Friday, 31 January 2014


This series has made it to a second season. The first season was decent enough, they struck out and did their own thing with Green Arrow, and although they did bring in various lesser known other DC characters (mainly villains), although no-one really got that excited because they were lesser known.

Then the second season has kicked off and we actually get more well known heroes. One in particular, we've been waiting for, is Black Canary... and there she is! But who is she? I just want to step in here and say: I called it! I knew who it would be, because the series was going that silly, and boom, there she is! And we're also getting Barry Allen shoehorned in. Not the Flash yet... but definitely 'yet'.

But the over arching enemy just isn't that interesting. They want to do something big and spectacular and tie it into their evolving back story, but ... this is one of the biggest problems of this series. Oliver's backstory involves him being trapped on an island (with others) over five years and learning all sorts of crazy skills. And they keep flashing back to the island to show yet more bits about what happened to him. The problem is: it's really boring. Like, I'm fast forwarding through it, it's so boring.

I'm still watching... for now. (Unlike, say, Psych, which I've totally given up on), but it could be better. Maybe if they bring in Green Arrow's usual other partner to trade off, Green Lantern...


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Thursday, 30 January 2014


I wasn't much for the first season of this series. It's one of those things where it hadn't really found its feet yet, and so each 'monster of the week' episode felt disconnected from everything else.

Season two did kick it up. They started going for fuller arcs and bringing on the connected stories. Still time for some one-offs, but also building up their own continuity. And later seasons continued. Ranging from aspects of Christian mythology to... other parts of Christian mythology, the show has gone on some big topics. Even talking about 'where is god?' (and deciding that god is a bit of a dick). They've gone through demons, angels, pre-demons...

And the characters are developed well. Even the non-two-main-leads. Who doesn't look forward to an episode featuring Castiel? (Played wonderfully by Misha Collins.) Not to mention Mark "Badger" Sheppard's role as the Devil. Then there are reoccuring human characters, including one Nerd Queen Felicia Day.

And they aren't afraid to kill off characters either. Even the two leads, but, of course, they then find some way around that. That can get a little cheesy at times, but they do try to earn it each time.

The series has come a long way, and this seems like a good deal for Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles. We're mid season nine, and I'm still looking forward to each new episode (and I hope there's a season ten... although let's not push things indefinitely, eh, guys?).


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Wednesday, 29 January 2014

DW: Love and Monsters

Love and Monsters is a book about Doctor Who, in that is it is a book about Doctor Who fandom, and how it interacts with the main program.

It starts mainly in the 1970s as fandom, in the form of the Doctor Who Appreciation Society, was getting together. We see, though the eyes of author Miles Booy, a potted history of both fanzine creation, the proper magazine creation, and the production of Doctor Who, as it intersects with them. While not claiming to be a definitive work, we do get the rise of DWM, of how John Nathan-Turner changed things, how Target novels were the way Doctor Who was remembered, the launching of the in-between years books, and then the explosion (and some might say collapse) of New Doctor Who and the focus not on the fans but on the children.

It did take me a while to get into it. The essay nature of it doesn't lend to immediately jumping into it, although it definitely sounds better than The Unfolding Text (which I haven't read, and now probably never will). Oh, and endnotes... please, authors, make them footnotes, rather than have me flick through pages for them!

This is very much a British perspective, and while I know of the things he's talking about, it doesn't mean that much to me other than as an interesting historical document. (Yeah, I'm biased by certain New Zealand fanzines take on these events.)

Not bad reading, but I wouldn't say it's vital reading.


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Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Majority Report

A lot of people point to this movie as having a proper display of how to use motion controls to control displays.

He's a cop, Wrongly accused of a crime he didn't commit! (Or rather, wouldn't commit.) On the run from the law, he has to find out what's really going on. Along the way, he has to make shady deals with the dark parts of society, and comes up against his own team. Finally, he must get back together with his estranged wife to prove himself ultimate innocent and bring down the corrupt.

You know, said like that, this sounds like a rather generic movie. And in many ways, it is. What distinguishes it from other movies is the setting. All the technology gives spectacle to watch and absorb. It's an interesting version of the future, with non-driving cars, and ads targeting people, and we are still on track for a lot of that.

