Thursday, December 31, 2009

2009 Review


Top 3 films of 2009


It’s Pixar.

The above two words should be sufficient an explanation of why this film is in my top 3, but if I were to add to that and say that it is likely the best Pixar film to date, then you know where I’m coming from.

This film had me in tears twice within the first 10 minutes, and this is from a children’s CGI film! It was also great being able to take Elliot to watch it in 3D in a very fine cinema in Canada, which also added to the experience.

Truly and without a doubt in my mind, the best film of 2009!


This is not a perfect film, in some ways it’s a little too faithful to the graphic novel and in other ways it’s not faithful enough.

Whilst I do not miss the squid, I do miss the scenes of carnage which follow the reveal of the squid in the graphic novel, especially in light of the fact that the hundreds of dead bodies seen include some minor characters which you have grown to love. It drives home the consequences of the “villain” in the story. This was missing in the film and as such, the ending lacked its punch in my opinion. Apart from that the rest of the film was fantastic, with the best moment being in my opinion the Dr Manhattan segment, which was mesmerising.

It’s a bit of a shame that the film was not more successful, but then again, it is far from your typical super hero movie, so it’s not too surprising that it didn’t have the appeal of Spiderman or The Dark Knight.


Okay, so technically this film did not come out in 2009 (I believe it was released in the cinema in 2008), but I only got the chance to see it in 2009 – so it’s on the list.

This is my regular foreign top film of the year (in the last 5-6 years at least one of my top films has been foreign, either Korean or Spanish), in this case it is a fantastic Spanish POV camera film in the same ilk as Blair Witch, Cloverfield and Diary of the Dead, only so much better than all of them. At its most basic it’s a zombie move based in an apartment block, but it is made all the more effective by the way in which it is filmed. Also the ending based in the penthouse is especially chilling.

There is a sequel due out shortly to this, which I am looking forward to, which follows on directly from the original film. I just hope that it is in the same league.

Notable mentions (for good or bad)


If only for the last 20 minutes of the film which really were wince inducing and utterly disgusting (and this is coming from me). I dare any man to watch the film and not feel the slightest bit physically sick.


Very, very nearly made it in my top 3 films of 2009. A film which showed that low budget, intelligent sci-fi could be a million more time effective than big budget sci-fi rubbish (transformers).

A film which is lead by an incredible performance by Sam Rockwell, which, if there is any justice in the world, land him with an Oscar come 2010 (although in all likelihood this will be ignored). A fantastic and moving sci-fi film which has all the qualities of the classic sci-fi films of old.

Slumdog Millionaire

So deserved its Oscar in 2009. A great return to form by Danny Boyle.

District 9

Again a low budget sci-fi film which was so much better than its bigger budget brothers and sisters.


Top 3 games on 2009

Uncharted 2: Among Thieves

Undoubtedly the best game of 2009.

The first Uncharted was a fantastically fun game, but the sequel just builds upon this so much, fixing all the small issues from the first game and adding so many new fun elements. Never before has a game felt like an exhilarating action summer blockbuster.

I have played through the game three times and have unlocked all the trophies (Ha Ha Crushing level – I spit in your direction) and I never got bored. A combination of witty dialogue, great set pieces, a mixture of adventure, combat and exploration just draws you back into the game again.

Best of 2009, best on PS3. Just fantastic.

Batman: Arkham Asylum

In many respects this has many similar play styles to Uncharted 2, and I also got the game at the same time as Uncharted 2 (i.e. my birthday).

This is, without doubt, the best superhero game released on any system so far. Batman has always been ripe material for games, but for one reason or another, no developer has been able to properly do the character justice until now. Again, like Uncharted 2, it excels in its presentation and particularly the dialogue and graphic departments. I also like the way that combat and stealth elements are used in the game.

Fallout 3

Again technically this came out late 2008 and not 2009, but I didn’t buy it until 2009 – so added to my 2009 list.

I just loved the freedom available in this game and also the fact that it was a game that gave you morale choices which were not entirely black or white (or at least not all the time). You could even at times play both sides against each other, or complete objectives by alternative ways (my favourite has to be talking someone out of an entire quest).

I also enjoyed the post-apocalypse setting with a tinge of 50’s paranoia.

