Saturday, 31 August 2013

OSW: One Season Wonders Introduction

There is a series I want to do, and since you are reading this, it looks like I've started it. I want to talk about one season wonders. What are one season wonders, you might ask, as if it wasn't incredibly obvious? These are TV shows that, for whatever reason, didn't last more than a season. And these are some great shows.

So here is my ten shows that should have had a second, or more, season. While I don’t rank them, I have got them in production order, so we start back in the days before I was born...

And because this is an introductory post, I'm going to talk about the show not on this list: Firefly. Now, you all know Firefly. And you know that, indeed, on TV, it only lasted one season. Hell, not even that. Half a season. Then pulled, raved about by fans, and finally… came back as a movie! And that’s why Firefly isn't on this list. It got a movie. Which is more than the shows I'm going to be talking about did.

Oh, and I plan on putting the opening theme in each post as well.


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Friday, 30 August 2013

Baking the Funny

The latest season of the Great British Bake Off has started, and while looking up the contestants, I saw that there was a Great Comic Relief Bake Off! What? No-one told me of that! And there were four episodes!

In each episode, we have the usual format of 'signature bake', 'technical challenge' and 'show stopper'. The difference here is that we have four celebrity personalities (although celebrity is rather local to Britain and even then I'm not sure they are that well known), and they aren't the expert amateur bakers as per the usual series.

But they are giving it a go for comic relief. And, fortunately, their efforts were captured on YouTube. Episode 1:

Episode 2, Episode 3, Episode 4.


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Thursday, 29 August 2013

Marky Markiplier

As mentioned, I watch Let's Plays. While I tend to get complete runs, I do watch some LPs as they happen. One channel I like to watch is Markiplier. He plays scary games (mostly), but has a lot of fun with it. And also plays wacky games. And Minecraft (which I don't care about as much). And, every month, he does charity live streams.

To get a taste, check out his horror reaction compilation videos. It's a nice compilation of some of his better reactions. For example:

(Note that he just adds those subtitles for the compilation videos. The normal videos are just him playing the game with him in his box at the top.)

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Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Reign of Winter

[Reminder - this is an actual published campaign, so spoilers ahoy!]

We strike out for the last site, which is believed to be the centre of this winter realm. There, we can barely see in front of us, but we spy some igloo structures. Felgard searches ahead, they are mostly empty. Mostly. One, he finds, has some of those fairies creatures in it.

Our plan was that he would lead the creatures out and one way, and when they followed we would be behind them and attack. That plan worked as Felgard left the tent, but then Mage stepped in to put them to sleep. With the plan out the window, I stepped in myself, and fell through the trapped floor.

Felgard looked out further, and found another igloo, and then missed the big creature passing by. We continued the attack on the fairies, but then Hogan and Mage saw the moss troll. The large moss troll. I put the creatures out of our misery while Hogan and Felgard tried to survive the attacks, and finally got out to strike at it myself.

Unfortunately, as Felgard tried to move away, the troll swiped him, and down he went. Hogan went to his aid, so it was up to me to deal with the troll. With a mighty swing, I cleaved into it, cutting deep into what passed for its organs, causing it to fall dead. However, being a troll, it did not want to stay that way, but Mage and I kept it down while Hogan got Felgard back on his feet.

We then find an ice wall of spikes with wind blasting from it, clearly this was the source of the winter. And we found the moss troll's cave, with many items inside (although not that impressive a haul [because fluffed appraisal rolls are always funny]). While contemplating resting, Felgard looked into the portal and a man on a horse came out. However, the man was dying, and the horse and his armour quickly dissipated. He was one of three to announce the arrival of Baba Yaga... but only he was left, and he was gravely wounded. It seems that Baba Yaga's daughter is making a claim on Baba Yaga's territory and would have winter everywhere. This will not stand. We are tasked with finding Baba Yaga... and so will venture into winter's realm to do so. While I have no love for witches, there is still a proper way to nature that must be balanced...


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Tuesday, 27 August 2013


Twitter is a very immediate service. The problem with that is that Twitter is a very immediate service.

I follow a fair few people. And they tweet. Often about things they are watching at the time. (Apparently, just recently, there was some Miley thing and some N'Sync thing...) The things is, tweets are short. So people don't put a lot of information in one. They assume context. They assume you know what they are talking about, and are probably watching it/aware of it at the same time as they are.

Which is a very them-centric thing. It also makes them rather hard to understand at times. "OMG, did I just see that?" I have no idea. "Wow, that was a terrible thing, wasn't it?" I don't know what you are talking about!!!

