Monday, 30 June 2014

Hotel Infer-NO!

Okay, let's try a recent horror movie... oh my gods, the horror!

Frank is a hitman for hire, and hired to kill two people in a hotel, rather ritualistically. Only he baulks at the important moment and the hotel becomes an outcropping of hell... as you do. And then he spends the rest of the movie running around hotel corridors and random locations and trying to escape, and at the end the big beastie comes stomping and... I don't know...

Seriously, this is legit terrible. I could understand this more if someone told me that this was created to demonstrate various special effects techniques. There are many head splats and gushes, and every single one is obvious. As are all the other practical effects. There's lots of horror make up, and then we have some clearly slapped on the image CGI effects. And I don't know what hotel gave them permission to film here, but I hope they were handsomely paid.

One of the main gimmicks of this is that it is first person, so we are seeing out of Frank's eyes, but then with the number of swish pans to give cuts and lighting changes, it's clear when the shot changes. Another gimmick is that every voice was dubbed on afterwards, and the only people we see on screen talking are talking gibberish... (but maybe this was made in another country and the language was changed for release?).

Either which way, there's no reason to watch this. This is amazingly rubbish, and even as a demo reel it has problems.


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Sunday, 29 June 2014

The Italian Trip

I enjoyed The Trip, so of course I wanted to see the second season, in which "Steve Coogan" and "Rob Brydon" go to Italy. I use the quotes because they are playing versions of themselves, although I suspect that those versions aren't that far from their real selves. There is a movie version, but I watched the full TV episode version.

In this trip, they spend six days in Italy, going to six different restaurants. We get to see the chefs preparing the meals, and we also find out the bill. And we also get Steve and Rob having larks, putting on many, many, many impersonations, and travelling around having a go at each other. There is a bit of a through line with Steve and his son, and Rob and someone he hooks up with, which they revisit over the episodes,

And, to be honest... there's a bit too much impersonating going on. Between that and the meals, there isn't a lot of meat left in the series. Yeah, it's fun, but you better be able to put up with them putting on an act. Many times Steve was looking bored with the whole thing, and I'm not sure that was too far of an act either.

Enjoyable, but let's not overdo it, eh lads?


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Saturday, 28 June 2014


Another William Castle picture, another Vincent Price picture, another shock horror flick!

A doctor has a wacky thought that fear is an actual thing, and goes out of his way to scare others and himself to find out more about it. But his dreams are thwarted when screaming kills the creature, and he can't help but scream. Fortunately, he meets a man and his deaf/mute wife, and this seems tailor made! When the wife dies because of terror, at last he can get his hands on... The Tingler! But it gets away from him into the movie theatre, and SCREAM SCREAM NOW!

The gimmick is that it escapes into the actual theatre in which people are watching it, and buzzers in chairs help generate a reaction... less impressive when watching it on video. And when you can see the creature for the large wobbling rubber creature that it is. (There is something oddly familiar about it, but if the design is used elsewhere I can't place it.)

A rather impressive moment in this black and white film is a momentary colour sequence. We also have decent performances from Vincent Price himself (although he doesn't get to do anything too amazing) and others in this rather small cast.

A quiet character piece of a film, more known for the artifice around it than the movie itself.


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Friday, 27 June 2014

Transfourmers: Age of Exasperation

Just when you thought this was over, it goes on... and just when you wish it would end, it goes on... and then it goes on more!

In the first scene we are introduced to the hot teenagers, which a number of male characters point out. Then we have a scene of Prime and humans running away. Then we have a scene of a guy in a building. Then we have a scene in China. And then...

Yeah, this movie felt extremely disconnected, going from one scene to another because that's where they decided the next part of the plot was. By the end, I just wanted to stand up and scream "I DON'T CARE!", because I felt aggressively 'meh' towards the end.

There's lot of spectacle... not interesting spectacle, but an explosion of CGI all over the place. And expect a lot of orange, there are burst of orange every three seconds. And, again, a large mesh of mechanical beings fighting each other and confusing the screen and... ugh.

Mark Wahlberg is playing in his standard 'earnest' mode, and has just that one expression the entire movie. Stanley Tucci is the only one looking to have fun, so I liked his scenes. Sophia Miles gets to be on screen, and Nicola Peltz is there to be the hot totty and get into trouble and scream, because that's what women do, amirite?

