Sunday, 31 October 2010

Of Steam, Steel and Murder

Continuing the fun from last time, we are still investigating the murder of Frenchy... or whatever his name was...

We do start limiting leads early on, and suddenly get the bad guy handed to us... but since we have time (out game time), we take our time and do other stuff, and go off on other tangents before the final showdown. Where Gavin prods buttock and takes names.

Game 25, To Be or Not To Be.


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Amazingly Lost

Yet more discussions and slow plot movement. In a missing episode, we got to a continent, and so here we are trying to do stuff.

Mainly we fall in a river, find humans in stockades, and talk to the guilds... oh, and rescue a kidnapped guy.

All that and probably more in Tentacle Puppets.


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Horror Movie Roundup

I've mentioned before that I live horror movies, and here are three I've just watched.

The Grudge 3: Another in the American series (there's no Ju-On 3 as far as I am aware... although there do look to be more movies, must find and get), this one is slow going and is, oddly enough, in chronological order. Yet another revision to the history, and the horror is somewhat muted. Still a few good moments, but the change of production team shows in that it is definitely lesser...

Altitude: Direct to rubbish bin release. A group of kids take to the skies, but are soon lost in a storm that contains more than just the weather... Extremely cheap movie here, with five main cast that you really hope survive because... well, actually, they are all unlikeable, just whiny emo teens, so frankly death is too good for them. And then the ultimate explanation for what's going on (really? I... just... no...), and I totally called the final moment. Not a movie to see or enjoy.

One Missed Call: Saw the two Japanese movies a while ago, and now finally caught up with the American remake. And it is largely a remake. There are a few new scares, but the basic story is the same, although the final moment has been made more straight forward than the original. (Or maybe the sequel ending was confusing. Can't remember now.) In the milieu of new effects, it's decent enough, but otherwise may as well watch the originals.


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Saturday, 30 October 2010

This Activity just got Paranormaler

A lot of people didn't, but I thought Paranormal Activity was very spooky. It had a nice build of atmosphere and actual progression of a plot, and damn effective use of silences, and it was well staged and the original ended better than the latter release...

I heard good things about PA2, so definitely planned on checking it out. And so I did.

Um... no.

This is a prequel to PA1, and sets up lots of elements that, I'm pretty sure, contradict most of the established history of PA1. (Note: PA2 was done by a different production team than PA1, so that isn't surprising.) The problem is, and this is a big problem... it's all set up! As this leads into PA1, it has to not complete destroy that, and so the pay off is extremely delayed. Where the first actually had weirdness and spent a lot of time discussing it and upping the stakes, this one just has a very slow build that oh so slowly builds... and then builds a little more... then adds a tiny fraction more build... then explodes in the last twenty minutes... and I have no idea what actually happens, as where the one static camera in the first one meant the action had to be staged to be clear to it, there are more cameras in this one and it's not at all evident what is actually taking place, and... did they win? What did they do? I'm not sure...

All in all, I'd say this was a failure... although the monetary recoup the movie's already made probably ensues a PA3... unfortunately.


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Friday, 29 October 2010

SJA: Death of the Doctor

Whelmed by continuity! And irritation!

Never mind RTD cackling at the last episode, this time it's full reign for him and laughter ahoy! He gets to kill the Doctor! And bring back Jo Grant! And... hey... corpses... and vultures! Get it? VULTURES! PICKING OVER THE CORPSE!!! LAUGH!!!!!

So is this a thing now? The Doctor's going to appear in SJA? What about in Torchwood? Even more, what about the Trickster?! He's a perennial as well! (Although the next episode looks more like his milieu.) And RTD gets a few digs in at Matt. (Did his script get okayed by Moffat?)

But, hey, Jo Grant... isn't she annoying? She was not that bad back in the day, but now she's like a parody of herself, as filtered through fan perceptions of her ineptitude over the years. But speaking of companions, how about RTD killing off the chance for other people to write in companions? With a few lines of dialogue, he now fixes other companions in continuity. A case of "if I can't write them, no-one can?". And I'm sure other companions would have been happy to come back for the money... I mean because they're happy to connect with the show. Although I'm sure, given that there were only two 25 minute episodes, and with the Doctor and Jo Grant already needing to be written for, RTD didn't want to mix other companions in, even if he had the opportunity.

