Thursday, 30 December 2010

Seasonal Space Snaps

Beijing & Tianjin from the ISS, via NASA

The ISS & the Moon, via BadAstronomy.

Cassini snaps a monster storm on Saturn, via

Sunday, 26 December 2010

Hurt's Pain & Bill Double

Whistle and I'll Come to You has had a Xmas TV remake and it's actually quite good though most of it's success lies with John Hurt's excellent performance. Hurt plays an aging academic taking a little seaside break in a crummy hotel and after finding a ring on the beach he begins to feel a touch haunted. The original was a slender piece so they've fleshed out the story a little but essentially it's the same old fashioned chiller that ruminates over memory and loss. I hope the Beeb give some other M. R. James stuff similarly adept reworkings.

After enjoying Nothing Lasts Forever I thought I'd treat myself to some more back-cat Bill Murray during the Festivus lazy days so first up is Quick Change, a comedic bank robbery caper which seems to have erm inspired a recent Spike Lee film. Anyways Murray stages a cunning robbery dressed as a clown but during their escape things begin to unravel. A witty comedy that gives Murray plenty of room for laughs - strange it's never had a R2 dvd release.

Next up is Stripes - a film I haven't seen since a kid but I've fond memories of. Harold Ramis, John Candy and Judge Reinhold all assist deadbeat Bill Murray wisecrack and charm his way in and out of military mischief after enlisting as a Marine on a whim. After rewatching it those fond memories are most probably due to the appearance of some fine 80's titties and a brief bush flash but besides these attractions it's an enjoyable old-school, all-for-one comedy with some decent laughs along the way. Not as brilliant as Caddyshack or Buffalo but still worth watching.

Paper Dune

Io9 provides a late Xmas treat with a link to this nice blog that features scans of the Dune graphic novel version of Lynch's film via Ralph Macchio and Bill Sienkiewicz.

Thursday, 23 December 2010

City Pursuits & Royal Hunts

The Town is a Boston crime thriller with Ben Affleck acting and directing. Affleck and his heist gang are pulling a string of jobs for Pete Postlethwaite but the attention of the Feds as well as local PD start making things complicated. It's not bad, I'd say slightly above average Hollywood fare with a good standard of thesping throughout but it's hamstrung by a preposterous romantic side story and some clunky dialogue.

Dragonslayer is a Disney fantasy flick with Ralph Richardson. An old wizard leaves his apprentice to the task of killing a pesky dragon that's terrorising some kingdom. Other than Richardson's nicely crafted cameo as the bumbling aged Wizard this is the usual Disney cheese fest with the museum curator from Ghostbusters 2 waving the magic pendant about trying to impress his lady friend amidst some cheap special FX. Bland and uninspired so only for 80's nostalgia freaks.

Hammer Rebirth & Clint Squint

Let Me In is the latest in a long line of identikit, largely unnecessary US remakes of foreign language films. Most are usually butchered by the Hollywood machine and turn out like Taxi or Vanilla Sky for but this effort is somewhat more competent and maybe that's due to it being the first production from the relaunched Hammer Studio, now owned by some Dutch peeps. Anyways it's nicely shot, well directed and has two strong performances from the young leads but unfortunately didn't quite seem capable of conjuring the creepy, unsettling atmosphere that permeated the original though maybe that's just my prejudice (I've read the book too). It's still a decent horror vamp thingy and if you're too monged for subs I'd say dig in.

Written by Elmore Leonard, directed by John Sturges with music from Schiffrin and starring Eastwood, Duvall & John Saxon Joe Kidd is a sharp, snappy Western from 1972. Clint gets recruited into a posse searching for a Mexican revolutionary and it becomes quickly apparent he's fighting for the wrong side. They pack in plenty of action and wit in it's brief 83 mins but it's all a little unremarkable - there's nothing wrong with it per se it just lacks a definitive scene or line or something that would make it more memorable. An entertaining, solid Western but nothing to get too excited about.

Monday, 20 December 2010

Finger & Thumb Fun

Following on from Flow & Flower, thatgamecompany's next PSN game is Journey and it looks quite cool.

Mmm Minecraft just moved into beta - a friend has developed quite a passion for this intriguing game. Doubt it'll ever get a console release but I can amuse myself with the insanely geeky creations already on offer.

