Saturday, 31 May 2014

Doc Edge 2014

So, easy post time, in which I talk about what movies I'm interested in in the upcoming Documentary Edge film festival for 2014. Although this time around, for some reason, there was only five that got my attention. There are still films from earlier fests I haven't seen, but for now I'm just going with five.

God Loves Uganda
Gringo Trails
A Brony Tale
One Minute for Conductors
Kids For Cash

Annoyingly, it's out at the Roxy, which is in Mirimar... so, like, the ass-end of Wellington, as far as transport and such goes. And the movies I want are mostly in the evening. Yeah, I want to be travelling out there in the dark of night. Still, it is only five, so tempting...

And, because I'm a member of the Wellington Film Society, I save a couple of bucks on the tickets!


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Friday, 30 May 2014

Dr Strangeness

Catching up with some bad tv movies, we have this exciting adventure of the Sorcerer Supreme...

I wouldn't say this movie is slow, but nothing happens... and nothing more happens... and then even more nothing happens... this is a slow game of cat and mouse, and you could leave, go get a cup of tea, read a book, catch a movie... and still be back for no plot progression at all!

Nominally, an evil presence is going to get some revenge on a master magician, so sends Morgan, who gets a young woman to push the old man off a bridge. He's all right, but the woman, Clea, is a bit of a wreck, and ends up at Strange's hospital... and we're halfway through the movie already... then the second half the movie is all about how hot Strange is. Seriously, Clea falls for him, then Morgan does, and the ending is all about how she's got the hots for him and will he give up on the old man and be forever with her? Will he ever!

Throughout the movie I kept thinking one thing "this isn't very good". It wasn't that it was terrible... it certainly wasn't good, but it didn't dive into the horror of complete awfulness. No, it just isn't very good, and that's as good as it gets. Peter Hooten is just bland as Strange, and Anne-Marie Martin is on screen as Clea. Even Clyde Kusatsu doesn't get much to do with Asian Stereotype #3. And the effects are certainly nothing to be proud of.

I'm guessing, from the ending, this was intended to be a pilot? Or at least get a sequel? Can't say I'm surprised nothing came of it...


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Thursday, 29 May 2014

Star of Darkness

This is one of those films that started a lot of things, pretty much all space ship movies where the ship is old and odd things start to happen. Such as Alien, eventually Red Dwarf, and the like. And it's a "comedy", in that it isn't actually funny, although it likes to think it occasionally is.

The Dark Star is a ship that goes around space and finds unstable planets that will eventually fall into their suns, and then blows them up. Along the way, the crew deals with a beachball alien, and a recalcitrant bomb. And a rather bleak and sort of uplifting ending.

I watched the 68 minute original version, but that was enough. This is very slow moving, making me glad of VLC's time play function. Nowadays I can see this being spun out to over two hours, but just over one was enough. This is mainly due to the comedy not really working, and sequences that long outstay their welcome. (The whole alien/lift sequence, which is basically the second act, for example.)

The acting is decent enough, with only four people on screen, although we don't get a lot of character depth (I see there's a little more in the theatrical version). Production is good, with large panels of flashy lights and switches despite the low budget.

So, that's another 'classic' finally seen... and I leave you with this song...


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Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Goodnight Sam

Goodnight Kiwi creator dies.

(Although, at this point, it would just be mean to point out that as kiwis are a nocturnal bird, Kiwi wouldn't be going to bed then but heading out for a nice meal of grubs...)


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Tuesday, 27 May 2014

The Connection

Now this is... slightly more like it! I want to go to the Film Society to see decent movies that I would otherwise pass by... and while I'm not saying I would even consider this, I was there, this was playing... and it was quite good!

A director wants to make a movie about junkies, and so gets himself an apartment of druggies, gives one of them money to turn up with the dope, and then films what happens... and what happens is a rather disconnected series of monologues and interplay from people who can barely communicate... and like jazz. The music track is played live, as it were, with junkie musicians laying down the tunes. And then the drugs turn up around half-way and the film takes a different turn... especially when the director, who occasionally pops onto screen to cajole them, is talked into trying it himself. And it winds down from there...

It is slow, but it draws you in, and becomes rather watchable. The cast give engaging performances, especially Warren Finnerty, Jerome Raphael and Jim Anderson. The film is shot in black and white, largely as one shot, although it's fairly clear when there's a change in shot. It was originally a play, and I can see that (although I'm not sure if it keeps the filming device?).