Anyway, about the story... was there one? Seemed more of a thin premise to have character moments (and Rani continues to upstage everyone else). Then again, it's hard to tell what's going on WHEN THE MUSIC IS DROWNING OUT EVERY WORD OF THE DIALOGUE! Seriously, there are scenes in part two where I couldn't hear anything because of the "emotional music" being loader than every other sound, you know, the ACTUAL sounds that are SUPPOSED to be heard.

You might be able to tell that I wasn't impressed by the episode. A bit to self-indulgent for a proper episode.


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Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Memories of Auckland

While I was up for Armageddon, thought I would stay a bit and take in the sights. Now, a useful tip when touristing around:
a) remember to take your camera,
b) remember to check the batteries,
c) remember to check to see if the damn camera actually works.
Failed a), then b) and then c). Yeah, that worked well.

While here to see Auckland, clearly the thing to do was go underneath it, hence I went to Kelly Tarlton's. Saw penguins, manta rays, fish, sharks... While in the (being worked on) shark tube bit, there was a manta that passed right over head, skimming the top of the tube. That was neat.

Keeping the nautical theme, I also took in a harbour cruise. At one point I was thinking of walking around Rangitoto Island, but feet proved to be too sore for that to work. Still, nice to get some sea air.

The museum was a draw. Reminded me of Te Papa, but then hardly surprising that a museum would have a large Maori focus. While Te Papa has a "wacky shake", the War Museum has a "volcano house". If a volcano does happen in Auckland, the luckiest thing would be just to get covered in ash...

Even checked out the Denny's (and the site hasn't worked for days). Can't say I was that impressed by it.

Hardly a conclusive tour of the sights, but it got me out of the hotel and now I have my memories of the times. (Photos would help, but...)


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Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Got me questions answered

So yeah, Armageddon happened. Announcements were made about McGann's new costume, and McCoy's new job wherever Hobbit ends up being made. And there were question and answer sessions. While Saturday was a one hour bit with the three of them on stage in the main room, on Sunday there were more intimate one hour blocks with each of them and more in a smaller room. Now that's more fun. And I got to ask each of them a question (more or less).

(No, there are no photos, see tomorrow for why.)

First up, Lloyd Kaufman. Yes, the Troma man himself. Got an interesting wee movie, Poultrygiest, coming out soon, mad cap as ever. And he told us about the fun of making film, and what happens when you don't get proper permits.
My question: what is his stance on meat? Answer: He just doesn't eat meat (aside from human flesh of course), as he doesn't see it as fair to the animals.

Next up, time with Claudia Christian. She's still working, been in Starhyke (must watch some time) and now in Look. Just as much fun as ever.
My question: a few years ago she was writing a B5 novel with Susan Ivanova in it. What happened to that? Answer: Got declared as "non-canon" by JMS, so now only a short run as "fanfiction". (Novel is Baptism of Fire.)

Then the Doctor Who-ness started with Sylvester McCoy. Started off with discussing putting ferrets down his trousers (good question there Wade), and discussed his name origins and repeated a lot of answers from yesterday.
(I didn't have a question for him, was going to ask if he got asked to tone down or increase his accent during DW, he answered that (with a "tone down") before I got to ask.)

Onto companion Sophie Aldred. Spent a lot of time discussing her non-DW work. (Never ask for the Dennis the Menace voice, nearly as annoying as Katy Mannings' baby voice. Urgh.) And mentioned, at the end of Survival, how Ace and the Doctor walked off into the bushes... even writing that makes me chuckle.
My question: how does she see Ace's leaving moment? Answer: didn't really give one, discussed a few possibilities, but can't recall anything definite.

Paul McGann returned in costume for the last Q&A. Mainly DW, but also roamed over many different parts he had, relating a few amusing stories. Had some very odd times over the years. Also had a Barbara Streisand song stuck in his head.
My question: In Lesbian Vampire Killers, he played his role straight, the others didn't. His choice, director's choice, or...? Answer: that's just the way he played the role. He's a straight actor.
My question 2 ('cos I got chance to ask another): Any word on Fish coming out on DVD? Answer: After remembering he was in Fish, no, no word.

I got for the talking sessions. Not to say I didn't buy stuff as well, but I prefer the q&a sessions. I can't say that I would have been sorry if I hadn't come... I did enjoy the parts I attended.


