Friday, 28 February 2014

Groundedhog Day

I've been meaning to rewatch this movie, and with the recent news...

Do I need to retell this story? Phil hates his current job, and is forced to attend Groundhog Day, and relives the day over and over and... slowly he snaps, and rebuilds himself according to the outline given by The Woman... okay, this is sounding a little cynical, but it kinda is. It's not until Phil becomes the man of her dreams does he move on to the next day. A less bitter take is to look at the final moment before the final day (although, of course, we have no idea how many days intervene). He tries to save the old man, and fails, more than once. It's when he accepts, not his death, but that some things are beyond his control and he is willing to finally surrender to a higher power and stop fighting this change he finally is able to slip out of this. (And I can't remember if this is highlighted in the director's commentary or not, just what I noticed again while watching it.) [Although there is a story point that always bugged me: The piano teacher says 'he's my student' at the end... but when he's that good, why is Phil still going for a one off session with her? And is he still stealing money to pay for everything?]

Anyway, terrific performances abound here, with Bill Murray having to run the gamut from a-hole to nice guy... albeit still rather bitter and sarcastic nice guy. This also means that everyone else is largely one note, because they don't have a chance to grow as Phil does, the best we get it seeing deeper in their character, but even with the best example, namely Rita, she's still the same character from start to end. Still, cameo by Harold Ramis, yay!

Fantastic movie, and well worth watching. Again and again, as it happens...


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Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Returned to Oz

I said I would, and so I have. The movie which could be considered a sequel but isn't really.

The world of Kansas gets creepy weird as people use electricity to zap little girls into behaving properly... until Dorothy throws herself in the river and goes through a near death experience! Her brain trips hard, creating creatures on wheels, a tin solder, and freaky pumpkin monstrosity, and toys with the power of god to bring furniture to life! Then, after killing the wicked witch nome king, everything is quickly wrapped up and the plot rushes to a happy ending. Aw...

I will say there are some very good effects here. I like the Wheelers, and Tick-tock is well done. However... the stop motion effects do look rather primitive, and the less said (and certainly less seen!) of the Scarecrow and Lion the better!

Fairuza Balk gets the lead role, and after this she went on to do.... almost nothing I've seen. I was surprised to see Jean Marsh, in that I went 'hey, isn't that Jean Marsh', and indeed it was her. Good on her for getting rather ridiculous because of the script. And Nicol Williamson does a good Christopher Lee as the Nome King.

The darker tone does bring an air of menace, but this contrasts with some rather goofy moments. The story is nice, but the visuals have not aged well.


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Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Into the rorriM

I love Mirrors, great movie. When I first saw it, I saw that it was based on a Korean movie... and now I've seen that Korean movie!

A superstore is undergoing renovation after a fire a year ago, but now there are strange deaths caused by people's mirror selves getting a little too self-aware. Young-min Woo is an ex-cop who is now head security guard, because his uncle runs the place, but can't get a grip long enough to be an actual useful part of the investigation. However, when he realises that reflections are involved, and the twin of the only woman who died in the fire is also involved, it's up to them to find out what is true.

This version is more about what happened at the department store, and is more a revenge flick with supernatural elements. There is no (aside from the uncle) personal family of the cop to be in danger, and I did like that bit of the American version. However, there is no rubbish with the department store built on a mental asylum, or whatever the hell crap the American version tried to throw into the mix. And I prefer the end reveal of the American version because it is more personal and haunting.

Still props to both for keeping the camera out of all those mirror shots!

It's good, but I would give the edge to the American version... although this one didn't have a craptacular sequel.


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Monday, 24 February 2014

Doctor Who Symphonic Spectacular!

And Spectacular it was!

Thanks to my parents, I went to this, and sat near the control booth in the middle of the hall... so great views (and great spotlights often shining in my face, gah!). I was worried that it would be like 'and this is the great music from Hide', and I can barely remember that! Fortunately, it wasn't anything like that. It opened with... okay, I don't know the track names, so instead will say one of the common new songs and we got a taste of the epicness to come.