I ended up sinking around 70 hours into this baby, maxed out my level and managed to get my first platinum in any PS3 game.

Notable mentions (for good or bad)


It looked gorgeous, but got repetitive – quickly.

The Conduit

I had high hopes for this, but in truth it ended up being nothing more than a sub-standard shooter, with graphics not as good as it believed they were and a control scheme that still wasn’t as good as Metroid Prime.

Pokémon: Platinum

For introducing me into the world of Pokemon – which, to my surprise, I found I rather liked!

The Beatles: Rock Band

I love the Beatles and I also enjoy Guitar Hero / Rock Band type games and as such, this was always going to be a marriage made in heaven.


Okay, a few notable events in my life during 2009.

- I have enjoyed a relatively healthy year, after the last 2 where I seemed to have suffered with various ailments. Luckily, this year, things have gone rather well.

- During this year I have undergone a fair amount of training for work, which has been quite hard going, and has also required a fair amount of studying away from work. All the same, I think that it has been a valuable experience.

- Because of my work training, I have also travelled a lot during 2009 to London, and for quite a while in the summer I was over in London at least once, if not twice a week. As such, I managed to get the opportunity to go to the cinema on a regular basis during my trips which was great, as UK based cinemas are a vast improvement on our local flea pit.

- I enjoyed a fantastic holiday away in Canada (Toronto and Niagara Falls) with my wife and Elliot. It was the second time to Canada with Rox, but the first with Elliot, and also Elliots first big holiday and he thoroughly enjoyed himself (and is still asking if he can go back again).

- I was proud to attend Roz degree ceremony in London earlier in the year.

Okay then… Roll on 2010!

Friday, December 25, 2009

Happy Christmas!

Just a quick post to wish everyone a Happy Christmas

I hope that everyone (Santa included) gets a chance to play with all their presents :)

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Braid & Rubber Soul

So Braid is out on the Euro PSN as of today.

It’s a game that I really want to play (it was one of the few games on Xbox Live that I was envious of – that and Geometry Wars), but unfortunately it is a little badly timed, as I’m still playing Uncharted 2 on Crushing and Pixel Junk Shooter. Add to that the fact that Christmas is just round the corner. As such, Braid will just have to wait a little bit. I’ll likely pick it up early next year.

Also out today on the PSN is the Rubber Soul DLC for The Beates: Rock Band, which I will be downloading ASAP. I’m looking forward to giving it a go tonight, as some of my favourite Beatles tracks are on Rubber Soul.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Most anticipated games of 2010

I know I haven’t posted for a long time….. but…..

Here is a list of the games I am looking forward to in the coming year, from 10 to 1 (1 being obviously my most anticipated):

10. Bioshock 2 (PS3/360)
I have some reservations about this game, as I do not believe that a sequel was really needed to Bioshock. Also the multiplayer seems a little unnecessary. Time will tell.

9. Dragon Quest IX
I’m looking forward to getting to grips with this epic DS JRPG when it is eventually released in the west.

8. Silent Hill: Shattered Memories (Wii)

This looks like it will make good use of the Wii and I also like the way that your game is tailored by your own psyche.

7. Heavy Rain (PS3)

I rather enjoyed Fahrenheit initially, until it started getting a little silly, Heavy Rain, however, looks a lot more grounded, so hopefully shouldn’t have the same issues that Fahrenheit suffered from.

6. Metroid: Other M (Wii)

I have no idea how this game will turn out, but all the same, I’m a fan of the series and this certainly looks like an intriguing change after the Prime series.

5. No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle (Wii)

No More Heroes was a fantastic (if bonkers) game and a highlight on the Wii. I have no doubts that that is will even more fun.

4. Red Dead Redemption (PS3/360)

The more I see of this, the more I like the look of it. Yes it may turn out to be little more than GTA: The Western, but is that a bad thing? I was one of the few who actually really enjoyed GUN when it was released, so this should be my cup of tea.

3. Final Fantasy XIII (PS3/360)

There are only a few more months to go now until this is released. Part of me is a little disappointed that the same system from XII hasn’t been carried forward into XIII and instead it has opted for a more traditional battle system, but it still looks great.

2. Super Mario Galaxy 2 (Wii)

Without a doubt the original was the best game on the Wii so far and also the best platforming game of all time. I just hope that the sequel does not lose any of the magic.

