Tuesday, 30 September 2014


For various reasons I didn't make it through all of Bamako, but enough to form my opinion.

The main story is sold as a trial of the impact of the World Bank and the IMF in Africa. This is taking place in a courtyard, in which life is continuing, such as that of Mele and her problems... and that's about it. Neither part of the story is well served, and it all moves very slowly. The trial part isn't well formed, and the only reason I knew what was going on was because I read a movie review. And Mele's storyline isn't why I went, and then it was just in bits and pieces.

I'm not entirely sure which parts were happenstance and which were scripted, but given the good (lucky) cinematography, I have my suspicions that more were set up than were intended. It's a neat concept to have this important trial in the middle of a courtyard, but director Sissako is too often cutting away to show off the courtyard life gimmick that the main part of the movie (presuming the trial is the main part) is not well served at all.

And to continue to show I didn't get a lot of this, here's a wee 'movie' they have the residents of the courtyard watch...

(Yes, yes, Africans get cut down in the middle and not a lot is cared about them, but is that all it is?)


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Monday, 29 September 2014

DW 8.06

Okay, I'll admit it, not as terrible as I was expecting.  Dare I venture as far as saying this is the best episode so far of the season?

It took Danny Pink to point out that the Doctor really is Space Dad. He's trying to be cool, compete with Clara's affections, and she's trying to live too lives with cool dad and new boyfriend. It comes to a head when the Doctor is at the school, back at Coal Hill School, and still not a teacher there! Although I think this might be a reference to Remembrance, when the janitor position was open? No doubt Dave will work it out.

Anywho, there's an alien presence around and (because I'm remembering Gareth's previous episode), it may as well have been a Cyberman or any other monster. It doesn't really matter, it's just there to point out that the Doctor is an Officer and expects everyone to jump to his whim (now where's that Time Lord, the Officer?).

I'm guessing people know if this happens, but I can see Clara and Danny going with the Doctor for an adventure or too... although male companions never come off well in the series. Except... as I think about it now, it's going to be impacted by Steven Moffat, and I don't see that going well any way around.

I also want to throw out an accolade to Ellis George, playing the previously mentioned Courtney Woods. Yeah, good acting all round.

So, with this good episode, I expect the rest of the series will descend into its usual decrepitude?

Next week: Guys, it's good that you want to reuse props, but can't we please get some new space suits?


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Sunday, 28 September 2014

The Double

I missed it at the Film Festival, but have now caught up with it.

Simon James is living in a world that Brazil would be proud of. The computers are big clunky things, and everything is overly strict, and nothing goes his way. Although there is a young woman he's failing to have anything to do with. Then James Simon turns up, who looks just like him, but is better. Far better. Everything goes right for James but not Simon, and Simon's life becomes even worse until he has to take final steps.

Jesse Eisenberg has a lot to do, with two roles to play, and in some way play two different people who are the same but not. The effects are good enough when he is twice on screen that there were no obvious problems I could spot. Mia Wasikowska is playing a one note character, and doesn't get much of an arc. Overall Richard Ayoade does a good job, although it does get rather surreal at moments and hard to track what's going on.

Perhaps I should read the original book... but I don't see that happening soon.


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Saturday, 27 September 2014

Love couture

Because at work I sit near an annoying humming server room (we really need to come up with a better solution than this), I'm listening to a lot of music at the moment. In particular, I've been listening to Madonna albums because... of course I would.

On in particular I want to talk about is Love Profusion. More specifically the unusual video.

I'm not talking about the effects. Plenty of her videos have lots of effects, and this isn't her first time on a green screen stage. What is odd is... her rather simple dress. I can't think of any other video of hers in which she's in just a simple dress like that. Usually it's some over wrought creation, or bizarre ensemble, or pants suit or whatever. This is a plain dress like a lot of women would wear. And, yes, she looks good in it.

Oh, and this video also highlights the odd moment in the song when she goes "there too, too, too many options". It sticks out because it doesn't fit the rest of the song and only happens the once. No idea why it's there, and it shouldn't be.


