Thursday, 31 July 2014

The Kingdom of Dreams and Madness

Studio Ghibli does great movies, but what goes on in The Kingdom of Dreams and Madness?

While there is something about the history of Ghibli, this movie is mainly focused on the production of The Wind Rises (so there are sort of spoilers for that). We follow Miyazaki as he creates the storyboards, then goes through some of the other production moments. We see Miyazaki spend a lot of energy on this, so it is not shocking that this is his final movie.

I could of done with a little more reminding who people were, and their relationship to the production process, because there are many important people, and the movie introduces them once then leaves you to remember who they are. This is really about Miyazaki's current movie, so there could easily be another movie talking about Studio Ghibli itself.

If you like Ghibli and want to know more about behind the scenes, of course you are going to watch this.


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Wednesday, 30 July 2014

The Epic of Everest

This is one of those documentaries you go in knowing how it turns out, which isn't great. But this is the Epic of Everest.

A group of British men took on the task of climbing Mount Everest… by which this means they stand around posing, while the Sherpas do all the work. They also look really underdressed, perhaps they wore many undershirts? We start in the local village, then start climbing and filming, towards the end with the aid of long lenses. Two men die on the way, and their death is treated rather casually. More import is given to the last two gentlemen who go up but don’t come down. Nothing is known of their ultimate fate, but the movie turns philosophical and asks if this snow blanket isn't a good end? But ultimately we are left with Everest still reigning strong.

This is black and white reprocessed film, with an added soundtrack. While mostly black and white, some scenes are tinted red or blue… to give the audience a break, I presume? It is impressive that they got this footage, and now we have cleaned it up and are showing it to people. Nice.

Decent wee documentary, and shows what humanity is capable of… even if not fully capable.


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Tuesday, 29 July 2014

A Brony Tale

It's not all NZIFF movies. Here's a movie I missed from an earlier festival. My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic is a phenomenon. The fans of this show are referred to as Bronies, and this is A Brony Tale.

I'm not sure if it's me projecting, but this movie comes off as rather defensive. There are a lot of interview clips with Bronies, where they are basically saying "I like MLP, but I like other stuff too, I’m still a man", which isn’t really the message they should be going for (the message is "I am a man despite linking MLP" rather than "I am a man who likes MLP"). The other part of the movie is following actress Ashleigh Bell (voice of Rainbow Dash and Applejack) as she prepares to go to her first BronyCon. (There is little footage of BronyCon, were they not allowed to film there?) She starts rather apprehensive about meeting Bronies, but soon realises they are just normal people that happen to like MLP. Although some do like MLP a LOT. Then again any fandom (and I'm gonna include sports here) has fanatics, it's in the name.

There are also some talking heads about the psychology of the people involved, but we later find out that the son of one of the researchers is a Brony, so I think we know where that interest came from.

It wasn't really what I was hoping for in a Brony movie, but it could have easily been so much worse (certainly the main publicity image does not help).


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Monday, 28 July 2014

Under the Skin

I’m not one to leap to the claim of "Pretentious", but I’m going to do so for Under the Skin.

The woman prowls the streets of London, seducing men and bringing them back to be absorbed. While there are a few men protecting her, they are unable to stop her from becoming entranced by humanity until her curiosity takes her too far…

A lot has been made of how this is filmed with real people, but considering what happens, I’m not sure that that much 'real people' footage was used. At least it shows that as a hot starlet you can still be disguised with normal clothes and (I assume) a wig.

Still, if you want to see Scarlett Johansson nude, this is the movie for you. (And, to be balanced, there are a fair few naked men as well.)

I'm sure this movie will be hyped as "indie" and Johansson's role won't hurt, but there's a large gap between "different" and "good".


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Sunday, 27 July 2014

The Great Museum

The Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna is considered The Great Museum.

This movie focuses on the introduction of a new exhibit, whereby we see the old room cleaned out and the new pieces being prepared. Which made me think “once you are a piece of art, you are causing a lot of work for people to keep you clean”. We see quite a few pieces being cleaned, and discussion of what the museum needs to be successful, and we get up to the actual opening (and that’s when the movie ends).

It’s an interesting look behind the workings of the museum. It’s presented as just people getting on with work, and no talking heads. And it’s put together well enough that we don’t need that. I do like documentaries that let the subjects unfold without help (not all movies pull this off).