But to fit with the generic plot, we get generic acting no-one is really giving anything new, Tom Cruise is just standing around intense, Max Von Sydow is quietly menacing, and the only one looking like she is doing something is Samantha Morton. And there's a lot of crazy characters, Lois Smith and Peter Stormare just go nuts.

It's a decent enough movie to watch, but it's more because of the vision in blue (and there's a lot of blue!) than anything else.


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Monday, 27 January 2014


Okay, a weird movie I only saw screen shots of and thought I might check it out. It's based on a concept album by Nightwish, whom I've never heard of, so that music really resonated with me. I'm not sure if they were trying more for The Wall, but I was more reminded of Pan's Labyrinth.

In this, an old man is dying in a coma, and has regressed back to his childhood memories. In the real world, his daughter cannot sign his "do not resuscitate" order quickly enough, and goes back to the house to find some memories... and at the same time, in the coma, in his kid form, the man also finds similar memories with fantastical overtones (hence Pan). We uncover childhood traumas for both of them, and...

There are a few set pieces where, I'm guessing, the band gets on screen to rock on. I assume they did all the music, which is mostly sweet melodic tunes, odd for a symphonic power metal band. The pieces are somewhat associated with what is going on, but most of them feel like "let's insert this music video moment!".

The acting is decent, even the kids. The production values are also up there, and the evil snowman is well created (and those stitches for a mouth can't help but make him evil!). And, hey, despite being a Finnish production, it's in English, so that's good for us ignant non-English spaeking moroons.

It feels like a concept movie to fit the concept album. Nice imagery, although a thin story.


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Sunday, 26 January 2014

I want to want to see this...

I like me some horror movies. And I find mirrors to be a fascinating source for horror, the basic idea being 'what if the image isn't a reflection but a gateway to something else?' And so I see the trailer for the upcoming Oculus movie....

Oh, it's got things I want to like about it. Mirrors and creepiness, check. Karen Gillan, check. What look to be strange movements in the mirrors, double check.

And yet... it's from the people who made Paranormal Activity and Insidious, so... it's going to be a long slow build with an unsatisfying pay off? And it's going to be set up to be an ongoing franchise? (And the poem sucks too.)

And if all they are going to do is "something creepy comes out of the mirror to stalk and kill them all", colour me bored.

You can do great things with mirrors and horror... but I doubt they know how to.


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Saturday, 25 January 2014

Face Off'd

I'm a big fan of Face Off... or maybe I should say I was.

This is now up to its sixth season, and has been coming up with lots of different design ideas to inspire people. And there's hints that it's going really big (one episode is set in Japan!). But... it's been six seasons! Just how far do they have to go to not replicate earlier stuff? Would they ever have considered giving these ideas to the season one peoples? Are they just drawing "wacky ideas from a hat" and going with that?

And they've also got a new round of personalities. None of them are really sticking out. I have to admit I haven't been drawn to watching with rapt attention, but I don't know who any of these people are. There's a guy... and a woman... and someone with a hair do... but they just seem interchangeable.

In season five they had 'veterans vs newcomers', in which they were already mining their own shows to help produce new ideas. And now they are starting all over with a fresh batch of people.

Now, I know reality tv shows are easy to produce, and this was good... but I think it's time is done. It had a good run, let's just let it fade into memory than drag it into death...


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Friday, 24 January 2014

Sleepy Hollow

Yes, there was a movie of this, and I did enjoy that... but there's also a TV series!

Set in the present day, this features two main people, he being a gentleman of the time of George Washington that was present when the headless horseman first turned up, got killed, but was resurrected at the current time. And she a police lieutenant who has a sister, with whom they saw something spooky in the woods. And they are The Witnesses, told of in the bible who will be around at the end times when the four horsemen will return to the earth. Because the headless horsemen is one of the four horsemen you see (Death, in particular). And Death doesn't just slice people's heads off with an ultra hot sword blade, he also uses guns and such, because you got to modern up.

