[I considered not posting this, especially as I am a white male in New Zealand, but I'm pissed off. If you prefer, watch this Muslim comedy.]
People are being offended because the presenters of Top Gear wore burqas. Having seen the episode in question, I've got a few things to say.
Firstly, let's break down the wearing of burqas. Is this a Muslim only thing or what? And by Muslim, I mean religious Muslim concept. If the burqa is specific to the Muslim religion, then there are women in countries where Muslim is the majority religion who wear burqas but are not Muslims. In which case, the Muslims should first have something to say about that rather than be worried about three guys on TV. And if those women didn't wear burqas, it'd be easier to throw acid in their faces. [Not to mention the point of the burqa: to hide the beauty of the woman from men. Men who might otherwise become overwhelmed with lust for these women. ... Um, if your society is having problems of men being unable to control themselves, the answer is not to demand (and back up with physical force) women cover themselves. Frankly, your society doesn't even earn the label "civilised".] The point being that three guys wearing burqas is way down on the list of problems with burqas that Muslims should be having.
On the other hand, if it is not religious, then Muslims have no right to say whether anyone wears one or not.
On to the episode itself, the reason they wore the burqas was because a) it was funny, and b) it covered them up. They could have got with a more Arab Sheik look, for example, but they went for burqas. A point here to note: they did not do anything religious with the outfit, in the outfit, or even otherwise comment on the outfit, other than to say it covered them up. And it only lasted for a short time, and then they stopped. As one commenter on that news article says, they could have dressed as nuns. [But then the Christians would have gotten angry, and some of them already are with fatwa envy.] And, hey, may I point out that the people there didn't seem that bothered by the presenters being in burqas, even when it was obvious they were old white men dressed up? And I have no doubt that the producers would have done and/or shown something if it had been a problem.
As for the article, the person they quote is a "Controversial Islamic activist". Gee, I wonder if they rang such a person up expecting to get an extreme reaction out of them? Like NZ media calling on Bob McCroskie. Anonymous comments include "Death to America" (why? It's not like America was involved), "The Top Gear gang deserve to get hit by an IED [improvised explosive device]" (really, death? Hope they aren't representing the "religion of peace") and "Y the f*** r they wearing burqas!!?" (because it was funny! and no-one there cared).
Ultimately, this is largely an exercise in the media trying to get a story out of the few people who got riled up over it. No doubt the BBC will issue an apology (although no sign of this news even on their site), time will move on, and Top Gear will offend someone else, and the media will start this all over again.
Friday, 31 December 2010
[I considered not posting this, especially as I am a white male in New Zealand, but I'm pissed off. If you prefer, watch this Muslim comedy.]
Thursday, 30 December 2010
The latest in the Christian Allegory movies is a more simplified version of the book, as far as I can recall. That said, the movie hangs together in and of itself works decently enough, but there are huge chunks that are very lightly skimmed over, so the point may be missed. [I saw this in 2D, I doubt 3D adds those points back in.]
For example, I recall that Eustace has a big deal over becoming transformed in the first place, learns a big lesson and has a defining moment when transformed back... but that doesn't come across in the movie at all well.
Anyways, the three kids (who haven't grown up and discovered there's more to life than lion-based religions) are drawn into a painting and end up on a ship, which is going about a fetch quest and visiting lots of odd places. And by "lots of odd places", there are four of them. While the monopods are a big scene to wait for, don't hold your breath in the movie, as again the big backstory is skipped over so they can concentrate on the villain. As such. Who isn't that villainous, or even competent in any way that matters. (Once again, it works in the movie that we have, just not the movie we could have had.)
Good to see that they are keeping the cast constant (mostly) across the films, as it helps shorthand the character introductions (time is also shorthanded, skipping across day to night to day again in three minutes). And you too will believe that two CGI characters can communicate.
I expect The Silver Chair to be out at some point, less sure about A Horse and His Boy. The Last Battle is just going to be weird, unless they completely rewrite it... The point is, I am predicting another movie in the series to be out in a few years.
Wednesday, 29 December 2010
Right off the bat, let me say one thing: I was far more impressed by this than I was by the previous adventures. There were a few moments where, in the middle of peril, I just stopped and had a look around the set and vistas they had built. Just... amazing.
Anyways, we start with being attacked by a shark... hey, just like in the Christmas episode! Man, if there were any other similarities, like being timed during Christmas, that would be... oh wait, it is during Christmas. Well done there.
As I said, shark! So we're off and running. The first section of the adventure is all "run down the corridor, play Simon Says to open the door, then repeat". We're in an underwater base, and it's pretty sprawling, and I wasn't sure where I was supposed to go. Still took a few moments to poke around where I could, see if there were some places I could go and, yes, pick up more cards, but quickly it was "shark! door! run!".
Once in the main part of the base, the next part of the adventure was... run around the corridors, being careful in different ways. This time we get some dialogue action as well, and another 'wire challenge', but still it was run around the corridors finding things.
After that, there's a huge change... we run around corridors elsewhere. Still with a little danger avoidance (or non-avoidance in one interesting bit), and then another obstacle run... Although this featured the Vashta Nerada, many parts of it could easily have been Cybermen or Daleks.
I did enjoy this more, these were better sets, a better story overall, but still there was a lack of the player being the one to actually do the important things. Most of those moments were cut away sequences. Go on, let us take control. The worst we can do it die (did that... twice, I think).
Thumbs up for the final episode (I think this is the final one). Finally got it right.
EDIT: Meant to add in, it's not perfect. I think I missed some dialogue in places, and when did the Doctor figure out what type of radiation it was? Also, the controls bugged out when I was controlling Amy around the divers (leading to another death). Dunno what was up with that. So there are some problems, but when I look out at the big sets... I can live with those...
Tuesday, 28 December 2010
I asked about female comedians recently, and was suggested Lucy Porter, so looked her up on YouTube. Watching the first clip of her reminded of a difference between female and male comedians.
Female comedians will use their mothers as a source of material.
Not exclusively, they cover other topics, yet it does seem that they go there more often than men. And by "more often" I mean that men hardly ever do.
I did a YouTube search for comedians with mother-based material, found Lucy Porter, Chonda Pierce, Shayla Rivera, Mairym Carlo at the top of the list... and on the male side? Just Anthony Szpak.
Why? I'm not entirely sure. Maybe it's just my bias that I think so. Anyone else noticed this? At least it's a good excuse for me to link in a clip from QI...
Monday, 27 December 2010
When I watched this, I got a certain sensation that the basic conceit was familiar, although about the Doctor trying to get a library book... gee, I wonder why...
Anyways, this is pure schmaltz. Even more, it is Steven Moffat schmaltz which, when it works, is schmaltz turned up to 11. And, to be honest, when we get to the end, the dial is twisted hard... and, yes, the schmaltz starts to rule. Thumbs up, mate, thumbs up...
(And this kind of knocks RTD's xmas attempts into a cocked hat. Do we need aliens every where? Do we need a giant lumbering mechanical construction? Do we, even, need earth under threat? Nope. We just need a great story about trying to convince one man to be good.)
I haven't seen the Confidential yet, but I'll bet that Steven Moffat says something like "We take A Christmas Carol, a wonderful Christmas story, and give it a Doctor Who twist". [Reminder to self: come back and edit this before posting if that line isn't there... however Ben Stephenson has already said it.] Fortunately, Moffat doesn't excuse that this just happens to fit that story, but has the Doctor get the idea to replicate it (by hanging up a lampshade... well, he should have just to complete the idea). Although with a nice time travel twist on Christmas Future. Nicely done all around really. [And although I deserve a near-slapping for asking: what about the BLE, eh? Just going to discard established rules because it makes for a better narrative? Damn you, Steven!]
Michael Gambon, eh? There's an actor who knows what he's doing? There are a few confrontations with the Doctor where I went "Matt, you've got a long way to go yet." And Katherine Jenkins, so beautiful. And quite the singing voice! Talk about a Christmas treat! (Another treat: Karen Gillan back in the police uniform, ta Steve!)
A mixture of classical and the new, Steven Moffat brings tears to Christmas...
Coming Soon: Do we really need the Ood back? And the companions get possessed by Zsasz at some point?
Sunday, 26 December 2010
Yet more comedian routines. And yes, I do note that lack of female comedians on this one. The only name that comes to mind that does full shows is Ellen, and even then I'm not sure if she tours or just does specials. Any suggestions of female comedians to watch?
