Wednesday, 31 December 2014

From One Second to the Next

Hey, do you like to text while you drive? Then you're a jerk! And if you don't believe me, then watch this documentary.

This doesn't present facts and figures, this gives emotional stories from people whose lives have been impacted by someone texting while driving. And you know what? Given how humans work, this will probably be more effective than any dry factual documentary will ever be.


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Tuesday, 30 December 2014

Black Coal, Thin Ice

This was another of them Festival films I didn't see at the time. The paragraph description did intrigue... but I have to say I'm glad I watched it in my usual faster method.

While investigating a murder, a cop gets shot (although his partners get killed). Five years later, he has drunk himself down, but comes across friends on the force who remind him of the case as they have found new information and new crimes associated with the woman who was the unlucky wife at the time. Only now it seems like death is following her around, which doesn't help as the cop now falls for her...

This was billed as crime and drama, and I've seen a few of those before from Japan, so was set to get into this... although it was more drama than I was wanting, and very little crime. It's quite a slow moving movie, and is happy taking time to overly let scenes play out. Not that everything has to be frenetic editing, but the pace could have been quicker.

I'm sure it works better for others, but not for me.


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Monday, 29 December 2014

The Interveh

Yeah, I saw the movie that North Korea tried to deny the world... and I have to say I'm on NK's side with this. This is not a good movie.

Pretty much the basic plot is already known, so there's not much more to say on that front. Two idiots get an interview with Kim Jong-un, and are waylaid to make it an assassination plot. What wasn't as so revealed were the jokes. There is funny, there is painfully funny... and then there's just painful. Guess where this lot lies? I've never been a major fan of American humour at the best of times, and this is certainly going for the low brow quotient. I will allow that the last half hour is semi-decent, but that doesn't make up for the preceding hour and a half.

Seth Rogan's humour doesn't appeal to me, so there's that. And James Franco is giving a performance to win no favours anywhere. Randall Park is the Supreme Leader... and he isn't just the butt of many jokes (although certainly there are many at him), as everyone gets mocked here, Americans and North Koreans alike.(And they even have more men kissing each other than women kissing each other.)

End of the day... no, this is just not a good movie. If North Korea hadn't said anything, it would have passed without comment. But now everyone will subject themselves to this rubbish to find out what it's like... oh, smooth move, NK, smooth move...


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Sunday, 28 December 2014


I haven't heard brilliant things about this, and I have to say that the trailer doesn't fill me with confidence, so it's taken me some time to get around to watching it.

Will and others are all about using technology to better ourselves, but RIFT is about using technology to end our dependency on technology (with one line in the movie acknowledging that that premise is stupid). And so RIFT blows everything up, but not before the power of love uploads Will into the internet, because women = emotional beings that will do anything stupid to further the plot, amirite bad script writers? And then in the second half of the movie, technology is made to seem creepy and terrible with how it's saving everyone and everything, but as long as there's love, there's no need for civilisation. Yay?

I can't say there are wonderful performances in this. And the effects look pretty, but I'm still not sure how they justified the whole nanotech (I think?) crawling through the ground and flying into the sky bits. By the end of the movie, this just seemed like a luddite wish come true.

Yep, the not great things about this were justified. It's just... meh.


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Saturday, 27 December 2014

DW: 8.Xmas

Given that we have a Santa Claus, I will say that Nick Frost does a good job. However... do we need a Santa Claus? And this episode manages to be Christmassy, and not Christmassy at all.

First up, I'm not a fan of 'is this real?' stories? It's far too easy to leave it on the note of 'but are they really out?', which is where most of them end. Or they do get out, but the audience is left with the questions of 'are they?' whether that's intended or not. Which just throws away any sense of achievement the heroes have. That said, old Clara was a great fake out and would be a different and interesting way to see Jenna off the series, but no, that didn't happen because they all woke up... (Or did they?????)

Second up, when thinking back on this... this episode feels amazingly inconsequential. Even with it all being a dream, what happens? They go to a base at the North Pole and there's an Alien rip-off (as lampshaded by one of the characters), and... that's about it. They run around with the creatures, but what is achieved? The biggest enemy they overcome is waking up! Really? It's not that this is a bad story, just that it just isn't anything.