No doubt this will continue to make tons of money, but the only way I'll enjoy it again is when it gets Rifftrax'd.


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Thursday, 26 June 2014

Slawk the Hayer

I know of this mostly because of Spaced, and while I wouldn't necessarily say I would agree with that impression, my main opinion of this movie is it is excessively generic. Also check out what Peter thinks of this!

Overacting Bad Guy goes around being a bad guy, so a hero must be called. With the aid of a Deus Ex Sorceress, the hero gathers together a band of Dungeons and Dragons stereotypes, and together they go up against the army of the bad guy. And, because of the magic woman, they have a far easier time of it than you'd think, although there is a load of death in this. Seriously, a huge death count, most of the people you meet will die. But fortunately the good guys win with only a small window open for a sequel... which fortunately doesn't seem to have happened...

Jack Palace is all over this movie, and overacts in every scene he's in, until you just want to punch him out. The other lead is John Terry, who is aggressively a plank of wood in every scene he is in. No emotion what so ever. Bernard Bresslaw is also in this, looking a little different than last I saw him in Doctor Who. Cameos include Patricia Quinn, Roy Kinnear and Christopher Benjamin. And lots of others, but they didn't mean as much to me.

This is very 1980's fantasy movie, and it doesn't get more exciting as this... which says a lot for movies at the time. (Must rewatch Krull some time...)


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Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Reign of Winter

We are now in the land of I(mumblemumble) and we need to get to the stones at Arstotska (I'm not very good with names). However, when I step out, that's when the waiting creatures attack. With a cry of "Frost Giants!" I'm in there....

And very nearly kill one. And very nearly get killed. And if it was just the one, I'm sure it would have been fine, but there were many of them. Fortunately, the hut itself decided to take an active role in smacking all kinds of hells out of them, although I did dispatch one of them myself (it was severely beaten up, but we all know only the last blow counts). Afterwards, we spent a cold night on the porch (we aren't allowed back inside), then set off.

Not long after setting off, we are surrounded again. This time by centaurs. They take us to their camp, and Felgard tells them our story (or so he says). They seem to be willing to take us in, and we spend the night drinking and getting drunk.

Okay, so during the night some demons attacked and Mage nearly died, but it wasn't their fault. Yeah, I had to kill a few of them, but that's just one of those things. Still, we have some time here now to get better armour and such [and level up!], before we head on to the rocks.


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Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Ageism of Tom Orrow

Okay, I get that this movie is trying to riff off Edge, but the plot isn't even vaguely approximating that. No, they rip off whole other movies. [No, this isn't a Film Society movie, this is the Asylum!]

As asteroid is heading towards Earth, so some people are sent up to destroy it. Then it turns out that the asteroid is an alien space ship, and lots of alien craft are now roaming over Earth picking up people for their own devices. Which involves teleporting them back to their own planet because... actually, I have no idea why. The earthers stage a come back, but there is a ton of death, and everything looks hopeless...

The hero is a chap named Chris. Well, there goes taking that seriously. He is a fireman, he has an axe, and fortunately the aliens have one weakness, a wooden stick with a triangular piece of metal on top (which stays clean no matter how many bodies it cuts into!). The other hero is Captain James Hardass, who is so Hardass, he kills a woman who can't live any more because she is without her kids... (but it's all right, because you can still see her breathing at the end of the scene). Oh, and the futuristic high tech alien space ship is decorated with silly string...

Yeah, this is pants in all kinds of bad ways. The poster for this looks like it could involve mutating humans or something, but that's just another lie. As if you need to be told this, avoid avoid avoid....


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Monday, 23 June 2014

13 9h0s72

Ha, told you I would watch this.

The plot is even weaker in the original! Crazy uncle dies and leaves house to family, which move in... and there are ghosts. No reason for them, other than there they are. There is a plot about trying to find the hidden money, but that has little to do with the ghosts. Instead, we get random sequences when suddenly THERE ARE GHOSTS! And the effects for the ghosts... clearly they were dubbed on afterwards, which is a shame. Pepper's Ghost would have been more authentic, and given the actors something to play to. The kids just stands there open mouthed looking vaguely in the direction the effect would be placed afterwards, without in any way reacting to it.

