Monthly Archives: January 2013

This is an “Iron Man 3” poster…

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As you may know, Sunday 3rd February 2013 will see devout fans of rugby with padding sit down across the US to watch the Superbowl.  This, for the still uninitiated, involves a great deal of theatrical fuss and sportsball-based pageantry before the real point of the day arrives – advanced trailers for summer movies.

To which end, that most inexplicable of modern marketing trends rears its ugly crown anew – trailers for trailers.  We’re through the looking-glass, people – ads for ads.  What a strange world we find ourselves residing in, and no mistake.

You’ll be able to see new spots for “Iron Man 3”, “Star Trek Into Darkness”, “The Lone Ranger” and “Fast 6” amongst others – and I’m reasonably sure that they’ll be more interesting than lots of financially well-remunerated chaps thanking variously unfortunate deities for intervening in the success or otherwise of their Hand Egg-centric shenanigans.

Related Tomfoolery:

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Eva Green joins “Sin City” sequel. Wait, there’s a “Sin City” sequel, now?

Everybody else gets to wear a coat - wither poor Jessica and Rosario in that rain?

All the blokes are dressed, and the women? Not so much.  It’s like Frank Miller wrote this movie or something…

I snark because I love – but I was genuinely surprised to learn that Robert Rodriguez and Frank Miller were pushing ahead with a sequel to 2005’s ultra-violent, film noir pastiche, “Sin City”.

Mostly as I don’t imagine that a combined world-wide box office gross of $158,753,820 (thank you Box Office Mojo) indicated to anybody at the studio level that audiences were hankering after another slice of faux-gritty, ever-so-slightly misogynistic, thick-eared anti-heroism and omnipresent sleaze.

I mean, don’t get me wrong – I love pedal-to-the-metal, gonzoid exploitation action as much as any self-described genre cineaste, but I assumed that Hollywood’s brief, Tarantino and Rodriguez-spearheaded love affair with Grindhouse cinema had long-since passed into the ether of filmic trends past alongside duelling volcano movies and the notion of a can’t miss movie star being able to open any film they starred in.

Eva Green.  With an accordion.  And why not?

Eva Green. With an accordion. And why not?

So it is with no small amount of delight that I report the news, courtesy of those nice folk at Empire, that Eva Green has accepted the role of Ava, the titular Dame To Kill For in one of Miller’s “Sin City” graphic novels.  At one point, all concerned were chasing down Angelina Jolie to star but that came to naught when Angie stopped being weird, morphed into a cross between Mother Theresa and Madonna and became rather too important to headline ever-so-slightly nerdy enterprises like this one.

Oh, what might have been...

Oh, what might have been…

Then came word that Rachel Weisz was in the frame to topline, and whilst that would have resulted in arguably the greatest film ever made (Ms Weisz as a femme fatale?  How many thousands of tickets would you like me to buy?), that particularly awesome slice of casting never came to pass, either.

So, for a film that’s due this Autumn and which is filming even as you read these words, this is quite last-minute casting – I suspect the portmanteau nature of the story might give the film makers rather more latitude to work around such casting travails as the search for Ava,   and I’m glad that they’ve gone with a brilliantly off-kilter and singular actress like Green to star in this film.  She’s destined to be forever somewhat underrated due to her curious taste in projects – she’s been great in a lot of less than fabulous movies, which can’t exactly help her profile.

Green will next be seen in “300: Rise of an Empire”, which indicates that she has no fear of extensive green screen work, shouting blokes or material derived from Frank Miller’s oeuvre.  Yep, she’s one of a kind alright…

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The name’s McClane…John McClane.

It’s good to know where you stand sometimes – witness this clip, via IGN.com, from February’s “A Good Die To Die Hard”.

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With each moment of glorious vehicular abuse, John McClane‘s caterpillar to butterfly like evolution from resourceful beat cop to blue-collar James Bond seems complete, doesn’t it?  The beaten-down, right-guy-in-the-wrong-place vibe of the original movie has long since become unravelled by the need to pitch McClane into new and more exaggerated jeopardy with each sequel.

Remember this bit from “Live Free or Die Hard”/”Die Hard 4.0”?  Yes, quite.

"Free Pussy Riot? Challenge accepted..."

“Free Pussy Riot? Challenge accepted…”

If I were a harsher critic of this series, I’d say that this was more or less the point at which the franchise jumped the shark (and then killed it with a concealed rocket launcher), but I just can’t bring myself to get ticked off at the “Die Hard” flicks or their increasingly irascible hero.  As Willis gets craggier and ever more likely to request that you damn kids get off his lawn with each movie, he somehow becomes more endearing – witness the bit in the first clip linked above where he punches out a Russian motorist to commandeer his vehicle.