Okay, let's talk Santa Claus. It's all right, because it's only a dream... or did they????? One or the other, Moffat, don't try for both. And we already went down the 'fairy tales aren't real' route with Robin Hood, and Claus was based on an actual instance, so... what exactly is the point here? Don't worry kids, Santa is real after all!

But yes, good job Nick Frost. And generally good performances all around. Michael Troughton is... on screen. And just how much can we crowbar in (the excellent performance of) Samuel Anderson into every thing? Is the next season going to harp on about him too? Still, a nice send off (if indeed it is a send off).

This one might get better on a second watch, but at the moment it's a middle tier Christmas story.

Next time: C S Lewis story? No wait, that was a nephew...


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Friday, 26 December 2014

In the Name of the Moon

What's this? A Sailor Moon cosplay documentary? But of course! And another project I Kickstartered that I finally got around to watching.

This is about a group of nine women that got together (by one means or another) and started cosplaying as the Sailor Senshi. They started back in 2009, and went to quite a few cons, but grew apart. This is their story, and also them getting together for basically a last hurrah in 2012. We follow them as they try to redo their costumes and attend the actual event. We also get some talking heads of two experts, one who knows about Sailor Moon, and one who knows that cosplaying and going to cons is like a religious event. And yet it isn't as bitter sweet as it could be.

These are friends, and they are having fun. They put a lot of effort into this and it shows. Certainly they get a lot of appreciation at the cons. (And negative comments online, because internet.)

To be honest, there isn't much in this, aside from the fun of a group of friends cosplaying, and yet that's enough.


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Thursday, 25 December 2014

A pressie from Maddy!

Madonna has a new album coming out... in March 2015. But before then, you can preorder it on iTunes.

The album is Rebel Heart, and she's been talking up the song Unapologetic Bitch on twitter. So, as you can tell, this is going to be a slow romantic album along the likes of True Blue... or not.

And as part of pre-ordering, you get the first six tracks to download! Woo!

And here's the first track off the album: Living for Love. (Which is a hardcore electronic love song...)


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Wednesday, 24 December 2014

Tim's Vermeer

When you hear that Penn Jillette and Teller are involved in a film, your first thought wouldn't be about someone trying to recreate an artist's style from the 17th century. And yet, this is what they did.

Tim Jenison is a friend of Penn's, and a successful inventor. He was captured by the idea of how Vermeer painted the pictures he did, and had a eureka moment and came up with a rather simple idea using mirrors. After a few trials, Tim (not a painter) could recreate images in the style, and so set about recreating the Music Lesson. And by 'recreating', this movie shows that he did indeed recreate the entire room with accurate glass windows, rugs, chairs etc (which he also made himself). And then the painting... (which, if it wasn't for the fact that he was part of a documentary, he would have given up on). At the end... it looks like this is a good guide to producing your own Vermeer's (assuming you have a few spare months, and period accurate materials...).

Given I know little about Vermeer's paintings, I'm willing to accept this as a plausible explanation for how he worked. I remember reading something about how mirrors and camera obscuras were partially responsible for the Shroud of Turin and Leonardo Da Vinci was blamed for that (because, hey, big name!), and that was a few centuries before this, so why not indeed? I'm not sure many people would be willing to put in the effort these days (especially when it's so much easier to stick your mug in front of whatever you want an image of), but again I must confess ignorance of modern painting practices. Perhaps it takes years to do a really good piece?

Anyway, an interesting documentary about one man's vision to see an idea through to completion, and provide an explanation that's escaped many others.


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Tuesday, 23 December 2014

Paranothing Island

Okay, going in, I knew I wasn't in for a treat, but as you may have noticed on this blog I watch a lot of bad movies. And this one is no exception.

Back in 1927, there was this made island that was just a large area for two pubs and lots of docking area in the swamp land. A floating bar, if you will. In a beat, one owner lost, and killed himself... and thus, the legend of The Caretaker was born??? Current day, young punks come to the island to be bartenders and prove there's no paranormal going on (despite that you can't prove a negative), and get stuck there after dark. And then weird things happen. By which, I mean faint outlines of CGI people, and bar stools being knocked over. Somehow, this is terrifying, and they barely get away with their lives... no wait, this is a horror movie, so they don't, but more people did live than I was expecting.

