Friday, January 30, 2009


Okay the most bizarre thing happened to me just before… I was speaking to an accountancy firm, and left my details with a receptionist in order for an accountant to get back to me on a certain point.

The receptionist replied with “Thank you. I love you. Goodbye” and promptly put the phone down.

“I love you”?!?

Seriously - WTF

Tuesday, January 27, 2009


YES :)

Instant download for me…

"Following their debut appearance on disc in Guitar Hero World Tour with “Band on the Run,” Paul McCartney’s Wings return to the Guitar Hero stage with the Wings Track Pack. “Junior’s Farm,” “Hi Hi Hi” and “Jet,” three top-ten hits from the band’s diverse catalog of music, will be available for download on February 19th."

I’m still gunning for Rockshow/Venus&Mars, but all the same the above is a good selection of Wings tracks…

Altogether now… “Jet!”

Hell yes :)

Down is up, BSG & Dexter series 2

So I went down a friends house on Friday evening and had a go of co-operative Gears of War 2 on his Xbox 360, which I actually rather enjoyed. Not being a 360 owner, the gameplay reminded me a bit of a cross between Uncharted and Metal Gear Online (and yes I know that Gears of War predated both of these).

Anyway, there were 3 of us playing, and swapping to take turns playing hoard mode. One of my friends had to play using default controls (where up is up and down is down), where as myself and another used inverted controls (where down is up and up is down). This resulted in a friendly argument into which controller type was right and which was frankly bonkers (default – naturally), but anyway, this got me thinking and I did a little browsing on the internet on the subject.

It was surprising how many sites had tackled the subject and it seems that the split between “inverters” and “defaulters” as I shall refer to them seems to be pretty much 50/50. It could be argued that “defaulters” is not strictly correct, as I’m sure that some games do default as inverted, but it will do for the course of this discussion.

I found one dated blog which I found very interesting, here:

Down is up

Previously I have seen it argued that inverted controls are a by-product of old flight sim games, where the inverted controls match that of an airplane, however this theory does not hold weight with me, as I was never into flight sims in my youth.

This article however, suggests that it is all to do with where the “player put their consciousness in relation to the controller”, and on reading this, I’m probably inclined to agree with this.

It is true that inverted controls only apply to games in which you are looking either from a first person perspective or alternatively from directly behind a character. Either way, it is a matter of you looking directly into a 3D game world, and as such, is relevant to your own perspective of the real world. After all, inverted controls don’t apply to a 2D platform game (Mario etc).

The additional comments relating to extroverted and introverted players hold little weight for me (although I’m naturally introverted so would fall within the category of an “invereter”), but it was an interesting read and also, the comments are also almost endless!

I have also recently finished watching series 2 of Dexter. While excellent, it wasn’t quite as good as the first series (which was exceptional). By far the best episode had to be the penultimate episode, which had some great moments between Dexter and Doakes. Also the scene where Dexter imagines telling his sister his secret had me in stitches. I’m looking forward to catching up on the third series in due course, but at the moment I also have Lost, 24 and BSG on the go, so it’ll have to wait a bit.

Talking of Battlestar Galactic… wasn’t the first episode of the second half of series 4 the most depressing episode ever (although this isn’t too surprising)!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Frost / Nixon & Last House

Film watched:

Frost / Nixon

An interesting portrayal of the famous interview, with great performaces. Probably has greater impact for American's, but still good.


The Last House on the Left

“Classic” early exploitism horror from Wes Craven. Very 70’s, very dated. Could have been good, had it been executed better.


Oscar nominations and drum

Well the Oscar nominations have been announced and are detailed below (main categories only – I will address them all when I post my predictions). I shall try to catch up on some of the films of note that I have missed in order to formulate my own predictions, which I will likely post a week or two before the ceremony.

Most surprising of all is the omission of Revolutionary Road, which I had expect to be included in Best film, and also best actress (although Kate Winslet is included for The Reader instead). I’m also a little disappointed that The Dark Knight didn’t get into more of the main categories, as I had hoped that it may have managed to sneak in a best picture and best director nomination. Oh well!