Bill Bailey (Dandelion Mind): More gently weird comedy from a maestro. There's an interesting moment in this performance when the audience suddenly takes a fancy to something, and, basically, overplays that one note for the rest of the show. Bill, the professional, doesn't let it get in the way of the show too much, but does let the crowd have its moments. Frankly, there are times when the comedian should know to just get out of the audience's way when it is enjoying itself, and this is one moment, and Bill knows. Nice show outside of that.
Dermot Morgan (Live): Er, okay this one didn't amuse me that much. Not that Dermot isn't funny, but that his schtick for this show comprised him parodying politicians and other figures. From 1997. From the British Isles. Not a lot of connection to that with me, so I found myself fast forwarding through a lot of it.
Dylan Moran (What It Is): Wry humour with lots of rambling monologue. Doesn't really engage with the audience that much, just stands there and does his thing. Amusing observational humour, although only scoring "mildly amusing".
Ricky Gervais (Science): Ricky clearly has a high opinion of himself, and loves the controversy he causes... although I'm not sure the controversy isn't bigger in his mind than in actuality. He's telling stories, trying to shock, but his style is very wearing. "In your face", and not in a good way.
Russell Brand (The World According To): This is a compilation of his previous shows, which seems to be something comedians are doing now to stretch out their sales, I presume. Anyways, Russell thinks he's funny, there are moments where he is funny, however... he's not that funny.
Tim Minchin (Ready for This): He's that poet comedian you might have heard of. Did Storm and that Pope Song. Great music with awkwardly funny (funny in its awkwardness) monologues. Terrific stuff, highly recommend.
Saturday, 25 December 2010
I said I wanted to get a view of Newtown by night... and here it is! Wasn't quite as dark up the path as I suspect, but there was a surprise dog moment. Anyway
If I get a better camera, I might reshoot this, but that's not likely to happen.
There are many scenic spots around Wellington, so there may be more some month or so, the point here is that this scenic view as a surprise one, close to home.
Friday, 24 December 2010
The BBC is very much British First, Everyone Else Second... If Not Later. Hardly surprising really, considering that the first B stands for British, they are paid for by British license fee payers and are about providing content to their British consumers.
Yet, the C is Corporation, which means they want to make money. Preferably, lots of money. And for that, they can't stick with just Britain, they want to consider anywhere that would be willing to give them money. In return for something, the ungrateful moneygivers, but for monies nonetheless.
So while they are dedicated to content for the British peoples, they also consider worldwide releases. Case in point: The Doctor Who Adventure games. The most recent episode/game "Shadows of the Vashta Nerada". Now, there have been posts about these games previously and no doubt someone will comment on this one, here I'm talking about being able to access it.
On their site, they want people to access it. There's even a wee introduction clip on the site. I guess. I can't tell. Despite the BBC wanting people to be interested, they don't want people to be that interested, and thus you can't see it if you aren't in Britain. (Or able to access YouTube.)
...On the other hand, the BBC are having the games available from Direct2Drive. And for just US$13, you can get the four episodes currently available. Only, you can't. You can only get the first three and pre-order the fourth. Although it's already released. Yes, you could say "the British get it before it's available", but... hey... it's not like they have to pay for it (over and above the license fee... which doesn't even work with the website as anyone on a UK ISP can access the site fully). So non-Britishers get to pay for it, and they get to wait.
Any wonder people turn to piracy?
Thursday, 23 December 2010
They've been released! No, not the aliens at Area 52 (which is more secret than Area 51), but the reports thereof. Yes, at long last, we can read the reports that the Defense Department has been hiding away because they conclusively prove the existence of extra-terrestrials beyond a shadow of a doubt. Government conspiracies, alien abductions, the truth about lights in the skies...
Read for yourself!
Hmm... okay, I've only taken a brief look, but... I'm seeing newspaper articles (of stuff like chemtrails, yeah)... and reports of people who made reports... so, yes, I agree that people reported they saw UFOs. And there were newspaper articles about objects in the skies that were clipped and noted (as one would expect any agency interested in airspace might do)...
...but damning evidence that is over absolute credibility and certainly... can someone point those pages out to me please? I'm not seeing them...
But never fear, the truth is out there! There are aliens! There is a government coverup! The truth is out the- in there... somewhere... maybe... or maybe not?
Wednesday, 22 December 2010
Up in the skyscraper in the city there was only one thing to do... go higher! Heading up to the highest skyscraper of them all, we saw... another building on top of it! From which a badder shot me! Right, that does it!
While the others head in through either the ground or first floor, I head up, and smack that badder about. Two hits was all it took, 'cos I was really ticked off, and then no more badder. Inside was an odd layout, but I heard others downstairs fighting, so headed down to join them. I launch in the room on the first floor and see two more badders and a big bear ant mandible thing, race over and hit it... and down it goes! Woo, I'm doing great! The other badders don't last long either.
Looking around properly now, we find a strange room looking out over an Ishtar tech device. Kit (who has rejoined us) sees a nice hole for his Ishtar grenade and throws it in. Something goes thunk, and the device starts making clunking downs and begins to slowly implode. Huh.
Searching the floors above, we find slaves chained up (original inhabitants of the city) before reaching the top floor and finding a group of Hoops (rabbit beings), Porkers (pig beings) and drone things. With an eye on their loot, we set about them.
And here's where we start running into trouble. Our initial attack looks good, but we are quickly knocked down by them and knocked out. While we are revived a few times, soon Gnomey is down until the fight's over. Then I am. Then Kit runs away. Then Treebeard is out... and the device engine thing starts sucking everything into it... yeah, that didn't go so well.
That was the first time I died.
[Yep, pretty much TPK. But we will return, as one character or another...]
Tuesday, 21 December 2010
This is clearly not a full video. State, the software that I use to do the full videos, wasn't working, so I used the Text-To-Movie facility on the website. Thus this became a two-hander in one scene.
Thrill as Lattay helps out her sister and delivers the coffee order for her. To an underground lair... what could go wrong?
Monday, 20 December 2010
Just screen on British television, an episode that's based on the works of Douglas Adams... yes, Dirk Gently has made it onto the screen. This is a potential pilot, but I haven't heard anything about a series coming about.
Anyways, if you've read the books, you'll recognise elements of this. It's been... edited down, mainly the first book, but there are touches of the second one. Dirk is looking into a missing cat, comes across MacDuff, and gets involved in the disappearance of Gordon Way... It was like a random collage of plot elements that are neatly packaged into sixty minutes. In and of itself, it worked and flowed and everything did indeed connect, but was it really Dirk Gently?
For one thing, where's the hat? Isn't Dirk supposed to be on the portly side? Stephen Mangan's got the random down, but goes a bit too madcap in the crazy side for Dirk. And Darren Boyd as MacDuff seemed a bit... older than what I was expecting. Doreen Mantle (Ruth, the lady with the missing cat) gets the best part in the entire show.
While this isn't the travesty that was the Hitchhiker's movie, this isn't the DNA book Dirk Gently.
Sunday, 19 December 2010
There was nearly a game last week, but it fell through due to computer issues, and I wouldn't have been able to make it... but I was this week!
We took up from where we left off, which was tricky as I remembered sod all. But slowly bits came back.
We did a lot of talking, then more talking. Actual little bit of investigation. Then more talking. Lots of talking accomplished. I think we successfully managed to confuse the main person who has authority, and probably has the entire person relationship wrong. Fun, huh!
Hear, if you dare, to Game 27.
Climbing up the walls of the canyon, we arrive on a large flat pathway that stretched away before and behind us. Denemus sneaked down one way to find out what was down there, finding a river with boats, a storecave thing, and a dormitory with goblins. He came back to tell us, which he did by running towards us yelling "Goblins are following me!" Classy.
While the goblins weren't a huge problem in and of themselves, what complicated matters was when a secret door opened up next to us and more goblins came out. Then, from across the bridge, came more goblins and hobgoblins. It was during this battle that Perelay collapsed, one blow to many.
Fortunately, the Confusion spell is fun, and we had a five second breather after taking care of all them, Excrutia carrying Perelay. Nipping down the secret passageway, we went to the barracks, then a forge, then a deadend with a rockfall. With some smart thinking, a forcewall projected the image of a rockfall a bit earlier in the passage and we hid behind the image while goblins looked down, then went away.
With a little more time on our hands, we went to help Perelay. Who was Cursed. And had Mummy Rot. And so couldn't be healed. From being nearly dead. Well, from being dead now. Yes, it was true, one of our party had fallen. At the hands of the goblins... [...snicker...]
Moving quietly, we circled back the way we came, investigated some more of the goblin warren, then backed away, back down the chasm, and found ourselves back in the Fungal forest. Finding a nice patch to hide away, we finally got the rest we needed. While on guard duty, Excrutia nearly raised an eyebrow as she saw a large fungus move down the river, one of the Myconid that tended this forest.
