Saturday, 30 November 2013

Alternative 3

There's a secret behind the brain drain of Britain in 1977. People are going missing, but where to? In this special Science Report, they take a look into this and uncover some secrets of the space race between America and the Soviet Union. And just where is humanity heading?

I do like the date of this, the date it was supposed to be broadcast if it wasn't delayed, April 1st, 1977. Says it all really. But I do have to wonder, although it is presented entirely seriously, did anyone fall for this?

According to the Wikipaedia entry, yes. People demanded more information, although it clearly had a cast list, was clearly rather unbelievable subject matter (okay, I am looking at this with 2013 eyes), and it was dated APRIL 1ST, 1977!!! Still, it's a conspiracy unveiling, and there are always people willing to believe in those...

I can see why this is listed as an influence for Ghostwatch.


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Friday, 29 November 2013


It's a fun wee movie, and the similarities with Ghostbusters are easy to make, but this is a separate movie in its own right.

A meteor crashes down, bringing with it a start of alien life. Two comedic nerdy scientists have a look and blow their minds at the implications. However, the government steps in an takes over, and although they seem to have things in hand, events quickly escalate and get out of control. And then they make them worse. Fortunately, the comedy scientists come to the rescue with improbable science, and, after shooting out a bird in a mall, take on the creature with shampoo. Everyone wins!

David Duchovny and Orlando Jones are great leading this very funny movie. Julianne Moore and Sean William Scott are decent enough. And, hey, something I recognise Ted Levine in that isn't Monk!

The creatures are decent enough too, although they have that slightly plasticky look to many of them that CGI gives. The eyelines with the real actors aren't too off, so that's good. And it's clear that there were some practical effects, which is good to see.

Basically, a thumbs up funny movie that everyone should see!


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Thursday, 28 November 2013

DW: Harvest of Time

Okay, this should be my last DW post for a while. And this one is about Harvest of Time by Alistair Reynolds.

Near the end of time, there's an alien menace that's reaching back through time to present day Earth and invading them. It's up to the Doctor and Jo to save the day, and also work out how the Master is involved. And, of course, there's a visit to the future, which ties into events... and, okay, I'll admit, does tie in rather nicely.

Which is one of the better things I can say about this book, because the most otherwise I have to say about this book is that it is boring. Dull. And very slow paced. It took me nearly 200 pages to actually want to continue reading it, and by then the thing is nearly over! I was often putting the book down in the middle of my bus trip because it completely failed to engage me. The Doctor, Jo and the Master are very basically written, and as for the enemy... for a long time, I kept reading their name as Slid, and it was a while before I realised it was Sild. And I still kept reading it as Slid! Ooh, beware the horrifying Slid! Not likely. There comes a point when randomly putting letters together to form a name comes up with something you should reconsider.

Despite this supposedly adding a lot to the Master's story, with several winks to later events, the whole book can easily be skipped without missing out on anything. Is this guy a well known author? Can't say I want to read any of his other stuff...


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Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Reign of Winter

[First, we spend some time levelling up our characters to level 4. It feels like whenever I level, I recheck my calculations for what my attack should be, what my rounds of rage are, etc., and I keep finding that I previously calculated it wrong! Still, hopefully right this time (probably not). And then, after that, we do what all parties do]

Shopping time! We spend time looking over all the magical tat we picked up, and selling off random items. For some reason it is decided that I, Nanoc, should have a Ring of Regeneration. Very nice, although I'm not sure I need it. We shall see once we get into serious combat.

There is a chance to pick up some magical armour... but only I can use it, and it would lower my protection [lower AC, but with a reduced armour check penalty], so I decide against it. We do turn the cold iron swords we found into other cold iron weapons, so I now have a nice new cold iron great axe, and even fashioned some sling bullets for them to use.

That took time, and Nadya used that to pack up and sell off her house. With the witch coming in because we ever so slightly killed everyone, it is best for her and her family to leave town (with Patch the house elf coming with). She volunteers to be our guide to the main capital, although we decide to make a slight detour to check out a local standing stone.

We have barely set off before once again we are beset by crows, sent by the white woman. They amass and attack... and although I deal with them, two of our party are blinded. [I said 'let's get something to help against blindness', and they are all like 'no, we'll use goggles'. Well guess what, THE GOGGLES THEY DID NOTHING!]

One day down, many still to go...


