Wednesday, 31 October 2012

The Adventures of the Scary Bunny

[Obligation continues to be a little odd. If the group has a high enough obligation, then you are more or less permanently at a penalty to Strain... and then it doesn't really mean much, it's just a penalty that is there, and doesn't have an impact. It could get worse, but it just feels meh.]

Flying away from the moon, towards the planet, we soon pick up a tail in the form of two ships that aren't interested in letting us get away. I try to avoid them by listing lazily to the left. The gunner shoots them, missing but managing to disable each gun as he fired it [damn threat dice!]. Meanwhile, the agro guys threaten to space the leader... which makes them back off. Aided by the mechanic making the shields look stronger than they are [yay triumph dice!]. [While I am the pilot, aside from making some manoeuvres  I didn't really get to do anything. And didn't ever have to make a roll at any point. What was the point of all that? I would have wanted to do some tricky flying, but the best option was evasive action... which just impacts other people's rolls. Meh.]

We land easily, and then get us some cash for our troubles... [And that ends the first campaign/story. Another one next time.]

[Since we still had time, we played the X-Wing game. Myself and Chong were X-wings, the others were Tie Fighters... I died pretty much immediately, Chong lasted a little longer... and there were no Tie Fighter casualties at all... sigh...]


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Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Suddenly... Ducks!

As I was entering work, I managed to actually notice something... ducks right outside near the plants!


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A Fan's Comic-Con

There's a documentary about what it's like at Comic-Con that looks at it from the fans point of view, as well as talking to a few retailers. So that con looks about as massive as I'd expect...

During this documentary we meet people who are trying to become artists, and this documentary isn't all about rosy endings. We meet a comics retailer that isn't happy with the fact that the comic con isn't about comics any more (and while I can see his point, one also has to acknowledge that the people running the con are business people like he is, and if LucasFilm are giving them lots of moniez for the loading dock, then the loading dock they will have!). We meet a costumer who, with her team, did an amazing Mass Effect costume                   outfit of Shepard, Tali and Grunt. And we meet two lovers, one of whom is trying to set up a proposal to the other, but can't get away to get the ring, and dude, she's like really clingy, are you sure you want to marry her? (Yes, yes he does.)

We also get a lot of basically talking heads with big names to say how amazing Comic Con is... and I wonder if we'd get the same responses from them if they were at DragonCon or ...  I don't know, what are other big sci-fi cons out there? There're like a bajillion of them... Certainly makes Armageddon look like the little expo that could...

Anyway, as a slice of life type documentary, it's interesting, but I can't say I particularly want to go to Comic Con after seeing it. It is, loosely, Armageddon on a huger scale, and I don't go to that!


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Monday, 29 October 2012

Games I Gave Up On

Not many people would boast of not completing a game... and while I'm not boasting, I certainly think talking about why not to play a game is something worth talking about. There are many discussions about games needing to be "fun", which, to be honest, is not the same thing as entertaining nor enjoyable, which non-fun games should be. But certainly they should have some reason for the person to continue playing the game, or to come back to it.

I didn't like Half-Life, so it shouldn't be that much of a surprise I didn't enjoy Half-Life: Blue Shift, in which you play as the guard Barney. (Oddly, there's a big thing in HL2 about the friendship he and Gordon have, and the time they spent at Black Mesa together, but Gordon never meets him, and they certainly don't have any time at Black Mesa before "shit goes down", so I have no idea where that mythology came from...) Anyway, this game features more of random shooting and extremely annoying jumping/physics puzzles. And no story. Well, a very small story. Mainly just running through corridors shooting things, then running through corridors pressing buttons. It wasn't fun, not enjoyable, nor entertaining. I didn't get far before I gave up on that.

The other one that I just gave up on, and this will probably surprise a few people, is Psychonauts. The combination of controls I didn't like, and endlessly having to do things over again in order to jump in just the right way, just put me over the edge of wanting to continue. (It didn't help that I spent so long between sessions that I forgot the controls.) And the story is interesting. But there's a lot of backtracking and fernickity jumping and dodging in later levels that I am more than glad I didn't partake of. And a complete 100% run would drive me insane. Shame, really, and I haven't deleted the game yet... but let's face it, I'm not likely to get back to it.

But I am interested in the story side of these games, which is why I watch the Let's Plays of them (which is what I know what does happen). And that would be cheaper than pouring the money into buying them that I do. And yet... I do want to play games... I just don't have the patience for playing games.


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Sunday, 28 October 2012

Are you tremulus?

Kickstarter pays off in fits and starts. One project that has (mostly) paid off so far (with probably some updates to come) is tremulus, a horror based rpg. (And with Halloween coming up, why not?) From Reality Blurs.