Please, Twitterers, provide context! Not everything is on twitter at the exact moment you are tweeting, and not everyone is exactly doing whatever it is you are doing. React if you must, but make it clear what you are reacting to!

At the very least, please add an understandable hash tag. #clarity


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Monday, 26 August 2013

Let's Not Play

I wanted to do more Let's Play with Richard, and thought the other Doctor Who Adventure games would be good fodder. However, I'm not sure if it was my computer, or Google Hangouts, or the internet in general...

Good news, the 'cutscenes' are rended in game with the engine. The bad news... well... take a look.


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Sunday, 25 August 2013

Then I Saw Them

Yep, I knew going in this movie would piss me off. And indeed it did. But better still, in ways I didn't expect! Now that's magic! I knew this film would be an unreliable narrator, and I also know that all the tricks we saw were bullshit (cue orchestra performance). When you have a director and an editor to put together a film with special effects, magic tricks are a lot less magic. And when you reveal and say 'oh, it was a mirror', here's a big point: at the time, no it wasn't a mirror. There was no mirror there at the time, it was added when the scene called for revealing a mirror! And don't expect me to believe that there was a mirror that big and clean, either! Bullocks!

(Why would I give Hustle or Leverage a pass on this exact same point? Because they are light and comedic, they are fun. This was trying to dramatic and serious, but no, the need to force the plot drained away any tension. Big car chase? Yeah, it's a set up for something, and not for a moment do I believe anything was an accident. Screw you.)

So these magicians come together to pull magic stunts, and fool the police / FBI, but of course nothing is what it seems. Like the run time, for example. Looks like two hours, actually the movie is only ninety minutes. Then there is fifteen minutes of bad ending that trying to pretend it's all post-modern by saying 'resolutions don't matter', but it can't pull it off, and everything deflates as all steam falls out of the plot, and you'd better hope the audience can't demand their money back after that amount of time. Oh, and lots of end credits too.

Cast were fine, production was slick, but the general conceit of the movie annoyed me that I don't want to talk about them.

Go into this movie with eyes open, and don't expect a great ending either.


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Saturday, 24 August 2013

Superman vs Batman vs...

With a certain announcement of one Ben Affleck taking a certain role, talk has hyped up again of the imminent Superman vs Batman movie. In particular, some people are saying that just having the two of them fighting for the movie will be boring. True enough. And, frankly, unless Superman has a good reason not to, he can put Batman down like that. (Indeed, discussion has already been had around the place about how good a control of his powers Superman must have to not basically destroy everything around him with every breath.)

But there's another possibility here which could be far more interesting... although it still relies on the fight against each other not to take the whole movie (because, yeah, where would the fun be in that?). Just imagine, Superman and Batman and throwing down against each other, then a new fighter appears and smacks them both down... introducing...

Wonder Woman! Yes, we need a movie with the three of them, and what better left field entrance could there be than WW turning up when, by all appearances, DC/WB has forgotten she's even around and should be getting her own movie, never mind appearing with others. This is Wonder Woman! Iconic as all get out in the DC universe! You can't have the JLA without the big three.

(Well you can, but it's a sucky b-grade JLA that no-one remembers, even if it did get a one issue cross over into a more interesting Superman storyline...)

Anyway, that would make the movie matter... so don't expect that to happen any time soon...


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Friday, 23 August 2013

El Ysium!

It's that movie from that guy, and it just might have a little, just a smidge, you might not notice it, social commentary in it.

Poor people are on Earth, and slave away at their jobs, and commit crimes, and are generally barely getting along in life. The rich people are on the orbiting space station, Elysium, and they are having a grand ole time, and shoot down any ships that try to get on board. So when schlub Matt Damon gets injured, he needs the medical facilities up in space, and so begins a chase scene and then some punching, and poor people screwing up life for the rich.

One thing that confused me. We see the rich in their rich surroundings, with food and technology and stuff... who maintains that? There are a few robots around, but do they do all the cooking and cleaning? We never see. I can't imagine that the rich people are doing it (although they do have rather menial jobs pushing buttons), but poor people wouldn't be allowed on board to do it either. And, frankly, if the rich people had just put a few of the medical facilities on the planet, the poor would be better off and a better, healthier, workforce and a lot easier to keep under because there wouldn't be people storming Elysium for decent healthcare.

But this movie isn't out to be subtle. Poor people are good, rich people are evil, that's all you need to know. Matt Damon and Alice Braga are good, Jodie Foster and Sharlto Copley are evil, no shades of grey here. Production is decent, Weta was probably involved, but the robots didn't really look that interesting.