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Sunday, 24 October 2010

NOT Team Xero

Even big companies use the same software I do. It also sounds like they used the same voice for Broccoliser (the actual name of the character) that i did. I have yet to reveal Zzz Girl in my series...

Although they put more than 15 minutes into it, and edited it outside of the actual software...


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Saturday, 23 October 2010

SJA: The Vault of Secrets

Hey, it's Rani's wacky parents... and they are wacky! In particular Gita is, and she's joined up with BURPSS... yeah... they go there. Oh, and there are creations that do things with their hands and their weapons are revealed... oh boy, I bet all the kids will be saying that catch phrase on the playground "You will be incinerated."


Phil Ford clearly pulled out all the stops, and did his best RTD impression with this script. I can just imagine RTD laughing uproariously as he wrote the script.'s not that it's bad. There are some nice character moments (again with Rani, as per last time), but... it just isn't a good story. Did we really need the Men in Black, with all the references to (it wasn't like Rani said "Where Will Smith when you need him?" (and she does say that), and then they get on with a different take on the MIBs, no it could easily have been generic MiBs from that universe).

And the return of Androvax wasn't that exciting either. SJA is now getting to the point of wallowing in its own continuity. We get a (fortunately brief) repeat of Elizabeth Sladen's "possessed" acting, and yet other possessions are more realistically done.

In some ways, the point of it can be easily seen in that you completely forget about it as soon as you see next week's trailer...


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Friday, 22 October 2010

A Font of Information

From an off-hand reference to this, I vaguely remembered there was such a movie, so hunted it down. A documentary about a typeface? Not the first subject matter that leaps to mind.

And yet, hey, a documentary, I'll give it a go! (I need to find a good list of documentaries that interest me so I can find yet more to watch. Anyone know of one?)

This movie is more a celebration of Helvetica, and its place in society, only lightly touching on how it was created and developed. Interesting, yes, but could have been more. Helvetica is now presented as being the typeface of the age, with everyone using it for the most common of signs. (That said, this isn't in Helvetica... then again, this might all depend on the font the browser is set to.)

We get many talking heads, and lots of shots of signs. A little of graphical design in practice, and while mention is made of "how this looks", there isn't actual analysis of what makes a type face work, which I would like to have seen.

While there is talk about people coming up with other options, there doesn't seem to be a common standard against Helvetica. I was thinking that this is the IBM of the typeface world... so where's Apple?

Overall, a halfway decent movie, with missed opportunities that could have made it a whole way...


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Thursday, 21 October 2010

Team Xero #002

Another exciting new video from Team Xero! Again as part of the High Concept Challenge, as they all will be for now. This High Concept: A... lesser animal based super hero. The big problem is that I'm limited by what characters I have in the Superxeros pack... fortunately for me, there is one in particular they have...


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Wednesday, 20 October 2010

Zombiegeddon: 10th Bite!

As Dox, Blinky and myself came out of the main library room, we found the lobby area void of our companions, although there was a suggestion of movement in the floor. A little playing with Blobby by Dox later revealed a set of stairs leading down. Clearly more gnomes had come out of there and killed our companions. When we heard a "Hello!" from down there, we were ready for the new Gnome-ish attack!

Which came in the form of a Half-Elf Battlemind named Jason Quicksilver. After the standard "PC vs PC" stand off, and the appearance of the two others, we joined forces... or, at least, put off killing each other, and headed down to where Raziel heard voices. Entering the water room (based on water elemental magic, not it being made of water), we found a priest dude of the Dark Sun doing something strange with a portal. He jumped through, and left behind some fire elementals to deal with us.

Ha! The first thing I did was activated the water-based defense magic inherent in this room... yep, I turned on the sprinklers. Not as useful as I hoped, but it seemed like a cool thing to do at the time. Much like jumping in and fighting the beasts, which we all did. The new guy seemed somewhat useful, getting in and beating them up hand-to-hand, but we overwhelmed them without me getting hurt, so that's always good.

Quickly we set about re-establishing the portal. Since there was magic already in the room from the water sprinklers, I channeled that into the portal to stabilise it, and the others helped. Dox, as usual, jumped straight in, and so since that seemed to be the thing to do, so did I, and the others.

