Monday, 19 October 2009

House Season 5


Who doesn't like watching a season all the way through in several days?
So House season five became available on DVD a few weeks ago in the UK.  For those of us who have no access to Sky1 this was a fabulous event.  Inevitably, I bought the season and watched it all through during the course of several days and made great progress on a scarf I'm knitting as a present for someone close to me.

So, was it worth the wait?
This season was really interesting to watch.  Compared to previous seasons I had no real clue as to where it was all going to go, and the last few episodes are well worth watching.  I'm not sure if I want to know what goes through the heads of their script writers...  So yes, it was worth waiting for the series to come out on DVD.


Why did you like it?
I enjoyed this season because not only are you treated to lovely doses of the 'what-disease-or-condition-is-screwing-with-our-patient-this-week' syndrome, but the overall stories for the characters in general developed really well over the course of the season.  Sure you can watch it as one off episodes, but the story arcs for the season are fabulous.


Availability
So the DVDs for the previous four seasons and the fifth are out now.  Sky1 has started screening the sixth season already (the lucky buggers).


Related links

Tuesday, 29 September 2009

Left4Dead


Because it's been too long without a mention of the 'z-word'
Surprisingly I've never reviewed Left 4 Dead for the XBox 360 before.  I've had the game since launch, so why haven't I talked about it?  I like zombie games and movies, and if you're reading this then there's a chance that you do too.

Why review now?
It's only been recently that I have been able to experience the game fully, mostly because I finally obtained a Gold Membership for XBox Live, meaning that I can play the game (and many others) online with and/or against actual humans for the first time ever.  Also, the latest DLC (download content) for the game was made available today.

The game is available for PC on disc or via Steam, on disc for the 360, and there is a Game of the Year Edition available for the 360 and PC, which comes reloaded with Survival Mode, and is best described as a first person shooter (FPS) survival horror game.


Time for a Crash Course
Today an extra campaign was added to Left 4 Dead, entitled 'Crash Course'.  As to the basic premise for the whole game: you play as one of four characters trapped in one of several scenarios, trying to escape a rather angry and angsty zombie horde.  Or in the case of Versus Mode: you play as either the particularly potent zombies or the survivors.

When you start the game up an intro movie will play, which introduces the player to the various ways in which to handle the situations and enemies that will be meted out to you by the A.I. director.  Yes that's right, the A.I. director, aka, a malicious thing that will make things more difficult for you, the better you do, and each time you run through a campaign, will make it different than before in terms of enemy spawning, and the locations of ammo, weapons and health items.



Characters
The characters are Zoey, Louis, Bill and Francis.  Neither of them have any strengths or weaknesses, but have different reasons for not being zombie chow at the beginning of the game.  I prefer playing as Zoey, but that's because I always try to play as a female character in a computer game.


What's it like to play?
There are several different ways to play the game that go beyond difficulty settings, however you will need to be able to play the game online to have access to everything.  On the basic level is Campaign Mode, where (after the DLC) you can choose to play through one of five different scenarios.

Each scenario requires a different strategy, but one strategy is always important: stick together.  This is the most important thing to do when playing through this game as one of the survivors, because the director A.I. will quite happily send a Hunter, Smoker or Boomer to make the lone character's life hell.  The other modes are Survival Mode (play in one of the scenarios and see how long you last, online only), and Versus Mode (online only).

In terms of weapons you have a pistol or pistols with unlimited ammo as your primary weapon, followed by either sub-machine gun, assault rifle, hunting rifle, shotgun or automated-shotgun with limited ammo as your secondary weapon.  You can carry only one incendiary device at a time, health pack and pain pills.



Anything else?
Well, Valve were lovely enough to enable a System Link mode for the 360, so not only can you play with people online, you can LAN it as well.  This is great for parties.  Also, when you're online with the game it has a guest mode enabled so that someone can join you online without their Live account, incase they don't have one or don't have Gold, but you can play with two Gold Live accounts on the same system at the same time and go online if you want too.


If your other half enjoys killing zombies then this game is also and excellent game for couples.  My fiancé and I have a wail of a time playing this together.


Negatives
There's an occasionally annoying glitch with the Hunters where they continue to spout blood after you've killed them.  And if you're a completionist trying to get all the achievements that you can, it is a nightmare to complete the various scenarios on the Expert difficulty (though that's probably why it's called Expert).



'Crash Course' the latest DLC for the game is not as the other chapters or nearly as involving.  If you've played the other scenarios to death, then it might be worth purchasing this bit of DLC.