And it's not just for me, it's also for you! In particular, their playbooks are freely available for anyone who wants one (just click on that link for my copy of it). These are a collection of characters for use in the tremulus system.

Now, obviously you will need the system, but hey, they can have interesting character ideas. I haven't look at the system enough to know if there is a simple conversion to other systems (eg BRP), but that won't stop people from either doing it, or just freewheeling from the concept.

Anyway, they want this distributed far and wide to promote their game... so go check it out!

(Other free rpgs might also be available right now...)


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Saturday, 27 October 2012

P4r4norm4l 4ctivity

Yes, once again it's time to milk that cash cow, and considering it's already gotten over five times its budget from the box office, I'm sure someone's already filming for number five... (I won't insult anyone by saying they are writing a script.)

The kid from the second movie (although I completely don't remember that ending) is back, and now with another family, and so scary shit starts happening to them, oh so slowly. Except for the last ten minutes when everything is ramped up so there can be deaths galore!

There are moments when this movie still has a good atmosphere, particularly, yes, the night scenes and the slow creeping of something that shouldn't be there... but then the story is complete pants, there's a token gesture towards explaining what is going on (only not really), and by this point the scares are cheap and it's a case of checking to make sure they painted out the wires properly.

Kathryn Newton is Alex, the kid we are supposed to side with as she realises something weird is going on. And yet she isn't sure, so we have to wait, knowing she's in this horror movie, so inevitably when she does finally get around to doing something, it's too late. And there are a bunch of other people, but since there isn't a story, what the hell...

Can't say I recommend seeing this in a darkened theatre, but in a smaller room, in the darkness, with this as the only thing to get your attention... then you might start wanting to have a light source nearby for comfort...


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Friday, 26 October 2012

Visioning On!

"It was a children's magazine type show that had a large fuzzy worm thing that ran around the studio...." And with that, a friend was able to tell I was talking about Vision On. Which I saw, as a child, so many years ago. [Which technically means I probably saw Sylveste(r) McCoy before he was the Doctor, but I don't remember the presenters.]

Here is a ten minute collection of segments... don't worry about the French opening title. The point of the show was that it was visual/language fairly independent. And the written jokes are in English for some reason...

But what I really did remember was the closing music. So catchy. And here it is, Java:


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Thursday, 25 October 2012

Observing Carter

The other day I went to the Carter Observatory... and have to say I was kinda disappointed. But rather than just say that, let's break down what I wasn't impressed by... and what I would like to see.

First off, let's acknowledge that there were school trips there, and there was a lot of focus on them. And that they don't have a truck of money, nor miles of space to install things. Still... The cost of $18.50 is rather over the top. It's $10 for the exhibition area, and $8.50 for the show, but that's still a lot. (And throw in $6 for the Cable Car... sure was cheaper when I was a student.)

The film they showed was what Astronauts go through to become astronauts. Interesting (if not entirely new information for me), aimed more at the kids. (Is there another movie they show to non-schools?) And yet, not riveting. Afterwards we did a wee tour of the sky and some of the planets. I would have liked more of that... and more on that below. It did last nearly an hour, so pitched well there.

The exhibition itself reminded me a lot of Te Papa's Discover Space... but with far less things to look at. Wall displays of information, and a few videos to watch... there is the telescope area (not that you could look through it), and a kids room and mini-theatre... and then the shop is rather depressing...

So what would I have liked? Given the astronaut movie, perhaps an interactive display of "Here's a pack that weighs the same as what the astronauts carry, can you lift it?" or a space helmet to try on... [There is totally room for someone to set up an experience of wearing a full on suit underwater and doing stuff.]

Also, with the Mars Curiosity rover, there could be far more about Mars. A Mars room to let us walk around on the "surface"? Drive a rover? Ooh, here's what a rock weighs on Earth, here's the same rock on Mars, here's the rock on the Moon...

But what I really want to see, and the raison d'etre of the observatory, is the night sky. An interactive display that let's us browse around the sky, pointing at things. A mini-version of what we get in the show room. And a telescope to look through, we have the technology to show anything through it, so be a good way for people to get used to what they would see. Would this really be so hard to do?

So, yeah... not sure I'd head back any time soon. But they are in trouble, and having been, can't say I'm shocked.


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Wednesday, 24 October 2012

We Feed the World

I think the point of this documentary is that we are producing too much food, but then distributing it in the wrong way to people who don't need it as much as others. That seems to be the gist of it, but it ranges over the finer points and has a little trouble getting to a clear message.

