Thursday, 30 June 2016

White Storm

This is the third book in the Gemini Force series, White Storm.

We start with a plane crashing into a train tunnel, and Ben sees some horrific things. And then, the story goes over to Davos where there is a group of high and powerful types meeting. They get trapped, but before he can get involved, Ben gets kidnapped himself.

There was supposed to be three books, and this is the third, so we wrap up some points. The nature of Gemini Force itself, and the role Ben plays in it. And in this book... Ben is far less annoying than the previous book. He's less whiny and gets on with it more. However, he is also less involved with the action, meaning new action sequences need to be invented just to give him something to do that is on the side of the plot.

From the end... while there is no other books planned that I am aware of, I wouldn't be against them.


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Wednesday, 29 June 2016

Attack the Darkness!

There's a Kickstarter happening for the latest production from ZOE, the makers of Dorkness Rising and the like. There are a few days left, and... they've released the movie for people to watch! It's only around for a few days, so you can check it out before chipping in.

I've watched it myself... and to be honest there wasn't really anything too surprising there.

However, that's no reason to not support them Attacking the Darkness!


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Tuesday, 28 June 2016

The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari

It's a classic movie, although this is the first time I've seen The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari.

It's a tale told by a young man in love. In the not too distant past, he and a friend attended a fair and encountered Dr Caligari. When his act announces the death of the friend, the man and friend leave laughing... but then the friend is killed. The hunt in on for the killer, and the man's fiancee also comes under threat. It's all traced back to the local asylum...

The set up and most of the movie is quite good. We have this threat killing people and it seems the killer is in more than one place... but then we get some explanations and it kinda falls apart for me, as it becomes all too prosaic.

The imagery of the movie is very bizarre. I'm sure lots of people are able to cite long words that explain how this is classic style of certain German directors and has clear influences in other major movies... but all I'm doing is going 'those are some really weird chairs'.

They have a live group playing music to go with the movie, and that worked mostly well, but my main complaint is that the nice chairs aren't that nice after an hour...


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Monday, 27 June 2016

Post 3D

When I saw ID5, it was in a 3D session, which is I suspect the real reason this session was largely empty. This movie wasn't filmed in 3D, it was post converted, but I thought there would be some great moments for 3D to shine through, so wanted to give it a go.

The opening shot is going through galaxies, hearing the old speech (and if there was a caption saying '20 light years away' I would have screamed. Fortunately there wasn't), and they looked great... until the titles and credits were plastered on them, flat and not in the image at all and took me out of it. And while 3D should be able to do distances great, that was really the only moment I felt there was any real depth to the picture.

And I think we'll need to come up with a new language in film for dealing with 3D. There was one scene, featuring Liam and Jeff talking. It was the usual two shot, near over the shoulder, set up. One shot was on Liam with Jeff in the background... and then we cut to a close up on Jeff. Normally, this isn't a problem, but since I felt (on some level) that Jeff was in the background, and now he was in my face, this was a discontinuity with how the scene was in my mind and it threw me out of the movie. He was back, and now he was forward. With supposed 3D, that threw that contrast into stark contrast.

Keep an eye on this site for actual 3D movies, and this is a good example of why not to post convert.


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Sunday, 26 June 2016

ID5 Resergence

When I saw the original the theatre was packed, this time it was nearly empty. But I suspect it wasn't for the obvious reason this is the sequel.

It's 20 years later, and the world is very different as humanity has come together after finding out about aliens. (Which is something I will give the movie, it doesn't fall back into the standard 'history is the same except for one hidden thing'.) The aliens return to follow up, but while there is a huge spaceship and such, it doesn't feel personal as the aliens are really interested in (*thing that could be a spoiler so I won't say*). It's up to the new military might to prove victorious, while dealing with soap opera that is their lives.

And that's one of the big problems of this movie. On the one hand, we have the new tech, so it doesn't feel as one sided any more. I never got the sense of desperation that we had in the other movie, so never felt moved when we got various 'we will defeat them' speeches. On the other hand, a lot of this movie are various characters sniping at each other, making none of them likeable, even the ones back from the previous movie.