On the other side, [Note: we hadn't rested since the fire fight above, so we were out of encounter type powers.] there was a room of zombies. Well, been a while since we fought them. There was one giant zombie, usual zombies, and some less than impressive ones. While trying to concentrate on the big one, the smaller ones got to me, and, ow!, I got hurt! No fair! So a slightly tougher fight... and yet, still not really a huge issue...

Afterward, we got treated to a slow clap of some lieutenant chap named Berrin or something, who said we'd be joining his team. Not if Seaian's in the same team, I say. But we'll see about that... after a quick catching of breath, that is...


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Tuesday, 19 October 2010


Oh, a horror movie, must watch... although I do wonder if this could have been done as a more normal drama (and it's not like people die in particularly nasty ways).

Anyway, there are nine people and some of them might end up dead. A killer has kidnapped them and stuck them in a room, and every ten minutes, one of them will die. And so, this is basically a "people stuck in a room" movie, much like the recent Devil, or (because I re-watched it recently) Saw. The point here is that the people must find out what connects them, or else the above mentioned death. Will they do it in time?

And it is a nice set-up. Could be interesting, could be a dark secret, could be something deep about them... or we could bring in the stupid... (Obviously, I'm not going to reveal the secret behind the connection, but I will say that there are a few connections that, when given time to think about it, make you go "...what?")

But there are two bigger stupids. The first, and a minor spoiler, for some deaths the killer whispers the secret into the person's ear before killing them, and the person reacts in some way along the lines of "yeah?". Thank you, you stupid people, for not saying anything that might help other people. Fine, the first time might be a surprise, but the other times... no-one even mentions the idea! They are desperate for secrets, for finding out what the killer wants, but... here are big clues, and no-one wants to reveal them! It might be important to the script that it doesn't come out, but it makes absolutely no sense of any kind in character for them to do that. That continually ticked me off as the movie went on. They all deserved to die for that idiocy alone!

The other stupid, which I can't talk about, is the ending. But if you watch it, you'll be going "huh? why...?" ... however, feel free to feel this stupid, when told they have a connection, no-one of them went "do we have the same birthday? All lived in the same place? Perhaps we all entered the same competition to get kidnapped and stuck in a room?" Nada.

Melissa Joan Hart is in this, still looking like Sabrina, but a little older Sabrina. Other roles are well cast, with Lawrence Turner being a rather amusing Coogan. As for the killer... I won't reveal who it is, but I'm sure it was very uncomfortable in that mask...

The stupid overwhelms this movie, but if you think you can overcome that, then have at it!


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Monday, 18 October 2010

Yes, you could refer to it as "Lake Flacid"

What do you get if you mix together Bill Pullman, Bridget Fonda, Breendon Gleeson, Oliver Platt and Betty White? Some people go the idea to make sequels. I enjoyed Lake Placid as a movie, it was a great mix of comedy and monster film.

First up, we come to Lake Placid 2, released into discount bins in 2007. This movie was largely a repeat of the original movie, and yet failed in many ways that the original worked... and failed in many ways that it tried on its own. What it repeated was the sexual tension mix of the main leads, the old lady by the lake, the industrialist come to kill the monster, and, of course, crocodiles. Any idea of charm was not captured in these roles, and where the original was about screwed up human relationships, this tried and got it wrong. (The only real moment was where Ahmad quit.) And then there's the subplot of the teenagers coming to the lake and being threatened, 'cos no monster movie has ever done that before! Gah! And the old lady... Betty White was brilliant, Cloris Leachman was trying to recreate the part. Notably John Schneider is the Sheriff, and as for other big name roles... the closest you get is Sam McMurray. And, most disappointingly, eight years after the original, the crocodile CGI effect is just terrible. Yuck.

Then, three years later, on the Syfy network, we get Lake Placid 3. Colin Ferguson is the sheriff... no wait, not the sheriff, the animal guy. The sheriff is in fact Michael Ironside. Yancy Butler plays the hunter Reba... And, you know what, I respect this movie a lot more than number two. They didn't repeat the basic plot, although the basic basic plot, of crocodiles attacking people, is of course the same, and indeed there are teenagers like in two, but this time they actually have their own characters. Reba is one of the best characters in the film. The crocodiles, while still CGI, are better... although killing them is done in rather more unbelievable ways than in the previous two. And, best of all, not all of the good guys make it! Yay, makes a change!