We see several examples of various areas of food production, such as fishing, agriculture and poultry farming, and see that industrialisation is taking a toll. Various people claim that the organic, or the hybrid approach is best (depending on their particular stance), but certainly a lot of food is being produced, and the poorer countries are being bent over to make profits for large companies.

This isn't exactly news to me, having seen several documentaries along this line over the years. This one happens to be Austrian, so perhaps a different crowd will see this than those who saw the other ones. And yet... I still don't hold out any hope for things changing for the better. As this film points out, companies are running this, and companies are in this to make money. Everything else can go hang. Until someone either steps up with a big pile of cash to help out poorer counties, or companies see profit in helping them themselves, these documentaries will still be valid for many years to come.

I think I'm inured to these by now. I feel like I should feel depressed and wanting to do something, but it isn't there. So too goes the world?


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Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Casa Silencio

Another movie made by redoing a foreign film (I thought I was watching the foreign version, but nope, in English). This is a tense near horror thriller that turns very dark (which is saying something).

Sarah and her dad are clearing out an old house in the middle of nowhere for selling. Only there is someone else in the house, and he doesn't want to leave... and I won't say more than that (partially because for most of the movie, there isn't more, and then there is the bit where everything would be spoiled if I said more).

There was one continuity error in particular that really bugged me, that happened right near the beginning of the film. When the revelations started happening, I thought that maybe this was a part of it, but then... I'm not really sure now what we saw and what we didn't see happen. Very annoying. Still, this is not a subject matter lightly treated, and I wonder how much Laura Lau brought to it.

With only six cast members, there's a lot of room for people to shin, and Elisabeth Olsen gets the lion share, and does a decent job, although there is a lot of weeping and crying involved. The central conceit of the movie is that it is filmed in one take. And indeed, it looks that way... unless you know where there might be cuts, and if they didn't get the continuity of the blood on the shirt wrong, in which case 'there's a cut... and there's one... and there...'. Mostly well done for all that, and leading to some nice in camera effects.

Nicely atmospheric build up, which we do not get often, so check it out for that, but there are trigger warnings here.


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Monday, 22 October 2012

The Credulous Goad

From the title, I was expecting this is to be more a thriller a la Da Vinci Code, where a secret that combines science and religion is being suppressed... oh, if only...

Two college kids connect as one interviews the other. He is more science based, she is a good Christian girl, but do they have anything in common? Well, yes, but Genesis stops him from giving in to god... oh, no, what will happen? Not to spoil anything, but fortunately there is a compromise as science completely gives in and proves Christianity right, and he is rewarded for turning to god, as indeed he should...

Yeah, I didn't expect anything different once I realised this was a drama. But the worst part is a thirty minute presentation that explains that science can now explain Genesis, by using relativity to explain that god saw the universe evolving in shortening day lengths, and the history of Genesis can be hand waved into scientifically known periods... despite that a) Genesis 1 contradicts Genesis 2, and ii) either way gets the history of everything wrong anyway. It's an impressive glib presentation, but basically it is bad science and bad religion. Also aided by bad quote-mining, and strawmen.

Ignoring that, this is a decent enough examination of troubled times in the leads' lives, even if everything is resolved by 'religion is the only way' due to bad characterisation in other people. For some reason, Louise Fletcher, Ernest Borgnine and Lance Henriksen show up in this. They don't do that much, but they are indeed in it. And apparently the first director was fired, and another one was brought in to finish the movie.

As with all didactic movies, it isn't likely to change anyone's mind. And at over two hours, I suggest you find a better use of your time.


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Sunday, 21 October 2012


More Zoo talks! The first one is of the kiwi Tahi (and the Tuatara). Due to the low light needed for kiwis, quality is lower. (The photos are even worse as I was using my off hand. Although I did also get pictures of the Sun Bear sign.)

And if you want something clearer, there is the Tiger Talk, in which I using blocking... in that I seem to have positioned myself to block the tiger with the zookeeper's body...


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Saturday, 20 October 2012

Loop-de-loop, er...

So does this count as two Bruce Willis movies for the price of one? Or just twice as much Bruce Willis in one movie? Because Joseph Gordon-Levitt is totally Bruce Willis. Yep. Nothing unconvincing about that.

It's a time travel movie, so the plot is screwed before you begin, however Joe kills people from the future, except his past self gets away. Fortunately they have a discussion about how time travel memories work, so then it's all about Old Joe killing Hitler before Hitler becomes Hitler, and everything unravels...

(There's also a plot point about telekinetic abilities, which is, to borrow an expression, "overegging the pudding". It doesn't help and could easily have been written in another way.)

