Sunday, 30 June 2013

The Vaticisms Exorcan

Because why should the US be the only ones making bad religious based movies? (Actually, to be fair, the US are making bad ghost based movies, it is other, more religious, countries that do their horror based on religion.) This is the case of a US movie maker in Italy, but it is basically an Italian film crew that is making a bad religious based movie. (And I can't link to an IMDB entry, because there isn't one.) And you can tell it's going to be a bad movie with two small indicators. One, it is 'based on a true story' and two, the titles are in shaky cam.

This 'movie' is about the director looking into the dark side of the Vatican (in the first part of the movie, he busts a black mass cult), and films exorcisms in action. Which are totally believable and amazing evidence for actual supernatural possession. But while getting engaged, strange things start happening to Joe... and then during one exorcism, he disappears... and that's it.

The best you can say for this movie is it is epitomising 'when you look into the abyss, the abyss also looks into you'. When you get too close, you identify with the situation, and small events stack up to suggest the same is happening to you. But that isn't quite pulled off, and instead we are supposed to jump to the devil exists and he spent time pantsing Joe? I presume Joe actually cared about this story he wanted to tell, but his idea most likely sounded better in his head than executed.

This movie isn't claiming to be the best thing ever, so I'm reluctant to be too harsh... but the main complaint I have is that it just too boring and doesn't go anywhere.


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Saturday, 29 June 2013

Superheroes in other Comics???

Okay, confession time. Something I learnt a long time ago, because people don't tell you everything. This would be in my early teens...

Back then, when I got sick, or as a treat, my Granny would buy me comics. Usually newspaper comics like Nutty (oh, I had so many of those comics... all thrown out now). But also superhero comics. In particular, she got me Green Lantern. I think I got some issues around vol 2 #140 mark, as I definitely remember those, and also later around #160. My 'collection', as such, was spotty. But I was a big fan. This superhero, magic ring, but had to overcome weird foes who always managed to prey on the weakness of yellow, and all pushing Green Lantern to the limit...

I slowly collected issues of this series, enjoyed working out the order (okay, not hard, they were numbered), and wondering what happened in between, when all I had was 'in the next issue' or references to past events to go on.

And then, in a small second hand book store, I found Superman vol 2 #14:

This was part of the Millennium crossover event, and has since spurred my interest in getting all the issues related to this (because it was the first one I was aware of). And I have all but about two issues of the cross-over event, and only one or two issues of the spin off comic series The New Guardians. (Why don't comic companies put out volumes of cross over events that have all the comics related to each week of a cross-over? They could have done eight volumes here, one for each issue of Millennium and all the associated related issues. Plus a ninth for Guardians! And they could do this for Crisis and Zero Hour and all the others! The money possibilities!)

But that's not the important thing. The important point was after I got this, and tried to place it in the Green Lantern time line. I worked out which GL issues occurred at the same time, but... there was no mention of this adventure in those issues. What?

What I didn't realise then, and this is the thing: the superheroes can appear in other comics and have unrelated adventures.

Mind. Blown.

Fine, yes, you can take that cavalierly now, but you didn't always know this either. Someone told you, or you worked it out as well.

And it was at that point I knew I would never be able to get all the Green Lantern appearances, there were just too many. Sigh.


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Friday, 28 June 2013

How long an LP?

Yep, I'm talking about Let's Plays again. In particular, I've just finished watching an LP of Dark Souls. (Although there's that Stream of the game to also work through.)

Why is that impressive? Well, take that a video is around 20 minutes each... and there's over a hundred of them. So... around 40 hours, more or less. Nearly two days of just one LP. Is that too long to watch? (Granted, at double speed!) [Also, while they were youtube videos, I did download them (I have the technology), which is how I was able to watch at double speed... but at some point VLC should become the online video player, and so we'll have all that functionality online whenever we watch a video. Subtitles, audio tracks, aspect ratios, and variable speeds. Go VLCTube!)

Dark Souls itself is a game I have no interest in playing (just like I don't want to play the predecessor Demon Souls). So watching an LP was the best that would happen... but 40 hours? Just long a game do you need to be watching someone else play? Fortunately, it was fun, being a somewhat blind run and the commentators being amusing, but still... how long should a game be?

Conversely, 24 episodes of a 45 minute show is only 18 hours. So this is a solid two seasons of entertainment. At this point, I'm not watching a game, I'm watching an unusual tv series. For free (legally!). So... yeah, yay that! In fact, where's a Skyrim LP?

(That all said, not sure I'd want to sit through a JRPG LP. There's only so many random encounters you can put up with watching people select 'hit' for everyone.)


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Thursday, 27 June 2013

Wendy took a Stand

Filibustering is an odd thing. If you can talk long enough, then a bill is defeated? I'm surprised it's not happened more. I presume there are conditions around when you can do it, or lots of bills wouldn't have passed... but it seems like everyone knows when they can do it and when they are going to do it.

Case in point being Senator Wendy Davis, who Filibustered for 13 hours... standing, not leaning on anything, not allowed help, can't go to the toilet... what the hell is up with that? Just as well she wasn't disabled!