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Tuesday, 26 November 2013

The Fish Doctor

After the big episode yesterday was The Five(ish) Doctors Reboot (#FishDr). (This does contain spoilers for the Day of the Doctor, so definitely only watch this after that.) know what... this was far more fun, and a better celebration, than the actual episode proper was! This was amazingly well crafted by Peter Davison, with a lot of references to stories and characters. And it shows that people are willing to make fun of themselves, they got Moffat and RTD in this... and, hell, Sir Peter Jackson and Sir Ian Mckellan!!!

Sure, fine, this is comedy by mocking... but it's mocking from people who know, and it's mocking with love and inclusion. This is the kind of celebration we want to see!


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Monday, 25 November 2013

DW: The Day of the Doctor

I don't know if I should put spoiler space in, because most people would have had a chance to see it by now... but I will anyway. (Reminder, if you see a lot of blank space on the main page, like below, then I have hidden text you need to go to the full post to see.)

Overall... uh, rather odd, and makes a complete mess of continuity. And... actually, I rather prefer the Five(ish) Doctors Reboot... but I'll talk about that later.

So we have a rather prosaic view of a battle on Gallifrey. Yes, we know the Daleks = Nazis, but did we really need the World War II, attack on the city, imagery? If you remove the 'pew pew' laser sounds, that sequence could easily fit into generic action war story of any time. Where was the Never Child and all that stuff? Instead, just 'zap zap'. And then we get the War Doctor... who's done terrible things? We are told? He doesn't seem that broken up about it, except when the script calls for him to remember that he'll be killing a lot of people. And 'Bad Wolf' girl? Really?

Then Tennant and Smith, and ho-ho-ho Queen Bess. And Zygons. Because the Zygons are threatening. Really. Honest. Not at all useless, even when there was over an hour dedicated to them. I suppose we should be glad there wasn't a Skarasen and it's milk. But that whole Zygon plot was just stupid. And pointless. And at the end, just dealt with off-screen, that's how exciting and important it was.

So there was plenty of time to retcon the entire Time War... I guess. So he did blow up the planet until he changed time so he didn't, and all his selves were involved... how did he pull that off? "Hey, past selves, just pop over here to save Gallifrey in your future, but try not to know about it when you become John Hurt." What? And I guess this counts as the first on-screen presence of Peter Capaldi. I have no idea if they'll explicitly address that 9th, 10th and 11th are now 10th, 11th, 12th... I can see it not being addressed, but I supposed Moffat will give some off hand comment about it. I don't mind that Hurt had to regenerate as part of the price he had to pay, but did they really need the comment about the ears?

So some decent performances, but you might be able to guess that I'm not that impressed about it. Some nice moments... but they were just moments. Overall... it feels like another Moffat near miss-fire. Close,but not quite...

Next time: You know what... I hope the regeneration happens earlier than in the last second, but later than the opening act (as per the movie). Give us a nice mix of Smith and Capaldi... but it probably won't happen like that.

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Sunday, 24 November 2013

An Adventure in Time and Space

With the 'celebrations' going on, this is a pseudo-documentary, a 'dramatisation' of the time of William Hartnell on Doctor Who. David Bradley rather brilliantly portrays Hartnell, and many scenes from episodes are recreated (at this point, I'd be willing to accept replacing the missing episodes with recreations).

However... most of this was just boring. I already know the stories, and they are played out rather straightforwardly. We need to explain why Valerie Lambert is in charge, why they needed to remount the first episode, how the Daleks saved the series, how William Hartnell was no longer able to play the role... to be honest, it wasn't until we got near the end, and had David Bradley show some real emotion, that the story became watchable. (And just how many leaving scenes mimicking the end of The Green Death do we need?)

Still, this is preferable to The Ultimate Guide to Doctor Who, which was just another potted history of the past 50 years. And then there was the '10 greatest monsters and villains', which was just an excuse to show old episodes again with new five minute introductions.

In some ways, despite some of the more dubious elements, the BBC Doctor Who Night was more celebratory...


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Saturday, 23 November 2013

The Last Day

Hey, another minisode, the last one was brilliant, this one...

...isn't. What the hell? Did we really need this? It's the big Time War and... a fleet of Daleks invade a Gallifrey outpost. And I can't recall the details of the symbols, but if that is an Arcalian place, why are they wearing Prydonian symbols? (Okay, because Moffat nicked terms and images people might know, not because he was trying to get the details right.)