Ultimately, please, leave the series alone. If you feel the need to enjoy the series, just rescreen number one. I must my own DVD of it now...


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Sunday, 17 October 2010

Amazingly Lost

Another week, another episode. Oh, but we do some stupid things this episode... but it is the will of the Island! We nearly have a moment of party splittage, but Logan is insistent on us staying together, so events must move with us. And behold the moment when I act in my way and everyone else just stands around and waits. Heh.

One Wedding, Seventeen Funerals.


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The Devil Walks The Land...

Seriously? And note that this deserved the big picture spot on Stuff...

Jilted celebrant warns of satanic clash

Okay, so only have the one newspaper article to go on, so from that the background seems to be: Christina and Dave want to get married. At this particular church. By the reverend (Short) who used to be the guy in charge. However, the current guy (Wells) in charge had a disagreement with the previous guy so is turning their proposal to get married in the church down.

And from that, Wells has proclaimed:

But he did send a letter to parishioners calling on them to be "in fervent prayer and fasting" for 24 hours.

"I will not stand back and allow the work of our Lord to be destroyed by the devil on my watch," he wrote, adding: "There will be persecution ahead, we will be vilified by the nation, the media and the world around us, we will suffer injustice and those whom we counted on as friends may well speak against us, we are in a spiritual battle."

Vilified? No. Pointed at and laughed at? Yep. And to be precise, pointing and laughing at Wells. It's not the parishioners who are blocking this, it is Wells. From this one piece, the word that really comes to mind is "pettiness".

But Wells apparently insists on bringing in everyone else. "Prayer and fasting." Seriously? He thinks everyone is going to be behind him? The article points out there is a large elderly population, who want Short around, so I'm not seeing them being on his side in this "spiritual battle".

I've said before that one aspect of religion is power control. This is a perfect example of that.


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Saturday, 16 October 2010

SJA: The Nightmare Man

With Tommy Knight not being around for the rest of the season (although he keeps referring to seeing Sarah Jane at Christmas... so is there a Christmas episode?), this is a Luke centric episode.

And I think this is a pretty decent episode, mostly. There are a few moments of "really?", but overall there is a nice creepy build up of the Nightmare Man... the nightmares are a little odd, but there is good character development. Despite being a Luke episode, Rani has the best character focus, showing her to be a more interesting character than the boys.

Tommy Knight acts well, with Daniel Anthony being his usual self, and Anjli Mohindra being excellent. Elizabeth Sladen gets to do something a little unusual in Clive's dream, nice to see, but otherwise doesn't get that much to do in the episode. Julian Bleach gives a good turn as the Nightmare Man, although capers a little too much. And a bit of a cameo from Doon Mackichan!

A decent starter to the season, although one small overlooked point: another casual Slitheen death. Doesn't seem to bother anyone...


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Thursday, 14 October 2010

The Book of the MOG

Do you watch Zero Punctuation? Of course you do, because you're not crazy. Well, Yahtzee has now got a book to his credit, one Mogworld.

The basic concept: what do MMORPGers look like from the point of view of the NPCs in the game? Not that we get that immediately (although it's well known that's behind it). Jim dies... and comes back to life. Only he doesn't want to be. But then he ends up tramping all the way across the world just to try to kill himself, and comes across some severly strange peoples while doing so. And gets involved in the events of Si-Mon and Dub-us, the holy gods with admin powers...

This is an entertaining read, although I can't hear it being delievered fast-paced style in Yahtzee's voice (although if he does do an audio book...). There isn't the viciousness of his ZP videos, but as Jim is an "anti-hero", there are more than a few vicious barbs coming from his lips. The glimpses of the other side we get are intriguing, and PCs get presented in a rather disturbing (from the MOGworldian's point of view), and the BunnyMorph spell is just cute.

Like fantasy novels? Like MMORPG based novels? Like funny novels? Check out Mogworld!


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Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Okay, let's talk Te Papa

You've probably been aware of it if you've gone anywhere near Stuff, the basic being Pregnant women warned off Te Papa tour.

Firstly, let's get the set up clear: There is an invitational only event to view the taonga Maori collection, and pregnant and menstruating women are asked not to come. They are NOT banned from coming. They are given the option of coming on the tour some later time when they are not in that situation. Some times there are situations in which pregnant or menstruating women would be in danger...

