Thuderbirds tv series reboot. Oooh!

Quite enjoyed it, and worth going on if you can get there when it isn't overwhelmed by crowds. And, of course, there are many extra things you get to see I'm not talking about... There are a lot of props decorating the place, and nice artwork and other stuff.


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Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Reign of Winter

Right, where were we? Oh, that's right, we're going to fight a dragon. Because that's always a good idea. And we spend a lot of time planning and preparing magic spells and... then we just fly up and attack it pretty much head on. Oh yeah, we the smart ones.

And, annoyingly, it flies around. Surprise, surprise, the dragon flies. Actually, the dragon isn't that large, more or less a medium size creature, but a big medium. It still manages to wreck us a fair bit with ice breath. And it gets five melee attacks a round when it's close! We got protection from cold, but not protection from teeth and claws. I end up nearly dead! Well, nearly unconscious.

Eventually, with a great swipe from me, I part its head from the rest of its body... which falls down splat to the ground. I'm sure that didn't away anything at all about our presence... that wasn't already given away. We want to get out of here, rather than right trolls (bah, we could take them), but need to look for a prisoner... whom we find on the next level. Sweet! Then we pop out a ladder and book it out of there.

(And don't at all encounter the basic troll fight, and the witch, and fail to help the children there... go us!)

We need to get our breath back, but then... on to the hut!


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Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Freedom Farce

Okay... what? This movie... what?

The bad guy, because... science?, mixes up the stories of Jules Verne, so kids are sent into his stories to fix them up... what? Was this a TV series that was cannibalised into a movie? Was this a random collection of ideas that only got made because someone had far too much money? I don't... They got Sarah Michelle Gellar and Christopher Lloyd!

This is CGI animated... really, really badly. It's like they were wanting to make it puppets (a la Supermarionation) but did so in CG, and with way more hand animations. It just look terrible. And they barely got the mouth animation to work, in that the holes open and close as words are said, but that's about as synced as it gets.

And why pick on Jules Verne? How many people know his works in that level of detail to get the references they were making? Was it Jules Verne appreciation month and no-one told me? And was Jules Verne known for his humour, 'cos this movie won't be.

This looks to be a translated French animated movie production... but it doesn't reflect well on them.


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Monday, 17 March 2014

Silonce of the Lombs

Because of the TV series, I am sometimes drawn to watching the movies again, so let's go back to the first one. (When Anthony Hopkins looks rather more slim.)

Clarice faces off against Hannibal Lecter... oh and there's something about a serial killer kidnapping and killing women. But that sub plot is not why people watch this. What it comes down to is that Lecter can do no wrong... which probably makes him a Mary Sue of some kind, but he's a fun psychopath that we like to watch because he has a sense of honour, of a kind, by what we see on screen (he only kills guards... never mind the tourist he offs off screen). Anyway, Clarice does some stuff and saves the day and blah blah blah...

This time around... I didn't really feel the movie that was scary. Instead of the shots that emphasised the power of the characters, it felt like the camera was just giving too many close ups to the actors. The screen doesn't need to be that full of face. And maybe it was because I knew what was coming, various tricks didn't surprise me, and moments I looked out for instead of having them creep up on me. Jodie Foster and Anthony Hopkins and all are on fine form, and I can appreciate the acting, but... meh. Just didn't get me on a character level. And Ted Levine is a completely different portrayal now I'm used to him on Monk.

Still a decent movie, but one that didn't stand up to a rewatching.


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Sunday, 16 March 2014

Esident Revil Retribution

Oh man, do these movies make a lot more sense back to back. Anyone coming in at this point is gonna be hella confused by what's going on. It's only because of this rewatch that I understood the opening segment of this movie.

After tidying up the plot points of the last movie, we reset... pretty much everything. This movie brings back characters from previous movies, characters yet unused from the games... hell, it brings back sets from the old movies! (I'm surprise the mansion didn't get another revisit.) This is very much piecemeal, with 'hey, let's have this set piece, followed by this other set piece' with only a token effort to explain joining otherwise disparate pieces together. And a kid is thrown in. The movie feels over after an hour, but then they tack on another fight scene, and very long credits, to pad it out.

Aside from Alice, we get back Jill, who could be anyone, Michele Rodriguez's character, Colin Salmon's, and even Oded Fehr, and Luther West. New we get Leon, Barry and Ada... well, very one dimensional versions of them, because they don't do anything other than shoot zombies, so we aren't talking deep characterisation opportunities here. (And Ada doesn't have nearly enough sass to represent her video game self.)

