Monday, March 30, 2009

Bruce, SD and noisy consoles.

Film watched:

My Name is Bruce

I like Bruce Campbell, but boy do I hope that he never tries to direct again. Absolutely appalling.


Last week Iwata announced the 4.0 update for the Wii. This new update features twenty screens with twelve channels each accessible from SD cards, and also will support SDHC. Wiishop channel can also now download directly onto an HD card if you choose, and you can launch the same content directly off the same card.

I tried this out last week by moving some of my game onto a SD card and running them from there. The load times are not instantaneous, but maybe take around 10-15 seconds and is just as quick as loading the equivalent on the PS3. So overall, this is a fantastic update to the Wii. I’ve resisted buying anymore Wiiware titles or virtual console titles just because of the memory restrictions. What titles I already have already take up too much room and the thought of having to constantly copy and delete titles was just a pain in the neck. As such, I may have to treat myself to Final Fantasy: My Life as a King and maybe a few Art Style games, in addition Bit. Trip Beat also looks pretty fantastic.

One complaint often levelled again the 360 is that it is a very noisy machine, namely that the cooling fan can be quite noisy and distracting whilst playing games etc. I’m going to go on record by saying that this phenomenon is not exclusive to the 360. I recently had a little reorganise at home and as such, I placed my PS3 laying horizontally in a very well ventilated cabinet rather than outside a cabinet standing up as it had been previously. Whilst watching a DVD on the PS3 last night the fans not only kicked in, but went into severe overdrive and quite honestly sounded like a miniature airplane just about to take off and was obviously, a bit of a distraction. As such, I’ll just have to remove my PS3 from the cabinet.

Anyway I just wanted to state that the PS3 is not necessarily the quiet console that some make it out to be (well at least mine isn’t).

Edit: I have just read that for some reason the PS3 is noisiest when upscaling DVD's.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Fahrenheit & [Rec]

Films watched:

Fahrenheit 9/11

Interesting and enlightening documentary (if slightly biased) covering the Bush administrations reaction to 9/11.



Absolutely fantastic Spanish low budget Blair Witch a-like Zombie thriller. 10x better than Diary of the Dead. Very highly recommended.


It occurs to me that Spain is rapidly becoming the new horror king (possibly dethroning both Japan and Korea), with the likes on this, Pan's Labyrinth (not a true horror I know) and The Orphanage (best film of 2008 TM). Either way, once again, foreign cinema kicks dirt on the face of anything that Hollywood can produce!

Incidentally, [Rec] has ALREADY been remade as an English language American film, namely Quarantine, which has not been reviewed as well as [Rec]. Can't Hollywood leave things alone? I'm dreading the Oldboy remake which has been preposed, even if Spielberg is involved.

Anyway, here's hoping that [Rec]2 which is due out later this year is equally as good.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Lust and Lightening

Film watched:

Lust Caution

A beautifully delicate Japanese / Chinese WWII espionage thriller from Ang Lee. Similar to Black Book , but even more horribly depressing.


I’m nearing the end of the single player campaign of Killzone 2 and have just managed to obtain (for a short time) the lightening gun. This is officially the coolest weapon from any FPS game so far, although the bolt gun in Killzone 2 is also great. I love the way you reload by drawing in the lightening from the atmosphere.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Sunset Boulevard

Whilst away in London the other week, I also managed to catch Sunset Boulevard, the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical on the stage. This is a musical that I have wanted to see for some time, as I missed its original run and as such had also planned my London trip in such a way to catch the limited return of this stage production.

The production was in a relatively small theatre by London standard and was also a very much scaled down production compared to the original. When I sat at my seat, I was initially confused when I noticed that there wasn’t an orchestral pit by the stage and as such, presumed that the backing music would not be performed live (much to my disappointment).

When the show started, it became immediately apparent how this was to be handled. The instruments were played on stage by the actors as part of the performance. As such, the performers had to hold numerous roles, namely that of actors, singers and musicians. They also had to quickly move about the stage whilst carrying and playing the instruments (which included a double bass). It really was some feat and incredibly impressive, perhaps even more so by the smaller scale of the production.

The only slight disappointment was that the theatre itself wasn’t even half full. This could perhaps be because Sunset Boulevard is not as popular as it once was, or it could also be a sign of the times for stage musicals. Either way, it was a little sad in light of the absolutely fantastic performance.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Let the Right One in

Film watched:

Let the Right One in

Okay, I’m going to break my 20 word rule for this one as well, but this time for all the wrong reasons.

This is a film that I was really really looking forward to. It has been adored by pretty much all the critics and currently holds at 97% on Rotten Tomatoes. Many have called this the film of the year, and seeing as this is a foreign horror film, I had expectations that this would be in a similar league to Pan’s Labyrinth or The Orphanage. I was wrong.

That is not to say that it is a bad film, it isn’t, it’s just a long mile away from being the excellent film that other critics have suggested. There is also no doubt that it isn’t a beautiful film, or even a touching film, it just didn’t click with me. I think my problem is that it didn’t really bring anything that new to the table in my opinion, and what developments it did bring lacked any punch. It felt like the first third of a film dragged out a whole films length. I’d like to state for the record that I don’t mind slow films, in fact there are many films which are considered “slow” which I adore, but with this I kept waiting for the film to surprise me, or grab me, and left disappointed.


Sunday, March 15, 2009

DS Lite R.I.P.