This features a lot of people who, I'm guessing, agreed to appear for minimum wage? The budget presumably went on Lance Henriksen, who is in this movie because... I don't know why. And the villain was played by The Sam Raimi, because that was cheaper than actual effects. Much like how the darkness was achieved by blinding amount of moonlight.

A movie that feels built around "hey, we found this neat location they'll let us shoot at" rather than an actual story worth telling.


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Monday, 22 December 2014

Fold Cusion

There are early signs you are watching a bad movie. Starting with shooting down UFOs is a key point, then jumping to some scene which is only there to say "hey, this woman is a badass, because she's a woman!" is not going to endear me. And the story goes down from there.

So we start with UFOs being shot down and because of that, cold fusion bombs! Then Agent Badass is sent into Russia to find the source, but is in trouble because parts of the USA are working with the Russians to help set this up, so she's been compromised. But not before she and Agent Contact do sexy stripper dances (no, they are not sexy, and I sped up the video more to get past them quicker). And they both beat a lot of men up because they are badass women, dontchaknow. Fortunately, two women prove to be better than any number of waves of highly trained solders...

The acting isn't... great, but, as mentioned, most of the movie is "women are badass because women" right? The lead Lila Body (who is shown as Lila Adams on the onscreen graphics, even though people clearly say Lila Body!) is played by Sarah Brown, who otherwise does stunt work, so it's clear why they got her. And the other female lead, Michelle Lee, looks to have been in more than a few action movie. It's just a shame the writer and director felt the sexy stripping dance scenes (yes, more than one) was needed. No, no they weren't.

Yep, bad movie, realised that going in, went in anyway. Please, you don't.


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Sunday, 21 December 2014


Before there was House (which I may talk about some time), there was House... which isn't confusing at all, so it's better to refer to it as Hausu.

With a small family problem, the school girl Gorgeous decides not to go away with her father and new would-be mother, but instead to go to her aunt's house, and drags all her friends along. Her friends are Melody, Fantasy... er... (this is like naming all the dwarfs), Prof, Sweet, Kung Fu and... Mac. This seems simple enough, but already the cinematography of the movie is suggesting weirdness, and then slowly, because this is a horror movie, the girls are killed off one by one. Sometimes in rather weird and bizarre ways. (You've probably heard of the piano death scene.) But because this is a Japanese movie, you know everyone will get out fine...

Yeah, okay... uh... I'm not sure I have the words to describe how weird and surreal this movie it. I can certainly see why people cite this as a horror movie to be seen to be believed. It can get rather difficult to watch, with some amazingly odd choices of how to cut from one scene to the other, and how some scenes are shot, not to mention rather strange takes on characters (which might be more typical Japanese takes?).

It's... different. And if only there was some way for you all to watch it...


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Saturday, 20 December 2014

The Badabook

This originally played at a film festival, and I missed it there, but now I have seen this Australian horror film.

A single mother and her son are trying to get by, but the son tends towards the fantastic a little too much, and the mother is just worn down trying to deal with it all. She loves him and reads him books, but when they read Mister Babadook, things start going a little strange. The kid now thinks Babadook is coming after them, but the mother isn't ready to accept that anything odd is going on... until she really can't avoid it anymore. Which may be too late.

This is more thriller than horror, with heavy symbolism for what the mother is going through. Almost too much so that the horror elements become rather muted and secondary when given the mother's arc and how invested the movie is at making that seem real. It's rather unbalanced, all up.

The acting isn't bad, with Noel Wiseman putting in a... "performance" as the kid. Essie Davis has the lead role and isn't bad, but another couple of takes might have made things better still. And the Babadook itself is... inconsistently realised. And I have no idea what the ending is supposed to represent.

To be honest, I'm glad I saw something else during the festival, and just caught this on my own time.


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Friday, 19 December 2014


With the recent two parter combing the series of Flash and Arrow, why not talk about them? And Peter is also!

One element I liked was that in the Arrow episode, they point out the rather severe tonal differences of the show. Arrow is a lot darker, and Flash is so much brighter and upbeat. And it's not that one show has death and the other doesn't, there has been plenty of death in Flash, but that show doesn't get down over it. Perhaps in a season or two when it's built up some characters we might care about, and then kill them, maybe then, but not for now. The metahumans get silly nicknames (that just so happen to be their DC supervillain names), and the show is lighter. Which does give Arrow a problem, in that no-one wants doom and gloom all the time. I'm still watching, but it's easy to believe that others aren't.