But the bill she was talking against was to repeal abortion clinics in Texas. Yep, one of them uppity women-folk dared to take a stand against the old white guys who wanted to tell a woman what she was allowed to do with her body, because they believe a medieval text (or at least claim to, so they have power).

And she nearly got there. Filibustering can be stopped if you make three errors or something, and she was caught out nearly before midnight (again, something to do with needing to get a bill voted on before midnight). But then there was still delays taking the record of votes, and not everyone voted before midnight...

...or did they? The record shows all votes were in. This is the same record that previously showed that votes were recorded after midnight. Bah, like facts have stopped them before. But, hey, the bill passed!

...or did it? This is what happens when you piss off the peoples. Uproar (although still largely contained uproar) and discussions, and... the bill didn't pass after all!

But it nearly did. And with shenanigans like this, it could easily pass again.

But at least the media covered it... no wait, no, no they didn't. I watched it unfold on twitter, because CNN and co didn't even acknowledge it was happened, too busy with reruns and Paula Dern. What the hell?

Is it wrong that I really want to see what The Daily Show does with this?

(A more readable version with a better understanding is to be read over at Movie Bob.)


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Wednesday, 26 June 2013

It's a Miracle of Sound

One of the features of The Escapist is Miracle of Sound, where the performer, Gav, does sounds based on video games, and sometimes movies. He started due to Half Life 2, and does some great songs, and the Escapist does the videos with footage from the games. He has three download albums, the first of which I got free during Desert Bus.

So let's highlight some songs. There's Mind of the Bat and Joker's Song, of course. He has does a fair few songs about Call of Duty and associated games, and isn't happy with Second Chance, and has some things to say about playing the Shooter Guy. And then there's Wheatley's Song.

And he can get very powerfully emotional too. If you ever played Walking Dead, you will not make it through The Best I Can. And stand for Normandy. Feel for Little Sister and Dream of the Sky.

So many songs, but I clearly need to have show off one here... and I'm going for one that's, while not necessarily the top of people's lists, does have one important quality: it will get into your head and make you remember it...


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Tuesday, 25 June 2013

My Little Brony

There was a season three, so of course there would be a third post. While there was no compiled season three video on YouTube (...yet?...), you can get the individual episodes. And I'll just remind you this was all started because of Gonzo Planet.

Anyway, on to the lessons!

Ep 1/2: Just because you are the one to take a test, doesn’t mean that you have to be the one to take the test.
Ep 3: Clones are too stupid.
Ep 4: Backstory is a bitch.
Ep 5: Lord Acton still has it.
Ep 6: Princesses of the Night hang out in your dreams.
Ep 7: Second best is never good enough.
Ep 8: Are you having fun yet? Better answer ‘yes’ or else!
Ep 9: Timber wolves (made of actual timber) are freaking cool!
Ep 10: Freddy wasn’t crazy. Eating paper is something being do do.
Ep 11: Crystals are a worse drug habit than cocaine.
Ep 12: Mistaken Identity is always hilarious. Always! HILARIOUS!
Ep 13: All you need to change your destiny is a visit to a tattoo parlour.

Ye gods... just realised there will be people out there who have tattoo’d their own cutie marks into their bodies... there are some things I won’t google for...


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Monday, 24 June 2013

Superhero Cartoons are fickle

I did give it a go. And yet... Out recently is Avengers Assemble, clearly cashing in on a certain big blockbuster movie. Although not exactly the same roster of heroes, and jumping in with a collection of the villains (more easy to do that than the movies can). I watched the first two episodes... and nope. They just didn't go anywhere, so that's it, I'm done.

Reaching back a few years, I tried Marvel Super Hero Squad. A whole raft of cast, both heroes and villains. And it's comedy! Ha! Oh dear... again, I tried two episodes, and nope. Comedy is hard, it can bomb very easily. Or perhaps I'm just too old and cynical to ever laugh again. Either way, not the series for me.

Still, better than the recent Teen Titans cartoon. One look at the animation screen grabs, and I'm not even going to try it.

Trying to move onto more positive results, I have been recommended the Batman Animated cartoon, so I've got two series of that to try. (Very cheap too!)

And I did finally go back to check out the Green Lantern cartoon. It definitely goes in a different direction to the comics, but parallels a lot of the events. And became rather watchable. At least, the first half did, haven't gotten the second half.

And in non Marvel nor DC, there is the Monsters vs Aliens cartoon, which continues on from the movie. They've made a fair few changes (such as making Susan able to change her size), introduced more aliens, changed the voice cast... and it is also watchable. And, hey, New Zealand involvement!

So while my patience for cartoons is low... there are some good ones around.


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Sunday, 23 June 2013


I already knew the secrets of this movie before I saw it, but the problem I have with it isn't that the reveal isn't interesting. It's that this is an action movie.

Jack and Victoria are two people who maintain the drones that protect the devastated planet Earth. While they live in a high tech tower, Jack happens to have his own place out in the wilderness. And into this, the woman he's been dreaming about drops in and says 'hey, I'm your wife'... and that's in the first part of the movie, but I'm not going to give away what happens in the last half, although maybe I will by what movie I compare this to.