ITV & 4OD have arrived on the PS3 media bar - both appear to have a limited selection compared to the Virgin portal but it's a good start.

Moving Pixels have a nice Top 5 Flash Games of 2010 - good to see Adult Swim's bonkers Robot Unicorn Attack features but the rest are equally as inspired. Loved and Coma are definitely worth a look.

Sony are releasing their PSP/Phone thingy in April next year. Wonder if it'll have PS3 compatibility ?

Apparently Demon's Souls has moved to Pure White until the 28th - guess it's time to return to the Leechmonger's Archstone.

Brave nerds confront notoriously grumpy director David O Russel to demand Nathan Fillion gets cast in the upcoming Drake movie.

My inner Sony fanboy was delighted to read yesterday that Braid's creator Jonathon Blow thinks PlayStation are more likely to support artsy games than Microsoft. Sadly it turns out he's not very happy with CVG's creative editing of the interview.

Japan loves video games and also very fancy toilets so it's unsurprising they've mashed the two together and invented a urinal interface video game with a selection of 4 different pissing challenges. Presumably they're already working on a jobby based follow up? Don't recommend googling it though.

Musical Movies Part 1

The Monkees' mad rambling, acid stained film, Head, features some of their best music along with cameos from Jack Nicholson and Sonny Liston anyways to watch the whole thing you'll need to sign into veoh. Sorry but the next two require a little effort too anyways there's Tommy, The Who's star studded rock opera and to close there's the unsubtle Rutles with Eric Idle and co romping around pretending to be the Fab Four.

Sunday, 19 December 2010

British Biker B-Movies

These Are The Damned is one of those strange Hammer hybrid films that gleefully skips across genres much like The Lost Continent did. A young Oliver Reed stars as the topdog of a gang of campy, leather clad bikers and after mugging a passing Yank things quickly escalate and they suddenly find themselves embroiled in some seriously murky military experiments. Directed by the then blacklisted Joseph Losey this is actually a grossly undervalued slice of British scifi with a reasonably intelligent script and some decent performances. I won't reveal the plot twist but it transforms the film from amiable childish nonsense into something much much darker.

Psychomania is a crappy, so-bad-its-good biker horror flick from 1973. A remarkably posh gang of bikers discover the secret to life beyond the grave and begin to terrorise the locals with their undead antics. This is decidedly almost sub-B-movie fare with dodgy acting, a piss poor script and a laughable plot that was presumably designed as tabloid bait. Regardless of it's many shortcomings I still kinda enoyed it, it does have bags of brio, plenty of bike chase/stunts and some groovy tunes so maybe if you're a fan of trashy, cult films you should give it a go.

60's Pop Power Vs Plastic Pop Remake

Peter Watkins' Privilege is a depressingly prescient dystopia about the manipulation of the masses by a manufactured Pop icon in some distant future. Paul Jones of Manfred Mann plays Steve Shorter a rather simple all singing & dancing puppet of Authority roped in to do everything from boost agricultural output to revitalise the nations spirituality so it's hardly a surprise that he starts to rebel. Though filmed in 1967 the film's blunt satire still has punch in our age of X-Factor/Got Talent/blurgh that fills the small screen but it's not exactly subtle and I wasn't a fan of the musical numbers. Regardless this is still a nice slice of 60's social-scifi.

And Soon The Darkness is a nice Fuest/Clements thriller about some girls getting in trouble on a cycle run I've mentioned previously. Anyways the 2010 remake is out and unsurprisingly it's not a patch, it embellishes the plot quite successfully and has a jauntier pace but it sheds the original's brooding atmosphere by adopting a standard explanatory narrative and employing some seriously under-skilled actors. Don't get me wrong it's not terrible just another mediocre, simplified rehash of something that's come before.

Saturday, 18 December 2010

Usual Scientific Spatters

Looks like they've found a Jumbo Ice Volcano on Titan. ta New Scientist. APOD's photo.

Bubble collision might provide proof of other Universes. Physorg.

6 year old Opportunity Rover still making good science, Wired.

Wikileaks provides again with details exposing Pfizer muscling a Nigerian attorney to stop his investigation of illegal, tragically fatal, child experimentation.

