Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Reign of Winter

[Okay, we are in a dungeon forest, and there's a fair bit of back tracking and such, but I'm not going to mention that.]

After waking up in the hut that used to belong to a winter guard leader, we set out, seeking new pathways.. And find a tree house. That is, a house on a tree. Not that it was built there, but that a tree grew up beneath it quite quickly. Courageously, we send Liddick up, and he helps the two children and the injured man inside down to safety. We Are Helping! We leave them to wander off by themselves...

Moseying along, we come to another clearing with one of them fey peoples in it. This one is standing in a small pool of water, which is dripping upwards. He feigns weariness of us all, but doesn't like it when I tell him to remove the reality siphon that's stopping us from getting to the hut. He turns nasty, but doesn't survive too long before I "axe him a question" (ha ha ha), and help cut him down to size. Liddick is also attacked by a Spriggan, but that creature lasts even less long.

With a pop, the reality problem is gone, but we check to make sure the forest is safe [and not at all wanting to make sure we get whatever XP is lying around]. We find a trap laid by.... two creatures that looked weird [and I can't remember their names at all]. I charged all the way up to one... but whiffed my attack. They didn't stick around long enough for me to get a second swing.

Finally we make our way to the hut, and are confronted with the ice queen person who caused us trouble a while ago, and who killed Nadya's daughter pThora... Yeah, she ain't getting away with that. She also had an ice golum to protect her, and while I initially take that on, it moves out of the way so I can get in to strike at the witch. Who then doesn't last under my onslaught! For pThora!

That leaves the hut. Which is slightly bigger on the inside that the outside. Except the room which is a lot bigger on the inside than the outside. And has a throne, with bones... that form into a creature as we move about... [and next time, we'll finish that volume of the books!]


Read more!

Tuesday, 29 April 2014

Case of 39ers

Creepy children syndrome is up and well with this movie. Seeing the trailer it got onto my 'I'll get around to it sometime' list, and that time is now.

Lillith (get it SUBTLE MUCH???) is the creepy kid in this case, and case worker Emily saves her from her crazy family... only to find that crazy wasn't in the family, but the kid. As people start dropping around them, Emily begins to get the idea that Lillith ain't right, and then it becomes a matter of trying to survive and deal with the little menace... the little menace that has power to control perception and change weather and stuff... really? That isn't an entirely one-sided battle?

Narrative convention ruins the end of this movie, so you can probably guess what happens. Not even a last second 'but wait' shot! Rubbish! The big point comes when Emily makes her 'Disbelieve the Illusion' roll, but that's it? That's all that's needed? Bah!

Renee Zellweger is is full on chipmonk mode here, and so has trouble being believably scared. Jodelle Ferland is the creepy girl... and is she getting typecast as such? Ian McShane, Bradley Cooper and Callum Keith Rennie all turn in decent performances.

Another entry in the 'creepy kid' genre... but not really standing out in it.


Read more!

Monday, 28 April 2014

A Dangnabbit Man

Take an idea by Guy Ritchie, set it in America, make it about the Chinese and Russian mafias, then add in Steven Seagal with a lot of one-on-one fast paced martial action sequences... and blam, this movie!

Shane is thrown in jail for a crime he didn't commit, and by the time he gets released under Project Innocence, his life has basically gone. So, while trying to get drunk, he sees the Chinese killing a cop. And saved a Russian mobster's kid who just happened to be there. And saves the kidnapped girl. And sets off the Chinese vs everyone war that occupies the rest of this movie. There's running around, and a lot of set pieces of people invading places and getting in gun fights and Shane throwing people around without getting a scratch (Seriously, I don't think anyone lays a finger on Steven in all the fights he is in). Finally the not so bad guys win, so... yay?

Steven Seagal isn't really trying in this movie, in fact he barely looks interested (although he doesn't look like he skipped any meals recently). The Colonel and Chen are the more interesting characters, and the whole movie could have been about them interacting with each other (indeed it nearly is, and their scenes could be in an entirely separate movie to the one featuring Seagal). Far too many minor characters and lots of drab locations meant I often lost track... but didn't really care. It's not like the plot mattered. Oh, and aside from the main female lead, the rest of the woman are basically treated as meat... classy.