It's hard to tell if this is a 'let's kill Hitler' story, or a 'look at what your life has become and change it' story, or a 'love will transform you' story, because the movie tries to have it several ways, only none of them fully realised. And then the ending contradicts the logic itself set up, and you're left with a 'that doesn't work' taste in your mouth.

Bruce Willis is one-note in this, and Joseph Gordon-Levitt does, in some shots, look like Bruce with the aid of the make-up, but not really. Emily Blunt looks familiar, but possibly in an Olivia Wilde kind of way. And Jeff Daniels is surprisingly still alive!

A movie that is wanting to be about more than it is, and one that will just annoy time travel fans in years to come.


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Friday, 19 October 2012

Bro-ham Vampire, Lincolin Log Hunter

This reminds me, in style, of current Doctor Who. Let's take a great figure of history, that is great in and of themselves... then shove monsters into it. Because you need to have monsters, or you wouldn't have anything to hook the audience with, who clearly can't stand learning anything about history unless there is an epic CGI battle or similar... (Speaking of history, and the terrible American education system, how many people now think that Lincoln really did fight vampires?)

The plot, if I need to iterate it, is Abraham Lincoln had a moment in his childhood where vampires happened, and so he grew up as a vampire hunter... and that's about it. There are some flowery speeches, because this is the Olden Days(tm) (which, for America, is about any time period before iPods...), but basically this is just like any other monster hunter movie.

Benjamin Walker does a good Liam Neeson lookalike. Initially when we first saw older Lincoln, I did wonder if they got in another actor... but then I wondered who did the old age makeup? [Too much Face Off.] Jimmi Simpson has a fine career ahead as Larry Drake. And Mary Elizabeth Winstead seems to be able to be whatever age she wants.

Still, considering I'm now in a Savage Worlds: Deadlands game, this is excellent inspirational material.


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Thursday, 18 October 2012


Finally, ever since it was first created on the page, we've needed a movie, and now we have one! Just a shame he never takes off his helmet...

Dredd gets himself a new rookie, and introduces her to life on the streets in the form of a homicide investigation that turns into a drug bust that goes bad... [and yet never once do we get a call for Ricochet... foul!]

Yeah, okay, first gripe (of many). This is a drug bust movie. Yes, I did think Raid, but then that movie was hitting on the drug bust trope as well. It's been done, and there's nothing particularly Dredd about it. Now, I wouldn't leap in with the Dark Judges or anything, but couldn't we have gotten something more Dredd-ish than this?

Second grip: Megacity. It's too open! People are in normal street clothes with iPhones and such. No, that isn't Megacity! Now, fine, you could say this is early Megacity... but why? Because cheaper, I assume, but it's not iconic. And then the movie spends most of its time in a brown block.

But enough of that. Karl Urban does a fine job as Dredd, and although he attempts the permanent downturned mouth, there are moments when you go 'yep, that's Karl, that is'. Olivia Thirlby is also good as Anderson, and gets her own obvious moment of 'female empowerment'. Lena Headey doesn't quite pull Ma-Ma off, but then the character is rather one note.

This is a good enough first movie, now for the sequels. Because it made more than it cost, right? ...oh...

For a different take, by someone who knows far more about Dredd than I do...


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Wednesday, 17 October 2012

The Adventures of the Scary Bunny

[Obligation is a thing whereby each session, the GM randomly picks someone's obligation and that person is feeling the stress of their obligation. Which mechanically means they lose points off their strain total. While roleplaying can also use this... that isn't really much mechanically for this important seeming character creation step. tonight was my turn. I did think of how I might be feeling the pressure, but otherwise it can easily be a minor annoyance, easily ignored.]

We get to where Sinasu is supposed to be, and find a temporary living area. We are greeted by a droid, who lets us know we can deliver our cargo here. At this point, wanting to make sure Sinasu was knowing I was dealing with this, and this wasn't just someone saying 'yes, give us whatever this is', we did get confirmation of what the package was. After that, we headed back to our ship then brought it, and the cargo, to this location.

And just after unloading them, the bounty hunters hit. Triggering a lot of combat [which lasted for the rest of the session]. Our tame hired gun when nuts on one of the guys with the jetpack, and was lucky not be taken out. Our mechanic was taken out [of the fight until he was stim-packed back up]! I got the ship ready to leave [which took a few goes], while others headed for the ship guns with variable success.

[This was our full longer combat. The first person downed one, nearly two, of our side. I continued my trend of barely making, at best, rolls. There were two main one-on-one combats. The cinematic nature of it all... it didn't really flow that well for me to get a good sense of that, although the GM certainly liked what we did.