This is part 'fish out of water' with Ichabod Crane, part 'spooky event of the week' show with various entities turning up in Sleepy Hollow, but there's also an ongoing threat of Moloch being the one who is orchestrating the end of everything.

It's different to the usual telling... but I'm enjoying it. The characters are decent and Ichabod, although from the past, isn't stupid and manages to cope well in the current day. There is constant reference back to his time with George Washington, so the series gets to play with period dress. The headless horseman is well done, and I'm sure it's an actor with a built up chest piece around his head, rather than CGIing out his head.

I binge watched the first ten episodes, and got into it, then had to wait for the remaining... and now season one is over (with a good cliffhanger). Fortunately, there is a second series to come.


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Thursday, 23 January 2014

Grocery Games

Yeah, I've been caught up by another food show. I started watching this because... it looked mildly interesting and I was looking for something to distract me.

Guy's Grocery Games is part game show, part cooking show, part reality series... the idea is that, in each episode, there are four chefs from different areas (they had one of the presidential chefs!). And they are in a supermarket, and they have to cook with ingredients from the store. There are three rounds. In each round, they grab items from the store for some particular dish, make it, get judged and then one gets cut. Then the last chef has to do a final grocery grab of ten items, $2,000 per item, in two minutes.

And while the cooking is interesting and done under the gun, the main twist is the different kinds of games. For example, instead of shopping carts, in one game they might have to carry everything in their arms. Maybe they can only use five items. Maybe they have a budget, and have to use coupons! (I remember one chef feeling rather distraught by that, "I buy whatever I want, I don't have to shop with a budget!") Another time, with just two chefs, they grab items in a shopping bag... which then gets swapped.

It's fun, and we get to see some rather amazing dishes turn up. I can't say I'm inspired to cook more myself, but I do enjoy watching this.


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Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Reign of Winter

So, moving on towards Winterthrone, we spy some other birds watching us. Getting ready to camp, we have some birds overhead, and decide to decamp to elsewhere once the birds have gone, obscuring our tracks. One uneventful night later (for most of us, the lack of a fire caused problems for Felgard), I and Mage go back to find that indeed there were tracks at our previous site, of humans in snow shoes and a very large wolf...

Pressing on, we stop for lunch... and that's when the wolf attacks. Along with falcons and human hunters. After dispatching the bird, I position myself for the wolf's charge, and take it, just missing its snapping jaws. While the others take on the birds and hunters, I battle the winter wolf, who also has frost breath. However, it is unfortunately unable to find purchase on us after I stare it down, and many powerful swings later I part its head from its body. The hunters swiftly give up, claiming the wolf was the one in charge, and he was working for the witches in Winterthrone. With the hunters nothing more than brigands, we send them on their way, and continue.

Coming to a bridge, we see some troll like figures hiding underneath it. Odd. Felgard talks to them in strange grunts, and has a long conversation, the conclusion of which is that we pass on without killing them. Odd again.

Reading the fish camps on the outskirts of Winterthrone, we start looking for Nadya's uncle, who will help us get inside, however it transpires that he was arrested for 'breaking the peace', and not giving into the local guards / protection racket. We hole up in his hovel, and will sort that out in the morning...


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Tuesday, 21 January 2014

Video: Behind Wellington Hospital

This is me walking around the back of Wellington Hospital... because I can. Nothing of any particular excitement happens, so feel free to not watch.


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Broken Age Act I

Just finished playing the first half of Broken Age... woo! Finally; as a backer, I've been waiting for this.

I can't talk too much about the story, because they want the story spoilers kept to a minimum... I do wonder how much of the story was already familiar to me because of watching all the 2Player videos, so I already knew about the opening worlds of the boy and the girl... and the bits I wasn't aware of are the parts I can't talk about! But the story was developed well, and that end of the Act... right... I need to think about that.

I choose to play as the boy first... I don't know if playing as the girl first might give a slightly different ending... although I can see where they tie them together, so maybe not. Still, it took me four hours, so if I was going to do that, it'll take me a while to get around to finding time to do that.