1. The Last Guardian (PS3)

Go Team ICO!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Abbey Road

At last, I have my Abbey Road DLC for The Beatles: Rock Band and all is good with the world. Have not tried the medley yet, but instead played each segment individually. Her Majesty is a damn tough song for just 23 seconds!

Have also just learnt that Up on Blu-ray in the US is region A specific. Damn Disney for starting to play the region coding game with Up!

Thursday, October 29, 2009


I know I haven’t posted in a while, but I thought this was worth a mention, mainly because it got my back up so much.

Over the past few days, rumours have been circulating in relation to a new DS that was due to launch with a larger screen. I pretty much took these to be rumours and nothing more (after all – why launch a DS with a bigger screen), anyway, it looks like the rumours were correct. Lets all welcome the DSi XL (or LL in Japan):

Now I’m in 2 minds about this… Is this intended to be:

A: A pointless update to the (not even a year old) DSi in order to drum up more sales?
B: An attempt from Nintendo to broaden their audience even further to capture the elderly market who find the DS to be too small a fiddly, and also easier to read.

I’m really not too sure. I guess time will tell to see if the DSi XL supersedes the normal DSi (in which case I’d be really pissed). I’m hoping that it doesn’t, because it looks rather big for a portable and bring back memories of the Lynx and other early handhelds which failed when competing against the Gameboy.

Destruction has voiced its opinion, and I find it hard to disagree:

“So there you are. Sorry if you already bought a DSi, but Nintendo has a better one now. The best part is, if you bought DSiWare games for your original DSi, you can't upgrade without losing those games. Gotta love Nintendo and its ability to release ten billion versions of one handheld.”

In all fairness, I’m thinking that that DSi XL will likely run alongside the normal DSi, but all the same it’s a odd move all the same, especially in view of the fact that the DSi and the DS Lite are already running alongside each other.

It’s at time like this that I much prefer the Sony model for downloads, namely that they are not tied to a machine, but instead to a user… Why couldn’t Nintendo also follow this model? Oh yes, it would mean that people wouldn’t then have to buy multiple variations of games and machines!

Sorry, have a bitter head on today.

Saturday, October 10, 2009


Boy does this look good:

I especially like the looks of the "reset" Buzz.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Uncharted's done good

I know I've been a tad slack of late posting - I'll try to do better!

Anyway, the first reviews have started appearing online for Uncharted 2 and it seems that the game if basically Uncharted with all the (few) niggling little faults fixed... Which is a good thing considering that the original is still one of the best games out there for the PS3.

Uncharted is currently my most anticipated game for the 4th quarter, and I'm looking forward to playing it come my birthday on 7 November.

Joystiq have helpfully posted a collection of reviews here:

Joystiq review scores collection

To tide me over the Uncharted beta has gone live, so shall download this and give it a go tonight.

Other news:
- Have also ordered myself a 64gb itouch
- Cleaned up decapitated mouse (thanks to our cat Saffy) from the hallway this morning
- Seriously not impressed by the MAG beta

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Decadance and Beatles: Rock Band

Film Watched:
Tokyo Decadence

Shock value does not a good film make. Not interesting, not entertaining, not good.


Okay now, so I’ve had The Beatles: Rock Band for over a week now (and the remastered box set) so I thought I’d take a moment to quickly post my take…

It’s good… It’s very, very good. It’s so good in fact that I have trouble dragging myself away from it.

That is, however, stating the obvious. A Rock Band game featuring the music from The Beatles was always going to be good. As such, I thought I’d jot down a few of my niggles.

1) It is meant to be a homage to the history of The Beatles, and as such, you would imagine that it would try to be accurate. It isn’t however. A few things that I’ve noticed:

- Ringo is playing drums on Dear Prudence and Back in the USSR, when in actual fact it was Macca on drums for those 2 songs (Ringo left the band for a short spell during the White Album).

- As far as I am aware, I Want You (She’s so Heavy) was never played during the Abbey Road rooftop concert (this was from Abbey Road and not Let it Be and as such was written after the concert).

- The audience members in the Budokan Concert should be Japanese (and a lot more restrained). Instead the same audience member from the other concerts are used.