However, let us examine why. Such women are considered "sacred". They need to be protected from the wairua, which are spirits which are in the taonga (which are there due to the energy of the creation)., what?

Really? There are spirits inside objects, and they could harm women who are in certain conditions? ... really? Can you prove this? Can they be measured in some way? Can they be shown to exist in some way that does not rely on belief and "because I know it is there" or "I can feel it"?

[One person in the comments said that such items were used in blood rituals and not washed, so could be infected, and... what? Only certain women can be subsequently infected? How? I'm having a hard time believing these objects are going to be hand held, and even then, only a small criteria of women could be at risk? Seriously?]

Even if... even """IF""" this was remotely true, this condition is only in place for the invitational event. There are no conditions on the general exhibition. So the spirits aren't interested if there are groups of people around? Are they shy? Te Papa feels the need to warn women in one situation, but not in a situation where there will be far more people? (I'll let someone else have fun considering potential legal ramifications.)

To be honest, in many ways, I'd respect them more if there wasn't this reason for this condition. If it was just "this is the way we do things", fine, cultural beliefs, etc... But to say "this is because of X", when there is zero evidence for such...

Some women will stay away because of this. (Judging from the article, more people will stay away because they don't like the policy in the first place.) But some women will stay away because they don't want to put their lives (or the lives of their fetuses) at risk.

Cultural beliefs are one thing. Cultural beliefs that claim "don't do this or you will die" deserve to be challenged. I call shenanigans.

ETA: Follow up article.


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Tuesday, 12 October 2010

DW: The Only Good Dalek

This is a graphic novel, from the pen of Justin Richards and the brush of Mike Collins.

The Doctor lands on an orbital station and, guess what, there are Daleks! Only these are good Daleks. Indeed, Justin manages to put about three different spins on what is a "good Dalek". The pace is pretty quick, with a lot of events all over the place... I'm not entirely sure the story makes complete sense but then I'm not entirely sure I paid complete attention. There are a couple of good twists, although one plot moment gets played out a few times.

The art is good, there are some very nice splash pages. The Doctor and Amy are... close to how they look. The Daleks are their big clunky selves, and Mike keeps them dominating the page without giving away the over-bulk too much (and with voice in Dalek font, of course).

A sufficient wee tale, although with the Daleks, especially not being on TV, there really isn't a huge resolution. Decent enough hardcover, although recommend more on sale than full price...


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Monday, 11 October 2010


If a Mega-Shark or a Giant Octopus wasn't enough for you, how about a SharkTopus? (Although, to be honest, how they put it together would be like attaching the head and torso of one creature with the head and torso of another, it don't work like that...)

Anyway, "evil corp" creates a shark/octopus hybrid (wouldn't you?) and the daughter and some random hero team up to take it down after it goes on a rampage. Which seems to consist of "kill women in bikinis". ... woo! Who needs plot?

Or anything else. Like the "steadycam" switch on cameras. Did the camera men simply grab a camera and point it vaguely in the direction of the actors? Who manage to magically change around as if there was no continuity checker. Meh, those things are over-rated. Much like special effects, which the 1990s would be ashamed of.

This movie "stars" Eric "Smirk" Roberts. Yeah, he's never played an evil character. The daughter, Nicole, is played by Sara Malakul Lane, who is from... I have no idea, as she is suffering from roving accent syndrome, which can happen in the middle of sentences. Kerem Bursin is the hero of the piece... yeah, big names in this film. Amusingly, Liv Boughn was also in another monster pic, Dinoshark. (As opposed to Dinocroc or Supergator...)

What do you expect from a "sharktopus" movie? As one character says: "Oh no, not like this!"


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Sunday, 10 October 2010

Of Steam, Steel and Murder

We are back in Metapol, and Aldrick is annoyed with his brother, who happens to be the ambassador for Germany. When a murder happens during an ambassadorial party, guess who gets called in? Nope, not them, but a team with Aldrick as the lead. Yeah, completely unbiased there.

So there are intrigues. I completely refuse to believe whatever information we are presented (and "presented" is an entirely apt word, I think), but whatever the answer is, likely it will involve political big wigs who can walk away free. Yeah, it'll all work out fine...