The puzzles themselves were decent enough. There were a few moments of 'I've tried rubbing everything I have on everything else, what am I missing?' to stump me... but I did indeed manage to solve all the puzzles myself after thinking about them for long enough.

But now I have to wait for Act 2 to be ready... dammit!


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Monday, 20 January 2014

Wizzy of Ozzy

While I did see the Dark Side version, it was because of Rifftax that I watched the version with the actual dialogue. (Yes, I did see the movie years ago... but we are talking years and years ago.)

Wow. The pacing was not what I remembered. Moreover, I think I've been influenced by various other book and cartoons versions of the movie itself as to what happens. The sepia section takes longer than I thought, and then, bam, colour! And the opening Munckin sequence goes on a way bit too long as well. (And Glinda looks to be a useless bint, her main skill holding up a wand in a very vague way.) We get the three companions quite quickly, one scene right after the other, and they all have their intro songs, and then one poppy field later (with Glinda again being plot convenience theatre), we're at the Emerald City. I thought the Wicked Witch got a hold of them before they get there, but instead we get the first introduction of Oz, who sends them on a quest to get her broom because he doesn't want to deal with them. (Oz comes across as someone who should win 'Douchebag of the Year' award in all his scenes.) Then we get a rather silly run around at the Witch's castle, and another Witch slaughter at the hands of Dorothy 'Kills More Witches Than Geralt' Gale. Finally, another completely incidental scene with Oz, who proves himself unnecessary, before Glinda turns up to say the whole movie was entirely pointless. And then you were there, and you were there, and you were there...

With the aid of Rifftrax, it does come across as somewhat more darker than intended, but even without their help I'm not sure the running time would stand today's audiences. It was impressive for the time, but today's audience is more mature (read cynical: read no attention span).

But now I want to rewatch Return to Oz...


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Sunday, 19 January 2014


What do you get when you add 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + ... on to infinity? Did you say -1/12? You're right!

According to a certain understanding of how to play with infinite series and such. Oh, and don't say 'converges', because that's wrong.

(Another take.)

And now I've found another video series I might get distracted by...


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Saturday, 18 January 2014

News from the Squares

In News from Gardenia, the story was all about "ooh, look at all these amazing ideas of where we could be in the future if certain events happen", with the focus on the environment and the gadgets, less so about an actual story.

In News from the Squares, the future is "what if women took over?" While there are still some amazing inventions, the focus is less on them, and more on the protagonist Gavin and we find out more about him... and there's an actual story that Gavin (indirectly) interacts with! There's actual development of the society because of his presence! There's plot! And it's a good plot!

The basic idea of 'women in charge' is taken in a positive way, but Robert Llewellyn doesn't shy away from possible repercussions of this. This isn't a simple sex-swap power mad dictator story, there is considered development of 'what is the role of men?', 'what upsides or downsides are there in a society with matriarchal ideas?' and 'are men needed at all?' And all we have is the world Robert chooses to present, but leaves decisions and ultimate discussions up to the reader.

I had a hard time not listening (as I heard it as an audio book) to this, and if the next one is like this, I am quite looking forwards to News from the Clouds.


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Friday, 17 January 2014

I Got Next

Okay, I'm willing to give video game based documentaries a go, so I Got Next, I'm willing...

This documentary follows four players of fighting games, mainly Street Fighter, as they go through a tournament. And... the camera follows them...

This could easily be a sports documentary, following some group of people in one-on-one matches as they move up through the battles... but one problem there is that I'm not interested in sports documentaries, so this movie really had trouble holding my interest. And it doesn't help that the camera work is very... low budget, shall I say? Certainly most of the footage is just the one camera man holding the camera, no steady cam or tripod or anything. That also doesn't make me want to pay attention.

This feels like a low production Kickstarter movie, more of a passion project than something that an audience is demanding. Certainly this audience member couldn't wait to put on something else.


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Thursday, 16 January 2014

Sheer luck!

There was a game I used to play, way back when I had an IBM machine that was pre-2000 and ran x86 architecture and... you know, old. I played so many hours of it, I got through hundreds if not thousands of games of it...