Yeah, okay, a thumbs up for this one.


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Monday, 26 May 2014

The Dark Crystyl

A puppet movie from Henson that isn't muppets? Is that possible?

Jen is picked to be The One who must fulfil The Prophecy, and is given the first step... fortunately he happens to lucky bump into someone who takes him to where the rest of The Prophecy is so they can find out what he's supposed to do. In the meantime the Skeksis are having an eating scene to show off different puppet effects. And then the Pod People have an eating scene to show off different puppet effects. Jan and Kira get to the castle and barely manage to save the day and have quite an emotional moment where they are surround by big cosmic events but who cares because Kira is near death! More emotional impact that most other movies out there! Woo!

One thing I happened to notice was how big the place isn't. Jen is told to go to Aughra's place, which is one day away. At the same time, the Chamberlain Skeksis follows the Garthim and turns up at her place at the same time... so the Skeksis castle is only one day away from Aughra's place. Everywhere is like two days walk from everywhere else! Makes a change from the epic distances we are supposed to believe are crossed in typical fantasy stories.

And the puppets are decent too... more or less. Whenever there was movement of the puppets in a long shot I had a hard time buying it. And I'm including when they had an actor dressed up as Jen move about. Shame as everything else about them is fine. Nice sets too.

Decent movie in many ways, just a few flaws to take me out of it.


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Sunday, 25 May 2014


Ah, the movie that brings to life: be careful what you wished for. And someone apparently wished for David Bowie in tight pants.

Sarah, a selfish young girl, gets ticked off with her baby brother, and has the Goblin King take him away. Immediately she regrets this, and so sets out through a supposed labyrinth to get him back... hey, that's not a labyrinth. A labyrinth is one path that's more for contemplative walking than an actual maze... but it does make for a better title. Along the way, she meets a bunch of friends, and if it wasn't for Ludo she wouldn't win. Seriously, there are some large gates that they only get through because Ludo is the big strong one. Without him, she would have been stumped long ago. Then eventually it all comes down to remembering a speech from a play that happens to be the exact words of anti-power she needs... which basically shows this up as an entire dream sequence from the get go.

I have to say... and we are talking nearly thirty years on now... some of those puppets do look a little dated now. Hoggle definitely looks he needs another pass or two to get him working better. Ludo works, but then he's just a large puppet that only has a prosthetic face and a large fur suit. Didymus also works well, being the standard size puppet they are used to working with... but some of those other goblins look rather raw, and the knights on dragon things just look bad. I'm not surprised Toby Froud spends a lot of the movie looking like he'd rather be in another movie.

But the core of the movie is the creepy relationship between David Bowie and a young Jennifer Connelly. And David Bowie's codpiece. And extra arms that can juggle his balls. They've all got their parts to do, but that's all they do, one expression each.

With a grown up brain, this is looking old and I can see the hands behind the puppets... it works more as a nostalgia piece now, with better movies done since.


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Saturday, 24 May 2014

Days of Wolverine's Kitty

I re-watched First Class so I was all set for the sequel... prequel... reboot... what the hell? Damn time travel!

I have no idea of closely this follows the comic, but the plot feels very straight forward. But considering we are dealing with time travel, and the emphasis is more on the characters with occasional set pieces, so a simple plot is fine. In the future Sentinels are killing everyone, so Logan goes back in time to stop an initial event that starts off everything... but of course it's not that simple, and time won't be so easily changed.

This also reflected with the number of mutants around... we get the basic set of Wolverine, X, Beast, Magneto and Mystique, and a few other cameos. (Like really surprising 'they got that actor back?' cameos.) The most extended other mutant is Quicksilver, although they don't come out with 'Hey, this is Magneto's son!' although they do side-refer to it. And he works better than you think, and shows off just what speedsters can do, even if he is no Flash...

James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender get slightly second fiddle to Hugh Jackman (guess who gets top billing!), although they get better character moments. And harder character moments trying to make some of their mutant moments to come across as credible. Jennifer Lawrence gets some actual acting to go, and Peter Dinklage has a lot of fun (apparently he is in some TV show?). The mutant effects are well done, although often we get 'screw physics' moments which ticked me off.

