Thursday, December 06, 2007

Where have I been?

OK, so I've not been posting too much, mostly because PC (woe)rld have had my machine in for a repair for the last 6 weeks, and only seem to begin working on it when I kicked up a stink. Whilst it's in there I'm taking the opportunity to have it upgraded too, so all being well this time next week I'll have a 4gig monster with a decent graphics card (the 6600 that was in there was good but I've asked to go up to an 8800).

Whilst I've been away I've found some more Banksy pieces, which I'll post up. I've also gotten into the clubbing thing again with some excellent nights over the last week. I'll be testing myself this weekend as I have an all nighter on Friday followed by an all day event starting Saturday afternoon.

Plenty of red bull will be needed I think.

Hitman

Shitman more like!! This film is awful and whilst I started the year with the best movie of 2007 (Smoking Aces if you're interested) I finish with the worst. The plot makes no sense, they rely on footage taken from TV shows to save money (the opening sequence may be familiar to fans of Dark Angel) and the acting is wooden.

I would try to explain the plot but I'm not going to waste the energy.

Just don't see this film.

Oh, and what kind of a name is Timothy Olyphant anyway?

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Beowulf


I AM BEOWULF

So shouts the computer graphic version of Sean Bean (I guess he dropped out after the graphics had been done to be replaced by Ray Winstone). Its the old british poem of a warrior who faces his demons, quite literally.

A pretty decent film actually. You soon see past the computer graphics, in much the same way you accepted the humans in the Shrek movies very easily. It has to be said that Final Fantasy had set the bar for animated realistic humans but this film surpasses that, particularly towards the end with the older characters complete with greying beards and battle scars.

Angelina's role is nothing but a cameo. There was a little hype surrounding her part but as is ever the case it's unjustified.

Some nice set pieces particularly the battle with Grendel and the finale with the dragon.

As is the norm with Hollywood the original story is adapted. In the original the female demon is beheaded by Beowulf, but in the film he sleeps with her, and there's more to the dragon in the film than in the original tale. So whilst its a shame that the uneducated will now be misinformed as to the original tale I'd like to think it'll at least prompt to go and check it out. The twisting of the story isn't as bad as that film that made out it was the Americans who captured the Enigma Machine during WWII.

Oh, and there are some cinemas showing this in 3D. I really recommend trying to see it like this. The film uses it pretty well and yes you get the obligatory spear into the crowd shot! There's a great piece with a pointed flag pole and near rectal impaling that had every laughing.

This has been the only film I've seen this year where the audience applauded at the end, albeit only a smattering. Whilst I liked it, I wouldn't go that far.

Eastern Promises


Its a film about Russian Gangsters in London, Covent Garden in fact. I've not seen any Russians there, other than tourists. Perhaps they're super secret and only let film cameras in.

Yeah, it was OK. Not remarkable really except for the fight in the swimming baths, which was pretty tough going and what you'd expect from Cronenbourg.

Rent it, or steal it, from a Russian of course!

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Saw 4


It's Halloween again, time for kids to go trick-o-treating, early launches of fireworks and Jigsaw to reveal more traps on another bunch of hapless souls. But he died at the end of the last movie so how can he be in this one? Well that gets answered at the end, along with some of the questions left unanswered from the previous movie, in particular what was on the tape that Jigsaw covered with wax before he was killed.

Well this time around we have a SWAT team leader, and former team mate of Kelly who lost her ribs in the last movie. He is chosen to undergo a new series of games featuring more ingenious torture devices.

The Saw franchise really splits the public in half just like marmite. You either love it or you hate it. I love it, I think it put a fresh twist on a stale genre. This film isn't as tight as the predecessors, due to a new writing team, and knowing there's going to be another 2 films after this they've left more questions unanswered, which will no doubt be answered in them.

So, if you've seen 1,2 & 3 then you'll be going to see this too regardless of what I say.
If weren't interested in them, then you won't be in this either.
However if you're thinking of watching them now, don't start with this one; you need to watch the other ones first or a lot of it won't make sense.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Geek Fest in London

There's a week long computer game festival taking place in London this week and as part of the launch activities the Royal Festival Hall on the South Bank put on a concert using their Philarmonia Orchestra (not to be confused with the Philarmonic) to play the music of various video games. Yup, completely geeky!!

Starting with an opening segment covering the history of gaming including the music of Out Run, Asteroids, Pong etc they moved through away from the electronic blips and bleeps towards full orchestral scores that can be found in today's games such as Halo, Metal Gear Solid and Final Fantasy. Rather unfortunately they focused on arcade games and consoles and so totally overlooked the music of Rob Hubbard, who had quite a following in the days of Commodore 64s and Spectrums.

Most of the pieces came from the orchestra and choir and a small number from a very good chinese piano player who goes by the name the video game pianist. The best pieces for me were Metal Gear and Zelda, although quite a lot of people in the audience were going crazy for Halo and the Final Fantasy stuff. One guy sounded like he was having an orgasm he was enjoying it too much. I will admit to not knowing all the tunes but that's probably because I don't have an X-Box or go crazy over everything Bill Gates does (He had quite a following at this event based on the cheering).