On an unrelated note, the red drum pad on my Guitar Hero drum kit stopped working a couple of days ago, just to prove that Red Octane’s equipment is also prone to occasional failures. It was, however, not just lacking sensitivity, but completely dead. Thankfully, HMV were extremely good and replaced this for me without any fuss or bother. As such HMV (which is already great in my book for customer service, has gone up even more). Oh, and I now have a working drum kit again… so Roz is happy :)

Oscars (main categories)

Best Film
The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button
The Reader
Slumdog Millionaire

Best Director
Gus Van Sant – Milk
Danny Boyle - Slumdog Millionaire
Stephen Daldry - The Reader
David Fincher - The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button
Ron Howard - Frost/Nixon

Best Actor
Richard Jenkins – The Visitor
Frank Langella - Frost/Nixon
Sean Penn - Milk
Brad Pitt - The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button
Mickey Rourke - The Wrestler

Best Supporting Actor
Josh Brolin – Milk
Robert Downey Jr – Tropic Thunder
Phillip Seymour Hoffman – Doubt
Heath ledger – The Dark Knight
Michael Shannon – Revolutionary Road

Best Actress
Anne Hathaway – Rachel
Angelina – Changeling
Melissa leo – Frozen River
Meryl Streep – Doubt
Kate Winslet – The Reader

Best Supporting Actress
Amy Adams - Doubt
Penelope Cruz - Vicky Cristina Barcelona
Viola Davis - Doubt
Marisa Tomei - The Wrestler
Taraji P. Henson – The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button

Best Original Screenplay
Frozen River
Happy Go Lucky
In Bruges

Best Adapted Screenplay
The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button
The Reader
Slumdog Millionaire

Monday, January 19, 2009

Veronica Mars “The Movie”

It’s now looking more and more likely that Veronica Mars may be following the Firefly route, namely taking a cancelled TV series and resurrecting it into a full blown movie following fan demand. Thankfully Veronica Mars managed to get 2 full seasons and one incomplete season out before cancellation, rather than the pitiful number of episodes that Firefly managed, but still there are far too many loose ends towards the end that need to be wrapped up.

Rob Thomas, the creator of Veronica Mars has spoken to iFMagazine and said the following:

"My writing the movie is half the battle. Someone else has to pay for it," he said. "Joel Silver does have a certain pile of money. He called on me saying 'Can we do this now?' Kristen wants to do it. Joel wants to do it and I want to do it. For me, that’s the next project."

“I think it would open just days before the Hearst College Graduation. So Veronica would be sort of at the end of her college career."

This is just what we need… Not the FBI offshoot which was proposed, just one last glorious murder mystery to bring everything to a close.

Both this and Dexter are by far the best recent TV series that I have watched of late…

Friday, January 16, 2009

Watchmen, Sunset and FFXIII when!

At long last, the news that I have been waiting for has been announced. For some time now Warner Bros and 20th Century Fox have been in dispute about the legal ownership of the Watchmen film. This has been going on for some time now and it look like a distinct possibility that the films release date may have been changed and pushed back several months, or in a worst case scenario, shelved indefinitely. Thankfully both Warner Bros and 20th Century Fox have reached an out of court settlement and as such, the original release date is still set to go, much to the relief to a multitude of film fanatic (myself included) An official statement covering this was given as follows:

"Warner Bros. and Twentieth Century Fox have resolved their dispute regarding the rights to the upcoming motion picture Watchmen in a confidential settlement. Warner Bros acknowledges that Fox acted in good faith in bringing its claims, which were asserted prior to the start of principal photography. Fox acknowledges that Warner Bros. acted in good faith in defending against those claims. Warner Bros. and Fox, like all Watchmen fans, look forward with great anticipation to this film's March 6 release in theatres."

Without a shadow of a doubt this is my most anticipated film of 2009 (even above Avatar) and I plan to go and watch it at the IMAX in London, manly because a trailer for it was shown prior to The Dark Knight when I saw that at the IMAX last year. I’m now a 100% fan of the IMAX and have to see Watchmen on the big BIG screen. In addition, I had hoped to see Sunset Boulevard (the musical) which is currently having a rerun at the West End for a limited time. Had Watchmen been delayed, I would have probably missed out on this opportunity. I’ve always wanted to see this on stage, so I’m dead pleased.

As an added bonus, I found this on the internet… How the Watchmen look in Lego form :)

I’ve also read that the release date for Final Fantasy XIII has been given as the end of 2009 in Japan, but not until AFTER April 2010 elsewhere… Bummer.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Resistance 2, Mirrors Edge and Fallout 3

Okay I thought it was about time that I posted my initial thoughts on the recent games I’ve been playing

Resistance 2

For the first Resistance, I really, really enjoyed the online multiplayer, but found the single player to be a bit lacking (especially towards the end). Surprisingly, for Resistance 2, the exact opposite applies.