And there are a few actors and actresses back. Although it's clear that some of them were only around for a day or two of shooting before being ejected from the script. Not to mention the obvious person who is completely missing. Otherwise it's the usual stock Roland Emmerick parts being presented.

It just wasn't as exciting as the first one, and so just came across as flat.

But that's not what I really want to complain about...


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Saturday, 25 June 2016

Phantatasm IV

And so we get this finale... uh...

We do get a sort of explanation for the Tall Man... but we also get people driving across the desert. A lot of people driving across the desert. Over the half the movie is people driving or walking amongst rocks. In other words, there is a whole of nothing happening for a long time. And what does happen... doesn't really explain anything. Or make a lot of sense. Or give any real sense of conclusion. So... huh?

This is what it was building up to, but there's a lot of building up with lots of random scenes, and there isn't really a payoff to speak of. So this is what we wanted? There was nominally another movie "Phantasm's End" which didn't happen, which might be what's intended to finish this off, but that didn't happen, so this just falls flat.

That said, I do want to say there are flashback sequences where we have the young version of the actors. Or at least it seems so. I'm not sure if they just put a large wig on Mike or got a lookalike or had leftover footage, but it matches the footage of over ten years ago very well.

One aspect of this series is how personal it is regarding Reggie and Mike and co, which isn't apparent in the earlier movies. If that was made more obvious (assume Don knew) then I think this series would work better, but since it isn't...

I know of people who like this series, but it takes too long to grow on me.


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Friday, 24 June 2016

Moonbase 3.3

It's the personal conflict episode.

Stress in a confined space is always a good source for drama, and it's no different here. In particular, there's one agitator, Adam, who casually talks to people and puts them on edge. It's not clear if this is deliberate, or unconscious, him acting this way. Which makes it all the better, because you can't point to him and say 'he's behind it all', so there's no clear villain of the piece. They do give a nice pat explanation at the end, because they have to, but no-one is on or off the hook.

It's that vaguery I like about this series. People are pushed to limits on the moon, and break in odd ways, and that's what makes the episodes. This is more character based than previous episodes, and the usual episode has some tech stuff. There is a bit here, but it's definitely background to this episode (and I was never really sure what the tech stuff was all about).

This series is hard to find these days, but I recommend it.


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Thursday, 23 June 2016

Puzzler World 2

And from the last game straight on to the second, Puzzler World 2.

This is largely a repeat of the same gameplay. Some puzzles are the same, some are different. This is a lot more mouse driven that the previous game, with Fitwords being drag-n-drop the word, rather than having to type it in.

This is slightly better than last time in getting from one puzzle to the next. Rewards are only after the second smaller puzzle, and is a wheel spin. I'm sure that I could learn how to give it enough spin to get exactly what I want each time, but I'm not there yet.

There are a whole lot of in-game trophies to get. I've got all the Steam Achievements, but still many trophies to go. And with the wheel spin, there's a random element to whether or not I'll get them in all in time.

And after the normal lot of 560 puzzles, there are some Master Modes ones to also play so... many many puzzles ahead. And I kept playing because there's so much audio I'm listening to.


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Wednesday, 22 June 2016

Puzzler World

I've been caught up playing a simple puzzle game, Puzzler World.

There are about ten different puzzles, Sudoku, Crosswords, Fitword, Silhouette, Spot the Difference, and some others. After each puzzle is a simpler follow up puzzle of Hangman or Equation or Anagram and such.

There are 560 main puzzles, and they are mostly fun except... for completing each puzzle you click Continue, then select a Reward, then Continue Again, then Start on the next puzzle... and similar after completing the second puzzle. Gah! That's annoying! That's the worst thing about this, there are just too many clicks to move on from each puzzle. Once completed, just have the reward and move on.