The Companion Suite did make me realise that the companion themes have overly romantic themes (Rose), sad romantic (Martha), comedy (Donna)... but none of them really had action in their themes. That says a lot about them really, come on people, give them something more than 'here's how they emotionally work with the Doctor' and make them their own characters.

They did touch on the classic series with a medley of songs from each of the classic Doctors... although no McGann. :(

We also got some monster themes, Cybermen, Weeping Angels, Daleks and medleys... various monsters walked some of the aisles (they came close, I was fourth row back from where they came). I have to say, seeing one of those Daleks up close like that, I finally got a real sense of how big and imposing they are, something that never translated on screen.

One great aspect of this is that this was the actual New Zealand Symphony Orchestra playing this, with conductor Ben Foster. Peter Davison provided MC duties, and went on about the cricket just a little too much, although we lapped it up. And a cameo appearance by Tom Baker too!

Three big pieces were the Name of, Day of and Time of episodes. Great stuff, and, of course... they ended with the theme song! Kind of had to really.

Lots more photos are available. And I went with a simian, so read his views. Also a walking stick insect went there. (...I know some strange people...)


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Sunday, 23 February 2014

Game Over

I did say I wanted to watch a decent computer chess documentary, and this is one about the 1997 game of Kasparov and the Machine.

In 1996, Kasparov battled against Deep Blue and won. In 1997, there was a rematch. This documentary going into detail on this follow up, with setting up the situation, each day is shown and discussed, and there is some touching on the fall out. Because, in Game Two, Kasparov conceded (although it turns out he didn't need to and could have drawn). Was there suspicion of human intervention? No-one's allowed to say. But then in the following games, Kasparov's head wasn't quite in the game, thinking about Day 2, and so the degradation began. And ultimately... IBM now claims Deep Blue beat the chess master.

This is an interesting look, in that both sides get to talk, and although the discussion of human intervention is covered, it isn't really hit home as having any real basis. However, the director does take that as an opportunity to show constant images of the Mechanical Turk, which seems to crop up in these computer chess movies. And speaking of director choices, the director also has some voice over in a quiet whisper. Thanks for that.

A decent look at a piece of history...

And you can watch it too!


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Saturday, 22 February 2014

The Institute

This is... a documentary? Or possibly a large prank by a film maker, I'm not sure...

The documentary is about basically a large art / augmented reality game played out in San Francisco from 2009 to 2011. People became members of the Jejune Institute (or 'fought' against them, I'm not entirely sure), seeking to find Eva and to stop the head of the Jejune Institute... or something. As events unfolded, you would become part of the divine nonchalance and... well, it's all about noticing the little moments in life, and appreciating art and such. Eva was a friend of the creator who went missing and this, in many ways, was his tribute to her.

On the other hand, there were moments that suspiciously managed to get captured on film without people noticing, and events that just happened to get enough framed to tell what was going on at the right moment... maybe some parts were recreated? So... maybe the whole thing was fabricated? It's entirely possible, and I wouldn't be surprised there's a genre of 'documentary' that is entirely made up subject matters.

It was an interesting watch, but one that, much like the arg when the money ran out, kinda went flat at the end.


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Friday, 21 February 2014

Baksheesh Chapter

This is... a weird movie. It wants to look like a documentary, but the cinematography is just confusing.

Because of MK-ULTRA, there are chemicals around that open up people's brains to be receivers... but what are they receiving? Weird creatures are drawn to people to who take the drugs, and they soon disappear, but one reporter decides to track down her friend, and find the man who started it all... and then run around...

Just thinking back on it, there's a lot of running around. Go to this place, get a scare, go to another place, get another scare, go to another place... yeah, not a lot of plot, but the movie passes well. I want to like this movie, it does some interesting things, there are cheap scares, but it keeps going with different ideas, but...

The problem is the camera. There is archive footage, and we get some camera footage, and then we have our reporter character, and the camera follows her like there's someone shooting her... but it's just the movie point of view... and yet it seems to be as it was a characters point of view... but sees everything... make your damn mind up how you want to shoot this, don't change from shot to shot!