After the sleeping, we continued down some paths and eventually found ourselves back in the goblin warrens, but on the other side of the rockfall. We poked around and in one large room, found what was passing as the throne room, complete with king and guards. At long last, Fireball! Leaving just the king and bodyguard, although the latter didn't last long. With the king held at knifepoint, we bargained with a goblin seer, who commanded bugbears, and found out they were holding Nuther as prisoner, under suspicion of being a Dwarven spy (as we were suspected of being as well)!
Clearly we wanted swapsies, and did so out on the bridge, before we went back down and ran towards the forest, with the goblins hurling boulders at us while we did so. [We were supposed to go the other way, into the heart of Barbigazl, but due to time we didn't.] We squeezed through the boulders, nearly taken out by some, but got back to the forest, then back to Saltsburg, back to the lair of Grundrakn (grabbing the loot), and back to Azhfelton for hearty slaps on the back all round!
But what lurks in the heart of Barbigazl? Will we ever find out...? [Unless free time shows up... probably not...]
[Read the DM's take on this adventure.]
Saturday, 18 December 2010
Beyond Saltzburg we found the Fungal forest, with large mushrooms and more hillocks and another underground lake, and a strange creature, and other strange creatures that nicked our party members! Oz was taken first, with Excrutia flying after him (having had a flying spell cast on her earlier), then Gort. Although Excrutia tried to block them from being taken underground, they proved too fast.
Meanwhile, the rest of the party was fending them off. Badly. Morf was targetted (they had a thing for Gnomes), but the others weren't doing better. If the creatures struck, they had a paralysing effect that took a while to wear off. And they weren't pretty to look at either [go Google "descent crawlers"]. Valin was snatched, but the others managed to fend the rest of the creatures off, helped when Excrutia returned to get reinforcements. But that left them three party members down, so down into the dark caves they all went...
And rather than wander around getting lost, Excrutia simply looked for recent drag marks and followed those. This did lead to more creatures, but those great spells Hold Person and Sleep put paid to them. Continuing on, we eventually reached another underground cavern with a high roof (with a hole in it), two racing snails, more creatures, Oz, Gort and an avatar of a god. At least, Morf thought so, it looking like Urdlen, a Gnomish bogeyman of legend (making the creatures Urdlenkin). Not that he was going to succumb to madness at the sight of the creature. No way, not him. Not when he could be paralysed by the aura first.
While Excrutia managed to survive a little longer than the others without becoming paralysed, and got some whacks at Urdlen in, even she went down, although others started to come around by this point. Valin, who had managed to free himself and wander around, also found us and pitched in. One the magic people took out the creatures (Sleep, I think), that just left us hitting on Urdlen, trapped by a web. He didn't last long after all that. [I can't remember when, but I think it was during this fight that Perelay got Mummy Rot, so couldn't heal. If we were to rest, the cleric could deal with that and the curse the next day.]
The best way out was up. While we could get those racing snails to creep up the walls, Excrutia simply flew people up. Yeah, we ain't waiting for no snails. We found ourselves at the bottom of a chasm, or possible a cravasse. Above was a bridge, so at last we had found civilisation! Onwards! [Yep... no rest yet...]
Friday, 17 December 2010
One could say that the mass of the mountain that was known to the Gnomes as Redbeck was what drew Morf back home to Azhfelton... or it could be that the Gnomes there asked him to come back. Having previously been abandoned by the same Gnomes after he teamed up with humans and elves and others (that had basically killed the party of Gnomes he was in), it was with some trepidation that he complied. He also brought with him Excrutia the fighter (who had been freed of her possession after the Master had been defeated), Denemus the thief, Alrick the Cleric, Valin the magic user and Perelay the Elf. [Ah, basic D&D, how I missed thee and thy race = class...]
Rufus Redcap, leader of the Gnomes, had a proposition for him. One of their Delvers (basically a priest/sage/wise one), Nuther Netherreach, was lost inside the mountain, and search parties had failed to bring him back... or make it back themselves. So they wanted Morf to check it out, and with the party would go Gort (Gnome fighter) and Oz (Gnome Delver in training, complete with magic orb of orby magicalness).
The first hurdle was getting into the mountain. Their previous entrance was now blocked, leaving another entrance through a pitm to which the party was guided by one Boris Barkshin. He informed that the pit was one in which they had thrown sheep and gotten back "slick". After Perelay flew down, he found out that the conversation of sheep to slick was courtesy of a green dragon, named Grundrakn (the name was only revealed after the dragon was [thanks DM!]). While it looked like there was going to be severe trouble, what with the dragon eating the sheep we sent down in a cage and snapping off the cage, a simple lightning bolt spell put an end to that issue. And revealed a ton of treasure... far more than one would expect. Perelay didn't seem that interested in touching anything [Cursed! Can't touch metal!], but we got potions and scrolls and lots of coins.
Moving on, we went through a passage until we found a large, really large, cavern under the ground. How large? There was a hillock in there with a city on it! And two lakes! Kinda large. This was the deserted city of Saltsburgh, where salt was mined. After dealing with glowworms with a taste for humans, we arrived at the city and set about looting... I mean, exploring... yeah... Morf found a large blaster gun hooked in the lake, and others found huts and a giant slug. Now that was an epic fight [there could have been four, but with how we rolled, we barely dealt with one]! It was so epic, Paraley was nearly killed in a single attack from the slug. Clubs did sod all, and axes barely hurt it. Morf blasted water into huts to spray encrusted salt on it, which did something more, but basically it survived longer than it should.
With that done, we got our breath back, then moved on, pausing only to admire the scaffold that let the miners paint their racing snails. Huh. [We didn't rest... we should have considering what's coming...]
Thursday, 16 December 2010
This document will make you never want to eat food again. At least, it will make you not want to each food while watching it. Even eating carrots and tofu chicken will cause waves of guilt to run through your body.
Killer At Large is about the obesity epidemic. As it is in America, nowhere else is mentioned, so we can only assume America is the only place with this problem. (Go, America, Number One!)
These movies follow a similar pattern. Outline the problem, typically giving a human interest story to draw the viewer in. Then explain how we got here, usually pining the blame on big corporations and/or government, and show plucky people trying to get their message across. Then give us some ways this could be fixed, before finally ending on showing big corporations / government stepping on the little heroes introduced in the movie. That's certainly what happens here.
But one thing I noticed while watching this: this movie is about obesity, and how everyone is getting fat, yadda yadda.. and yet most of the people talking where not fat! Really? So I should believe you, when you aren't a tubby? And, one amusing note, they talk to children in primary school to find out what shocking things they have for lunch (pizza, popcorn chicken) and in the background is a table of fruit! I'm not saying they don't have a point, but the visuals (and we are visual creatures) aren't following along. (One guy I saw with fat... the phys ed teacher!) Also not helped by most scenes being backed by very annoying music.
While this documentary has a point, I might have become a bit saturated (sic) with them, as seeing nothing special about this one.
Wednesday, 15 December 2010
The truck broke down, and Maxwell and Kit stayed to fix it. We continued on to the city, and picked up another companion, Gnomey, a swarm of gnomes. (Best not to ask.)
As we approached the city, the ground became swampy and infested with large dragon flies and earth creature things that attacked us. Not very successfully as it happened, but still they delayed us. At the end of that fight, undergoing the continual Alpha Flux I and my companions are prone to, I became a giant version of myself.
Didn't help battering down the trees and bushes that had overgrown the city, though. After forcing our way inside, we encountered some badders defending a building, and also got attacked by some mosquito type things. I lost my giantism, but gained better perception, which minorly helped seeing the tiny creatures. Gnomey got a hold of the walkie-talkie and found out that there were some roaming demons around, and they destroyed some badders at station 20, wherever that was. We decided to stay clear of that!
Continuing on, through the overgrown city with its overgrown beetle which also attacked us. (What is it with this place?) All of us beating on it, still took a while to go down. (Hint: don't try psychic damage, ow, the feedback!) Just as that fight ended, I erupted on fire! At least my wings did. Better speed... but I was a tree on fire!
That only lasted until we found a room with tree lizardy things in them, then the fire went away and I got some extra arms. Until they became tentacles. Which lattery became venomous spurs, which also proved helpful in taking out the lizards. Fluxm or what?
End up: we're still in the city... yay...
Tuesday, 14 December 2010
I realised something very important about this movie. It's a remake! We have aliens turning up, gathering up humans to consume them, large creatures roaming about with weird eyes... it's War of the Worlds, all over again! With really annoying people!