Clearly the effects would never have been much cop compared with modern day, but I am disappointed by the lack of a proper story. Other than giving the audience something to see, and making the movie able to provide shocks, there are no reason why 13 ghosts in particular are needed. Indeed, the effects are so poor it can be hard making out what exactly we are supposed to be seeing to be scared by. (They are just far too transparent.) Even House on Haunted Hill (by the same director) had a better plot line, if even a worse explanation for the ghost.

Could do better.


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Sunday, 22 June 2014

Thirieen Goasts

Yeah, that form of leet speek doesn't work, but they tried. This is a remake, and I now have the original to watch some time, so look out for that. I remember seeing this at, I think, Hoyts (back when we had a Hoyts), with a friend, and that ending... we'll get to it.

Uncle Badguy gets ghosts, but dies when getting the twelfth. Whoops! Nice guy with kids and tragic backstory inherit a big glass house, but it's actually a trap because LOOK AT THE GHOST MAKE UP! And then they run around glass corridors that all look the same LOOK AT THE GHOST MAKE UP! Finally, there's a dramatic moment at which LOOK AT THE GHOST MAKE UP! And that's what happens.

Really, this whole thing is centred around LOOK AT THE GHOST MAKE UP!, with only really a superficial plot around to establish why we LOOK AT THE GHOST MAKE UP! The house does look nice, but is very confusing, and the reason for the ghosts plotline is very lame, but who cares when you LOOK AT THE GHOST MAKE UP! And the ending is just lame. Rah Digga raps and then the good guys win, hooray! And there's a leap that should not work, but does because Happy Movies! (Not to mention that all the ghosts are now free to go out and continue killing, so thanks for that.)

Everyone is largely playing one-note characters, even Tony Shalhoub and F. Murray Abraham. Matthew Lillard is very annoying, so playing to type there. And look, there's Shannon Elizabeth back when she momentarily had a career.

So, not brilliant LOOK AT THE GHOST MAKE UP!


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Saturday, 21 June 2014

Snaky on a Plany

Thought I reviewed this already, but hey, fresh eyes because I don't think I saw this after I saw it in the theatre... when I was by myself, so that was a great cinematic experience.

So there are snakes... and they are on a plane... and you know what? When you remove the ridiculous premise of snakes being on a plane, this is quite a serious movie. Dude gets ganked by Asian Stereotype and FBI Agent needs to protect the Witness and get him to trial. Along the way, they have to deal with a number of horrendous scenarios and face certain death. Various people break down, others come together, and there is character development and relationships to care about and by the end... are wondering why they decided to put all those snake sequences in. Yes, I know it's because it got internet-hyped, but there is a nearly decent movie under that cover, and it doesn't get a chance because of those monkey fighting snakes on this Monday to Friday plane!

Samuel L. Jackson gets to play the hard ass, of course, but you can tell he isn't trying that hard. Julianna Margulies deserves to be in a better movie than this. ...and the rest of the cast is there because they needed annoying characters to hopefully get killed by snakes...

So yeah, it's better than its reputation would make you think... but has anyone thought of this movie recently?


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Friday, 20 June 2014

What They Did in Shadows

Ah, Taika, never change. I can't stand vampires... but I like this!

Three vampires are flatting together, and, as ever happens, they squabble like flatmates do, eat people and convert others into vampires. It's one of those things. So, we follow them around as they go about their lives as they go out at night, and meet other creatures, and, eventually, go to the Unholy Masquerade. It's slice of life but...

It's funny! Like, really funny. The people I was near in the theatre were laughing all the time... (yes, almost annoyingly so). But it is good. It doesn't subvert expectations so much, but the movie does play with them, and uses them for fun. Taika Waititi is, of course, great, as is Jonathan Brugh and Jemaine Clement.

The main problem... too short! So go and see it!


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Thursday, 19 June 2014

Binary Scam

I admit, I gave in to the ads... there is one pop up ad in particular that caught my attention (and who wouldn't?) of "earn an extra $1000 a week!". Let this is a cautionary tale...