Still, it kept my attention because it was simple to play while listening to audios and such. And I got all the achievements (not hard) and did every puzzle. Woo! Puzzle fun!


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Tuesday, 21 June 2016

Dust in the Wind

It's a slice of life film about two young crazy kids in Joi-fen, in the movie Dust in the Wind.

Hyaun and Hyun live in the small town, and have aspirations of a better life in a bigger city. However, not everything works out for them, and then a military draft breaks them up... it's not a happy ending here.

It's a quiet movie and is, as I said, a slice of life movie. As such, it has a quiet charm about it that kept me watching, but it's only because the Film Society scheduled it that I ended up watching it. Not a happy clappy movie, but life rarely is.


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Monday, 20 June 2016

A Haunting Hoose 2

I said there was a sequel, and here it is!

The brother is back, and with a new family... and new paranormal problems that cause all sorts of fun. And by 'fun', I mean similar jokes to the last one, and ripping off other movies that just Paranormal Activity. The main ones are Sinister and The Possession, and definitely most of the main line from The Conjuring.

And that's about all there is. Rather than concentrating on one parody, they go for a scattershot approach, and that's where the weakness is. Last time, it was mainly one story, and that worked because they could focus the jokes into that story, whereas now they just jokes and randomly throw it into whatever scenes they can squeeze into whichever parodies. Keep it consistent guys, keep it clean.

Fortunately, there's no sign of a part 3...


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Sunday, 19 June 2016

Conjuratering 2

I really liked the first movie, and rewatched it in preperation, could the second one live up to it?

After an opening in Amityville (really? that old chestnut?), we switch over to Enfield. Having recently watched the BBC production of it, I know it wasn't really the Warrens who dealt with it, but it seems they were involved. Anyway, there's a family of a mother, two daughters and two sons, with one daughter being the conduit. The Warrens reluctantly get involved, and slowly come to realise that it's fake... no, I mean it's really true. But there's something else threatening the pair that comes from their past.

A lot of this reminded me of Ghost Watch. I really want to get around to watching that again. As for this itself... I have to say that it wasn't as good as the first movie. The Warrens take far too long to get involved, and their own monster feels like it pads out the movie to being too long. (Indeed, it was bulked out, I feel like it would have worked better if it was hinted at more, and was the focus of another movie.)

There are decent performances, and the production is good... however, I could spot a few of the tricks coming from a mile off. That said, there were a few jump scares that got me. So congrats for that.

Will there be a third? There could be, but I feel like they shot their load already, so I'm okay if there isn't.


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Saturday, 18 June 2016

Phatatasm III

It's more of a sequel than the previous sequel.

It's the original team of the first movie as we get the original actors back with Reggie, Mike and Jody. And we bring in Tim, a kid. By which, we spend half the movie bringing in Tim and barely having anything to do with the rest of the series. But then the second half of the movie is all about the group of them fighting the Tall Man, and barely getting anywhere. And finally we get to the end, which feels like such a set up for the next movie I'm surprised it took four years to get it.

This actually moves the story along. It doesn't quite get to the original of the Tall Man, but it does bring up some elements, as well as extending the possibilities of the balls as more than just having new gadgets inside.

Basically... now I will admit the series is getting interesting, but it took a while to get there and it still has issues with irrelevant scenes. But now I'm actually looking forward to the last movie.


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Friday, 17 June 2016

Moonbase 3.2

Monster! On the moon!

I like this episode in that it takes the very basic premise of hysterical overreaction and runs with it. We start with little moments of two people disappearing, and then a death with unexplained rendering, and from there we get a monster on the moon attacking people. It even stretches out to other moonbases. And yet the true explanation is just as amazing as the idea of there being a monster.

This is a basic idea that builds well and we can easily see how people leap to conclusions on a monster. Indeed, when I first watched this, I had no idea where it was going, and it was entirely a possibility that they would bring in some kind of creature. As it is, there is a more scientific explanation, although I'm not sure how plausible it is.