Lightning inspired X-Rays snapped - explanation at ImpactLab
Winter Solstice + Lunar Eclipse will no doubt send the soft brained quivering.

Wang finds unconscious memories? ScienceDaily.

US Navy have built a massive railgun.

The Discover blog has a great Top 100 Science Stories of 2010. Via Io9

Google have launched a quite addictive statistical tool that searches for word usage in online books. That's Dunce below.

The Dirty Game

New Wiki-cables detail how Kofi Annan tried to tempt batshit tyrant Mugabe into a sweet retirement deal apparently funded by Col. Gadafi.

The Bank of America have stopped processing Wikileaks payments too - probably nothing to do with the imminent wikileaks detailing corporate malfeasance.

DG of the BBC, Mark Thompson, thinks we should have a Fox News channel here in the UK. What a twat. Presumably this is some strategic arse licking of Jimmy Murdoch but even thinking it should get him the sack.

Some Tory fucktard wants us to embrace the chaos of decentralisation. Bet he's a rich bastard.

Assange is ticked off his chums at the Guardina ran the piece about his sex charges and but get his juice by walking off mid-interview with a ABC news reporter and calls him a tabloid schmuck.

Australia takes a stand against Israeli pressure and allows Hezbollah affiliated TV channel Al-Manar to be broadcast.

Julian's apparently in fear of his life so shacking up with an eccentric ex-soldier is probably a good idea but we should be thinking more about the source of the cables PFC Manning currently getting special treatment in a US prison and according to the Indy getting pressured to name Assange as a co-conspirator.

Michael Moore isn't too pleased with journos either and wades into the Cuba-banned-Sicko story

Stupid EU organisers projected random tweets from the public on a wall during a recent Brussels meeting - cue lots of fun at Berlusconi's expense.

Pugnacious mustachioed Bush-era hawk and massive prick John Bolton is considering running for Pres in 2012.

Charlie Brooker has an amusing little roundup of 2010.

Wednesday, 15 December 2010

Soupcon of Sci Fi

A action packed gallery of German language Scifi movie posters. This fine example is for Message from Space. Via someone on Reddit.

Robot Chicken's 3rd Star Wars special airs on Sunday night.

Again from R is an amusing diatribe about Frank Herbert's Dune novels and his son, Brian's um, erm patchy attempts to gild the lilly.

Io9 have a nice vid of every cover of 2000AD from 1979-2010.

Gene Wolfe's new novel lands in the New Year.

Someone has dug up 17 mins of 2001: A Space Odyssey footage that Kubrick excised before the final cut. Hope the inevitable Redux version gets a cinema release.

Pegg & Frost's new film Paul looks a bit average.

Carroll, Greene & Wells

Monday, 13 December 2010

Stralia's former Most Troublesome Journalist

John Pilger has a new doco out called The War You Don't See and it had it's premier on ITV this week. Wow I actually watched ITV and enjoyed the experience for the first time in years. Anyways it's Pilger doing his usual digging around in our current iraq/afghan fiasco, pulling in the folly of embedding journalists, media distortions, wikileaks etc etc. It's quite good but you can make your own mind up below.

Sunday, 12 December 2010

.....There's Maoism, Taoism, I Ching and Chess......

The People's Republic had a hissy fit bout the Nobel Peace prize Empty Chair and inaugurated their own shiny-dangle giveaway with the 1st award going to some dude who couldn't be arsed showing up.

According to the Wikidump China's been taking the piss out of Chavez by getting cheap oil from Venezuela and selling it off for big bucks.

There's an interesting genetic corner of China that seems to have a Roman flavour.

Some soup and wine have been unearthed near the ancient capital Xian that's 2400 years old.

Some dudes surfing the Silver Dragon - the world's largest Tidal Bore. Urgh the vid on Metzger's site seems to no worky, here's another

Hadn't realised there was a sequel to Ip Man already out

Friday, 10 December 2010

Sounds of '68: Stockholm, Boston & The Bowl

The sad news of Aretha Franklin's pancreatic cancer diagnosis inspired a little dig for vids so here's her rocking some lucky Swedes in 1968. The rest of the concert is over at YouTube.

You can also catch the entirety of James Brown's legendary Boston gig. Hat-tip to Metzger.