This is a stupid dumb movie. An entertaining stupid dumb movie... but a stupid dumb movie nonetheless.


Read more!

Sunday, 27 April 2014

The Alphabety Killer

Eliza Dushku plays someone who is solving murders and getting messed with by dead people... is this who Tru grows up to be?

Based on an actual set of crimes (so you know this will end well), Megan becomes obsessed with the first death in the case... so much so she hallucinates and tries to kill herself... two years later, she's getting better, but then we get the second murder... and this movie isn't about solving the case (I guessed the connection that would have led to the murderer after only 30 minutes), but about Megan breaking down and trying to continue while dealing with said breakdown. And then, entirely coincidentally, in a way that is just insulting to narrative story telling, we find out who the killer is, and we are on to the final battle... and her final collapse.

While we have Eliza Dushku as the main lead (and feeling a little young), we have Cary Elwes who is her boyfriend and much older than her, and that just seems creepy. Oh, and there's a fair few other familiar faces I spotted as well (Timothy Hutton, Tom Noonan and Michael Ironside). And writer Tom Malloy has a large part in this, including a scene where he kisses Eliza... yeah, because that was essential to the story.

Given that the real nature of the murders gets in the way of story resolution, this is resting on more as a character piece, which nearly works... but the huge coincidence completely collapses any sense of disbelief this movie was trying to maintain. Unless you are wanting to see all of Eliza Dushku's work, I wouldn't bother with this.


Read more!

Saturday, 26 April 2014

Amazinger Spydermyn

At this point, I'm getting confused about what points were in the previous movie, and which points were in the previous iteration... and then of course they continually play that tune... anyway, this is the sequel that people were definitely unsure about...

Anyway, Spiderman stops crime, and Peter Parker mopes about the place. Gwen Stacey is on-again / off-again, causing more emo scenes. And Max Dillon has the stupidest origin story I've seen until they showed the next one. Seriously, his motivation is ridiculous. I gather it's true to the comic... but it's still stupid! And Harry Osburne is also shoved into this, so we tick time waiting for the Goblin to turn up (and speaking of stupid origin stories). And the Rhino is just stupid too. Anywho, there's big fighting, and then another fight because they need more fighting. And my emotional engagement is not at all what the movie is going for...

Every scene where Andrew Garfield is on screen, not in the Spidey costume, he's playing emo whiney guy, and not worth watching. Which, as you could guess, is a lot of the movie. All his scenes are supposed to be character building moments, but they come across as "do us all a favour and slap him" moments. And the Spiderman scenes are pretty much all snark. And CGI. There's a lot of CGI, of course, so there's that. But I was impressed by the fabric texturing.

Jamie Foxx is wasted, and Emma Stone is bland. Dane DeHaan is either channeling Jack Nicholson or Leonardo Dicaprio. Sally Field is too good for this movie.

If you are going to see this, set your expectations accordingly...


Read more!

Friday, 25 April 2014

All Hollows' Zzz

Am I too cynical for horror movies? And is 'person watching shorts' a genre now? 'Cos this is another one of those.

Framing movie: A kid finds a tape in his trick or treat bag, and the babysitter lets them watch the first movie. Then watches the other two herself. And then the clown gets loose...
Oh yeah, there's a clown and that's a linking image. First movie has a young woman getting kidnapped and then suffers at the hands of the devil? I guess? It's not shot very well. Second movie involves some of the stupidest looking aliens I've ever seen threatening a woman. And the third movie is the clown stalking a woman.

See if you can spot a common element here. Director: Damien Leone. Writer: Damien Leone. Editor: Damien Leone. Yeah... one more: SFX by Damien Leone. I'm sure I'm not the only one thinking 'hey, this movie is a demo reel for Leone and he (and others) wrote some stories for him to show off his SFX talents'. No idea if that's true, but it would explain a lot.

(And if Overdrawn at the Memory Bank has taught us nothing else, it's don't show a good movie in the middle of your crappy movie. In this case, Night of the Living Dead, which was probably a major influence on a young Leone.)

The last few minutes show a little promise... but far too little too late... and it doesn't work even then.


Read more!

Thursday, 24 April 2014

Muppet Wanted The Most

I'm not sure if this counts as a delightful sequel or cynical cash grab extension of the series.