Binary Options are a form of stock market gambling in which you say whether or not the stock will rise or fall. Not by how much, just if it rises or falls. If you get it right, you win! If you don't, you lose everything!

The site I'm with is OptionsMint, and when I looked for reviews, I found sites like "". Erm... suspicious much? Oh, and the headquarters is in Belize. Over in Central America. The hub of everything stock market related...

Now, this is easy, but so far it's also looking random. Stocks going up? Ah, but in the last second it fell 0.0002 cents, so burn!

I've only put the minimal amount of money in, and only bidding the minimal amounts... and so far, as of when I type this, I am 0/2. So yeah, plenty of cash in my pocket...

As I said, cautionary tale. I'll update in some time to see how I'm doing, but consider that cash flushed away...


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Wednesday, 18 June 2014

One Minute for Conductors

And, due to scheduling, there was only one other movie I saw (and getting the bus afterwards was a pain): One Minute for Conductors.

This is a competition in which conductors from all over the world come to this one place to aim for a first prize of being hired as an ongoing conductor (...with some place I can't recall). We start with 136 conductors on the first day... dropping down to 17 on the second day. And just five by the last day. As with any competition, it's not easy going, and even those who are good get cut. We see the competition itself, but don't go back into their histories (which shows the film makers just turned up for the competition itself), and we see that stress comes to all peoples. And I bet you won't guess the outcome...

This does look to be an easier way to film a documentary. Find an event that is only lasting a few days, and then record the hells out of it. Nice tight production time table. In this case they also need a team of translators, but hey, still just for a few days. I'm surprised there aren't more like this.

Anyway, a look into the otherwise overlooked area of being a conductor, so interesting from that perspective.


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Tuesday, 17 June 2014

Portrait of Jason

From the director that brought us The Connection, we have another movie Portrait of Jason.

Jason is a homosexual black man, and he tells his story of various events in his life, and laughs. A lot. I could have done with subtitles because I often couldn't work out exactly what he was saying while laughing, and there was off screen dialogue I had trouble with too. And after nearly two hours... the film ends.

I'm not sure at all I got this. These days, this would be more of an ongoing monologue piece with a proper through line, here it was just wee snippets of anecdotes stitched together (partly due, I suspect, not being able to film for long sequences). What the point of it was escapes me.

A nice view into one chap's life story, but otherwise...


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Monday, 16 June 2014

Adjustmental Bureau

I hadn't seen this Philip K Dick movie adaptation before, and now... I'm not whelmed.

In the first part of the movie, two crazy kids get together although they aren't supposed to and are split for a time... and in the second part, exactly the same thing happens. And then in the third part, we get extreme Deus ex... Deus to pull a happy ending out.

While watching this, I was reminded a lot of Fringe, with their hatted bald men, although the Dick story would have preceded (influenced?) that. The ultimate explanation (which I admittedly didn't get until I read the trivia on IMDB) is rather lame, but then it would have been hard to give a properly satisfying explanation.

And the performances didn't captured me either. Everyone feels one note, even Matt Damon and Emily Blunt. I didn't feel their chemistry and I didn't care if they were together or not, and it was only the movie going on about it that I knew the story was about that. Anthony Mackie was about the only performance I was engaged by. The special effects, which largely consisted of going through doors, was nice but not enough for a jaded me.

Yeah, this didn't impress me at all.


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Sunday, 15 June 2014

Ninjoes vs Hampires

This movie wishes it was good enough to be a student film!

It turns out there are Vampires! And Ninjas! And by "vampires", I mean people who thing dressing up goth is proper vampire cosplay. And by "ninjas" I mean white dudes who are as Japanese as my middle finger. And this movie is a back and forth of people whining about wanting to be in power and trying to stop the others and OH GODS THIS IS TERRIBLE!

By acting, they just got people that could at least remember lines, and that seems to be their major casting criteria. The effects are awful, extremely bad CGI. And the fight scenes... are actually fairly well choreographed. There are one or two good moments, usually non-speaking parts because I can't believe anyone would willing say that dialogue. Certainly I don't believe any of them.

I can get this is a passion project that someone wanted to make, but there's no reason for anyone to watch it.