There was also a fancy dress competition, and some people did actually bother dressing up; some costumes better than others I might add. I did get pics but untill I get my desktop back I can't upload them on here.

A good evening but by quite a long way the most geekiest event I've ever been to, and it was also the first sell out show at the newly re-opened festival, which I have to say has some amazing acoustics in there now, so expect to see the show come back here next year.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

My desktop has died!!!

Got home on Friday to find my PC on but the keyboard not working. When I tried the usual "switch it off, switch it on" fix the machine refused to start up. So it's now off with PC World to be repaired, it looks like one of the boards has gone as the power light comes on but I don't get anything put out to the monitor nor can I hear the start up sounds. At least the data is alright so all being well the PC World people will have no need to do anything with the software (I'm a little worried the paperwork you sign says that they might clear data off the machine, it shouldn't be needed in my instance).

Every cloud has a silver lining and it does mean that I finally got my new laptop out of its box. I bought it months ago when it was on offer and haven't had a reason to get it out til now (I'm on about the PC). The other advantage is that I've finally enabled the wi-fi in the flat. As I type this I'm still in bed, so I now know that my already lazy life has taken a step in the "more lazy" direction.

When PC World do get back to me, I will probably get the machine upgraded to become a media centre PC rather than a desktop as I can see this mobile computing taking over. I have plans to get a new TV and PS3 so I should be able to hook the desktop up to that. I could then remove the computer desk from the living room, giving me more space.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Underworld @ Roundhouse

Underworld, most famous for their "Lager Lager Lager" Born Slippy track played 3 nights at Camden's Roundhouse and I was fortunate enough to have friends who had a spare ticket to one of them. They were a band I had wanted to see for some time, and the last of the big dance acts of the last 10 years to see (I'd already seen Orbital, Chemical Brothers, Prodigy & Leftfield).

They have a new album out and they played some during their 2 hour set, but based on those I don't think I'll be buying it. It was the older tunes that got the crowd going more and which were more danceable, in particular Rez, which even now still sounds great. I think not having Darren Emerson in the line-up has changed the direction the group has taken.

But it was still a great night, if a bit packed and sweaty. But that's expected when you decide to dance near the front.

Monday, October 15, 2007

B-Boy Championships 2007


My annual hip-hop pilgrimage took me to two locations this year. Previously the event has taken place at the same venue with the full contests being split over the two days. This year the organisers tried making things a bit different using the first day as the qualifiers for the finals on the Sunday. Saturday would take place in Hackney and the Sunday at it's usual home of Brixton Academy.

Day 1 was actually pretty good, the only downside was that the event was split over a number of rooms so there was no way to see everything. I chose to spend most of my time in the main room, which was holding the solo and popping qualifiers. The smaller rooms were holding toprock, beatbox battles etc. The advantage of seeing the qualifiers is that you get to see more people who are good but not that good to be seen on the main day including some French guy called Sebastian who had amazing upper body strength, but that's all he had hah!
I've found a couple of clips that show highlights of day 1 here and here. Sebastian is the freaky looking guy in the oversized shirt at the end of the clip.

Day 2 was great and the atmosphere had moved from the smaller classic feel to the large event.
In the popping battle it was great to see Salah finally win. He's been a people's favourite every time he's taken part in the contest but has always become runner up I can only assume because he avoids the fundamentals that the judges are looking for. The locking was won by a Japanese duo. The solos were won by a Dutch guy called Menno and in the finale, the team battles were won by Korea, in a great battle (here and here) with the Russians.

As ever a great weekend and only now after the last 12 years is the event starting to get the coverage and publicity it deserves. CNN were there this year, and that can be seen on the event's website here.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Right Brain v Left Brain | Herald Sun

This is quite a bizarre experiment. I think though they've got the functions the wrong way around. Being quite analytical it makes no sense for it to spin clockwise for me, which it seemed to do all the time until I got home from a night out and it decided to spin the other way.Right Brain v Left Brain | Herald Sun

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Summer Movies

I'd realised that I hadn't put any reviews up on the movies I'd seen after my trip to Russia and Scandinavia. So here we are! Actually leaving some time between seeing the film and writing the review might be a better approach going forward, as I'll be less inclined to write on forgetable bits.

Transformers


The big film of the Summer and it wasn't that bad at all. As with all Michael Bay films, leave the brain at home; it's not needed. Evil robots invade earth looking for a giant Hellraiser puzzle cube that they can use to take over the world. Good robots come down to save the day. The transforming effects are pretty stunning, in fact the robots themselves are great too. They all look very solid and real. No doubt ILM had plenty of time to get the effects right. The acting from the humans isn't important, this isn't an Oscar performance candidate, but they do an OK job.