The only other issue is that the sequel, Left 4 Dead 2 is out in November and I would be worried about just how many people will remain online playing the first game once the new one is released.


Finally
This has been one of my most favourite games of the last year.  It is extremely re-playable and if you're old enough to legally own this game, then you should, because it's available now from all major computer game retailers.

Even though Valve has come under criticism for releasing a completely new sequel for a game that is almost a year old, I'll be reviewing the sequel when it comes out in November this year.



Related links

Monday, 28 September 2009

First episode of FlashForward


So this is what Five has been spending money on, instead of buying HOUSE season 5...
In true fashion of trying to stop people in the UK from watching the series illegally online, Five have managed to get their schedule sorted to start airing this new series just days after the US have viewed the first episode.  So far, so good.

But what's this, I see...
Oh no, not the world experiencing a single event simultaneously... No, they surely had not done that in The 4400 already, no of course not...   No they don't have US government officials investigating the world's population from the get go...

Y'know, it's almost as if it were The 4400, but without the super powers, and they still need to save the world.

Actually...
The series is meant to be "loosely" based off an SF novel Flashforward published in 1999.  However, I saw far too many similarities with The 4400 in the first episode.  And I liked that series, and it was cancelled prematurely, so perhaps I'm hating this new series just a little too much due to this bias.

Basically, what happened was
If you have watched Five at all during the last two weeks, it was not difficult to understand what the show's basic concept was:

What would happen if the world's population of 7 billion people simultaneously experienced seeing their future in six months time? And, just how did this happen?


Of course this must be investigated by the likes of the FBI post-haste.

Here's a question
If the world's population essentially blacked out whilst gaining these visions of their futures, why the hell did the scriptwriters not think to talk about the thousands who either died or just survived plane crashes after their plane pilots blacked out?

Will you continue watching it?
Well, I'll watch the second episode when it airs on Five next Monday at 9PM.  I'm not ready to give up on this just yet.

Related links

Mortal Kombat vs DC Universe


Button bashing on the 360
One of my comfort games of the last few months has been a game in the Mortal Kombat franchise.  I gain joy when button bashing on a control pad delivers such exquisite moves on Easy difficulty.

When was it released?
It was released at the end of 2008 for the XBox 360 and PS3.

Background
MK vs DC features characters from Midway's popular Mortal Kombat fighting game franchise battling with and against characters from Detective Comics' various comic book series.  Interestingly the fitcional universes begin to collide in the game's story, and all hell breaks loose.

Don't expect canon treatment of the characters in the game, but at least they remember to explain that the reason why MK's Raiden can kick DC's Superman's ass: Superman has no resistance to magic.  The game doesn't fit in with either franchise time line, except for maybe DC Universe's 'ultimate Elseworlds' (whatever that is (hey, I've only read a few of the Batman and Superman graphics)).

But is it fun to play?
If you're not obsessively knowledgeable of either universe, then it is fun, you can take it as a Western fighting game that has a reasonable bit of story thrown in.  Story is good.

I enjoyed the fact that someone like me, who is hopeless at pulling off combos in fighting games, stood a chance at completing arcade and story mode.  Online play works fine, but if you're just playing this game casually than a lack of ability in pulling-off combos becomes a disadvantage.

What was missing?
It would have been nice if some of the MK staples had made an appearence, such as collectible in-game items and artwork.

Worth buying?
Yes and no.  If you and friends are not serious about the game's background, then it's great to have at a party and watch MK's Sonya punch DC's Joker in the face, and other such fun character combinations.  If you're looking for something that fits in with the chronology of either: look else where. 

Related links
Wiki entry on the game

Cranking up the blog again

Getting back on the review horse
After finally finishing other commitments from the last four months or so, I'm getting back into review mode.

What you have to look forward to
In the coming weeks I'll be adding reviews for:

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (film)
George RR Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire fantasy novel series
The Ugly Truth (film)
Inglorious Basterds (film, Tarantino)
Diary of the Dead (film)
Mortal Kombat Vs DC Universe (computer game)

And many others.

I have a whole summer's worth of media texts to add

Tuesday, 30 June 2009

Terminator Salvation

I suppose they needed a change of lead actor...
Some one has already commented to me that it seems ridiculous that the actor playing John Connor keeps changing. I pointed out that they could not use the same actor from the second film, because Edward Furlong hasn't exactly matured into a action film kind of actor, Thomas Dekker of Sarah Connor Chronicles (now cancelled) fame isn't all grown up yet (too much baby face), the third film's... well did anyone believe he could ever really be John Connor? He just wasn't rough looking enough.

Of course all of this personal opinion and, quite honestly, I just think the studio wanted to get a bigger name behind the role.