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Saturday, 14 June 2014

ASSteroid v Dearth

"When a shower of massive meteors threatens an extinction level event on Earth, the world's greatest minds devise a dangerous plan that will take the planet off its axis in order to avoid the impact." So says the IMDB listing... sound terrible yet? Well, it is an Asylum movie...

An intern (if he has a name, no-one cares) spots an asteroid heading towards earth and is instantly able to tell it will crash into the earth in ten days time. So various people are woken up, and the military threaten to blow it out of the sky... only the intern says it won't work, and he's right! Instead, the great plan is... to move the earth. Seriously. Cause a "greater than 18 on the Richter scale" earthquake and the earth will shift on its axis and the asteroid will slip past. 'cause that's a thing that will happen. And so the next hour is spent trying to set off a suitable explosion intermingled with stock footage of bad things happening around the earth. Fortunately the earth is moved with no ill effect to any of the remaining cast, hooray!

I get that the Asylum want to make movies. Easy money for them. But why do actors keep appearing in them? Tia Carrere, Robert Davi, Tim Russ... your careers are better than this! The sets look like they just found a random building and shot there. The effects don't match the rest of the movie. And the heavy character moments are flatter than... something very flat.

Okay, I knew what I was in for when I went into this, but still, don't we deserve better than this?


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Friday, 13 June 2014

Midaswell Curse this Box

What do you do when you have the talents of Sam Neill, Michael Sheen, Keeley Hawes and even Ioan Gruffudd? You stick them in a movie and then shoot unknown kids as the leads!

'Tis London, in the time of the Great Detective... who is nowhere near this terrible flick. Random Bad Guy is looking for the Midas Box and kidnaps the parents of the kid hero for reasons I can't remember, but the parents had the key to the box which they gave to the kids, one of whom gets nabbed, so we are off to search for the brother! Who is over in this hotel we immediately get to, so then the plot wanders around for a bit, being extremely obvious, until the end when stupid things happen, and this is stupid on a scale where were normal stupid looks at it and goes 'that's stupid!'

Michael Sheen adopts a number of disguises... only they are all really obvious and did the lead really not notice it was him! He couldn't have been more transparent if he was without any makeup at all! And Sam Neill clearly has no interest in this role he's playing. Aneurin Barnard is the lead, and if you've heard of him, you've seen more things than I have.

This movie is just simply sub-par, for whatever par rating you want. And yet it's set up for a sequel (which, fortunately, hasn't gotten out of "in development").


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Thursday, 12 June 2014

Live the Bottom 3

With Rik Mayall's passing, this is as good a time as any to look again at my Bottom. My collection that is, particularly of the movie. My favourite is number 3, Hooligan's Island. For me, this has the best range of (very crude) jokes, and some great corpsing. Check out the bit at 36 minutes for example.

Rik and Ade Edmonson have great chemistry together (which didn't come across as well in The Young Ones), and it's a shame we'll never see more from the pairing. At least there is a lot of material to enjoy, so if you'll excuse me, I feel like delving back into my Bottom...


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Wednesday, 11 June 2014

Edginess of Tom Orrow

It's an all out action flick. With Tom Cruise. And either a small Emily Blunt, or good use of special effects...

I could do a cute gimmick where I continually restart the post. Or simply link to my Groundhog Day post. Or just say "Watch this LRR take on restarting the day", but let's get past that, okay?

Cage (not Nicholas :( ) is a smart ass and sent to the front lines where by an accident of the plot is reliving the days. And so starts an ever on-going montage sequence of restarting the days, learning how things play out, and getting slowly better, as seen in every repeating day story ever. Eventually the plot moves on and the hero (such as the label applies to Cage) is about to be a hero. Yay!

This is, despite the snarky summary, a decent action movie... but it isn't much more. There is heaps of action, very mild romance (but very minimal), and lots more action and some humourous moments of Cage continually dying. So, as an action flick, that's fine, but these days I want something more. They try to have a point with Farell giving a mini-speech about creating your own fate, but it's too heavily handed delivered to really be effective.

