Film: Riddick – Rule the Dark

I finally got this at the w/e and watched it, it’s the third installment in the Riddick franchse. I watched Pitch Black and thoroughly enjoyed it. the second film, The Chronicles of Riddick was less enjoyable. It was packed with great ideas, but was really two films/concepts boiled down into one and both stories ultimately lost some of their potency.

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This film was an indepoendent release and returns to the Pitch Black approach, a bit too closely, but is saved from a straight retread for a couple of reasons.

Riddick’ tiring of the Necromungers that he ended up leading at the end of Chronicles. So he cuts a deal with Vaako (Karl Urban’s character), but Vaako’s sidekick double crosses both of them and Riddick is left for dead on an un-named desert planet. Obviously Riddick isn’t about to give up. Cue various deadly interactions with the local wildlife, which start to become boring. Riddick rescues a local Jackal like pup and raises it, before finding a deserted Merc (mercenary) base whose rescue beacon he triggers.

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This is where it gets interesting. Two mercenary gangs arrive to claim the bounty on Riddick’s head. One is lead by hot headed Santanna who arrives first and makes some rather “brave” claims about his intentions WRT Riddick. The second band of mercenaries, is lead by Boss Johns, the father of the merc Johns that Riddick killed in Pitch Black. These guys are rather more professional, and include Dahl (Katie Sackhoff) as a competent ruthless sidekick.

Though the overall pot of the film is a bit of a re-hash of Pitch Black in terms of alien predators besieging the humans (also in the dark with rain), the interaction between the two mercenary ganags and Riddick saves the day. Their different approaches and outlook are well done. The “jet bikes” are also a novel concept (not land speeders) along with the power nodes being incompatible.

It would make for an excellent Laserburn scenario with two highly different sets of mercenaries pitted against a real (anti-) Hero character. Again worth getting is its about £5 or £7 cheap.

PS: There is a Directors cut with an additional secne at the end involving the Necromungers.
PPS: There are very few images for this film on the ‘net, and no decent trailers without advertisement breaks.

Passport to Pimlico

One of the free DVDs I got was Passport to Pimlico, so with my interest in AVBCW I watched it last night. Its an old film from 1949, b/w filmed after WW2 and clearly taking advantage of the war torn London streets.

Its obviously dated, everyone is SHOUTING their lines, because that makes them more FUNNY, and everyone LAUGHS OUT LOUD and have loveable COCKNEY accents. But hey its still a good watch for a change from CGI car chases and the like.

What makes it relevant to AVBCW, is the disintegration of a nation, and its supply lines. The Pimlico/Burgundy enclave soon gets cut off from food, power and water. That;s something we haven’t really played out yet in AVBCW, so its very useful ffrom that point of view in stimulating some of the more basic issues AVBCW would throw up. However, as always, we tread a fine line between AVBCW’s practical aspects and its more gentler aspects.

Anyone for tea ?

Film: The Addams Family, and The Addams Family Values

For a treat I picked up The Addams Family on DVD yesterday. I had the sequel The Addams Family Values but had neglected the original. I was in the mood for some comedy. Dark and twisted as I like it.

At Xmas, my parents (!) had started to show me some kids cartoon film, I think it was How to train your dragon, or some such nauseating s***, and whined when I refused to watch it. It suddenly dawned on me they really don’t get the difference in our tastes, and this was most comedically exemplified by Wednesday’s (Addams) attitude in the films, especially when she is made to watch Disney films at the summer camp.

I particularly liked her attempt at smiling which frightened the other kids. Though telling the kitten to shut up whilst burying it was also amusing (not that I am advocating such behaviour….hmmm….).

Anyhow, these two films were fun to watch after such a long time and have lasted the test of time with laugh our loud moments and full of good quotes (sorry Byakhees, more one liner signatures to come).

Raul Julia’s almost eye popping performance was great. Christiopher Lloyd and Angelica Huston were great too. Lurch was a bit underused. Still all good macabre fun.

Black Stars Rising Over Carcosa and the King In Yellow is in the forest

I closed my eyes and saw the King in Yellow moving through the forest

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In today’s Torygraph, and the Grauniad I found articles on the new series hitting the TV – True Detective. Finally R W Chambers’ work The King In Yellow is once more being referenced.

A full deconstruction of the references so far has also been posted.

mask

CAMILLA: You sir, should unmask.

STRANGER: Indeed?

CASSILDA: Indeed it’s time. We all have laid aside disguise but you.

STRANGER: I wear no mask.

CAMILLA: (Terrified, aside to Cassilda.) No mask? No mask!

(THE KING IN YELLOW: Act 1-Scene 2d.)