Two big things are: one, initiative. Instead of saying 'person X goes here', we say 'someone on this side gets to go'. While that does make for an interesting switch up to initiative, this does lead to more time being used up deciding who goes next. The other issue is that each roll can generate advantages and disadvantages, and until we really get a better sense of what we are doing with them (and there is a two week gap between each game.. and the game is being revised continually), that is going to slow us down. For now, this isn't fast combat. Also an issue of deciding what I was doing each round, not being directly in combat, and that is more knowing what can be done.]

Eventually we did get away, with us, Sinasu, the jet pack guy leader, a mook, and we even got the damn crates back that Sinasu wanted. He's got to like us for that. And with some fancy flying from me, we're off the moon... with only a minor issue of being chased by other ships...


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Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Frantastic Flair for Everything

A movie starring Simon Pegg? I'm there and watching it!

Jack is a writer, working on serial killers from the Victorian period... which leads to him getting seriously screwed up and seeing killers everywhere. Then in the second part of the movie he goes to a laundrette. Then in the third part...

While watching, when the third part happened, I did get a sense of the movie changing plot lines, but only when writing the above did I realise that this had already happened. It's a bit of a cheat to change story lines like that, and that I noticed it at least once shows that it does have issues... and I will credit the movie with the first one, the second one is more noticeable and could have been done better.

The main reason why is that the first two parts of the movie are all about Jack. First by himself, then around others, but it is still all about Jack and his reactions to everything, when everything around him looks to be spiraling out of control. But then the movie starts being about others, and so the flow is broken. The movie is still funny, but the tone change doesn't give it any favours.

Simon Pegg, of course, is great. When I saw Amara Karan, I did recognise her but couldn't place her (she was in The God Complex). There is an interesting music choice here as well, a mixture of gansta and then suddenly Europe. Odd, but amusing.

A movie to catch if you have the chance.


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Monday, 15 October 2012

Mystery Street

In the latest (semi-season finale) episode of Leverage, they talk about the movie Mystery Street, how it is the first forensics based murder mystery. So of course I had to see it.

A young woman is trying to get in touch with a chap, and appropriates a car (and the owner) to do so. However, the meeting isn't a joyous one, and so we are over to the police when some bones turn up on a beach. What follows is a police procedural, and for a long time it looks like the truth won't be uncovered, especially when other people have their own agendas.

The forensics side of it is largely basic, it must be said, for example working out where a bullet is. However, there is one particular piece, that of matching the skull to a photograph, about which they need to know how the photograph was taken, that I find rather dubious to be done these days, let alone back then. But this is a thing, and it shows the lengths people went to back then.

The procedural itself is largely straight-forward, with the aid of a few clues, and there is still the running around and footwork that these movies have. A nice early role by Ricardo Montalban.

A nice movie, however remember this was made in the 1950s.


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Sunday, 14 October 2012

Aether Con 2012

Yeah, that's right, I went there!

But what is Aether Con, you ask. Oh, the vast ignorance you display... (much like I did on Friday). Looking for something to do on Saturday, I poked around on event sites and found... Aether Con, for the first time in Wellington.

What it is, is Steampunk. Yes, behold the mix of 1900 plus steam technology. Having encountered Steampunk in various forms over the years, I decided to head out in the not-great weather and poke around. What I found was a mid sized hall filled with display tables of people with Steampunkish goods, and, more appropriately, lots of people in full on Steampunk clothing. (I was one of the few people there not in costume, and did indeed feel a bit out of place for that.) There were some other related events on, but since I hadn't signed up, I didn't partake.

And while there, I did pick up something nice from ReinKarnate. (Other photos are available.)


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Saturday, 13 October 2012

The Hungry Gams

Thanks to Rifftrax, I got through another movie franchise about a girl facing a stupid situation. And yet, there was one thought resounding through my head the entire time I was watching it.

So in this movie, Katniss gets to volunteer for some sport or something, and there's a really long sequence where she and some other guy fail to have any chemistry while mixing it up with a bunch of kids... and then some of them die, the end.

It really is that exciting, and absolutely no-one, from Jennifer Lawrence to Donald Sutherland, shows any emotion at all. Ever. No matter what happens, no expression what so ever. Eh.

But what I thought, what this movie really wanted to be (and since I have not read the book, I have no idea if it is handled better there or not), it really wanted to be Battle Royale, only it's not. And not even slightly comes close.

So go watch Battle Royale. It's a good movie.


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Friday, 12 October 2012

First Assimilation^2

While I myself have never written Star Trek fanfic, there is plenty out there, and more than a few have crossed over into Doctor Who. Assimilation2 is authorised fanfic by Scott and David Tipton with Tony Lee... whom I have never heard of before.