This movie features the world's stupidest man, Jarrod (someone), played by Eric Balfour. We start with him unable to recognise his partner is pregnant, to standing watching an alien invasion, to him being unable to open a door. Not exactly someone we want as our leading man, but we're stuck with him. And with the other whiny adults. Basically, while watching this, there is no real sense in which we shouldn't think the aliens won't be taking over the earth handily.
There are two reasons to watch this movie: Donald Faison and David Zayas. They have the best roles. Oh, and there's lot of CGI aliens about the place too, and they look cool. For a while it doesn't seem that we'll get to see them, but soon there are daylight scenes happening with them in full view (speaking of daylight, days seem to last around five minutes. We go from the alien invasion starting at 4.30 in the morning, then five minutes later they rush up to the roof and it's mid morning... wuh-huh? And then the "girls" are getting rest... did anyone need to eat or anything? Man, it must be tiring being in a luxury apartment with a telescope...).
I can recommend this movie as a "look what effects can do" picture... and that's about it...
Monday, 13 December 2010
Sunday, 12 December 2010
The Future of Food isn't about food per se, as much as it is about genetic modification, and wheat/corn and Monsanto, which makes it reminiscent of Food Inc.
The focus is largely anti-GM (without a pro-"organic" spiel, just anti-GM), and about how food (ie corn) being so controlled is going to become an issue and owed by corporations, and the American public are going to get screwed over it. Yeah, like that isn't already happening. I'm sure there are already documentaries around about how America is a Plutocracy.
One point that got touched on was labelling GM food as such. This will enable choice, and also start tracing health problems linked to such modification... and immediately I saw that going terribly wrong. How many mothers will see "GM" on their products, and immediately say "that's what causing (insert any problem with child here". Why? Because "a mother knows". And if you'd heard that before, that's because that's the entire reasoning behind the anti-vax movement. No science, and certainly no evidence, needed! Bring on the hysteria and the lawsuits!
Genetically modifying crops and food and even animals is happening. The best we are going to get is decent regulation, although that's doubtful. But that's where our eyes should be set, not on reclaiming what has already been destroyed.
Saturday, 11 December 2010
*Phew* I was worried there I was going to have a tough time over the next few weeks, but it seems that the year is over and done with, and nothing else will happen.
Whether the Top 10 Everything, or Song Lyrics or Songs, or... whatever, everything about 2010 has been listed, rated, evaluated, and now summarised...
So I guess this means that over the next few weeks, there will be no new songs to note, no new movies coming out that will be big hits, no new news stories that need to be read... the year is done and done!
Everyone, take the rest of the year off, nothing's going to happen...
Friday, 10 December 2010
Answer: Pretty much everyone!
This movie came out a few years ago (2006 to be precise), although I can't say that the situation has dramatically improved in the mean time.
In the last decade of the 20th Century, electric cars were around. However, they didn't potentially make as much money as non-electric cars, so they were killed off... and that's the movie! They go into more detail, about who and why, but the basics are that. I can't say I'm completely shocked. Frankly, the USA is showing many signs that it is a world superpower in collapse, and the only reason it hasn't so far is because it is so big... but when it does collapse, the rest of the world is just going to look on in pity...
However, before that happens, we'll see a lot more posturing that it's a world leader, and, hey, look at these gas powered electric cars! Yeah, 'cos the hybrid is so amazingly popular, just look at how successful it is and how everyone is buying them and how every family has one... oh wait, I'm thinking of the SUV.
Yeah, while there is money to be made, the electric car ain't coming. When it does come, that's a good sign America is crashing...
Thursday, 9 December 2010
Okay, so probably behind the trend, but I was totally not looking for this when I stumbled upon it. And, I'm no MMORPGer, but I laughed. Very, extremely well done. (Also watched Game On... this one is better.)
Wednesday, 8 December 2010
This is another of the "world is in crisis" movies. Blue Gold: World Water Wars is all about the world's water, how it's being used, how it's being over used and how it's going to run out.
That is to say: the usable water is running out. Pollution and purity and other factors make what water there is not palatable for human consumption, so we need to get it from other places. And where there's (now) a need for getting water from one place to another, there's a place for corporations to step in and make profit.
And even if it's not moving, corporations move in anyway, and charge people for their own water. Until there's nothing but profit and no water...
This is a rather disastrous state of affairs. Ultimately, whether we do anything or not, this will resolve itself. Although, at the current rate we are doing things, this will resolve with no water for anyone, and the planet reaching a new equilibrium, possibly with a new range of animals living on it...
Blue Gold goes through all this, and suggests some options. However, it also highlights the big problems, of politics and corporations. Until the heads of the corporations feel the bite, I remain cynical.
But definitely check out this movie. Another scare piece that needs to be seen.
Tuesday, 7 December 2010
Plot? You want a plot? How about a runaway train that could killed thousands of people? Now that's a plot!
... and that pretty much is the plot. Insert every basic idea you can think of from other movies that tried to stop runaway trains, and it's here as well. Of course, this movie has a leg up over other movies in that this is based on an actual story, and, aside from extreme over-dramatisation for movie purposes, what happened there happens here.
But it's also a buddy pic. He's a long time train worker, with lots of experience. He's a young brash kid, not really invested in this job. Together, can they find a way to work with each other, and maybe unite to stop a train?
Check out those names: Denzel Washington, Chris Pine, Rosario Dawson, Kevin Dunn... And I don't know how much was shot real, or manufactured, but it looks good.
Basically, yes, we aren't talking great human stories here, but the point is... this is fun. It's a runaway train, people try to stop it, town and cities are in danger, people are yelling at each other, two guys are bonding... low grade thinking, high grade action! Fun!
Monday, 6 December 2010
This is the view from the top of the hill I live on. They cut away the trees, so there's a brilliant view down into Newtown itself.
No, it's not a great video, but then it wasn't a professional movie camera. I replaced the audio with a new commentary. Still, I gave it a go.
I would also like to try a night shoot, but am wary of trying that path at night...
No, you cannot see my house from there...
Sunday, 5 December 2010
Who's going to earn a ton of money then? The first half of the last one, that's who.
Do I need to go over the plot? Harry and co go camping and three hours of all our lives later, they are still there! It's just as boring on film as it was in the book! Oh, there are some other scenes happening, but the "we live in the woods" mini-movie overwhelms the mind...
I think this movie does show that CGI and motion capture and other effect technology has reached a good point where it is seamlessly integrated onto the screen. Eyelines might still be a little off, but camera moves hide sins and, yeah, it's all working fine.
And there's a nice sequence where we learn about the Deathly Hallows themselves, in that it's done in a nicely animated sequence that harkens back to shadow puppets yet still with CGI stylings. Well done.
Given the build up over the years (and, to be honest, I'd forgotten the Half-Blood Prince, so this will be a set of movies to watch back-to-back, as no doubt many cinemas will do to get more money), and given this is a "they are in the woods" movie, aside from the main three actors, every one else is largely bit parts. It nice to see the cameos, but they aren't really in there. Instead, it's all about Daniel, Emma and Rupert... and it could be said they're getting tired of this series. Certainly, I'm sure while they like the attention, they'll be glad when filming is finished (I'm sure there'll be some minor stuff for Part II that still needs them).
If you've seen the other movies, you'll see this one. If you haven't seen them... don't go to this, number seven is not the jumping on point. It's ending!
Saturday, 4 December 2010
I like humour, and have been watching a fair few comedians recently.
Eddie Izzard (Live From Wembley): He knows what he's doing, going for some of the more absurd style of comedy (transvestite super hero!), I felt the show was a bit weaker than others. Like the material wasn't as polished as other performances.
Jimmy Carr (Making People Laugh): Now here's a comedian that's constantly honing his craft. One liners, observational humour, anecdote humour, a full range of laughs. Should check out all his shows.
Billy Connolly (Live In London): Hilarious! And it's not just me who thinks so! Billy spends more than a few minutes laughing at his own jokes. Lots of anecdote comedy, so he's lucky a lot of funny stuff happens to him. Hoarse Scottish voice still in fine form.
Dara O'Briain (Talks Funny, This is the Show): Mixture of anecdote comedy and talking with the audience, rants on several topics including, yes, religion and other woo topics. Lovely Irish accent, talking really funny stuff.
Sean Lock (Live, Lockaepedia): Not laughing as much at these shows, then again I didn't laugh as much during his comments on QI. Not to say he isn't funny, just not entirely lining up with my preferred styles. Anecdote comedy again.