Let's face it, Bale sells.

Anyway, back to the film

I saw this
at my local cinema a few weeks ago. At first I was really excited to see it, the trailers had been pretty eye catching.

What's the film about?

Well unlike the previous films it's set in the future, 2018, after Skynet succeeded in bringing humanity to its knees. John Connor is not as important in the resistance as the end of the third film had us believe.

Anyway, and here be a spoiler...
The resistance is about to the put into action a major assault against Skynet, but a dead man could bring it all toppling down.

Would I recommend it?
The film has issues conveying who is the main protagonist. Most of the time it feels as if there are two, which doesn't really work (hence why most films have one protagonist). John Connor is not even the most likeable out of the two.

The effects are stunning, as expected, but perhaps the continued onslaught of action sequences, rather than the suspense of the first two films, did not serve it well. Again, the effects were awesome.

In all, if you've watched the other three films you might as well go and see this if it's still on at your local cinema. If you haven't watched the others... just watch the first two films. Terminator and Terminator 2: Judgement Day are still the best films in the franchise.

Related links
Official website
Wiki entry on the film
IMDB entry

Monday, 29 June 2009

I needed a dose of decent SF

Not very often, but...
I will get a cravings for a specific genre. Until after I read this collection of stories, it was science fiction.

PEACE AND WAR, The Omnibus Edition, by Joe Haldeman

Has been my bedtime read of choice for the last few weeks. This collection of stories that are novel length, each, stick to these three themes: war, freedom, peace. The stories have existed in various forms for over thirty years, but in this edition they're all brought together in versions that the author believes are definitive.

William Mandella: The Forever War, and Forever Free
The first two stories in the collection centre around William Mandella, a man thrust into the Forever War from its beginning, and who is there at its end, over a thousand years later. Mandella is forced to fight in a war where Earth does not even know the enemy its fighting when it begins its assault.

The second book takes place after the war, as Mandella tries to find his place in a universe he no longer has a stake in. This is a future that Mandella cannot endure.

Julian Class: Forever Peace
The final story is set in a different universe, on Earth. An Earth where not everyone is equal.

Julian Class fights for the Alliance in the Ngumi War, because he is 100 percent American. Julian is a mechanic, he does not go on the battle field, his Soilderboy does, controlled from thousands of miles away using a brain jack. However, Julian is also a physicist and when his girlfriend asks for his help in trying to figure out whether the end of the universe is about to begin, killing innocents on the battlefield seems the least of Julian's worries.

Not light hearted reading
The war scenes that are described in these stories are brutal and nightmarish. Joe Haldeman admits to drawing on his experiences when he served in the Vietnam War, and it shows.

Recommend it?
If you're looking for some serious science fiction to read this summer, hunt down this collection published by Gollancz Science Fiction, 2006, ISBN: 0-575-07919-3, RRP: £8.99.

Related links
Wiki entry on Joe Haldeman

Saturday, 27 June 2009

When dramatic pacing goes wrong, horribly wrong

Seen it already?
Of course I have. Yes, I am talking about none other than Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. This review is the start of several that will drift your way over the summer as we handle the wave of summer blockbuster films, (thank Jaws).

My senses have been abused
When I saw this film on Wednesday, several things went wrong for me. My eyes felt like they had been opened up with a sword and my ear holes felt like they had been raped. Seriously people, this film is not kind to your body (or mind).

Dramatic pacing?
Normally when you write a film, you make sure that the audience has a chance to recover from dramatic/action moments. The audience has no chance of doing this at all whilst watching this film. It's all action, action, action, and more action, with some short awkward bits of human interaction in-between.

No real plot, character, or story development really happens... and what the hell is with that voice over by Optimus Prime at the beginning, explaining all that has happened since the last film? It's tacky as f***k! Seriously lazy story telling.

No real story or plot
The film lacks development of what you normally find in a film that isn't from the realms of experimental film. The lack of this is so extreme that I began to wonder whether the Earth should be destroyed at the end of the film, just to save the fictional world from another version of the director Michael Bay.

Did I mention that it's quite a lengthy film as well? Oh and I did like the first film of the franchise.

Related links
Official movie site
IMDB entry
Wiki entry on the film
Explanation of Experimental Film at Wikipedia
I'm not the only one who believes this film is bad

Mark Kermode didn't have much luck with the film either

Robot Chicken explains 'Baysplosions!"

Tuesday, 23 June 2009

Finally finished...

It took me forever, but I have finished reading BREAKING DAWN
Yes, the long read is over! Long may my sanity rest in peace.