The obvious one is Moon, but I was also reminded, as others were, of Matrix and Independence Day. But I'm not holding the twist against it. Fine enough twist, works if you don't think about why the aliens are hanging around when there are much easier ways for them to get what they want from other planets, but here's my problem: Moon works because it was a character piece first, and didn't feel the need for flashy action sequences. This movie wants to be a character piece, but either the writer or the director or the studio or whoever decided that it needed to be spiced up with a coupe of big action sequences with lots of CGI and cool gun shooting and heroic moments for Tom Cruise (because no-one else but the star is allowed to save the day). No... with what this movie wanted to achieve, the action just undercut everything, made the tone too discordant. It could have worked, but they wanted the bang bangs to help sell it.

Basically, this movie wasn't sophisticated enough, or mature enough, to make its point. That's why you should watch Moon, to see the same theme done right.


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Saturday, 22 June 2013

The Big Brain Theory: Pure Reality TV

So, it's a show that shows off ingenuity and engineering intelligence... it's The Big Brain Theory. Small problem... it's a 'reality TV show'. Now that's not necessarily a bad thing. Face Off was brilliant (okay, been struggling recently), and Strip Search showed how to do a proper reality show, so it is possible.

Each week two people were selected to head up teams to meet some engineering challenge, and the losing team would disqualify one person for the big prize. (People still stuck around and helped with building, but they couldn't get the big prize, a lesser prize was still available. This is interestingly different, brought about because you do need a team, it's not one vs one.) So we do have some interesting engineering challenges, and... often unusual engineering solutions, some which worked, some which didn't.

However... because it was a team, and thus people working together... come for the science, stay for the train wreck! Interpersonal conflict, that's what people watching a science show want to see, right? One person in particular caused a lot of conflict, so guess who got featured a lot? And got a rather contentious decision made in his favour? And of course there were comments made about the other team. And... well... just lots of typical reality tv bullshit.

This show should have been better, but clearly someone thought decided that being different was too much of a risk to take.

And, rather amusingly, the show started each episode with this warning:

This program features ingenuity that could be dangerous. Do not attempt this at home.
That's right people. Do not be ingenious at home, it's too dangerous.


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Friday, 21 June 2013


So I never talked about the first Hellboy film... because I saw that before I started this blog. I think that was the last film I saw at the old Hoyts theatre, with the cramped seats and a friend... and while I've seen movies with that friend again, I never want to go back to that theatre... and that was the big screen room!

Anyway, decent enough movie, I only knew the basics of Hellboy, but why I bring that up now is that I rewatched it. Because I've just finished reading a shedload of the Hellboy comics... and it makes so much more sense now! There are parts of the movie that just touched on what the comics explore, not to mention completely changing the nature of the relationship between Hellboy and Liz (okay, if that was in the comics, it wasn't in the ones I read). And, of course, the movie introduces the character of John Myers to have someone to stand in for the audience to explain everything to.

However, of course, the comic goes off in a completely different direction, with giving far more backstory to the trapped Dragon, and the point of Hellboy's arm (which worked in the movie... only because I didn't know the comics. Now the movie explanation comes across as very 'let's put in something basic because we don't have time in the movie'). The comics go on a weird journey that touches on many different mythologies, and isn't afraid to make changes to the 'real world'.

To be honest, the movie worked better when I didn't know the comics... Now, where did I put my copy of Golden Army?


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Thursday, 20 June 2013

Six Fast Six Furious

About movie about cars? How original. And starring Vin Diesel no less. My, that is something I've never seen before...

This movie continues to pretend there's an ongoing plot, but basically there's Vin 'gravely voice' Diesel, then it's cars cars cars cars cars, with a bit more speaking in between to connect the car sequences. But, hey, it's what the audience wants (or, at least, what the audience is given), so nothing bad there, right? Well... most of the sequences are all right, but some occur at night, so we have dark cars at night, with lots of cutting between them, so I'm guessing it's exciting?

The movie has this odd imbalance where it tries to make the action sequences fun and exciting, but also have dark and serious plot moments. One gimmick of this movie (as revealed in the trailer, etc.) is that Letty is back... which we supposed to care about because she's been in other movies. And there is an explanation for why she acts the way she does... not a great one, but an explanation nonetheless. But aside from her, Paul, Vin and Dwayne, I'm taking the movie's word for it that the other characters are returning from previous movies, as I don't remember them.

Certainly a typical FF movie... and let's buckle in (sic) for the next one...


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Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Reign of Winter

In the town of Haldane, I, Nanoc of the North, of the Nordstrom tribe, met with companions old and new. Hogan the dwarven cleric. Felgard the trickster bard. And Mage the... mage. While in town, we hear of a bodyguard who made his way here, previously travelling through this town with the Lady Argentea Malassene... who was taken. We also hear of strange creatures taking food and possible people...

In the morning, we talk to guard, to hear how the Lady was taken by the wintertouched fey. Bold they are, to be in these parts, and they have brought winter with them in the middle of summer. We stock up, to varying degrees of success, and set out.

To the south, we find two carriages, dead people and dead horses... and everything covered in frost. And more than dead, in one carriage I find undead. They dare to grab me I KILL THEM I KILL THEM DEAD!!! ... and after that, we reclaim some horse flesh for our travels, some of their jewellery (which I'm sure we will give back and not at all keep for the money), and off a frozen statue I now acquire a decent breastplate. Not everything shall be taken by the cold this day.