Steve Coogan (Alan Partridge and Other Less Successful Characters): This is the show he was touring over in NZ a few years ago, but I failed to go to it. Pity, as this is fantastic. His "other characters" are a bit hit and miss, yet the variety keeps up so if you don't fancy one, wait a while then another will turn up. And then half way, he switches to Alan Partridge and great hilarity there. Basically, this man is a serious professional funny man, and demonstrates it perfectly.
Ross Noble (Things): Mad. That's the only way to describe his show: mad. Observational humour, and it's whatever's in front of him at the time. I have to wonder that all his shows within a tour are so radically different, as I could only really spot one bit that could be prepared material, and the rest... trust me, no-one is going to get "Hawaiian Emergency Kit" unless you were there. Mad. Funny... and mad.
British comedians, yes. I saw Heckler a while ago, in which Jamie Kennedy whines about being heckled. Should have interviewed British comedians, mate, you'll see real professionals handle hecklers. If you heckle them, you'd better be ready to stand up to it...
Friday, 3 December 2010
Ah, Celebrities. Is there nothing they won't do for a charity? In their latest stunt, they died so that you might give money for AIDS.
Now a pause: Giving money for AIDS, in this case to keep children alive in AIDS ridden Africa, is a worth cause. We just had World AIDS day, and this is off that. Now, that said...
What celebrities are doing is nothing. No tweeting. No facebooking. No electronic updates of any kind. These celebrities include Elijah Wood, Lady Gaga, Kim Kardashian, Alicia Keys, Justin Timberlake... they are all, digitally speaking, dead.
Until their fans donate one million dollars to this charity.
Um... hang on here... just a small minor thing... and this is something that really annoys me about a lot of charity events...
How much money could be raised if these celebrities, instead of sitting around doing nothing, instead gave one million each to the cause? For a lot of them, that wouldn't be noticed. No, instead, and just like other events like this, the celebrities give up a little bit of their time, and instead it's the rest of us that actually fork over money to the event, when they have a lot more money than the rest of us.
And I would be very impressed if they all turned around said "after you give a million, we'll each give..." however much, even hundred grand over all of them would get over a million.
But no sign of that. Instead, they simply return to pre-tweet lives... which may be hard for some of them, but come on now! They aren't even performing a song or anything to get people going! They are literally doing less in the name of charity than they normally would!
(And the site suggests the rest of us join in and stop online interaction, but if I did that I wouldn't be able to tell you about it.)
As Stephen Colbert says "Donate $999,999", that'll sort 'em out...
Wednesday, 1 December 2010
The Gamma world is a strange place of crossed time lines, strange creatures, and stranger powers. Myself, I am Karter Hawk, a tree that looks like a man that looks like a hawk. I blame the tree that birthed me, having snacked on a hawk nest that lived there. Bad for the hawks. Not that good for the tree either, to be honest. But I was one result. Whip like arms, leaves for feathers, an ability to fly, and now out in the world.
My companions are a boxy robot gravity controller thing (RK-37), a big tree that causes earthquakes (Treebeard), a human looking man that arcs electricity and seems very aware (Maxwell Dillian), and a cat person creature (Kit [forgotten!]).
We were in the town of Cliffton when some robotical creatures swept in. Kit took too close a look, and got himself and the others attacked. I saw that there was a badger-man in the distance, so looked into that while they took the robots on. Treebeard somehow appeared beside us, and together we took him out (found out he was a slaver). The robots were on a mission to find out what's up with the Alpha mutations, so we decided to backtrack their course.
Coming to a rocky outcropping, we stopped to find the next place (I spotted smoke on the horizon), and found another robot thing. RK-37 conversed with it, and we found out it was from some Alpha University place, under command of a Dr Helen [Magnus!], to find the source of the Alpha stuff. Maxwell destroyed it, because he could, before we could get the really juicy details.
Onwards, into Gamma World and beyond!
Tuesday, 30 November 2010
Monday, 29 November 2010
If someone said they'd planted bombs, what would you do? What. Would. You. Do. One answer is: make a movie about it!
Someone has planted bombs, and without much hesitation, we get to the torture. That's not really the Unthinkable part of the movie, though. There is a lot of complaining about legality, etc., but I think we all readily accept that America will skip straight to the pain bringing if they suspect any terrorism is going on. So, yeah, although they said that people will say anything under torture, they still do the torture.
But as time goes on, they need more desperate measures to get some answers, and we get to the "shocking" bits (that's in quotes as it is obvious that's where the movie is going there). The movie presents a range of options, and somewhat lets the audience decide how far they'd be willing to go, but also doesn't shy away from consequences. Just who is in control?
Skipping to the cast, Samuel L. Jackson is the man, and while not playing a nice character, is within believability (and I'm not sure that any ol' actor could pull that off). Carrie-Ann Moss is the "we must be nice" voice, and I do wonder if could have been as well pulled off if the character was male. Michael Sheen (no relation) gets a tough role, but pulls it off well.
When you think about this situation, the movie does largely address all the points you would think of. However, it doesn't really get that spectacular with the concept, so in the end we have a workable, but not brilliant, movie. That said, can easily wait for this to come out on rentable DVD, as there is nothing big screen about this.
Sunday, 28 November 2010
Bit late, but yeah, I saw it. All about Gru stealing the moon. But it was never really about that, right?
It's all about how Gru is a villain, but then he meets the little girls, and then he becomes human and... the problem here is that while the villain is not necessarily likable, there has to be some connection with the audience, even if liking how Gru is a dick. But the connection isn't there. You can tell that the script writer is really trying to set up the character to be connectable, but being to spot the trying is making it fail. It's just too easy to see where it is going. (Mastermind also had "bad guy tempered by girl", but the main character there was actually enjoyable.)
There are some good moments in the movie (yes, the unicorn one), however it takes over half the movie to actually get into what it really wants to do (Gru with the girls), that by that time I was disinvested and only very slowly came back.
The big name draw for this is Steve Carell, but also there is Russell Brand and Julie Andrews. Miranda Cosgrove gets interviewed a lot for it, likely the producers trying to make sure the kids come see this. Jemaine Clement is also in this, but I'd be hard pressed to point to his character.
I do need to give 3D a try some time, but this is not a movie I'm going to see again soon.
The best part of the movie... the theme song:
Saturday, 27 November 2010
Yes, another Desert Bus post, but, hey, these people raised $200,000!!! You can find videos of segments on YouTube, just look for "Desert Bus 4" or "Desert Bus 2010". As one example...
And if you want to watch people playing games for Child's Play more, check out people playing Mass Effect.
Thursday, 25 November 2010
So this is Michael Moorcock, is it? If this is typical of his style (and why would he not write typically), I can't say I'll be adding a new author to my reading list. Am I saying I didn't enjoy this book? I enjoyed... some parts of this book, but on the whole, no, it won't be an experience I'll be hurrying to repeat. (Looks up Wiki entry.) Ah, that explains something, see below.
The plot is, essentially, straightforward enough, a travelogue across different planets and spaceships, with pirates, it is confounded by the setting. Although it's 51,007, everyone's wacky about Earth history and of course gets it wrong in oh-so-hilarious ways. And by "hilarious", I mean "confusing". Earth World did this and that didn't cause me to have no idea about various things MM is on about here. The corruption of the language doesn't help, and he's mixing up a fair few things... and aside from 'whackit' being something like cricket with bows and arrows, I'm not sure what's going on there. And was the "arrer" different to the "arrow"? Not to mention the "Roogaluator"/"Regulator" nonsense. MM seemed to be enjoying himself writing all this, more than I had reading it.
And the characters are all very... here, I'll jump to the point of "Wodehouse"ian, of people faffing about trying obliquely not to express their feelings while going "rather" and "old thing" and the like. Admission time: I haven't read any P. G. Wodehouse. People keep saying he's someone to read, and yet I have completely failed to. To be honest, I don't see that as an achievement I'll obtain any time soon. Then mix it up with the mixed up setting described above, and it's more annoying than amusing.
One thing I'm not sure about is: did MM ask for the Doctor/Amy pair, or was it part of the contract that he write for them? I wouldn't be surprised by the latter, as the mannerisms, etc., aren't very Eleventh Doctor-ish, and although we get a lot of Bingo flirting with Amy, Rory's name isn't mentioned once, not even in Amy's internal monologue. Eh? Was he only passed a couple of scripts, or early concept ideas, or something? He does a passable job of writing the Doctor/Companion story, but I'm thinking he might have had other pairings in mind...
I got this 'cos I'm a completist. While I didn't enjoy it, I dare say some aspects of above (from author to style) will appeal to others more.
Wednesday, 24 November 2010
Heading back up to the city, we find some more guards, only these lead us to Karm, the old retainer from our household. Somehow, Hermat Blackmoor (my father) has overthrown the Bandit King and taken control of the city, using zombies from Loudwater (where we were) to supply them. That's really odd...