Not a subtle movie, but District 9 wasn't either. Decent enough, but if you don't catch it at the movies, not a big sadness.


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Thursday, 22 August 2013

Hands of Fate!

Behold what I have wrought! Yes, another Kickstarter project has come to fruition! (Well, it's started to. I've still got a lot of swag to come my way yet.) But there is the movie! The Gamers know what they are doing, and this is their third project. This time, they are taking aim at card games... and treating it with a lot more respect than you'd expect.

The 'real life' part of the storyline... is rather cliched, to be honest. You can predict what is going to happen, and yep, there is happened. The 'fantasy' story line is less straight forward... but happens all too quickly to develop anything truly worthwhile. They've barely got around to saying 'is this real?', before they are off to the final confrontation.

But it's still all good. And you can watch it yourself for free... for about another week or so.

And stick all through the credits just to see my name there!


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Wednesday, 21 August 2013

The Tomorrow Pretties

...GAH! How many times do we have to say: America, stop trying to make British shows! You can't do it! (Okay, maybe, like, three times, but this definitely isn't that.)

First off, these are extremely pretty people. And they are in what I will describe as a soap opera world. Check out that drama! John and Cara(?) kissing! Dr Price (I see what they are referencing there) is the uncle to Stephen! They are super emo in high school! No, no, no!

And their powers! They have particular powers, but they don't have everything. And they can't fight (which they look like they may be keeping, depends on who is doing the kung-fu stuff, one of them or one of the saps? Are they even still called saps?)

And TIM? Where's TIM? Will they even touch on the Galactic Federation?

Still, as along as they avoid certain atrocities, I might be able to put up with it...


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Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Colossal Shadows

I played Heir. I enjoyed Heir. I found out Heir was inspired by Shadow of the Colossus. I want to play Shadow of the Colossus. I even went as far as getting a PS2 with a box of games so I could play it. Because I'm known for my playing of console games (cough... only completed one, started another, never went back, can't get used to controller... cough). But that didn't stop me... from watching someone else play it! (Indeed I've watched more Geop LPs, and very good they are too.)

One point that's been made about Shadow is that it is basically boss fights. And that isn't far off. But what that really means is that each fight is a gimmick fight. Work out the gimmick for each boss, and then do that over and over again until they fall. When you put it that way... if you don't know what the gimmick is, expect to fail time and again. How is that fun? This is one of those 'work at it long enough, and the satisfaction of overcoming your frustration at being crap will be your high'. Yeah... I don't like those kinds of games. Too annoying.

Still, it definitely looks impressive. And there may be a movie based on it! Which, I hear, may only have three Colossuses (Colossi?) in it. From a game where there are a dozen or so. I can see how that would annoy people, but on the other hand, the game is several hours long and movies aren't. (And people complain when they are, yes I'm looking at you LOTR.) The real question is, will they get the horse right?

While I haven't played the game, I have at least experienced it. Now if I can find an LP for Ico...


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Monday, 19 August 2013

A 6.6? Whatev...

On Friday we had a 6.6 quake. It was a bit of a build up (I immediately grabbed my bum bag out of the drawer), then got stronger (under the desk!) and then got quite violent (grabbed my bag, stuffed my stuff into it), knocking things about (nicely, my mug fell off... in my now open drawer!), before finally quieting down. Now, we had 'standing orders' of getting out of the building, but people weren't running for it. We had time to pick up most of the fallen items... but get out we did anyway.

Leaving us milling around outside. Eventually we were told 'go home'. With the trains out of order (not that it mattered to me) and the buses packed (that was more of a problem). Yay, I get to walk home! Town it weirdly packed full of people not sure what's going on, and lots of cars as people decide that the CBD is not a place to be. I end up walking most of the way (bussed a little way), took me an hour, but at last I was home.

With no hot water. Yay...

But, looking at the online sites, you'd be hard pressed to see anything about it now. Two days ago (as of writing this), and the main articles on Stuff is... a kid wandering around, bad weather, and something about sports. Meh, we're over it. While writing yesterday's blog post, we had a 5.5... I kept typing, hey, I didn't have time to shake, I got stuff to do! And that's what we seem to be. (Work is down half a day, but we'll be back in business at midday.)

And since we are in a music battle, I give you "Nice day for an earthquake":


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Sunday, 18 August 2013


Japanese movie with swords and guns and zombies? What more can you want?