And we leave this series with everything set up for the next movie... I just hope I remember this one, or maybe re-rewatch it again, because I'm sure the audience will not have a clue just how connected it all is.


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Saturday, 15 March 2014

Esident Revil Afterlife

I have little memory of this movie. I did see it, but clearly it left no impact.

This feels like a Part 2 to Extinction. We follow up on the multiple Alice clones (which is dealt with in 15 minutes), and the Arcadia link. Then there's a long sequence of 'introduce a bunch of people' which takes up a large chunk of time, and the movie is half over before the real action begins. But the action does begin, and it's largely a long ass zombie fight going from location to location (boy, does that sound like what I recall of the next movie). There are a couple of boss fights, which you can tell because they involve woman looking badass in slow motion and guns firing. And one of the bosses is Pyramid Head, so it's not just one franchise they are ripping off (although this is from the game, which ripped it off first). But at the end... actually, not a lot has changed. Umbrella comes back and are big dicks. The End.

And this movie could easily have been the end of the franchise, with everything wrapped up enough. But no, the producers wanted more, so the end was added on. Thanks for that. The movie does work well enough story wise, with not a lot going on... but the pacing is weird. After the long introduction sequence, suddenly there are three actions sequences going on simultaneously and the movie jumps around a lot. Fine, not everything needs to be explained to the audience, but a bit more structure wouldn't have hurt.

I feel that this movie ties is more (loosely speaking as all the movies are loosely tied in) with the game, with the Redfields and Wesker and such. It's a bit late now for this, but the effort is appreciated. Thinking about it now... I'd say this was up with the first movie, and I can't rightly say right this moment which is ahead. (Probably the first still, as you need to see the other movies to completely get the plot here.)

One more to go... (before number 6 comes out next year...).


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Friday, 14 March 2014

Esident Revil Extinction

This is the movie I remember the most, probably having seen it often... it about three times? Rewatching it... it's hard to tell if it borrows more from Mad Max or Day of the Dead.

Most of the plot of this movie is irrelevant. There's a convoy, and we follow them as they go from random location to random location, not doing much. Worse are the Alice scenes, most of which could be removed without missing anything. Two scenes you might remember the most (probably because they were in the trailer I likely saw often) is the crow burning scene and the Vegas sequence... but these, like the rest of the scenes in this movie, are just random scenes stitched together because they are "cool". What is the point of the opening scene at the radio station? Just to say 'Alice is a badass'? We know this. To fulfil the zombie dog quota? We don't need that. To show off that people are bastards? We already get that. No reason at all.

The relevant (to the overarching Umbrella plot) scenes take about... five minutes? We get a repeat of the opening of the first movie, which threw audiences a bit (well, me definitely), but otherwise Isaacs looking at zombies and being "evil" (which is like evil, but hammier). And then he gets infected and we get a big fight scene end boss... that's dealt with very easily, making him feel pointless. Thanks for that. And the final shot which promises so much for the next movies... (And this is one of the reasons I'm rewatching / retalking about these movies. Do they make more sense watched back to back? Certainly I can notice returning characters easier.)

Even with the returning characters, the Road Warrior sequences are full of one dimensional people, and they are offed often. They are basic stereotypes, so I don't feel invested in them. And Iain Glen is, as I said, hamming it up, so his sequences don't resonate interestingly either. And Milla Jovovitch gets a bit to do, but most has to stand around moodily, so that's not that exciting either.

A filler of a movie.


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Thursday, 13 March 2014

Esident Revil Apocalypse

And then, two years later, they threw out a sequel. I didn't follow that well when I first saw it... and have to say it doesn't fare much better on a rewatch.

After the zombies escape from the underground base, Raccoon City is cordoned off, and our heroes have to go on a fetch quest to get the daughter so they can get a lift out. This involves a lot of people being shot as the movie largely comprises of different shooting scenes that were strung together, but otherwise have no discernible connection. Milla Jovovich gets a lot of action scenes, and a lot of slow motion time, but still the movie remains unexciting, and the main "villain" (well, main monster) is so obviously just a guy in a bad mask you gotta wonder why they bothered. But, hey, Jill Valentine, remember her from the games? Well, she gets namechecked here as some random woman has that name, but otherwise could be anyone else in this movie. And the whole movie ends as limply as it begun.