Tom Cruise is fine, and Emily Blunt looks like they were trying for sexy dirty and didn't get further with her. Bill Paxton is barely recognisable with a disguising moustache, and it wasn't until I could check IMDB that I knew where I recognised Noah Taylor from (Tomb Raider). The suits they wear are believably practical, and the aliens... look like a CGI mess to be honest. The weakest effect in the whole film. They reminded me of the squid probe things from Matrix, only worse.

If you want action, this is one to watch. But don't be looking for a deeper experience.


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Tuesday, 10 June 2014


Well, it was bound to happen. Last night was Lou Reed's Berlin.

This is a film of an album. In 2007, Lou Reed eventually played live his album Berlin, and this was filmed, and put together with some other filmic inserts. There are also some extra songs of his performed with the rest of the album. And this is a big production, with band and choir and...

Yeah, this wasn't for me. I haven't heard Lou Reed before, and can't say I'm looking out for more of his stuff. This reminded me (I'm not entirely sure why, but this is the association I made) of Pink Floyd, and some of their concept album movies... in fact, I'd rather go watch the live version of The Wall again. Certainly I got time because.... I left after 20 minutes. Yep, I skipped out on the movie. As I said, bound to happen eventually, but this wasn't for me.

See if this appeals to you:


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Monday, 9 June 2014

Ded See

I admit I watch a lot of rubbish, but this was way down there. And not circling around to be good, this is just straight garbage.

In 1983 a guy sacrifices himself to something in the lake. Thirty years later, that something comes back and kills fish and the odd tourist... and if that tourist escapes, then they are captured and sent back... I think. The movie isn't entirely clear. But then, the movie isn't entirely clear about anything. Why are the towns people so psychos? What is the point of many of the characters, even the 'heroes'? There's a lot of running around, and then... they stop running around. And lives are sacrificed so that lives can be sacrificed... there's a whole lot that, as I said, is entirely pointless.

And the production is terrible. You've seen some badly shot shoddily camera footage of sneakily captured theatre film screenings? Now, imagine that the film is shot like that deliberately. (Or possibly, accidentally, I wouldn't put it past them.) And I don't know if it's just the version I saw, but the sound was awful. I'm not sure the actors were miked half the time, and even then the foreground music drowned out everything anyway. And the actors all seemed like friends of the director rather than actual actors.

Just no. I'm sure you have never heard of this movie, and it's obvious why, and continue to remain oblivious.


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Sunday, 8 June 2014

God Loves Uganda

With more erratic bus schedules than I thought, and last night screens, I don't expect to get to even the five movies I picked... but I have seen God Loves Uganda.

Religion is poisoning Uganda. And that's not me saying that, that's religious people! Okay, since they are religious, it's not religion per se, it's extreme Christian Right exported from America that's the actual problem. Usually in the form of bringing hate against LGBT peoples. In this movie we see the International House of Prayer (so yes, they have that acronym) with a missionary group of young people in Uganda, who only have to preach what they've been told. And efforts of Africans to uphold those "moral values". And a few other people who are a voice of reason, if a rather ignored voice, if not a killed voice.

This movie lets people speak for themselves, with the missionary team just presented as is. Commentary of a general nature is provided by a few talking heads, but largely actions are speaking for words. It paints a rather bleak picture of what's happening in Uganda... but then it is rather bleak what is happening in Uganda.

A movie with good coverage, but, with my biases, I can't help but feel they are missing the point...


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Saturday, 7 June 2014

The Trail of the Incroyable Hulk

Hmm... what to watch, what to watch... hey, I've got this TV movie ready to go, so let's indulge in the glory of Lou Ferrigno.

In New York, David Banner goes on a subway and encounters two crooks harassing a woman, so gets thrown about, Hulks out, and throws them about. But when David is later grabbed, he's thrown in jail as the harasser, but fortunately Matt Murdock is around! The two of them start interfering in the schemes of Wilson Fisk. Yes, this is a Marvel movie cross over before than had Marvel movie cross-overs!

And big names too. As well as Bill Bixby and Lou Ferrigno, we have John Rhys Davies as Fisk. And Rex Smith as Matt Murdock... who? you might ask. Street Hawk of course! And, hey, an early cameo by one Stan Lee!

This is quite enjoyable, although somewhat misnamed as the Hulk is never actually on trial (spoilers!). And now I want to see Hulk vs Thor (so that'll be the follow up movie on the list then...).