Ted Levine has a lot of fun as Thomas Blackburn, and Katia Winter tries hard as Anna Roland (and she's been in plenty of other things!). But a lot of the actors feel like this is their first time in front of the camera, and the varied quality of the production do not help.

It could be good... but this has a few too many problems to achieve that.


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Thursday, 20 February 2014

TR: Minimal Update Edition

I had this idea about how to play a game differently, and thought Tomb Raider would be a game to try it out on... and so I did! I went for... minimal upgrades. Having all the DLC and the game giving 'tutorials', I have to upgrade some things, but other than what I had to, I didn't spend any skill points or upgrade any gear...

And it's a rather different feel to the game. No collection artefacts, or documents, or salvage boxes... or raiding tombs! What that leaves... this game feels like a speed run. I'm just running through all the puzzle sections (as I know what to do), so the only thing to slow me down is gunning down dudes. A lot of dudes. So, from a platformer / explorer / shooter... this is now just a shooter. In that way... it's kinda boring. Just running and shooting and... meh.

Also, without upgrades, I kept running out of ammo. So even though I was on Easy (to see if this was possible even in concept) this felt like an Ironman run, with having to redo fights over and over because of low ammo, bad reload times, shaky aim. Really annoying.

And yet, win I did! So it is entirely possible to minimal upgrade complete Tomb Raider on Easy. In only about five or six hours at that! No doubt a better player could do this on Hard, but I'm not going to. I might still play it on Hard at some point, with all upgrades and such, but that's for later.


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Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Reign of Winter

After depositing our load of fish, we set off back through the Howlings section of the city to get to the forger. (The others decide to leave their weapons behind, so it's up to me to kill whatever we come across... no change there then...)

We encounter two winter wolves who are drunk and argumentative. Mage puts one to sleep, and I put the other one down (although still alive!). They slink off and leave us alone.

Reaching the forger, he doesn't open the door, and we start to attract the attention of two ice troll guards... but while Felgard fascinates them, I "open" the door, and we all haul ass inside. We meet Mortin, who agrees to provide us with fake identification in return for being pathetic. We spend the night, and then are labelled as members of the Jadwega (?) clan... or something... all I know is I can walk around with my weapons... which I already was doing...

Anyway, going into the city proper, we encounter more mirrormen... but they seem happy with our paperwork. I take off and pay money plus a magical longsword to get my axe magicked up. Then onto the main reason for being here... finding the witch that destroyed my tribe. (Yes, my backstory!) Only, what we find is that people have heard of the situation... but that it was a dragon... with melted pavestones, and people bitten in half... but I was told it was a witch! NOOOO!!!!! I spend the next few days drunk...

Finally, we get ourselves together and head off to the underground peoples that want to bring down the witches. After speaking with them and the old Iron Guard (that belonged to Baba Yaga before she got kicked out), we agree to kill a dragon in return for their help in getting to Baba Yaga's hut... okay, so that's a thing we will do...


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Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Chomputer Cess

Was this supposed to be a documentary? No, that doesn't make sense... because this movie doesn't make sense.

This is set at a weekend in the 1980s where computer chess programs are played off against each other to find the best program. And there's some guru with free loving people there. And one of the attendees doesn't have a room and roves over the hotel. And one of the programs might be sentient. And... I'm not sure what the hell else is going on, but there were several more plots being played out, none of which were clearly presented, so I'm not sure what the point of any of it was, if there was a narrative being played out, or what any of it meant.

It didn't help that it was all black and white, because that's more 'artistic'? Except for the moment in colour. And weird camera bits. And lots of messy noise so you couldn't hear the dialogue clearly. And a lot of action was people sitting in front of computer screens we couldn't see.

According to IMBD this is a comedy. I didn't know that when I watched it, and looking back on it... can't say it was funny or black humour or anything of the kind. It was just weird.

I can't recommend this, but if someone can recommend a good chess documentary, I'd like to know.