Two prisoners escapes their cops and meet up with criminals sent to pick them up... or were they? The criminals have other ideas, but when one is shot... they come back to life! They are in the Forest of Resurrection, so this means zombies! And everyone has guns, so there's lots of shooting! And because this is a Japanese movie, there's also martial arts! And later, we find out these are in fact reincarnated versions of 500 year previous samurai, so swords too! Woo!

And this (aside from the last few minutes, which can be summarised as '...what?') is all shot on location in a forest. It looks like the production team had fun just being out there. The main cast are all decent, although Chieko Misaka's Girl is severely under used and could easily have been brought up to be a more respectable character to fit the rest of the movie.

Although weird, it is a fun movie. And you can check it out yourself!


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Saturday, 17 August 2013

Beyond Reality

In the future, we will all be on the net... or in the net... or be a part of the net... or only exist digitally... or partially with flesh bodies and digital bodies and...

All this is under the concept of Transreality, and this is also a graphic novel by Chris Lackey. Which I got as part of the Kickstarter. This is the story of James Watson, a chap from 2013 who finds himself in the future where things a little bit different. What he wants is his life back, but that's not straight forward.

A lot of the plot is an excuse to show off different aspects of Lackey's ideas about transreality. Which, as that, is fine. But... there are some parts of the plot which are quickly glossed over, and I didn't quite follow. For example, they go to a lot of effort to get some codes... then quickly, in one page, jump over using the codes. Because that part doesn't really matter. And some of the motivations aren't entirely clear...

The art is quite nice, and the book is well produced... although there are a few expressions which don't come across that well. But I do like Alexis, well done there.

So if you want to pick it up... but there is no digital version. (Which might be considered ironic...)


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Friday, 16 August 2013

By The Brick!

What's the best way to enjoy a video game? In text form of course! Oh, hang on...

So I've been watching MovieBob for a while, mainly on the Escapist. While mainly talking about movies, he also is heavily in gaming. Particularly going on about Mario and the Tanooki Suit... stemming, in part, from his love for Super Mario Bros. 3.

As part of film crit, people analyse film in great detail in book form. But where is this for games? Mainly, to be honest, in LP form. But this is more than that.

MovieBob goes deep into Super Mario Bros. 3. He details the history of the series, where the game fits in, where it fits into his own life, and talks in depth about the creatures and the items in the game. Then he goes through each and every level and talks about how he plays it.

The interesting aspect of this is his own biographical details and when he talks about the Mario series. Where it is the weakest... is, it has to be said, the actual LP itself. For me, an LP of a video game doesn't work in text form. It doesn't help that I've never played the game, nor even seen it, so the descriptions are lacking for me to picture it. (To avoid copyright issues, there are no images in this... sensible choice considering Nintendo's claims.) However, considering this is a visual medium, there's a reason people make videos.

The digital version is cheap, so why not? [Note: if you grab just the digital version, don't select any location, otherwise it will add postage charges.] But if this becomes a thing (and frankly, in depth analysis of games is interesting), I hope people will sort out image issues.

[Note: I keep typing Maori instead...]


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Thursday, 15 August 2013

I went on a Journey

Journey was a very popular game, earning extremely high ratings from those that played it. Those, that is, who have a PS3. For the rest of us, no such playing is possible. (The one attempt I did try, I can't controller, so nope.)

There are a number of gimmicks behind this game. No speech, just short and long tones. And it's co-op, with random partners, some of whom may help and others... well, 'random' is the word. For the LP I watched, the person extremely knew what was where, and tried to help the other person, but they weren't interested. (To be fair, seeing someone take off you can't tell if they are after a secret, or because they like leading people astray.)

The story seems to be 'our civilisation died, so throw yourself into a mountain'. Or something. It's not clear. And they seem to be living scarfs, with scarf creatures, so their ecology is decidedly weird. And, for a change, bunny hopping around the place is positively encouraged!

This looks to be one of those games that works better when playing than watching. It looks nice, but it also looks rather mono-coloured. Another one of those 'glad I watched, now I don't have to play' games.


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Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Reign of Winter

[Suitably wintery night, with rain and howling wind...]

Setting off, we know to be wary of near by bear traps. Which indeed we find. In my case, by setting it off, but in the case of Mage by getting trapped in it. While we got him out, Hogan noticed a blood trail, it looks like the giant weasel was also once caught in a trap, and recently.

Moving on, we cross a field of ice boulders, and encounter a frightened little girl that is worried about some doll. This would be the doll house, we presume, that we have heard of. However, before then we see images in the ice boulders, of dead figures and grief and loss and it causes great fear to rise in our hearts (in three out of four of our hearts anyway). However, after calming down, it is of no more concern.

