31 March 2009

We lose. Again.

Scotland, it would seem, have managed to somehow make the transition from ‘promising’ to ‘rubbish’ when it comes to international football. Ours is a team that come within inches of knocking out the reigning world champions, a team which beat France on two occasions. Now reduced to third place behind Iceland and The Netherlands. What the hell went wrong, eh?

Watched one new movie this week: Knowing. It was wank. Particularly disappointing given the pedigree of the director, Alex Proyas. Dark City, I, Robot and most notably The Crow are all in his back catalogue, and we’re treated to a jumbled, shoddily acted piece of sci-fi hokum. It starts of interesting enough, but by the time the angels have appeared, it’s grounds enough for leaving the cinema.

Absolutely bugger all else going on at the moment. Ploughing through Resident Evil 5, which is great fun. I’ll try and post a proper review of that once I’ve finished it.


24 March 2009


I. Am. So. Freaking. Bored.

There’s nothing to do at the moment. Nowt good on TV, nowt good out at the cinema, no good video games out for a good long while, and even if there were I have no freaking money to buy anything with! The only thing keeping me sane is Fee, which is good. Thank fuck for her, otherwise I may have gone mental and eaten my shoes weeks ago!

Job search is going so incredibly slowly. I’ve applied for 16 jobs in the last two weeks (that’s nearly three times as many as the ‘required’ 6), and I’ve only had one fucking call-back! One! And I didn’t even get that goddamn job, because it’s a three-day deal, and I can’t work the last day! Gaaaaaargh!

Even more depressingly, there is actually nothing on the release schedule for quite a long damn while. There’s only two movies out that I vaguely want to see before May 1st (which is X-Men Origins day…), and those’re Knowing and Traitor. But neither are getting particularly good reviews, so I’m thinking I save my pennies for Wolverine, because that still looks freaking awesome.

So yeah…sorry for the lack of updatage. Maybe when I get my grubby mitts on a copy of Resident Evil 5 I’ll do a proper on. Until then…


13 March 2009

There’s Something About Zack Snyder

Yes, this is a thoughtful post on Hollywood’s current Great Divider, the visionary/overrated hack known to the world as Zack Snyder.

And I’m afraid that I err towards the former – the man simply hasn’t made a movie that I don’t like. Let’s start at the start.

The Dawn of the Dead remake. Now, I know what the purists are thinking: the '…of the Dead’ franchise is hallowed ground for horror fans. Stepping there is simply a bad idea, by any stretch of the imagination. But Snyder – a music video rookie at this point – in what can be considered either a move of sheer courage or sheer arrogance, takes on the project.

And what is produced is still yet to be surpassed in terms of horror remakes. Taking the core concepts of the film and streamlining the crap out of it, making a lean, mean action horror that actually both scares and exhilarates. Yes, a lot of the subtext is lost; yes, it does swing more towards the action than the horror, but it is a stylish, well played-out piece of entertainment with plenty to like about it. The choice to make the zombies ‘fast’, as well as the expanded cast and the shortened time-frame fit perfectly with Snyder’s kinetic style, and the special effects, whilst indeed far less comic-book than the original, grounded the film and franchise in a visceral, frightening reality.

It took 3 years for Snyder to come back to the big screen, but boy, did he dive into the deep-end, controversy-wise. 300 has been lauded from both assaulted critically from both angles –equally claimed to be a blood-drenched piece of chest-thumping entertainment, or a juvenile, racist wish-fulfilment fantasy.

Which ever way you look at it, you simply cannot put down the technical achievement of the piece – it exactly evoked the graphic novel, almost down to the precise blood spurt. The live action comic truly gained its legs with 300 – though whether or not this is a good thing is endlessly debatable. But then again, it must’ve had a lasting effect – shout ‘This is Spartaaaaaaa!’ in an English-speaking country, and chance are that people will know what you’re talking about.