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Friday, 26 September 2014


I can't remember why I grabbed this movie to watch. And then I saw Arnold Schwarzenegger and I guess that's why.

He is leading a DEA Special Ops team that is more than a little dirty, and they steal ten million dollars... then someone steals that. And later, starts killing them off. One by one, the team are axed, and Caroline (she doesn't have another name according to IMDB) is a Fed trying to work out what is going on, and slowly they develop the story...

And then the movie falls apart in the last third. And the last fifteen minutes are from a completely different movie? According to the trivia, this ending was extremely different from the original cut options they had, and it really shows. It just doesn't work at all, because it largely comes out of nowhere. Still, I don't want to see the original movie which was going to be three hours long??

Most of the characters are largely one-note. And that note depends a lot on the scene they are in. Yeah, character consistency has a few problems. Arnold Schwarzenegger doesn't really get a lot to do and Olivia Williams as Caroline isn't a great part either.

This had a lot of potential, but it can't hold it together.

And because one must (although they didn't allow this to be used for promotion):


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Thursday, 25 September 2014


Go on. Watch this. Without your brain breaking. If you can...

And if you want to see people playing it, check out this Watch and Play.


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Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Got Ham

It has begun! The great new series based in the universe of Batman but featuring young Bruce and Jim Gordan and subtly hinting at all the villains to come... or not so subtly in some cases.

We start with the death of the Waynes (with a rather surprising witness), and Jim and Harvey Bullock are assigned. And everyone is corrupt except Jim, so they quickly come to a solution of who is behind this... but is that more convenience than reality? And with questions being asked how long before the real power speaks up and lays down their own law?

As a crime drama this is run of the mill. "The one good cop in a corrupt city" has been done before, and done better. I can't say I'm that interested in seeing it play out here.

As a Batman universe series... it isn't any better. We get some set up for upcoming villains, but it is very obvious so that people can pick up on it. The series doesn't seem to be wanting to hang around too long with mysteries, so here they all are!

But this is only the pilot, so hopefully it will settle down... and hopefully I'll put up with it long enough to find out.


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Tuesday, 23 September 2014


Here's something that might you in some pub quiz you might encounter some day... I'm not saying we came in last because we didn't know this, there are many reasons we were last, but this would have helped...


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Monday, 22 September 2014

DW 8.05

I'm not saying I'm overly cynical (although I am), but I watched that opening and went "that's a brilliant opening... how are they going to cock it up?" Interesting fact: my Chrome spelling thing doesn't know the word 'heist'.

So, first mistake: waking up at the beginning of the heist. How more interesting would it have been if they had woken up at the end and had to reconstruct what happened? Heck, the Doctor and Clara could go back and see what happened, and interact with events around their past selves and that would be been great. Instead, we just skip over the thorny question of "why would the Doctor do this?" so we can get the story going.

And then there's a big bad. With an example of him being a big bad. Sigh. Now it's just getting boring. Oh the tension they are trying to build and failing... (pro-tip: a usb plug that's an image transmitter that's obviously just a usb plug, especially to those watching? not an effective image transmitter).

Fifteen minutes in: current guess, the Doctor is the Architect, and he's getting back the TARDIS which is locked in the bank.

For someone who doesn't know what the Teller was, he seems to know an awful lot about how it works. And I was expecting Saibra to turn into the Teller and have a connection that way. Nope. (That 'exit strategy' looks like a lot like a transporter.)

The Teller is not impressive. Especially not the feet. At the first reveal, I was thinking it was a four legged beastie. That would have been interesting... but nope. Instead we get a Judoon knockoff. ...why don't they use the 'exit strategy' on the Teller?

33 mins... HA! And new theory, Architect is Karabraxos, is trapped in the bank, and wants out.

Just what is the director doing with all those transition effects? What show is he referencing? And then there are a conveniently huge duct tunnel things to get through the station by. The director was far more concerned with appearance than sense.

And at 40 minutes... I was right. And there's the Teller's mate (I say, right before the lock is opened).