In this story, the Cybermen team up with the Borg... well, we've often said the Borg are ripping off the Cybermen, so why not this? The Doctor lands on the Enterprise D and they team up to understand this combined menace. While this is the 11th Doc, we also get a short story of the 4th Doc with Kirk and co. because... well something is happening to force their universes together...

This is, as it happens, just the first part of the story. The second part is due out next January, and I have no idea how many parts there are. As it is the first part, the authors take their time to set up the story with Doctor, Amy and Rory doing their own thing, and the Enterprise crew doing there own thing, and generally taking their time to get together... which is really annoyingly dull. Get on with it! If you are going to cross-over, then cross-over dammit! And stop making big deals out of the fact that the Doctor has just seen Riker and Data... or they are about to meet Guinan... or... anything! GET ON WITH IT!

And that is the main problem with this. Too much set up for what we are putting up with.


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Thursday, 11 October 2012

The Long Earth

Terry Pratchett has collaborated with Stephen Baxter to bring forth the novel The Long Earth. I think there are other books planned, and certainly there is plenty of scope for this series to continue.

The idea is that there are (seemingly infinite) other Earths out there, which can be reached by stepping, either 'East' or 'West'. The main narrative involves Joshua (a boy who is a natural stepper) and Lobsang (a sentient computer) [I have no idea if his name is a reference to one of the more favoured characters from Discworld, it would be hard to imagine not] trying to find the end of the Long Earth by continually going West. Interspersed with that are other mini-narratives of how other people are coping with the concept of people suddenly having this stepping opportunity.

This book is a lot of set-up, so certainly other books could be more heavy on expanding a continuing narrative. I'm not sure I entirely buy the collapse they portray here, but it would certainly be true to some extent. The popping to and fro does interrupt the flow, however the main story is low key enough that it isn't overly broken.

Aside from a few phrases, I have no idea who wrote what (and indeed the few key Pratchettian phrases may simply be Baxter putting them in). While light, there isn't the humour from Discworld (that said, the current humour of Discworld isn't what it was either).

As long as other books are more focused, I look forward to more.


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Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Dead Asleep

I thought that Nick Stahl, Rose McGowan and Amy Smart were big names. At least big enough to be able to choose what movies to be in. So why the hell were they in this film? (Did Rose agree because she got to sing the end song?)

Dylan has been obsessing about an old accident, so much so he no longer has friends or a decent job, so fakes his funeral to prove a point. Which leads him to connecting with an old girlfriend, and taking care of a drug addict, and there are ghosts or maybe hallucinations, and the movie isn't clear about when is what, and clumsily makes a point about second chances. Or perhaps about not dying before you are ready to go. Or something. Again, not clear.

It's like there were several drafts of this movie, with different takes on the main theme, and then they just filmed random pages from different drafts until they could put them in some order. I won't say narrative sense here, because there isn't any. Nor much sign of proper production values. Was this a student film or something? Definitely reads as a wannabe art film that isn't grown up enough to be anything more than 'maybe I could be one day'.

So those three are in it, however Nick only has one expression, Amy isn't much better, and Rose just stumbles through the entire thing (usefully her character is supposed to do this, so that works). Brian Lynner as old drunked Irish man is about the only redeeming factor in the movie.

If this movie got itself together enough to sort out a coherent story, it might be merely ignoreable. As it is now, it's completely avoidable.


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Tuesday, 9 October 2012


It's an anthology movie, which is both its boon and its curse. In one way, the shorts have a hard time gearing up to being anything decent. On the other hand, if they fail, they are soon over.

The linking device is that some jackasses break into a house and start watching some tapes. It's not a decent set up, and the ending doesn't come as a shock. The first story is about hitting the clubs and hooking up with someone odd. It's weird more than horror, you can see exactly what's coming, and then it comes. Yeah. The second is again weird and what's happening isn't explained until after the pay-off, when it's too late. The third is more typical horror, but doesn't have the build up before the pay off. The fourth is more like it, although I'm not entirely positive what was going on. The fifth is the best of the lot, give those guys a full film, although the house looked a little familiar.

The main feature of these shorts is that they are all done akin to found footage (with variations on what the camera is). If I thought it would mean anything, I would ask that this be the end of it, but that's not going to happen. As I said, a few are decent, and there might be something in those, but easily I can see the worst ones being picked to expand on.

Definitely don't bother to see at the movies, but could be worth picking up on rental or less.


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Monday, 8 October 2012

Star Trek The 3!