The house itself is rather odd, reminding us of the legend of the white witch Baba Yaga [a variant of the Baba Yaga we know], with a house on four legs that look like chicken feet. Inside is a doll, which rises up to strike the bard when he goes to pick it up. We take our turns to beat back the doll, and it proves unsuccessful at throwing magic at us. Although a successful attack does freeze me to the spot. After the doll is cut down, we determine that the gem in one eye is trapping the soul of the girl we saw and free her.

Continuing our path, an explosion of ice catches Hogan, but only mildly scrapes us. Odd, but this is a cruel realm. And continuing on again we are beset by... a giant weasel! It shakes me like a chew toy before it is scared off, but we pursue it back to its cave, and put the poor starving creature out of its misery.

Attempting to spend the night there, we are attacked by another faerie and an are creature, and manage to cut them down, me in a rage, but not until after it cut into me more. Resting on, I am healed, and then we set out for what we believe to be the heart of this area...


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Tuesday, 13 August 2013


I don't know if this is standard style Japanese game, but this is a weird mix of RPG and tower ascension. Catherine is an interesting study of love and stupidity. Rather extreme stupidity in that the hero Vincent is just shoved into situations without being given any choice. There is a reason for this, but Vincent's extreme incompetence really makes me not like him and just want to slap him. Are we supposed to root for him, other than because we are playing as him? Definitely not a game for me.

And the tower ascension doesn't help either. The block climb just looks annoying more than fun. Time limit plus 'do one step wrong and you're screwed' style of game play makes this targeted at particular people. Particular people who also want to indulge in character discussion and other RPG elements, is there a lot of those? (I suppose so, considering how popular Persona is.)

And, of course, there are a bajillion endings. Because you need to make people replay these games.

This is the sort of game I'm more than happy to watch an LP of. I have no interest in every playing it, but do want to see what the deal is all about. And now I'm done.


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Monday, 12 August 2013

Raided All the Tombs!

After... (checks Steam...) 21 hours, I have finally finished Tomb Raider. And it's about as finished as it's going to be. I've collected all the relics, all the documents, done all the challenge quests and raided all the optional tombs... that's a lot of pointless collecting right there. By the time I got into the last few hours, I had all my skills ticked off, and all my gear upgraded to max. Although there is no real need to do that. I'm sure you could speed run it in about a third of the time (okay, while still properly playing more or less. I'm sure there are speed runs that do it in thirty minutes or something due to glitches).

Anyways, the story! Interestingly, when I was watching the credits it took over half the time, with three other companies fully credited, before the Story and Voice Acting credits came up. What's up with that? Yes, graphic design and all that is important, but considering the pimping Rhianna's been doing for the damn game, you'd think her credit would be a little higher placed. Like first or something. But no, that's just the story. Who cares about that when you need to credit your QA Multiplayer team! (One of whom is a James Enright... that's nearly me!)

But I was talking about the story. One element is the supernatural, but at no point do people go 'hey, there's supernatural stuff?'. Nope, just taken as read. Fine, Tomb Raider has had plenty of weird stuff going on, but this is the first time for Lara. But she's on that quicker than (insert appropriate metaphor here). Okay, so I haven't really talked about the story, but this is a game first, so... there's moving around, platforming puzzles and combat. Yep, "action adventure". There are one or two combat arenas that were just punishing, but I dids them. And a few cases where I wasn't sure where I was supposed to be going (I think I skipped a trigger point and had to back into it.) But it was rather straightforward 'follow to this part of the island, kill people, and then get to the next part'. The story/context was decent, but I was more about the next puzzle section / kill place. [Maybe that's why the credit was late?]

So, Tomb Raider... thumbs up! Although I'm not sure I'll ever go back and play it again now that I've completed it all. There are some badges I don't have, some of which are multiplayer so I will never get those, and others of the 'kill x people with weapon y', which, meh. Still, I have grabbed the Final Hours, so that to read/watch, but otherwise will probably now just keep an eye for the next installment.

Huh, I didn't put this in my last entry... so here it is now!


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Sunday, 11 August 2013

Furious Badges

He's a young cop! He's an old cop! Together they are... young and old cops!

Boyfriends of Liu are dying, all with a smile on their faces. Is it Liu? Or is it her older sister Yi Yi? Two detective Wang (Zhang Wen) and Huang (Jet Li) try to find out, with Wang being rather enthusiastic (read: reckless), often needing Huang to actually handle matters properly. But when Wang becomes Liu's latest boyfriend, the killer comes after him...