Thinking back on it later... what is the point of Clara? She sees her clone and doesn't get angry (although that idea could help explain The Rebel Flesh). She's pessimistic, as the Doctor points out. She gets into trouble and makes Psy sacrifice himself. The Doctor's only got her there to disrupt her date. What great insight does she provide to the heist? I can't think of anything...

And so it ends limply, with two ridiculous creatures wobbling away...

Next week: Oh gods, the soap opera is right back, along with dodgy robots.


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Sunday, 21 September 2014

The Offering

Yeah, okay, I can see where they are going with this. It's horror, there's the family angle, there's the panic of dealing with vast and unknowable forces... and they won... actually, I'm not sure if those are awards or just the film festival equivalent of certificates given out to people who show up...

Now it is only eight minutes, so there is only so much you can do. But we get the set up and we know who the characters are, and we see the problems they are in, and the solution... and that's the problem. The solution is obvious, and so nothing that happens is surprising. We see it coming, and there it is, and nothing comes of it.

Or maybe I've just dealt with too many dark stories and this is shocking?

The Offering from Ryan Patch on Vimeo.

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Saturday, 20 September 2014

Understanding the Chinese Room

I've seen this argument in a few places, and it seems to me that those people drew the wrong conclusions from it.

In the Chinese Room is someone who doesn't understand Chinese. But they have instructions, in English, that tells them how to manipulate symbols; basically they have an algorithm. They take an input (which is some sentence in Chinese), run through the algorithm and output some other symbols (a reply in Chinese).

Now, to the person from the outside, it may look like the process is able to speak in Chinese, but has there been any actual understanding of Chinese? Is there any actual conscience involved in the process that is cognizant of what is happening? (Beyond just someone running an algorithm on things they don't understand.)

This is usually presented in terms of Artificial Intelligence, and shows that even if we have a machine that can converse in Chinese, the machine doesn't actually understand what is going on. And thus it doesn't have a mind, and we need something else to get actual understanding...

However, what this reads to me is: if we can't tell that the machine isn't speaking Chinese, how do we know that someone who reportedly does speak Chinese actual does so? Can we demonstrate that people understand and aren't just machines processing according to an algorithm?

This opens up the idea of philosophical zombies, and Searle, who created the Chinese Room idea, replies with "well of course we know that people are different with understanding and stuff"... which, to me, is special pleading.

Now, admittedly, this is a rather Operationalist view of the world, which leads to other problems, but if you can't tell the difference between a sophisticated replication and the real thing, is there a difference?


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Friday, 19 September 2014


Gareth Marenghi's Darkplace is a piss-take sitcom on horror tropes. Although current day (for 2004), it's about reviving an old tv show from the 1980s and screening it now with inserted retrospective talking head moments from the main cast. And as such, it takes on not only horror tropes, but also televisual tropes, with one-take only shots, obvious editing cuts, continuity failures and crappy monsters.

The main premise is that it's set at a hospital with Matthew Holness as Garth Marenghi playing the star Dr Rick Dagless MD. (I do wonder if they knew about the New Zealand connotation of 'dag' when creating this?) With him is his writing partner and co-star Richard Ayoade (from The IT Crowd) playing Dean Learner (Garth's publisher), playing Thornton Reed (Rick's boss). And also Matt Berry and Alice Lowe fill out the hospital roles.

(One side point about this show: it is not great for Alice's character. Fine, women then were treated not incredibly, but even so. She's either dead or randomly missing in the "present day", and her character is forced through a fair bit of misogyny in the hospital bits... but as long as the lads 'ave a laf, eh?)

While I like the first episode, with many great touches... I have to say that that is enough for me. The other episodes just draw the joke out. Yes, there are some better moments in the latter episodes, but it is just moments, and nothing really happens to justify it's continuation. Everything that really needs to be said is done in the first episode.

Yeah, just watch that one:


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Thursday, 18 September 2014

DW 8.04

Oh, this got close to being a good atmospheric episode... so close! And yet... it didn't quite make it.