Despite also being written by Paul W S Anderson (although with a different director), this doesn't feel connected to the first movie at all. Other than just being another excuse to have scenes of people fighting zombies or getting killed by Nemesis. That and a lot of running around fulls up this movies running time.

"Apocalypse" is right, as this could be any other post-apocalypse movie. (As the others will be.)


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Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Esident Revil

Yeah, going back to a classic. For varying definitions of the term 'classic'.

An extremely attractive model wakes up in a house, which is immediately invaded by a wind machine and a team of tough military types. Which includes someone who looks like they might cry if someone says boo, and a token badass chick. Led by Colin Salmon, they go into a base and, after half the movie and half the cast is offed, they finally meet zombies. Despite everyone knowing why they were watching this movie, and not caring about the politics and backstory and such, it takes a long time to get around to what people were wanting. And then it's... quite dull really. Go here, fight zombies, go there, fight zombies, go here and infight a bit, then a train ride and failure to escape (complete with non-obligatory nipple and crotch shots of Milla Jovovich).

Yeah, not a lot of plot in this. Certainly not a lot of horror, especially when you know some of the behind the scenes information about how effects were done and dogs were zombified. And the CGI Licker is an obvious special effects and integrates into the film not well at all. Milla Jovovich is impressive in many ways, but Paul spent a bit too much time lingering on her naked body to be really comfortable.

This did rate high, probably more due to expectation and being different, and it is still better than the rest of the series (which I will be rewatching). Which, however, just says how bad the rest of the series gets.


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Tuesday, 11 March 2014


What the hey, let's watch a new tv show, Helix!

Down in a base in Antartica (a very large underground base, that might as well have an Umbrella logo on it... okay, I watched certain movies recently...), a virus gets loose, and the CDC is called in. A group is hastily assembled and flies in and soon gets caught up in all sorts of shenanigans. (And yes, the virus does seem to make people act a little like zombies, but not really, and the mindless ones aren't really the point of the show, so I don't feel like this is a zombie show at all.)

By episode four, we have revealed that pretty much every one is lying about everything all the time. Various character backstories come out, and people trust clearly untrustable people, and people are killed off out of plot convenience and... it's all rather messy...

And yet, it is very watchable. Because it is about the people, and not about virus'd people, the plots are more relateable, and there is still the odd science gimmick to keep things interesting. There is the requisite character revelations and twists and turns... and while we are ten episodes in, I'm not entirely sure where they plan on going for the last three that isn't just stretching the remaining small amount of plot out over those episodes and not really having new reveals. Then again, no doubt the creators are hoping for a second season so expect yet more reveals to come!

Certainly I hope to remember to check out the remaining episodes, and consider this a win in the 'random show to watch' lottery.


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Monday, 10 March 2014

Huntering all them Relics

Well, it took me several months... possibly even years, but I finally watched all the episodes of Tomb Raider the TV series, aka Relic Hunter. (Although it also freely rips from Indiana Jones.)

Tia Carrere is Lara Croft Syndey Fox, a Relic Hunter who works for a university and every week finds herself off in some part of the world hunting down a relic that just conveniently is still around. And, just as conveniently, the traps surrounding it still works too. And bad guys just to happen to chose that moment to also make a play for it... yeah, you could say formulaic.

Also formulaic is that there is "romantic tension" between the two leads, Sydney Fox and upper class British twist Nigel Bailey. Although more Nigel occasionally lusting for Sydney. But that doesn't stop them having many episodes of 'lover of the week' turning up. Right in the middle of what every show was doing.

Tia Carrere looks to have been hired for the same reason as Angelina Jolie: a kick-ass actress that looks good. Christian Anholt is Nigel and... after looking at his credits, if I rewatch Curse of Fenric, he'll be someone to look out for. As the 'sexretary', we start with Linda Booth for season 1 and 2, and she's cropped up in other sci-fi shows. Tanja Reichert is there for season 3, with both of her obvious reasons for being cast, and also seems to have done stuff afterwards... There are various people that we now recognise as stars, but would see this as 'bit part I was glad to get to pay the rent', for example Ian McNeice and Omid Djalili.

Interestingly, for season 3, they decided to end on a cliff-hanger revelation, which they didn't do for 1 and 2... and yet, there was no season 4.

Considering how generic this feels, I can't say I'm surprised this isn't a huge hit...


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Sunday, 9 March 2014

'Ave a lanche Sharks!

I was wondering what I was going to talk about... then I saw this was available. Woo!