A decent movie, and stay for the post-credit scene... which was completely lost on me...


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Friday, 23 May 2014

Sun of Runbuw

So while I'm not inspired by Rambo (other than writing about it), here's a whole movie based on it! Which is all about the dangers of watching pirated material...

A kid is brought up religious, and doesn't watch TV or movies... even so far that he sits in the corridor when a documentary is played in class. And there he runs into the school trouble maker... and they become fast friends, the end. Okay, actually, the trouble maker gets the kid into trouble, but the kid is naive so buys all of it. And then the kid sees a screen cam of Rambo and is forever changed... he and the trouble maker make a film 'based' on Rambo, but then the kid ends up with the popular kids and his friendship with the trouble maker dives... and it's a feel good story about the idea that not having a father isn't a handicap...

Well, not really, but I'm going to give away everything...

This is a film from Gareth Jennigs... who also did the HHGTTG movie, so no wonder I wasn't taken away by the comedy. I could see what could be funny, but can't say I found it so myself. But this isn't a maudlin movie about two kids growing up, it is light and fun and somewhat wacky. The pace does flag a little towards the end, but the emotional story carries the movie as well as the basic plot. The beats aren't going to surprise anyone, but it is amusing to see Will Proudfoot's turn after watching the movie.

This does feature kids, and yet the performances of Bill Milner and Will Poulter are very good. The rest of the cast are decent, but they need to carry the movie and do so well. There are a few moments where its obvious CGI stepped in, but most of it is fine (given that it isn't that effects heavy). Overall the production works well.

While there have been many parodies and bad action movies based on Rambo, this uses it as a stepping off point for friendship and is a decent watch.


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Thursday, 22 May 2014

Rombo 4 Blud

What's a mere 20 years in a franchise? Certainly nothing to this film, although Stallone is definitely looking older.

In Burma a group of Christian Missionaries want to take hope and peace to the natives, and they convince Rambo to give them a ride up the river. Then they are captured by the local military bad guys, and... mercenaries are sent in. With Rambo going along for the ride. And then the rest of the movie is killing to free the Christians... so much killing... although the script doesn't have them say anything about that (that said, they definitely look upset over what happens... at least, those who survive do...).

Deliberately set in the Burma civil war, this shows off the horror of what goes on... although it then slips into fantasy as a small group of people get revenge on a large numbers of people with mass killings. It's pretty brutal, which is fitting, and parts of it are nearly realistic... but then the big guns get pulled out and pop shots away!

Stallone directs this, so gives a fair few moments to others, although he still gets plenty of hero shots. Julie Benz is the token female, making this the Rambo movie with the most female presence ever! And other caricatures are in this as well.

It makes a point about Burma, but still remains an action flick... (and that is meant negatively).


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Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Rimbi 3 Blud

We've had Rambo returns to the states, then Rambo returns to Vietnam, so clearly the next step is... generic action war piece.

When Rambo's mentor gets kidnapped, only one man is brave enough to take on the mission to... organise the Afghans to go get him back. They are rather more the heroes than he is (and the movie is dedicated to them). There is only the one goal the entire movie: get back Trautman, and he doesn't care how many people he has to kill or sacrifice to get that done. Nor how many wounds he takes. This time he gets beaten up more than the previous two movies combined, but that does stop an action hero? Of course not.

And so the movie plods on. Nothing really of note happens, and no grand statement is made (other than Go Afghans!). Just another 'blow everything up' movie that we've seen so many times (although this might have been an early contender for the start of it all, I have no idea). And Rambo does reach near cartoony levels of damage he's able to take and keep on getting up like nothing happened.

Still, at least Richard Crenna gets more to do than stand around for a while telling people not to underestimate Rambo. This time he gets beaten up while telling people not to underestimate Rambo. And Stallone gets to do physical stunts... and that's about it.

Definitely the low point of the set so far...


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Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Rembe 2 Blud

I threatened I was watching this series, so next up is the Part 2.

Even more than the first movie, this is a movie of two halves. In the first, Rambo is sent in to shoot prisoners of war... on camera. Bringing one back with him, he gets betrayed by Amurica, and then is captured by the Vietnamese. Then in the second half, he gets free because of the love of a good woman (so of course she dies as soon as he promises to save her), then he spends the rest of the running time cutting down mooks left right and centre without any problems what so ever...