While 90 minutes feels like it could have been longer, there is a three hour museum movie on as well… I suspect I will end up preferring this.


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Saturday, 26 July 2014

Cyborg memory

So, a week ago I had a problem with my computer downloading anything... I unplugged my computer, and now it's working fine... (in that I'm now using wireless, and that works, so it was probably a problem with the cable.)

But do I need to spend a whole post on that one paragraph? No, but there is one feature I want to address. That I linked to a past post. It may not seem like much, but the point is that this blog has been going on for a while, and I can't remember everything I wrote. Some times, I can't even remember that I addressed it at all!

My memory isn't great, so this blog is a useful resource for remembering things for me... which is basically saying that I am using technology to augment my brain. Hell, I use glasses to augment my vision already. And we all use technology (especially if you are reading this) to augment our abilities to talk to people. I am already a cyborg, and so are all of us.

It's not a huge observation, but it's one to recall at times and be amazed about when people start complaining about becoming man/machines...


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Friday, 25 July 2014


I can barely remember the first one, which is what you want in a classic movie that gets a sequel.

In subplot C, the two main humans from the first film find a potential spot in the Amazon where there are lots of birds of the type Blu is. So in subplot A, Blu and family go to the Amazon to find the birds... which they do almost straight away. In subplot D, people are bulldozing the trees down. Subplot F is the blue birds are "fighting" the red birds for space. And subplot E has other birds trying to get birds from the Amazon to be in their carnival experience. Leaving subplot B to be the "evil" bird of the first film to come back and try to get Blu.

As you might be able to guess, this makes the film rather disjointed. After the first parts of each story got set up and sort out, half the movie is already over! So these aren't deep plots, and the intersect at various points along the film, but don't have a huge impact on each other. They are just things the movie can cut to when it's tired of whatever it's showing at the moment.

And, of course, there is no surprises at any point...

Sigh... I'm not talking about this any more...


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Thursday, 24 July 2014

The Power of Krull

Ah, 80s fantasy, what sense did you make? Everyone's seen this, it's just one of those things. And not just me, also Peter and Paul.

In a fantasy setting comes the Black Fortress from Outer Space. However, the planet is in medieval times, and so aren't much against swords... with lasers! After a wedding goes red (heh, I see what I did there), the bride is napped, and the groom must go on a Quest, an Epic Fetch Quest as he very conveniently meets an old man who can lead him through the plot. First he gets the MacGuffin we all remember, then goes after a person, but that ends in death, so they go to another person, that also ends in death, before finally going somewhere else... where there is a lot of death. The MacGuffin proves to be rather crap, but fortunately the day is saved by the power of luv. Then quick exit pursued by everything falling.

While there are names in here I recognise, I can't say I've seen the two lead lovebirds before. That said... Ken Marshall went on to be in Deep Space Nine, although with somewhat less hair. Freddie Jones as the amazingly useful Ynyr (get a vowel, man!) is a credible performance, unlike, say... the prisoners who are hamming harder than a pig farm (including a Robbie Coltrane with a different voice... and Liam Neeson!). David Battley deserves special mention as not Peter Cook.

One element from this I remember is from Alan Dean Foster, who wrote the novelisation. He was puzzled by why the Seekers would use swords, when they have LASERS! He added an element in the book of them having honour or similar that says they had to use the swords for close combat. Or maybe the lasers take distance to properly charge up? Or maybe it was bad writing. And whenever I looked at the Black Fortress, only one thing came to mind. The 'glaive' itself is very pretty looking, and I like how it is ultimately proven useless. It seemed rather easy that "bad guy is defeated by MacGuffin", and then he wasn't! Nice!

This is classic fantasy, although nowadays the idea of "medieval knights encounter spaceship" reminds me more of The High Crusade. (Which I don't plan on watching again.)


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Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Reign of Winter

When we last left our cunning heroes, they were on top of a mesa with a carved image of a beautiful woman on the side. They were on a flat surface, and looking around they see an entrance to the inside, but the way is guarded by some old trees.

As Nanoc approaches, one of the trees comes to life, and demands a sacrifice of warmth and blood. After failing to trick her into letting us pass, Hogan creates life by bringing two wardogs into existence... and they are immediately taken up by tree tendrils and crushed to death. Go us!

