Friday, 30 October 2009

Discs and otherwise

Finished Arkham Asylum couple of nights ago, was ok, hope the next one is free roaming though. Bought Uncharted 2, so far so good actually living up to the hype, also got Borderlands though I've only had a quick peek. I have managed a few films though;

House of The Devil, a1980's styled horror film that initially seemed quite good but totally failed to deliver. Some cash hungry student shows up for a babysitting job and things aren't quite right from the get go, it manages to build some tension but fritters it away in a badly handled, mostly bloodless, final third. I remember 80's stuff having the decency at least to have buckets of blood and gore.

Astroboy was a pretty enjoyable 90 mins of cartoon scifi I guess. Based on the enormously popular mangas by Tezuka the plot revolves around a grieving scientist who tries to recreate his dead son as a powerful robot child thing, needless to say it doesn't really work out all that well and robo-kid leaves Floating tech-city to find himself, returns and kicks badguy ass to save the day.

This Gun for Hire is one of a pile of film noir's I've not watched - after Kiss Me Deadly this was a little disappointing sadly. It is a great film though, tight, nicely scripted and funny in bits but there was something amiss along the way or maybe it was Ladd's performance, I wasn't too impressed with his reminiscences towards the end, I dunno. Veronica Lake was great though.

Wednesday, 28 October 2009

lazy daze assortment

Schwarenegger hides a message in a recent letter.

Just found Adam Curtis' blog on the BBC site and it's a great read, well worth a look, here's a link to a post about the unusual marketing technique used by the makers of Sodium Pentothal. Must try and track down some of his earlier films.

Gotta love the CIA, turns out they've ben paying Karzai's drug lord brother for 8 years.

Xenu lovers get a kicking in the French courts & Haggis decides he's had it with the exploitative bampots in a public letter to Tommy Davis, the chap who provoked this still funny reaction from Sweeney.

Shep Smith must think he works for some other network, well he will soon as he's bound to get fired from Fox soon.

Monday, 26 October 2009

Couple of classic K's

Thought I'd catch up on some oldies, starting with Pakula's murky Klute, a noirish tale of hookers and murders investigated by stoic Donald Sutherland. Jane Fonda plays the prostitute at the centre of the story and they're both excellent even though the script is at times quite amusing, mainly due to the outdated slang. The plot is fairly straightforward and it's a little too easy to figure out the killer, nonetheless a nice bit of 70's paranoia.

Kiss Me Deadly, is a true noir classic however, making Klute look staid and flatfooted. From the excellent opening sequence, this belts along frantically clocking up corpses, car bombs, mobsters, dames & double crossers and most important of all, the Great Whatsit; the mysterious shining briefcase that inspired Alex Cox and Tarantino so much. In case you haven't seen it I won't spoil the end as it's a fantastic climax to this ripsnorting thriller.

Screen things

Been waiting quite a while to see Moon and I wasn't disappointed, it's a fantastic little tale about a lonely, run-down lunar worker counting the last few days of his 3yr stint when things get complicated. Rockwell does a fine job of the roller coaster of experiences Sam gets through and is supported by a Spacey voiced robotic assistant called Gerty. It's well constructed, funny and actually quite touching, all-in-all a highly successful debut feature from Jones.

Rob Newman's History of Oil
, was a revelation, I'd heard his stand-up was quite good but literally haven't seen him since his Newman& Baddiel years. This short piece is a scathing, intelligent diatribe against our collective ignorant addiction to oil, oil, oil. Nothing particularly new, per se, in the material it's just particularly well put together, kinda in a Mark Thomas with a pinch of Hicks. Good stuff now I just have to dig around looking for more of his stuff.

Pig Hunt, was trash but the good kind of trash, it's got all the cliches: city folk head to the woods, dangerous hillbillies, a shack in the middle of nowhere and a of course a monstrous, murderous Hogzilla. It could have been a pretty good B-movie had it not been for the bungling of the beast and the whole finale, it's one of the most amateurish monsters I've seen in ages, they should have at least kept back enough money for a CGi pig.