In many ways, this feels like Moffat is about to fire another squib of a round. He has interesting set-ups, but his payoffs have been rather lackluster and contradictory (with lots of spectacle around to stop you noticing).

Which makes me wonder... how would various big name DW script writers do the Time War?

By RTD - big battle off screen, concentrate on some minor people and completely miss the big picture.
By Moffat - big time battle - as played out in war world ii style (big armies clashing), missing interesting time possibilities, and bringing in unnecessary continuity, before ending on a damn squib.
By Holmes - big battle on a screen, while people in long robes talk to each other and people run around.
By Dicks - big battle, focussing on small character moments, all big events talked about happening elsewhere.
By Barnes - big battle on screen, no actual interesting story.
By Saward - huge collection of plot lines, none of which anyone can follow.
By Adams - brilliant dialogue and great moments... but rather blah overall plot and meanders a lot.
By Nation - lots of travelling around the place until a final rushed finish.


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Friday, 22 November 2013

Round an Irish Fridge

Tony Hawks has been on a fair few comedy panel shows, and oft mention is made of his trip around Ireland. I haven't read the book, but I've now seen the 'film'.

Tony is stuck in a rut with his comedy career, and has made mention of the one time he saw someone trying to hitchhike around Ireland with a fridge. So, after one drunken night with a friend, on a bet he actually goes around Ireland with a small fridge. And this is the story of that trip. Only not as interesting as it sounds. Despite being real life, there manages to be a story of romance, betrayal, non-commitment, and of meeting nice people who are willing to put up with a man with a fridge.

But, despite being by a comedian, there isn't a lot of laughs. I started watching this a while ago, then put it on hold because it wasn't gripping me. And it was largely because I needed a blog post that I finally got around to finish watching it. And my first impression hasn't changed much. The semblance of a story does provide some running narrative to drag the movie along, but it still feels like tired old beats playing out. Such is life.

This is based on real events (more so than some movies one could mention), and yet, it's a dreary film that doesn't encourage investment.


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Thursday, 21 November 2013


Hey, didn't I just do a volcano based movie? Well, if the movie industry can produce two movies with the same premise at the same time, I can do two reviews. But this one doesn't have Pierce Brosnan.

There is a strange event in Los Angeles, and scientists are on it. People are disbelieved, but people die and then things explode. And then, rather quickly, the movie is off and running, presenting brave acts of humanity against the flow of nature. But can one man come up with the ideas needed to save the city? Of course he can! Interestingly (and I do wonder if it is because it is Anne Heche), he doesn't get to kiss the girl.

Yes, Tommy Lee Jones is the main guy here, and he is his usual gruff but loveable self. With one tone of voice, gravely and loud, the entire time. I was remembering his Two Face performance in some scenes! Anne Heche is cute in her scenes, and good performances from Don Cheadle, John Carroll Lynch, and Gaby Hoffman wasn't annoying... and although she's gone on to have a rather full career, I can't say I've seen her in anything else.

It's a fun movie that does get to the explosions quicker than some, and the character pieces aren't too irritating, so overall, thumbs up, very watchable, but this is the second place volcano movie.


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Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Dante's Peaked

Okay, this movie has Pierce Brosnan in it, so I'm already biased towards it. I'd like to think I'd enjoy this movie (as I do) anyway.

Let's face it, this is a stereo typical disaster movie. Slow build with the main scientist not believed, and set up of various characters with some danger happening, but nothing really exciting. Then half-way, the events kick off, various characters (typically family members) getting into danger, and the main characters only saved because of something heroic the main character does. Oh, and Roughy will live.

Actually, this is slightly different in that the event isn't stopped, but merely survived. The volcano erupts, and it isn't reversed, it isn't stopped, it isn't even diverted away. The town is a disaster zone, people are evacuated, the secondary character that didn't believe the main character is punished (complete with Wilhelm scream), and the main characters still need rescuing after it is all over. That's different, at least.

Pierce Brosnan is, of course, great in this. Although he does seem to have better screen chemistry with the kids than with Linda Hamilton. Elizabeth Hoffman gets a nice turn as something close to a villain (if only in that she opposes the main character's, not in that she's trying to ruin them). And Roger Donaldson does a good job directly, even if the events portrayed should have killed the characters a lot quicker.

So yes, as a disaster movie, it isn't stretched to three hours, moves at a nice pace, and doesn't go for the 'hero saves everyone' ending more recent disaster films do, meaning this is something better than most fare.