Inside, we go down a spiral staircase, and into a room with a large two headed creature. Felgard confuses it enough for us to easily slip past and beyond. [Two relatively easy encounters, yay!]

However, proceeding down the passage, we come to a locked door. While Liddick spends time opening it, a frost giant comes up, squeezing in the passage, and calls out an alarm. We ready to fight, slowly hitting it from afar as it backs off. Finally provoked into action by his comrades, Nanoc charges! And loses nearly half his life... And the giant has moved back enough that demon dog creatures can join in.

Rounds go by while Nanoc slashes away at his foes... and the others also help... and finally, just as the locked door is opened, the final creature is felled, leaving the way clear... to a smelly room.

Rather than proceed further, we tuck ourselves away into a side room, and wait out the night.


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Tuesday, 22 July 2014

The Stranger

Orson Wells stars and directs The Stranger and doesn't rate it his best film. I can't argue with him about that.

Using the old (by now) trap of releasing a prisoner and following him, Wilson tracks through to Harper, Connecticut, the home of a retired Nazi. And there is absolutely no question about who it is, because the movie tells us immediately. And there is little doubt about will Wilson find out, because he does so pretty much immediately. And then the rest of the movie is just marking time while everyone waits for the truth to come out.

While this is a "thriller", it's a slow thriller... and not very thrilling. We know who all the players are, their true selves, so we just sit and wait for the movie to plot along. While Orson Wells doesn't seem terribly interested, Loretta Young gives a great performance opposite him. While I can't recall seeing Edward G. Robinson in other pictures, he seems to be doing solid pedestrian work here.

A rather flat movie, overall.

And this song kept going through my head:

The film society is taking a break while the NZIFF is on, so I'm sure I won't see any movies until it comes back...


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Monday, 21 July 2014

100 Yen: The Japanese Arcade Experience

It's all about the arcade... the Japanese Arcade! This was kickstartered and such, but not from me, so I waited for the normal version like a pleb.

We get a pottered history of Japanese Arcade, starting with Taito and running through shooter games, fighting games and dance games. We get some time with each, and the core of all points is that these people spend a lot of money to become good at games. The opening point is that Japan ran out of 100 yen coins as so many were pumped into arcade machines. They touch on American arcades, and how they fell over, and Japanese mom and pop stores are doing the same... but the big names are still going hard. Consoles are a big more of a problem, but that's gonna happen.

Japan's culture is one of being quiet in homes, so to socialise they go to arcades and the like, so that has a definite leg up in the being popular stakes. I am reminded most of gambling joints, with the large flashy machines drawing people in and taking their money. This just offers no chance of getting money back and less movies are made about them.

Decent documentary, but I'm not sad I didn't back it.


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Sunday, 20 July 2014

Sax-Strang Samura

I've heard a few people talking about this, so of course I wanted to join the band wagon...

In the post-war America, after bombs obliterated it all in the 1950s, Elivs rules Vegas until he died. Introducing Buddy, who's heading to Vegas to take his place, along with other rockers. We start with him rescuing an extremely annoying kid, who then follows him, and then... we get fight, then moving on, then fighting, then moving on, then fighting... I can't remember how often that repeats, but we eventually get to the end when they get near Vegas.

That kid is really annoying. He screams out some sound instead of talking, and sounds a lot like the kid from Ico. One of the writers also plays the main lead, so guess who gets the cool scenes, the women, and all the other great moments in the film? Really, Buddy can do no wrong.

I do like the outfits in this, they are well put together. The rest of it... I can't summon the energy to get invested.

As a gimmick, this film just doesn't grip me.


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Saturday, 19 July 2014

What, now?

So here's a new problem my computer seems to have developed...

Whenever I download anything, there's a good chance the file is corrupted. Video file, PDF, Install exe, anything! And so I need to check every file immediately and then might have to download it again! That's really slowing me down when I can't trust the download.

Let alone videos don't play properly (flash problem?) and even some images won't load!

And yes, I tried switching things off and on again. It is just my laptop, but I have no idea why. Is it a virus? Did I change some setting? Did some hardware fail? Is it a loose connection in a wire? It could be any of those things... or more!

While I don't want to consider getting a new laptop, that might be the easiest solution if I can't track this problem down, or it doesn't reliably go away. But for now...


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Friday, 18 July 2014


It was two years ago that Pratchett wrote and published this, and I've only now gotten around to paying attention to it... am I going off him? Or just don't read his non-Discworld stuff avidly?