The set up is pretty basic, Kermit is replaced by the evil Constantine and... that's about it. Hilarity ensues as Constantine does evil deeds under the cover of a Muppet world tour. And events proceed as you'd largely expect...

Which makes this a rather generic movie that doesn't really have the heart of the previous. There's no real earnestness here, just the Muppets doing their thing, and lots of celebrity cameos. The previous one was about bringing the Muppets back, this one is about... not a lot really. There are some songs, there are some gags, there is an attempt at a message about family, but... it's not that this is bad, just that it doesn't have anything to make it stand out. Not even a song as good as "Man or Muppet".

Or maybe I'm just being harsh on it. As I say, it isn't bad. The interaction between Jean Pierre Napoleon and Sam the Eagle is easily the best part of the film. And Constantine as Kermit is amusing... but then Ricky Gervais is terrible, and Tina Fey is trying too hard....

It's enjoyable in and of itself, but not more.


Read more!

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

The Brick Movie

Hey, look what finally came out over here! It's that movie that the internet couldn't shut up about two months ago... and yet, who's still talking about it? Do people who saw it back then even still remember that it was a thing?

So Emmet is a nobody that finds a special thing and the prophecy says he is the Special. Except that isn't what's really going on. There's a big battle against the bad guy who wants everything to never change... except that isn't what's really going on either. What's really going on... I'm not going to say. Except to say that it is amazingly well done and actually makes you care about it.

Which is usually a hard sell for me. It might be that it was Will Farrell, and that helped. But this is your standard 'guy becomes the one' story, and it isn't. What didn't work, for me, was the humour. A lot of it got a "I see what you did there" reaction, but didn't actually make me laugh (okay, two or three moments did). Other people laughed, but I'm too cynical for that.

To be honest, it's one idea, and it's a great idea, but once it's over... I can't say I'm surprised people have moved it. Everything might be awesome, but it's also momentary.


Read more!

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Talkin' Tasmanian Devils

I finally got around to getting around to the zoo when the talk was on.

So, did something else happen? Find out!

And the obligatory Spot the Red Panda video.


Read more!

Monday, 21 April 2014


So the papers are again making a meal of the idea of Easter closing. Just because it's the establishment of religion doesn't mean people shouldn't be forced to abscond from commercialism...

But let's go there. Let's give holidays to... people running hotels and motels. What the hey, just tourists, right, no-one important...

Ooh, zoos! Yeah, and pounds and such. Just animals, let them alone for a day or two, it'll be fine.

And electricians. And plumbers. And dentists. Got an emergency? It can wait, people need a holiday.

Or the hospital! Yeah, all the doctors and nurses should definitely have time off. And if people die... surely they'll rise again just like Jesus (although apparently he didn't and people are just remembering him).

Okay, I'm being silly and extremist here... but where exactly should the cut off be? 'Essential services' is already getting broad, and with food establishments allowed and other things, the difference between a holiday and any other day of the week is getting moot.

Having time off for family is fine (although if you want to go out somewhere, odds are you are going somewhere where people are not spending time with their family), but let's have better reasons and responses than ideas from 2000 years ago...

And any excuse for this

Read more!

Sunday, 20 April 2014


There was nothing on the other night, so I ended up watching the movie known for the line "that's a lot of fish".

Because the French are evil, a small lizard becomes a giant lizard, which then decides that Manhattan is an excellent island on which to build a nest... yeah, I can't see that happening. At any rate, one lone guy has enough of a clue to help track it, lure it out, and figure out what its motives are.. and is respected enough to be called "the worm guy". Meanwhile "humour" (note: not actual humour, not even a reasonable facsimile thereof) is found in the worm guy's antics, and his love interest who hangs around with people better known from the Simpsons. Fortunately, we get smaller lizards so we can have a runaround in Madison Square Garden, before a final scene when everyone cheers as the movie makes us feel bad for the death of a creature that was just trying to survive...

As stupid as this movie is, and let's not deny that this movie is stupid, it is also rather fun. I had no problems with the pacing of the movie, there were plenty of action beats and the forced romance plot (and, hoy boy, it's is a bad romance plot) didn't drag scenes out too long. I was prepared for this to be a painful disaster to watch... and yet, I enjoyed it. Oh, I know that many moments don't work (okay, we are hiding a giant lizard in a city and no-one can find it...), but when you just let it wash over you and sit back and relax... it works!