There's a last scene speech that tries to give this context about abandoned POWs, but it really is more just an action movie than previous. There's Rambo, the good man trapped behind enemy lines... and that's about it. Revenge flick away! Stallone should try a full action movie where he doesn't say anything, it would be fantastic. And the main enemy, as such, is played by Charles Napier, whose character has one whole dimension to play in.

More guns, but eh... less interest.


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Monday, 19 May 2014

Ramba 1 Blud

I haven't seen a slew of Stallone movies, so time to catch up by watching his war documentaries. Starting, of course, with the First.

An arsehole drifter goes through town and is hassled by an arsehole sheriff. But then the drifter suffers from post Vietnam PTSD and starts attacking everyone. Then the chase is on out into the forest as Rambo constructs a number of anti-men devices surprisingly quickly. This continues until he comes into town and shoots up everything, before breaking down (in the one good emotional scene... although I couldn't understand most of the words, although I did get the sentiment).

Actually... a rather good movie. I think I was expecting more jungle action, probably influenced by hearing more about the second movie, but this is a decent outing. Despite the high action quotient, this shows what can happen to post-war vets, and no-one is really in the right here. You can see why Stallone is picked for the action flicks, and Brian Dennehy is believable as Teasle.

So enjoyable start to the series... let's see how long that lasts!


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Sunday, 18 May 2014

Mahete Killith

I don't recall the first Machete particularly fondly, but this one...

Machete is called in to go into Mexico and stop a dictator with a missile aimed at the US. However, because the dictator is randomly crazy, he's got the bomb wired to his heart, so Machete needs to bring him into the US to get it defused... and then the second half of the movie kicks off and it gets weird. And somewhat cartoony.

This was a lot of fun. Moreso than what I recall of the first, but this was silly, but a good silly. The humour is more weird than anything else, but when Lady Gaga turns up, you're pretty much along for the ride at that point anyway. Even the second half, with crazy Mel Gibson (yes I know, one of those words is redundant), spins off in new direction with its oddness. It starts to get more classic style 'big show down between forces', but even then it goes its own way.

Danny Trejo is fun to watch, and there are a lot of amusing cameos, but we aren't talking Emmy award acting here. This is more rawer Robert Rodriguez rough shooting, with 'good enough' takes (which are pretty good). The gun effects are simply added on afterwards sparks which doesn't read well, but the rest of the effects are good.

Fun movie, and a good watch.


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Saturday, 17 May 2014


Yes, I saw that new masterpiece that's out there smashing... Ford!

Young Ford loses his mother, then fifteen years later must come and take care of his crazy dad. Then begins a long journey home to his wife and child. Will Ford make it all the way back? What adversities will he have to overcome along the way? Oh, and every now and then, just to fill time until the next Ford scene, they cut away to some other random event that isn't Ford so who cares?

Really, you go see a Godzilla movie, and what's the one thing you ask them to have in it? I know there's a big deal about "slowly draw out the audience's expectation" and "don't show too much", but if Cloverfield taught us anything (and it didn't), it's that you need to, at some point, show something! Remember how everyone loved the army scenes in Transformers, and no-one wanted to see battling robots? Yeah, just like that!

Starring in this is Aaron "Generic White Action Bro" Taylor-Johnson, Elizabeth "Token Female" Olson, David "Used to be on Alphas" Strathaim, Ken "I Only Have This Shocked Expression" Watanabe, and Bryan "Apparently he's in some well known show?" Cranston. The camera work is not bad, when there's something worth seeing, and the creatures look decent.

But, yeah, where's my Godzilla movie?


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Friday, 16 May 2014


But no, because they are Americans, it's -Teen. Just like in the upcoming TV series, which is why I decided to rewatch the movie.

An Englishman American called Constantine is moping about, being all emo about how he can see devils and angels, and he's going to die soon and go to hell. Boo hoo. But then a woman comes into his life whom he decides to protect because he's actually the hero, then all his friends die and he's a total prick to get what he wants...

Which does make it like Hellblazer in many ways. I haven't read a lot of those stories, but I did read the smoking one that feeds into part of this... and I have to say I like how the movie does it, a lot simpler than the long drawn out comic is. However, the main plot with the Spear of McGuffin (which is largely irrelevant) is rather overdone pants and typical for "let's make the movie about saving the world". Fine, John did do that, but he also dealt with more interesting personal stories. The producers probably also went big so they could have a lot of flashy effects to make people go 'wow'. Or rather... 'woah'...