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Monday, 17 February 2014

Spinning Plates

This is a documentary about three 'unique' restaurants... although it doesn't go out of its way to explain why these three restaurants. You could have thrown three darts at a map of the US, and found any three restaurants at those locations and made a similar movie.

The three here are Alinea in Chicago, Breitbach's in Iowa and La Cocina de Gabby in Tuscon. We get treated to a mixture of talking heads and slice of life style scenes. There is no real narrative flow, just lots of stories and shots of them all working and talking about how great their respective restaurants are.

As such... it's hard to get into it, as there's nothing to get into. We are just seeing three separate restaurants, and these could easily have been edited together episodes from 'Spotlight on a Random Restaurant'. Director Joseph Levy just lets people tell their own stories, and I'm sure he likes this, but I feel like there's purpose missing.

A movie you might watch if you are into restaurants or foods or such, but otherwise nothing particular to recommend.


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Sunday, 16 February 2014

Haunting Inoculant

Imagine Wicker Man (and not the good one) done badly(!), with Vikings instead of Paganism, and even more misogynistic. If you don't want to imagine it, you could watch this, but I don't know why you'd want to.

A wife gets raped, so she and her family move into rural town with her father, but it turns out they are long descendants of a Viking rape, and so... seriously, you cannot fast forward fast enough through this movie, and if you did, you would still miss nothing!

Written by, directed by, and even has a role by Matt Hish, I can't work out if he hates women and so decides to get the main female raped twice! Or just sees them as objects, so we have women kissing and topless women around the place. Either way 'artistic statement' doesn't cover putting this on screen.

People aren't so much acting as they are saying words and the camera is pointing at them. Especially in the kid's case, but at least he has the excuse of being a kid!

Not even worth the time to actively ignore it.


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Saturday, 15 February 2014


It's a thriller! With the small deficiency that this movie isn't thrilling in any way.

Two old guys have a bitch at each other over tech companies, so they get a young guy to be a patsy to help one steal from the other. Only it takes about half an hour or so to set this up, and then another half an hour to actually get on with developing the idea, leaving only the last half an hour to try for some action and reveals and... be very, very obvious about what's going to happen.

Another title for this could have been Paddanoia, because it takes so freaking long to get anywhere. I had to keep reminding myself that this was something that looked interesting that I wanted to watch, because I couldn't believe that I was actually watching it. You'd think Gary Oldman and Harrison Ford would make for a more exciting movie, but they aren't stretching themselves. As for the lead... the most I can say is that he's Thor's brother.

Paraboria is another variant. Totally skippable.


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Friday, 14 February 2014

World War Z

Okay, so I'm a little late to reading it, but I finally got around to the 2006 classic book. Or rather listen to it. With a full cast reading. Which only came out last year. So good timing really! Although it did come out to coincide with a movie that accidentally had the same name.

It's a decent book that tries to cover an entire apocalypse and deal with the varying ramifications. Unfortunately, said apocalypse is that of zombies, which aren't explained as to how they arose, so I was constantly thinking 'these make no biological sense' (as zombies rarely do), rather getting in the way of enjoying the story.

Because, as is true of zombie stories, the zombies aren't the point. It could be any kind of attack, such as a deadly virus, and you'd still have most of this unchanged. The various sections were quite believable with how people would act, who they would blame, initial profiteering, trying to fight back, and so on. There's a lot to cover, going all around the earth and beyond, but we get a decent view of it all.

And the full cast works well, some big names in there just providing a voice. It is rather ironic Alan Alda voicing a gogetter military general. Although I only picked up some voices as I went through, not really getting the names as the story only gave them once before getting on with the telling, and it's not exactly easy to rewind on an ipod.

Decent book, worth the read/listen.


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Thursday, 13 February 2014


Yes, I'm talking about that movie which is kid friendly and everyone else is talking about right now. RobotCop! (Note: I was otherwise obliquely referring to Lego Movie, which doesn't open here for another two months!)