Anyway, we have this two-parter... which isn't actually a proper two-parter, because there's no continuing story from one episode to the next, it's just one lot of characters turn up in the other series and then vice versa. It was nice, but what was the point? We already know they are the same universe, and the shows tried to tease the idea of 'who would win?' between Flash and Arrow, when it's kind of clear that the guy who can outrun arrows has a bit of a leg up...

It was also kind of disappointing that Flash went with Rainbow Raider for their emotion manipulating villain. Psycho Pirate is there begging to be used, and opens up the whole possibility of Crisis... And Arrow used Captain Boomerang, who is more known as a Flash villain! Because Arrow doesn't have any villains of its own to reference? Then again, Arrow is referencing Ra's Ah Ghul at the moment, which is more Batman... use your own rogue's gallery, dammit!

It's nice to see superheroes on TV (and I'm loving the references Flash is giving to the CBS Flash series), but there are better things to do with cross-overs. (Let along that Flash and Arrow hook up with Green Lantern more often than each other.)


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Thursday, 18 December 2014

New Amsterdam Forever

Have you heard about the series that's set in New York and features a chap that's immortal, living with his son that is elderly, and helps solve crime? Yeah, I've seen both of those shows! When I started watching Forever I felt there was something familiar, but couldn't put my finger on it. Then someone reminded me of New Amsterdam. [Amusingly, there's a book called Forever that claims to have a similar premise, but neither series claims to be set on it.]

New Amsterdam was a series that only lasted eight episodes (because Fox) that screened in 2008. The main guy, currently going by John Amsterdam, was around when New York was New Amsterdam, and he was made immortal until he found the woman who was his soul mate. In the pilot, he appears to do this, but it's obvious that the series would be over quickly if he actually did meet your mother (I see what I did there), so of course he picked the wrong woman, but the current part of the series was focused on that storyline while solving mysteries.

However, while Forever has gone for 11 episodes so far, New Amsterdam did so much more in the fewer episodes it had. In Forever, the main chap is afraid people will find out he's immortal, and meets someone else who claims to be immortal... and that's about as exciting a premise as they are getting to. However, in New Amsterdam, they discussed racism, alcoholism, police corruption, rape, conning people... yeah, it went for the big punches, and they worked too. What the hell is Forever doing? [Although Forever does have Burn Gorman, so that's something.]

Basically, for a better, and gustier, take on the idea, go look up the older series.


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Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Star Warsian

[Reminder that this is the open beta test game, so spoilers ahoy.]

There we were, out near the mountains, three days hike from base camp... exactly where we wanted to be. Nearby is a valley, and in the valley is likely the ruins we are wanting... and there they are.

Walking through the ruins, we see a dome in the distance that draws our interest, and we spend time chatting about the masonry... which is why the lizard barbed beast things are able to get the jump on some of us. While the others are attacking, I run away... I mean, I get into a suitable position, then convince the beast I'm confronting that it is terrified of me (go dark side points!). I frighten it away, two of the other beasts are killed, and one is wounded enough it runs off. Victory to us!

In the dome, we find a wizened old man who is a servant of the great Sith Lord who resides here. We talk carefully for a while, but then his madness gets in the way and he attacks us... ineffectually! I reach out and peacen his mind... at which point his mind snaps the rest of the way, as he realises the impact of the nearby Sith Lord has had on him.

So of course we go after the Lord. We're PCs! We find a tomb in which there are still standing statue, a large sarcophagus and... bigger beasts. Two of us run for the sarcophagus, because of course the beasts will stay away from that... I mean, attack us anyway. Sigh. And then the Sith Lord appears... or does he?

We get the sense there is more going on here, the form of the darkness is what we bring with us! We attune ourselves with the Force, bring peace and quiet (and get hit some more), before finally turning the Light Side victorious. And, nicely, in the clean up afterwards, get ourselves some lightsaber crystals. Sweet!

From there to pastures greener... [And a bit of a break before we return to the gaming table... for things I can't talk about.]