Dodger is one of the poor of Queen Victoria's London, and gets involved when he finds a woman being beaten. From that small event, he gets caught up in events that are bigger than him, and what people want to believe about him doesn't reflect his truth, but that doesn't matter. While still staying small scale, Dodger gets rocketed up to high society and even, in a way, gets involved in the political stage. Mainly while toshing around the sewers...

This was short, but my overall experience of it was... this really felt like a way for Pratchett to shove in historical figures he likes (which he largely admits in his afterword). And the plot goes really well for Dodger, he's so lucky that it gets near immersion breaking just how easy the story is for him.

The other aspect was this reminded me a lot of his Guards novels, although, of course, this is from the other side. It does kind of want to make me go and read the Guards novels.

While still Pratchettian, Dodger feels like he didn't try too hard.


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Thursday, 17 July 2014

NZIFF 2014

Hey, it's that time! The New Zealand International Film Festival! And here, as ever, is some of the movie I'm interested in.

The Epic of Everest
Black Coal, Thin Ice
Yves Saint Laurent
Dior and I
Land Ho!
At Berkeley
National Gallery
The Double
Fish & Cat
Under the Skin
The Great Museum
Particle Fever
Print the Legend
notes to eternity
The Kingdom of Dreams and Madness
Jodorowsky's Dune
The Babadook / Eloise

Not that this is everything that is interesting... but it's enough. Although I have no idea how many... well, few of these I'll see, given I don't intend to go to the Roxy or Penthouse in the evening, and won't be anywhere near Lighthouse... but no doubt I'll blog here.


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Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Escaped Rosecliffed Islanded

It's another hidden object game! Yay! And it seems it only took me about four hours to play Escape Rosecliff Island.

You are stuck on an island, trying to find objects to help you escape. Which you go by completing hidden object games, and then complete a mini-puzzle... and that's it. Each hidden object screen contains ten items and two locks, and there are generally four or five screens per level... and there are 25 levels! Which is where the problem is, in that that's all there really is, and all it is. This is from back in 2009, and I'm glad more has been done since. There is no story, there are only four mini-puzzles it cycles through, and one relies on luck more than skill, so that's annoying. And the whole thing is timed, but that didn't pause me at all.

The locks open two mini-games. One is a match 3, which is one of the mini-puzzles, the luck based one. And there are tons of match 3 games if I wanted to play those. And the other is an infinite search mode... which just sounds tedious.

One mechanic here which I didn't have in the previous game was that whenever we went back to the same screen (and there are only 10 "rooms", so we go back often), all the items are there. In the previous game, when you removed an item, they stayed gone, which gave a nice sense of progress in each screen, even if it did make the screens easier because there are less items. But I liked that! Here it's just messy and stays messy.

So... not much fun. Fortunately, I have many other games to play.


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Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Holy Motors

I'm not sure if "surreal" even captures what the hell this movie is all about. ... In fact, I'm just not sure what the hell this movie is all about. Holy Motors is... random.

Monsieur Oscar is an actor, putting on any kind of act. All kinds of acts. We get to see nine of them, as we follow Oscar for the day. We start off easy, but this film doesn't stay easy. We get a few hints as to the nature of what the point of all this is, but don't expect to be given answers. And then there's that end scene which... I don't even...

Denis Lavant gives the main performance...s. And he certainly commits to the part. There are, of course, a lot of French actors, but also some cameos you might not expect in the form of Eva Mendes... and Kylie Minogue, who gets a song of her own to put in. Credit also needs to be given to the make up artists who given Denis full do overs.

I don't fully get what I saw... but I did enjoy it!


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Monday, 14 July 2014

The real Doctor Who

Because America is the true source of all actual history:


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Sunday, 13 July 2014

Dokutā fū

Presented without further comment, because what are you doing to say?

At last this does bring about the long fabled team up between the Daleks and the Cybermen, and who (sic) doesn't want that? And while I don't see a lot of fan based bits that are worth watching, this does rate highly.


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Saturday, 12 July 2014

Camp Drudge

Hey, it's a horror movie! Starring Eric Roberts! Woo, what could possibly be worth watching?