The shaky production is still there (it feels like it was a two camera system, shot live and with one take). Decent performances, and there are still elements to come back in later episodes.

There are only six episodes, but these are great episodes.


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Thursday, 16 June 2016

Want an Aardvark?

Previously there was a Kickstarter to turn Cerebus comics into good quality reproductions and "movies". Where movies are Dave Sim reading the text, doing pretty spot on voices it has to be said.

Well, now you can see what some of that it like, and see if you want more.

There is the complete High Society volume (which is what was Kickstartered), and five issues are converted into a movie.

Check it out.

And they are slowly converting all books into high resolution.


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Wednesday, 15 June 2016

Now I Am Seeing Again

I rewatched the first movie although having seen the sequel I don't think the script writers did.

The Horsemen are known for exposing people... only they aren't, and their latest exposing goes bad and they are threatened to do a job for people who are exposing them. You can guess their plans, because of course they will, and then it becomes bluff, double bluff, triple bluff as the writers try to scam the audience into making them think what's going on.

The main aspect of the first movie that annoyed me is that there was so much magic that was obvious post editing effects. While there is supposedly more real magic done here, there's also so much more obvious CGI magic effects too. There are some very 'cute' scenes involving tricks, but I couldn't even buy into it because it's easy to have magic when you have a movie company helping you run things.

The other part I couldn't buy into was the characters. The writers retcon some of the relationships and cover it with 'I wasn't able to say anything before', but that just feels like 'this wasn't a part of the first movie and we came up with this now for the second movie'. And replacement-Henley is so incredibly annoying...

The big problem is that I have no interest in these people winning. I don't consider them good guys, nor as bad guys I want to root for to win against the good guys, that I can't get invested in them.

And there's a third movie already planned.


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Tuesday, 14 June 2016

Marketa Lazarova

It's a long film about a time in Czech history, featuring Marketa Lazarova.

I'm going to quote IMBD here: "A minor Czech clan falls afoul of the King in medieval times, against the backdrop of Christianity replacing Paganism." Uh, okay. I'll have to admit something... I gave up half way through this movie. It's a long movie, and it just didn't hold my interest.

I even failed to pick up it was Czech. What the film felt like to me was telling a fairy tale, with the way the film was shot and the imagery used, aural and visual. I was sure it wasn't, but had a hard time telling what it was about.

I tried, but not a movie for me.


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Monday, 13 June 2016

A Haunting Hoose

Take some of the people behind Scary Movie, get them to do a take on Paranormal Activity, and you get this, one of the many knock off movies in this genre.

A guy's girlfriend moves in, and brings a demon with her. And he camera everything. With that set up, there are many fart jokes, drug jokes, swearing, sex jokes and violence. A lot of them. And by and large, come up with your own low brow humour, and this'll probably have it. And then they pretty much repeat the last shot, with one last joke.

I could tell what I was in for when I saw "Written by Marlon Wayans and Rick Alvarez", and yep that's pretty much what I got. There were a few moments were I was amused, but mostly I let it sweep over me. There's nothing here that's new, including the jokes as well as the story.

And yet... there is a sequel.


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Sunday, 12 June 2016

Speed Running Live!

You may have heard of Games Done Quick, in which games are speed run quickly as part of a charity event.

Well, what if you want to watch a speed run outside of then? You could watch an archive of them. Or try to find something on YouTube.

There is also another option. Which I think was something I found because I expected it to be there.

Speed Runs Live.

These are basically Twitch streams that are filtered for speed runs (I presume by the caster themselves). They are ordered by number of watchers, and there are a fair few Mario games, Zelda, Banjo-Kazooie, Mega Man, Kirby and others.

The quality, as ever, varies by streamer. Some are more amusing that others. And these are speed runs, so sometimes the caster does tend to reset the game, so I hope you like watching the first parts over and over again!

Anyway, it can be another way to while away the time.


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Saturday, 11 June 2016

Phantatasm II

It's the sequel that's... largely the same as the first, to be honest.

