Monthly Archives: February 2012

“Avengers” Assemble new trailer…

Is it the end of April yet?  No?  Oh well, I suppose that I’ll just have to make do with this new trailer for Joss Whedon‘s upcoming “Avengers” movie.

Hulk like trailer! Trailer full of Hulk Win! Hulk smash aliens good!

Of course, you’ll be noticing the odd title change that the film’s had in Europe – presumably so as not to convince the three people who went to see the ill-advised Ralph Fiennes/Uma Thurman “Avengers” movie back in 1998, the Marvel film is now “Avengers Assemble” in my neck of the global woods.

Well, at least they're not calling it "Super Happy Marvel Team Up Explosion", I suppose...

So, why not head over to our friends at The Mary Sue and get your face smacked up by the new hotness?  If you have Fan/Nerd/Geek Squee, prepare to unleash it.

Guys, what was that thing about Joss Whedon randomly killing us off for giggles?

Once you get past all of the urban combat stuff which looks neat but uncomfortably close to the mise-en-mayhem of Michael Benjamin Bay, there’s a bunch of new stuff in this trailer which had me air-punching and chuckling at the massive scale madness and the toys that Whedon has to play with.

Hawkeye, in the air, shooting arrows at suckers, like a boss...

There may well be a distinct lack of posting on April 26th, by way of an advanced heads-up – it appears that I’ll be too busy picking my jaw up off the floor to do much in the way of blogging…

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Game not selling “Mass Effect 3” – so, business as usual, then?

Hmm...sketchy...

It would be great to report that UK games retailer Game are on an upward curve, but today’s news that they won’t be stocking “Mass Effect 3” in store doesn’t exactly inspire confidence.  As doesn’t the news that future EA titles won’t be available in store once “SSX” comes out in March.

So, nothing at all to worry about and Game are definitely not in a bad way, at all.  Oh dear…

Game cite unacceptable credit issues with publishers and a desire to improve their currently challenging trading environment, but that really isn’t going to matter to people who’ve pre-ordered the game and now have to go elsewhere to try to get it.

If you’ve had this happen once to a pre-order, are you really likely to go back to the retailer or are you likely to go to Amazon and their ilk for your gaming pre-orders?

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Live action “Mass Effect 3” ad affects massively…

How about Sheffield City Hall for a change, invading alien overlords? Haters...

Any doubts that one might have had about the desire of games publishers to appeal solely to core gamers are neatly underlined by the new ad for “Mass Effect 3” – the wholly ambiguous and in no way on the chin “Fight” teaser, which you can see here.

Not looking good for the church's new roof fundraiser...

So, small children in the midst of civil unrest, young lovers embracing as the blasts hit and pious folks taking shelter in a church and major American landmarks getting jacked up – all good stuff to use to reach out to the folks who think that games are still like Mario the Hedgehog on the Nintendo Playstation.

Yep, that's a live-action ManShep alright...

One thing’s for damn sure after checking out this advert – you can see where EA are spending your Collector’s Edition cash …

 

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Meet your new Doctor Watson…

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“Elementary”, the mildly controversial and debate-starting American take on Sherlock Holmes already has  Jonny Lee Miller lined up to play the titular hero and now has a Watson, too.

The highlight of McG’s otherwise patience-testing “Charlie’s Angels” films, Lucy Liu has signed on in the role of lapsed surgeon Joan Watson (she’s got demons, you know), who will be Holmes’ live-in sobriety buddy after his rehab stay.

Holmes in rehab? Sobriety buddy? You can smell the touchy-feely earnestness from here, can’t you?

If you find yourself wondering whether this means that this version of Holmes and Watson are going to have to battle diabolical criminal masterminds and outrageously latent sexual tension, you’re not alone – my dear Mrs Rolling Eyeballs raised an eyebrow at Miss Liu’s casting on that basis and she’s rarely wrong about these things.

If the pilot for this show revealed that, actually, it’s trying to be a “Castle” rip-off rather than a too-soon, late-to-the-party modern “Sherlock” tale, I think that I’d lose some of the reservations that I have about it.

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Yet more “Riddick” on-set stuff…

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Yep, that’s the galaxy’s surliest anti-hero Richard B. Riddick, as portrayed by this blog’s favourite action movie star, Sir Vin of Diesel, in a moment of on-set reflection whilst he shoots (and punches, and stabs) the new film.

Is it 2013 yet?  No?  Oh bugger.