Is this a better movie than Daredevil? Let's just say it's a shame Rex Smith was too old in 2003...


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Friday, 6 June 2014

No, I am Robot

It was a slick production at the time, but most people I know said it was a horrendous take of Isaac Asimov's work.

In the future, Spooner is a cop on the edge, always looking out for the big bad menace of the robots. And then he is handed a case in which it looks like a robot is a killer... although how is that possible when they all obey the Three Laws and you need to be a human to be a killer. What then follows is a random set of scenes as Spooner wanders from one plot point to the next for no readable credible reason, interrupted by CGI sequences of robots all over the place. Then, finally, the robots enact Law Zero, and it can only be solved by more CGI. And lots of fancy camera moves.

Will Smith is in standard 'good guy' mode, and doesn't really get stretched acting wise. Bridget Moynahan has to deliberately not act to portray Susan Calvin, but still manages to slip in some subtle performances, although they are very overt subtle performances because people have to read it. I listened more carefully to hear Alan Tudyk's performance, which was nice. And Chi McBride, James Cromwell and Bruce Greenwood help fill out named performances.

Looking back now, this just doesn't do anything interesting. Any mass robot movie is going to end up with the mass robots turning against people, and this has no surprises there. Next time, can we do better peoples?


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Thursday, 5 June 2014

Among the Slee

So close... I want to play Among the Sleep, I really do. And I did. Almost.

Among the Sheep (as I keep referring to it) is a game where you play a two year old kid... yep, that game you've heard about. And, of course as it's about a kid, it's a horror game. Something happens in the middle of the night, and your mommy goes missing, so it's up to you and your new teddy bear to find a way to connect with her that involves going through surreal versions of landscapes based on a children's playground and your own house... and there's a dark figure who's looking for you.

There are four memories to collect, and I have all four, I get to the end of the level where I get the fourth... and then it crashes! Crap! I've talked to the devs, and there's nothing that can be done. Bollocks. I watch a few Let's Plays, and they are featuring this, so do I give in and watch the end (which is like ten minutes away) or hold out for an uncertain future of me being able to play this game in the none too distant future...

It is quite good. It is creepy and unsettling, just like horror should be. I don't play many games, and not many horror games (which often only get one shot to scare you and a second time round the scares don't work because you know they are coming), and this one appeals. And I helped to Kickstart it.

I want to finish it first... but, on the other hand, can I ever?


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Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Reign of Winter

We need to visit three birds and get three clues or some such. With one door down, we move on to the second door, that of night.

Inside is dark, and another bird awaits to tell us it will give us help if we would but undertake a test. In the chamber beyond, we find five silver chalices, one of which is the answer to the riddle. Hogan spends time checking for poison, and finds only one is safe to drink. And, as it happens, it fits the answer to the riddle. I quaff the drink, and a way opens up to get the item, stored in a cage. Not even my strength can break it, but the thief can open the lock to gain us the prize. It is the right answer [which I am not giving away], and we are rewarded with another clue an another amulet, that which will restore health. It is given to me, and no doubt will involve a curse...

In the third room is dawn, and a garden hosts another bird with yet another test. We are to go to the chamber beyond and find the desire of the creature within. Expecting trouble, I psych myself up for a battle, and when I see what looks to be a witch before me, I strike! [Yeah, that was the wise move...] While I am in pitched battle, the others try to calm me down [and I pass all the saving throws against the spells my own friends cast on me!] while also trying to get information out of the witch creature before us. However, I am eventually felled by its touch, and only the amulet saves me from certain death. With me out, they are able to get information to solve the last riddle, and drag me from the room.

With the clues obtained, we find another door, leading to the main room of the hut and with that we find a guard. He will not let people enter, but since we are already in, we can leave. Getting back in could be problematic... But we are in a new land, and have to get to some nearby (80 miles away) statues, so we prepare and set off...


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Tuesday, 3 June 2014


Hulk has made the transition to screen more often than most super heroes, and in 2003 Ang Lee took a chance at making the big time... and it was then retconned a bit when Marvel started up their own movies. But hey, we gotta start somewhere so 2003 it is.