Everyone is giving simple performances here, including the CGI lizards, and Emmerich is about as subtle as a sledgehammer accidentally dropped on a glass chandelier. There's lots of mocking and no-one is really taking anything seriously.

As a chance flick, it wasn't that bad... and now I don't feel the need to see another Godzilla movie any time soon... well, maybe one more...


Read more!

Saturday, 19 April 2014

Lucky * Star

In my sort-of ongoing watching of slice of life / school / comedy anime, we have the entry of Lucky Star. And while I did watch one disc in dubbed, the rest I watched in subbed format. Dubbed just doesn't cut it.

And it fits the bill of what I am after in that we follow four school girls through their daily activities and mild craziness (the cast expands somewhat in the second half). There's no real point going into the plot, as it is slice of life, and so a lot of short vignettes of different moments of their lives. And it is fun!

However... I still want to go back and watch Azumanga Diaoh again... nothing else is challenging that as my number one anime and manga...

Oh, and I find it hard to believe it took me this long to get this connection (not an actual connection):


Read more!

Friday, 18 April 2014

The Bourne Profusion

I'm currently reading (well, listening to) the Bourne stories... and they are very different to the movies. The first book (Identity) is about Bourne's fight with a chap named Carlos and minorly about the organisation Treadstone. It's like Carlos Carlos Treadstone Carlos Carlos Treadstone Carlos Carlos Treadstone. The movie is just Treadstone Treadstone Treadstone. As are the next movies. Spoiler: Treadstone stops existing at the end of the first book!

And the Bourne Legacy is about Bourne and his son, not some other chap stepping into the role! Although Legacy onwards is when Eric Van Lustbader takes over writing duties, and it shows. The first three books are about Jason Bourne identity conflicting with David Webb's real personality, and a lot is made of his wife Marie, and the third ends quite well, especially with David going on about how he's 50 now and getting too old for this sh*t.

But when Eric takes over, Marie quicks gets thrust into the background, along with other main characters, and the books become a lot more action oriented spy political thrillers... not that they weren't but a lot of characterisation is dumped in favour of getting on with it.

I might go back and review the movies again... although I'm tempted to just finish the books and move onto something else...


Read more!

Thursday, 17 April 2014

Black Moon

It's time to announce an announcement... I've done it! Something I've been meaning to do for a while, it will get me out of the house on Monday nights, and I get to indulge in something I like... I've joined the Wellington Film Society.

Now, when you think 'film society', you'll probably think of the stereotypical artsy pretentious foreign movie that refers to artists no-one has heard of, and is completely impenetrable to a mainstream audience... and, to be fair, the first of the film society movies I saw could fit that...

Black Moon is about a young woman who ends up at a farm house and... it starts off odd, then gets weird, then surreal, then downright strange. I can't really tell you what happens, because I'm pretty sure I didn't get most of it. And you can watch it yourself if you want to.

Fortunately, most aren't like that, although there is a fair range of movies. And I can also get into some film festivals cheaper too. So this should be a positive experience... just with an odd beginning.


Read more!

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Reign of Winter

In the forest of amazement... in that it's ment to be a maze. Like other things I've heard of, basically treating it like a dungeon with exits and corridors to rooms and such. Anyways, we carry on and head up the left hand path.

And come across a nice wee house in the middle of the forest with men drinking and very nice women giving them drink. We sit down, have a drink, and everything is fine. It's nice. No need to get up and go on, just sit and have a drink...

(Liddick, who hasn't partaken of this, finally draws one of the woman away and kills her as she turns feral on him. Or maybe it was five of them. Or ten... or twenty with minions? I cannot recall the final details. People weep over the ending of a whole race of fey at the hands of one rogue...)

Racing back to us, he slaps some of us awake and then the fight is on... although I'm pretty chill for a while. Finally, Mage wakes me up and I end the battle. 'Cos I'm good like that. [And we are now level 6!]