This was a mix of "something under the bed" and "let's learn about Danny Pink!". On the former side, we get a lot of tease. The closest we get is the puppet we see blurrily that was under the bedspread... and that didn't look good. Was there something there? Was it just imagination? We don't really know, and we certainly don't get answers. But we do suddenly get continuity, wut?

And on the Danny Pink side, we don't really learn anything there either. Rupert doesn't remember, and Orson (I thought his name was 'Awesome') doesn't have anything to tell us really about Danny, so... the point? Other than hints, again, of continuity with connecting with Clara's time line.

Is it just me or does Peter need to clear his throat? He sounds so raspy. And randomly faint Scottish, but not consistently. Jenna gets a lot to do, but again what does this tell us about her? It's more "Hey, Steven likes to write romantic comedy" moments than actual development.

Yeah... don't come here for a praise. At least this wasn't a complete screw up, but this could end up as incredible filler.

Next week: Pro-tip, do not follow up a tense episode with a picture of Abslom Daak.


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Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Reign of Winter

Oh, the eternal dungeon. The big problem being that we have no idea if we are making progress, going around in circles, or possibly going backwards...

Last time Mage went to move a table, and crossed a symbol, which caused the four wooden mini statues to become small creatures that attacked us. And nearly killed us. (Well, some of us.) Certainly we weren't in the best position, with two party members dropping, both in this case being the healers! We managed to put the creatures down before they could wipe us out, but it wasn't easy.

There were two exits we could choose, so of course we go for the locked door. Heading down, we get to a dead end, in which there are menhirs and two dead frost giants. Clearly this is fine, so I walk in... and cause the nymph to pop out and attack. And I'm blind. And then one of my party drops a silence spell, so I can't hear either. Hooray! While they battle, I am surprised by an air elemental, then I'm left without anything to fight around me and no way to find more battle. And then, when the silence is at last removed... the rest of the party kill her. And after she blinded two more people.

So, yeah, we are staying here now... until tomorrow, when we can get unblinded and then proceed to do other stupid things.


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Tuesday, 16 September 2014


The Wellington Film Society showed shorts from members. See a full list here, but I'm only going to talk about a few.

The Salt of the Earth is more interesting because the presentation. The story is a strange one about a child and a mirror and a golden spade... but the format is an old style cabinet with manual opening doors, and then the film is narration over a moving sheet on which various paintings are painted. We saw this happening live as well as on screen.

[Psst: cat videos bore me on youtube. Putting a filter on it, and adding annoying music doesn't help.]

Plastiphobia is about plasticine figures. Although it starts relatively simply, it builds up and the end circus sequence is quite amusing.

Here Be Monsters I had some hope for. It starts with a great premise: a man is bitten by a zombie and returns home to be with his family before he 'dies'. The story outline gives the hint that there is something more going on... but there wasn't really. The ending should also have been a bigger beat than it was.


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Monday, 15 September 2014

Red Panda'ring

Get ye to the Wellington Zoo and have a Close Encounter with the Red Pandas. I did! ( < - moar photos )


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Sunday, 14 September 2014

Posesion of Michel King

I really need to stop watching bad movies. Which is most of the movies I watch, so that would dry up this content... on the other hand, this movie was incredibly obvious.

Michael loses his wife in an accident, and decides that because she took advice from a psychic he will prove that religion is bunk. And so he starts trying to invoke the devil. Which, because this is a movie, he succeeds, although he's oblivious to it because we're only half way through the movie. Then in the second half of the movie, he goes crazy while putting up with the possession, and gets thrown around the house and such, and it's clear that in the movie the devil is real, so sucks to be him.

It's just... there's nothing new here. What was the movie trying to say? Losing your wife is terrible?Yeah, I knew that. Don't give in to the devil? Not really a problem. The devil is real? Again, not news here. The producers can make a movie in which there's effects and such? Not breaking boundaries there either.

Shane Johnson as Michael is all over the place. Mainly he comes across as complete tool, but when he's swinging into full devil mode, he's just completely unbelievable. And considering that most of the movie is just him, that's not great. The effects are decent, but not surprising (not even the moment when the ants crawl on the lens).