Sherlock! From Everett Kaser software. Yes, I brought a copy, and played it a freaking ton. Having just been reminded of it, I'm wanting to play it again... but I don't want to pay $20 for it (again!). It is available on some abandonware sites, but they are old versions of it. I want something up-to-date and, well, supported.

Honeycomb Hotel was another one of theirs I played. A lot. But, yeah... $20 again? What? Not in today's market place. If it was $20 for the whole set of games (of which I only really played those two), that I could go for, but not each.

But, hey... it's on touch devices. Sherlock and Honeycomb Hotel are free on Android. At least, have free versions. And two level of pay versions with different amount of puzzles, but let's stick with free first. Yay! And I get to see how well it plays on touchscreen before investing more, so that's a good thing. Anyway, I'm back off to work out who's in which room and where the honeycomb walls are...


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Wednesday, 15 January 2014

Ico Ico

I finally saw a Let's Play of Ico, to go along with the SOTC playthrough.

This is a very large looking game, with very big feeling levels. And I hope you like puzzles, because there are a lot of puzzles! And not really monsters to fight. Indeed, the two final boss battles (as such) are rather unusual and rather disappointing.

Anyway, Ico is a young lad with horns that got imprisoned but managed to break his cell. Looking around the prison, he finds Yorga, a taller young girl, and together they try to escape the prison / castle / thing. With a lot of running around, a little back tracking, and minimal combat.

There is little dialogue, but it doesn't need much, with portraying it through simple gestures. Ico leads Yorga around (because the boy must save the girl), and they don't even speak the same language, so they have to rely on actions.

You are Ico, and there aren't a lot of controls, so that's nice and basic. There are also no on screen gauges (although there was going to be). Very simple design, nice.

I'm not sure I want to play this, with the puzzles just a little too run-around to be fun, but I'm glad I watched it.


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Monday, 13 January 2014

The Mar Ked Ones

It's the latest in that series of money generating movies that is ever more increasingly becoming an anthology series, even though it's desperately trying to pretend the movies are still connected. Yes, that one.

In this take, a young guy living in an apartment block suddenly gets weird powers, and then turns evil. Yep, that's about it. And you can see it all coming from a mile off. Frankly, I don't know why they even bothered, but that can be applied to the whole series (to which the answer is: the box office already returned nearly four times the cost of the movie, so ka-chinga!). Anyway, as with these movies, there's a slow build up, not a lot happens, then the last struggle to pretend something is going on. Unlike all the other Activities, this one is not set in a house, but goes all over the place. Also it shows up a rather sexist attitude, namely women = victims, men = powerful demons.

This really feels like not an Activity movie, but a rather generic entry in the found-footage paranormal event movies, of which there really are too many. With only token links to the earlier movies, this could easily be considered stand alone, and, moreover, easily be mistaken for any of them. Nothing original happens, and the "new" lore is just more padding on top on an already thin layer of previous continuity. (Although I will give it credit for the ouija board with a Simon game.)

While I suggest skipping this, it seems like enough people have already ensured there'll be another entry yet.


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Sunday, 12 January 2014

Bonus Video: Deery me


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Masterton Train

For as long as it takes to get to Auckland via plane (and bus), I went to Masterton via train. And while there, I rode the train... the miniature train. $1 for a three-times-around the block ride? Yeah, that's worth it. And here's video of what you see!

Warning: people are supposed to scream in the tunnel... and boy howdy do they...


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Saturday, 11 January 2014

Where's the Intelligence?

New series just started: Intelligence. And, as this is the internet, I've seen the pilot.

The basic premise: guy has a chip in his brain that allows him to hook into the internet and browse it at will (given there are signals around). He's also from Delta Force, so has all the action sequences down. (And he's played by Josh Holloway, so he's also got the looks.) And, because we need human drama, he has a female partner, so immediately there's a 'will they, won't they' vibe, and he's looking for his wife.