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Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Newsroom now old news

And that's it. No more. The series is over. Aaron Sorkin is dead, long live Aaron Sorkin!

Series three brings things to a close, by changing the way the series works, by being different, and by tying back to the first episode all over again. Which makes me want to go and watch series one again... which I have on BluRay, with commentaries and such.

The series was just so brilliant. People have raved about Aaron Sorkin's writing before, and it is good... and there are a lot of monologues (as one of the characters points out!), and while he does tell you definitely what he thinks, he gives the audience a chance to think as well.

And then there are the character relationships. So much back and forth and who ends up with who... It is both simple and complicated and realistic. (And I do know that's three somethings.)

I really need to watch West Wing, which I also have on disc (DVD not BluRay).

Fantastic series, and I look forward to whatever he comes up with next.


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Monday, 15 December 2014

Moon High

Another would be pilot, this time from SyFy. This one is a mystery on the moon.

A convict doing work on the moon finds a flower, and then the area around him explodes! His brother comes in, and happens to be a high poobah of authority and starts investigating. There's a thing with the Russians, then other cultures get involved, and... it all gets a bit silly really.

To be honest, I was thinking of Moonbase 3 most of the time. And Moonbase 3 is a far better show than this. There was a lot of "ooh, look at this special effect" but the story is rather lacking. Possibly because this is a pilot, and thus they were hoping there would be a full series and be able to explain it better? But you ain't gonna get a series if the pilot is a mess, as this is. (And this has Bryan Fuller behind it.)

This features mainly men, and the few women around get to be in pretty dresses, because the moon... yeah, um, what? Just another thing that annoyed me. (And now I'm thinking the better show of Star Cops.)

And you know what? I would rather rewatch those other series I mentioned, than talk about this more, so off I go!


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Sunday, 14 December 2014

Rule Breaking

I listen to a fair few RPG podcasts, and recently (well, actually for a while, but came to the fore recently) some particularly annoying issues bugged me. And now I'm going to annoy you with them! And, to be honest, this is largely because I get anal over the rules.

"This game isn't very good." Hey, guess what. I've played with that mechanic before, and perhaps you're PLAYING IT WRONG! Yeah, if you're applying the rules badly, there's a chance you'll have a bad experience. In many cases, I'd like to reach in, slap them, and then run them through a game properly. But it gets worse when they keep coming back to it. If you don't enjoy it, stop doing it, or get someone who actually knows what they are doing.

"Just roll me that." And then there are times when they claim to know the rules, and yet clearly don't and make it up. The mechanics are there for a reason, if you aren't going to bother getting them right, why bother using them at all? When you make up some of them, but use the proper mechanics otherwise, the game won't be balanced, so no wonder you're having a hard time telling a decent story. It becomes either too easy or too hard, so it's not an enjoyable experience. A cakewalk is not necessarily a good thing.

"We're gonna house rule a few things." Similar to above, but here's there is a deliberate choice to avoid using some of the rules. And it can get quite extensive. Which then leads to... why bother using them all? There are very few mechanics in games that are so tied to the narrative and/or atmosphere that you couldn't just use the setting with some other system. There are many hacks for a reason. I'm aware of at least three different cyberpunk rule sets, so it's not that hard. Again balance comes into it, but please, it's not that hard to pair a setting you like with a system you know and can use well.

There are many things that bug me and can make me stop listening (from audio quality to just the sound of someone's voice), and there are plenty of listening options out there, so this is just three things that can be addressed to make for a better show.


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Saturday, 13 December 2014

The Battle of CGI Armies

It's been two years since I read the book. I saw the first movie two years ago at the theatre, and haven't seen it since. I saw the second movie one year ago at the theatre, and haven't seen it since. So clearly I was perfectly positioned to go see the third movie....

Which launches into it without a recap scene. Sort of like the movie wasn't supposed to be split there, and it continued directly from the previous scene of the dragon flying off... But Smaug's a wimp, so it's back to the mountain as everyone and their army gets together to surround it / invade it / fight everyone else. And since I have read the book, I was ticking off in my head major scenes as they appeared on screen. Now, this isn't all battle. There certainly is one, and yes, you'll be hard pressed to tell what's going on, but it does take a breath as relatively quiet moments happen. I'm not going to say who lives and who dies (my main prediction was wrong), but I will give away that Bilbo does make it to the later early trilogy... which I now kinda want to see again.