We leave him with the "zombie attraction" pole and head out to the house my father uses for business. Coming up through the sewers, we get to the cellars and find, oddly enough, zombies! With a corruption specter and something else! The fight doesn't exactly go as we expect, and the zombies prove to be a little tougher that we expected. It takes a few goes and some of us moving unexpectedly, but finally we smack them into submission.
And find a really strange house. Some of the walls and most the doors are now some kind of thin skin! Eeww. It's like some kind of alarm system spread throughout the house. Moving carefully, we get to the top floor, but find more skin. Setting off alarms all over the place, we head into the top floor bubble to find what looks like my father with alchemical equipment (which Dox ends up destroying).
Although I confront it, it quickly becomes obvious that this isn't Hermat, and indeed we will find it to be Seaian, the a-hole. Jasin keeps him pinned down enough for us to move and attack and unleash all kinds of attacks at him and his zombie pals. Dox does the final take down, and Seaian is revealed to be... a Changeling! As he falls, he alerts his mother. Who knows what she has in store for us...?
[That's it for this current season of Zombiegeddon. Next week... Gamma World!]
Tuesday, 23 November 2010
Monday, 22 November 2010
Returned to WARGS for the start of hopefully a new run of Shadowrun games. For this special beginning, we played a mod from the next season (not due to start yet), but to get in we had to donate a can of food (in my case a pack of cans of beans) that goes to the food bank. Good idea, and we get something in game for it. (Extra cans went to refreshing Edge, needed that!)
It seemed like a simple mission, just get some data, all we needed to do was protect the kid doing the extracting. As it was, I sat in the room while the other two killed them with triple passes per turn (I only got one turn, but if you can go more than once, people like me end up sitting and twiddling our thumbs). Still, once that was over, we were done, just needed to hand the data over.
And then everything went south, as we were attacked (more combat! I was one box off death - yay Immortality Flower!), and we barely got away. We have a bodyguard with us and found out the corporation hired us to steal data from them, and... er? Something else going on here.
On the other hand, once we started talking to the proper people, it quickly came down to giving people things and getting money. Easy! (I took my payment in flowers.)
Fun game, and here's to more!
Sunday, 21 November 2010
Didn't post for earlier in the morning as I'm being distracted by the Desert Bus for Hope. The LRR crew sit down and play Desert Bus to earn money for Child's Play.
Go ahead and watch. Or, better, donate. Or challenge to do something for money. Yesterday they played Tomb of Horrors!
Saturday, 20 November 2010
I really do. I'm watching this, and going "there's Abin Sur... Tomar Re! ... hey, Hector Hammond ... is that Pieface?" But... but... The suit is all CGI, and it shows. Look at 1:50, the suit doesn't quite track. And although he's stretching at 2:19, that just highlights the CGIness of it.
And then 1:55... you can see the wires they digitally erased! It's just so obvious...
I doubt they'd release a trailer this unprepared, but I hope there's still more tweaks to the effects to come to smooth them out. Oh, and it's going to be 3D... yeah... joy...
(And then there's this...)
Some time I really need to sort out my dream cast for a Green Lantern movie.
Friday, 19 November 2010
Hey, look it's the Trickster, and in thi... what? ... no Trickster? Dangnabit! Instead, we have a new SJS like woman (who is not at all ever going to turn out to be evil, oh no) who is likable (and not evil) and could actually work as another member of the crew (as long as she isn't evil) and could add an interesting new dynamic (presuming she sticks around for longer than this story as she isn't at all going to be evil).
But while they hint at this new prospect in the first half, in the second half it's once again Elizabeth Sladen with easy shooting days as everyone else runs around saying "Where is Sarah Jane Smith?". Side note, it's ... amazing? intriguing? annoying? just how often her full name is spoken. It's like extra gravitas is added if only all three components are uttered. Then again, just continually going on as "Sarah Jane" instead of "Sarah" probably adds a few minutes to each show meaning there is less script to write, so I can see why they would do that.
Anyway, to continue with the spoilers, we get Luke turning up again, and a completely improbable set of circumstances involving him, K9 and a phone that pushes the limits of technology past their braking point that would have been amusing had it been played for a joke as in Rimmer's enlarging the photograph in Return To Earth, but instead is played as real and just doesn't read at all... (take a breath, and start new sentence)
Anyway, this last episode is average for SJA, which is to say it's good, but not "series closing" big like some past ones. Roll on series five! (I'm still watching, so take that as a thumbs up!)
Thursday, 18 November 2010
Idugesma and Joo are very talented artists of the violin and piano. You get a hint of their act in Pianomania (will that movie never come out of DVD!?!?!), but here you can see more of their performance in action. Now that takes extreme timing!
(And here they get the whole orchestra in on it!)
Wednesday, 17 November 2010
While I need to get back home, it's not that easy, what with the zombie hoards patrolling the streets. However, Llorkh is built on old version of Llorkh, so all we need to do is to get down to the ruins under the current city then head north. We get to one entrance just as we get a hint of the zombie pack coming after us, but disable the gate leading in. That'll stop them.
Heading down through the tunnels, we come across a partially destroyed room with a slope leading to a chasm. And there are gnolls there as well. [Woo! Gnolls!] We set about them, and then find there's a sand trap that part sand blaster and part slippy slide to send people into the chasm. As it happens, only the gnolls are caught in their own trap. Doh! To be honest, the gnolls aren't that much of a problem, and the sand soon covered their dead bodies.
However, the gnolls were guard like guards that were probably a part of a group we encounter next, which includes a human with a bow, a huntsman if you will. Dox, looking like a gnoll, wanders in and sits on the vacant throne, while the Bard pretends to be my father. The huntsman isn't happy about either of this and sets the gnolls and wolves on us. Although the huntsman doesn't prove to be a problem, the rest of them are, and it's quite a long battle to deal with them. I get bloodied! Dox gets knocked out!! Twice!!! Clearly though, as we are heroes, we prevail... although I do wonder if we just killed what passes for the Resistance around here...
Continuing on we find a large shaft that gets us up a few levels and along another tunnel that leads past a well from which issues some strange sounds. Up from the well comes... a Grell! Although it knocks the monk down the shaft (and out of the fight), we range fighters collectively stomp it in a few rounds before it can do any more damage (and my ability to get inside its head and confuse it [lowering its defenses] proves very useful).
We decide to rest before pressing on, and for some reason we know we'll wake up on the morrow stronger... increased in our abilities... [although it's only level five, with one extra daily power].
Tuesday, 16 November 2010
Excellent strong opening episode to series two of Misfits I thought. Some nice gags about probation workers, and a new villain du jour that leads to some really weird moments. Oh, and Nathan's back.
And bringing in a "mysterious figure", who, frankly, looks like they completely out class the rest of the MisFits so that'll be interesting to see unfold.
Have you caught up with them yet?
Monday, 15 November 2010
Recently the Catholics decided they were missing an important component of their churchly congregation, namely: Exorcists! (And overseas is just as uncritical as here, or rather, here is just as reprinted as overseas.)
"Possible signs of demonic possession include scratching, cutting, biting of the skin; profound displays of strength; and a strong or violent reaction to holy water."
Yeah? That's certainly a sign of something. A severely disturbed person who needs proper psychiatric help, for example. But of course people won't just leapt to a supernatural explanation when there's a perfectly possible natural one. Clearly those who are asked to perform an exorcism will first make sure that an exorcism is appropriate. Right?
"Overwhelmed with requests for exorcists, United States Roman Catholic bishops are holding a special training workshop in Baltimore this weekend to teach clerics the esoteric rite, the Catholic News Service reported."
Special training, like psychiatric training, or at least enough to know when to call in professional psychiatrics or other suitable doctors, and not just assume that an exorcism is the answer.
"Catholic Church law stipulates that only properly trained priests can perform the rite - and then only with the permission of their bishops."
The law also stipulates that all natural steps are followed first, right?
Sunday, 14 November 2010
Tesla's tower destroyed, we need to instigate rescue and recovery, and find out if an airship can pull up a building...
And introducing the new hero of the peoples: The Midnight Marmoset!
Find out how this season of SSM kicks off in Game 26.
Saturday, 13 November 2010
So there are three pieces of metal needed for something, three 'keys' as they might be terms in a certain context, and they are scattered throughout 'time', and they can be any object and... stop me if you've heard this before...
That said, Rupert Laight merely uses that as an excuse to have three different stories going on, and while those objects do play a part in the events unfolding, it is more about the people the three regulars meet and that interaction on a personal level that really matters in this adventure.