OmniCorp see big bucks in bringing their robot cops to America, but America no want. So they decide to stick a man in a machine in order to make everyone love their products. The man who does this, Dr Dennett Norton, does so, but he's conflicted about what he has to do in order to get the man/machine combo to work properly in the way that OmniCorp can use. At what point will the ethical dilemma become too much for him?

Oh, and there's something about a chap named Murphy too...

Seriously, this movie is unfocused in many ways. Just who is the main protagonist here? It certainly doesn't feel like Murphy is, he feels like the B-plot. (And on his motorcycle, he looks like Street Hawk!) In the original there was a whole arc about the man coming back from the machine, but here there's no even potential mystery about it.

And there are a lot of effects here. Which would be fine if only the CAMERA WOULD STOP SHAKING so you can see them! Did director Jose Padilha have a nervous leg or something? (And don't think I didn't notice that nod to his brother(?) in the news crawl... which, to be honest, is the best and funniest part of the movie.)

And yes, Lewis is a man. But don't worry, he's hardly in it, and the movie completely misses the point of his biggest character arc moment from the original (listen here to find out what that was). Still, there's a lot of big names in this... did they think being associated with the remake would help them? Michael Keaton, Gary Oldman, Lawren Samuel L. Jackson all have screen presence. Unlike lead Joel Kinnaman who is merely on screen.

I won't say this is a bad movie, just one they needed to work out what they properly wanted to say in.


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Wednesday, 12 February 2014

Colateral Damarge

If it wasn't for the 9/11 association with this movie, I doubt anyone would have noticed it at all. There's nothing original here, and I'm thinking someone tried to make it a comedy along the way, but could only sneak a few scenes in.

Schwartzenegger plays a husband whose wife and son are killed because of TERRORISM! And so he launches into a one man crusade to... get into Colombia, get into the bad guy's compound, then fail to do anything exciting. Then we get the last twenty minutes, which are nearly getting interesting, but it's too late by then.

Schwartzenegger going after the bad guy isn't new, and neither is a jungle setting (Predator or Commando anyone?). This movie does be slightly different by Schwartzenegger never firing a weapon, but you definitely feel like you've seen it before. And speaking of having seen before, I had to check the cast list because I thought I spotted... Cliff Curtis! Playing a Colombian. Way to not portray all Maori as Mexican there man. We also get cameo appearances from John Leguizamo and John Turturro, but not enough of them end up dead.

A completely forgettable movie that would have come and gone if not for the timing...


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Tuesday, 11 February 2014

War, what is it Justice for?

It's another JLA animated movie based on a comic, because WB can't get to grips with producing live action movies.

Hey, what's better than a tale that shows how the Justice League got together? Because there haven't been enough different takes on that! (This is in fact the New 52 variant.) In this one, Parademons turn up and cause problems, and lead Green Lantern to team up with Batman and eventually Superman. Then Wonder Woman turns up, in a form that is very 'warrior' more than 'princess'. And we get the long waited for original of Victor Stone becoming Cyborg, because everyone always associates Cyborg with the Justice League! Oh, and Billy is here as Shazam. Not as Captain Marvel, no he introduces himself as Shazam... and fails to turn... what?

Anyway, there's a big battle with Parademons and Darkseid and eventually they have to pull together to defeat them all. Which they do with a lot of property damage but no apparent deaths.

Voice actors include Sean Astin, Alan Tudyk and Steve Blum. And yet another actor to be Green Lantern. Production-wise it feels... rather basic. The animation is bare bones, we get what we need, but there's no detail to anything. Which is largely standard for WB to be honest. Could do better.

I can't say I was overly excited to see this, but it did pass the time nicely.


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Monday, 10 February 2014

I've Been Watching

So many possibilities, but I had somewhat fond memories of parts of Death to the Daleks, so let's go with that.