Up on a mountain, there are people pulling sick skiing moves. Woo! Look at the people shredding the snow and freewheeling the boards and... other terms, I have no idea. Oh, and sharks are around. Before you ask 'how can they move through snow?', don't worry, they are mystical sharks, courtesy of native Americans, so everything is fine. People slowly go missing (the main couple spend a lot of time looking for two people... and I'm not sure we ever met the people who are missing, so cared not even in the slightest), and no-one believes sharks are about, until they see them. And, of course, by then, it's too late. Chomp! Fortunately, due to complete chance, everyone (ie three remaining cast members) live! Unless others survive. Meh.

I will admit the sharks look decent. They are a CGI and composited as fuck into the movie, but what we see is well detailed. The blood effects are... bad. The shooting is standard 'put on bullet sparks afterwards' affair. And all I will say about the acting is that they showed off the bodies of very pretty women, who were clearly hired to have bodies to show off.

With the way this is all going, how long until "Comic Sharks - this time for go for the issue without the splash page!" ?


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Saturday, 8 March 2014

None Stop

Just think of being an extra in this movie. With everything being set in one location on the plane (which is probably about ten different sets to do all the effects they want), you're going to be booked for the whole production run and be on screen all the time. Boo-yah!

On a plane, someone decides to screw with Liam Neeson and claim someone will die every twenty minutes... and rather happily the movie does manage to do that. I put it that way because some of the deaths are extremely convenient to happen on time. Even when they try to explain them, it still comes across as complete rubbish that that managed to happen that way. Anyway, during all this time Liam is trying to find out who is behind everything, but unfortunately doesn't turn out to be Julianne Moore... okay, that might be considered spoilers, but she is never the villain! Come on, how great would it be if she turned out to be the Big Bad behind it all! Come on Hollywood, make it happen! And the bad guy is revealed and, as you might expect, what's going on isn't as interesting as the set up...

So yeah, one location, a plane, so they can't blow it up over and over. The movie moves around enough that it doesn't feel too stuck in one place, and plenty of action, of course. Although I do need to complaint about one bit (spoilers) The old bullet in the window causes complete structural failure of the plane, with everything blown out...(/spoilers). Nope, doesn't happen. Bullshit.

Liam Neeson isn't really trying that hard, but still comes across well. Julianne Moore is playing the one character is ever plays. And.. there are other people in this, including Oscar award winner Lupita Nyong'o!

Not going to surprise anyone, a decent film, but hardly innovative.


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Friday, 7 March 2014

Celebrating Doctor Who

As well as the Symphonic Spectacular, other things I didn't know about but were happening was a Doctor Who Exhibit at the Capital E Central... which isn't at Capital E.

It's a large room, in which there are large posters with large texts on them... and varied and many props. Check it out!

Other photos are available.

There was a Cyberman, and a Dalek, and some outfits... and a TARDIS of course...

And yet... it felt rather sad. It only takes about ten minutes to wander around, and it just didn't grab me. Great, I got to see some items up close... but it was like a sad school exhibit of random items kids had at home.

Perhaps Peter's blog will be more exciting.


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Thursday, 6 March 2014

Mea Maxima Culpa

We've been hearing more and more recently about paedophile priests. But it's been something that's been going on since the 1960s and 70s... well, even earlier than that, but this is the story that starts there, and deals with Silence in the House of God.

We start with three deaf men telling of their childhood events when Fr Lawrence Murphy molested them... and how the Church did nothing about it. Then we hear of other stories, and... how the Church did nothing about it. Even when they did something about it, they didn't really do anything about it. And in present day... still the same story, whereby it's 'poor priests' and that's about it.

I can't say this movie made me angry, because it didn't surprise me. If anything, I was just sad at how little has been done and, cynically, how little is going to continue to happen. As long as the Church has the respect of the populace, it's going to get away with this. It claims to be the moral leader... and the attitude to evidence against that is 'shush'. It's not new news to me.

A good telling of many of the details of some of what has been happening, but your ability to put up with the details may vary.


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Wednesday, 5 March 2014

The Video Craze

This was a movie that I kickstarted. (Twice, as it happens.)

Remember the arcade crazy? How many quarters did you pump into those machines? This is a movie about the people that grew up having done that... and went on to get those arcade machines in their adult hood and set them up in their garage or house... or, for some, a store that actually makes money. Including 'barcades', where you can drink and game! We meet a lot of people and see their passion for these things... which is comparable to other 'passionate about things' movies.