And those stories are interesting. The three main cast all get beats and by the end of the two-parter, you are interested in finding out what happens afterward. Well, except for Jane. Strangely enough, I was more interesting in the fictional people than the actual historical person. Eh, for whatever that says.
I don't really have anything to say about the cast, except if Don Warrington isn't available, Cyril Nri would be an excellent alternative.
A nice character piece, and then next time we get the anti-Sarah Jane.
Friday, 12 November 2010
I would love to make money writing superhero fiction. However, the first step for me would be to not be in New Zealand. It's "well known" that getting science fiction published is dodgy at best, and superhero fiction? Fergedaboudit.
And just to show off how easy it is to do in other countries, we have Masked, editted by Lou Anders, a collection of superhero fiction by a variety of authors, including Peter David and Joseph Mallozzi (just to name two writers that I'd experience in some way before). As collections go, some stories are better than others, but on the whole the average is better than most collections I've read, no complete clunkers in here.
One interesting aspect I want to mention is the anti-power guy. Not anti-"power guy", but "anti-power" guy. I find the idea of someone who can cancel other powers to be a source of mutiple possibilities, and yet it isn't really used that much. Here we have at least two (that I recall) stories that feature that very concept. More interestingly, on the side of the villains, as if having a good superhero being able to cancel an evil superhero's powers wouldn't be a good idea. The main concept I want to play with that is the hero who knows he's in the right against all supers, and none of them can touch him. (That said, that person could easily be countered by a gun, for example, so more than just "no powers" is needed there.)
Anyways, the point is, I should move from New Zealand, but before then you should pick up this book.
Thursday, 11 November 2010
Wednesday, 10 November 2010
After the rubbish of his last movie, it was good to see Bruce Willis return to his action role. And it has to be said, it is a damn fun movie!
Bruce Willis is an old guy (actually, he's only 55) and is an ex-CIA agent. Now people have come to kill him, and the woman he's been talking to. Why? Because... eh, not that important. What is important is that he hooks up with other old people and they go out and severely kick some ass. Morgan Freeman. John Malkovich. Helen Mirren. And opposed to them our own Karl Urban (and you can still see him McCoy'ing his way through some scenes at times).
The movie comprises of a set pieces, loosely connected by the plot, but mainly featuring Bruce Willis beating someone up. The others have moments as well, and there are lot of moments when physics takes a definite back step to Hollywood effects. But, hey, it's fun, so I'm willing to forgive them. (I might have to find the comics this is based on and see if that is just as much fun. Warren Ellis? Should be!)
So yes, definitely a movie to go see. To repeat: it's fun!
Tuesday, 9 November 2010
So a big thing happening on tv is The Event. A strange thing happens with a plane as the President finds out that We Are Not Alone. Then a guy is racing across the country to save his girl-friend, and...
Y'know what, this is just such a mess of criss-crossing plots, I don't really care. I've seen four episodes and am ready to draw conclusions about the series. It was billed at one point as the next Lost (yeah, as if that's something to aspire to), but it could easily be the next 24, what with all the twists and turns and Presidents and multiple things happening at once.
But here's the thing. And not even Lost was this dick-ish, and it was very dick-ish. Whenever anyone, absolutely anyone, threatens to reveal anything approaching what is really going on to the audience, they are killed. Even though there are plenty of people with plenty of facts. Some of them even ostensibly on the "good" side of the narrative. But absolutely nothing shall be told to the audience, not a hint, not a fact, not even a tip of a nod that whatever is going on is actually important. Either the good guys turn out to be bad and start killing, or the bad guys are really bad and start killing ('cos this is one of those shows where the bad guys are leagues ahead of everyone else, except the one lone under-resourced hero of course), but as long as whomever was thinking of talking is dead, that's all that matters.
There're mysteries, there're slow reveals, then there's just continuously giving the finger to the audience.
How bad is it? This show thinks it's so wonderful, with side-by-side plots, and going back and forth through time to reveal... whatever irrelevant piece of information it doesn't want anyone to actually know... that in the first episode, we get a hint of the event, then cut back to "23 minutes earlier"... which then takes the whole hour long episode to get back to The Event...
Screw you, The Event. Screw you.
Monday, 8 November 2010
Ooh, another superhero movie! Clearly animation is the easy way to go with this, so still waiting for a big budget live action movie with many super-powered beings...
Being the hero is easy, but Megamind (a last surviving child from an alien planet shot to earth) finds it easier to be the villain. Time and time again he fights against Metro Man until finally... he wins! But then what...?
So yet another take on the superhero genre, and we are seeing more of the villain's side in movies. Probably because they get the better lines. Which is one problem this movie has: the humour gets in the way of the plot. It's not until around two-thirds into the movie that the plot actually really kicks in and the jokes die down and the characters get motivated properly. (Not that what happens is particularly original, you can call most 'twists' before they happen, but it's still decent.)
Speaking of names, that cast list is large (not surprising for DreamWorks): Will Ferrell, Brad Pitt, Tina Fey, David Cross, Jonah Hill... even Ben Stiller is in there. And not over the top antics from Ferrell (for a change), although Pitt doesn't sound that comfortable in voice over.
Amusing enough, could be more amazing.
Sunday, 7 November 2010
Many years ago Claudia Christian returned to science fiction, over in England, in a comedy series called Starhyke.
In the future, a thousand years from now, Earth has gone out and killed pretty much everyone, but are fighting the Reptids. Earthers enjoy success due to suppressing all their emotions. A Reptid plan is to go back into the past and the Nemesis follows... however, a device from the Reptids eliminates their inhibitions, and so they now have to find the Reptid mothership in the past and deal with their emotions...
AND WACKINESS!!! WOO!!!!!!!
The comedy is full blown, and focused on one thing: sex, sex, sex. Every episode seems intent on deriving humour from sexual single entendres, sexual references, sexual confusions, sexual... well, you get the idea. Oh, and there is also plenty of fart jokes and such as well. Yes they are on a spaceship, but that's merely backdrop.
Now, I still have two episodes to go, but of the first four the first three are rubbish. Episode four was marginally decent, but I don't have high hopes for the final two. Not even Jeremy Bulloch (yes, he's in this as well) can save this series.
This series was brought up at Armageddon with a question about series two. We can only hope it never happens...
Saturday, 6 November 2010
Just after the start of the latest Millennium there were two feature films about a particular monster. I will admit that Jeepers Creepers did try for something different. Only failed in that it wasn't that good. Note: I will be discussing the endings, but as these films are years old I'm not hiding the text.
Number One follows brother and sister as they observe someone dumping a body and they decide to investigate. Only to have the murderer track them down, and prove to be something not entirely human. There is a sense of the script being self-aware at several moments. Mention of someone doing something stupid in classy horror movie way. But a far better moment (in the trailer) of when sister hits the creature, brother asks if it is dead. "They never are," she replies, and then proceeds to drive over it several more times. Yeah. However... in the supposed final confrontation with the monster, that moment works in movies because the confrontationers are supposed to be a credible threat to the creature, they have some plan or weapon or something to take the creature down. In this movie, the creature isn't even slightly phased by the people with guns and so that final battle just feels like another mid-movie action sequence and that there will be a finaler confrontation with it. Only there isn't. Then movie then just ends, with a final note to try to justify the title, which doesn't really work.
Number Two is at the end of the current Creeper spell, with it attacking a bus full of school teams (a basketball team and some cheerleaders, plus some adults that die early). There is also a subplot with Ray Wise coming to avenge his boy (a rare case of a kid dying in a horror movie). While in the first movie the flying ability was a great reveal, here the creature is flying from the word go, making this more like "attack of the eagle!" than a horror movie. There are couple of neat effect sequences, especially where it is replacing its head. However, there is a long period in the middle of the movie where it is simply threatening the kids and they are running about on the bus and repeat and repeat. Deaths are few and far between, for a change when kids are about, but also, for a change, the kids are running around manically, having sex, and otherwise splitting into singles to be picked off. Odd. Ray Wise comes in with the only real ability to damage it, and again fails to fall into the "one blow and it's dead, honest guv" trap of other horror movies. Indeed, there's a neat tag set in the future that shows he is not stupid at all.
So these are standard monster creature features, but still manage to have long moments when you're waiting for them to get on with it. While I wouldn't suggest hunting them out, if you do come across them, could do worse that giving them a go.
Friday, 5 November 2010
This is a nice tight story. Yes there is running around, getting caught, running away, running around, getting caught again, but it does tip over into the absurd. And while Elisabeth Sladen might have liked the easy money for her appearances, I'm sure the production team didn't have that easy a time of it make sure all the streets were cleared.