Because, yes, let's talk about Keanu Reeves. Who does smoke in this, unlike what'll happen in the TV series. He gets the emo side of John down, but not really anything else. Rachel Weisz should have gotten a better agent than deal with this script. And Shia LaBeouf is in this Shia LaBeoufing all over the place, so that's not good either. And least Tilda Swinton and Peter Stomare are having fun with their parts.

Not a great Constantine movie, possibly relies a little too much on knowing the comics as well as spitting all over them. Could be a better paranormal movie as well... but then could easily have been a lot worse.


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Thursday, 15 May 2014

Dread the Judge

Yeah, I watched this movie. And so did the other guy. Neither of us went into this entirely willingly, but it's been a while since I've seen it so let's give it another chance. And actually...

Okay, the script is awful. Don't remove Joe's helmet, I don't care how much you want to show off Stallone's face, that's one thing you don't do. But then they have to show that he and Armand Assante look the same (which they don't really). And if you are going to send Dredd to a penal colony, fine there is no reason for him to wear a helmet. So, within the terrible story they are giving us, the lack of helmet is tolerable... but they still shouldn't have done it as early as they did.

Oh, and Rob Schneider is in this, as the comedy relief... this is painful on so many levels. Don't need the character, don't need the actor, is there an edit of this movie without him? Might actually be tolerable... but again, they need someone to be explained at during Dredd's scenes, so we have to have someone... but did we have to have him?

Script and cast aside (is that all?)... actually, the world itself is rather well done. Megacity looks like the sprawling mess that it is, and... yeah, I like it. The Judge outfits look a little under developed, but the rest of the costuming works well. I can accept that this is a decent screen translation of the comic. Yes, I'm saying there is a good part of this movie. If only they could have done a better story with different actors...

With the background to concentrate on, this movie is nearly tolerable... but then you see what's in the foreground, and it goes to hell again...


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Wednesday, 14 May 2014

Reign of Winter

When we last left our heroes, they were about to sit down and have a heart to heart with what would be a bone construct, and discuss all the philosophical ramifications... or, you know, have Mage trapped in a bone cage, and the rest of us fighting. Unfortunately, I can't be bothered switching to a club, so attack with an attack... a little less damage, but I like it [and I've got all the stats in my head about it]. Of course, we win, but at what cost? Er, a little bit of damage, really, no big deal.

After that, we talk to... the housekeeper? She tells us a bit about the house, and shows the way to the library... and then Felgard throws the keys into the cauldron and off we go! And the inside of the hut changes into some arrangement we have no idea about. Good.

We sit and rest for a while, because that's what you do... [and I now have Masterwork armour!] Then go a-wandering. We find another room, containing an old rusted metal forest. A raven tells us we need to solve a riddle, and go on to face our greatest fear ever...


Fortunately, it was an evil boar that was the incarnation of some demon, and not the wild boar from the forest, and after feeling better about that, we set about it with axe and other things... and this is probably the closest I've come to dying for a while. Three hits would probably have put me down without healing (which I now get to save against!), but hey, I do kill the boar... but then Mage has to put it down. (Damn ferocity!) After that, we get one clue out of three... joy, a clue quest!

With that excitement over, we decide to rest up once again.


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Tuesday, 13 May 2014

The Day The Lasted 21 Years

Film Festival time. We started with Milk & Honey a short that talks about the Dawn Raids in the mid 1970s. What happens to the people in this short is a lot nicer than what happened to most, but it's a nice window.

In conjunction with Reel Brazil, we watched The Day That Lasted 21 Years, about the military coup of 1964. When Joao Goulart took over the Presidency, the US Ambassador decided that his ideas were anti-US... and so actively got together with the military forces and backed said coup in 1964. A coup which left the military in power for 21 years... in which they did a number of horrendous acts of torture, which the US didn't say anything about, certainly didn't condemn it (because US and torture, amirite?), and still aided with money. Yeah, the CIA are the good guys here because they brought the country. Good for them.

Not exactly glowing, but it does show what happened, and that's what a good documentary does. We get many talking heads, including people who were involved in the events, with the benefit of many years since.