Hear the opening of the investigation in Game 24. Due to reasons, the next game will be three weeks away.


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Amazingly Lost

Logan finally came back to GMing a game, and is using an ORE varient. And I'm playing in it. I don't know why, but I now have no Saturdays free...

Anyways, although it started a week ago, I joined this week. We woke up on an island with no memories, so I though I would do something different. Since I didn't remember a time before the island, I must not have existed before, and whatever general memories I have have been implanted. Thus... I was created by the Island! And, lo, am the Messiah of the Island!

...and then Logan told me that the papers in my pocket informed me that I had been a tele-evangilist... funny how things work out...

Anyway, in this episode, we are Exploring the Island.


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2 Srorrim

So, in the direct-to-video bin, we have a sequel to a rather fine film. They take a rather broad step of having no cast the same, and neither any of the creative team. So, yeah, clearly a sequel (and the opening titles do give that it is a sequel). Despite the fact that they also change the rules of how these things work. Actually, it's more of a Mirrors/Ju-on mix.

So, the Mayflower is opening a new branch, and has a mirror from their New York branch (which were all destroyed...), and the owner has his son step in to temporarily replace the old night watchman. However, the son had a Traumatic Incident(tm) in his past, and sees things in mirrors, and is a terrible night guard as he leaves the place unlocked on two different nights as the film goes on. The hey...? Fire him! And there isn't any real threat in the place, but it's all about the horrible deaths of other people by their mirror selves. And then we get a fifteen minute flashback that tells us nothing we didn't already know... sigh...

Nick Stahl plays the lead and looks like he needs to eat something or more of his skeleton will show. Emmanuelle Vaugier plays the somewhat romantic lead, on the hunt for her missing sister, but doesn't really have a role beyond being the main female, so actual characterisation or anything. But, hey, William Katt! (Thought this might have been another House movie.) And, yes, Christy Romano does show off her rather unbelievable boob job.

And speaking of unbelievable, the special effects also leave a lot to be desired. The death puppets look very fake and there are some painfully obvious digital effects. The mirror sequences (mainly the Eleanor one) work a bit better.

Not a movie to bother about checking out...


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Friday, 8 October 2010

Four Lions

This was one of the movies I wanted to watch at the NZFF but didn't make it to.

Four Lions is about a bunch of blocks, trying to do their thing, but not being all that competent at it. Where their "thing" is jihad. The movie follows their attempts at being heroes for their cause, culminating at the London marathon.

Have to say, wish all jihadists were like this, but unfortunately I doubt many would be as amusing. And this is an amusing film, where the entertainment is in their bumbling (much like other movies). [For a more serious take, check out the excellent episode of Spooks, which has Dr Bashir exclaiming "Never argue with man who's going to Paradise!"]

There are some great performances from all involved, and a few cameos to watch out for. There's interesting camera choices too, where, for example, night scenes outside are in night vision. And there are explosions (with slight jump cuts when they happen, but what do you expect?).

Great movie from Chris Morris, well worth checking out.


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Thursday, 7 October 2010

The Sickening of the Pope

You might have heard of a certain event over in England in the past month. A certain head of a certain organisation arrived in Engerland and was failed to be arrested. I'd advise you to read Richard Dawkins' speech (which was abbreviated when he gave it) that nicely points out some of the many failures of the Pope.

He was also one of the people associated with the call the arrest the Pope, although no-one seriously believed that was going to happen (which didn't for a moment stop various sides taking advantage of the charge to get news lines). As a part of all that, Geoffry Robertson was commissioned to write up the details of the what if: could the Pope be charged? What crimes had been committed? What hurdles are there to charging him or the Holy See? And, as it happens, is the Holy See / the Vatican a state, which nations treat is as?

The Case of the Pope is the book of the answer, and it is very interesting reading. Although, when you get to Chapter 6, which details the Vatican involvement in UN activities to do such things as treat women, gays and children as beings with actual rights, the Vatican's involvement moves from interesting to just plain sickening. What the hell is going on with the world that this is going on? Just how much of a stranglehold are we allowing the Catholic Church to have? Makes me want to become a world power just so I can deny their right to anything...

Definitely give it a read. Everyone should read it, especially those who think that the Vatican is something to respect. Self-delusion keeps them in power, but that needs to end. Now. Until there, there is only one response possible...