What about that schtick where a reality tv series in which people are fakily killed off, but only they are being killed off for reals? Hell, it's a TV Trope. And that's what's happening here. A director is trying to bring back his 80s horror Summer Camp trilogy, and does so by getting young 20 somethings to come be in a reality tv camp show and they are mysteriously murdered. But who is behind it?

This is slightly original in that it really is the obvious goings on that is going on. It really is the psycho killer that is the psycho killer. Wow. I haven't seen that before, because it's not a surprise. And nothing here is a surprise. People getting shocking revelation of killer is real, and then they are killed off. It's rote! And then at the end, they have to have the twist... and even that isn't surprising! You see it coming... and there it is... and there we go onto the next thing. Meh.

Eric Roberts is just phoning it in here, so normal performance there. The others are also not really giving much, with admittedly only one-note characters to play with. It's the prissy one, it's the slutty one, it's the jock one, it's the nice guy one, it's the token black dude... Double Meh.

Written and directed by the same person can mean either auteur or cheap ass junk. Guess which this is. Triple Meh.


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Friday, 11 July 2014

Fifth Ed

You may have heard that D&D Fifth Edition is out. Well, RPGMP3 have got you covered on the basics.

Here is Hal unboxing the Starter Set.

Here Hal helps Nick set up a new character.

And then they have the first session of the included game: The Lost Mines of Phandelver. (Better audio file to come.)


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Thursday, 10 July 2014

Jacky Nyan

I've only seen some of the Jack Ryan movies, and haven't read the books, so have no expectations going into this other than vaguely hoping for a decent action movie.

You know those shadowy movies in which a person is contacted by some mysterious figure and supposedly joins a major agency, only to find out that they were set up by the bad guys trading off the cloak and dagger nature of the cloak and dagger business? This movie opens in exactly that way, and I was sort of expecting the reveal to happen at any moment... only this really is the proper shadowy agency. What we then get is an exciting action movie... about a Russian company not paying money. Or something. There's a lot of words put around the idea that somehow not having open accounts leads to imminent terrorism, but this movie isn't really going for plot details. Instead it has its major action beats ready to go, and everything else is just fluff to get through. The big one is breaking into an office building and downloading from a computer... thrilling! Then the last scene involves driving a truck around, even more thrilling!

As you might guess, I wasn't that impressed. When, after the big office set piece, I realised this was supposed to be the big second act piece and that there was only around thirty minutes left, I lost a lot of interest in how events would play out. This was action for the sake of action, and not actually anything to get invested in. I will give there was mild interest in the character relationship between Jack and Cathy 'obvious love interest' Muller, but any tension was only in one or two scenes before she is reduced to 'prize to be protected'.

There are some big names in this. Kenneth Branagh (who also directed) and Kevin Costner both feature heavily... and Chris Pine and Kiera Knightly are the main leads who are also on screen. That they are all in this movie is the most I'm going to say about them.

I might try the books and see if they play any better, but this movie doesn't ultimately inspire that much.


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Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Reign of Winter

Sooner or later there comes a time when you go shopping. As we did. Well, crafting, mainly, and training and such. But we had 21k gp to spend, and ended with about 100gp... damn, magic items are costly, even when you make them yourself. Still, we are now better weaponed and armoured, so that's a good thing. Although we could be better. [And I think we are down in magic items from where we should be normally.]

After that, we set out for the stones that... were something we needed to do? After travelling for a while, near a river, we met up with a rider on a horse... who attacked us immediately. What's up with that? Still, I charge in, because that's what I do. And I stopped him from running over the rest of the party, so go me! And then we ganged up and punked it bad. Woo! Go us!

Finally, we got to the stones, and found three large statutes made from the mesa, about half a mile tall each. There is rumour of dungeons in them, so of course we will have to clear them all out. We decide to investigate the "hot one" (aka the maiden), and while going up the side... by flying!... we are attacked by will o' the wisps. Damn annoying and hard to hit. But when I do hit, I quickly put it out of my misery! Ha!

We land on the top, ready for the next step forwards...


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Tuesday, 8 July 2014

Samuri Cop

Oh... ye... gods. We have a new example of Nanar...

Things I learnt from SC:

  • Continuity of editing is overrated.
  • Voice dubbing is a first recourse.
  • One take is one take too many!
  • Normal conversation isn't.
  • Sex scenes can be filmed terribly.
  • Matt Hannon is a seriously buff dude.