What was it like?

If, like me, you had put in the effort to read the other three Twilight series novels, then you felt kind of obliged to get through the last one as well.

To read Breaking Dawn was actually a tortuous experience. There are over 200 pages that could be culled from this novel without ruining it. So much unnecessary description. I found that due to the way Meyer wrote this final instalment, the stakes just did not seem high enough-

SPOILER ALERT!!!





SPOILER:
- the ending was obviously going to come out all right from an early stage in the novel. Also, Bella's abilities were far too overpowering, the precedent for them had not been set up enough.





END SPOILER!!!

Overall
I did not enjoy the final novel in the series as much as I had the previous ones. Even once Bella had had her physical desires satisfied, it seemed almost pointless Meyer going to the effort of describing them.

Read this final novel in the series if you've read the rest, but it's not much fun.

Related links
Official Breaking Dawn page
Wiki entry

Monday, 11 May 2009

Hank is back

Across the pond
Unlike American viewers, the UK has only just got access to the second season of Californication. Last week Fiver began showing the second season.

Everyone needs a bit of Duchonvy
I'm a bit of a fan of the actor, so once again having a weekly dose of him suits me just fine.

If you're easily offended don't watch this series. It'll save people like me from hearing your ranting and raving.

Anyway the series is about a writer, Hank Moody, who moves to California from New York, and finds that his writer's block and personal relations can only get worse as time moves on.

Why watch it?
Well if you enjoy watching series with characters whose lives are far more complicated than your own, you'll want to give this a go. My main endorsement is that this show is its extremely adult nature, I'm not just talking sex, I mean sex, booze and drugs and uneasy relations.

The series tends to be well written and has some class acting. I always like how it's plotted out.

Catch it
Watch it on Fiver, on Thursday at 10pm, and repeated Sunday at 10pm.

Related links
Official Showtime site for series
Fiver site for series
Wiki entry

Monday, 4 May 2009

X-Men Origins: Wolverine

Well, I liked it
I saw the film last Wednesday afternoon. Been a busy girl, so this is my first chance to say here how much I loved it.

I don't care
I don't care if this film in no real way adheres to the comics, at least it fits into the version of the universe created by the previous films. It's not the most deep film ever created, but as far as an action-come-comic based flick, it's a whole lot of fun. I just wish it had been longer so they didn't have to rush from scene to scene so much.

Those who downloaded

Yes, those who downloaded a post production version of the film that didn't have all the effects in, and blue screen dealt with, were a bunch of sad gits. Pirating films is stupid.


Err, what's the film about?

Right. The film is essentially what the title says
it is: the origin story of the X-Men character Wolverine, aka, Logan. It takes you from his childhood all the way up to a time not too far away from the beginning of the first X-Men film.

Forget about canon
If you want to watch a comic book inspired film that follows the comic book universe the character comes from, please, get lost. I'm fed-up with 'fans' who have no idea how the Hollywood Machine works. Adaptations are rarely straightforward, unless you've got Kenneth Brannagh involved. Enjoyable films are only ever concerned with story, and that's all.

So if you don't care about this film not being canon to the Marvel Universe, go and watch it. If you're some pedantic comic book fan, please just shut your gob.

Oh yeah
There's a nice bit of nudity in the film.

Related links
Official website
Wiki entry on film
IMDB page

Tuesday, 28 April 2009

Fallout 3, pt. 1

I've been playing this since it was released last year
So why haven't I seriously posted about it here? The game is immense. It's only recently that I've managed to scratch below the surface of what has to be one of the best games to be released last year.

Pt. 1?
Can't say how many parts there will be, but I don't want to bore you guys and gals too much by squishing it all into one entry.

FALLOUT 3
This is the third game in the main part of the series, and the first one to be released in quite some time. What we have here is a pretty, free roaming, RPG that is science fiction in nature, and in some ways, speculative fiction as well.

You can choose the gender and ethnicity of your character and customise their appearance. Their story is whatever you want it to be, except that you come from a Vault (a protective bunker environment), two hundred years after a nuclear holocaust gripped the world. It's set in the US.

So, yes, the game has a post-apocalyptic setting. I can't tell you too much about the story, because it would spoil it, but this game has some pretty decent narrative structures at work.

To come...
I bother to talk about game play for once, and think just how much I like this game more than others.

Related links
Official Fallout 3 website
Wiki entry for Fallout 3

Thursday, 23 April 2009

Day of the Dead (the remake)

Yes, a remake
I have just watched the 2008 remake of the classic George Romero film of the same name from the mid '80s. As per usual, I saw the DVD going cheap, which is why I bought it.

