28 April 2008
If you're interested, this post is Mac flavoured! Yes, I have succumbed to temptation, and am fiddling about with an Apple 'computer'. Not exactly my cup of tea, but what the hey. It works fine enough to actually crack a blog post out.
I have a new website! Check it out: http://www.ross.huan.co.uk ! Not much on there at the moment, but you won't believe the work that went into that 'coming soon' thing. Doesn't even look that great! But that's the general gist of the design idea that I had for it, and hopefully once I've put a little bit more work into it, the thing will look pretty funky. Might experiment with the look on here, so keep a weather eye out for any changes!
Bought a pile of DVDs today - Fee wanted to go 'for a walk', and we ended up in Zavvi wondering what the hell happened! Bought the director's cut of Hellboy - which I've been wanting for a while now - as well as Hard Candy, Ghost Rider, Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, and finally Day Watch. All for the rather reasonable sum of £30, which I didn't think was too bad. £6 for the DC of Hellboy is more than excellent!
That's about it, really...not much exciting happening this end. Will try and get a review of [REC] written, so hopefully that will be my next post. But for now...toodle-pip!
23 April 2008
Will post a proper review later, but for now...just...wow. Think I need to sleep with the light on!
21 April 2008
And before we get into the bulk of this post, sorry about the stupid broken images...I have to start actually uploading pictures instead of hotlinking them...sorry!
Haven't actually gotten around to tinkering with my theme, which sucks. Will try and do something vaguely interesting! Although I do like the current layout, so don't expect that bit to change!
Went to the lady's something-vaguely-resembling-a-family-reunion thing, and that was pretty cool. Her family seem pretty decent - although she insists that they're batshit crazy, and seeing as I'm inclined to believe her over my own limited view, I'm guessing I caught them on a good weekend. Still, the food was good, the entertainment...I won't say good, but it was entertaining. But yeah, it was good!
Got [REC] to watch...that should be thoroughly entertaining. For those of you not in the know, [REC] is sort of Romero crossed with The Blair Witch Project, only pant-wettingly scary! But not the actual Romero crossed with The Blair Witch Project - that'd be Diary of the Dead, which I want to see as well! Oh, and it's in Spanish. It's apparently so good, that a US remake has already been commissioned, despite the fact that it's only just been released, I'm hoping it'll be awesome, so I'll probably post a review for that once I've finished!
That's about it really. More news than you can poke your finger at! But you can almost certainly poke a stick at it....rather easily, in fact!
Anyways! Have fun in the wide world!
17 April 2008
16 April 2008
So what you have here is a ghost story - note, not horror film – about a woman, Laura, who returns to the now abandoned orphanage that she spent her childhood in, planning to re-open it to the world. But when her son Simón starts playing with seemingly all-to-real imaginary friends, he vanishes not too long afterwards. Laura, in her desperate bid to find her son, is then pitted against the orphanage itself, and its might-be-real-might-not-be inhabitant. There are other nuances to the story, but to go into them would spoil the experience somewhat. Suffice to say, it’s an absolutely fantastic story, and importantly, it’s never sacrificed in favour of churning out scary or gruesome moments.
Not that it doesn’t lack scary moments; in fact, it’s positively teeming with scary imagery and incredibly creepy bits that will have you pressed against the back of your seat. It’s all excellently moderated by director Juan Antonio Bayona, holding together his debut feature film with a veteran’s steady hand. From one sequence which sees no visual scares, but rather opts for some spine-tingling audio as a medium wanders about the rooms of the orphanage, to another that bears the dubious honour of being the movie’s sole piece of viscera, it’s all beautifully shot, wonderfully scary, and yet somehow never lets you forget what’s going on in the story.
Interestingly, there’s very sparse use of CGI – with the focus being more on physical effects over the digital. Just like its use of proper scares instead of buckets of gore, this lack of CGI is incredibly refreshing in this genre, almost like it’s trying to hark back to the days of great, truly chilling horror films that stuck with you for days. What it does is serve to ground the film in reality, and that makes it all the more scary.
The film is grounded further by some startlingly good performances, not just by the core cast, but also by the supporting players. Belen Rueda brings a sort of angular urgency to her role as Laura, making it seem all the more real, with the looks of fear on her craggy, infinitely expressive face managing to transplant some of her terror onto the audience. Roger Princep is also fantastic, bringing a real child-like glee to the doomed – in more ways than one – Simón; his expressive eyes telling tales that some veteran actors fail to even think about putting across. The supporting performance than springs almost instantly to mind is that of Geraldine Chaplin – playing the aforementioned medium in the film’s most chilling sequence; her performance laden with gravity that transcends the language barrier until you actually not only start to see why Laura believes what she says, but almost start believe it yourself.