In front of the local (ie NZ) screening there was a wee behind the scenes recap of the filming from LOTR to Hobbit, and various actors saying how great New Zealand is. Not sure if that'll play elsewhere, or if they'll drop in other country names. Most likely not play it at all. Nice touch, but it almost felt like it was left on a "we'll be back" note...

Acting and production was good as ever. I saw this in 2D (which was far emptier than the sold out 3D screenings), and while I sort of would like to see what 3D does for this, not wearing those glasses is a bonus. (But maybe later.) And while I generally can't tell which dwarf is which, it's pretty obvious which one is Billy Connelly.

So that wraps it up... and no, it didn't feel like it needed to be three. I will watch it again... when the full extended edition three movie BluRay comes out...


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Friday, 12 December 2014

It's a Christmas Terrahawks

Terrahawks is, without dispute (waits for instant dispute), the best Gerry Anderson production of all time. And as recognition of this (and maybe because there is a new audio series), the company has put out A Christmas Miracle free for online viewing.

So here is the official YouTube video, unlike all the other copies on YouTube:

And it will be taken down on the 10th of Jan, and no doubt I will fail to update this post, and you'll just have to go buy the DVDs to see it.


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Thursday, 11 December 2014

Live, Monty Python, Live!

Earlier this year there was a live show, screened in many places, of the Monty Python gang getting back together and performing some great skits. And they were great skits. However...

This was just some of the greatest hits. And they nearly remembered all the dialogue. (And for some reason, probably because it was part of the bit, they thought the audience needed the text of the Philosopher's Song to sing along with it. Not likely, Bruce!) And another problem was that... they were only on stage half the time. The rest of the show was clips from the shows and the occasional dance number. Well done, dance number, but not exactly the Pythons performing. Sure, they're getting old, but we still want to see them.

In a way, it's like the Fry and Laurie Reunion I saw as well. We reminisce about what a great time we had with the old gags... but there are no new gags. They went on to other stuff, and have their individual careers. It's nice to have the gang back together, but we can jut as easily watch the old recordings if that's all we're gonna get.

I laughed, there were some nice nods to Chapman, but I couldn't help feel disappointed that there wasn't an extra kick of unseen Python to it.


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Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Star Warsian

[This adventure is in Open Beta so I can talk about it... however, this also means I can spoil it. I'm not sure what the adventure is, it might be the one in the book, but best not to read too far if you are likely to play it.]

Following the advice of our mentor, we head out to a far off Rim planet, to a resort. There is a tale of some ruins out there, and that the force is strong with that one, so that is what we seek. [Again, if you're aware of that plot hook, and don't want to be spoiled, read no further.]

We arrive at the resort under various flimsy covers (I'm a holovid scout, looking for new locations), and quickly settle in. Talking around, the only people who know about the outside of the resort are the guides that lead hunting parties, so we can't get a hold of maps to look for the ruins. Talking around, we do find out that there is something strange up north, including a previous hunting party that went missing. We try to talk our way into going looking for them, but no luck... so we'll just go hunting north anyway.

The way is long and... not that hard really (some really good survival rolls), and then nearing the mountain to the north, we find the missing party. With guides going psycho aggro and the hunters being easily led. I try to talk to them, but nothing doing. Combat it is! One guide is shot down, I talk the hunters down (go me!), and we stun the other guide into submission. With them heading back to base, we bravely stay behind, because there isn't enough room on the speeder, and don't ask about the ruins nearby, I'm sure we won't go anywhere near them...


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Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Berberian Sound Studio

Since I missed this at the film society, now's a good time to catch up with the first film of the year: Berberian Sound Studio. Starring Toby Jones as the Dream Lord! Well, starring Toby Jones at least. Although...

In this, Toby Jones arrives at the Sound Studio in Italy, brought in to be the sound guy for an Italian Horror Movie (don't call it horror). He's not quite used to this genre, and this is an extreme version with extreme violence to women (which we never see, this is about the sound after all). However, the producer treats the women in the cast like crap, and there's tantrums and the film hits problems... and then the last half hour hits. It goes... kinda surreal. I'm not sure where the last third of the movie was going (but to fair I wasn't entirely sure where the previous hour had been). I think this is one of those things where I need to get someone to explain it to me.