But rather than talk about the movie, I'll just blame Adam:


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Monday, 7 July 2014

Hidden Object Kills

Had a free day, so got into playing a Hidden Object game by the name of Dracula: Love Kills.

Dracula got punked by Van Helsing, and reawoke to find himself severely weakened... and that the Queen of Vampires was now stomping around as if she ruled the world... as if! So Dracula needs to wander around the world, getting artefacts back so he can use an anti-vampire daggers. Along the way, he teams up with Van Helsing, and finds Mina's been kidnapped! And many objects have been hidden along the way...

There's a mechanic whereby you get vampire powers powered by blood, and since you need to use all those abilities, you need to be given enough blood. This can be tricky because there is an ethic mechanic whereby you can either drink the blood of lackies of the Queen or not... so the game has to give you blood anyway (usually behind a little puzzle). If you drink or not, there are consequences... one such is what achievement you get, the other being who you are with in the secondary story.

The secondary story (possibly only in the Collector's Edition, which I have?) is going for a few more puzzles to get the Queen's power. In one case, you are with Van Helsing again, in the other version you are with Mina... but I won't say which leads to which.

For all the achievements you need to go through on hard mode and easy mode, which I did in that order. Hard mode took me about 6 hours, and I got most of the achievements. But then had to do easy mode again, and even skipping as much as possible, still took me around 3 hours. Which led to a later night than I hoped...

Still, I still like Hidden Object games, so one down, many to go.


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Sunday, 6 July 2014

Flanship is Magic

Season 4 with new opening titles!

Ep 1/2: Remember to drink the white fluid for goodness!
Ep 3: Pinky Pie is the most obvious pony.
Ep 4: Authors are jerks.
Ep 5: Jettison your friends when they become a pain.
Ep 6: There’s always a pail to step in.
Ep 7: Anything can be a vampire.
Ep 8: You can make your friends do anything, and they will forgive you.
Ep 9: Despite what they say, you can pick your family.
Ep 10: Rainbow Falls is very aptly named.
Ep 11: Everyone wants a teeny, tiny glass of water.
Ep 12: Weird Al makes everything better.
Ep 13: Classism is a vicious thing.
Ep 14: Never sing in your real voice.
Ep 15: Reflected glory is still glory.
Ep 16: Always leech off hosts.
Ep 17: Overreact to everything!
Ep 18: There should be more poems about rocks.
Ep 19: Fashion is the most important part of the play.
Ep 20: What’s the Harm?
Ep 21: It’s easier to learn while high.
Ep 22: Reading is important!
Ep 23: Puppets are creepy.
Ep 24: Flaming is the most peer pressure activity ever!
Ep 25/26: One needs a throne to call one’s own.

To be honest, this is decent storytelling!


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Saturday, 5 July 2014

Return of Incred Hulkie

Okay, so the previous one I watched was the second movie, and this is the first one, and I can only find clips of the third.

Banner is back after several Hulk free years, and has at least built something that will cure him... until Donald Blake steps in and stops the machine so he can whine. Seriously, the big solution to Banner's life is stopped because some old kid he met decided he needed someone to talk to and broke in this institute so he could pull the plug at the last second! It seems that Blake's problem is that he got a hold of Thor's hammer and can now summon Thor whenever. Which he does. Then Thor and Hulk fight... and after that they all have a heart to heart, until Bad Guys want Banner to steal for them the new tech, and then Thor and Hulk fight them. The end.

This is supposed to bring in Thor in the same way the next would Daredevil, but Blake is whiny and Thor is just an exaggerated caricature. Not that Thor is ever the deepest character, but here you could take a stereotype version of Thor and still get someone with more complexity than what we are presented with. And the rest of the story just isn't interesting, and isn't related to our characters other than they just happen to be there.

Bill Bixby and Lou Ferrigno are fine, but Steve Levitt and Eric Allan Kramer and Blake and Thor are not. We also get the return of Jack Colvin as McGee, but there's as much point as to him being in this as in any Hulk story.

Not a great start. A second middle, but now I need to see if I can find the end...


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Friday, 4 July 2014

Monumental Mans

I didn't see this when it came out, although I did mean to. It looked decent.

The Americans are going into Europe as World War 2 ends and blowing everything up. Including art. So other Americans must go in and save the art. Because f*ck everyone else, I guess? Although there are non-Americans, but who cares about them? There's a bit of a romance subplot, but mostly there's a 'Where's the art?' subplot. And a big battle at the end... no wait, no there isn't.