Seeing tracks leading south, we head that way...


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Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Dance Hall Daze

I was listening to a podcast yesterday, and they played this song, and I listened to that:

Did you listen to it? Did you? Really?

We start simply with "Take your baby by the hand and make her do a high hand stand " Er... I'm not sure why you would want to make her do that, let alone what exactly a high hand stand is...

"And take your baby by the heel and do the next thing that you feel. " So... just anything that comes to mind, that you feel you should do... while you have her heel in your hand... I'm not sure if that's weird or creepy.

"Take your baby by the hair and pull her close and there there there " Ah, now you are pulling your woman around by her hair. Okay, that's that damn psychotic. And what's damn psychotic is:

"And take your baby by the ears and play upon her darkest fears." What... like "hey, baby, I'm going to kidnap you and take you back to my place where..." actually, fill in the blanks yourself. But why the hell are you doing that? What sick control fantasy are you living out that you need to play on her darkest fears???

But then it just gets surreal. "Take your baby by the wrist and in her mouth an amethyst" Or maybe that's your signature serial killer move? Putting jewels in her face? Certainly it continues in the next line with "And in her eyes two saphires blue ".

Now, this is a fun, up-beat song... but damn those lyrics reveal that being "cool on craze" has a completely different meaning...


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Monday, 17 June 2013

Beauty is Embarrassing

Wayne White puts words in paintings of landscapes. And he created puppets for Pee Wee's Playhouse. Quite the career, and one we find out about in Beauty is Embarrassing.

(I'm nearly tempted to go off on a spiel about 'what is art?', given that he starts with landscape paintings that he gets from thrift stores and then 'defaces' them by putting words on them, which then go on to be new words of art... but a) is it any different from using other found objects to create art? , and b) he's hardly the first to use images created by others.)

Wayne White certainly has covered a lot, and is one of those successful people that managed to change their careers mid way through their lives (he says enviously). I never watched Pee Wee's Playhouse, but I hear it was something that the kids liked? Certainly, Paul Reuben got enough attention over it. And half of this movie is about that time and Wayne's involvement with Hollywood, and that's an interesting look at behind the scenes. The other part of the movie is about his life in which he creates his own art for himself, and is successful at that. (If you want to know what I'm talking about, and can't be bothered to google Wayne White Word Paintings, there you go.)

We also get some talking heads with other people, such as Paul Reuben and Matt Groening (who Wayne's wife worked with), and his friends and family. And we get to see some really large puppets.

It's a lighthearted documentary, which is a nice change from the more typical fare I watch of heavy real world problems.


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Sunday, 16 June 2013

Hantel and Gresel

What exactly is the point of the story of Der Hanzel and Der Gretle? Is it a warning to adults that kids will push you into ovens? Is it advice to kids that if adults give you trouble, you should push them into ovens? Or is it that parents will never love you unless you kill old women?

For this movie, the moral is that evil women are clearly evil, and there is no ambiguity about who deserves to be punished. As you probably know, Hansel and Gretel grew up and somehow produced lots of weapons that should in no way exist at the time. Buy, hey, if they are going to be ignoring physics (equal and opposite reaction? sod that!), why stop there? This way being cool can outweight anything else. Which also applies to the witches, who are way powerful and should be running the country under an iron fist by this point! Frankly, the easy test for 'who is a witch' should be 'do they put up any kind of fight?'. And from this we get a lot of women throwing people around... but 'fortunately' we still get to have a 'damsel in distress' with Gretel. ...okay, I haven't mentioned the plot, but you could guess 'fight minor witches, mid movie battle, pause, then ramp up for huge battle at the end' and know exactly what happens.

Jeremy Renner seemed to be trying for a more comic turn, but just comes across as the nice side of bland. Gemma Arterton tries more than her character deserves. Famke Janssen is not trying at all. Which looks to be how most of the production team feels, and I can't say that Mike Elizalde was reaching far for his make up designs.

Within the 'want to be action' design, and short running time, this movie isn't leaving much of a mark.


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Saturday, 15 June 2013

It has begun!

Over the past few months, I've been taking a course on programming in Python. To be honest, it's been more remembering how to code rather than learn new things, but I have learnt more about interfacing and events and such.

Which has inspired me to make my own game! And get all the monies!

One thing I looked up was programming for mobile devices... and Python doesn't have a huge track record in this area. But there is one add on that gives everything so that I can deploy to Android and iOS: Kivy.

However, while Kivy is all open source and everything, how to do things in Kivy involves using things differently to standard Python. Just drawing involves some Python code, and Kv code... which is powerful, but can be impenetrable. Yes, there are examples, but they tend to the basic. And the documentation is either basic introduction, or not very detailed procedure specs. I'd like something in-between please.

Which has meant that for a week or more, I couldn't even get a blob on a screen to move. Yeah, I see lots of money in my future... but one post on the kivy groups later, and it's now moving! And, to be honest, with a moving blob that I can control, I've got a lot of the basic mechanics I want down. Now, I've got some more coding for interactions to work in, but then I'm done...

Aside from making it look not crap, having opening and menu screens. And playing sounds.