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Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Bonus Video: A Giraffe Eating

Video I'm sure no-one else has ever captured! Because there was no need to! But I did! Behold, an eating giraffe!


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With their powers combined

It was a dreary day at the zoo, not many people around, and the animals weren't that interested in showing up either. Although I did manage to take advantage of this to finally shoot at the Superheroes exhibit, of creepy and crawly creatures.


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Monday, 18 November 2013

Bonus Video: Sun Bears

Managed to get a good video of them walking around. Not so much sun, but plenty of bear.

(Actually, the sound you hear is the video they have playing.)

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Australia, the most dangerous exhibit of them all

The Wellington Zoo recently opened up an Australian based exhibit, where you can see the emus and the kangaroos and such, rather up close. How close up?

How about I wasn't sure if the exhibit was actually open? Because of one small point they don't advertise too readily...

No fences! Now how long before a kiddie gets bitten because they were teasing an animal?


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Sunday, 17 November 2013

Desert the Bus!

Yes, it's that time again! What is Desert Bus for Hope you ask? Well, it's... actually, I'll let Graham explain:

And it kicks off... now! As of when this post goes live, it should start exactly then (more or less, technical issues withstanding). So pop over, check it out, and donate FOR THE CHILDREN!


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Saturday, 16 November 2013

Night of the Doctor

So this is a thing we are talking about now:

Right, so the Eighth Doctor was the one who decided to turn his back on the name. And yet... we've never seen John Hurt in any of the flashbacks we've had for Eleventh. Because he isn't the Doctor (he's the 'War Doctor' - I'm gonna say, that's a stupid name). Certainly if he isn't going to let Clara know about him, he's not going to tell anyone else. Although the Doctor has never been that reticent about his role in the Time War. Remember the big speech from Last of the Time Lords?

And, hey, the Sisterhood of Karn. Of course I know who they were. Just a shame they didn't get Gilly Brown back to play Ohica (as opposed to the character Ohila... did Moffat mean them to be the same and someone got the name wrong?).

But the big thing is that: Paul McGann is back! Another precious few minutes of him being the Doctor on screen! And name-checking various Big Finish companions no less! Holy continuity mess Batman! I presume they organised that with BF before doing that (most likely because someone had to get the names for him to say). However, I'm sure there are plenty of fans going 'who are that lot then?' (if they aren't saying 'who's that in the coat?').

And I'm sure this is all part of the ever changing Moffat grand plan, as RTD never cared about what happened in the Time War, but it looks like we're going to find out now...

Well, we could also talk about The Science of Doctor Who, but let's not.


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Friday, 15 November 2013

Endering the Gaming

And now, the most awaited book-to-movie translation this month!

So this kid goes into space, flies around a room, is given a fleet to play with, hooray!

Really. The most problematic aspect of this movie is that it compresses the book down to under two hours of screen time. If you work out all the essential beats you need, then just have one scene per beat, you'll have this movie. It feels like the entire thing takes place in a week, not over several years! (Let alone because they have the main actor with just one age.) I've seen discussion that says this should be broken into movie 1 - battle school and movie 2 - command school, and that would help, because it is rushing everywhere!

And because of the compactness, there is another aspect that becomes painfully obvious. The big schtick is that Ender comes up with ideas that no-one else does, and is trained to use that... but with everything happening so quickly, why can't others be also trained? Aside from a few scenes with Graff and Anderson, we don't get a proper sense of any real tension. And nor do we get the sense of Ender being the last desperate gamble. Ender does things no-one else does... but comes up with idea in only a few minutes. Really? No-one else has ever come up with those ideas over all the time you've had. They are presented as near obvious (because we don't see any effort in building up to them), so the idea no-one else can do this is ridiculous.

Asa Butterfield is fine as Ender, it's not his fault the plot is so full steam ahead. Harrison Ford is in full 'gruff old man' mode. And Ben Kingsley as a Maori... uh...

Big CGI can't disguise the plot speed, but I gather it works for those that don't know the book.


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Thursday, 14 November 2013

They are The Crudes

Once more Dreamworks is kicking over DisneyToons (yes, not Pixar, I know, but most people would think Pixar, so suck it). It's like they did Ice Age 2... but with humans!

Them Croods are a bunch of cavemen, but one of them yearns for something more! And after the end of the world comes along, she drags the rest of her family along as they have to team up with Guy in order to survive the destruction. But can Eep get her father to agree with Guy on anything? Will Guy manage to get by when he Meet the Croods?