Toby Jones is good, as all the cast are. Much like how we only get the sound of the movie, we fully get that the characters are terrible, which speaks to how well they are acted. The production is simple (only like three sets), and there's a lot of attention, unsurprisingly, played to the sound of the movie, although again I suspect I'm not getting large parts of what's intended.

A different movie, and perhaps I will get it more after reading up on it.


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Monday, 8 December 2014

The Durm

This was a one shot pilot (although it's been referred to as a tv movie... they'd make it a series if they could) screened on MTV... and I'm not surprised it didn't turn into a series, 'cos it was largely rubbish.

Vivian turns up at college after a somewhat sheltered life, and gets a nice large room to herself in a dorm... which stops believability right there. Also there are about five other people in the dorm, men and women, and she ends up friends with them, and they kind of help her lust after a TA. Only it turns out that (after half the movie is gone) there are supernatural elements to what is going on, and the room is cursed or something, and the other people are witches and turning her into a sacrifice... only the power of the witch possesses her and she turns the tables on the lead woman against her???

The ending was really quite confused, and the main reason it falls through. Not that the rest of it was worthy, with it being mainly bad soap opera teen drama angst. The movie spends far too much time working up that drama that you'd think that's all it's supposed to be. And the supernatural elements come in far to late to save it.

With this whelming success, we probably won't see too many 'tv movies' like this from MTV soon.


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Sunday, 7 December 2014

Lords and Ladies

I know other plays are available, but at the time, I caught the follow up, as it were, witches play, Lords and Ladies. This was in 2005 and it was on at the Gryphon Theatre.

I can remember the set up for me going to the play, because this was a work related thing. I was on the social club committee at the time, and saw the play was on, so ended up being the one to organise a group booking. Which was not without a few problems, mainly caused by the theatre not being able to confirm the seats were available at the last minute due to overbooking... as it happened, we did all make it, but not without putting a few people out with plans that were touch and go. (Because I was the one organising it, I was the last in the theatre as I had to wait for the late comers, which meant that while the rest of the group was up the back of the theatre, I was at the front!)

...and here's where we hit a small snag with my memory. The only reason I know the play was Lords and Ladies is because I found it on the 'net. Other than the events around described above, I can't remember anything about the play itself. I'm sure I enjoyed it, certainly had a good view, and I like the play, but... yeah. Maybe I can recall there was a castle set...? But that's about it.

That's a shame because of all the work they put in, and I got nothing. I really need to pay more attention to plays and go out and see more.


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Saturday, 6 December 2014

Wyrd Sisters

Speaking of Pratchett, I have seen a play of one of his stories. Namely, as you might guess, of Wyrd Sisters. Now, over here in New Zealand we don't get a lot of people putting on his plays, so this was something special. At least, back when I'm talking about. They look to be a little more common these days, although I've entirely missed them.

This was back in 1998. I can pin that date down because I had a friend come over from Australia for a convention, and that timed nicely with us seeing this play. However, I can't remember where it was. Somewhere near St James, I think, but definitely on the cheaper end than that theatre. (It's possible it no longer exists, and searching the internet reveals nothing useful.)

The play itself followed the story pretty faithfully. I can recall two particular incidents. One is when the demon is summoned. (I'm fairly sure that the demon was played by the director.) The demon is mucking around and tips over a mug... which is still got some liquid (water I assume) in it, which, of course, spills on the floor. That wasn't supposed to happen. Which then lead to the occasional actor slipping on the floor, and the line said more than once "damn those imps".

Another moment was when the witches were putting the sleeping spell on the town. I have no idea if this is in the play or not, but the end of it was timed for the mid-play break. And that exact moment when Magrat is kissing the Fool, in which moment they froze... and stayed that way for the entire break! Now that's dedication!

It's a pity I can't remember more, but that's what happens when your memory is terrible. And to prove that, that wasn't the only play I saw...


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Friday, 5 December 2014

As Below, So Above

Someone decides to delve into underground passages because they want to get a scoop for themselves? Yeah, I've seen The Tunnel. Although that isn't an original story even then. Strange things underground? That's what this it.