Saturday, 24 October 2009

Two tiny budget gems

Le Donk & Scor-Zay-Zee was brilliant, very funny & kinda strangely touching in bits and given it took only five days to make it's a huge success. It's a half improvised mockumentary following a delusional roadie/manager as he pimps a chubby rapper onto the Arctical Monkeys. Meadows is a real genuine British talent, Dead Man's Shoes is my favourite, and I've gotta start looking into his short films stuff.

Two good films in one post, wow, this is a first. Paranormal Activity is a Blair Witch interweb hyped shakey cam horror film and to be honest it was a pretty effective, gave me the heebejeebes during a couple of the night cam sequences, was hi tho. It's got a whole alternate ending thing happening & I liked the one I saw but I'll probably try to catch the other one online somewhere anyways this was made for only $15,000 and like Le Donk above proves that budget has little to do with quality. Worth a look, maybe lives up to half the hype.

Skylights on the Moon

Some scientists reckon they've found evidence of lava tubes on the Moon,which is fricking sweet, they've gotta try and explore one of these and soon, thanks to New Scientist via I09. And while looking into lava tubes I found about the Craters of The Moon in Idaho.

Thursday, 22 October 2009

A Film called Joe

Joe, starring Peter Boyle & young Susan Sarandon is a 70's hippy vs square culture clash film and was pretty good, not particularly original but nice grubby and gloomy though it does have a touch of Quincy about it. Boyle plays a bigoted lunatic who meets a father who's just killed his daughter's junkie boyfriend and they develop a strange relationship that ends rather badly.

Horsemen was mostly horseshit, Dennis Quaid plays a rundown detective teeth-specialist? who gets investigating some weird ritualistic murders the end result is a hodge podge of cliches jammed together with some grisly corpses and a heap of tedious family scenes.

Wednesday, 21 October 2009

Mmmm space

There's a bevy of new exoplanets, and one of them is quite interesting. thanks Wired

Some sweet heliopause action via IO9

Curious article about the theory of extraterrestrial origin of some of our minerals.

Massive crater found in India, vying for Dinosaur Killer title.

an awesome Chandra pic

Tuesday, 20 October 2009

Tedious, Funny & Glossy

WTF, the Olmos directed spin off Battlestar Galactica: The Plan seemed to make little sense to me, not only that, it was basically a retread of events from Galactica itself only from the Cylon's perspective, doh, I thought it was going to be all from Cylon bases etc, oh well, I guess it was watchable enough but didn't really offer us anything new just filled in a bit of background.

Observe & Report was better than I expected, it's dark, quite funny and reasonably performed by Rogen, Farris and Liotta. Weird it came out around the same time as Paul Blart cause it's kinda like the antithesis of that film. I presume it's one of those majors masquerading as an indie productions as on a couple of occasions it tries way too hard to prove it's bad taste chops, nonetheless it's worth a look.

Public Enemies was a beautifully shot, well paced, thriller that reeked of quality from set design to camera work and it is a great film but for me it was cold, distant, all the leads felt like marionettes, cyphers not characters, like most of Mann's work there's some sort of hollowness at the core that the actors can't shake off. I reckon it must come from Mann himself, maybe he can't select a take or something and gets them running over and over till they're like drones. Anyways this is big glossy action with very loud gunfire.

Monday, 19 October 2009

Couple of almost-beens

I suppose A Perfect Getaway was ok, it's a twisty thriller about a couple honeymooning in Hawaii while a couple of tourist killers on the loose. It's got a decent cast but is sadly spoiled by an overworked plot; if they'd focused more on the tension and less on the twisty antics it would have been much better film.

Another missed opportunity was The Tournament, it's quite enjoyable don't get me wrong but it's uneven in it's execution, some of it looks ok and other bits look made-for-tv. It's got a surprisingly decent cast who muddle through the perfunctory script but there's some pretty competent action/fight scenes & thankfully it doesn't skimp on the gore but the stupid Frenchmen story arc hobbled it, if they'd left that out they could have tightened the other strands up nice and with a bit more care with the overall look of the film they would've had a nice respectable b-movie.