Yep, another action comedy martial arts movie (what's the genre for this?). Definitely a lot of wire fu, with Jet Li getting the more serious scenes, and Zhang Wen getting more comedy set pieces. Michelle Chen, as Wang's boss, also gets some comedy moments, whereas Shishi Lui and Yan Liu carry more of the dramatic weight of the movie (although Yan Liu definitely gets her own share of wackiness).

Usually these sorts of movies tend to be more grounded in present day, and go more fantastical with stunts in historic times (because they are more magical), but this movie is trending more towards the fantastical with the stunts they are pulling off. The fighting pieces feel far less natural and far more choreographed (which they are anyway), making them more obvious as fighting set pieces. Nice, but...

Decent enough movie (certainly deserves more than the current IMDB rating), but not overly substantial.


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Saturday, 10 August 2013

When does 1 not equal 1?

So, back to the 1990s, and I had disposable income (read: pocket money), access to a proper comic store, and a love of Green Lantern. When I found new issues of Green Lantern... snap buy! And it was numbered, like, #4 or something. Oh, great, I didn't have that issue, so grab and read...

Uh... what is this? Why does Hal Jordan have white streaks in his hair? Why is Guy and John around? Why is there a reference to an issue that is not mentioned when I got that issue? (I think it was a reference to Hector Hammond in, like, #3 or something.) Wha...?

Yep, it's another lesson in how the comic industry works. I didn't know that this was vol 3 of Green Lantern, and the references were back to vol 2. BTW, we're up to vol 5 now. And each time they restarted the numbering at #1. Wow, that's not confusing at all. (Of course now, we are used to this, for example Season 1 and Series 1 of Doctor Who... sigh.)

And, from what I gather, Marvel restarts their serieses with #1 every year. Because #1s sell well, and are fresh and new, and places for people to jump in (and spend money).

Rebooting really screws over referencing things easily.


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Friday, 9 August 2013

New Who, Same as the Old Who

We have a name: Peter Capaldi. (Hey, a white guy! What a surprise!) It's already causing extreme reaction in some, but as others have pointed out, he's the same as as when Hartnell took the role, and Hartnell was 'the guv' of Doctor Whos. Does this mean a young male to do action? Well, he is a lot fitter than Hartnell, so maybe not...

We've seen Capaldi has a great range. Dramatic earnestness in Children of Earth. Rather more basic affair in Fires of Pompeii... and that's all of his stuff I've seen. No Malcolm Tucker for me. ("Ooo, he's a swearing Scotsman, there's the Doctor for you!" - I don't care.)

But can he do the light hearted comedy that will earn him the role?

When Tennant was brought in, he had that Children in Need special, a nice light romp to get people used to this new actor. (Although after seeing him in Cassanova, I saw he had the charisma and charm, so 'sold!'.) When Smith came in, he had a bit more dialogue than Tennant's only last line, so we got to feel that this Doctor was one that we could get a feel for.

So then, how will Capaldi be introduced? What witty bot mot will he utter? We got a glimpse in the 'Live Unveiling'... which was utterly pants, wasn't it? Drew it out pointlessly, just like when Smith was announced. And then Capaldi came out and gave rather stock answers to stock questions.

...oh, it's a long way to Christmas, roll on the movie!


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Thursday, 8 August 2013

Shark with Swampass

You know, as stupid shark movies go (and I've seen more than anyone should) this one isn't as stupid as others. Yes, it's still ridiculous, but it's no two headed shark or shark/octopus hybrid or anything.

An undiscovered deep trench has been discovered and is being transported across the country when a stupid accident occurs and the shark ends up in a swamp in the Atchafalaya Basin. It then causes trouble for a local pub owner who starts on the hunt to find the shark and prove they weren't responsible for that death. And, of course, there a local festival around to have kids and near sex (this is a tv friendly movie), and shark in swamp hijinks. Although there isn't as many deaths as you'd expect, it's not like this is from Asylum or anything.

Actually, one bit I did like was they tried the 'pressurised canister in shark mouth that they shoot' trick, which has the result you'd actually expect. Yeah, science! Although the actual cause of death of the shark is stupid and non-scientific.

Some big(-ish) names here. Kristy Swanson, D B Sweeney and Robert Davi! Not stunning performances, but again this is a cut above the usual shark movie developers so there is an actual plot and attempt at characterisation more than people just being shark bait. Not worth paying attention to, mind you, but a plot more than just having a shark, so credit for that.