Mike and Reggie are back, following on from the previous movie (so much so they resolve the cliffhanger from the previous movie). However, three years later, Mike is having dreams of Liz. But, hey, she's having dreams of him. And she's dealing with her dying relatives. Which just so happens to be in a mortuary where there's the Tall Man going around digging up bodies and turning them into dwarves. Fortunately, many home made weapons are now available.

And remember those ball things from the first movie? They are back and wackier than ever! Which largely summarises this movie, in that it is just more of the same. Even the new element, Liz, is just someone else to get caught up in the same events over again. And nothing much of import happens.

This is billed as horror, but I'm getting nothing from this. There are some elements that are common to horror movies, but they just feel like they are on screen rather than horrifying itself. Meh. And yes, I noticed the reference to Sam Raimi.

Two more movies, and will this improve for me?


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Friday, 10 June 2016

Moonbase 3.1

It's the Letts-Dicks production they left Doctor Who for! It's a realistic drama set on the moon.

In the opening episode, we have the death of the current director, and the introduction of his replacement David Caulder. He comes in and investigates the situation, and seems a lovely chap... until he reveals himself to be a complete bastard to get those in charge to shape up!

We also get a small montage of him talking to other personnel at the base, which I'm sure is meaningless talk with extras, and not seeding future episodes at all...

This is realistic in that we get (model) spaceships taking off and landing, and people being in spacesuits to go outside. And yet the gravity is earth normal, and the scenery is shakier than a Doctor Who set. And, to be honest, there is some awful camera work that they should know better about.

Aside from David, we get Tom, Helen and Michel, and get pretty good indications of their (admittedly not complication) characterisation. And we also get where I learnt the phrase "Not my pigeon." This proved popular at my old work.

Enjoyable, but I can notice more flaws now.


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Thursday, 9 June 2016


Someone found a creature in the woods... scared yet?

A psychiatrist drags his daughter along to check on a patient, who's gone full blown psycho and has locked up a creature in his basement, sure the government (or aliens or whatever) is monitoring him. This is apparently so fascinating a set up that we get endless scene of endless scene of the three of them talking in various combinations that just go on and on. Eventually they get to the creature, think basically a guy in a grey alien suit that's wrinkled like they spent too much time in the bath, and then it ends. It is rather abrupt, and the final shot just confused me as to what was going on and who's POV that was supposed to be.

This is very weirdly directed. The director has very definite ideas about how shots should be composed and how the actors and camera should move, and that some shots should be static and others are POV and... it's hard to tell what any scene is trying to tell us about the
characters (which are unlikable, of course) or even the story in general. I'm guessing about most of the plot because it just irritated me to pay attention to it.

I'm sure even student scripts are better than this.


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Wednesday, 8 June 2016

Good of Ghostlight Lane

Been a while since I dealt with a ghost movie. Even longer with a good one, which this one isn't.

A house had someone die or was killed or became possessed by a demon or... whatever. Now, it's a video production house in which the ghost is just treated as something that's there and has to be dealt with. Until it finally ramps up to killing people, but even then is treated more as an annoyance than anything else. And so when we get to the end it’s hard to believe that any of the actors are taking it seriously, although the movie is pretending they are, that it fails in many ways. And the final post scene is just ridiculous and stupid.

The main ghost effect is changing someone's eyes, which makes it look like bad make up. Oooh, scary. And yet this movie managed to get Lacey Chabert and Billy Zane (who just does not care). The copy I watched had audio problems, so that didn’t help.

Not sure why anyone bothered with this movie.


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Tuesday, 7 June 2016

New Zealand is "deadly"

Jack Black's "death" over the weekend reminded me of a common cause of death over here in New Zealand. Namely, the cliffs. There are a number of actors who "died" falling off a cliff while filming a movie in New Zealand.

Tom Hanks in 2006
Tom Cruise in 2008.
Jeff Goldblum in 2009.
Natalie Portman in 2009.
Tony Danza in 2012.
Robert Duval in 2012.