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Wednesday, 6 October 2010

Zombiegeddon: 9th Bite!

The next day, we took a look at the Alchemist's Guild house. There was a shanty town area in front of it, and in the main house... zombies. Hey, zombies! Haven't had them for a while. After getting rid of them, we found some money and a ritual, and then set up all the explodey bits and pieces around in a big pile, lit the fuse and... flattened by the explosion. Wow. Now that was a big one. But if anyone asked, it was like that when we got there...

Wiping the soot off, we headed out for the library. Perhaps we could blow that up as well? Although the doors were shut, we heard voices, but some of us didn't really bother with niceties and went in anyway. Inside was a large room, there being a mosaic of the land on the floor and on a raised dais with an image of the city on it... with smoke rising out of a new crater... neat.

However, we weren't the only ones there. Gnomes were running around and didn't take kindly to us interrupting them. They attacked! We defended! I got beaten down to near death twice! Waa! Of course we smacked them up, but I got hurt!

On them was a pack of documents (in Elven), in which they had been given a list of items to get, including the Daemonicus Supernum and an orrery that was very expensive. Two of us went looking at the books, two others studied the city image. The latter found controls to change the image and saw plenty of zombies on the middle island (with the wizard spire and a monastery). And underneath the stone with the image on it was a set of stairs to unlock and go into the catacombs.

Meanwhile the other two (including I) went looking at the more prosaic books. We found the Daemonicus and some books on the cult, but found that the orrery was in the catacombs. Wherever they were. Huh, guess that's that then...


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Tuesday, 5 October 2010

Electric Bugaloo

Ha! I can use that and be referring to a sequel. I've mentioned Electric Box before, so there should be a surprise when I mention Electric Box 2!

Damn, but it's a fun game. At the time of writing, I'm still trying to complete the last level, I haven't quite worked out the last few pieces... but already it's so elegant. And that's the keyword for the entire range of levels. There are 40 here, and new pieces of course, and once again the solution requires every piece on the board... and it works just so beautifully when you've got it all worked out.

Head over and play it... and see if you can stop yourself going back to finish it!


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Sunday, 3 October 2010

Of Steam, Steel and Murder

We're still on Storm Haven Island, although it's less of a Haven and more of a Storm (of emotions!). Secrets are uncovered, and surprising actions happen that catch up all by surprise! Gavin gets to fight one of the robots with the soulless red eyes... who will win?

All this in Game 23. (I might start looking elsewhere to host files, RapidShare is becoming increasingly annoying with its "complete system overhauls without telling anyone, especially customers..." antics.)

Note: my computer crashed about an hour into this, so there's a break between part 1 and part 2.


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End the Bending of Air

After seeing this movie, I really really really... want to go see the original series. It looks so interesting.

This movie, on the other hand, is a complete mess. I'm going to ignore the racial complaints, as there is no need to, because there's more fun for me to be had mocking everything else. The story is about some kid coming to realise his destiny and power, and engage in CGI fights and there are other people who do things, and do them because...

Actually, freaked if I know. As this is the problem. This movie seems like a three hour movie that's been cut down. I'm sure you've heard of "show don't tell", but there are many scenes in which we get some filmed sequence with Katara narrating events over it that should be developed. (Such as when Sokka meets Yue, we are told that he, basically, falls in love with her, and that is about as much character development as we get that is suppose to mean something in a later scene... perhaps if we had actually seen some of that we might care? But not...) But then, there are more than a few cases of "don't show or tell". Quite a few times I wondered "what are they doing there? where did those people come from? did she just refer to something we've never been told?" A complete confused mess.

There are some nice visuals. Indeed, some great scenes in which people fight with CGI that just impress in how well the one-continual-shot included people getting blown or frozen or earth popping up and down... it's just a good moment. On the other hand, there was that disturbing scene where Sokka and Aang are talking and M. Night decided that the best way to show them talking was in EXTREME CLOSE UP!!! Wah!

Given all this, I'm not saying anything bad about the acting. They did well, from what I can tell of what remains on the screen. Fine, the arm waving doesn't quite work, but no-one gets that right, so it's not like anyone can be singled out. (And, hey, look, it's Cliff!)

Don't bother seeing this movie, 'cos it just isn't worth bothering about...


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