On one hand, this is more than just sharkplotation... on the other hand, one does not watch sharkplotation for deep plots. Basically, this is better than the genre wants.


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Wednesday, 7 August 2013


When you put all the cut-scenes of this video game together, you get quite the lengthy movie.

What happened is that the Joker managed to get Superman to kill Lois and his son... wha? Yes, this is a parallel universe, but how else to quickly justify beating up various superheroes rather than super villains. Anyway, our main heroes are dragged over into that universe, and then one after another there is justification for one on one fights, some times between a hero and themselves. Superman, basically, went mad, and now the heroes must take him down.

Now, what readily becomes apparent is that most of these fights shouldn't really work. When you get down to if, if it was really being honestly, a lot of fights would be one-sided, and Superman should have gotten rid of all people in his way after about five minutes. One bit I do like is they give a nod towards this by coming up with 'kryptonian enchancement pills' that puts normal people on the level of these gods. (Now that's something that could easily come into the normal continuity and lead to fascinating plots.)

And another apparent point: despite being two hours of cut-scenes, the plot is incredibly thin, and only serves to set up the next fight. Yes, this is a fighting game, and this is needed, but as comic fans, we should get more of an actual story. Flashpoint had tons of excuses for one-on-one fights too, but hey, an actual story we could get into! Here, they didn't try, and just said 'parallel universe, good heroes, bad heroes, fight!'

I have no interest in fighting games (...because, yes, I suck at them...), but next time can they give more meat to this?


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Tuesday, 6 August 2013


I've talked about Azum... hang on, no I haven't! Okay, that post will be happening soon. It's a slice of life / school / comedy series. I like that genre of anime, and sought out more recently. And found Nichijou. Which, while funny, is no Azumanga Daioh (which, as I said, I will come back to later).

Here there are a few groups we are following, and for the first half of the season (it really feels like two different seasons, but it is listed as only the one), the groups are separate. There are the three school girls, there is the robot girl and the eight year old professor inventor (and the talking cat), and a few others, teachers and students, that we drop in on. The format is very much brief vignettes, some normal school life, some rather odd bits (did I mention the robot?), and it feels rather disjointed.

In the second half, the robot girl goes to school and joins the three, tying those two groups together, but we also jump more around the others. There is an actual on going plot over the episode and over the series, which, as I said, really makes this feel like a completely different take on the series. And I'm not sure we are supposed to invest too much in the other plots because they don't really go anywhere.

The series is fun enough, but the lack of overall cohesion, and the inclusion of Nano (the robot) make this not quite a decent school / slice of life / comedy series.

Fun opening songs (this is the first of two):


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Monday, 5 August 2013

Gasland Part II

I saw the first one, so of course I would watch the sequel. Clearly all issues have been sorted out because the attention brought by the first and this movie is just chronicling the obvious changes? Ha, but it is to laugh.

In some ways, this movie is simply a retread of the first. People are living near fracking stations, and the water table is getting screwed, and they can set their "water" on fire. We do get new things in, for example, the EPA did a two year study looking at the impact of fracking on the environment, and just as they were about to release... a political change declared the drinking water safe. Which is a common theme. Money is trumping science. As long as there is money to be earned, and those earning the money are not living where the consequences are, everything is fine. (Not exactly news.) Basically, there is more fracking stations than before, any people are screwed.

There is some effort towards 'hey, look at wind and sun, renewable energies we could use to power the planet instead', but that isn't going anywhere beyond the few idealistic people. Money talks, and the oil companies have all the money.

This is a case of 'second verse, same as the first'. And the song is not a good one (in that the message isn't good, the movie is fine).


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Sunday, 4 August 2013

Raiding some Tombs

I did say I wasn't going to buy Tomb Raider didn't I? Yeah, well, it was a good sale... by which I mean an expensive sale... sigh. Anyway, I did pick up TR (and the DLC), so I've been playing that. I would like to play more, but just find myself running out of time between trying to catch up with tv shows and rpg audios and watching stuff so I can blog and... So far I've sunk ten hours into it, and hopefully I'm over half way.

One problem I'm having is that there are a lot of cut scenes in this. Most of them are obvious, but there's also a fair few that fit seamlessly into the game play. While that might not sound like much a problem, this does mean there are moments where I'm not sure if I'm doing anything, and others when I'm not sure I'm supposed to do anything. This also can tip into QTE segments, but usually I only fail those once.