Cheap and Cheerful

I Sell the Dead, despite it's tiny budget was an amusing, entertaining 90 mins. It's a kinda Hammer horror comedy thing about a couple of deadbeat grave robbers who stumble into the world of the supernatural and end up facing the gallows. Monaghan from Lost and Last Winter director Larry Fessenden star as the grubby diggers, Scrimm plays their employer and Perlman turns up as the Priest taking last confession and they're all pretty decent, managing the scares and laughs in equal measure. There wasn't quite enough gore imo and the fx were a bit cheap, funny though, it kinda looked a bit TV ish and it would have made a great series.

The Objective, is a low key little scifi flick about a group of soldiers escorting a CIA agent into a mysterious Afghan valley, playing out like Predator in the desert as the mission slowly unravels and the bodies mount up. It too could have been improved by a little more cash on the fx but it's an interesting enough idea and the actors manage the rather basic script/characters. And Vimanas, wow, haven't thought about them in ages. Chea

Saturday, 17 October 2009

Brooker gouges Moir

Awesome rebuttal by Charlie Brooker of a rather nasty column in today's Daily Mail. I'm quite glad his recent forays into journalism - beyond his long running & very funny ScreenBurn - have been so successful (ha ha he's even made Huffpo) because now we get to see him to wrankle on about our twisted modern life and occasionally the bigoted 'tards that roam around this country foaming at the mouth like say Jan Moir whose astonishingly ignorant, sneering, bile eruption neatly typifies that particular paper, an insidious more sinister monster imo than say The Sun, something homegrown not some meglomaniacal Antipodean's adolescent musings.

Fry and Derren Brown mounted a celeb twitter attack against Moir and I hope they've managed to clock up plenty of PCC complaints. And here's a link to Brown's recent efforts against scumbags.

Krist 3rd Gaurdnia post of the week

Thursday, 15 October 2009

Tabs get pwned

Gradunia has a highly amusing story today about the new film called Starsuckers directed by Chris Atkins, of Taking Liberties fame. This new film is focused on our celebrity obsessed tabloids and has caught a number of them printing stories that have no factual basis which they obviously didn't bother to check. I can't imagine anyone would be surprised by these revelations but it's nice to see someone making the effort to point out their indolence and general stupidity.

And here's a slightly more sinister article for tomorrow's edition about them trying to sell the Tabs private medical info of clebs. Oh and you can watch Atkins' first film here for free.


Nice gallery on Huffpo of some freaky looking beasties. Favourite has to be this cute Axolotl

Wednesday, 14 October 2009

View from my couch

The Deadly Affair, I found another Lumet to watch and this one is an excellent John Le Carre adaptation. Mason stars as Smiley (well it's Smiley in the book but Dobbs in the film for some reason) rooting out foreign miscreants with the aid of a retired detective. Intelligent, low key and very well acted this is a great little film oh and it's got a nice samba-ish Quincy Jones soundtrack.

My gaming started with the rubber keyed Speccy 48k so I was duty bound to watch Micro Men and it wasn't as bad as some of the reviews had suggested. Fair enough it was a bit thin for 90 mins and the script was a bit rough at times but the two performances by Armstrong and Freeman were colourful enough to keep me watching and it is a great story from 80's Britain.

Funny People is a strange beast, dunno how it's been marketed but it definitely isn't a straight comedy. Maybe dramedy fits it better as even though it is very funny it's got a fairly serious plot arc that you don't expect from a typical Sandler film. Rogen and Sandler work off each other well and it's got a bevy of cameos from actual stand up comedians and famous faces which keep the laughs ticking along but it's probably half an hour too long and the denouement is major let-down. Good effort from Apatow but I'd put it on a par with Festival.

Holy Sheet

Via Boing Boing


Parliament's just back in sess and things are getting interesting already, some MP's have clearly less than the full deck if they can think avoid repaying their excesses and then this morning I get up and Guardian has been gagged for trying to report a question that was asked in the House.

Hate linking to Guido's site but if you can get past his hungry-hungry Conservatism he's been spot on about the snouts in our troughs. And courtesy of Order Order here's a link to wikileaks and the source of the Guardian story.

Poor old clumsy aunt Beeb made another radio blooper by giving BNP mouthpieces airtime without thinking it through, doh, now is not the time to blunder into such obvious cockups, the wolves are at the door and you're about to show a Question Time with Nick Griffin so you all better up your game. I do love me some QT so here's a link to a nice self-congratulatory article celebrating it's 30th anniversary.