This is just another entry in the wanna be ghost movie genre. And it's not worth paying attention to.


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Saturday, 13 September 2014

Second Raidering

I barely remember the first movie, but, eh, whatever, it doesn't matter too much. This is the sequel!

There are two gangs controlling the city, and Rama from the first movie is recruited to go undercover with one of the gangs to find out what cops they are controlling... only the movie doesn't really get around to that and we just have gang moments and gang war and set pieces beating people up...

The first movie had a cohesive story, with everything contained in one place. This movie sprawls over different places, and has a fight in each section, and seems to be just an excuse to have a fight in different scenes. "Hey, we got a warehouse, let's have a fight there!" "Hey, here's a kitchen!" "Hey, here's a mud yard!" Which isn't to say these aren't good fight sequences, because they are, but they don't really have the proper sense of why beyond "we need to get over here for this fight".

Iko Uwais is good as Rama, and Arifin Putra is dashing as Uco. But my favourite part would go to Yayan Ruhian as Prakoso (he played Mad Dog in the first movie). The production is good, but there are times when I spotted that "yeah, that's CGI blood". Still, realistic enough looking.

So there will be a Raid 3, why not? Just make it more cohesive please?


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Friday, 12 September 2014

Trans Toys

While talking about Transformers, there was something I forgot to mention... the toys!

I had a few toys. One I had was Astrotrain, so when he turned up in the movie, I went yay! A toy that has three different forms? Huzzah! Although the scale confused me. The toy itself it the same size as all the others, and yet in the movie he's big enough to house several Decepticons... and seems even bigger as the space plane. Wut? (Although speaking of scale, Megatron transforms from a standard size robot into a hand gun that Starscream wields... wut??)

Another one I had was Twin Twist, which was supposed to run along the floor and then flip up and stand... I can't remember that ever happening.

There's another toy I want to talk about that I played with a lot... but it's not a transformer. But it does transform. I can't find details about it, but it was a robot... and a gun... and a tank... and a camera! Four things! Now that's amazing! (Although the tank and camera was an add on piece which one way was a turret and a camera lens on the other side.) You can see this in an auction, a little. If you know what it is, please sound off in the comments!


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Thursday, 11 September 2014

Black Horizon

Hey, do you like Gerry Anderson? Sure, he made a lot of great shows, but he was also working on a book. But was unable to finish it. But now... it's been Kickstartered!

Now, stop if you've heard this before but Gemini Force One is an international rescue operation. Wait, wait, this time is isn't a family! Ben Carrington, a 16 year old kid, encounters them after his father dies and... this book gets way darker than your typical Anderson adventure. This first book, Black Horizon, has a few deaths in it, and it doesn't try to sugar coat them. And along the way Ben must find his place while he should be at school, and he shouldn't be going on rescue missions, but he isn't and he is. And the big rescue at the end involves an oil spill in the ocean and a blowout prevention system called the BOP and... yeah, I'm thinking it might not be that subtle a reference...

After having our Kickstarter monies, they are now signed up with a publisher for three books. I got the first one, and signed at that, and... I'm not sure I will get the other two. Maybe because I get collections, but I'm not really getting a proper Supermarionation feel from it. It's a decent enough story, although slightly simplistic and goes weirdly dark, so... a mixed bag.


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Wednesday, 10 September 2014


With Digital Drift now getting into the Transformers movies they started with the 1986 movie, and I'll join them (on that one at least, I doubt I'll watch the big movies... although I do have the Rifftrax versions...). I think I watched it about ten years ago, and first saw it at the Odeon in Lower Hutt back in... 1986? 1987?