On the internet side, he can hook into any network, immediately pull up any search result, can ignore all firewalls and encryption, and can even, as an extra ability, 'cyber render', so can basically see images in a kind of 3d virtual reality and walk around in it. Um... this sounds like 'here's what the internet can do' by people who don't know what the internet can do. Certainly I don't believe in any of this from the get go. This show might be aimed at people who also don't know about the internet, but I'm not sure what demographic they are thinking of that would be interested in this show and that ignorant...

Or they could be planning on hooking people in on the basis of the characters. The lead being this handsome action guy with all the skills and this extra internet ability is something, I'm sure, everyone can see themselves as. The female partner seems to be there so they can play a male/female dynamic, although they've given her a backstory about a bad family life, etc., which I'm sure will never come back up again.

I'm might watch one more episode to see what their 'mission of the week' episode looks like, but I'm not seeing this as a series I'm investing in.


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Friday, 10 January 2014

The Other Job in Italy

Yeah, I'm talking about the redo... for some reason I felt like watching it again.

When I started watching, I was wondering 'which one is the traitor again?' And then I saw Edward Norton's moustache, and that pretty much clinched it. So, after they pull a job in Italy, the movie gives up on that and moves to generic big city in America, and devolves into a 'get revenge for personal reasons' that just so happens to involve Minis. It just feels like more recent heist movies are all about the inter-conflict character drama, and secondly about the heist. That's not why I watch these movies! (Although plenty of people do for that reason, just look as Reservoir Dogs.)

None of the actors in this are trying too hard. Marky Mark is just bland, Edward Norton is just phoning it in, and although Charlize Theron is trying a little, the script isn't giving her much of a chance. And Donald Sutherland is wasted in his cameo.

As you could guess, I want to watch the original now, and so should you.


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Thursday, 9 January 2014

Mask of the Red Panda

Decoder Ring Theatre does Mask of the Red Panda, a pulp superhero-esque style audio drama series. A few months ago, they put out an online comic, and the print copy will be available in Feb. However, in the meantime, there was a kickstarter to turn the online comic into a motion comic, with the actual cast providing voices to the story.

There were three issues... and here's Part One!

With Part Two and Part Three here.


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Wednesday, 8 January 2014

Reign of Winter

[It's been a month! Still, back at it.]

At standing around the standing stone, we eventually move on... and find, in the snow, a strange patch of non-snowness. It's a large wide area, completely clear of snow and feeling more like spring. We see a Giant Elk, but instead of killing it, Felgard (the bard) talks to it and convinces it to show us across the way. I think making it into dinner is a better idea, but it seems everyone else is enjoying their rations. In the middle of the large area, we find a weak source of magic that may have come from a druid, but no sign of that druid. Continuing on, we camp near the border for the night before crossing back into the snow.

Onwards, we find a ruined village. Aside from the collapsed houses, there is a relatively intact church. Inside are two old priests... and I wait outside, with my axe, and wait for the screams... and there they are. Charging in, the priests have become demon looking things. I attack one, although the blow isn't as impressive as I thought it should be. However, Hogan (the cleric) channels energy into them and explodes them. Inside, we find a toppled alter... and some treasure underneath the fallen stone. Ka-ching!

There is also a presence here, and talking to it reveals that the events here need to be put to rest, which will be accomplished by consecrating the church to Desna. It takes a while, but we do this, because doing every side mission is what we do.

Moving on, we find a small village, and on the house on the outskirts a dead man. Checking it out, we are attacked by a fast moving quickling, with something else around. We take out the quickling, but the other creature disappeared. Talking to the woman in the house (who isn't too happy with us looting her husband), we find out she had a fey child with a passing satyr, and can we go find him. Tracking, we find a barn, that creature, and another quickling. The quickling is smoted, and the other creature runs away (again!), and we save the fawn. Go us!

Nadya's kids can stay here, while we continue on to the main city...


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Tuesday, 7 January 2014

Raidering both Tombs

Because I could, I rewatched Tomb Raider 1 and 2. And I have to say that while 1 isn't a great movie, it is better than 2.

Both movies have problems with plotting. In that all they are trying to do is get to the next action sequence, and stick whatever talking scene in-between to get them there. Neither plot makes any sense, although I will say that 1 is more Tomb Raider-ish that 2. Collecting pieces of an artefact is more in keeping with the games than the world run-around that is 2.