Moving on, we come to what could be the sister of the guy on the boulder, only she's in a tree. And she can fly. Damn her. She blinds me with her beauty, but fortunately it doesn't last long; [F- blindness!] However, I have to leave it to the range shooters to take her out. (Yeah, I have a crossbow.. but I also have an axe!)

We have to backtrack a bit now, and then take the right hand path. We find another house, and in this one is a commanding woman who demands us to escort her out. We say no. She turns into a wolf and attacks us. I got plenty of HP and anger to burn so chop chop, enough of her.

But this looks a good place to rest for a while, so we do that!


Read more!

Monday, 14 April 2014

Zed Ziding Zzzd

Not so much a fairy tale as a soap opera teen love triangle drama angst rubbish. And boring as hell.

In medieval fantasy town, a young woman is caught up between the poor woodcutter and the rich... actually I have no idea what the other guy was doing, I couldn't pay that much attention. Anyway, there's also a wolf, but it can be human, so who is it? The wolf hunter comes to town, but is a big jackass and doesn't really get anything useful done. And the woman's grandmother is all kinds of creepy. And then the wolf is revealed and everyone lives happily ever after.

Ye gods this is just... what the hell? Was there any point to any of it? I don't care about the teen drama, the wolf is boring, and even skipping through this movie it still felt too long. Even Gary Oldman is just cruising through this, and not giving a damn. And the teens... well, I say teens, they are all in their twenties, are just there because they are pretty. Yeah, whatever.

I only watched this because I had it at hand... whelp, not going to think about that any more...


Read more!

Sunday, 13 April 2014

Newtown Update

Just another scan around Newtown.

I point out some things near the end.


Read more!

Mirror Mysteries

A current phenomena on Steam at the moment seems to be publishers dumping their catalogues of games, and flooding the 'New Releases' entries... one such publisher is Gogii game, and one such game was Mirror Mysteries, a Hidden Object game... I like hidden objects, so gave in and now played it!

The set up is: while resting near a house, the two kids get trapped by an evil mirror, after they go around smashing other mirrors (you know, at that point, I'm with the mirror on this). The mom, aka the player, has to enter the mirror worlds and solve the various problems the inhabitants have... which, by and large, involve finding hidden objects and placing them in various rooms. The main point is to get the mirror pieces back, and, strangely enough, the people in each world have them and are happy to hand them over... just as long as you do a few things first... And she's willing to go along with that! Just as well she's so mild mannered! (Indeed, even when talking to the mirror, she's more reading her lines than actually having an emotional reaction to her kids being held hostage!)

The hidden object part is largely straight forward. And after finding pieces, the items form one larger piece that fits into the scenes. For example, you might find parts of a wheel which then fit together to be a gear in a clock. There are also a few puzzles, but they aren't that hard (although I will now immediately complain about one in which there were 216 combinations, and no way I can see to solve it outside brute force! I thought I found a neat answer, but nope, not it! The only puzzle I had to skip...).

The game itself is only a few hours long, and at under $5, I had fun. Not sure I'll try the sequel or other Gogii games, but we'll see.


Read more!

Saturday, 12 April 2014

Museum of City and Sea

Peter kept telling me I should go to this museum... and we finally went!

The theme is Wellington and its connection with the sea. There are historical events of Wellington, and there is also an ongoing nautical theme. We get what docks would look like, we get ship related stories, and an example of a Captain's cabin.

There are also informations about the Great Strike, land maps of ole' Wellington, the royal crown jewels (topical!) and other exhibitions.

And ghosts. There's a Maori exhibit that uses Pepper's Ghost style set up to talk about Maori stories. (And this video is from the Museum itself, so totally allowed.)

We were there for about an hour, with just enough time to have a quick squiz at most things. So I might need to go back some time for a proper read of everything. There are a lot of text boxes and pictures to take in.

And a chance to sail a ship or two...

Other pictures are available.


Read more!

Friday, 11 April 2014

Super Mole Men

Spin back once more, to 1951, and the earliest Superman movie I've ever seen. It's in black and white!

An oil well is the deepest ever... and it digs into the hollow centre of the Earth! ('Cos that's a thing that happens.) And up from the ground came some bubbling crude... crude mole men that is! Get short actors, put hair on them and top with an obvious looking bald cap, and bam! Mole men! And barely plural men at that. And then for most of the episode it's the random hick town chasing down the mole men and spending a lot of time doing it. Actually, a huge amount of time, as it goes from night to day to night to day depending on the angle of the shot! Fortunately Superman is there to save the day and stop the hicks from being hicks.