A researcher (not Lara Croft, or even Sydney Fox) is on the hunt for the Philosopher's Stone, and tracks it to a place under Paris. She gets the help of a local crew of catacomb runners to find her way around, and down they go, but they don't go through that passage because that's bad. But then the one passage through bones they do take leads back to that passage, and they have to go through there, and weird shit happens. Fortunately, she does find the Stone, but things fall apart and they have to go through Hell. Through the actual gates of Hell. And people start dying, but will they get out?

I do like the sense of claustrophobia this movie gives. There is a lot of tight corridors, and the camera shots emphasize that, with the limited lighting... but... the shots are just stone passage ways, so it's hard to know where anyone is, and one bit looks a lot like the other and... it's shaky cam/found footage style camera work. It's more justified for how they go through events... but then they clearly have footage of surreal supernatural elements so now more people can go investigate it?

This was actually shot in the catacombs of Paris, so there is that... just feels like a basic production was slapped on it to justify that.


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Thursday, 4 December 2014

Raising Steam

This is the latest Discworld book... at least, the latest I read. I gather it was published a year ago? Man, I am way behind the times here. I'm surprised there's not another one.

This is about the invention of the steam locomotive, and the impact that has on Ankh-Morpork and nearby places. Moist von Lipwig is put in a position of power to help guide it, and slowly it spreads out...

And... I have a large problem with this book. The bulk of it feels like it's all set up for a plot that never actually happens. It wasn't until we were in the middle of the big "fight scene climax" equivalent that I realised this was supposed to be it. The railway is built up, and built up, and there's a small political sub-plot... but nothing feels like it's the major driving force. Just lots of little pieces that bring us to the end of the story. There isn't a mystery or slow exploration or anything to unveil to give a sense of development or progress, so I felt that this was very weak.

Still a good read, and quite humourous, but very light on plot.


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Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Star Force and Destiny

Yes, I'm talking about Star Wars. No, I'm talking about the trailer. I'm talking about the RPG instalment, Force and Destiny.

We spent the entire session just setting up our characters for next time. I'm playing a Nautolan male, who is a Mystic Advisor. Where in this case, I'm advising for free love, and shouldn't we all just get along, and I have the force powers to back that up and make you want to sleep with me... yeah, okay, I might be heading towards the Dark Side sooner than later.

One irritating point is that we need to spent xp on the same things as before, stats, skills and talents, and also force powers. So it feels like we are diluted more than other characters. Yes, I have two force powers, but I don't have any talents to go along with it. Well, we'll see how this plays out.

And my name, I chose after much deliberation of what is a suitable Nautolan name, and properly reflected my status as the face character who is all about the good times. Brah Dpitto.


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Tuesday, 2 December 2014


Okay, this is a time travel movie, so you have my interest...

A time agent goes back to be a bartender, and hears a strange tale of a person's life... which then gets more complicated.

I won't say any more, indeed I may have said too much already, because this based on a story. A rather well known story (spoilers). Which, as soon as you click as to what the story is, the movie becomes boring. And even if you didn't read it, I reckon you could predict a lot of the 'twists' anyway. We know what's going to happen, so we end up just sitting around waiting for the movie to get on with it and present the moments we know are coming. Not great.

The acting is decent. Sarah Snook has more of the starring role than Ethan Hawke, and does a better job as well, although I didn't buy the prosthetic transformations for a moment. And the time travel prop is a neat gimmick, and I can see people making that for fun.

So yeah, once you get it, it doesn't hold attention.


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Monday, 1 December 2014

Prototype: Gear

Gear. Setup is: In a future where robots fill our daily lives, a young girl loses her family to a killing machine which ends up becoming her only family.

I keep saying "part of a story", but that's what this is. Moreover, this feels like it is the opening scene or similar, or possibly denouement. But a complete story? Nope. And, to be honest, the screen shot on the video kinda gives it all away. Not to mention, I'm not going to go with the main hero being a spunky young kid on the wrong side of the law without some justification she's not just a snotty little criminal punk, and we don't get that here either.

Final ranking, from lowest to highest. POLIS. The Liar's Chair. Memory 2.0. Hacked. Gear. Whipping Boy. Drakken. Shut-Eye.


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