- Quite obviously, any mix track from Love does not accurately represent The Beatles during their recording days (I’m referring to Within You Without You / Tomorrow Never Knows)

- Eric Clapton isn’t present during While my Guitar Gently Weeps

2) I’m sure the note chart isn’t quite right for Back in the USSR – having played at least the start of the song on my own guitar.

3) Because of the nature of their songs, and the timeframe in story mode, the difficulty level is all over the place.

Apart from the above, I have very little to complain about, and look forward to the Abbey Road, Sgt. Pepper and (especially) Rubber Soul DLC incoming in the next few months.

Oh also the remastered boxset is uniformly excellent.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Withnail, District and ipod

Films watched:

Withnail and I

An overrated British drama, with great characters but very little else.


District 9

A fantastic sci-fi film that flicks between mock documentary and action drama.


I also think that my ipod is aware that the Beatles back catalogue is due to be reissued tomorrow as remasters. The reason you ask? It’s because my ipod has chosen this point in time to start acting up. It now has trouble synching with our home PC and sometime tracks will skip, or freeze, sometime the battery indicator will show low (even when I’ve only recently charged it) and on occasion it just switches itself off. Admittedly it is now a good few years old and has been used on an almost daily basis, but still I don’t fancy the thought of having to buy a new one at the moment…

Thursday, August 27, 2009

An ad with style

While the PS3 TV adverts over here are very so-so, this US one is great:

Any advert that pokes fun at Sony's total inability to keep secrets gets my vote!

Genetic Opera and Splitter

Film watched

Repo: The Genetic Opera

A modern stab at a Rocky Horror style musical that whilst stylish, lacks any charm and humour.


Also yesterday I got my hands on a HDMI splitter. I’m a little odd in that I get very excited about quality cables of any description and the back of my LCD is an absolute labyrinth of cables, made yet more complicated by this splitter. First of all, I managed to get for a bargain price from Amazon (£32.95) considering that other splitters I have seen have cost well over £100+, also it works well.

Now this is a splitter and not a HDMI switch, as such, it takes a single HDMI signal and splits this to two sources. This is most commonly used to split a signal so that it can be shown on 2 screens at the same time, I use mine a little differently.

Although I love my Amp, for some reason the HDMI signal from my PS3 sometime has issues, namely occasionally the screen will go blank or flicker. In addition it didn’t carry a full RGB signal and while I could compensate for this by adjusting the LCD to the correct brightness and contrast levels, it was still a little bit of a fiddle. As such, I have wired things up so that I have 1 HDMI cable which bypasses the amp and goes direct to the LCD and one which goes through the amp and then to the TV. As such, I can view both a perfect HD picture and listen to perfect HD audio at the same time now without any compromises.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Watchmen Directors cut and Sky Blue

Films watched:

Sky Blue

Gorgeous Korean Anime, but unfortunately never drags you into the story sufficiently.


Watchmen: Directors Cut

Doesn’t fix my 2 issues with the theatrical release, but still allows the movie to breath and is definitely the better cut.


Sunday, August 23, 2009


So here is the Avatar trailer...

I'm not sure about this. I have a huge amount of faith in Cameron, but this isn't at all how I imagined Avatar would look.

I have a sneaking suspicion that this may not be the success that a great many are expecting!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009


Well it's slim... and it's cheaper, by $100 or 100 Euro (so that will likely convert to around a reduction of £10.00 in the good ol' UK.

Anyway, here's a picture...

Lets just hope it can sell a lot more of those buggers for Sony!

Oh and also, LBP is getting a cool update:

Friday, August 14, 2009

The Beatles: Rock Band tracklist

So thanks to Game informer, we now have a list of all the tracks to be included in The Beatles: Rock Band… All that is save one, which for some reason is being held back as a surprise (although lets be frank, how much of a surprise can it be?)