If you head over to His Dieselness’ Facebook page (I know, I know, I don’t like this most ubiquitous of social media platforms, but what can you do when that’s where everything’s going down?), you can take a look at some more images from the third Riddick film and some of Vin’s actually charming and actorly digressions on filming, friends and this business we call show.

He comes across as some delightfully daffy combination of British theatrical knight, Sly Stallone-esque guy from the neighbourhood and that nerdy “D&D” player who somehow made it big and gets to do what he loves for a living.  And you’ve got to love him for that.

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“A Game of Thrones Season 2” gets a new trailer

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So, that’s Carice Van Houten and Stephen Dillane in a picture from the second season of HBO’s fantasy adaptation of George R.R. Martin’s “A Game of Thrones” series.  And if you go to YouTube, you can look at a trailer for the second series – looks great to me.  Shame I haven’t actually seen the first season yet.

On the face of it, this series is so very up my street.  Fantasy drama done right, made with a decent amount of money and care and cast with actors who don’t give the impression that they’re doing genre fans a favour by appearing in the show and are giving – egad! – actual performances.

I would love to watch it – but I’m having to wait for the DVD/Blu-Ray box sets as HBO have sold the show in the UK to satellite broadcaster Sky.  This wouldn’t be a problem, as some Sky channels have shown up on the Virgin Media cable platform which I subscribe to.

However, those lovely territorial peeing contests that tv companies insist on engaging in have meant that Sky shunted “A Game of Thrones” off onto their Sky Atlantic channel – which shows every HBO series from the last few years and stuff like “Battlestar Galactica” – and Virgin refuse to pay for carriage rights to the channel, which leaves me S.O.L. and probably a year behind the curve for the remainder of “A Game of Thrones” run.

Of course, I could do something radical like reading the original books and keep the box sets for a marathon session in the near future…

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“Star Trek 2” pictures show…stuff.

I know that folks can be a mite sensitive about spoilers when it comes to the next “Star Trek” film from curly-haired, black eyeglass-framed visionary J.J. Abrams.

Chances are that they don’t want to know about the nature of Benedict Cumberbatch’s role, whether Zachary Quinto is still an Emo bad ass or how many alien ladies Chris Pine is going to squire this time around.

So those guys are going to be as ticked off as Abrams was at the weekend when some sneaky pictures leaked from the set of the second “Star Trek” film – I’m going to link to them but I’ll spare your spoiler-radar from going haywire by including the most innocuous one.

But what does it all mean? She's leaning, there's some pieces of set there - such an enigma!

Yep, it’s the one of Zoe Saldana’s Uhura getting to wield a phaser, in the daylight, on some kind of space craft.  If you want to see Messrs Cumberbatch and Quinto having words, click-through to Den of Geek’s story.

Needless to say, the second Abrams “Trek” movie is one of my most eagerly anticipated films of 2013 and any degree of rampant spoilers won’t stop me from going to see this film on opening weekend.  Probably in the company of Mrs Rolling Eyeballs and our good friend, Eva’s Mum – who wasn’t a “Trek” fan before seeing the film but certainly was afterwards (she’s a big Abrams /“Lost” and “Alias” fan).

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A literary update…

As detailed in previous posts, I have been devoting much of my leisure time to reading of late – games and films have taken a back seat (although I did play through the “Mass Effect 3” demo on 360 and loved it).

To bring you entirely up to date, this week I have somehow found time to read…

“Triumff – Her Majesty’s Hero” by Dan Abnett (Angry Robot books), “Nekropolis” by Tim Waggoner (Angry Robot) and “Changeless” by Gail Carriger (Orbit books).

Triumff - a swiss army knife of a book...

“Triumff” is best described as a ‘Blackadder’-like, alternate history swashbuckler with the titular hero inadvertently and grudgingly fighting a conspiracy to kill the Queen in a Britain where the Empire never quite ended, magic is very real and puns are as lethal as a good blade.

Dan Abnett knows swashbuckling and is – I would argue – without peer when it comes to large-scale action sequences.  He’s also genuinely funny and possessed of a gift for the pun which staggers the mind and emboldens the heart.  This is a great romp – in the very best sense of the word – and is highly recommended to you if you enjoy adventure, invention (there’s a prodigious hit rate of ideas and some very cool world building in this novel), comedy and character.

My limbs are falling off - your argument is invalid.

Tim Waggoner’s “Nekropolis” is the first in his series of supernatural detective novels featuring former human cop and reluctant zombie P.I., Matt Richter.