And... I liked it! Yeah, the chase of the mole man went on far too long, but George Reeves makes a great Clark Kent and Superman (I'm not sure, but I think he might be a little padded in the chest area to bulk up as Superman?). And he doesn't act nice to everyone, which, as a small touch, gives him a lot of personality. Phyllis Coates as Lois Lane is... on screen often, but doesn't get anything to do, her big moment being her screaming at the mole men.

This movie was made to show how Superman could be brought to television, and it worked (and this was made into a two-parter for the eventing series). While being rather low key with the effects and the costumes... I'm impressed and might try to find the series itself some time.


Read more!

Thursday, 10 April 2014

Soon Death of Craptain America

Why make one, when you can make a sequel to continue the awfulness? Yes, there is another motorcycle helmet movie.

After dealing with a hardened gang of criminals... that mug pensioners... Steve must track down the source of a drug that causes rapid aging. After a fight at an empty box warehouse, he heads to a Local Town for Local People... and the plot stays there, with him poking around, for far too long... and then suddenly he works out how to find out where the bad guys are, and huzzah! Simon helps to save the day again!

At least with no origin story to get in the way, we can get straight to the awesomeness of Captain America... as Steve wanders about the town. Oooh, exciting! Still, there are exciting stunts as the motorbike comes with a deployable hang-glider! And that chase goes on too long and boringly as well.

There are few more notable names here. We have Connie "Greatest American Hero" Selleca, Stanley "Monk" Kamel, and playing the bad guy Miguel we have... Christopher "What is he doing in this?" Lee! Seriously, he should be getting better roles than this. Especially with that embarrassing fight at the end.

I don't know if they planned to franchise this, but I'm not surprise there was no third movie... indeed, I was surprised there was a second, let alone a first!

You know, after this, I deserve to enjoy a Superman movie...


Read more!

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Craptain America

Damn you, sirrah! So I'm not done yet, and spin back further in time to 1979 with the movie that uses a cycle helmet.

Steve Rogers is... a surfer bro, that just wants to be mellow in the 70s. But when he gets caught up in an attack because some people want some information he might of overheard, he gets injected with FLAG, a serum his father made to originally turn himself into Captain America, and so Steve... doesn't want to have anything to do with being a superhero. 'Cos... there's barely any plot so anything pad the movie out. And so it's over halfway done before he eventually dons the threads and ride his Captain America motorobike with the Captain America shield... which doesn't look incredibly plasticky at all... Together he and his friend Simon hunt down a nuclear bomb, and thankfully the day is saved by... Simon's medical skill! Go Simon!

This is... okay, I'm not a movie maker, but I've seen plenty of them, and this is just terrible. Was this all the first take of each scene? Without rehearsals? I've seen planks of wood less wooden than some of this acting! And yes, while origin stories can take a while to get going, at least the hero isn't usually some whiny 'I don't want this' idiot. Still, this is very 70s, with lots of bland men in drag outfits shooting badly at each other.

Ah, but the joy doesn't end here...


Read more!

Tuesday, 8 April 2014


Let's go back one more time, this time to 1984. Why not tap into a good franchise and make a spin off movie people will remember as 'wha? oh yeah, they did do that, didn't they?'

In Inner Space a city's barrier, the only protection against the vast powers of the outside, is pierce like the clingwrap it is as a Power Orb goes flying through it. Kara takes off in pursuit to get it back, and ends up on Earth, with more powers than even her cousin, like x-ray plus heat vision, super hearing, and the ability to change her appearance as she walks behind a tree, and fly around like she's dangling from wires. However, a mad woman has gotten hold of the Power Orb and uses it to further her plans for world domination... and getting a hunky young lad to fall in love with her. She and Kara / Linda Lee butt heads for a while... and then it gets really ridiculous.

Just why did Faye Dunaway, Peter Cook and Peter O'Toole agree to be in this? While their star power is enough for them to be able to survive any flop, this didn't set of any alarms? I'm surprised anyone could say the lines they got through, let alone with a straight face. And certainly some of the stunts they end up doing can't have been comfortable. Still, anything for "art".