Story

This film is an entirely different film to the original. In this version a small Colorado town is beset by a mysterious flu like illness, and as this is a zombie horror film, the illness is not the flu. No, it's a zombie creating machine.

We follow survivors as they try to survive the nightmare that has been unleashed. The usual stuff.

Zombie lore

The film completely breaks with the zombie law esta
blished by Romero in his films. We are presented with zombies that have super human speed and strength, but incredibly mushable bodies. For me this combination makes no sense, because in theory anything that would move like that with such a delicate body could not stay in one piece by moving the way the zombies do in this film.

I know the remake of Dawn of the Dead didn't quite follow the lore, but it was better directed than this film.

Worth buying?

If, somehow, you have never seen any of the original films, Romero's newer ones, or the remake of Dawn of the Dead, then you'll enjoy this piece of zombie filled nonsense. However, those who are fond of the genre would perhaps do well to give this a wide berth.


Related links
Wiki entry on the film
IMDB entry on the film

Monday, 20 April 2009

Sunshine

Bored, and in London? Buy some cheap DVDs!
Yes, I've got a bored during the evenings here, so I had to go down to HMV and purchase a few DVDs that were on offer, and this, Danny Boyle's Sunshine, was one of them. Don't ask me why I bought it, the reason does not really go beyond "it was cheap".

Story
It's 2057 and the sun is dying. Yes, dying, and doing so very prematurely. The crew of Icarus 2 have been sent forth from Earth with the last of all of Earth's fissionable materials in order to jump start the reactions that a healthy star normally makes, and thus restore the Earth and solar system to normality.

As one should expect with a space set sci-fi film such as this, everything goes horribly wrong and it looks like the crew may not survive long enough to complete their mission and save all of humanity.


What was SUNSHINE like?

I don't know how many of you, my dear readers, have any level of science qualification, but let me assure you, most of the science in this film was pretty impossible or just downright wrong. Don't want to take my word on this? read this New Scientist review.

Everything is rather lovely to look at, but there's some holes. Some really big holes.

Holes?

Yes, holes in the film world's logic. For instance, despite their ship having one of the most advanced computers ever created by man, they didn't have any maintenance robots. There's a particular scene when the first crew member dies that had me thinking "why didn't they have any robots?" They do have a hugely, fantastically amazing computer, but no robots.


Also the reasoning for the crew to go and check out Icarus 1 was no where near as difficult to come to. Any attempt to make contact with the initial voyage, which failed, would add too many possibilities that could have messed up the whole mission.

And don't talk to me about gravity. The film had real serious issues relating to how it treated gravity.

Recommend it?
If you can look past the science issues, then sure, go and get a copy of the DVD and watch it. I warn you though, it's not just the science that's dodgy, it's also what wrecks the mission in the first place.

Links
Official website
New Scientist review
Wiki entry on the film

Thursday, 16 April 2009

Catch up technology!

Don't you realise, how far behind we are?
I believe the people of Britain do not realise just how far behind we are in terms of consumable technology in comparison to a country such as Japan. Just one read through of this article convinced me of this.

My message
I want my manga and short fiction of my mobile, now!

Wednesday, 15 April 2009

Weighing in on the Amazon controversy

If you didn't know yet...
Amazon.com has recently recieved a bollocking over the way books that feature or are on homosexuality are listed in searches, and with some specific book searches not coming up with the title at all, after their listings seemed to start changing two months ago.

For a more detailed analysis on the tech side of things, I suggest you read this.

Titles are back
After this weekend just passed, titles were returned to a prominence in search results.

Where's the problem then?
As suggested in the linked article, human interference may have led to the algorithm that Amazon uses to organise search results, becoming biased against books that deal with homosexual themes. Books that were not erotic in genre were automatically classified as adult material, seemingly because they dealt with homosexuality, and were removed from search results on their site due to a move to make sure that books rated as having adult material did not come up in searches.

The problem is that homosexuality seemed to be judged as adult, and kind of wrong, in this reclassification. The article linked above makes a point that a book that advised parents on how to stop their child from being gay was for a time at the top of searches on homosexuality. So in essence, Amazon appeared to be making a judgement call that homosexuality was bad and dirty.

You're straight, where's the problem?
I may be straight, but that doesn't mean I think discrimination against gays and lesbians is right, and I see nothing wrong with homosexuality. I can imagine now, certain religious groups in the US jumping for joy over what has been happening over the last two months on Amazon.

Books that dealt with heterosexual relations and were to some degree adult in nature, were not affected by the reclassification that caused the outrage. These are the kinds of double standards I cannot deal with.