Anyway, here is the list:

I Want To Hold Your Hand
I Feel Fine
Day Tripper
Paperback Writer
Don't Let Me Down

Please Please Me (1963)
I Saw Her Standing There
Do You Want To Know A Secret
Twist and Shout

With the Beatles (1963)
I Wanna Be Your Man

A Hard Day's Night (1964)
A Hard Day's Night
Can't Buy Me Love

Beatles For Sale (1964)
Eight Days a Week

Help! (1965)
Ticket To Ride

Rubber Soul (1965)
Drive My Car
I'm Looking Through You
If I Needed Someone

Revolver (1966)
Yellow Submarine
And Your Bird Can Sing

Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (1967)
Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band/With a Little Help From My Friends
Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds
Getting Better
Good Morning Good Morning

Magical Mystery Tour (1967)
I Am The Walrus
Hello Goodbye

The Beatles (White Album) (1968)
Dear Prudence
Back In the U.S.S.R.
While My Guitar Gently Weeps
Helter Skelter

Yellow Submarine (1969)
Hey Bulldog

Abbey Road (1969)
Come Together
Octopus's Garden
I Want You (She's So Heavy)
Here Comes the Sun

Let It Be (1970)
Dig a Pony
I Me Mine
I Got a Feeling
Get Back

Love (2006)
Within You Without You/ Tomorrow Never Knows

I’m pleased that a track from Love made it into the mix. A good one at that. Also good to see Helter Skelter and I Want you (She's So Heavy). Anyway, noticeable omissions which I feel should have been included are as follows (not including the DLC which will cover Abbey Road, Rubber Soul and Sgt. Pepper):

Hello Goodbye
Rain (come on now!)
Please Please Me (How could they miss this out)
Roll Over Beethoven
Things We Said Today
Help (arrghhhhhh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Darn them.)
Dizzy Miss Lizzy
I’m only Sleeping
Got to Get You Into My Life
Only a Northern Song
Across the Universe

This is of course just a selection which I think would suit the game, there are tons more which I have not included. Of course it’s very possible that some or all of the above will form of future DLC, we’ll have to see.

BTW, I’m placing bets that the last 1 song not yet mentioned is Hey Jude, even if it’s probably not the best song for a Rock Band game.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Hansel and Gretel and more Beatles

Film watched
Hansel and Gretel

A Korean horror / dark fantasy film about child abuse and a child’s imagination. Very Twilight Zone movie, but better.


I was also happy to learn today that in addition to Abbey Road being made available as DLC for The Beatles: Rock Band shortly after its release, both Sgt. Pepper and also Rubber Soul will get the DLC treatment (those songs at least that aren’t included in the main game). This is great news, if I were to pick one album that really should be included in the game it would have to be Rubber Soul.

Both While My Guitar Gently Weeps and Hey Bullfrog have also been announced as being in the main game, two of my favourite tracks…

Less than 1 month to go now!

Friday, August 07, 2009

Waterhouse and weight loss

On my very last trip to London for my UK courses, I travelled earlier in the day (the course being the following day) and also took Roz with me.

I took the opportunity to visit the Royal Academy of Art purely so that I had the chance to see the J W Waterhouse exhibition which is currently on display. It is the first time in several decades that so many works by Waterhouse have been brought together in the same place and as such, as an admirer of his work, it was a golden opportunity.

The exhibition was very busy, and I was quite lucky to get a ticket, but it was well worth it. It was fantastic seeing so many of his paintings in the flesh. I was especially pleased that amongst them was also my favourite of his, namely “windflowers”.

Anyway, I thought I’d post a few of the Waterhouse paintings that I saw on this site, as follows:

I also weighed myself the other day and was utterly horrified.

My weight has been slowly creeping up for the last few months, initially partly because of the issues I had with my facial nerves (i.e. I was treating myself to distract myself from the pain), then from travelling to Canada and then to London (multiple times) and as such eating out a lot. However, when I weighed myself the other day I found that I had somehow managed to gain 8lbs in 9 days!

I hardly believe that this is possible!

I must stress that I have not been binge eating, but at the same time I have not been taking it as carefully as I normally would.

Anyway, to cut a long story short, I’m now back to a very strict diet.

Looking on the internet, I have found out that many people have found that after having their gallbladder removed that it is incredibly easy to put weight on. This actually makes a lot of sense, after all the gallbladder is there after all to break down fatty foods. As such, lacking a gallbladder means that the fatty foods either pass through you quickly, or else the fat is retained in your system.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Awesome Beards

This is a bit old (but please bear with me - I haven't had time to blog in a while).

One of many examples why Little Big Planet is one of the finest games on the PS3...