There was one bad bit where I kept dying over and over, because I had no idea what to do. Usually if I die, I know that I moved in the wrong direction, or didn't manage the combat properly (shockingly, I'm playing on Normal mode, not Easy!!!). Often there's a ten second cut scene or something, which gets really annoying when you are seeing it over and over again, but it's clear what I'm screwing up. In one case, however, I just had no idea what to do. It looked like I should jump to a beam, but no matter how I moved, that didn't work. It wasn't until I tried pressing different buttons each time around that I finally found out what the game expected me to do (oh, dodge, not move and jump). And then there was the moment where I made the jump and was supposed to trigger a cut scene... but it didn't the first three times. And then there was the cut-scene that froze up, so I had to skip it, even though it was one of the most narratively important ones...

But I have been having fun. I'm not going to talk about the ludonarrative dissonance, because I knew that was there going in. I've raided some tombs (although Lara apparently doesn't like them), which are basically puzzle rooms. I hunted wildlife. And I've got looking for oh so many collectibles... so many collectibles. (That also counts as grinding.)

And soon, I'll get back to it! And then I can watch it being spoiled.


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Saturday, 3 August 2013

Equestrian Girls

Yes, I continue to watch pony stuff. And you can too.

Kinda of an odd one-off here, with the basic gimmick being 'what if the ponys were human?' The set up gets out of the way quickly, and then we're off on a typical 'new girl at school' storyline. You can see where it's going early, and there it goes. And, of course, there's a heavy dose of 'friendship is magic' littering the place, especially at the end.

To be honest, the best jokes are ones poking fun at the usual pony way of doing things. 'It's like you've never held a pen before.' Quite. And I hope you like songs because towards the end, they come along at a fast trot (I see what I did there). The human forms are pretty much on point, although the hair is the main point of similarity, but I'm sure the toys will sell well.

And, of course, the main lesson of all this is:  every one loves to wear head bands with ears and fake tails.


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Friday, 2 August 2013


Since I never really talked about this movie, I'm going to talk about it now! This is a great documentary that follows five film buffs who are, basically, compulsed to watch films.

We have Jack (who is the most normal of them, although even he states he isn't normal), Bill (who thinks that peanut butter slathered in a thick layer on bread is an adequate sandwich), Harvey (who knows the lengths of all films), Eric (who is willing to watch videos in terrible states), and Roberta (who has some amazing film giveaways). These people don't just go to movies occasionally, they plan out their schedules to fit, at times, up to five movies in a day. As many days as they can. Jack inherited money, Roberta, Eric and Harvey are on disability, and Eric is getting unemployment... and the money is going on movies. Usually older movies (mostly they talk about the black and white era). And we see their homes... which does show off that their compulsion has led them to be rather lacking in other area.

Which is where the character of the movie comes through. Seeing them as film buffs, but also as people with this compulsion getting by in society, and not well. (And I'm not claiming any form of social aggrandisement myself.) Everything they do is centered around going to films, even down to planning what they eat carefully so that going to the toilet doesn't become an issue. This really is a mania for the cinema.

And it's great. This is a documentary that should be watched by everyone. Who watches the film watchers? We do, and it's a great watch.


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Thursday, 1 August 2013

Watching the Ghosts

This was a documentary done by the BBC in 1992. It is a recording of a live show where a group of people investigate a haunted house, and it was hosted by Michael Parkinson! I watched this, and so did a Jet Simian.

There's the most haunted house in England, with recorded phenomena of a poltergeist affecting a family of a single mother and her two children. The BBC give over an hour (although they end up running longer because of events) one Halloween to run cameras there and see if anything happens. Michael Parkinson is in the studio with paranormal specialist Dr Lin Pascoe, and at the house outside is Craig Charles (yes, that one) and in the house is Sarah Greene. Nothing happens for a while, and they cut back to the studio where callers ring in, but then there are bumps... which is traced to one of the children. But then more tapping occurs, things fall off the walls, and people get hurt, and the studio goes haywire...

It's the most amazing demonstration of paranormal investigation that I've ever seen, with very dramatic results.


Now this is how you do it! A slow build of atmosphere, keep it subtle, but definitely have something progressing over time! This is where Paranormal Activities and the ilk fail so hard. Just a simple house, two levels, just a bedroom and a kitchen, and yet... bam! Complete with the studio set up, and completely treated as how the BBC would handle such an investigation! If only we could have investigations like this and have these kinds of results! Everything thing was just done brilliantly...

And you might be able to watch for yourself Part 1, Part 2, Part 3.

Please, America, just stop. The BBC did it far better than you did, over twenty years ago.


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