For some unsettling bedtime reading here is the Project Gutenburg page.

I’ll be buying the DVD box set when it comes out. 😉

Film: Oblivion

Recently I picked up the DVD of Oblivion cheap. I’m not a fan of Tom Cruise, and spent most of my time watching The War of the Worlds remake wishing his charcter and family to die. However, for £5 I thought it a risk worth taking.

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I was pleasantly surprised. So much so that before writing this, I thought I’d go back and watch it again, just in case I’d had too much to drink, or my memory had been altered by the cats/aliens.

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Cruise’s character is a drone repair engineer. Not a superhero. The story unfolds with him doing just that, nothing glamorous. However, it is obvious that something is odd in this post apocalyptic world (I won’t elaborate on the story here, too repetitive).

The best thing about this film is the scenery and hard sci-fi elements. It’s also enjoyable because it is not a re-boot, re-imagining or re-make. The scenery is stunning, and in contrast to most sci-fi, its done in really sunny and light camera shots.

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The least believable (for me) bit was the “tower”, you’d need some seriously strong materials to cope with wind shear, or some futuristic technology. Good CGI and camera shots however allowed me to suspend disbelief and enjoy the spectacle.

Much to my surprise I really enjoyed this film. Only downside was it left me with questions about the principle antagonist. Maybe a sequel ?

If you can get it cheap this is a good film and gets a thumbs up from me. 🙂

Crunchy Frog Pizzas and Progress

Right, I have been busy hence a paucity of updates here.

Firstly, the builders have been in and out again. The tiled floor they laid is cracking up, so I have a parade of builders, tilers, and suppliers in and out of the house trying to work out what is wrong and shift the blame. Basically its a crunchy floor I have as the tiles shift round. Seems like the adhesive is to blame. Now, this is important as in the run up to Xmashammer we have to have a theme, so crunchy floors have turned into crunchy frogs.

Obviously.
Just nod, and phone the doctors….
Luckily for the Byakhees, I have promised not to cook a crunchy frog pizza.

Secondly, Peter O’Toole never produced Lark’s vomit, but he was very good in films like Lawrence of Arabia.

So that got watched as homage to a great actor who passed away this week. Plus it has Rolls Royce cars and all manner of WW1 shenanigans.

It also helped pass the time whilst ironing. This is Spades, who insisted on siting on the ironing pile but got more than he bargained for.

Thirdly: In the meantime I have virtually finished off the Sister of Spears including new standard, the extra Silver Talons, and have got Great Wing along with Dark Riders well advanced so I still hope to achieve the end of the year aim.

Xmashammer 2014 is now planned, so I should have lots of photos before the end of the year.

Film: The World’s End

Finally got the third Cornetto trilogy film by Wright/Pegg/Frost on DVD and watched it. I was intrigued as to how they’d play it, and how they managed to work in the main character in full on Goth mode with a Sisters of Mercy t-shirt, which ironically I had bought shortly before the film was launched.

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Spoiler Alert !

It’s a pub crawl where they realise that all but one of them has moved on from their teenage heyday, and that botht they and their homw town have changed.

On my first watch, I thoroughly enjoyed it up to the ending and the argument between the heroes and The Network. I found it funny that they’d managed to cast another ex James Bond as a villian, and Pierce Brosnan did it well. I’d never noticed Eddie Marsan in anything I’ve watched but he played the haplass Peter well, and Paddy Considine (seen in Hot Fuzz as one of the Andys) was really good.

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However, knowing that these guys produce multi-layered films that really bear repeat watching, and seeing as I had a mountain of ironing following the washing machine being reinstated, I watched it again. And again. And then I watched the bonus extras. (And yes, the Sisters t-shirt was in the ironing pile !)

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It all fits together.

Whereas Shaun of the Dead is an immediate winner, The World’s End is a slow burner that really comes together.

The final puzzle I didn’t spot until the third viewing was the Cornetto joke – the one convenience food Andy would miss.

Best of all, as well as the Sister t-shirt, they used This Corrosion several times and surprisingly it is on the film sound track CD, something that the Sisters have long resisted:

And when we first started to sort of devise [young Gary’s] look, we had to go to [Sisters frontman] Andrew Eldritch and his marketing team and ask if it was okay. And we heard that, you know, he was actually a fan of our stuff. So it was an absolute treat to hear from my hero.

And…

Simon Pegg: I was very much a goth from sixteen to twenty-one. The big names for me at the time, The Sisters Of Mercy, obviously, were around, Bauhaus, The Cure, The March Violets, that kind of deal.

Though I’ll have to forgive him on the The Cure.