Finally The Doors in Hollywood.

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

No Brain Required

Dinner for Schmucks is one of those cruel-but-kind comedies that have become the norm since Apatow came on the scene. The wafer thin plot sees a desperate for promotion exec, played by Paul Rudd, who accepts the challenge of finding a dingbat oddball to compete in his boss' monthly competition for biggest idiot. It boasts an impressive cast of comedic actors (excluding Walliams obviously) and there are laughs throughout but this is decidely lowbrow entertainment and most of the gags are mined at the expense of the cartoonish schmucks the film revolves around. Funny while watching I wondered if it was based on some old British farce but it turns out it's a remake of a Frenchy film Le Diner De Cons which I'd put money on being funnier.

The Warrior's Way though mildly entertaining is as dumb as a bag of spanners. Unashamedly nothing more than a glossy, guns 'n' swords actioner that eschews any trace of substance for buckets of crazy CGI stylized super violence. Plotwise it's a mishmash of Shogun Assassin & 7 Samurai with the No.1 Swordsman escaping to the Wild West after rescuing a baby girl only to have to defend themselves and some locals from hordes of enemies old and new. Some Korean dude stars as the killer with a heart and he's joined in the nonsense by Kate Bosworth, Danny Huston and Geoffrey Rush. Sure some of the fight scenes are nifty but it's so vapid it makes Casshern look like King Lear.

The Great Antidote

Sweet gallery of cosmological illustrations from history.

The role of sleep in our memories gets a little less confuzzled?

Interesting map of our interconnections via an analysis of telecommunication data.

I'd like some Space Cheese please.

There's a dark object throwing ice and shit at us from the outer reaches of the solar system.

Flores, the Indonesian island home to those peculiar "hobbits", also had giant 1.8 meter tall Storks. Eating rather than delivering babies.

BoingBoing strikes nerdgold with a lego rebuild of the famed Antikythera Mechanism.

Some Videos What What

High & Low Brow Sci-Fi

Kazuo Ishiguro's Never Let Me Go is a beautifully written novel, a quite profound, emotional dystopia. Think Atwood's Oryx and Crake but with heart. Anyways it's just been regurgitated onto celluloid and it's a solid, if workman-like transliteration but then again my opinion is suspect as I only finished reading the book a few weeks ago. A sedate film it's a well acted & nicely shot meditation of our humanity and childhood but lacks the revelatory experience of the book and the emotional depth is nothing compared to the book's tragic expanse. I've deliberately not described the plot as it's a marvellous example of literate scifi and one I think best read. Sadly I fear the film version of Under The Skin will turn out to be a similarly pale imitation.

Alien Abduction: Incident in Lake County is a found-footage pseudo-doc type nonsense about a rural family pestered by a bunch of Schwas over the course of one night. Despite the shit acting it's not a bad effort but the work building tension is squandered by the frequent popping back to in-studio talking heads and the laughably dim choices the characters appear to make. Can't say I'd recommend watching unless you're short of options.

Monday, 6 December 2010

Lumpy Mash

The Nameless is a fairly average Spanish-language detective thriller about a grieving mother who receives a phone call from her years dead daughter and enlists a former cop in her investigation. Directed by Balaguero a couple of films before REC this isn't nearly as effective. The plot is tv-movie fare and the acting not much better still it does muster some atmosphere along the way but that's squandered by a really tedious ending.

Skyline is a waste of a half-decent invasion idea and some nice cgi. Big glossy and super dumb this film is deficient in almost every way and definitely not worth your time if only I'd known it was directed by the brothers behind AvP 2 I wouldn't have wasted mine.

Lord Luton Lines Up Cody, Kenny & Donny

Sunday, 5 December 2010

All about Assange

I've already voted for Assange as Time magazine's man of the year award as he's provided me with much much amusement. If you're likewise inclined you can vote here and if you're a bit more tech minded why not help host a mirror site? or grab the Wiki Insurance file here.

He's certainly made himself quite unpopular with multiple DOS attacks on the main Wikileaks site & the French site has gone down oh and the not at all subtle sex charges raised by Sweden.

Australian Assange isn't too chuffed about his Prime Minister's kowtowing to America but he shouldn't be surprised our very own Posh Camo promised to be a pro-US PM. (What even more so than Tony?)