When you think of this story, what do you remember? I remembered the city and the puzzles. Although some people consider them padding, they were an intellectual exercise, and as an intellectual spud, I was intellectualed. What I didn't remember, because who would?, was the two episodes of nothing happening that got us to that point. The whole bit with the Exxilons napping Sarah Jane and then the Doctor, and wanting to do a spot of sacrificing... that was just dull! At least the Daleks were amusing with their shooting TARDIS models, and being transparently underhanded. No weapons, well damn. Insert gun, and take over the universe! And the city itself wasn't exactly thrilling, with light up puzzles and rooms with mirrorlon. I was sure there was more to it, but I guess not. (I might have been confusing some of the puzzles with The Five Doctors, which I think one of the commentators also did.)

For extra features, we get a decent talking heads about it, although a large part is Nick Briggs gushing about it all. There's also some recording footage, in where we get to see the whole non-glamourous mess that is acting on a set. And, for some reason, a Dr Who and the Daleks feature, because they didn't have anywhere better to put it? As well as an interesting bit about the Dalek Men, although they talked about their William Hartnell days more than their Pertwee adventures.

I might be tempted to say 'memory cheats', but I'll go with: an average adventure with a few good moments.


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Sunday, 9 February 2014

Conquesting and Glorying Aztecs

Before it disappeared, me and a simian went to the Aztec exhibit at Te Papa. As you would expect, there was a fair range of statuary and cultural items on display. And yes, there were a few references to death.

However, there were also lots of other gods talked about, and plenty of common every day activities. They had their sport, their market place, their schooling. Fine, they did things differently, but there was a lot that was the same as well.

Frankly, I think we're more obsessed with their death obsession than they were! Certainly I can point to an easily identified section of our own culture that's obsessed with the afterlife and what happens to the soul afterwards.

Most of my Aztec knowledge (such as it is) involve what I know from reading books and watching TV shows that appropriate Aztec mythology. And there's a lot there. Yes, including interesting ideas about some of their death myths. (There was one in particular about women who lose children coming back from the dead... but I can't find it online.)

I think the main, very basic point, I took away was... despite how we always thing of the Aztecs as living a long time in the past, it was only five to seven hundred years ago. The 1500s weren't that long ago when we think about the time lines of other countries. History can be a lot closer than you think...


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Saturday, 8 February 2014

Dark Skis

It's a horror movie! With a sci-fi take! It starts with a quote from Arthur C Clarke and has crop circles in it... oh dear, recent alien based movies are not filling me with hope...

In the Barrett household, strange things start happening. Someone eats the food in the fridge, and later stacks all the dishes on top of each other. The youngest son says that the Sandman is talking to him. Various family members start losing time and control of their body. And a large grey shape is seen in the home...

And this movie is far better done as a horror movie than most movies I've seen recently that rely on ghosts! Okay, so the alien explanation (as delivered by J K Simmons, who is in this for some reason) is pure conspiracy theory, and hard to digest, but the movie runs with it. Atmosphere is built up, and this is freaking key, as I've said before. Regardless of what the horror is, do it slowly! Strange things happen, but they aren't the stuff of jump scares, just 'what the hell was that?' and that's what works!

The family is well played enough, but the cast sounds like knock offs. Not Kurt Russell but Keri Russell. Dakota Fanning? We got Dakota Goyo. Instead of a Josh Holloway, I can do you a Josh Hamilton (who would go on to play other weird fathers in American Horror Story). The effects, because they are subtle, are well done, and the CGI moments are well done (indeed, they could be actual costumes, I couldn't tell!).

The alien aspect might make you think twice about this, but it is better than many paranormal hauntings.


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Friday, 7 February 2014

That was Next

It's a horror movie... that's also a comedy... and highly rated by Bob... and yet...

Mommy and Daddy are having an anniversary, and so gather all their family out to their large house in the middle of nowhere. Unfortunately, tonight's the night that there are killers around, and... well, to be honest, you can already tell what's going to happen next, so let's skip to the analysis.

The first part of the movie is the horror part. The killers are reasonably intelligent, and the main characters are all irritating, so frankly, we're on the side of the killers when they start offing people. Then we have the comedy in the second part, and it is rather comedic, and by this point, you don't care who's going to die, because it's now obvious what is going on (and for really stupid reasons), so it's just a matter of waiting it out with the odd chuckle.