I have been really enjoying the single player campaign and have found it to be aimed at just the right difficulty level. It is also a thrilling ride, although it does take itself a little too seriously at times and the big boss fights are a tad easy compared to other stages in the game. Unfortunately I just don’t seem to be able to get into the multiplayer. It could be that I never got in the beta and therefore I am so much worse than most other players, but to be honest I think that it’s more likely that it just doesn’t play as well as COD4, which is the last great online FPS which I’d played lots of.

I still haven’t tried the co-operative campaign which is wholly different to the single player and I have heard that this is great.

Mirrors Edge

I remember watching the initial trailer for this game and being shocked and impressed. Also, I loved the demo.

There is no denying that this is a game with brave concepts and overall it works very well, however, in my opinion there are a few slight flaws, but not enough to ruin an otherwise great game.

Mirrors Edge is at its best when you are running, be it running to evade the police, running across rooftops, or trying to reach far off areas. It is true that you will spend a fair amount of time falling to your death and retrying again and again, but when you nail a section it’s great.

Where it has issues is the combat, although this could probably be partly my fault. I wanted to complete the game without firing a gun (as is encouraged in the game), but the first person combat is pretty rubbish, and often you cannot avoid a fight, as such, this makes it incredibly hard. I would have preferred it if you could avoid all fights by running away (which is fun), forcing combat onto you is a tad annoying.

Overall though, I’ve really enjoyed.

Fallout 3

I am a Fallout virgin. I have never played any of the previous games in the series. In addition, I am also an Oblivion virgin, so really I was coming to this game pretty cold.

At first, I must admit that I was a little uncertain. It feels like it is trying to do two different things, be a first person shooter (or 3rd person if it takes your fancy) and also a role playing game, and at first these don’t seem to gel. After a little while, I managed to get into the swing of things.

I really like the freedom in the game you can go pretty much anywhere from the start and can help people, steal from them, or murder them, whatever takes your fancy. You can also tailor make your character however you want. Overall then I’m quite intrigued, although I’m only just beginning.

Friday, January 09, 2009

Third Man and cold feet

Film watched:
The Third Man

For an undisputed classic I found it rather disappointing and relatively uninteresting. Certainly no Citizen Kane!


I’ve also been noticing of late, what with the cold weather and all, that I’ve been finding it a lot colder than I normally would. My extremities, namely hands and feet, seem to get cold (and numb) very quickly even when wearing gloves or ultra-thick thermal socks, when in prior years I’ve been relatively impervious to the cold. I’m not sure if it is due to weight loss or something following my operation… I may have to mention it next time I go to the doctor.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

3D gaming

Is 3D the next step for gaming?

It would seem that Sony seem to be toying with the idea. Apparently they have had a booth at CES giving varies demos of this, running, amongst other things, Grand Turismo and Wipout HD using this technology.

I've had some experience wih modern 3D vision (as oppose to the old black and white red/green effect) when I watched Beowulf in 3D in London. The effect I have to say, was bloody impressive. It took a few minutes to adjust to, but after a while it really did add to the experience (so much so that I was much less impressed with the film watching it later without 3D). In cinema, however, it has been little more than a gimmick, so it's quite likely that it will probably be little more for games. Still, it's interesting to see that this is being looked into.

Wipeout HD at speed in 3D on a large screen, may, however, be far to much for mortals to handle :)

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Wiiware revival

I note that Eurogamer have a review of World of Goo, and rather a good review at that. I was pleased to note that they also highlighted the obvious bonus of co-op play in the Wii version of the game, which obviously is not present in the PC version, as I also found this to be a pleasant little bonus in an already more the pleasant game.

In addition that also have a run down of the Art Style games recently added to Wiiware, which I must admit have also peaked my interest and have also given these high praise.

It would seem that Wiiware is at last starting to get a reasonable selection of original and interesting games and about time too. Previously it has been lagging behind both Xbox live and the PSN. Hopefully this is just a sign of more things to come...

Just need that update now so that the games can run off a SD card!

Film adaptations

Okay here is a list of film adaptations (from numerous other sources) which I would simply love to be made (or at least made properly).

Are you listening Hollywood? Thought not.

In no particular order:

“Just make the damn film already”:

Rendezvous with Rama

Morgan Freeman actually owns the rights to this and has been trying to get the funding to get this made for countless years. David Fincher has also been attached to it, but has recently indicated that at present there isn’t enough studio interest to get this made.

