Archive | January, 2012

Life at (Level) 50 – Star Wars: The Old Republic Revisited

26 Jan
Hitting 50

Finally!!

If I haven’t seemed active on this blog in a while, there’s a good reason. I’ve spent almost every non-working, non-sleeping moment playing Star Wars: The Old Republic. I posted a first impressions article shortly after it came out, but I really hadn’t gotten far in the game at that point.

A few days ago, my smuggler hit level 50 (the current level cap) and I finished his storyline. I figured now would be a good time to write about the game from a (slightly) more seasoned angle. Plus, it would give me a loophole to look at the game during my current self-imposed SWTOR hiatus (in order to get other things done, like these blog posts).

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Not in the Face! – Collision Earth Reviewed

25 Jan
Earth in a fender bender...

Bastard didn't even leave his insurance information...

When I sit down to watch a movie like Collision Earth, I’m hoping for one of two things – a shred of believability (sure, I guess humanity could be threatened by man-made ice twisters), or a sense that it’s not taking itself seriously (did I just see a shark jump out of the ocean and take down a jetliner?). That second bit can be achieved either through plot or by casting Stephen Baldwin as the lead. Sometimes a magical movie comes along that satisfies both requirements (Mega Piranha anyone?).

Unfortunately, Collision Earth satisfies neither option. It takes a preposterous premise entirely too seriously, and there’s nary a Baldwin to be seen.

I’ve wanted to do a running diary review of one of these SyFy movies for a while, and when I saw that Amy had done one for Mortal Kombat I figured the time had come. Spoilers will follow, so if you actually want to see the film… I still recommend reading this. I mean seriously, we’re not talking The Sixth Sense twist endings here.

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Tail Sting [review]

21 Jan

Tail sting blurb

The blurb on the box says “Whilst in transit between Australia and the USA, a crate of genetically created scorpions are exposed to a dangerous unrefined oxegen.” Googling tells me that oxegen is actually a rock festival in Ireland, so I’m assuming they meant ‘oxygen’ – given the decided lack of U2 in this film. The box also says the plane ‘limps blindly in autopilot across the Atalantic…’ One – where is the ‘Atalantic’? Two – Shouldn’t they be over the Pacific?

The first thing that impressed me when I loaded this DVD was the menu – it’s nothing short of genius. An aliased font with a static photo of a plane moving diagonally across the screen? Yes.

The film kicks off with some desert scenes that look distinctly like they were filmed on an old-school mobile phone. They’re so shaky it’s quite painful to watch. This leads us to a scene in the world’s smallest airport. Hilariously, the security team literally yell ‘GUN!‘ and dive over the machines when they x-ray a bag with a gun-shaped lighter.

Those thinking ‘Low-budget Snakes on a Plane‘ will be interested to know that this was filmed in 2001 – way earlier. As such, I was quite disappointed that there was no “I’ve had it…” alternative line. There are, however, some really daft lines – “More people are killed each year by donkeys than plane crashes”, anyone? Someone actually says “That stings” at one point.

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Waiting for the Ball to Drop – Earth’s Final Hours Reviewed

11 Jan
Hourglass Earth

Like sands through the hourglass, so are the Earth's final hours...

When a small chunk of dense matter is about to smack into the Earth, it’s best to not try and block it with your back. That’s the main lesson I came away with after watching SyFy’s latest disaster flick, Earth’s Final Hours.

The latest entry into the “Oh my God, we’re all about to die!” genre starts off with a small piece of dense stellar matter smashing through the Earth (and through a very, very unlucky scientist).

Two FBI agents (X-files, anyone?) are on hand to witness this live-action adaptation of “The Human Donut”, though only one figures prominently in the film. Robert Knepper plays John Streich (pronounced strike, a very b-movie action-film name), a recently transferred FBI agent with a felonious hacker teenage son. Side note: is there some requirement now that all disaster movies need the misunderstood teenager? They seem to exist solely to either get in danger (and artificially ratchet up the tension) or to go from belligerent hindrance to vital cog in the solution during the climax (and artificially ratchet down the difficulty). This time it’s the latter, which could be worse – at least he doesn’t spend half the movie being chased by a cougar.

This wasn’t the 24 clip I was looking for, but it’s pretty damn funny. Plus, it does have a cougar…
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Mortal Kombat: Annihilation [commentary]

8 Jan

Due to watching this without the ability to pause (and feeling slightly bemused), I thought I’d skip the review part and just do a commentary.  I’m writing as it as as it comes…Spoilers ahead!

Mortal Kombat Annihilation poster

The opening sequence of Mortal Kombat: Annihilation is a bit like an amateur cosplay meetup and it really does set the tone for the rest of the film.  Raiden (who is oddly missing his hat) literally looks like someone dusted him with talcum powder.  I’m fairly certain the acting was of a higher calibre when my cousins, brother and I acted out Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles in our back garden when I was young.  (There was never much of a plot then either – mostly just running around screaming, ‘ninja’ kicking and arguing over who got to be Raphael.)

Back to Mortal Kombat… some bad dude – Kahn – has come along with his merry band of slow-mo ninjas and offed Johnny Cage.  Bad stuff is going to happen – the end of the world, blah blah…  The ‘good guys’ escape and sort out a plan which seems to involve flying through tunnels in Gladiator Atlaspheres and a quest – everybody loves a quest!

Oh hey, it’s the dude from X-Files – poor-man’s Schwarzenegger – and some guy in a cape (who turns out to be his dad).  They have a very fascinating conversation which I totally missed due to spilling my popcorn, so I’m going to assume it went something along the lines of:

[Standing, hands on hips]  ‘We need to kill those pesky kids and destroy the world. MWHAHAHAHA!

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