Yes, I finally made my through the last series of the Original Series. The box set itself didn't impress me that the other ones did. Like before, I remembered about episodes more than remembering actual episodes. Overall this was a weaker set of episodes (from what I recall of 1 and 2). In 2 the trailers didn't give a good impression of the episodes. While that did hold... more often the episodes weren't brilliant either.

I was struck by how many episodes didn't go into the characters history(*), unlike modern shows which would be centered around revealing another historical moment every episode. Seems odd not to do that now. (*) Aside from the number of past lovers that turn up, when did Kirk have time to do anything else?

Spock's Brain ... They Took Spock's Brain!!! And yet, it dribbles away, not a great opener. The Enterprise Incident was good, but, like all cloaking devices the Federation gets, nothing much happens with it (you could say that it leads to the TNG Season 7 episode, but not really... unless it did, and I don't remember that). The Paradise Syndrome - yeah, not at all racist take on Indians there. Is There Truth In No Beauty? I actually remember bits of this! Day of the Dove - while semi-decent, could have been better. The Tholian Web - there is a better explanation for not moving than you'd think, but still silly. Wink of an Eye - I haven't done the calculations, but I think far more time would pass for Kirk and co than it seems. Whom Gods Destroy - such potential! Let That Be Your Last Battlefield - the episode is too busy with The Riddler vs The Enterprise to really get into the race aspect it has been much cited for. That Which Survives - Another one I actually remember! Requiem for Methuselah - odd ending, in that Kirk is suddenly overwhelmed with love for someone he's only known for 30 minutes, and Spock makes him forget... going to make for odd conversations with other people. All Our Yesterdays - did this precursor the Gateway people? Turnabout Intruder - the last episode, which is really weird as it is decidedly misogynistic, claiming that women can't be captains and should be content being women...

The extras were all left to the last disc. All the 'what happened to the main cast' they hadn't otherwise done were dumped here, as well as a few other odd pieces. Together with The Cage, it was definitely an extras disc, although having them spread over the discs to break them up with have been nice.

[I do want to get the remastered TNG, but that's a long way away...]


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Sunday, 7 October 2012

Madaga's Third Car

Even though no-one demanded it, Ben Stiller is still around and voiced for the third movie. Hopefully there won't be a fourth, but I'm sure if the money is right, they'll find a way.

The animals are still trying to get back to New York... which, if I vaguely remember wrong, wasn't an issue of them going missing from there as it was they were shipped out and thus no longer wanted, so why then is Alex now a missing lion that New York wants back? Because it drives the plot! (Or it may have always been that, I can't recall.) Along with the returning cast of everyone else that is really annoying, we get the obligatory selection of new animals that need their help and there's a suitably over the top villain as well. This certainly seems generic, even if it is different to previous movies, because it is so like so many other movies.

And it looks obvious that the writers didn't have anything for the main animals to do. Marty, Melman and Gloria could easily be missing and you wouldn't notice. Instead it's all about Alex and, of course, because they have now upstaged the main cast, the penguins. And the new animals, but that just adds more for there to be no need for the previous leads. Let alone the whole Julien irrelevant subplot.

I'm sure all the kiddies will be watching this during the holidays, but there isn't anything here that makes it worthwhile.


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Saturday, 6 October 2012

Do the Headless Chickens

One of the first (if not the first) NZ albums I possessed [a word I use instead of 'own'... I'll let you infer from that...] was Stunt Clown by the Headless Chickens... just look at that cover. Amazing!

In particular, I had the cassette tape (remember those) version of this, which filled out the B side with extra versions of songs. Fantastic! Now, a lot of those songs are rather... depressing? Morbid? I wouldn't say 'emo' (because this was back in 1988), but certainly bleak. But can I find this on CD or otherwise available for download? Of course not! (If someone does, let me know.) [And I have no idea what happened to the tape, let alone me having any ability to play it.]

On the other hand, they went on to other great songs, especially after bringing on board Fiona McDonald. (And certainly NZ has its fair share of male bands fronted by female singers...) Which brings me to my favourite Headless Chickens song, which is rather bleak, but also just kick-ass:


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Friday, 5 October 2012

The Hellriegel Storming

One concert I nearly went to was that of Jan Hellriegel. She released two albums previously in '92 and '95 then went quiet for many years, finally coming back in 2009 (which is what the concert related to).

I do like the first two albums more, mainly because I've listened to them more, but the third one is pretty decent. She knows how to power strum a guitar, so many of her songs feature heavy guitar riffs... which is good! That said, you can swap around the songs on her first two albums and you'd be pressed to be able to separate them again. Particularly strong tracks are It's My Sin and The Way I Feel.