A good movie for those of us who have no idea.


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Monday, 12 May 2014

Why are you telling me this?

There are various types of songs out there. Some fun, some sad... and some downright dodgy. Often it's not until you listen to the lyrics properly that you get just how off a song is.

This is one from the New Zealand group Strawpeople.

The knife is in my hand, but I, I won't cut your, I won't touch your, your beautiful skin.
Okay, I get that you are trying to be reassuring about this... but why do you feel the need to have a knife in your hand in the first place? And why all this talking about cutting? You are cutting me, aren't you? ("I won't dig too deep.") Yeah, please, no... stop that... ow... STOP CUTTING ME! ("Just close your eyes and go back to sleep.") I don't think so!


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Sunday, 11 May 2014

Die Colour, Die!

A short while ago, and for a short while, Die Farbe was available on youtube... and this is my late review of it. It is based on the H P Lovecraft tale "The Color Out of Space", which I haven't read, so don't know how faithful this is.

In an old German village a meteorite falls but disappears over time. And then crops and the land around where it landed starts becoming strange, and the family that lives nearby gets sick and goes crazy... and that's about the bulk of the story. This could easily be a natural tale about some weird poisoning, or radiation effect, but no, not for Lovecraft. There's a supernatural element in that what came down in the meteorite was The Colour, and that's what infected everything, and that's what leaves at the end (in a sequence that reminded me of Encounter at Farpoint). And there's an over-arching narrative that doesn't quite make sense.

It's a decent production, considering it's mainly just people in rooms talking. It's all done in black and white, so that the Colour can be visually distinct (albeit a colour we are already familiar with, not a new one from out of space). The Colour is also obvious CG, but what can you do?

Good, although slow paced, story.


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Saturday, 10 May 2014

Son of a B-man

Because everyone loves Damien, why not make an animated movie featuring him?

One of the more boring villains is Ra's Al Ghul... who has a daughter Talia... who had sex with Batman to produce Damien. We start with the League of Assassins (who get killed a lot), then Damien is dumped with Batman, and we then get a heart warming tale of father and son. Or father giving the son a sense of humanity... and a Robin costume, because what you want is a young boy in bright red spandex to be a target. Will Damien turn around enough to not kill everyone he meets? Oh boy, can't wait to find out!

This is pretty much Damien's origin story... and it's about as boring as you'd expect. Do people like Damien? I'm not sure as I don't follow the comics and the fans even less so, but it struck me as just another gimmick to pad out the Talia storyline which never interested me in the first place. (And if you can't tell she's the sexy ninja woman, she spends most of her time on screen in a cleavage revealing tight suit.) Damien presents as an obnoxious brat, and doesn't really grow out of that over the time of the movie, so don't get too hung up on character growth for the main character.

The voice performances are decent, although the art style reminded me a little of Aeon Flux with oddly elongated character models. Typical DC fare here.

Which is the overall message. Another DC animated movie, although the topic doesn't appeal to me, it's adequate watching.


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Friday, 9 May 2014

Ded in Tomston

Danny Trejo, Anthony Michael Hall, Mickey Rourke... what could go wrong? Well, this movie for starters...

The plot is rather solid, albeit simple. The Blackwater gang rolls into town, robs a bank, then the actual main bad guy shots the not so bad guy... and then the not so bad guy is sent back by the devil to kill all the others. And slowly, he does. I could see basing a mod on this idea...

The problem lies in the execution. The director is Roel Reine, whose CV looks to be mainly making sequels no-one asked for. (There's a Scorpion King 3????) And his style seems to be cut, cut, cut, then sloooow moootioooon at really odd moments with really odd shots. Getting on a horse isn't that impressive, no matter how flaring out the coat. And when done in the middle of an action sequence it's quite annoying.

The actors are giving command performances, although the actual dialogue doesn't stand up to much. There's more focus on bloodpacks that words, although Mickey Rourke nearly deals to both with his scenery chewing (that said, I do like him as the devil, quite amusing).

Given to a different director, this would have been a proper mediocre movie.


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Thursday, 8 May 2014

The Ferric Bigman

I dunno... I read the original novel, I'm not sure about this adaptation... something about it seems carefully crafted to be too formulaic...