So due to his father messing around with his genes, young Peter has... no wait, wrong movie. No, it's Bruce who has activated genes, and when going through an origin that isn't from the comics or tv show, we get big Hulk fight as he fights, in order, a laboratory, dogs, tanks, and CGI nondescript father figure. In between, Bruce whines about not remembering his childhood, and his dad is a complete jackass, and the final set up has the army put Bruce and dad together to... I'm not sure why, to be honest, other than because the movie demands it. It's all rather boring...

Yep, it's boring. Bruce the man isn't interesting to watch, and Eric Bana gets to be either bland or pseudo-angry. Jennifer Connelly isn't giving much better, and I think Nick Nolte just wandered in off the street and in front of the cameras? Even Sam Elliot can't do much with his part. And the CGI effects are obvious CGI effects, and mostly in the dark so you can't tell what's going on.

I will give that Ang Lee's editorial hand does give the movie a comic book feel, with the inserts and unusual cuts. It's a shame that other movies don't do more with that.

Overall, not a great movie. Tolerable, but not enduring.


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Monday, 2 June 2014

The Black Cauldron

With Digital Drift looking at Disney movies, one they watch is The Black Cauldron, and they are not fans at all... but I find it charming. And so, I present the following 'defence':

The movie starts with Taran fed up with his life and wanting more. This is classic and a lot of people can identify with this (I know, as a kid, I did). When the Call to Adventure comes along, his enthusiasm gets ahead of his ability, and it isn't long before he finds himself in trouble. He doesn't get out by himself, he needs the help of Eilonwy and a magic sword, but he's the one who moves things along. For a change, the magic sword doesn't make him the One True One, and it is given up as Taran realises there are more important things than what is basically a fantasy toy.

The main McGuffin is the Black Cauldron, which provides the possessor with Evil Power(tm), and is wanted by the Horned King. With it, he can raise a skeleton army. When Taran and co uncover the Cauldron, they find that the only way to stop it is for one of them to sacrifice themselves. However, because we need the big scene, the Horned King gets it first and gets his army going. Taran is willing to throw himself in, but Gurgi, the otherwise comic relief character, gets a poignant character moment of taking the leap himself. The Cauldron being nullified also takes out the King, leaving the heroes winning with cost. The witches (powerful, but fortunately capricious) show up at this point to bring Gurgi back to life, to allow for a happier ending. A little cheap, but by that point Gurgi had grown on me, so I was glad to see him back. And they all lived happily ever after.

Now, is this movie perfect? Of course not. Most of the trouble lies in the second act. The whole section with the Fairfolk is entirely pointless, and Hen Wen gets written out extremely hastily. Eilonwy changes from the strong personality to second fiddle. And what was ever the point of Fflewddur Fflam? The plot moves swiftly to get to the cauldron - but then, this is a movie so it's hardly surprising that characters conveniently get to the next part. And the animation, while decidedly 80s, is a little unrefined in places, in particular the Horned King's face.

But let's talk about the Horned King. He gets some fantastically dramatic entrances. When he is on screen, you know this is the villain of the piece, and he isn't taking shrift from anyone (which does make a little odd for Creeper to be the second in command, but then that is a common trope). And best of all, he's voiced by John Hurt. If there's someone who can add gravitas with just his voice, it's John Hurt. What brings him down in the end? His own lust for power, not anything the good guys do. (I was reminded of the ending of Raiders of the Lost Ark.) The Horned King is a great standard for Big Bad.

This is a darker story than normal for Disney, which I like. I also like the lack of singing. I get that this is nothing like the original books, but it's hardly the first time Disney changed the story. This is ultimately the story of a boy who wanted adventure, and found out he didn't need it to be happy. Now there's a moral.


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Sunday, 1 June 2014

Space Cadets

Thanks (I guess) to a friend of mine, I found out about Space Cadets, a 1997 sci-fi quiz show from Britain, featuring a lot of actors who clearly had very low appearance fees. And it's more about the comedy (such as they can do it) than actual sci-fi, but it is watchable... and I just spent several hours watching the seven available episodes (out of ten). So now I will do the same to you!

With Greg Proops as the "High Commander", and Craig Charles and Bill Bailey as the team captains.

Full set available here.


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