Stupid damn studio’s I say.

Les Miserables (The Musical)

The recent film musical adaptation of recent years have been rather hit or miss, but this more than any other musical deserves a movie adaptation (maybe Miss Saigon a close second).

I’ve seen it numerous times on stage and would always jump at the chance to see it again, having it for all time as a film would be a definite bonus.

The Dark Knight Returns

It is extremely unlikely that this will get made while the Batman franchise is as successful as it currently is, but all the same I don’t see why The Dark Knight Returns couldn’t be made as a separate entity to the current Batman films, after all it is set in a elseworlds type future where Batman is in his sixties. I’d personally cast Clint Eastwood as an older Batman.

The Dark Tower (series of films)

The Mist hinted at this, plus, anyone who is familiar with the Dark Tower books must have though “thinny” when the mist rolled onto the scene. Carlton Cuse and Damon Lindelof from Lost have optioned the Dark Tower from Stephen King for the grand sum of $19 (which fans of the series will recognise) and have said that they will be working on this together with J J Abrams after lost has finished it’s TV run. So here’s hoping that this actually goes forward either as a series of films or a TV series.

Midnight Nation

A little known 12 part comic series by J Michael Straczynski (Babylon 5).

A fantastic religious themed story which builds gradually until a fantastic conclusion. Easily as good as the best of his writing in Babylon 5, and perhaps even a little bit better. I remember hearing rumours about this and also his other series Rising Stars being turned into films, but have heard nothing since then. Maybe his renewed popularity following the release of Changeling will push this forward again (if not I’d happily accept a Babylon 5 feature film as an altenrative).

The Chrysalids

I make no excuses for being a big fan of John Wyndham and as such, I find it startling that The Chrysalids has never been adapted. His lessor works such as the Midwich Cuckoos (as Village of the Dammed) and Chocky have been adapted, but somehow not this. Next to The Day of the Triffids this is likely his best work, although it does differ a little from the themes of his other books.

I think some people consider this to be a bit of a childrens novel, but all the same it contains a great premise and a fantastic story.

Elektra Assassin

In my opinion the finest comic series from Frank Miller, even beating The Dark Knight Returns and Sin City series.

It’s frankly stunning, bonkers, confusing and erratic, so would probably make an odd adaptation, but all the same, some of the set pieces are fantastic. Also, I love the presentation of the American president and think that if they used a similar approach on film, it would be both bizarre and highly different than anything before it.

“A proper adaptation now please”:

The Day of the Triffids

This was made very poorly as a film in the 60’s and also as a slightly more successful TV series by the BBC in the 80’s, but neither have really captured the essence of the book. If I were a multimillionaire and had the opportunity to produce my own film of my choosing, it would be this.
I’m aware that the BBC is presently filming a new TV series based on the novel and I’m hoping (fingers crossed) that this is a superior adaptation.


I had high hopes that when Kenneth Branagh took the reins to adapt this that it would result in a close, word to word adaption akin to his Shakespeare adaptation… not so. His version, whilst the closest to the novel so far, still differs greatly and loses much of the fantastic dialogue.
Is it too much to ask for a decent adaption of one of the greatest novels of all time? I think not.

I am Legend

Adapted 3 times, and in each case they all completely and utterly cock it up.

Surprisingly it is the latest adaption which is the closest, but even that differs greatly from the novel.

I can see this being made on a small budget, with unknown actors , but sticking to the source material closer and making a fantastic film. I know it could be argued that the lack of dialogue would be a problem for the beginning of the film, but I think that other films out there have proven that this is not a problem, and you always have the flashback to break the solitude.

… but for god sake, KEEP THE DAMN ENDING IN PLACE! It’s called “I am Legend” for a bloody good reason.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

11th Doctor

Well it was announced last night that the 11th Doctor will be played by a relatively unknown actor called Matt Smith.

My first impressions from is interview is that he is remarkably young for the role at 26, and boy does he have big shoes to fill... Oh well, we'll find out how he does come 2010!

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Psycho, strippers and change

New year, new design, new rules…

I’ve decided to skip my 10 word rule on my film reviews and instead limit them to no more than 20 words and see how I get on… Speaking of which:

Films watched:
American Psycho

Not at all what I was expecting. A Phenomenal performance by Christian Bale in a 80’s yuppie serial killer drama.


Zombie Strippers

Exactly as it says on the tin, packed with both Zombie’s and strippers. Still fun. Social commentary a tad misplaced.