I wasn't quite sure what tone this movie was aiming for. Yes, it was drama, yes it was biographical. But some scenes were serious, some were humourous, it really felt uneven. In many ways, given that this movie wasn't really about the deaths, it could easily have been a comedy, and I think it would have worked better. Not to say that war crimes against art aren't serious, but the light moments were really cutting against the other scenes, so they needed to pick one emotional thread and keep with it.

The acting was fine, although I didn't get a large sense of range from them. Although I did keep mistaking Cate Blanchette for Tilda Swinton... and, as it's all a period piece, of course the costuming and props and such are spot on.

Mostly, this just went on too long. Could easily have cut out parts and made it more cohesive. So I guess I'm glad I didn't sit in a theatre watching this.


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Thursday, 3 July 2014


After having written the previous two, David S. Goyer took it upon himself to write and direct the third.

I don't know if this was a big thing in the comics, but bringing in Dracula just seems like a cheap gimmick for this movie. There is a small moment where it seems the movie might be trying something more with humans turning against Blade, but then that goes out the window (just like the vampires) and the bulk of the movie is Blade with the Comedy Team fighting off against the Vampires with the Most Clichéd Vampire of Them All. And it's a fairly standard long drawn out fight scene and nothing interesting happens, and then the movie is over...

Like before, the characters are still one note, so don't expect acting range here. Wesley Snipes certainly doesn't show any, and Ryan Reynolds shows the talent that would make him "Most Likely to be in a Green Lantern Movie that would be Universally Panned". We also have Jessica Biel who took fighting class, and Parker Posey who didn't. And then Goyer looks like he took a page from Resident Evil and has vampire dogs, because Ryan Reynolds wasn't mocked enough in the movie...

Blade may have cut a new swathe in alloying superhero movies, but like in comments, being first isn't the same as being worthy.


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Wednesday, 2 July 2014


Hey, Guillermo Del Toro did a movie based on a comic book with Ron Pearlman in it... just as well that never happened again!

Since last time it was Blade vs Vampires, how else to get things to the next level but to have Blade and the Vampires against something else? Which, as it happens, is tied into there being another vampire council, despite having offed a vampire grouping in the last movie. And speaking of the last movie, did they bring back the strong female character who lived? No, of course not, they bring back the old man who died... is it possible to have less plot this time around? There are lots of fight scenes, but the story line could be written on the back of a napkin... without even needing to unfold it first. Fight scenes and CGI is all you need, right?

Wesley Snipes is still pretty much in the mode as before: snide and fast moving... although a lot of his roles are like that. Leonor Varela gets to have the main female lead this time, and she doesn't get much to act with either. No-one really does in this script. Every character is one note, so the actors don't bother trying.

This movie doesn't feel like it's trying too hard to do anything interesting. Even the new enemy type is just a variant on a common theme, so... meh?


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Tuesday, 1 July 2014


Since I'm home sick, let's burn through some fever... some bad vampire fever!

In one movie Blade is going around, kicking lots of vampire ass, and putting up with Kris Kristopherson. In another movie, Frost is going around, kicking lots of vampire ass, and putting up with Donal Logue. Well, maybe not a lot of vampire ass in Frost's case, but he is certainly responsible for his fair share of vampire deaths. Between them, they come to blows when Frost needs Blade for a prophecy... and Blade rather easily goes down to Frost's whims. Fortunately, Karen can kick more ass than either of them, and is the only reason this movie ends with yet more fight scenes and CGI effects.

Yeah, okay, let's go with Karen being the hero. It's pretty much all her as to why Blade succeeds, and gets new weapons, and has a chance at a real life, so she's the most important part of the movie. Let's see if she's even mentioned in the second movie! (I can't remember, while find out shortly.)

Wesley Snipes gets to do a lot of fighting, but a lot of fighting is just a fist punch snapped up into a face. Yeah, he's supposed to be stronger and stuff, but biology and physics don't work that way. Stephen Dorff is just going over the top, and that's clearly the only way he can think of to play it. N'Bushe Wright is, as I said, the star, and acts decently too. And I could easily never see Kris Kristopherson in any movie ever again...

So, not a lot of plot, but we are talking 90s action movie based on a comic...


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