A metal man comes to earth and befriends a kid who adopts pets. Unfortunately, the army is Evil and want to smash the giant up... and that's about it. Either the kid is going 'aww' with the giant, or the army guy is going 'arrgh!' At least in the book something more happened that "evil thing might not be evil!", which is the entire point of the movie.

People go on about the ending, where Giant saves the day, and how it is a tear jerker... but it's obvious what's going to happen! Even more obvious that they undo it all with the next scene! This is what I mean by formulaic. Of course there's a beat where the Giant appears to be a monster. Of course he's redeemed by the kid. Of course he is going to save the day. Tick, tick, tick all the boxes.

Once again, yes I am jaded and cynical. It's all right, but I'm not amazed or moved.


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Wednesday, 7 May 2014

Jack is Whack

He's back! With Season 9! And people were already saying that the series downward spiralled after season 5, so that's good. This is a twelve episode run, although it's still going to cover 24 hours, so maybe they'll actually get some sleep for a change?

Actually this is a rather slow start. Only one notable explosion, and hardly anyone gets killed. What's up with that? Yes, there are national level catastrophes happening, but... I have to say, this show is feeling small. Cramped? Possibly we are spending too much time indoors with only a few people for long periods, but there is the impression of not much happening.

Still, we do get some new faces... and now it's simply a matter of waiting to see who in the CIA will turn out to be a traitor. Even with only twelve episodes, someone will be. Odds are on Yvonne, as she has the action chops, but they did the main female lead being a traitor last time (Starbuck). And yes, Stephen Fry was indeed the British Prime Minster, although not a large role (televisually speaking).

Of course, I will watch more. Although my usual 24 route is to get the DVD then binge watch so this will be a different experience. Still, only ten more episodes to go, we'll see how this turns out...


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Tuesday, 6 May 2014

Heavy Duty, Man

I got me the Danger Mouse 25th Anniversary set, which has every DM cartoon evah! Including many I haven't seen. Including... Heavy Duty.

This is a weird story. I first thought about writing about it because it has land sharks that can swim through concrete! Take that SyFy! They can do this because a mad scientist created a formula to make the sharks extra dense and thus be able to swim through normal matter... which makes more sense than what SyFy comes up with.

But... this is a long episode (22 minutes), with distinctly odd character beats, and more padding that usual and... most unforgiveably... long stretches of unfunny segments. I can see they are trying, but it just doesn't work. Strange because most scripts are eye-rollingly bad, not just straight bad.

This video may or may not work for you... but you can look up "Danger Mouse Heavy Duty" for yourself to watch and see.


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Monday, 5 May 2014


I keep hearing people say good things about this, but I'm too jaded and cynical, so of course I wasn't going to get excited over it.

At this point, I usually give some form of plot recap, but when I was watching this so many logic problems were ringing through my brain. Why did Gothel tell Rapunzel about... well, anything! Why teach her English? Why teach her about the outside world? Why tell her when her own damn birthday was? Frankly, that's just begging from trouble from the lanterns. Did Gothel disappear suddenly before Rapunzel before Rapunzel was able to lower her down on her hair, because Rapunzel never knew about the passage down? How was her hair able to stay so manageable? (Magic!) And exactly what length was it anyway, because that changed from scene to scene as well. And why did no-one recognise Flynn in town? Was his nose that out of it? AND WHY WAS THE HORSE ANIMATED AS A DOG??? If you wanted a dog, put a damn dog in there!

As I said, this was during the movie, so it's not like I'm thinking back on it now and coming up with stuff. There's fridge moments, and then there's being distracted from the movie before your eyes.

Otherwise it seems fine, but can I move on now?


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Sunday, 4 May 2014


I've mentioned Hidden Object games before, and this is the latest one I played. Infected: The Twin Vaccine. Indeed, the Collector's Edition. Although I'm not sure what the collection is.

The storyline is that young (six year old!) twins got the infection first, one died the other didn't but has gone missing. So it is up to you to hunt around various locations and track her down. And do some very stupid puzzles.

Like... seriously stupid. For example, the fire hose is behind a tile puzzle, which is locked behind getting four keys, which is locked behind three fetch quest puzzles, which is... who does that? Who sets all that up? Who decides that a fire hose should be hidden away? That's just ridiculous. There is a point when the plot should provide some basis to continue the game mechanics, but in this case the game mechanics are there first, and the plot bends in inane ways to allow instances of the mechanics.