Halfwit Palin and co have decide Assange is a terrorist? surely a new nadir of hypocrisy. They've also told US government workers not to read the leaks.

Julian's lawyer appeared on Marr's Breakfast show this morning and according to the Guardian he thinks he's being watched.

They've also been picking up other members of Wikileaks

Amazon capitulated and stopped hosting one of the mirror sites and Paypal have closed their donation account - er I'm sure Julian's interweb chums will be in touch real soon - oh dear Anonymous are already marshalling their forces.

A Pakistani Judge offers some sanity by refusing to ban Wikileaks and it seems the Swiss are confident enough to give the finger to the US

Reporters Without Borders are also standing on the right side of the fence.

Odd ball political maverick Ron Paul wants even more Wikileaks - me too

Assange should be chuffed with the shitstorm that's whipped up but they've only released a fraction of the cables so far. Wonder what the UFO stuff is he's talking about?

Gervais & Boyle Stand Up

Podgy egomaniac Ricky Gervais seems to be running out of gas as well as gags if his latest dvd Science is anything to go by. I'm not averse to close-to-the-bone comedy but Gervais seems to lose interest halfway through and relies on the shock laughs a little too much, worst of all however is I'm sure I've heard some of the bits before. It's not all guff though as there is a nice routine based on an illustrated Noah book he won at Sunday School which starts some gleeful hole poking in the idiotic and unoriginal story of a dude who builds a boat and stuffs it with critters which apparently won't eat each other. Stick to the movies Ricky oh yeah don't bother as they're a bit crap too.

Frankie Boyle's latest dvd "..Strangle You I Would" filmed during his latest and apparently final live tour is a much stronger effort. Even more un-pc than Gervais, Boyle pulls few punches in his rambling tirade against the world and the first row of his audience but he's much much funnier throughout. This tour hasn't been shy of controversy and it's clear that Boyle doesn't give a shit so there's no shortage of dark laughs though I must warn you it's definitely not gonna amuse everyone (specially not my girlfriend). Bizarrely he's now got a sketch show on 4 called Tramadol Nights which I'll have to check it out.

The Great Antidote: mostly space edition

The biggest story of the science week has to be the discovery/creation of bacterial life based on arsenic instead of phosphorous. Exobiologists must be frothy with excitement.

Secret Robot Spaceship x-37B pictured for the first time.Interstellar dust clouds might have provided the source of our planet's water during it's accretion.

Cassini's technical wigout has passed and is again producing the goods with a nice look at Enceladus. Apparently identifying more warm cracks, hurhur.

Sweet solar system simulator.

Labcoats trap antimatter long enough to have a quick peek.

National Geographic have a nice gallery of the years best Space pics. Mars & a Moonbow below.

Saturday, 4 December 2010

Wars Real & Imagined

The Second Civil War is a star studded satire directed by Joe Dante back in 1997 for the HBO channel. A populist Idaho Governor sparks a immigration crisis when he refuses to shelter some Pakistani orphans and with a weak, muddled President being cajoled by a insipid, sensationalist news channel things soon escalate into a armed confrontation between the National Guard and the regular Army. With Beau Bridges, James Earl Jones, James Coburn and a bevy of other famous faces this should have been great but a dearth of gags and a lack of bite meant this satire falls into mediocrity fast. A shame because Texas' recent threats to secede shows it was at least somewhat prescient.

Adolf Hitler - My Part In His Downfall is a film adaptation of Milligan's classic WW2 autobiography. Jim Dale stars as a young Milligan playing as a pre-war Jazz trumpeter through his reluctant enlistment, basic training and closes as he heads off to battle the dastardly Nazis. With a large cast of familiar faces including Spike himself (playing his own father) this is a mildly enjoyable farce as Dale and co lark about on manoeuvres with a few moments of poignancy as they slowly realise what's in store. Given the talents involved this really should have been much funnier but by stripping out the filth and bad language from Milligan's book it's left as something not terribly far from Dad's Army.