Just in case I give away more than intended, I'll just tuck the rest of this away...
So, yeah, the planet is empty... but really? Rani and Clyde are the only ones? And just happened to right beside where Harry... I mean Gavin is? Artistic license is one thing, but that does push it. And Gavin, eh? Growing up with the Durdsleys, only to find out he's a wizard... er, I mean... well, yeah. Could be a little rip off of a particular source there, but it's not like he's got a scar, and even then the Wonder Child Trope is hardly new.
Yet again, the Rani focus, although there does seem to be a push in this series to hook Rani and Clyde up. I'm not sure what's up with that, can't say I really see that working, but, hey, she's a girl, he's a boy, what's a TV series to do? Be like every other TV series of course!
The robots looked good. Better than some of the outfits the parent series has! But I did notice a continuity problem with the glass smash and front layout as per the interior set versus the outside shop location they chose (no glass smash, and door is in a different place).
Decent episode, and shows that you could have yet another spin off series that didn't even feature any Doctor Who connection!
Next time: More time travelling than Doctor Who!
Thursday, 4 November 2010
Wednesday, 3 November 2010
After a breather, we took a look around. Going next door in the warehouse, we found... a large pit of zombies. Huh. Going next door we found... a large pit of zombies. Huh. Going next door we found... a large pit of zombies. Huh. Going next door we found... a recently deserted guard room. Huh.
As we were looking around, the Bard poked in the wrong cabinet and set off a trap that closed and locked the doors and released some zombies. Oh! Novelty! We haven't fought them before! And it gets to be a bit of a gangbang and they prove to be rather tough. I actually have to take damage, what's up with that? The battlemind teleports all over the place, and Dox runs away, and it takes a while for us to beat them down. Strangely, Dox find a magic item in the debris on the floor. Weird.
Continuing on, we find a bunkhouse, then an indoor tavern where the dark cult hangs out. With Veren (or Beren, I'm not sure), a lieutenant. He tells the cultists to charge them, the shapeshifters look like important people and try to make the cultists attack Beren, and the cultists just want to run away. Running away does make them easier to deal with, but we still have to take some on. Getting too close to Veren gets some of us blind, but soon Jasin and I start the smackdown on him and put him out of our misery. Jasin goes a bit too far and actually kills him. [So much for that potential plot exposition. Meh, never bothered us yet.]
On him are two rings, which are communicators of some kind. I try one, hear a voice in my head, then the symbol on my arm starts glowing and the ring breaks. W? T?? F??? Something very strange is going on.
Dox goes through a door and discovers that we are now in Llorkh, the city were I started. Where my family is. I just know Seaian is behind this. I have to see my father. I explain some of my back story to the others (I'm a bastard child [apparently] and Seaian is a dick), and after the rest while exposition happens, I am determined to visit home. I must find out what happened...
Tuesday, 2 November 2010
Have to admit that this series has had a complicated (and not entirely clean) plot growth over the movies. Revelations about previous movies, conflating time lines, and, of course, complicated set pieces that end with some one dying.
And now in 3D! But whatever about that...
This is basically two plot lines, one of which is the ongoing continuity of trying to hunt down the latest Jigsaw killer, which is only tangentially connected to the other plot of some guy wandering through a place and failing to stop gory effects sequences from happening, which is entirely new and original... about four movies ago... I'll cut for a moment to the end to say that it isn't that great an ending, and there really isn't anything stopping them from doing another Saw movie aside from the ratings.
The myth-arc stuff is overblown, and just presents someone as completing dominating everything with no problems... where's the fun in that? And the set pieces are pretty samey, frankly they've run out of ideas for truly interesting traps. As mentioned, this has been done before, so not impressed by another retread.
Acting-wise... well, people come to these movies to see people die, so the actors themselves are rather secondary. Tobin Bell is good as ever, and Cary Elwes... looks like he's put on some weight since he cut his foot off... everyone else runs around and screams and yadda yadda yadda.
This is the "final chapter", and this movie certainly kills the series off. Only watch if you really must see the next Saw chapter.
Monday, 1 November 2010
Sunday, 31 October 2010
Continuing the fun from last time, we are still investigating the murder of Frenchy... or whatever his name was...
We do start limiting leads early on, and suddenly get the bad guy handed to us... but since we have time (out game time), we take our time and do other stuff, and go off on other tangents before the final showdown. Where Gavin prods buttock and takes names.
Game 25, To Be or Not To Be.
Yet more discussions and slow plot movement. In a missing episode, we got to a continent, and so here we are trying to do stuff.
Mainly we fall in a river, find humans in stockades, and talk to the guilds... oh, and rescue a kidnapped guy.
All that and probably more in Tentacle Puppets.
I've mentioned before that I live horror movies, and here are three I've just watched.
The Grudge 3: Another in the American series (there's no Ju-On 3 as far as I am aware... although there do look to be more movies, must find and get), this one is slow going and is, oddly enough, in chronological order. Yet another revision to the history, and the horror is somewhat muted. Still a few good moments, but the change of production team shows in that it is definitely lesser...
Altitude: Direct to rubbish bin release. A group of kids take to the skies, but are soon lost in a storm that contains more than just the weather... Extremely cheap movie here, with five main cast that you really hope survive because... well, actually, they are all unlikeable, just whiny emo teens, so frankly death is too good for them. And then the ultimate explanation for what's going on (really? I... just... no...), and I totally called the final moment. Not a movie to see or enjoy.
One Missed Call: Saw the two Japanese movies a while ago, and now finally caught up with the American remake. And it is largely a remake. There are a few new scares, but the basic story is the same, although the final moment has been made more straight forward than the original. (Or maybe the sequel ending was confusing. Can't remember now.) In the milieu of new effects, it's decent enough, but otherwise may as well watch the originals.
Saturday, 30 October 2010
A lot of people didn't, but I thought Paranormal Activity was very spooky. It had a nice build of atmosphere and actual progression of a plot, and damn effective use of silences, and it was well staged and the original ended better than the latter release...
I heard good things about PA2, so definitely planned on checking it out. And so I did.
This is a prequel to PA1, and sets up lots of elements that, I'm pretty sure, contradict most of the established history of PA1. (Note: PA2 was done by a different production team than PA1, so that isn't surprising.) The problem is, and this is a big problem... it's all set up! As this leads into PA1, it has to not complete destroy that, and so the pay off is extremely delayed. Where the first actually had weirdness and spent a lot of time discussing it and upping the stakes, this one just has a very slow build that oh so slowly builds... and then builds a little more... then adds a tiny fraction more build... then explodes in the last twenty minutes... and I have no idea what actually happens, as where the one static camera in the first one meant the action had to be staged to be clear to it, there are more cameras in this one and it's not at all evident what is actually taking place, and... did they win? What did they do? I'm not sure...
All in all, I'd say this was a failure... although the monetary recoup the movie's already made probably ensues a PA3... unfortunately.
Friday, 29 October 2010
Whelmed by continuity! And irritation!
Never mind RTD cackling at the last episode, this time it's full reign for him and laughter ahoy! He gets to kill the Doctor! And bring back Jo Grant! And... hey... corpses... and vultures! Get it? VULTURES! PICKING OVER THE CORPSE!!! LAUGH!!!!!
So is this a thing now? The Doctor's going to appear in SJA? What about in Torchwood? Even more, what about the Trickster?! He's a perennial as well! (Although the next episode looks more like his milieu.) And RTD gets a few digs in at Matt. (Did his script get okayed by Moffat?)
But, hey, Jo Grant... isn't she annoying? She was not that bad back in the day, but now she's like a parody of herself, as filtered through fan perceptions of her ineptitude over the years. But speaking of companions, how about RTD killing off the chance for other people to write in companions? With a few lines of dialogue, he now fixes other companions in continuity. A case of "if I can't write them, no-one can?". And I'm sure other companions would have been happy to come back for the money... I mean because they're happy to connect with the show. Although I'm sure, given that there were only two 25 minute episodes, and with the Doctor and Jo Grant already needing to be written for, RTD didn't want to mix other companions in, even if he had the opportunity.
Anyway, about the story... was there one? Seemed more of a thin premise to have character moments (and Rani continues to upstage everyone else). Then again, it's hard to tell what's going on WHEN THE MUSIC IS DROWNING OUT EVERY WORD OF THE DIALOGUE! Seriously, there are scenes in part two where I couldn't hear anything because of the "emotional music" being loader than every other sound, you know, the ACTUAL sounds that are SUPPOSED to be heard.
You might be able to tell that I wasn't impressed by the episode. A bit to self-indulgent for a proper episode.