Now, this movie takes place in the middle of the cartoon series (which I probably saw, but don't recall it), so we have a brief paragraph introducing Cybertron, the Autobots and the Decepticons... and then the movie gets into it. Lots of 'bots, doing things, transforming, we hit a battle almost straight away... See, Bay! This is how you do it! Trust the audience already has a clue before they get involved and just say "you want robots, here are robots!" And we also get the only two humans in the entire movie, Spike and Daniel... because all the rest of the universe is all robotic. Oh, and one such planet got eaten by the Transformers version of Galactus, Unicron (although I'm sure I heard 'Unicorn' at least once). I like Unicron, huge menace (See Tim Story? You can bring Galactus to the screen as more than a blob!), and quite the effective villain. Converting Megatron to Galvatron is an interesting idea, as is changing the others, and he comes across as very overwhelming (to be honest, when Unicron transforms into robot form, although he looks neat, he does seem to be somewhat more vulnerable).

Anyway, where was I? Unicorn uses Galvatron to hunt down the Autobots and chase them across the... galaxy? universe? random space area? until they have a big fight over Cybertron until the space macguffin ticks over and solves everything. Huzzah!

There are some big moments in this. Optimus Prime dies, Megatron nearly dies, other Autobots die (although I have no idea who most of them are), and some severely weird scenes including the sharktacons and Eric Idle voicing a robot while Dare to be Stupid plays - what???

This is very 80s, and... I can't honestly say it holds up well. There are some great moments (mainly involving Unicron), but there are many other moments that are not as good. And the soundtrack has about one song for every other minute. Still, this is the best Transformers movie that played in the cinema.


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Tuesday, 9 September 2014

The Mill and the Cross

At the film society this time, we saw The Mill and the Cross, inspired by the painting The Procession to Calvary.

We accompany Bruegel and his patron of the moment Jonghelinck as they observe the setting up of the painting of the title. We dive into the details, and see the mill and the miller. We also see other figures who have bits and pieces to do, and we cross from 16th century setting to the characters recreating the death of Christ.

Yeah... I get what was going on in each scene, I just didn't get entirely why. Why show this part? Why spend so much time with the random children? And the weird dancing guy? And most of the other scenes? I know I have trouble reading subtles, but this time I had trouble reading the surface level.

Among the various acting I don't know, the two leads are Rutger Hauer and Michael York, and I wish they were in it more. Something about Rutger's voice explaining the painting was just so soothing. And Charlotte Rampling is also here, and familiar, but I forgot her from Dexter.

At an hour and a half, this felt long and a lot of it unnecessary. I'm sure there are people who love this. I'm sure it's not me.


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Monday, 8 September 2014

DW 8.03

I'm gonna say it. The title of this episode is just stupid. And it gives away far too much. And another historical adventure written by Mark Gatiss? Are we needing another one of those?

Storywise this didn't do anything too spectacular. We repeat various scenes from Robin's legend, and then I get reminded of Fires of Pompeii's "hey, this is actually circuitry" moment. The reveal of robots and spaceship is just another example of "let's insert alien bits into history", because it's always alien bits in history! History cannot be allowed to be humans only, it must be aliens! And then one last little bit of golden arrow to fix everything? Bollocks!

Peter Capaldi just seems to have one mode: annoyed/grumpy. Nearly all his scenes in this involve him being ticked off by everything. And Jenna Coleman is largely one note as well. Tom Riley is very dashing, and then...

Okay, someone give Ben Miller the role of the Master! Whenever he was on screen, I kept thinking "that's the Master! that's the Master right there!" His sword fighting was little weak, but his performance otherwise was marvellous. (And why didn't he show up with Missy?)

In many ways I did enjoy this more than I have the previous episodes, but the plot is just pants.

Next week: has potential, but I can see them whizzing it down their legs...


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Sunday, 7 September 2014

Dis-taste Wars

Um... what? This movie wants to be The Asylum level bad... but, to be honest, it's more Birdemic bad...

A group of scientists are trying to... probe the ocean floor or something? But they set off an undersea earthquake, and now there's a MEGA TSUNAMI! Because that's a thing, and other people know what it is. Other people try to stop it with another tsunami, but of course that doesn't work, that's just stupid. So what they have to do is set off another earthquake, because that makes sense! And amidst all this people are driving around streets and being attacked by random derelicts...