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Kids vs Priests & Two Cheesy Capes

I'm not the biggest fan of the Xmas consumerist shebangalang but it's a good opportunity to treat the little ones to some retro fantasy fun. It wasn't my intention to rewatch The Box of Delights myself but I'm quite glad I did, I know it's trite but they really don't make them like this anymore. Based on a John Masefield novel from 1935 this period set 6 parter follows the adventures of a young boy home for the festivities who unwittingly becomes dragged into a supernatural battle for the titular box. Though it's seriously hampered by the cheapo FX at heart it's a charming, fantastical romp that has wit and dread in equal measures. It's hardly a surprise Mike Newell is thinking of a remake.

DC seem to be making more of an effort with their recent animated features but their latest, Superman/Shazam: The Return of Black Adam isn't the best. Basically a retelling of the origin story of Captain Marvel but set in Metropolis this featurette is pitched at the younger kids and therefore is packed with cheese and is paper thin, worst of all though the animation is really patchy throughout.

Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Sunday, 28 November 2010

Wikileaks pops a massive Stoma bag

Wikileaks have dropped a crap load of US diplomatic messages, the site itself is down due to a DNS attack but there's already a bucket loads of slurry sloshing about:

Putin and Berlusconi have a special relationship probably involving their wallets,

While Alan Duncan and William Hague's relationship was purely flatmate/chums,

Everyone wants a piece of Iran

Oh yeah the US is spying on the UN

and Afghanistan's VP was caught carrying 52 million in cash in the UAE

there's loads spilling out now so I should of probably waited a bit before writing this but anyways Wikileak's giant commitment to amusing us proles isn't the only news in town. It was definitely astute timing to have our humiliating "let's introduce a grocer/hoax Taliban commander to Karzai jape" aired just before the Assange evacuation but maybe the FBI have taken the same tack with an amusing onanistic tale of the Feds taking the glory for nicking a terrorist they themselves have been grooming, supporting etc in undercover ops.

Lazy List of Lists post

Tartle, the Scots word for the name-forgetting hesitation while introducing someone, makes this interesting list of "untranslatable" words.

10 Peculiar consequences of our evolution

Some fine examples of mass hysteria and some odd historical beliefs & practices.

100 Movie Spaceships and 10 crappy Mad Max ripoffs.

An array of animal superpowers.

Samurai Jack tops a list of 16 of the best Scifi Toons.

20 Utopian novels & 10 SciFi novels that have faced the banhammer at some point or another.

Some cheery stats about the mess the Yanks are in - seems pretty similar to our own crapshack.

1o Dystopian predictions that are now reality.

Friday, 26 November 2010

Laughter in the Time of The CamClegg

Another amusing week in British politics with Lords Young and Flight stumbling into shitstorms - the former for suggesting everything is jolly lovely and the latter for er some classy remarks with the faintest whiff of eugenics.

It also appears that the Government are a little scared of the forthcoming Wikileaks infodump and according to Guido they've gone and got themselves a couple of D-Notices (DA-Notice 01: Military Operations, Plans & Capabilities and DA-Notice 05: United Kingdom Security & Intelligence Special Services ie all the good stuff. I'm so feeling our democracy right now but I'm sure the blessed internet will fill in the gaps.

The Police decide a recent protest is the right time for the horses to get some exercise?

Hahaha some dude conned our razor-sharp Intelligence Services into believing he was a Taliban Commander.

Youtubers I know

First up is a purveyor of fine wines crunching his collar bone

Some geetar from from my friend in Madrid

My new workmate's comedy happens to feature the dvd rental shop I used to run

Monday, 22 November 2010

Curtis' Critique Continues

The Trap: What Happened to our Dream of Freedom is yet another excellent Curtis documentary series charting the theories dominating our notions of liberty. Over the three parts he digs into game theory & the rise of the DSM, Labour's statistical reductionist obsessions and Dawkins' Selfish Genes and finally concluding his theory of state/market psychological manipulation with discussion of Isaiah Berlin's +/- liberty and the unfortunate consequences that have been meted out to us all due to Bliar & co's experiments. Though Curtis occasionally gets distracted in his longer series this 3-parter is tight and quite focused and as usual it's all expertly enmeshed with audio snippets, film stock, archive footage etc a filmy trademark he pretty much owns now surely. I will try to stop banging on about Curtis soon - I've only got one series left - but if you want further evidence of his worthiness he'd just posted an excellent piece about B.F. Skinner, Camo & a systematised future.