And there's a lot of backtracking. Like go three or four screens, get one piece, then go four screens back, then repeat... which, while annoying, is made worse by long loading times. This game isn't huge, and computers are advanced these days, the whole thing could probably be loaded into memory and the player should be able to speed through quickly. That's just unforgivable!

And in this collection, there's a bonus chapter of more story, and art and a behind the scenes movie. In all, three hours to get through the game and that. (And I only had to look something up once, and otherwise didn't use any hints at all.)

The stupid logic and repetitive gameplay get in the way of really enjoying it.


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Saturday, 3 May 2014

A Job to the Nuts

What do you get if you mash two different plots together and throw in Psy? This movie!

Surly (because that's a name for the hero) is a squirrel that is out for himself, and ends up evicted from the park and has to make his way on his own... fortunately the park is across from a nut store, so that works out nicely. But the park animals need food and so they must all get together to raid the store. So yes, this is a heist movie. Which is clear in the the other plot, in which some psuedo-comedy robbers are tunnelling to and raiding the next door bank.

And that's the... one of the biggest problems in this movie. The two stories do not inform each other. You could have the human storyline without the animals, and absolutely nothing would change. And what the humans are doing are just obstacles for the animals, but what the human are doing, ie a similar heist, is completely irrelevant. They could have been a family of accountants for all it mattered! And that's terrible writing.

The other... one of the other problems is the comedy. In that I didn't even smile once, never mind even laugh. Events happen because that's what the script says, not because there's any reason, not because there's any connection, and not because there's any jokes being set up or paid off. The bad guy the animals face is just the bad guy because the script says there needs to be a bad guy. Did Liam Neeson not actually read the script before the recording? I wouldn't be surprised if no-one did.

Just... no. I'm not sure what caused this movie to come into existence, maybe it was another foreign idea done with American redubbing, but no. Just... no.


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Friday, 2 May 2014

The Man Who was written by Reed Stephens

I'm a big fan of Stephen Donaldson. His Thomas Covenant series is absolutely my favourite series ever, and I will reread them before hitting the final trilogy (currently in four books). Inbetween his fantasy works, he wrote some detective novels, The Man Who series. A style I refer to as 'pulp noir', for reasons I'll get to later. The thing is... his publishers insisted he wrote it under a pen name, of Reed Stephens, so that was a whole set of novels I didn't know about, because it didn't come up under an easy search of his name.

Then I got a three book collection of his: The Man Who Killed His Brother, The Man Who Risked His Partner, and The Man Who Tries To Get Away. (There's another one The Man Who Fought Alone, but I don't have this). Yay! More Stephen Donaldson to read!

...but this is bleak. Like, really bleak. Donaldson isn't known for writing cheery stories, and people are anti-heroes, at best, but this just beats up on the characters. The main guy, the narrative I, is an alcoholic, but drags himself around and does his deeds because he feels major levels of obligation, but he keeps going on about it. Uh, I had to read other things after the first book because it was so depressive...

The third book is the best, mainly because it could be considered the most traditional and straight forward (which isn't to say it doesn't have moaning and over complication).

I will read the last book at some point but yeah... onto something else please...


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Thursday, 1 May 2014


Since I have Half-Life 2, and people put out free mods for it, I availed myself of one, by the name of Minerva.

The game sees you as J. Random Shootering McShooterson, and you are infiltrating (where stealth = shooting the other guys before they get you) an island base where some weird things are happening. You progress down through the levels until you find the big thing... and then you blow it up. Sounds exciting, right?

There are a number of connected areas, and I can't recall a lot of loading screens, but I'm sure there were separate chapters. But what happens in each area is basically: go through the area, solving a very simple puzzle, which may be as basic as pushing a button, then fight your way out as guards suddenly appear. And this basically repeats for the entire game. Even the final level is just running back through the entire map from end to start. With shooting.

While the story is minimal, and works in its minimal way, the maps do take some slogging through. More than once I got lost as to where I was supposed to go next, and only got through because I tried going everywhere. And yes, I threw on a basic cheat because endless dying and respawning is not fun.

So the basic story is all right, and the feel is Half-Life-y, but the maps get in the way and repetitive nature of each area works against it.


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