This brings us to his most recent – and arguable, his finest – achievement: bringing Watchmen to the silver screen. Proclaimed unfilmable by both its creator Alan Moore and its legions of die-hard fans – due to a rather odd assertion that it does things that cinema cannot, but I’ll get to that later – and yet somehow still managing to become one of the most anticipated films of the decade.

I’ll get it out there – the Watchmen film is a rousing success. Not just good, not just great, but early contender for my film of the year. Visceral, exciting, entertaining and engaging, with a tweaked story that makes it relevant without updating the 80’s setting of the graphic novel, there is honestly very little wrong with it bar it being a weight 160 minutes long.

Yes, it looses a lot of the graphic novel’s subplots and intricacies, but this was always going to happen when adapting a comic into a film – keeping audiences engaged is a challenging proposition, considering that the average cinema junkie has perhaps half the attention span of the average graphic novel connoisseur. But what is here has been refined and polished to a mirror shine, stream-lining a sprawling conspiracy plot with nearly hundreds of story threads into a something vaguely bearable in movie form.

Everything in it is absolutely stellar, from the performances – Jackie Earle Healey deserves particular mention, nothing but stunningly sociopathic as Rorschach, as does Patrick Wilson as the emasculated Dan Dreiberg a.k.a Nite Owl II. The visuals are verging on perfect, Snyder know exactly when to replicate the comic and when to interpret. In fact, the only real criticism I can think of is that Silk Sceptre II is poorly cast…competent though her performance is, she just feels a little awkward in the role. Can’t really figure out why…

That’s all I can say, really. Apologies this is in a lieu of a proper Watchmen review, however I honestly don’t think I can do it any justice. It is superlative film-making in every respect…maybe one day I’ll possess the critical chops to give it its due. Either that or attempt it and fail miserable.


4 March 2009

Petering about is boring.

It really is. I miss having a job…

Got Halo Wars, and whilst I was sceptical both about the demo and during my first few hours of play, I have to say that it’s growing on me. The controls are pleasingly streamlined, and whilst the level of detail in the graphics is rather disappointing – you can barely zoom in at all, and when you do zoom in as far as you can, the units are rather blocky and the textures rather flat – the animations and effects are excellent. From Spartans diving about the battlefield, peppering Grunts and Elites with dual SMGs, to the way that warthogs slide and drift around corners, it’s actually managed to pull of the impossible – this actually feels like Halo.

There are a couple of bum notes – the gameplay is perhaps a little too streamlined, and there’s actually very little real strategy to it besides ‘build force, manoeuvre it properly’, and it does away with the base-building of old – but to be quite honest, it’s a thoroughly entertaining game with loads of replayability in it’s 15-mission campaign thanks to some carefully thought out achievements, and a fantastic multiplayer system. There’s also a decent story going on…so all in all, it’s the m ost satisfying game I’ve bought in a while, which is encouraging.

I got the Legendary edition, too, which means I got my grubby mitts on the Mythic Map Pack for Halo 3. ‘T’was only a fiver more, and considering that it’ll cost £6.80 when it’s released on Xbox Live, I thought that was a pretty good deal.

Maps are good, too. Sandbox is particularly good fun, giving us three different ‘zones’ of the map – there’s the Skybox, the Crypt, and the eponymous Sandbox – and each one can have different things done with it. The Skybox is more or less a 100% blank canvas (you even have to put down your own floor!), the Sandbox is a semi-contained desert-like level, and the Crypt is pretty much a box. I’ve mucked about in it for a while, mostly trying to find the skull (I found it eventually…fucking hard, it was). Assembly and Orbital are nice too, Orbital in particular isn’t just a great level, it also manages to incorporate (or, if you haven’t read the books, introduce) some Halo mythology into the mix, which is nice.

Nowt much else going on. Watchmen’s out on Friday – me and Ryan are planning on going to see it in the afternoon. Hopefully it won’t be too busy, but you never know. Will attempt to review it, but honestly I don’t think I can review it particularly well without having read the comic book…sorry, ‘graphic novel’. But I’ll do my best if/when I see it.

That’s about it for now. See you lot later.