It is a sad, sad day...

It's not totally unexpected, I'd know for some time that my DS Lite was on it's last legs, thankfully I only have another 2 1/2 weeks to wait until the DSi is released (I have one on pre-order). But for now, I have returned to the faithfull DS phat!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Platinum trophy!

I have just managed to complete Fallout 3, and at the same time have also just managed to nab my very first platinum trophy. As such, to mark this occasion, I thought I'd post some pictures:

Also suffering with a cold at the moment, or as Roz puts it "man flu"... Either way... bleurgh!

Friday, March 13, 2009

London films 2009

Back from London (after an additional days delay), so here go my movie reviews:

Films watched:
The Unborn

A Jewish Exorcist, pretty derivative, but still has some good scares and was mildly enjoyable.



Comes across as a student film with a sizeable budget. Thinks it’s cleverer than it actually is. Thumbs down.



Going to have to break my 20 word rule again for this one.

I fail. I cannot write a cohesive review of the film…I have tried and failed several time. As such, I’ll just post a few of my observations and feelings after watching it.

For a fan of the comics (which I am), seeing certain scenes come to life can seem like an almost religious experience. A particular segment which comes to mind is the Dr Manhattan flashbacks, which are narrated in jumbled timeframe by Dr Manhattan, which was absolutely magical. The same could be said watching the smiley badge fall to the ground during the opening moments of the film.

There is no squid, the ending has been changed slightly to remove the squid and replace it with something else. Overall, this actually works better for the film, as the squid would have come across as too much of a WTF moment to your average Joe and would have require a LOT of explaining, which would have been just too difficult to do. The film instead keeps the same themes of the ending, but deals with them in a quicker fashion. I do have one slight complaint with the alternative non-squid solution, in that the devastation and the consequences of someone’s actions are not felt as much. In the comic, at the “squid” moment, there are 6 full pages of broken, bleeding corpses, mutilation and destruction. Including the bodies of several minor, likeable characters that you have grown to know over the course of the comic. This is not in the film and as such, the heavy consequences and the effect of someone’s actions does not have the level of impact that it should have.

The film is long, running at around 2:40, but at the same time it didn’t stop for a breath and didn’t feel that long to me. I’m well aware that there is an impending directors cut out there with an extra 40 minutes of cuts, plus a further 20 minutes of the Black Freighter, meaning that in total, almost an hour of the film is missing. As such, the film really felt like an abridged version and not the full version, and as such, I have knocked at least half a point, or maybe a full point off my review score to reflect this. I really, REALLY want to give this at least 9 out of 10, but at the same time, I’m so aware that the film would benefit so much more with the missing scenes.

Amongst the missing scenes are lots of scenes featuring minor characters, including the two Bernie’s at the newsstand and also the psychiatrist. Although these are not intrinsic to the plot, they do add a human element to the story and also add additional emotion to some of the final scenes. I think that the inclusion of these scenes will add a great deal more emotional weight to the film. Also, the Black Freighter is an easy cut from the film, but at the same time, it also adds another layer to the film as much of the storyline in this, match and mirror the moral themes of the main storyline.

Overall then, for this fan of the comic it is a fantastic film, but at the same time I came away feeling like I had not seen the full picture. A condensed comic epic.


Sunday, March 08, 2009

Trophy and Bye

Elliot won a trophy at football this saturday, as "Mini of the Month", generally for good behavior and sportmanship. As such, we were all very proud. A photo of him holding the trophy is below.

Also, just a quick note to say "bye" as I'll be off to London for a few days tomorrow and will return with a review or two.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Games, Degeneration and Earthsea

Okay now, it’s about time that I ran through the games that I have been playing recently, so:

Games played:
Noby Noby Boy
It’s odd… very odd even!
Basically you play Boy, who needs to stretch and report his length to Girl, who seems to feed off this length and grow to other planets. Other than this, it’s a case of just experimenting and trying new and different things. The community aspect of this is very good, in that everyone who plays the game contributes to Girls length, but really it is just a pretty bonkers experimental game at heart and that is by no means bad… just different.

This is without a doubt the most outstanding game I have played on the PSN.
It is a relaxing, and gloriously beautiful game, which was best described by the developers as a moving poem. It also, rather surprisingly, tells a simple yet topical story, without words characters, plot or dialogue.
This (and to some degree Noby Noby Boy) is the reason why the PSN (and also Wiiware and Xbox Live Arcade) is
A fantastic game that really should not be missed by anyone who has a PS3.

Fallout 3
I’m actually nearing the conclusion of this game, although I’d reached the level cap some time ago.
Another fantastic game. I was a little uncertain at first with the mix if FPS and VATS mode, but I you stick at it, the game really does draw you in. I love the freedom that this game gives you and also the morale choices (which are the best I’ve come across in a game). Overall it has to be the best game I have played for some time and would highly recommend it to anyone (you can after all tailor your character to your tastes). It’s just such a damn shame that the DLC is currently exclusive to the 360….grrrr… spit…

I have also recently purchased Killzone 2, but I will leave my comments until I have had more time with the game. What I have played so far is very good though.

Films watched:
Tales from Earthsea

An odd mix of Western fantasy and Japanese Anime that never quite gels. Certainly no Spirited Away!


Resident Evil: Degeneration

A welcome return for Claire and Leon. Better adaptation than the conventional films, but not a better film for it.