Having gone through two kickstarters, you might guess that this movie has had some problems getting production done... and it could have used another pass. Some of the sound can vary a lot between segments, and could be balanced a bit better.

A nice nostalgia piece, but that's about it.


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Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Terms and Conditions May Apply

There's a documentary that's hard to search for. Really, how many search pages do you think you'll find if you look for Terms and Conditions May Apply?

Which is somewhat ironic, as you probably would have agreed to terms and conditions (either explicitly or implicitly) to do the searching. Which is what this movie is about. What exactly can the big companies like Google, Facebook, Apple... do with all the data they collect? And what can the government do? Quite a lot, it seems, and people quite willingly give them all this information. Yes, there are some stories of false positives, the kid who joked on a post and got sent to the principal's office and the like, but it's easy to see all this and be, frankly, terrified by what is out there.

And although this is American, I have no ideas what access our own security services have access to. Possibly through US systems... but I am cynical. On one hand, I'm tempted to make a few dodgy jokes... but on the other hand, I might be taken seriously... yeah, that wouldn't be fun.

Or, if you want, you can spend hours pouring over all the terms and conditions to make sure you understand them and really do agree to them... and then click agree like the rest of us lazy people...


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Monday, 3 March 2014

Android Cop

Okay, in an unusual move for me... that is the actual movie title! I think you can tell what we're in for with that, and yep this is The Asylum.

After being there when his partner died, Hammond is back on the team and part of a group going into an irradiated area (which, now I think about it [no, I certainly wasn't thinking during the movie] is slightly Dredd-esque), and then they are backed up by... a cop that is an android! Woo! Edgy! They are partnered up, and go off in search of the daughter of the mayor who is currently wandering around in a Surrogates(tm) body... and then there's a lot of fighting out in the rad area, and other stuff, and people are corrupt and... there is actually a twist I didn't see coming, which is impressive (although, as I said, I was barely conscious). In many ways, while this is below sub basement rubbish wannabe RoboCop, there are a few story points that are better than in that movie! Although considering that movie never had a point, that's not hard...

You've probably seen Michael Jai White in other things, and he's also here in this. As is Charles S. Dutton. One thing Asylum do do well (although probably unintentionally as they search for anyone willing to be in their movies) is casting not white males, which other movies never try to.

But this is the Asylum, so bullets are after effects and the android cop outfit... yeah, I had to pause to laugh. It's not good. (Go watch the trailer... although no, you don't want to.)

This is a step back for the Asylum. They were doing well once... once...


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Sunday, 2 March 2014

First Position

It's a cut-throat world of ballet, where if you want to succeed, you gotta off your competition... well, okay, maybe not, but certainly you don't get out unscathed, as told in First Position.

This documentary follows six children, three boys and three girls, as they prepare for, and go through, ballet semi- and finals in hopes of getting awards and, more importantly, scholarships and other forms of money. We see their home life, and not all of them are doing ballet because their parents are frustrated and trying to live through their kids (not all of them...). They don't really have much in the way of lives outside of ballet, although their passion is such that this is really want they want to do, so that's what happens.

And let's not understate: they are damn impressive. This is extensive athletics they are performing, and demonstrate that during their performances in the semi- and finals. (The movie, of course, only presents people that get through to the finals.) However, in those finals... some may do better than others...

This is another in the 'kids performing in a specific genre' genre documentaries. And it's a decent one. But while we see kids who do well, there are a lot that don't...


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Saturday, 1 March 2014

Ded Shushi

Ah, time to relax with a simple movie... about sushi that comes to life and kills people. Japan, you go!

Keiko is a would be sushi chef, but her dad doesn't think her skills are any good. She leaves and ends up a waitress at a wanna be pretentious sushi inn. A company group comes along for a relaxing time, and she derides their sushi tasty abilities... but then the mad scientist the company fired turns up and injects the sushi fish with "plotanium" to make them come back to life and start killing people! And flying around! Will the Keiko, would be sushi chef and martial arts master, be able to survive, and what about the gardener that used to be a sushi chef as well? Will he regain his honour?

Yep, it's wacky crazy fun death time, which Japan features often. It's out in force here... and bless 'em, 'cos it's a silly movie that doesn't take itself seriously, and just fun for everyone. The effects are decent, but not groundbreaking (during the end credits you can see scenes with people holding the sushi up on wires). Rina Takeda is having a lot of fun with Keiko, and certainly not her first martial arts role. And others were also getting into the inanity of it all.

A fun movie, and a great example of its genre.


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