But I have started, so look out Angry Birds, I'm up next!


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Friday, 14 June 2013

Head to the Bullet

Want a movie that is incredibly generic and just plods along with fists and guns and no thought? Got you covered!

Sly and friend are hit men, but they get double crossed and partner is killed. A cop looks into what happens, and teams up with Sly to get at the men behind it all... and you can guess where it goes from there, because it doesn't go anywhere innovative. People get killed, then they go somewhere else, and more people get killed. Sly is there punching and shooting people and being better than everyone else and... amidst all this action, nothing exciting actually happens.

More interesting is who else is in this movie. Jason Momoa is playing the main bag guy muscle, and he comes across as pretty bad ass. (Haven't seen his Conan yet.) I have a lot of time for Christian Slater, and although he isn't in this a lot, he has the best part in the movie. And there are women in this movie... but expect to see their tits, as they all get naked at some point or another, because that's the sort of movie this is.

It is a passable movie, and won't offend you... but neither is it going to enthral.


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Thursday, 13 June 2013

Apparently there's some thing called E3?

I follow on Twitter a few gaming people. And read a gaming website. And there are two events that happen a year that gets all of them riled up... I can't remember the other one, but it's basically a variant of what's happening right now, the Electronic Entertainment Expo. Nominally for the gaming industry, it's a huge event that drags gamers from across the country to attend. It features numerous booths from many different companies, but the main aspect are the talks by various companies and console makers. The big three, Microsoft (Xbox), Sony (Playstation) and Nintendo (Wii), are generally huge hitters, and in this year's con, Nintendo has stepped aside, Microsoft is shooting itself in the foot, leg, chest and anywhere else it can hit, and Sony is handing them a gun and saying 'we aren't doing that'.

Which is all very well and good, but... I'm not a hardcore gamer. There are dozens (hundreds?) of games I've got, and haven't played any of them. And I don't have a console (okay, I got a PS2, but don't use it), so don't care about the Next Gen. I play on the PC, and use GOG, Steam and Desura for more than my gaming needs (including the indie bundle deals). Which means... I'm looking on at this with bemusement.

Because it doesn't matter aside of the really hard core gamers. Microsoft have solidly declared themselves only for the small fraction of the world that has internet, and is setting up practices that give all problems to the user and all the money to them. And yet... will it hurt them?

Most people don't care. They'll see "shiny new Xbox" and buy. Stereotypical parents will be directed to the new happening, and get it for the kids. Even the hardcore gamers that are turning their noses up at it... a good proportion of them will still get it.

Just like when we get a new Doctor. A small group of people will get all frothed up about it... but then we'll all accept it and move on as if it was always like this.


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Wednesday, 12 June 2013


Documentary? Movie? A bit of both really. Certainly the trailer, I recall, suggested that it took a dark and edgy turn that could easily have been the opening to some kind of torture porn... however...

A guy forms a relationship with someone on the internet (there's your problem!), and he just so happens to be associated with two filmmakers who decided to document this... and that's probably where most of the suspicious arises. He just so happens... and Facebook pages can be faked... and then he goes out to meet her...

And then the movie reveals itself very much to be a documentary. We can already see where this is heading, and it goes there, and the movie just takes its time, just keeping a slow pace, and there you go. While this is no Talhotblond, yeah, I can see that this is a documentary (although the trailer still should be a set up for some bad (of course) killer movie).

Because it is documentary, the end message comes along with a large dollop of "Whelp, there you go." And there we are. No real surprises, no dramatic twists, just muddling along, much like most of real life. (Documentaries can be so disappointing sometimes in that they have to stick to real life.)

I'd heard some things about this, about how this inspired a tv reality show... pity about that.

Maybe a few years ago this was more surprising. Now... we kind of expect it. Which is rather sad commentary on society.


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Tuesday, 11 June 2013

You've Been Trumped

I only heard the one-liner for this, but it sounded interesting. I think this was shown at a film fest a few years ago, but have only seen it now. It's all about Donald Trump's building of a golf course in Scotland. Right now, let me recount the movie. *Ahem* *slurps a drink*

TRUMP IS WRONG! Oh, look at these wonderful locals. TRUMP IS WRONG! Oh, look at this wonderful scenery. TRUMP IS WRONG! Oh, look at this wonderful environment. TRUMP IS WRONG! Oh, look at how heavy handed the construction is being. TRUMP IS WRONG! Oh, the culture and heritage. TRUMP IS WRONG! Oh, the water is being diverted. TRUMP IS WRONG! Oh, the police are being heavy handed. TRUMP IS WRONG! Oh, the government is handing over people's land. TRUMP IS WRONG! Trump has nothing but positive things to say. TRUMP IS WRONG! They are doing whatever they want. TRUMP IS WRONG! The only opinions that matter are Trump's. TRUMP IS WRONG! Jobs aren't locals. TRUMP IS WRONG! Trump won't talk to the filmmakers. TRUMP IS WRONG!

This is not even slightly not one-sided. Everything Trump is doing is shown as a bad move by the residents. Now, I'm not saying this should have been a balanced piece, and that the views here aren't valid. But at least some more objective evaluation of what was going on would be nice. Aside from emotive calls, what more measured considerations could be made about Trump's plans? It would have some pros, it definitely has cons, but this is just unashamedly biased that I'm not responding to the message.