Has the problem been rectified?
Not sure.

Related links
"Why Amazon Didn't Just Have a Glitch", on TechCrunch
Article on SocialVibe site about the controversy
Article at The Register on issue

Tuesday, 14 April 2009

Eclipse

Finished reading the third novel
Last night, I finished reading the third book in Stephenie Meyer's popular teen novel series Twilight. The third book is called Eclipse.

Erotic abstinence ahoy!

A lot of time was spent in the book dealing with Bella's, the protagonist's, increasingly physical attractions to the vampire Edward and the werewolf Jacob. And apart from a lot of kissing, and pretty much no heavy petting, as usual, nothing happened.

This book really seemed to carry the message of 'no sex before marriage'. Not something I plan on enforcing on my kids when I finally get round to pushing a couple out.

Now the books seem mostly about sexual tension. Where Rowling wouldn't really mention the sex lives of her characters, in Meyer's books you just get this whole feeling of teenagers on the brink of breaking into orgies, but always thinking of the greater good and never doing so.

Err, story?
It continues on from the consequences of the previous novel New Moon and you are faced with an increasingly irate Bella, who is peeved off to the extreme, because her vampire love, Edward, will not make her into a vampire until they are married.

Oh, and a vampire wants revenge against Edward for him killing her mate, and so this vampire tries to get to Bella. The book gets a bit grisly and gruesome towards the end.

Flying body parts for the win.

Read it?
If, like me, you have become hooked on the series, due to its trashy romantic nature, then you'll keep reading regardless. The thing about the Twilight series is that the writing is not necessarily the best in teen fiction today, but the books are like junk food: bad for you and highly addictive.

Read them at your own peril.

I've started on the fourth book already: Breaking Dawn.

Related links
Eclipse official page on Stephenie Meyer's website
Wiki entry on the novel

Wednesday, 8 April 2009

Paul Blart: Mall Cop

Family comedy
I've spent another Wednesday afternoon watching a comedy at my local cinema. Complete contrast to The Boat That Rocked, which I watched last week. After all it was a family orientated comedy, not some Brit comedy with lots of sex.

You would think...
That I would be unimpressed by this blatantly pandering, American comedy. But you know what, this film made me laugh, cringe and smile far more times than The Boat That Rocked.

What makes it good
After the film, my fiancé and I were wondering what the pitch section for this film would have been like:

Kevin James: "Yeah, it's like a cross between Mallrats and Die Hard."

Adam Sandler: "Awesome."

(Sandler was one of the producers.)

Though, seeing as how both of those films are 18 rated in the UK, and I'm sure they have suitably high ratings in the US, then it's kind of interesting how they made a family friendly film out of this. My guy and I like both of those films, so it was weird, but cool, seeing someone combine them together like this.

Recommend it?
I think it'll be worth a watch once it comes out on DVD, if you don't have kids, and if you're looking for something to take kids to this Easter, then I'd recommend it. The kids that were there when I watched it seemed to laugh quite a bit at the on screen antics, and some of the humour was aimed at adults as well.

Related links
Official web site
IMDB entry
Wiki entry on film

Tuesday, 7 April 2009

Dreading the release of

Yes, ANGELS & DEMONS
This is not because of religious issues, more, on the writing side of the film. See, when I watched The Da Vinci Code just over a year ago, I was amazed by how awful they had let the film become.

But this is not meant to be a review. The topic has come up, because I saw a trailer for it last week.

Films this summer
As we near the 'blockbuster season' I always start thinking about the films that I may or may not want to watch at my local cinema. This happens to fall into the category of one I don't plan to watch.

Now the new Star Trek reboot and the Transformers movie, yeah I'll probably go see them.

Will I ever watch it?
I will see it, some day. I suspect a scene similar to how I watched the first movie, to make me see it. I'll be over a friend's house. They'll say their mum got the film on DVD, and asks if everyone wants to watch it.

We'll go into my friend's bedroom, with crispy snacks, fizzy drinks, sweets, and laptops in tow. Two of us will watch the film, whilst the lucky buggers who have their laptops with them will have played the sensible game. We'll get through the whole film, then myself and the friend who's house this is in, will look at each other, and our expressions will read, "WTF?!"

Mind you...
It would be nice to be pleasantly surprised. I used to be a bit of a Tom Hanks fan.

I'm just a bit worried about a film that centres around another 'secret' organisation. Yes, and the particular one featuring in this film, I last saw used in the plot of a Tomb Raider movie. It doesn't fill me with confidence for this film's future.