What’s more, there’s no true happy ending to this film, and that is a testament to not only Del Toro’s involvement, but also to the lack of any Hollywood studio execs intervening under the delusion that people want a bunnies and flowers happy ending. Instead, it finishes on a beautifully tragic note, and even I – being somewhat stalwart when it comes to movies and crying – had a tear rolling down my cheek. If it fails to affect you, you almost certainly left your soul in the cinema foyer.
The Orphanage – or El Orfanato, if we’re getting pretentious – is an absolutely extraordinary film, defying today’s horror conventions to create a film that will chill you to the very core, yet somehow leave you feeling bizarrely uplifted by the absolutely wonderfully told story and the gorgeously sad ending. See it, shake off the chills, then see it again.Ross' Rating: 9/10
9 April 2008
Not only does it now have a fancy new keyboard that actually works, but I got me a brand, shiny new battery too! So now it's actually a laptop again, instead of some kind of strange, miniature desktop with built in screen!
So yeah, hurray! Love it!
5 April 2008
Bought a few DVDs yesterday, been watching them over the course of today...
First was Seraphim Falls, which was a vaguely interesting chase/thriller/western from a debut writer/director, with Liam Neeson and Pierce Brosnan. It's beautifully shot, and wonderfully acted, but unfortunately the decision to descend into surrealist images at the end of the film seems totally at odds with what is otherwise a gritty, well-paced chase movie. Still, I'd say I enjoyed it, even the slightly silly ending - Louise C. Fair? Hah! - particularly some of the more intense set pieces.
Next there's The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford - Mark Kermode's film of 2007, if you're interested. Been wanting to see it for a while now, but the bastard completely eluded me when it was out in the cinemas. Anyways, it's just been released on DVD, and I snapped it up. And I can't decide whether or not I like it - it's very long, very drawn out and very ponderous. I think I may have to watch it again to truly decide of I enjoyed it, but it did have very striking pieces of imagery in there - one in particular, of Jesse James emerging out of a cloud of steam stuck with me the moment I saw it - and Casey Affleck's performance is just as great as the critics claimed it is. Brad Pitt was very subdued, I thought, but equally outstanding. Also of particular note is the soundtrack - minimalist piano, but still absolutely amazing.
So I take it you've guessed that it's been a western sort of weekend for me. I was going to buy 3:10 to Yuma as well, but I couldn't find that for a decent price, so I'll wait a bit and pick it up on the cheap!
Bought Condemned 2: Bloodshot too; and that's pretty damn entertaining. The combat system is fantastically brutal, if a little bit hard to get to grips with - very hard to get to grips with, actually; it's very timing reliant, and when you're in the middle of a massive, pulse-pounding fist fight, your every nerve wants you to just hammer those buttons and see what happens! Still, the story is good, the graphics are solid and a very creepy - although it is easy to make graphics look good when you shine no light on them whatsoever! - and the multiplayer is damn good fun. Of particular note is the Crime Scene game mode, where you have two teams, one the criminals and one the police. The criminals have to hide two boxes with severed heads on them, and stop the police from finding and scanning them. It's a very good, tense piece of gaming, although it is a wee bit laggy online. I reckon if you get 4 or more players in a room with their own TVs and play that over system link, it could be incredible! As it stands, online it's a very welcome distraction from the relatively mindless blasting action of CoD4.
Speaking of CoD4, I downloaded the new maps for that, and they're solid. Probably the most important aspect of them is that it mixes up what are quickly becoming rather stale maps with fresh blood. Chinatown is easily my favourite one so far - loads of buildings, alleys and stairways for fantastic mid-range combat. Broadcast seems a little broken to me - there're already glitches flying around the massive TV room - Creek is too sniper-focused and Killhouse far too confined. But still, it's new maps to memorize good camping, holding and choke points on, so I'm glad I shelled out the 800 points for it.
Been a tricky week elsewhere - work didn't go as well as I'd hoped, but I'm still earning more than I need to to survive, so I suppose that's okay. The lady's started her new job, and she's not exactly loving it. But enough about the personal problems.
Hope you guys had a great week! I'm off now! Toodles!