More evocative tracks are Moon's on Fire and Greenstone. More bizarre tracks are Pure Pleasure and Manic. And then there's the song that will mean I will never hear a particular name normally again...


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Thursday, 4 October 2012

Jenny Musician

Keeping with the trend of New Zealand musicians, there was one person I saw in concert... and, off the top of my head, roughly about the only concert I've gone to: Jenny Morris. A nice range of songs, mostly light, definitely enjoyable.

I do recall the concert was opened by JPS Experience... which was bad, because I don't like JPS Experience. But, hey, Jenny Morris in concert! With an encore set (yeah, that was so obvious, they didn't bother turning the lights up, so we were just waiting.) I think it was around the time Honeychild came out. Anyway, good stuff. And I think I have all her albums.

But one thing I also got was the VHS of The Story So Far... although you try to find a copy on DVD, which should totally exist... nada. One thing I likes about it was that Jenny talked a little about the video before each clip (see below).

Anyway, example song time. One that shows off her... talent and quirkiness of song:


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Wednesday, 3 October 2012

The Adventures of... The Scary Bunny

While travelling, we manage to take care of the crate dragons well enough they don't cause a problem, although we do waste some of the tranquilizer. Arriving at Nashada, we eventually get to our supposed meeting point, to find it has been gutted by fire.

[Some time was spent because the pilot didn't roll well. You might recall that that is me. Many of the rolls I did tonight were neutral on the successes. Given a basic green (good) die and a purple (bad) die, the odds are slightly in the PC's favour. But when I kept rolling neutrals, it didn't feel like that. To succeed, you need a net success. Rolling neutral isn't a success. However, it isn't a net failure either, although it is treated as a basic failure. But I didn't fail! I didn't succeed, but I didn't fail either!  At least, that's what I felt like. It was really annoying.]

Some asking around does lead us to a nearby BactaMax (or Betamax as it is now known), and we find our initial contact there. Who points us to where the Hutt we are ultimately delivering the goods to is. We go there and access the hatch to get us inside.

[And here there was a roll to access the hatch, another to open it, and another to close it. I'm not sure if the adventure actually called for those rolls, or if the GM thought that that was required, but it did feel superfluous. We already successfully made a connection, why the continual rolls? The mechanics do include the facility for 'advantages' and 'threats', but it still felt like too many rolls.]

[And another thing, if you get threats, given we weren't in combat, we were getting strain (sort of tapping into mental health). But as we weren't in combat, it didn't really do anything, and wasn't that hard to get rid of. We fluctuated a lot with lot strain, making it feel pointless.]

Below, the Hutt awaits. And I'm sure no bounty hunters working for an opposing Hutt are close behind us...


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Tuesday, 2 October 2012

On The Front Lawn

The Front Lawn is a New Zealand band that was "big"... a while ago. I can't remember when I encountered them, but I do recall hearing two songs of theirs that I listened to and will now search on Youtube. (Can get the two compilation albums on iTunes.)

The first is Beautiful Things. A fun wee song, but one that I totally didn't get the full irony of until I saw this video. Extreme irony, so a new level I didn't get the first time.

The other is Walk Around the House, a nice song about someone walking around the house and taking simple pleasure from this basic activity and taking comfort from his family who is there sleeping... however, no youtube video for this that I can find (nor any other easily accessible version).

Good band, good songs.


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Monday, 1 October 2012

DW 7.5

The "reveal" at the end of the teaser? Dave totally called that that would be a thing. Obvious if you thought of it, and he did!

So the Angels took Manhattan... and somehow control an entire building? Can call lifts, but, more interestingly, can open doors... how exactly does that work? And I'm guessing that it's because the city that there's no-one around? It's the "city that never sleeps", but the streets and empty and... NO-ONE COMMENTS ON THE STATUE OF LIBERTY WALKING AROUND??? Seriously? No-one? Complete bollocks!

And we get, as I suspected, Moffat having his cake and eating it too, of having Amy and Rory die... only they didn't... and then they sort of did, but from old age and living together... (and why couldn't the Doctor pop back to, say, 1945 or 1950 and see them?) And River didn't seem that upset, but then that family has never been that close. (Look at Rory and River, it's like Arthur is just in standard 'I'm in lost companion' mode, and not 'hey, I'm with my daughter' mode... which I'm not sure he knows how to do.)

Basically it's rather weak sauce for an ending arc for Amy and Rory. And that last show of Amelia really didn't help matters at all. The Doctor will never see them again, it seems... although next year is the 50th, and not being able to see them never stopped the production team from bringing back Donna. Ooh... it's a long time until the next episode...

Next time: Oh, the spoilers they gave away about Christmas, I could tell you the entire story now!


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