So ready for cave men version of modern day developments? I hope so, because we get them! And a lot of cute animals that are just surreal versions of mixing various animals together and not at all anything like actual prehistoric creatures. [Hey, at least they don't have dinosaurs... probably saving that for the sequel... and yeah, there's a sequel already listed on IMDB.]

Have to say that Nic Cage is great in this. Yes, I was getting him more than his character, but he did the character of over-cautious dad so well! And another Ryan Reynolds animated movie (which came before Turbo). But the main lead is, of course, Emma Stone... who could be any random female lead to be honest.

Yeah, sure, there are some predictable moments, but this is an enjoyable movie and worth a watch.


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Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Reign of Winter

[Late night last night so late post.]

Two exits, but we only know how to use one, so after our second night in the tower, we head up to the top of the tower... and instantly get attacked by a lady cleric and her birds. And given the one-at-a-time teleporter, this is a long slow fight as we slowly get into the battle. And then, rather quickly, I get blinded (again!). [It's rather annoying to be inflicted with conditions we have no way of dealing with. The fights would have gone very differently if I didn't have a 50% miss chance.]

We deal with the swarm of birds first, then focus on the cleric and whittle her down into unconsciousness. We try appealing to her better nature, but that fails, so threats it is! She has a key we can use to get to the last level of the tower and face the end of level boss chap, and while looking around she runs away. Go us!

Into the last level, we meet Radasek and get his goat. As in an actual goat. He also spawns some ice elementals, and uses a wand to bring up ice spears. Again, a slow fight as we remain bunched up far too long, but our own cleric Hogan disarms him, and we whittle away the other creatures. Radasek runs away, and we are left with the controls for winter portals, including the portal back to where we came from. Sealing that, we talk about what to do next... when Radasek returns with the ice dragon from the courtyard!

Rather than bother with the dragon, those that can target Radasek, while some of us tackle the dragon. Eventually, we stab him with his own ice spears, and the dragon crumples. Huzzah! We have quite the treasure haul, although we also open up to Nadya about the fate of her daughter. Tricky.

Time will pass while we sort all this out [and level up!], but we have many more adventures ahead of us!


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Tuesday, 12 November 2013


Hate to say this Pixar, but you could learn a few things from this Dreamworks movie. And I have to wonder, is this a better Ryan Reynolds superhero movie than Green Lantern?

A snail like to go fast ('cos that's humour by inversion, right?), although I have to say the snails seem to go pretty damn fast for snails anyway. Okay, but this one particular snail likes to race, and gains superpowers in a way that I'm sure no kid will ever imitate at all, leading to no nitrous oxide related snail deaths, honest guv. But gain superpowers he does, and then goes on to race in the Indy 500, because that's a thing that happens, and not at all does any scientician ever want to examine him and find out 'what the f?'. And of course, there's the hero figure, who turns out to be a douche (although he could easily have not been. Competitive, yes, brutally realistic about a snail's chance in a race, certainly, but not at actual idiot that tries to kill anyone). And best of all, a brother learns to not fear any more...

Okay, so it's a speeding snail, but at least it's something different. And there's no guru figure, no 'you can do it, no wait you just hit the low point of the movie and need to build yourself back up, go on to win' play. Not the most original movie, let's face it (little guy competing out of his depth), but still a few different beats than certain other movies I could mention.

Dreamworks have always gone heavy on the voice actors and this is no different. Lots of big names here, not least Paul Giamatto and Samuel L Jackson.

Better than Planes could be considered 'damning with faint praise', at yet it is far superior watch when compared back to back.


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Monday, 11 November 2013


Oh, Pixar, how you have fallen? Can you be more generic than this movie?

The little guy wants to win, only no-one believes in him. But he tries anyway, and gets his foot in. Along the way, he makes friends, and the main bad guy is the one who is the arrogant winner. But with guts and determination, he makes his way. And there's a guru figure that has his own lesson to learn.

Really? Really? Like this doesn't describe millions of movies. When I saw "Original story" credit, I laughed! This isn't any where near original! It's more by the numbers than a dot-to-dot picture!

The production is about the same as the current set of movies from Pixar. Especially the Cars movies, in which this is the same universe (okay, that's not surprising). I'm sure they got the big name voice actors in on their previous record, and I'm sure all the actors will be like "it's a great story", but that's going to be obvious PR. This movie isn't anything to add to one's resume.