Tuesday, 13 October 2009

Giving the games a rest

Across The Hall, is some sort of neo-noir wannabe movie about a cuckolded husband and the drastic steps he takes for revenge. It's moderately successful I guess in generating some tension from it's claustraphobic set up and the acting is passable but it's let down by a terrible clunking and cliched script.

Inglourious Basterds, mmm I wasn't so keen on Tarantino's latest, I dunno maybe I heard too many positive reviews but it felt patchy to me, underwritten in parts and overworked in others, I liked the Jew Hunter actor he was pretty good but the whole film felt distant from the Basterds, they didn't really get the screen time as a group as coherent whole, and I kept thinking it was some homage to an 80's film or something, felt 80's. Anyways the ending though stupid was really nicely done. Unless there's a much better cut to this film I'd say Tarantino's talent is unravelling.

I kinda liked this strange little black comedy satire Visioneers, and Galifianakis is quite good though he plays pretty much the same character as he did in Bored To Death & Hangover, none the less this is a nicely dark film about a future where most people work for the same monolithic company and start to explode, literally, due to the tedious trampled lives they lead and a man who yearns for something different.

Up is fantastic, probably the best Pixar film yet and that's saying something. A touching modern fable about a bereaved old man who floats his home away to fulfil his marital promise and reach Paradise Falls. Animation, design, script and voice acting are near flawless and it's a surprisingly mature animated feature dealing with the comedy and tragedy with equal skill.

Monday, 12 October 2009

Spot of Science

Great gallery on Wired of some amazing microscopic photography, like this

An amazing graphic of man's foray into space, via io9 via a host of others.

Oops Nasa's latest experiment is causing some head scratching and probably stung the wallet a bit.

It's good to hear that Russia hasn't lost it's extraterrestrial ambitions though.

And finally this very unusual cloud or nicely done hoax, via boing boing

Tuesday, 6 October 2009

Home Cinema

Fermat's Room is a maths-based Spanish thriller (not something you hear every day) and it's a pretty enjoyable little mystery. The DVD cover says "PI meets Cube with a dash of Saw" which unsurprisingly is pretty wide of the mark as it's not remotely gory and isn't nearly as obtuse or esoteric as PI. Four mathematicians are trapped in a shrinking room and can only stop the walls from moving by solving a number of maths problems - reasonably scripted and acted, it manages to generate some tension throughout and is only let down by a shonky conclusion.

Zombieland on the other hand was great, a very funny zom-com in the vein of SoTD. Cautious survivor Eisenberg teams up with Redneck lunatic Harrelson and they travel cross country searching for Twinkies and a new home before they meet up with a couple of tricksy girls. The script was tight, the casting was great and it zips along at a good rate with plenty of laughs and zombie kills. I was surprised to read it had been turned down as a TV series as I'd quite happily watch another 90mins right now. Bet those execs are kicking themselves in the nuts real hard as I bet it's going to make a shed load of cash.

Monday, 5 October 2009

Mostly Garbage

Seventh Moon, a modest little US supernatural horror set in China wasn't terrible, I half-liked the director's earlier film Altered and this was definitely an improvement, granted it wasn't particularly original but it had a few moments, excluding the massive plot holes my main complaint was the totally uninspired look of the moon demons, a little more effort would have gone a long way.

There's films I'm just required to watch so I managed to sit through Angels & Demons, not quite in one sitting but that was more to do with wine than the film. Anyways if you've seen DVC you won't be surprised by the dumb but glossy feel to this film, it isn't terrible just a bland tasteless experience, competently acted but formulaic and sometimes/most-times just plain ridiculous. Background viewing only.

And onto Bruce Willis' latest, Surrogates, a tedious little companion piece to the also guff Gamer. This time instead of having users controlling live prisoners we've got a society with users controlling tailor made droids, there's nothing wrong with these ideas but they just don't know how to make a decent film around them instead of something potentially interesting we're left waching a very average cop against the odds thriller. It's so unmemorable I bet I end up watching it again like I did with Money Train.