Where to start? The acting is awful. People are just reading lines while the camera is pointed at them. And the biggest name star I can spot is Joe "Wharevulf" Estevez. And the effects... the earthquake shaking is just someone shaking the camera, far more violently than the scene would suggest. Rubble is added so badly in post production CGI you can see exactly every bit done. And the tsunami itself is just large CGI water pasted into the background of a shot of a city.

And as for the plot... it makes no sense. It doesn't help that twenty minutes in (a quarter of the movie!), they are still introducing characters we don't care about! And then random events happen to the characters in the street because... something needs to happen to the 'little people' to make it dramatic! But given the acting and the effects, no it isn't. And the main action is either people sitting in a bunker board room or in the university office.

This doesn't even deserve to be called nanar...

This trailer... almost makes it look watchable.


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Saturday, 6 September 2014


It's a New Zealand movie, that's horror, and comedy, but doesn't feature vampires. Is this a trend now? I hope so!

Kylie is a young delinquent (I don't think they give her age, so I'm not sure if she's a minor, teenager, or what), who gets into trouble. And the judge assigns her to home detention with her mother, her father having abandoned them. However, small problem, the house is haunted. So thinks her mother. Kylie is more dubious, but several undeniably weird things happen, and her guard (the one looking after her home detention bracelet) gets involves, and events quickly spin out. Without giving more away, I will say that there are several turns and I didn't see what was actually going on coming at all.

My first comment on this movie is that it is horror. And comedy. With very definitely a separation between the two. The horror moments get extremely effective atmosphere, and the comedy is quite hilarious... but the movie switches between them without any concern for the clash of tones. There can be horror, a comedy beat, then back to horror, and that just breaks the tension and rather ruins it. Unfortunate, but this isn't the only problem.

The other one is acting. Morgana O'Reilly has fantastic eyes, and as very expressive. It's good to see Rima Te Wiata again, but I get the feeling she is playing a rather stock comedy role for most of her time. The other main lead is Glen-Paul Waru... and this looks to be his first main fiction lead, and it rather shows.

I want to be able to praise this movie more, and there are some very good moments, but the overall slightly disjointed tone means it doesn't quite get full marks. But very close.


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Friday, 5 September 2014

The Next Following

The second series being over for a while, it still took me some time to build up the interest to watch The Following, but then I was able to binge my way through it.

In this season, the bad guy comes back, because of course they couldn't really kill him off. And there are more cults and more psychopaths and more people who turn out to be working for the bad guys...

Which is the problem to me. Narratively, we often get into the position of "oh noes, the bad guys are about to be caught", but fortunately another bad guy turns up to help them get out of the situation. Basically, it's treating the bad guys as heroes. And that can be done. Dexter being a prime example. But what that series does that this doesn't, is that this series hasn't earned it. We aren't presented with a troubled past that gives the characters believable flaws and makes the audience care about them. Nope, the bad guys are presented as just that, and unredeemable. But the series wants to have its bad guy cake and eat it with the audience too. That just doesn't work.

And on the good guys side, aside from a lot of running around, we don't get amazing character development either.

Why am I watching this again? And why does it have a third season?


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Thursday, 4 September 2014

Batman Arkhault on Assam

This is supposed to take place between the two big Batman games... which I haven't played (I've got them, but haven't gotten around to playing them), so I can come at this movie without being influenced by that... although given what I do know about them, I have no idea how this fits in with it...

Anyhoo, in this movie, Riddler gets captured and put in Arkham Asylum. Amanda Waller gets together Taskforce X (aka the Suicide Squad), a bunch of C and D lister villains to break in and find the item. So we have Deadshot (heard of him), Harley Quinn (ditto), Killer Frost (maybe?), King Shark (who?), Black Spider (who? and DC got this before Marvel did?), and KGBeast... who is quickly not in this. That's particular thing about this, this movie is willing to kill off people, and not just the nameless unknown guards. Actual villains end up dead too, but I'm not saying who. But yeah, they break in, but then that plot takes a back seat to the sub plot of Joker having a nuclear bomb which takes over the end of the movie and... it gets a bit of a mess with lots of references and the obligatory Bane appearance and it's not a great ending...