So after a couple of times seeing it I think its a great film. Now I’m going to have to go back, watch all of Spaced, Shaun of the Dead, and Hot Fuzz again. Its a hard life….

WWZ

More Zombies !

World War Z allegedly based on Max Brooks’ book of the same title.

It’s not.

Its an average film. It’s a series of set pieces hung together with a wafer thin plot that references Brooks’ ideas. Brad Pitts’ character is barely defined, as is his family background which is barely emotive. The plot leaves out huge chunks and its only if you have read the book do you understand it.

If he doesn’t go on the mission, then his family get kicked off the USN ship (nice). His background is alluded to but not played out. His boss the UN guy is barely described let alone fleshed out. Having read the book, its frustrating that none of this background is described even in deux ex machina style.

The zombies and the plague are incoherently described, and for one reason or another Brad’s character (I can’t even remember the names after watching it twice in as many nights) ends up in Wales with an injured Israeli conscript – fair do-s the Israeli section is well explained and much in keeping with the book.

This section of the film is good and coherent, even if somewhat mundane when compared to The Walking Dead, much better edited and explained and brings the film to a better conclusion than could have been anticipated from the previous hour of grandiose but incoherent set pieces.

Tighter editing and writing would have served this film better. A so-so film that holds promise. If there is a sequel as is mentioned, they could do with a better editor.

For the idiots, here’s a critique of The Walking Dead, spot what is wrong with it.

The Walking Dead Season 3

Hot on the heels of the zombie arguments from the climate change deniers, here’s a review of The Walking Dead, Season 3.

As you can see from the montage of mugshots, there are a few new faces, and a few missing faces.

After Season 2 which was very slow up until the rather violent ending, Season 3 starts as it means to go on – the walkers/biters are far more frequent and they are the least of Rick’s worries. Establishing themselves in a prison with its sturdy wire fences and watchtowers, and dealing with most of the remaining prisoners, the series switches to Andrea, her saviour Michone and the community of woodbury lead by The Governor.

Michone is immediately wary of him, not least because Merle is one of his henchmen and pulls a gun on the pair of them.

Merle is less than impressed when Andrea talks to him, but they both bond over the fact that Rick’s group left them for dead (in both cases that is false but hey neither of the characters believe that analysis). Michone leaves town the hard way, retrieving her katana, finding the Governors collection of live and dead heads in fish tanks (yeah, lovely) and then hooks up with Rick’s group though Rick is very reluctant. He’s already kicked out one other group of stragglers.

Angela, with Milton have uncovered the Governor’s antics are beyond the pale. Both take covert actions to try and patch things up with Rick’s group and Woodbury. Both fail, both are caught and set upon each other by The Governor, as are Merle and his brother Daryl after Rick’s group raid Woodbury to rescue Glenn and Maggie who were captured.

The season ends with a big shoot out as the Governor attacks the prison, is driven off and goes mad shooting his own side, the survivors joining Rick’s group.

That’s a very brief synopsis of the plot, but what did I think of the series and other things I didn’t mention ?

Lori: I commented that Lori was a very unsympathetic character in Season 2. Well she gets it in Season 3 – and in a horrible way that made me almost feel sorry for her. She dies in childbirth as Maggie, Carl and she are escaping zombies.

Rick: He starts seeing and hearing Lori after her death and almost ignores his new daughter (born by c-section performed by Maggie). Some people might think this is far fetched – sorry No, been there seen it done it with the Late Queen In Yellow. But this undermines his self-faith and he abdicates responsibility at the end of the season. A bit disappointing but I can understand.

Carl: Both growing up fast when he locks the stragglers out, but worrying when he shoots a surrendering Woodbury soldier.

Herschel: Loose the pony tail !

Carol: Comes out fighting ! She’s turning into a very interesting character. I hope she doesn’t get killed off in Season 4.

Other than those character notes – this is a much more action packed season. Character development is in no way ignored but there are a lot more zombie incidences along the way, and the tension between the surviving groups is great. Fights over supplies are inevitable in any post apocalyptic situation.

I’m looking forward to Season 4 already. Long may this series continue. 🙂

Film: The Man Who Would Be King

I hadn’t seen this film for a good couple of decades so I bought it cheap from Amazon a week ago and watched it.

An excellent film ideal for inspiration for BoB games the wiki article has loads of background on it. Caine and Connery make an excellent lead, with strong support from Saeed Jaffrey et al.

I’ll not spoil the ending, but here’s the trailer:

As stated this was based one on of Kipling’s stories and based on real life adventures during the Great Game in central asia during the tail end of the Victorian and Edwardian period.

Well worth a few quid to get this gem of a film. 🙂