In the end, this has a 5.3 on IMDB. Says it all, really.


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Sunday, 10 November 2013


Yes, I was in the Shire!

Okay, so a ways from Rotorua, but well worth the trip. I (along with many others) wandered through the Shire, didn't run along shouting "I'm going on an adventure!", did pose with a Hobbit hole, and had a drink at the Green Dragon! (A very nice craft ginger beer.)

Between me and Dave, we took 130 photos (someone took a record 1200!). And, of course, I got some videos of
The Garden
Hobbit holes
Bag End
Sam and Rosie's
The Green Dragon

And, if you'll excuse me, I'll just pop back home...


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Saturday, 9 November 2013

I was in Rotorua now

I spent a week up in Rotorua... because I could! Yes, there is the smell, but they didn't mind. (Ba-dum-tish!) I stayed at the Fenton Court Motel, and that was fine. I was central to a number of locations. On one hand, I could have been closer to the town... on the other hand, Rotorua isn't that big, and it didn't take me long to walk around, and it got me some exercise. I did manage to catch up with a friend, saw some movies, and (video and photography links included):

Te Puia
A Maori area full of geysers and mud pools. Some interesting carvings and views. It wasn't exactly warm, so I wondered if you could get your own Maori cloak... probably not easily...

Life is life a hurricane, here on a Duck Tour
Yep, I was in a Duck, going around the town and nearby lakes, taking photos of all the things tourists take photos of. We went into a lake, out of a lake, into another lake, and saw some weeds. The driver is very upbeat, and, yes, I quacked.

3D Maze
Out of town, but worth a mild diversion. The owner claims to rearrange it... I doubt, but it's not like I'm going to check. I did manage to make it through by myself, but there is a fair bit of annoying backtracking.

Skyline and Mini Golf
I went up a Gondola, went down the luge (which is tremendous fun - I can see why people go multiple times!) and went up the chair lift. Next door was the Mini Golf which also had a V8 simulator... to be honest, they'd be better off becoming a bunny farm.

Museum and Spa
The museum was mildly informative, if you want to know about spa baths. I watched the Rotorua Stories, with a German soundtrack - I could still follow the images. And then I finished with a relaxing spa. We need one of those down here!

And there was one other big thing I did...


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Friday, 8 November 2013

Thor the Dark Thorld

Yes, I saw the big Marvel movie of the month. Yes, I saw it in 3D. Yes, there was no point to doing so.

Back in the past, there was a big battle against the unleashing of evil, but fortunately the One Ring... er, the Aether was put away, but now there's a plot device that will re-unleash it. Fortunately, the Romulans waited 25 years so... er, the Dark Elves were waiting for just this moment, and then there was a big battle, and another big battle, and probably more battles, and Kat Dennings saying 'Mewer Mewer' and flicking of switches and.... There are no surprising twists at all as everything can be foreseen.

This movie is, by the standards of the Marvel movies, rather average. Stuff happens, people do things, plots barely get moved, and I just can't find myself caring about it. And apparently Christopher Eccleston was there on screen, but under so much latex I had no idea.

No doubt this will make tons of money, but it's not that exciting.


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Thursday, 7 November 2013


Yes, I went to Antarctica, and spent A Year on Ice. More particularly, I went and spent money on seeing it in a Basement Cinema. And soon I should have my own copy, because I kickstartered it.

This is, as the title suggests, a year spent on the ice down in Antarctica. Anthony Powell has been working down there for a while, and took a camera along to show people just what it is like. During the summer time, there is a lot of people, bustling about, doing a lot of research. But then there's the winter, in which there's only a handful of people, very isolated, and there isn't much to do but weather it out...

One thing to come from this is a sense of scale. Antarctica is (unsurprisingly) huge, and you see the vastness of that contrasted with the small scope of the people. And it is unrelenting. You adapt and survive, you don't change it (aside from the impact of climate change). Penguins and seals survive, or not (this is exactly a movie for kids), and you need to maintain your equipment against the relentless ice and storms.

And while there's all the people during the summer, the winter time is completely different. There's a lot of stillness in this movie then, when the sun doesn't even come above the horizon. And people go more than a little stir crazy. (I wonder if those who do winter duty are those that will survive the madness most easily.)

After seeing this... yeah, I wouldn't mind spending some time down in Antarctica (although there are many reasons I shouldn't and wouldn't be there). But not a long time...