Also interesting to note that despite this being movies with a strong female lead... there aren't other females in the movie (at least no named ones), so these don't pass the Bechdel test. That said, I can't recall other female characters in the games either (aside from the 2013 version, which I was reminded of often during these movies), but I think the comics did have them.

As action movies, these are passable. As Tomb Raider movies, these are not good examples.


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Monday, 6 January 2014

Raise of the Guardians

This animated movie was a big splash at the time, and yet it's not something that seems to be cited anymore.

Jack Frost is one of many supernatural creatures that exist. Because kids love the legends of a chap who goes around freezing things! When Pitch Black (yes, the movie, not the character) turns up and starts terrorising the world (yeah, damn you movie!), Jack is roped in to be a Guardian, along with Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy and Sandman. But Jack is not a happy fun guy, and doesn't know his origin, so he's not jumping on the bandwagon... although he's immediately against Pitch and there's no actual equivocation as to whether or not Jack is 'good' or not... And it all comes down to the kids in one city for a final battle, as these things always do.

I know this was based on a book, but there's a lot of problems I have with this, because they set up things in their own canonicity which doesn't work. The Guardians need to help collect teeth, and seem to do so during one night... but night is a continual thing! They've established that they are dealing with whole world, but you can't suddenly start talking about 'hey, we got these things done' and 'tomorrow they'll be in trouble'. Time doesn't work like that!

And why these particular guardians? The movie very deliberately doesn't go anywhere near the topic of religion, but skirt the issue carefully with the Easter Bunny talking about Easter being a time of renewal... um, particularly if you are talking America, there's a whole other theme associated with that time... let alone Christmas time... But even within that, Santa, Easter, Tooth, Sandman... and Frost? What brings them together? Why not, say, the tall tailor who cuts of the thumbs of thumbsuckers? Or the Jolly Green Giant? Or Puff??? [They do refer to the Leprechaun and the Ground Hog.]

Aside from all that, the performances are decent, although the voices don't quite match the characters. Chris Pine as Jack and Jude Law as Pitch just don't fit well. And the animation is stylised as Dreamworks does.

A decent enough movie, but one that hasn't stood time.


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Sunday, 5 January 2014

Rushing all the Hours

So, the other day, I watched all three Rush Hour movies back to back... because, that's why. And so I can now take an overview of them.

1 and 2 are more well connected, with the ideas of one cop being a fish out of water in the other cop's city, both have daddy issues, and both having rich white men as villains. But 3 has more call backs, referencing events in 2 and calling back moments from 1, that it comes off as the lesser sequel.

Chris Tucker's character is very one note. But then Tucker has not really displayed huge ranges of characterisation. I feel like you could take his character from The Fifth Element, and be able to plonk it in here without much issue.

Jackie Chan, unsurprisingly, gets the best parts of all the movies. The more interesting character arcs, the better performed emotional ranges, the far better fight scenes. And, especially from the outtakes, comes across as more professional than his fellow actor.

Brett Ratner maintains a consistent directorial style over the movies (some might say he doesn't improve), keeping up the set piece fights and the obvious unfolding of the plot. The movies, being only 90 minutes long, don't outstay their welcomes, but there's enough going on to keep the pace. (Although, I admit now, I can't remember 3 as clearly as 1 and 2.)

Not a great, but neither a terrible, set of movies, mainly notable for Jackie Chan's performances. Can't say I'm surprised there's a Rush Hour 4 listed as in production.


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Saturday, 4 January 2014

Space Cowpokes

This is a fun wee movie. Old guys in space! Hilarious!

Team Daedelus was the shite back in the day, and now with an old system failing, the deal is made to send them up into space to sort it out. With a requisite training sequence first. Which means less than half the movie is actually them in space. But once they are in space... everything starts unravelling quickly! Will they save the satellite? Can they survive it falling apart? Can they make it back to earth? Because there must also be a requisite sequence of them trying to land the spacecraft in adverse conditions, because nothing ever goes smoothly.