The problem with the Suicide Squad is that the villains are working with each other because of a threat, and so we get so much squabbling between them that you can't believe that they are a cohesive team. And the changing nature of the plot doesn't help make the movie cohesive either as the main leads suddenly take background positions. Who thought that was a good idea?

And speaking of ideas: both the women in this have moments where they are showing off their breasts to cause a distraction. Equality for women!

It's a decent enough movie, because it's a DC animated movie, but it's hard to say there's a real need for it.


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Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Reign of Winter

After looking around, we decided to rest instead in the spider room, and feel a lot better! [Level 8 better.]

We could go back... or we could wander downwards. We do so, and come to a door, which is locked. We open it and find it is "the way to do the croning". Well, we don't want any croning, but it sounds like an interesting way to go, so off we go, with me leading the way.

Which means I'm the first to hit the glyph that make me old. While the others stand around and talk, I get annoyed, rage out, and charge down the rest of the stairs, triggering all sorts of other effects, until I hit a stone door. The others come down more cautiously and get to the last glyph... which kills Liddick. Stone dead, no chance at revival, dead. Wow, first party death!

We stay put and let the Cleric rest and charge up spells to heal all the various effects we've taken, then we proceed onwards (with not much of a funeral for Liddick), and find a field with an old crone in it, who warns us it won't be easy and then disappears. The field then becomes a room, and we find a female monk called [Insert Name Here], whom we take into our party without discussion, because that's how PCs roll.

Heading out, we find a large bright chamber, and have some actual combat! Woo! It's not too much of a problem, but then the Mage goes and does something stupid... and freeze!


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Tuesday, 2 September 2014


Remember the film society? Yeah, me neither, but last night they screened If....

In an old school in Engerland, the boys at a school are given a hard time. The Whips (older boys) run the place, the Crusaders (slightly younger but still older boys) chaff under their rule, and all the younger boys are basically tortured because this is Engerlish school. Eventually the Crusaders snap and play battle turns all too real...

This is presented as slices of school life, and... it's rather slow, I have to say. It takes a while to get into it, but it does become watchable in a lot of parts. There could easily have been trims without sacrificing the spirit of the movie. Which is about rebellion, but it takes a while to get there.

Most notably in the lead is Malcolm McDowell, although he had his whole film career ahead of him at this point. There's also one Count Grendel, Peter Jeffery. Also making a notable debut is a fair amount of nudity.

Not really a movie for me, although it's not terrible. Check it out for yourself!


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Monday, 1 September 2014

DW 8.02

Oh, it's just... sigh. Really? We want good stories, but this... there is one moment worth noting, but it isn't really anything new.

Take Dalek. Add in The Invisible Enemy. And The Carnival of Monsters... and blammo, this episode! In fact, let's skip past the whole miniaturisation thing, because that's just another excuse for corridors and sonicking things, and that's not interesting. Let's also skip past the Coal Hill School thing, because that's just bringing in another earth relationship, and we have nothing but that. Let's go straight to the idea of the 'good Dalek'. Turning the Daleks back on themselves dates back to The Evil of the Daleks, but it wasn't because 'it saw the birth of a sun', but rather because they were deliberately made human. Here, it's a complete accident, and we 'learn' that this is the first time we've ever had a good Dalek... despite those other times. (And what of Dalek itself, which all it wanted was the sunlight.)

The interesting point here is that the Doctor is full of hate for the Daleks... but as I've said, that's not the first time we've seen this. Again, Dalek. Hell, the fact that it was called "Russ T" is probably a dig at the certain someone who brought them back anyways.

That's actually really what this episode feels like. "Hey, remember these other episodes? Yeah, they happened! Think of those because we haven't decided what to do with the Doctor yet!"

Next time: Oh look, a historical... and let's guess what the alien presence shall be, shall we?


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