Although its screening is wrapping up, it's good to catch this if you can.


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Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Russian Ark

I've been leading to this. One shot music videos are one thing. Just a few minutes. Easily enough. But how about a one shot movie? This one is an hour and a half! Okay, it's pseudo-documentary, and rather gimmicky, but this is a one shot movie.

There is a plot, but it is thin. A person (this is all shot as 'first person') wakes up to find himself lost in time and in a large building. As he walks, he meets a stranger who converses with him about the wonders they are seeing, as they move from room to room, encountering people of different times from Russian history, leading to a big ball. And then, at the end, it is revealed that... well, that would be telling, but the title is that for a reason.

This was shot at the State Heritage Museum in St Petersburg. Which only closes one day a year (on Christmas Day), so that's the one day they had to film all this. There were four takes, with the last attempt being the last possible attempt, due to time. As the tagline states: 2000 cast members, 3 orchestras, 33 rooms, 300 years, ALL IN ONE TAKE. Impressive!

The main actor, the stranger, is Sergey Dreyden, who carries himself with a wonderful presence. This would have been like a play, needing to memorise the entire ninety minute script (more or less, he ducks in and out). We get various people as themselves (mainly the Heritage staff), and there's a seven man team to carry the camera and all the equipment around (no doubt to also usher extras out of the way and to tell them to stop looking into the camera).

This is a film people should see just to take in the grandeur and the achievement. And if you know of other one shot films, please let me know.


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Tuesday, 5 November 2013

NZ One: The Pheonix Foundation - 40 Years

The Pheonix Foundation is another NZ band... that I haven't really heard of. (What can I say? I'm no music knowledge about guy.) But when you throw Taika Waititi in a video, I'll watch! Definitely need some patient extras here. Taika direct and stars in this, and while one might suspect you could smuggle in a cut during the bush, it is just a costume change (as the next one shows). This is 40 Years:


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Monday, 4 November 2013

NZ One: The Inkling - The Booyeouw Shamble

Okay, this one was not in my head, but I found my searching around for it. However, I instantly liked the song and the video, so in it goes. But since I don’t know anything about it, I’ll copy the information I found:

A drummer plays in four locations and keeps playing as he moves; and, at each, a woman is at a different stage of her life. The Booyeouw Shamble was shot in Wellington by director Sam Buys and DOP David Paul in one continuous 54 minute take. Drummer P-Hill had to follow a score taped to his snare; and each hit had to be in the correct sequence for the entire 54 minutes. In editing the footage was sped up or slowed in at least 1000 places to get the drum hits in time with the music. There were no rehearsals and there was time for only one take.

(Use this link if the embed doesn't work.)

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Sunday, 3 November 2013

NZ One: Elemeno P - Urban Getaway

This particular video is one that’s been in my mind for awhile, but I could never remember what it was. So after getting a monkey to whisper in my ear, I present to you Elemeno P, which is a rather clever band name. I can't say I'm that aware of their music, but the video is certainly noteworthy. One continual take, the camera spinning 360 several times, while the band and set changes behind the lens. And it was a rather tight fit (and you do see them moving rather awkwardly). Anyway, here is Urban Getaway:


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Saturday, 2 November 2013

NZ One: Goodshirt - Sophie

Goodshirt have done several one-take videos, and many of them unusual, and all of them via director Joe Lonie. Blowing Dirt, for example, featuring a car being smashed… in reverse. Imaging learning the song backwards. However, as amazing as that is, that's not the one I'm going for.

Sophie is, by the standards of the other videos, rather tame. The band are doing stuff in the background while the song plays. Although one hears tales of the trouble they had moving things about. But I like this song, and it won an award, so here you go:


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Friday, 1 November 2013

NZ One: Shihad - Home Again

If I say 'one take videos', you'll probably think of OK GO. Fair enough, most of theirs are. However, New Zealand music scene isn't unknown for this. And I'm not just talking about 'point a camera at the band as they play', I'm meaning they are actually doing something creative in the video. So here are five great examples that sit in my head I remember / found.

Shihad (or Pacifier if you are in America) had have quite a few hits, and this particular track was a huge hit over here. The music often comes to mind, even if I can’t immediately place it, and I need to look it up again.

This particular video looks like it is just ‘point camera as band mucks around’, but note that the video is playing in fast speed, and yet the lip sync is on target. Yeah, learn how to sing slowly guys. Here is Home Again:


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