From what we are presented with, this golf course should never have happened. But, hey, Trump has money, so he wins! It's the American dream!

And it didn't help that whenever I saw Trump, I kept thinking of this skit.


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Monday, 10 June 2013

Doctor Who will be a white guy because...

Note that it is entirely possible that this is now irrelevant as of time of posting, in that the new actor might already be announced. Or may become irrelevant within the day. But still I'm going to write this to say that the next actor will neither be black nor a woman because the show, basically... isn't important enough, nor desperate enough.

When RTD was in charge, he made a point (okay, according to his own book) of making sure the BBC always had Doctor Who in mind. He had a firm guiding hand, and it was very much his show (*cough* down to rewriting nearly every single script *cough*). However, I've never felt that from Moffat. If anything, I've heard the opposite, that Moffat doesn't script edit enough. And when Tennant said he wanted a year off, out went the idea of Doctor Who on at a constant time. Now it's all over the place. Ostensibly to allow for summer time and for people to get out and about... but, hey, that's just another way of saying 'this show isn't important enough for people to stay in and watch voluntarily, so we wait for bad weather to make sure people are inside.'

From all this, I then infer that no-one is watching this show is no longer the flagship show it used to be, and doesn't need to be a leader/innovator any more. Hence no black/woman.

On the flip side, it is stable. It gets high ratings. When it is shown, people do watch it. It doesn't need to pull any tricks to get the average person to pack their butt on the sofa and stare at the idiot box. Any tricks it does pull ('hey, it could be a regeneration!') is more for the fan who knows what is going on.

From that, I then infer that the show isn't desperate enough to pull a ratings grab such as making the Doctor black/female. The papers are going to print whatever happens, so it will get press either way. Just putting in Matt Smith (Who????) garnered plenty of attention.

The only way we'll see a black/woman Doctor at the moment is if Moffat decides he wants that more than his love of the series continuity... although, now I think about it, he does currently have a magpie approach to discarding whatever happened a season ago for his new favourite shiny arc idea...

So, from that... I suddenly infer that if we do get a black/woman Doctor, it will be a short stunt move before they go back to a white guy... and that is at best. Gimmick aside... it ain't happening.


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Sunday, 9 June 2013


It's a movie where Dwayne Johnson isn't beating people up... so what's the point?

An idiot son gets caught with drugs, representing what must be the stupidest drug seller of all time, but refuses to turn on the one guy he knows in the drug trade, who was caught and in prison with him anyway. In order to get the sentence reduced (and based on the end message of the movie, the whole point of this is to point out that first time drug offenders have long sentences... so everyone should try to get killed in overly stupid drug stings to stop that??), John (Dwayne) steps in and agrees to help get a sting set up. And cue lots of moody shots of people wrestling with getting caught in drug stings and some driving.

It just... isn't interesting. I was constantly distracted while watching this, thinking of other things. There're no great action pieces to speak of, and the plot unfolds in a very linear fashion and the end climax is a mess of cars going places that don't actually matter in the slightest.

I can't tell if the movie is about the harshness of drug sentences, the lengths dads go to to protect their sons, or about the issue of political ambition over personal safety. The movie just throws a lot of little dashes into the pot and hopes someone finds something to take away as meaningful.

The movie has a very grey outlook, in colour scheme and tone. Even if you watch it, you'll find yourself doing something else.


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Saturday, 8 June 2013

London Falling

Paul Cornell has his own entry into "urban fantasy set in London" (which does indeed look to be its own genre) with London Falling, the introduction into the "Shadow Police"... and before I get into it, can I just say  it's kind of a shame we have yet another take on magic, etc. Don't we have already enough series about this, that we need another one? Why not, for example, stick this into Ben Aaronovitch's universe? (Well, okay, this, in some form, was a pilot for a tv series long ago first, but still.) Just because you want to establish your own series, is that any reason not to have cross-overs or shared universes?

While investigating a strange murder, four police (close enough) officers acquire the Sight, which enables them to see the ghosts and other strange elements around London. And during this, they encounter Mora Losley, who is dubbed the 'Witch of West Ham'. And so they have to deal with her as well as dealing with their new found Sight, neither of which they have any idea about how to deal with it.

Because it is Paul Cornell we get several decent characters... however it took me several chapters to work out who the main leads in this book were, and what was going on beyond 'generic drug bust', and I came close to putting the book down and walking away. Some of the characters are more interesting than others, but the focus of the story is more on some than others, and future books have plenty of places they can go.

It's a lower paced book, as the characters have to work out what is going on, and the climax feels repeated a number of times. Ultimately... it feels very much like 'this is the first book in a series', ie set up and not self-contained. Will I get the next book? Can't say I'm racing for it.


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Friday, 7 June 2013

Second hand problems

I have a lot of stuff in my home. Too much stuff. My buying has curtailed... to a degree... but I really need to concentrate on getting the electronic versions of books and stuff, not physical copies of things any more. And, moreover, I need to get rid of what I have. Preferably making a little coin back along the way.