Related links
IMDB page on Angels & Demons
Dan Brown's page on his novel that the film is adapted from
Wiki entry on the film

Friday, 3 April 2009

Interesting, and a little scary


"How Comic Books became part of the literary establishment"
Well, I'm not sure how to feel about this article, here on the Telegraph web site.

It all feels like it's leaning towards the message that comic books haven't been a valid form until recently, with people drawing and writing comics/graphic novels of a rather more 'serious nature'.

High literature
I have issues with 'literary literature', because well, it tends not to be entertaining to read. In fact Tim Martin's article completely misses out on why comic books and collections of comic books turned into graphic novels, and manga in Japan, have been a success for so long: they tell stories, and they tell them well.

A good media text, is a text that tells a story well, and doesn't try to force a message directly in front of you and down your throat, (if there's a message, it does it subtly).

So, your problem with this article is?
It seems to be validating a form of media based off the backs of something that does not represent the majority of the body of work that is annually produced.

I know these are big words, but when something does not sit well with me that is what happens.

Also, Martin fails to mention that it just seems like a bunch of always profit hungry publishers jumping on a bandwagon. But who can blame them? it does look like they need the money.

Related links
Tim Martin article on comic books
Wiki entry on graphic novel Persepolis, which image is taken from

Wednesday, 1 April 2009

The Boat That Rocked

Richard Curtis, what have you done?
Somehow, he's made a film that I actually like. Not sure how, but he has.

How was it?
Bloody awesome.

Story
It follows teen, Carl, as he lives through the heyday and demise of pirate radio in the UK during the late 1960s. Carl ends up becoming a member of the crew on Radio Rock, in the middle of the North Sea.

Lots of sex, hijinks, and sticking it to 'The Man' ensues.

If you like
If you happen to be rather fond of music from that period, then you'll certainly enjoy the film, but it's not like there's a load of rare tracks from back then that are played. How do I know this? Well, I regularly tune in to 'Sounds of the Sixties' on BBC Radio 2, so that would be why.

I would say that this film is different to the usual dribble Curtis writes and directs. It's not a romantic comedy, but it is definitely a comedy.

There are some really loveable characters, and others that are complete and utter rotters. Someone for everyone, I suppose.

(I also have a soft spot for a load of the actors who star in it.)

Go and see it
Probably worth at least going in on an Orange Wednesday's deal. Y'know you want to.

Related links
Official website for The Boat That Rocked
Wiki entry for The Boat That Rocked

Monday, 30 March 2009

A free game with a sense of humour

Who's that guy?
He is of no importance...

But you're reading this, right, so you've got an interne
t connection, and, I hope, a sense of humour.

What's going on?
Are we not all always looking for manners in which to waste our time whilst upon the Internet. Well, here's one.

That chap pictured above is a character from The Kingdom of Loathing. A free online game of immense loveliness. It's pretty insane, but perhaps saner than reality anyway.

Here's my character:
She's a Spaghetti Sage at the moment. She makes magic happen using her awesome ways with pasta. Her favourite drink is whiskey (at the moment).

What kind of game is this?
A crazy one, but a good one. It's turn based, and you have so many turns you can make each day. You can increase your number of turns by either consuming food, or by drinking alcohol.

At least have a look at the web site: The Kingdom of Loathing.

Story
Stuff has happened and you, adventurer, needs to step in and sort it out.

I don't want to tell you too much. I'd rather you went and found out for yourself. But you'll notice a slight parody of D&D (Dungeons & Dragons) type storylines, kinda going on.

How do you play it?
Over the Internet, in your Internet browser program.

If you do sign up, just don't abuse it, OK? They want to remain free to users. They also have some very interesting looking merchandise.

At least check their page. And remember, the game is a beta version at the moment.

Related link
The Kingdom of Loathing website

Wednesday, 25 March 2009

"Liars, and Predators, and Sickos! Oh, My!"

Please click on above image to view larger version
Thanks to the people over at Dueling Analogs we now have a webcomic strip to add to the banter on the Animal Crossing debate.

See original page from their site here.

The whole thing has caused me to have some interesting reactions...
I bought Animal Crossing: Let's Go To the City (in the UK, elsewhere, Animal Crossing: City Folk) for the Nintendo Wii as a result of last week's news, and have begun to become an addict to Animal Crossing: Wild World, for the Nintendo DS, again.

I think I can cope for now, but it could get worrying if I start getting up at 3am to try and catch fish and shark species that only turn up at that time of day. That is addiction. No game is worth being up at 3am.