This is a book where the cover directed me to take a punt with it and I’m glad that I did – this is a really enjoyable tale of mystery, murder, drugs and mayhem in a world of the dead so off-kilter and matter-of-factly strange that it makes Tim Burton’s films look like an episode of “EastEnders”.

Richter inhabits the titular city of Nekropolis, where the dead, the undead, the uncanny and the archetypal creatures of the horror genre exist in an uneasy détente – everybody wants to rule the place, be it vampires, werewolves, ghosts or the otherwise living-impaired, but no one creature can gain full control.

If you like your horror fiction scary but not gross, your detective hard-boiled but essentially decent with it and your romantic lead to be steadily decomposing, you should think about giving this book a try.

If you have engineer's goggles, prepare to don them...

Finally this week, I read Gail Carriger‘s second instalment of her ‘Parasol Protectorate‘ series, “Changeless”.

When talking about the first novel in the series, “Soulless”, I did raise some minor misgivings that I had regarding the contemporary idioms used in the book, which I felt took me out of the otherwise delightful world that Ms Carriger has created.  Those issues still remain in the second book – would it kill the editors of the UK edition to replace the word ‘stoop’ with the word ‘step’ when a scene depicts somebody waiting outside a house? – but I was able to put them firmly to one side and concentrate on enjoying the second steampunk romantic adventure for Alexia Tarrabotti, the now Lady Maccon and erstwhile preternatural at large for Queen Victoria.

Some reviews of this book took issue with storytelling decisions which separate characters for large sections of the narrative and with an ending which left me feeling oddly bereft and exclaiming to the delightful Mrs Rolling Eyeballs “You can’t end a book like that!  That’s like the climax of  “The Empire Strikes Back”, that is!”.

I know why people feel like that – by this point, you don’t want anything too terrible to happen to Alexia, Ivy, Lord Maccon and the cast – but I feel that the decisions that Carriger made with her second novel were very much for the best and ultimately made it a far more compelling tale than the first book was.

Partly this could be because a large part of the action is set in Scotland, which I love dearly.  Partly it could be due to the fact that the steampunk elements in this book are really well-balanced and cleverly integrated into the story – there are gadgets and stylistic inclusions which add to the sense of the world being drawn before you and don’t detract from the story moving along.

And move along it does – this is a book which is pacy but never breathless and leaves you absolutely needing to start the next book in the series as soon as you put “Changeless” down.  I venture that for some folks this will absolutely be a ‘one-sitting’ read and no higher recommendation can I give it than that.

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“Danger 5” – Nazi Dinosaurs Are GO!

Even insomnia’s wretched grasp can’t make this post any less awesome.

What, you've never seen a man-sized avian with a neat blazer before?

Thanks to the stealthy internet ninjas of NeoGaf, I present to you the wonderful, glorious, incomparable trailer for “Danger 5” – the new project from the visionaries who previously brought you “Italian Spiderman”.

James Cameron-level effects work is easy - letting the wires show is hardcore...

Think ‘Gerry Anderson meets the guys who make “Archer” ably assisted by Trey Parker and Matt Stone whilst doing copious amounts of instant espresso straight out of the jar’ and then sit back and delight in the wonder which ensues.

Sometimes, a picture's natural beauty cannot be captioned...

You can see more at the Danger 5 website – and on Dinosaur Worldwide’s YouTube page.

 

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Game to close 43 outlets.

Sad times for UK video games retailer Game, who’ve announced that they will be closing 43 outlets amidst tough trading conditions on the British high street.

Game. Use 'em whilst you've got them?

All of their Debenhams concessions are going, six Gamestation shops and 12 Game stores will close – Bitter Wallet’s story estimates that 247 people will be made redundant.

There are a lot of reasons which we can attribute for this – the UK high street is currently brutal, people are buying games online if they buy them at all, the ubiquity of Game and Gamestation stores in Britain is a factor (the branch of Gamestation in Sheffield city centre used to be a thirty-second walk from the Game concession which closed in Debenhams last year).  There’s that crappy global economy, too, which isn’t helping anybody.

Want to buy "The Last Story" at Game? There could be a problem or two with that...

In other news for the troubled retailer, following the news that Ubisoft‘s PS Vita games were not being stocked in the launch week for the Sony hand-held console (supplier credit issues have been cited) comes a Eurogamer story about pre-orders for Nintendo’s “The Last Story” being cancelled and pre-orders refunded to gamers.

Yep, things are looking positively blooming for the UK’s biggest video games retailer…

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