Yeah, let's face it. The best parts of this are seeing Clint Eastwood and Tommy Lee Jones, and, to a lesser extent, Donald Sutherland, James Cromwell and even William Devane, all strut their stuff. They are having a lot of fun here, and it shows in their performances. The production value is decent enough and the few space floating sequences we get are believable enough.

Not the best movie ever made, but a great picture to just chill out and enjoy.


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Friday, 3 January 2014

Is the Man Who is Tall Happy?

This is an animated documentary featuring conversations with Noam Chomsky. Your tolerance may vary.

This movie is partly a historical account of Noam himself. We find out about his childhood, his education, and his family life. The other part is about language learning, delving into what Noam thinks about how people think about things, and some interesting points of language. (The title sentence comes from asking about how to turn "the man who is tall is happy" into a question, which is just moving the 'is', but which 'is'?)

I would say this movie is more about the life of Noam than his language ideas. And also somewhat about how the filmmaker made this film. It is animated, so aside from some insert shots of actual footage (over which we then get the distracting sound of the Bolex camera added), it is all hand drawn animations. Which may somewhat relate to what is being discussed, but can get rather abstract. In fact, it, especially the sound when the filmmaker's accent is hard to get through and Noam himself can be rather flat, is rather distracting from the topic at hand.

I was hoping for more about Noam's ideas of language, which I am vaguely aware of and would like to know more, but this isn't really the film for that.


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Thursday, 2 January 2014


I can't say I'm an aficionado of Disney Princess movies, but a lot of people have been raving about this, so I did decide to see it. In 2D, although you didn't ask, although I can see a lot of nice potential 3D scenes.

Anna and Elsa are young sisters, but Elsa is gay has a secret power, and when being gay that power accidentally causes Elsa to harm Anna, their parents leap to the obviously correct decision of suppressing her gayness powers. However, when Elsa becomes queen, events move quickly, and Elsa's secret is discovered causing her to flee in shame. And then it's up to her sister to save her from herself. With the help of some sidekicks. And get involved in a very obvious love plot. In fact, there's a lot that is obvious here, although the big twist I didn't see coming, so that was nice. And the story doesn't go with Evil Queen, so that's good. (And no-one said 'hey, neat, she's gay got ice powers', they were all 'she's a monster'?)

[Okay, the whole 'gay' thing may be me over-reading into the movie, certainly I haven't seen anyone else talking about it, but it's a reading I'm doing!]

It seems songs are a big thing in these movies, and there are some nice songs, but I'm not as taken as others are. Meh, I'm just too cold hearted (sic) and cynical to be moved that easily. The relationship between the sisters is well done. And a lot of the comedy elements aren't overplayed.

Decent movie, and I'm tempted to watch it again in 3D just to see if that does add depth (sic).

And because any excuse:


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Wednesday, 1 January 2014

Some comedy of 2013

There was many comedy live shows released last year. I just watched three of them!

Laughing and Telling Jokes: Jimmy Carr seems desperate to let people know what he is doing. His comedy shows are always titled so there is nothing but clarity about what he is performing. Some of this show was in the Royal Variety Performance 2013, but this is the full deal. He certainly loves launching jokes at all topics, with sex as his particular genre, because, as he explains, sex is still considered rather taboo thus an easy source for humour. Some of his "thoughts" gags are a bit weak, but overall the show is strong. And definitely don't go along without at least some idea that you might be included in his schtick, as there is plenty of audience participation. Fun all round.

Life is Pain: According to Alan Davies. This is more observational humour from his life as he talks about his youth in Essex, and spends a lot of him getting comedy out of him dealing with his new baby. In all... not that amazing. Definitely better with a script from someone else, or when mixed with other performers. Better in small doses.

Force Majeure: Ah, Eddie Izzard. Could be described as surrealist humour because there's a lot of jokes he makes which come entirely off the cuff, being worked on as he is talking, and can interrupt the flow of his other jokes. I can't say I've entirely enjoyed his recent shows, and this one does milk some previous shows. Still some decent stuff, but some really bizarre tangents. As he himself says "That's an Izzard joke" when delivering something not even he is sure he understands.


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