Given it was 1984, the effects were impressive at the time, although obviously dated now. They did try, but the worse part has to be that this movie is two hours long. It seriously doesn't need to be, and could easily have half an hour chopped, especially the Ethan subplot.

Well, they tried, but it just wasn't up to their other efforts.


Read more!

Monday, 7 April 2014

Captain American

Slipping back a little more to 1990, we get what most people remember as the Cap movie.

Steve Rogers has a limp, but super serum makes him a man! He fights the Red Skull, gets strapped to a rocket, and ends up buried in Alaska... (yeah, the whole First Avenger film gets covered in half an hour here). Thawing in the 1990s, he finds the Red Skull is still around and he's kidnapped the President... who doesn't seem to have a family and plenty of time to lounge around the White House. Together, Cap, President, and the daughter of his girlfriend, combine forces to take on the Red Skull once and for all.

Okay, a few things here. Certainly more impressive female protagonists than even most movies these days. Two, it's odd the see Ronnie Cox playing the good guy, and he's every bit the action hero Steve Rogers is. And Steve Rogers spends a lot of time as Steve and less than half the movie as Captain America. And he adapts to modern day America without any problems at all.

In all, this movie is very earnest as a Captain America movie. In many ways, it's just as much a political movie as Winter Soldier, but gets on with telling the story in half the time. Not that I'm saying this is a better movie than the recent versions... but it does get on with the story without needing an explosion every five minutes.

For a long time, this was the movie we had... and it wasn't that bad.


Read more!

Sunday, 6 April 2014

Flatastic Four

Let's go back further, to 1994. And this was a movie that no-one saw, and yet, in a way, is better than a certain big budget version...

With a McGuffin in space, first there's is an accident that creates Doctor Doom, and then ten years later creates the Fantastic Four. They escape from Doom, but then have to go back when he threatens to destroy New York. And, in the meantime, Grimm's would-be girlfriend (with a romance that's quick by even movie standards) is taken by the Jeweller, so that gets dealt with first by making the Jeweler completely pointless. Finally, the Torch manages to fly faster than the speed of light to beat the New York destroying laser and exist in space, so there's that.

Most likely because they didn't have a huge budget (this is Roger Corman after all), the action is kept on small stages, which gives the movie a more personal feel than the city expansive fights of the bigger movies. This movie knows it's camp, and goes whole hard... although some of the actors play it a little too seriously (probably because they couldn't hear the sound effects and incidental music track we get treated too). Doom is completely cackling insane, and the other bad guy... should have been the Mole Man. But no, they have the Jeweler? Who is that?

Effects-wise... you know what? I prefer this Thing suit to the big budget one. It looks better and moves better than that foam monstrosity. Reed's stretchiness is just creepy at times, Susan's invisibility is cheap, and Johnny's flame is clearly laid on afterwards. Oh, and if you don't get it, Reed totally explains how their personalities relate to their powers.

Because it didn't have money, this movie had more freedom to not try so hard, and so it does work better. Still not a good film, but better than others.


Read more!

Saturday, 5 April 2014

Just-ass League of Americant

Instead of talking new movies (as another blogger will be doing), let's talk old. This is one from 1997, actually a tv pilot. No surprise it never spawned a series.

The city of... somewhere... is under attack by a weather manipulator villain, and the JLA is there to save the day! In this case, the JLA is Green Lantern, who looks rather blueish, the Flash, the Atom, Fire and joining them is Ice. Note that this is the Guy Gardner version, although not really Guy Gardner as in the comics, here he is a failed ladies man as opposed to just an oaf. Ice comes about due to a lab accident, and is slowly brought into the JLA, and is scared by the Martian Manhunter... who never leaves their under sea base(?). But, hey, when they need to, they can fail to completely screw up an investigation and manage to un-cover the bad guy and... then the movie ends.

There is an odd framing device whereby we talk to the various people who are the real people behind the superhero identities. Although we never find out who they are talking to, but it's kinda odd, as a) hello, McFly? Secret identity? and b) we know they all make it through the movie because the interviewing is after. Never mind we know they wouldn't kill off characters, that's just tension draining.