The only downside to with this film is that it suffers the usual Bay problem of being overly patriotic. In this film the message seems to be that the Autobots can only save the planet with the help of the American Military. There's also a little sniff of indirect racism in that the autobot with the Jamaican accent is the only one to die.

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix


Number four in the series of seven has Harry leading a small army of pupils against a new regime at Hogwarts when Dumbledore is suspended and a new headmistress Umbridge takes over. The film is alright, I think that we've been a bit blase with the effects now, although they're all pretty good. Having seen the fireplace transporters in previous films for instance, we're less inclined to notice them this time. A testament to the strength of the films perhaps.

The ginger kid is ridiculously tall now. This must be a pain for the film makers, but thats the gamble in using child actors. New girl playing Lorna Lovegood is alright, but having read the book I was expecting a gothic chick, not an irish speaking blonde. Helena Bonham Carter is great as Bellatrix LeStrange.

The franchise is doing very well, but unlike Spiderman, at least the makers of Potter are still producing a good story, admittedly because they have to base it on the book.

The Simpsons Movie


It has a few good jokes; the opening sequence, Spiderpig, and a skateboarding scene with a naked Bart. I was disappointed with the film and reviewing it now there's little I can remember of the actual storyline. Something to do with Homer polluting the city of Springfield
and it all being encased in a glass dome. Disappointing and not worthy of the hype. It also looks like there will be a sequel, I wonder if it will take another 10 years before that one comes out.

Rush Hour 3



Chris Tucker has some wise cracks, and Jackie starts to rely more and more on CGI and doubles for his stuntwork. That's about it! The best bit in this film is the out-take at the end where Jackie kicks a chair into his own face.

Die Hard 4.0



Surprisingly good! I wasn't going to see this but was at a loose end one night after work so decided to go and see it. In this one, Mr Vest is asked to pick up a hacker and ends up being caught up in a plot where a computer developer starts to take all the money from the US and bring its economy down. Ridiculous story line but that's what you expect from these big action movies.

The star of this movie for me was Cyril Raffaelli, who plays an acrobatic sidekick to the bad guy. His stunt work is amazing, especially when you realise there is no cable work involved. (He's the blond guy in District 13, if you've seen that!). The set pieces are great, including a tunnel pile up and a car crash in a lift shaft.

Definitely worth seeing.


Bourne Ultimatum



Easily the film of the Summer, if not the year (I'm still backing Smoking Aces for that!) sees Mahhhhhht Dayyyyyyyymon (I have to thank Team America for forever calling him that) back as Jason Bourne/David Webb, this time trying to track down the people responsible for his brain washing, much like the other two films in fact.

This is what Bond is trying to be, up-to-date, relevant, kick-ass and a whole bunch of similar superlatives that deserve to be thrown upon this film. There's a cute twist in it too, but I'm not going to give that away here.

The only down-side to this film is that the scene in which I star has been cut, at least I couldn't see myself but admittedly the jump cuts came so quick that I really need a DVD to check for sure. The scene does appear to be there (it's when the bus pulls up and the reporter is told to go up to a guy in a hooded top), just not me.

The film to see this Summer, roll on the box set.

Knocked Up


This Summer's date movie sees a slacker get off with a TV journalist and she then falls pregnant. The film then covers how the two of them attempt to get along for the sake of the baby. Actually this film surprised me, dialogue was well written and it got a good balance between schmaltz and humour, the best lines coming from the female boss of the lead actress. A couple of unnecessary birth shots (think Basic Instinct with a baby's head) came as a bit of a shock, but didn't spoil the film that much.

Shoot 'Em Up



Woohoo! A film that like Ronseal gives you exactly what it says on the tin. Clive Owen is a bum with a talent for guns (we never actually get his full back story) who finds himself protecting a baby from a group of hitmen led by Paul Giamatti. The story is silly but its not what the film is about. It's about 16 or so over the top shoot outs, that take place in toilet cubicles, cars, various buildings, on rooftops; there's even one in the air. All very silly but very enjoyable visual fodder backed up by a great choice of soundtrack (Motherhead etc..).

I enjoyed it a lot, and will buy the DVD.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Zombie Walk London

As part of a horror movie festival in London an attempt was made at bringing together the largest gathering of zombies. The record was set at just under 900 in Pittsburgh earlier in the year. There was no way we got anywhere close today, but all of us had a good laugh dressing up and acting stupid for the day. We started with a gathering in Leicester Square before going for a walk around the area, including taking over an open top tour bus and storming some shops.

After that the group split into 3; one went to Camden, another towards the Notting Hill carnival and the group I stayed with went and saw the UK cinema premiere of "The Zombie Diaries", a Blair Witch type movie with zombies, which was pretty good considering the budget. After watching the film I did what I could to get the make up off before heading home.





























































Event: Bug 56

I had tickets for this one but had to pull out following a leg injury but the event organisers kindly sent me the play list. Beck &...