Related links
Official Animal Crossing website
Dueling Analogs the website
My previous blog entry on the "issue"

Monday, 23 March 2009

New Moon

More from the TWILIGHT series
So I finished reading the second book, on Friday I think it was.

Compared to the first one
It was perhaps more long winded than it needed to be, but it had a good representation of a broken heart going on. I think the ending was not as dramatic as it needed to be, it didn't exactly compel you to go on to read the third book Eclipse.

I heard the term 'erotic abstinence' used to describe the series. Stepehnie Meyer is also a Mormon, so the lack of even groping outside the marital bed is explained a lot by her religious standpoint. To be honest... I'm beginning to think that the whole series would have been
better written by a non-devout, British woman, (or at least someone who isn't afraid to express what teens get up to, but wouldn't glorify it, and deal with the consequences as well).

Then again the tameness of the series in this respect perhaps reflects the greater prudishness of the American public these days.

Anyway... ECLIPSE?
Third book in the series. Reading it now.

Anything you liked?

The introduction of more monstrous creatures from folklore was pretty good. It's pretty funny how Bella, the main character, ends up falling in with two bad crowds (as it were). Vampires and werewolves in the same world, yeah.

Related links
Official Twilight series website
New Moon Wiki entry

Wednesday, 18 March 2009

Adults shouldn't play Animal Crossing

Mayor Tortimer accused of being a pervert!


Excuse me?
I was made aware of this article at GoNintendo by my boyfriend.

Watch the horror
Click on this link to read the article put up by GoNintendo and the video with the original news feature.

Today the American station responsible for the article apologised, link. Though I'm sure they could have edited out the inaccurate comments before broadcast.

According to the cop interviewed in the original broadcast, Tortimer, the mayor of Animal Crossing, a non-playable character, was in fact a pervert. I do hope his superiors bother to give him an IQ test after all this.

After all, just how can a human sized tortoise be a pervert? One that isn't even controlled by humans?

Sure the game allows you to speak and interact with other players, but you have to exchange Friend Codes before that can happen. If parents are worried, they should make sure their children don't give that code out to strangers.

And why can adults not play this?
I don't know what the advertising campaign for Animal Crossing: City Folk, for the Nintendo Wii, in the US has been, but over here in the UK Nintendo have been aiming the game at women and men aged 16 years and above. So forget the kids.

Are you a fan?
I suffered addiction issues with the previous game Animal Crossing: Wild World for the Nintendo DS. Due to fears of bringing on addiction again, I have yet to purchase this incarnation.

Related links
First GoNintendo article
Second GoNintendo article
Official Animal Crossing: City Folk website

Tuesday, 17 March 2009

An unfortunate title

Pardon?
So I was mooching around on Apple Trailers, when I came across this:
Am I the only one with a dirty mind here?
If Disney have never made a film with a title that sounds like a porno before, they have now.

I know that g-force is also a measure of gravitational pull (or something like that), but yeah with this logo it looks too much like a porno. And I don't care if the film is about guinea pigs, it just shouldn't have this title.

Sounds like

I'm pretty sure of what part of the female anatomy this sounds like, and it sounds like a porno about that part and it's set in space, and the logo would mean high production values as well. In fact as a porno title, it probably exists.

I just hope they change the name for the UK release...


Related links

Apple trailers page for film
Official Disney site

The Departed

Don't think I've watched such a good reworking of a film before
I always get a bit edgy when I hear that Hollywood is remaking an Asian film, but this worked fine. The Departed is based on the concept that was used in the Hong Kong film Infernal Affairs.

Story?
Organised crime gang places mole in police. Police place mole in organised crime gang. And things get very, very complicated and dangerous from there on.

Good film
I was surprised by how much I enjoyed watching this. Previously I had watched Infernal Affairs, which I found difficult to watch, not because of the language issues, but because of how the story had been organised. The Departed was a lot easier to understand.

There are interesting levels of suspense and intrigue, which is just what a good crime thriller needs. It's also very brutal in places, but there is loads of really good character development.

This film also has a great deal of 'star power', starring are Jack Nicholson, Matt Damon, Leonardo DiCaprio Matt Damon, Mark Wahlberg, Alec Baldwin, Martin Sheen... the list goes on. It was directed by Martin Scorsese.

If you haven't seen it
The film was released in 2006, and so is easily available on DVD. I watched it when it was premièred on Channel 4 on Sunday. I definitely feel that it's worth watching at least once. The Departed is a long film, so make sure you've got your favourite film watching snacks and drinks available, or at least a pause button and a toilet.

Related links
Official website
IMDB entry for The Departed
Wiki entry for The Departed, plus links to Infernal Affairs