With DVDs, selling them in bulk on TradeMe is working for now. Yes, I still would like to watch them sometime... but I'm not likely watch them again any time soon. And I have plenty of DVDs I haven't watched piled up that I need to work through. And^2... I can acquire them online, and in many cases, going for the electronic version is easier than digging up the physical disc. [I'm not getting rid of everything, I still want some DVDs of stuff I really care about, but still... way too many DVDs. And I've already mentioned how I want to get new physical copies.]

Books... are proving to be a harder prospect. Being in New Zealand, getting books to read, it is easier to order in from overseas (it is cheaper, takes just as long if not quicker), and I don't need to worry about getting around to read it within a limited time as if I got it from the library (if they have it in). This does mean I got me a whole bunch of books that I don't need to keep around for a second reading, but what do I do with them? [And from now on: electronic versions to read on my tablet, dammit! And use the library more.]

We do have a few second hand book stores... although not many of them actually want to take in used books, because they have enough stock, and the book has to be in perfect condition for them to even consider it. [You've read it once? Oh, then the spine is creased, no sale.] Trade Me is an option, but can't bulk sell lots as easily, and listing them one at a time in an incredibly painful process... and that presumes there's a market for those books beyond people like me... and there may only be me who wanted it in the first place... who probably got it cheaper overseas themselves anyway!

But then what? If I'm willing to just get rid of them, give to the library? Last books I did with that never ended up in their catalogues, so they don't care. Charity shop? At least they'd be willing to take them, although they may just do what I might have to... Dump them. Which is terrible to do with books, but if no-one wants them any more, then no matter how terrible Fahrenheit 451 might seem, getting rid of them as rubbish is the only option left. And I got plenty of books I doubt anyone wants any more (with either being only of limited surface interest or easily available in better formats). Hell, I hear things of charities and such that ship books to third world countries for them to read, but not over here (being on a geographically isolated island doesn't help) and even then I think they still only want certain materials not just anything.

So yeah, a whole of stuff lessening to do... and the rubbish pile might be my only option for things I spent a lot of money on... stupidly. Any other ideas? [Before you say 'garage sale', I don't have a garage, and again - limited scope on the range of people who'd want to buy it.]


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Thursday, 6 June 2013

1e 33rie

This is a terrible movie, and Canada should be ashamed of producing it.

So, I'm going to give away what's happening here, but it makes no sense (unlike all those other stupid movies I've reviewed). The setup up is, at least, decent enough and a chance from the usual 'stupid teenagers stop on a highway' premise. In this case, a forensics professor brings some students out to 13 Eerie State Penitentiary, where he's set up some bodies out in the grounds to be a practical field test. The students split into three teams of two and then... things get weird. Another body turns up... and then moves off. One of the female students goes to examine this, runs away when chased, and gets caught in dead tree branches... or something silly, and gets bitten by, well... let's just say a zombie. However...

Back in the day, this was a place for death row inmates. Or maybe lifers. The movie uses the two terms interchangeably. They were experimented on, either with or resulting in, or accidentally producing (again, not clear) a black goo that eats through plastic coated walkie talkie radios, but not plastic containers. The experiments were to produce people fueled by raged (and I mean people as there are male and female prisoners here). Anyhoo, the prison was packed up and left abandoned and some of these experiments were... left? It seems some years have passed, and now, because of the presence of these people, the corpses come back to life? or something? and chased down and consume the peoples... who then turn into these zombies themselves...?

I have to say, if I was fueled by rage, I wouldn't want to eat people, I'd just want to hit them. And how have they survived this long? And after have internal organs consumed, how can they come back? And be able to rip open floors from underneath? Yeah, zombies don't make sense, but these make even less sense.

Michael 'Shanksy' Shanks is slumming it in this movie as the professor. Katharine Isabelle plays Megan, who, in a startling breakout female role, doesn't immediately go to pieces when she sees her friends have become zombies, but immediately starts trying to (re)kill them! And... the rest of the cast are a blur of interchangeable white guys.

Stupid wannabe zombie movie, doesn't make sense while you are watching it, and that's a terrible thing for a movie to fail at.


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Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Reign of Winter

[We started a new campaign... but which I mean we spent the entire session creating our characters. And given we didn't finished buying equipment, or deriving all our stats, we didn't even really do that... although we did get really close. Again, this is an actual campaign, for Pathfinder, so spoilers will lie ahead for those of you who are wanting to play this yet.

There are four of us, so we are covering the archetypes. I've got the fighter base, with a barbarian, and we have a cleric, a wizard and a bard. We rolled old-skool for our stats, and if we didn't have a stat at 14 or higher we could reroll. I had to reroll an extra three times... oh yeah, the dice were on my side for this. And then it was into trying to remember how skills and feats and now traits all interacted with each other... I'm going with a particular type of Barbarian, the Invulnerable Rager. Slightly for campaign reasons, but it broadly fit my character concept. And with only 50gp to buy everything with, I'm certainly fitting the barbarian idea of a weapon, some form of amour, and not much else. So, who am I playing?]