Sharni Winson as the main female lead, Erin, is definitely worth watching, being allowed to be the only competent person in the whole script (although again for stupid reasons). There is an in-movie reason for why we want her to succeed and by the end everyone is being an idiot so she is doing us a service.

Decent enough movie, but I'm not overly impressed by it.


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Thursday, 6 February 2014

Mega Mecha Shark!

This is it! This is the epitome of everything The Asylum has been building up to! This is as epic a movie as they are capable of! Oohhh....

Tired of all the huge shark attacks, the Navy gets themselves a robot shark for the next time there's an attack. And, inevitably, there's another megladon. And so the battle is on! Shark vs Shark! Stupid Set Pieces vs Inept Characterisation! Incomprehensible Screen Images vs Child Endangerment! Shots Ripped From Other Movies vs A Huge Robot Shark Tearing Through The Streets of Sydney! Okay... that last bit was rather cool. Ultimately we get the final end with lots of death...

Starring (either because they had nothing better to do, or this is the equivalent of slumming in notable terrible movies) Elizabeth Rohm and Christopher Judge. With an appearance by Debbie Gibson, who has been in other mega shark movies, so this is a universe.

They try. They really do. There's lot of places around the world, there are tons of different actors and extras, there are shots you would expect to see in better movies... but they still can't pull it off. They so clearly want to... but just can't quite do it.

Good try, Asylum, have a pat on the head... but we'll continue to watch you like the proud puppy you are that's just done a mess on the carpet...


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Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Reign of Winter

Waking up in the fish camp, we wasted no time in going over to the guard post to find Nadya's uncle. There, Felgard (who is, I remind, a gnome) intimidated some guards to show us to the guy in charge... and then intimidated him. We picked up Raingear, and just walked out. And the guards had two ogres I could have killed! No fun!

With Nadya and Reindeer reunited, we talk Nadya into returning back to her family. Then we outfit Reidnear, and prepare to enter the city of Whitethrone, through, as it happens, a winter wolf entrance. And we happen to have a pelt that makes the person look like a winter wolf person. And once inside, if we can find the paper forger, he can set it up so that we are a bunch of people who act weird and yet basically have free reign of the city... [Yeah, it really feels like the adventure wrote this in just to allow the PCs a way to move around.]

The next day, we head in taking supplies, with Felgard the talker in the winter wolf garb. We get past the entrance easily enough, although Felgard is propositioned by the guard there. Inside, we head for the drop off point, but are attacked by the Backalley Boys, aka Snow Goblins. Goblins. I tell you. I barely got to kill any of them before they ran away! Bah!

Moving on, we encounter a mirror man, a creature with a mirror for a head that can communicate with the queen. Raimner warns us that we should hide or kill it quickly. Guess which I choose! We think we manage to stop the mirror man from communicating with the queen while I Hulk out and smash it! It takes a while, but I do take it down.

Onwards, we deliver the food, and pause to consider our next steps...


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Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Benlantic Dim

The Asylum, never the most subtle, have completely given up any pretence with this movie. I just hope they didn't sucker any theatres into picking this up by mistake.

Due to an oil spill(?), some see eggs hatch into big sea monster creatures. Fortunately, the navy have some large mech robots (looking like shittier versions of Transformers) on hand and drop the three of them in. Unlike other films, this only needs one person to pilot each one, and amazingly each cockpit is exactly the same aside from colour coding. For some reason, two robots are deactivated, but our hero chases the creature onto the beach and buildings of... somewhere, and defeat it with the aid of aircraft firing missiles. But since he disobeyed orders, he's put in the brig. This movie then tries to make some kind of statement about the death and destruction these things cause, but is really bad at doing so, and so for the next half hour or so we get some random scenes that don't mean a damn thing and are just stupid. Then another creature attacks, so the robots are back out, and the three of them act like this was written by some five year old kid who had toys to play with. Fortunately, the old 'nuke 'em into orbit' trick comes through, and no-one important in the movie dies. Seriously, aside from the nameless extras, in what movie does everyone live?