Sunday, 21 November 2010

Home Made Genius

Thanks to Reddit, Boing Boing & Dangerous Minds

Old School Mutant & a Pair of Drongos

Hatchet is a shlocky horror b-movie with a paper thin plot and even thinner characters. Set in New Orleans a couple of frat boys join a swamp tour and end up battling a tetchy, seemingly invincible mutant. Despite it's obvious shortcomings it's still quite entertaining with plenty of grisly slaughtering and a few laughs along the way. Not terrible with a few beers and an emptied mind.Needle has a bit more plot than Hatchet but it's a lot less fun. Some Oztralian college kid inherits a strange gothic voodoo machine thingy and when it goes missing his chums start dying. It's ok but the acting is sub par and it becomes tiresomely predictable towards the end. I wouldn't waste your time. The Reef is yet another Oz-horror and sadly yet another mishmash of mediocrity. This time some holidaymakers sail off for a dive, end up crashing the boat and decide to swim for an over the horizon island only to attract the attention of a peckish shark. Derivative and badly acted it does have the decency to muster a little tension but it's all too soon dissipated by the poor scripting/acting and low end productions values. I dunno I'm giving up on horror for a while.

Saturday, 20 November 2010

3 More Free Films

Marines & Campers

This Is War is a video diary documentary filmed by US Marine Mike Scott on his journey into Iraq. It's ok I guess as a personal testimony but it adds little to our understanding of our latest militaristic folly and for the most part is just footage unthinking jocks reveling in the weaponry to the terrible cost of the local citizens.

Well I've finally seen The Rocky Horror Picture Show and for a musical it was quite entertaining but still a musical. It's hardly worth discussing the plot as it's little more than stitching to hold together some mildly amusing songs belted out cartoon characters in some mad sleazy supercamp stylee. It's certainly got brio though and the cast seem to be having a blast.

Thursday, 18 November 2010

My Bindle Smells of Science

First planet from another galaxy found orbiting aging red Sun. Io9.

Tiny water bottle designed to trap a single water molecule. Reddit.

Looking at gravitational lensing in Black Holes might provide proof of other extra dimensions. Physorg.

CERN labcoats have succeeded in briefly trapping anti-hydrogen atoms in electromagnetic fields. Huffpo.

Luminary Sir Roger Penrose thinks he's got evidence of the universe that existed before the Big Bang. Io9

Our coalition Government apologises for secretly performing autopsies on nuclear workers corpses during the past 40 years. Impactlab.

Baffling idea about creating a fibre optic "cloak" that could hide events from space-time. BoingBoing, longer article at Nature.

Hartley 2 was caught throwing off snowballs the size of basketballs as the Deep Impact probe whizzed by. Wired.

China's Chang'E 2 probe orbiting the Moon. BadAstronomy.

Sunday, 14 November 2010

The Marionette's First March

Alfred Hitchcock Presents, despite being over fifty years old, is still fantastic entertainment & well worth watching and it certainly makes you think about where TV went wrong with our screens currently packed with reality/talent show garbage. Each episode famously begins with Hitchcock himself providing an introduction usually with dollops of sarcasm and a gentle dig at his sponsors) and the plays themselves cover a wide spectrum of genres, time periods, tones etc. They're all beautifully shot, well scripted and sport talented casts including Claude Rains, Charles Bronson, Lorne Greene & Peter Lawford.

Some of my favourites from the 39 ep first series include Breakdown - about a man paralysed during a car accident, A Bullet for Baldwin - an office worker kills his boss only to find him back at work the next day, Whodunit - a mystery writer is allowed to relive his last day so he can uncover his murderer and And So Died Riabouchinska about a troubled ventriloquist. I've embedded The Cheney Vase for your perusal below, sorry can't find any others.

Friday, 12 November 2010

Three Free Films For Friday Fritterers

Jackie Chan's directorial debut The Young Master is one of his best.

Dennis Hopper stars in Tracks, may as well watch here as it's unavailable on DVD.

Slipstream starring Mark Hamill is a forgotten slice of cheese but it's not all bad.

Thursday, 11 November 2010

Goodbye Dino

Sad news about the death of super producer Dino De Laurentis. Here's a little clickable gallery of some of my favourite Dino produced films.