My name is Nanoc from the tribe of Nordstrom. We came down from the North many moons ago, and eked out a living in the harsh reality of not-frozen land. Our rampaging ways earned us many respect from the surrounding villages, as they demonstrated with their many hand gestures.While I out foraging, my village was attacked and burnt to the ground, with many large teeth marks and patches of burnt ground and shadows left on the walls of the remaining huts. The other villages said it was the witches from the north that did this, and I should return home and deal with them there, and not to stay around here any more. Very well, I set out, and will make my way north, and will show the witches what it is to take on the might of Nordstrom and I shall be dressed well for the occasion.


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Tuesday, 4 June 2013

Cloudy At Last

I can see why this film has won awards for make up and stuff (at least, I assume it was). But... this movie was not for me. I've mentioned before that I have trouble interpreting beyond the surface, and I hope this movie is what lies beyond the surface ('cos the surface of it isn't that amazing).

There isn't much point recapping plot elements, because there are six different stories. Now, I can follow that well enough, and I can tell (mostly) who is playing who across the times, and I can see where the stories resonate elements with each other (partly because they make it obvious at times, partly because 'this is where the movie has this beat, now we work out what stories will portray that beat'). However...

What I'm not sure about is the why. Why do any of these stories matter? Why do they need to be told in this particular six story crossing narrative? Why, basically, should I care? I think I've heard that there is a whole 'surviving nature of the spirit of man', but then we already know man (and I heard 'man', not 'humanity') survives at least five of the stories, and the sixth one isn't putting the entire race in jeopardy or anything (not that any of the stories are), so if that's it, then I'm really not getting it. And if it's something else... then I'm still not getting it. [If it is the human sole recurs across time and meets up with recurring partners, then that concept can just fuck right off.]

I'm sure all of you got it when you saw this, but this is not a movie for me.


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Monday, 3 June 2013

Doctor Incoming!

Well, it's been announced.. Matt is departing! Which of course means... it's open season on who the next Doctor will be. (It doesn't seem like there's already successor, which they could have already arranged, so...) Bookmakers, start your ledgers!

Of course we are going to get the resurgence of "how about a woman?" and "how about a black actor?". Let's face it... we've only had white guys so far, so we're going to get another white guy. And the actors are young in this series (to withstand the rigours of filming and press events). Perhaps the next Doctor hasn't been born yet?

Yeah, okay. But we are going to get someone probably no-one has really heard of yet. So picks are going to be touch. But I'm going to through a name out there: he's had a bit of a career already. He's about to hit thirty. But he has played a range of characters, and has been rather off the wall. Okay, he's doing a series at the moment, and for a competitor... but those shows don't occupy the majority of weeks of the year, so he could still have time (assuming the series is still going on). He definitely would be a pick no-one would guess.

Ladies and gentle, my random pick is... Joseph Gilgun.


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Sunday, 2 June 2013

Unchain my Djdadndgdo

It took me a little while, but yes, I have now seen that particular entry from Tarantino. The plot isn't deep, and not really with talking about, as there is something far more pointed I want to addess.

While this movie moves along quickly, presents spectacle, and is slick and all... the problem I have with it is that there is no sense of threat. Django and Schultz are just so easily able to achieve their aims. Need to hunt down people? Done! Infiltrate Candiland, no problems! Get involved in a big battle at the end of the movie? No worries mate! There are moments where they are delayed and inconvenienced at best, but nothing has a chance of stopping them. Talk about Candie and Stephen all you like, but they are just there to yell and fulfil the role of the bad guy because the movie needed one, not because they are in any way actual problems to be fully considered and dealt with.

You know what I would have liked to see with this movie? We've already stepped into revenge fantasies that Quentin Tarantino likes, and we're already got the "shock" value of "a nigger on a nag", but have a black man go on a (rather low key, to be honest) revenge-fest isn't that much of a reach. What would have been really innovative would be to address one huge problem this movie has. What other people have been complaining about and being shouted down over. What underpins this movie is the 'damsel in distress' plot device. So... let's flip the genders. (With whatever suitable name alterations you need) have Django as a woman and Broomhilda as a man. You want to see a black man go on a rampage in slave America? How about a black woman doing it? Now that would have been a far more powerful movie! It's not like Tarantino has too many of those (woman as the protagonist) under his belt.

So, fine, nice enough movie to watch. But a failure to be something truly worth talking about.


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Saturday, 1 June 2013

John Ends on a Die

It's the movie whose title is a spoiler! Or is it? One thing is certain... I'm standing up and applauding this.

This is the story of David Wong, who gets injected with 'soy sauce' and then... bam, he can make out the weird shit that's happening in the world. And it's some pretty screwed up stuff. But the main point about it all is... this is really well done. This is what Sam Raimi was wishing he was doing right now. Supernatural weirdness, with lashing of gore, all smeared over with great dark humour. It doesn't matter if you see any of it coming or not, because this is a great ride to be on.

...and looking at the director, I see it is Don Coscarelli... who did Bubba Ho-Tep! Well, that explains a lot! There's a couple of names in here. Doug Jones looking suitably gaunt. Paul Giamatti looking suitably slumpy. And... can't say I spotted others, but is it just me, or does Clancy Brown look like Vincent Schiavelli?

Effects are good, actors give good performances. The plot is weird and not worth trying too hard to understand, but as I said it's very easy to sit back and enjoy.

It's not often I praise a movie on this blog, but this one definitely gets thumbs out. Go check it out already!


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