This is just incompetently done. Aside from CGI unbelievability, there is also a distinct lack of continuity between shots, and focus on really irrelevant points. There was one scene where a set of handcuffs were put on in close up, as if the guy was going to make a break for it... but nothing! And there was a moment where the hero whispers something in the black guy's ear... but nothing comes of that either! And yes, there is just one black guy. But I will say that this movie did have more female leads than a certain other monster epic they are aping.

No-one is going into this expecting excellence... but don't even expect mediocrity...


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Monday, 3 February 2014

Poiseidon Dreck

Oh look, yet another 'sea monster let loose to wreck havoc' movie. Because we haven't had enough of those.

In this case, a stupid treasure hunter decides to blast his way into a trove, and lets loose this latest CGI creature. Said creature only takes out stragglers, and so a large part of this movie is then dedicated to a Jamaican (?) drug (?) lord (?) who is paying for the treasure hunter and sends various goons to kill him, all of whom are taken out by the CGI thing. There's the obligatory running around being chased until finally the military actually achieves something in taking it down... leaving only the obvious sequel bait.

We are certainly not talking big budgets here. The army crew consists of four people in a dark room and stock footage. The populated island has about ten people on it. And the CGI... the guns are all fired with adding white bursts to the end, and as for the creature... at one point it is standing on a river, and I do mean ON the river. Interaction is an afterthought.

But at least the acting matches, with nothing to draw the audience's attention (even the sex scene felt extremely forced and fortunately we cut away before we see anything actually happen... and surprisingly the women keep their tops on, brief as they may be!). And it's clear why Anne McDaniels was cast... her brown/black eyes are very notable!

Even more generic low budget monster movies, this isn't a good one.


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Sunday, 2 February 2014

Huanting at Sliver Flals

Oh boy, I knew I wasn't going to be in for a good movie, but I wasn't expecting this to be this dumb. And this is another "true story", which I'm guessing is "two girls died" and they took it from there.

A girl whose parents died moves in with her aunt and creepy uncle. She goes with her boyfriend to Silver Falls and finds out about some deaths in the area, and that there are ghosts around, and then, after picking up a ring and putting it on, starts seeing one. She tries to hide it, but the ghost is annoying and people think she's going crazy. Until they find out about the ghost, and that's totally happened before. The ghost wants something, which is, of course, their actual killer, and that turns out to be... of the dumbest plot twists ever. Seriously. I watch a lot of stupid movies, hoping to find a good one, but in the last twenty minutes, this goes completely over the edge. All of a sudden we get revelations that have not been hinted at, and it's only because everyone is idiots that the "good guys" win. Frankly, having a new character turn up that was never in the movie before would have been more believable.

We do have Steve Bacic (from Andromeda) and Erick Avari, but Steve is the creepy uncle and Erick isn't in this movie enough to save it. The ghost effects are basically costume... although there is one scene where they didn't match the two images they were using properly, and you can see the square of the other image, which is a different colour, moving through the main image.

This isn't even a 'good bad' movie, it's just stupid. Ignore.


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Saturday, 1 February 2014

Aefter AEarth

Oh.... that's what people were talking about. Even the fact that this is an M. Night movie doesn't explain just why this is terrible.

A boy is having trouble bonding with his distant father, so they go and have a happy holiday together. Involving one running across the surface of the planet Earth, which matters not even slightly. And encountering all sorts of animals that want to kill him, although only two or three try to. And there's the most obvious 'metaphor realised as a creature' than you could ever hope to avoid.

Everyone complains about how Jaden Smith is terrible in this movie. I'm going to be generous and say that he is extremely inexperienced in this movie. But then, I would hesitate to say that anyone is giving stellar performances. From Will Smith's stilted delivery to David Denman trying to go crazy and just coming across as weird and stupid, what was director doing?

Even the scenery isn't trying. It looks like this was shot in some nearby forest, and then CGI creatures were dotted around. And the big creature is just a generic grey blob.

Yeah, this isn't a movie anyone should bother with.

As for why I'm watching it now, it's because Your Movie Sucks.


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