The main word that comes to mind is 'goofy'. As in all aspects are. The plot, the costumes, the acting... basically the production is terrible. This should not have been... and, unfortunately, this is closest we've currently got to a live action Justice League movie.


Read more!

Friday, 4 April 2014

The Witless Soldier

I can see how this fits in the on-going Marvel movie continuity, but the movie itself... eeeehhhhhh......

Okay, since I haven't really watched the trailers, I'm not sure how much of the story is known. Well, except who the Winter Solider is, because that's been given away in all sorts of places. I will say that the first half of the movie feels like it should be set-up of what's going on... but then, before there can be any investigation and tension building, we get all the answers, and then it just carries on with big flashy set pieces.

And there's the problem. Tension, the lack thereof. Without it, we just have these big set pieces, but they are just set pieces with nothing really at stake, and no dramatic reveals to make us care. Right now, I'm trying to remember any big character advancement... and aside from SamWilson, not really. Steve Rogers is still 'good when people are bad' and Natasha Romanoff is still 'badass with a haunted past' and so on. Nothing changes for them.

I already know there are plenty of people praising this movie. But for me, it just is, and that's all it is.

(And yes, there is a scene right at the very end of the credits, but you won't miss anything if you don't happen to see it.)


Read more!

Thursday, 3 April 2014

Let's Kill Stephen King

Although, according to this movie, you can't.

A group of young adults go hunting for Stephen King's place and end up in quiet town, nowhere, and then mysteriously start getting killed off one by one. With lots of references to King's works.

Because it's a comedy! Get it! It's like the horror that King writes about! Although, to be honest, King is a lot better than the writers of this movie. Aside from the King context, this is just another generic slasher movie, and with the King context, it's still a bad slasher movie. The comedy isn't funny, and the horror isn't scary.

And starring in this movie is... people I have never heard of! With three people needing to write this. The same three people that directed this, because if there's one mark of true quality, it's having three directors leading production.

But it's not all bad. There was that moment when... I got nothing.

Even if you are a King fan, skip this movie. And certainly there's no reason to watch this if you aren't a fan.


Read more!

Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Reign of Winter

With the dragon out of the way, the forces of the city descend on each other, giving us free rein to get into the forested area where the hut was. Free, that is, with the small problem of some ice trolls in the way. I tried to talk my way around them, but that didn't work, so I axed my way through them, all of us getting rid of them in some way or another.

In the forest, it was like a maze, with canopies nearly blocking the sky, and impenetrable woods around us, leaving only a path for us to follow. Trying to go as northerly as possible, we eventually came across a clearing in which we could see our goal... behind a portal that was sucking in reality around it. Being unable to do anything about that, we went on and found a perfectly normal situation of rocks floating in the air.

There was one centre pillar, on which some fey creature was talking of taking our reality and the hut. That we couldn't stand, and so we set about... slowly moving across the terrain to attack him. I finally managed to scale the rock [really stupid rolls] and finish him off with one blow from my mighty axe! It ended the floating rocks, but the portal was untouched.

Moving further on, some shadow creatures attacked out party, taking on the shadows of Hogan and Mage. They flew swiftly, with focused attacks, but me and my comrades were able to strike them down.

With magical energies running low, we set to rest for a while, before heading further into this forest...


Read more!

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Two score and seven Ronin

I gather Keanu Reaves is only really in this so they'd have a Western presence to hype the film around in Western theatres... he doesn't need to be there, it's a decent enough film without him.

Due to the dirty tricks of a witch, Lord Asano nearly kills a guest and has to kill himself to regain his honour. And then all his samurai become ronin. And Lord Kira (owner of the dirty trick witch) moves in and claims Asano's land and daughter. But as the wedding comes closer, the ronin decide that enough is enough, and make a play for gaining justice. And there's this other sub-plot about a half-breed with supernatural abilities that fights CGI creatures...

I'm sure I've seen this plot before in one incarnation or another. Either having heard the story directly or seen other film adaptations of it. It works well enough here, with Hiroyuki Sanada as the leader of the ronin, and being the character we care the most about. Although Keanu is in this, the movie is making a deliberate effort not to overplay him too hard. And, of course, Cary-Horiyuki Tagawa is the Shogun.

A well paced watchable movie.


Read more!