Monthly Archives: May 2012

Marcus In Chains? Now updated – it’s Baird and Cole!

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Ooh, look – the (slightly disappointing) third game in the “Gears of War” saga wasn’t the last word on DudeBros in Do-Rags saving the day and kerb-stomping monster men into oblivion.  Funny, I had a feeling that it wouldn’t be.

Eurogamer has a story – inspired by Game Informer’s cover above – which guesstimates a big reveal for a new game in the 360 signature FPS series in next week’s Xbox 360 press conference at E3 .  I’m thinking Kinect support with Baird and Anya dance-off mini-games and a sweet Kart Racing level (like “Joyride”! Only worse!)

See, this whole ‘Appealing to the Normals’ thing is easy…

Updated – Saturday 2 June 2012!

Cole Train, baby – Woo!

The other two “Game Informer” magazine covers have leaked prior to E3’s Monday kick-off and feature Baird and Cole from the other “Gears” games, with the frequently bickering odd couple leading a different squadron in a game said to offer a prequel side-story to the current trilogy.  It’s also supposed to be developed by People Will Fly, who brought you the excellent and underrated SF shooter, Bulletstorm.

The king of the frosted tip, the bard of bad attitude, the one-liner whiner – Damon Baird

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Back to School

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“Education? Me? With my busy schedule?”

Posting has been lighter today than I would have liked and this young fellow is who you should blame/send a bouquet of flowers to.

See, Hagrid is a lovely boy but has some distinct behavioural challenges that we would like to eradicate – pulling on the lead when out walking,  barking lengthily at dogs who walk past his window and his zero tolerance policy on Spaniels are all things which we would like to make a thing of Hagrid’s past.

To this end, we’ve started to see a dog trainer one-to-one and we’ve begun to put a programme in place which should help our slightly Lairy Lurcher become the fine and well-mannered gentlemen that he clearly would like to be.

Just look at that face.  He’s a ruddy delight and no mistake, but that’s no reason to think that he can’t be ruddier and infinitely more delightful.   He’ll make friends with Spaniels yet.

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Cheers, Liz.

Happy Anniversary, your Maj! Or, alternatively, a good excuse for a long weekend off and a pint of Old Frottingham’s Frankly Peculiar…

Readers from outside this United Kingdom might be bemused to learn that the whole country’s going to be incommunicado for the next few days.  Offices are going to close, shops will shut early and the weather will do it’s level best to comply and be dreadful.

It’s a bank holiday, don’t you know, which is fortuitous as it gives the desk-dwellers amongst us a nice day or two off.  On top of that, we’re getting an extra day off to celebrate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee – it’s been 60 years since she ascended to the throne and decided to have just the one facial expression.

Gurning, it’s a real thing – Wiki it.

I kid, I kid – there are possibly two, now.  It’s a whole progress thing.

People far more devoted to the idea of monarchy than I am are just bursting to share ideas on what to do during the long weekend – the BBC has a downloadable PDF here which will help the undecided to find activities relevant to their interests.

The only reigning matriarch that I can get excited about…

As for yours truly, I shall be doing my best to stay clear of the hostilities and spending the best part of Friday enjoying Ridley Scott‘s latest foray into galactic terror – there’s no better way to celebrate the holiday than jumping out of your seat as xenomorphic miscreants fly at you in 3D.

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“Prometheus” reviews erupting from critic’s chests. Or something like that.

Yep, that looks a bit familiar…

The Guardian’s Peter Bradshaw has had his say.  And various French critics – via the shimmering space voodoo of Google Translate – have spoken forth, too.

The initial word on Ridley Scott‘s quasi-return to the “Alien” universe, “Prometheus”,  seems to be distinctly divergent, varying between mixed acceptance, exultant delight and grumpy disillusion.   Which is as it should be, surely?  I find myself never quite trusting films which arrive with uniform critical assent – no film can possibly appeal to all people, so why should we expect to see reviews which follow the same tone and cite identical positive factors and then expect those views to offer us an accurate picture of what we’re going to see?

Can a sci-fi hater treat this film fairly?  Should we listen to the views of paid-up members of the Ridley Scott fan club (I think I’m still entertainments secretary of that happy group)?  Or should we just be happy with the fact that Scott’s back in the SF zone and resolutely doing his own thing?

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Kevin Smith – tough on airlines, not biggest Bruce Willis fan.

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I make no bones about being a Kevin Smith fan.  Even if “Clerks” had been the totality of his output and he had never made another film, one could make a case for his being an original and engaging cinema voice quite unlike any other.