Been a few years now... time for the cliffs to strike again!


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Monday, 6 June 2016

Munny Munster

It's the real time movie of... the movies that I saw the other day!

A company's stock goes tits up, and one shareholder blames the sleezy guy that offers stock tips and takes him hostage live on tv (well, cable). And so sleezy guy and his producer must get to the bottom of what really happened to the stock while getting the guy from shooting everyone.

I didn't buy George Clooney as the sleezy stock tip guy. It's not until around half-way through the movie that he gets some decent acting in, but I can't help feeling that he and Julia Roberts are in this movie because it was an easy job without requiring much effort from them (and they didn't put much in).

And the big shocking point that drives this movie is that a company lost $800 million dollars. Considering we are not quite ten years away from the mortgage crash where people lost $700 BILLION dollars, it felt hard to take this quite as seriously.

Good enough, but nothing surprising happens.


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Sunday, 5 June 2016

The Nece Geys

I liked Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang, and this looked amusing enough, so let's go for Shane Black's next.

A thug teams up with a private dick to find a missing person. And along the way they uncover a conspiracy that could bring down major businesses. I'm guessing you can imagine what happens, but that's the point Shane is going for.

Anyway, yes it is amusing, but more in a quiet chuckle kind of way. This feels tamer than KKBB, and while it's all right, it doesn't really feel like it has the personal impact of that movie. (As far as I remember, I haven't seen KKBB since it was released.)

Ryan Gosling isn't terrible doing comedy, but I have to say that Russell Crowe is just one sandwich away from being John Goodman. Angourie Rice is attempting to be a shocking young girl (think Hit Girl), but it feels more like 'attempting' than 'succeeding'. Keith David is, of course, wonderful to watch and the other big name, Kim Bassinger, is sometimes on screen.

It's all right, but not blowing me away.


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Saturday, 4 June 2016

Phantatasm I

June is the month of Phantasms, so we start with Part I.

A kid and his brother live near a cemetery, where the older brother's friend is interred. The caretaker is extremely creepy, and the kid is caught up as there are weird dwarfs and the caretaker kills others, and the friends get involved and there's an alternative dimension and...

To be honest, this movie just gets weird, and it feels like it's weird for the sake of being weird. No real story to what is going on, just random strangeness. The ending battle is a mixture of strange things happening quickly and hopefully the bizarre images will make you think something cool is happening, possibly something even scary? But no, not for me.

There are another three movies, and I'll watch them. I just hope they become more coherent.


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Friday, 3 June 2016

Cul de Sac, The 6

And lo we come to the final culmination that wraps up everything in an amazing... that was never going to happen, was it?

What do we get? More padding really. We spend half the episode on something that doesn't matter, and then spend the second half on summarising what should have been more of the series. And then we hit the final twist which makes no sense what so ever. You'd have thought someone would have spotted that earlier. And many open questions... are left open.

So we definitely end on a possibility for a second season, although considering how long it took to get there, and the terrible plotting so far, I'm not going to hold my breath that we get one.

At the end of all this, I would like to say that I am extremely down on the story... but not the rest of the aspects of this. Acting is fine, given these are child actors, and there are nice shots of areas around Auckland... but this is so whelmed by the context of this series.

New Zealand has produced far better sci-fi than this.


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Thursday, 2 June 2016

X-Count 3

I'm just doing the three, so this is it. Technically 'Scott' and 'Logan' is repeated many times, but I decided to not overcount them too much.

Cyclops no longer exists, Wolverine barely. But again Ororo gets short shrift.

So what we have are Logan, Rogue, Scott, Storm and Eric/Magneto. Yeah, definitely doing with what people know, not actual characters talking each other.


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Wednesday, 1 June 2016

X-Count 2

On to movie two. Yes, I could have gone through a transcript, but it's more punishing to rewatch them.

Logan is still Logan, Eric is hardly mentioned, but Scott isn't Cyclops anymore. And Ororo and Marie don't even exist!


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