Thankfully, he has made more than a few films well worthy of viewing – I regularly put “Mallrats” in for a viewing, love the hell out of “Dogma” as a statement on faith and think “Clerks 2” may be that rare sequel which is better than the original instalment in the series.

Even films like “Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back” get regular play from me – it isn’t big, it certainly isn’t clever but its profane warmth, Morris Day and The Time climactic dance number and George Carlin cameo make it worth checking out every couple of years.  And I like “Jersey Girl” without any irony whatsoever – I think it’s a charming and oddly truthful look at being an adult and trying to negotiate your dreams and balance far-fetched notions with the demands of family.

My issues with Smith’s recent output are shared by the director himself in his new book, “Tough Shit – Life Advice From a Fat Lazy Slob Who Did Good”.

He seems bemused and chastened by the failure of “Zack and Miri Make A Porno” – which I confess to having found not very interesting when I watched half of it a few years ago.  It’s still on my Blu-Ray shelf, waiting to be watched completely and probably isn’t anywhere near as annoying as I found it on initial viewing.

Reflecting on the fact that he somehow managed to end kindred spirit Seth Rogen‘s box office winning streak when they worked together, Smith is quick to note that by the time that “Zack and Miri” came around, his films were increasingly informed by cinema as an art form itself rather than any resemblance to real life and suffered accordingly for that disconnection from the audience.

Still, at least I own “Zack and Miri” – I have yet to find a copy of Smith’s subsequent major studio Bruce Willis vehicle “Cop Out” online which is cheap enough to persuade me to buy it.  I rented the film and made my way through twenty minutes before getting the distinct sense that A) Bruce Willis was phoning it in and B) That Kevin, if not quite at the phone booth, was certainly in the queue behind Willis and making ready to do same.

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Reading Smith’s new book, it’s a wonder that he made it through the shoot without giving the once and future John McClane a richly deserved kick in the unmentionables.

Diva antics like you wouldn’t believe, a refusal to turn up and y’know act, and a distinct sense that he stopped enjoying his work many years ago – Willis doesn’t come over well and this negative pen portrait is only enhanced by Smith employing the same degree of lacerating analysis to himself, so as to neatly sidestep any accusations of placing the blame for an underperforming film on its lead actor in a bid to excuse his own shortcomings as a film maker – short comings which Smith is only too keen to point out at regular intervals in the book.

It’s an enjoyable read and a neat spin on the traditional self-help/motivational tome which clogs up bookstores the planet over – Smith’s central thesis is that life is so unavoidably finite and essentially devoid of meaning that any minute spent doing something that you hate is a moment too long.

Admittedly, in Smith’s case, such vocational pursuits are usually studio films with a decent pay cheque attached but the point is well made – if you’re going to check out from this planetary orbit in thirty or so years, you may as well do so having spent your life engaged in things which make you happy.

Any ideas on how to turn wearing cargo shorts, liking unhip European metal bands and tickling my dog’s belly into a mortgage-paying career opportunity will be gratefully received.

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Hypocrisy? In the IMF? Surely some mistake…

 

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Christine Lagarde of the IMF – redefining irony for a new generation…

Christine Lagarde, scourge of tax evaders, pays no tax.

Oh, Ms Lagarde, thank you for making this blogging lark so much easier.  It’s always such a delight to get unsolicited advice from spectacularly self-righteous career diplomats making over $500K a year, paying no taxes on it and telling us how we should best weather the current financial storms affecting the planet.

Such absurd pay is all part and parcel of the ‘attracting the best talent from the private sector‘ model which all global governments now have to follow so slavishly (a notion so asinine that it can only have been the work of private sector consultants eager to score ongoing government contracts and talking a blue streak at some hapless mid-level bureaucrat in order to do so).  Because, adopting everything that the private sector does is SUCH a good idea, right?

Do you ever get the feeling that modern life is but the stuff of a spectacularly absurd Onion front page headline, only you can’t quite bring yourself to laugh at it?

 

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He’s NOT the UN Peace Keeper you’re looking for…

I know that times are tough for us all, but surely the BBC can afford to employ people who call the difference between the UN and some made-up dudes from “Halo”?

BBC News mistakes Halo UNSC logo for UN • News • Xbox 360 • Eurogamer.net.

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Video game icon Master Chief, from the “Halo” series.  Not presently working for the UN.

Under-Secretary-General for UN Peacekeeping Operations, Hervé Ladsous. Does not have own, multi-million-selling FPS franchise.

I’m thinking that the difference between those gentlemen is wholly apparent, even to those zany funsters at the BBC.  Isn’t it great to know that your license fee money in the UK goes towards employing folks who know what they’re doing?

Give me five minutes and Google Image search and I’m pretty sure that I could find the proper logo.  Call me unduly competent if you must…

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