The films now inhabit some kind of pleasant virtual realm where vacationing  Jerseyite McClane can slug a random citizen with impunity and suffer barely a politsya scolding by way of consequence – five minutes browsing on YouTube will doubtless find you numerous videos indicating that such behaviour in Moscow will earn you a one way ticket to Slabville:  Our Russian compatriots do not eff around.

“A Good Day To Die Hard” opens in cinemas in February.  And a delightfully morally unambiguous slice of retro-mayhem it promises to be.

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Rogue Failure. Or ‘How I Stopped Worrying and Learned To Love the Paragon’

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I am not and never have been a rebel.  In life, as in gaming, I tend to follow a path of general decency and behaving unto others as I would wish for them to treat me – it isn’t cool, it rarely yields great rewards and marks you out to others in the world as being even more of a nerd than they expect you to be.  Thankless existence, unto eternity?  You said it.

I am, dear reader, a Paragon, a Paladin, a White Hat – and I’m ok with it.

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My current favourite gaming experience, the omnipresent “Kingdoms of Amalur”, gives me the chance to play as a rogue class ranged fighter and what I’ve discovered from my now 52 hours of game play is that I’m absolutely useless when given the choice to exercise bad behaviour in games.  ‘Amalur’, for example, gives your levelled-up Rogue class the chance to use your stealth ability to sneak up on adversary and ally alike and either shank them assassin style or simply pickpocket them for nifty loot.

Curiously, I find it more morally acceptable and preferable to sneak up on humanoid aggressors and slice them six ways to Sunday than to go creeping around the game world and cut purses or rifle through wallets – how’s that for a bizarre reaction to choices that a game designer provides you with?   I’d like to think that it doesn’t prove that I’m a sociopath-in-waiting but it does give you pause.

It’s this odd disconnect between real world personal conviction and the options inherent in a video game environment  which has kept me from playing sandbox gangster titles like “Saints Row”, “Mafia” and the grand-daddy of them all, “Grand Theft Auto”.  If I can’t envisage ever wanting to be the characters or inhabiting their world, there’s no way that I’m going to play the title – it’s probably a Boy Scout reaction to the criminal anti-hero archetype but there you go.

That’s not to say that I require characters in-game to be Peter Pureheart and impossibly, impractically noble as that option offers as much of a game-breaking flaw as glitch code or poor design decisions but I don’t want to play games where the protagonist’s raison etre is slaying innocent bystanders and arbitrarily causing car crashes.  It’s just not how I’m wired, folks.

I suppose the point that I’m grasping towards is that I like being offered choice about what I do in games – perhaps I should make 2013 the year that I start to take advantage of those choices and see where they take me in games?

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J.J. Abrams is “Episode VII” Chosen One

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J.J. Abrams, pictured shortly before pwning f00lz and dropping the mic, like the proverbial boss that he is…

At last, our global geek nightmare is over (or possibly just beginning, if you’re a Troll).

After a few weeks of denials, stonewalling and outright, behind-the-scenes deal making, the truth appears to be finally out there – J.J. Abrams is directing Star Wars Episode VII“.  Let me be amongst the first to say ‘Phew!’ and be glad that a director has finally agreed to make what is 2015’s most eagerly anticipated summer blockbuster.

Whilst this would appear to signal a farewell to his work on Paramount’s “Star Trek” franchise – a decision that many vocal Trekkers will doubtless be happy about – I’m convinced that Abrams is the right person for this job.  It’s no secret that I loved his “Star Trek” reboot as, no matter what the aforementioned Trek fans might say to the contrary, his 2009 film essentially saved the venerable sci-fi series from the doldrums.

Yak on forums and social media about lens flare and sexed-up “Trek” all that you want – post 2009, the Gene Roddenberry creation is now a film series that has serious money pumped into it and has attracted a younger generation of viewers to a property which needed new eyeballs if it was going to continue.  Prior to the “Trek” reboot, you had nostalgia, the con circuit and as sorry as it might sound, a steady diet of nothing new to look forward to.

Whilst the “Wars” universe is nowhere near as moribund as “Trek” arguably was, thanks to the success of the prequel trilogy and the “Clone Wars” universe in attracting younger fans into the fold, it too presents equally daunting challenges to a film maker.  If fans of Kirk and Spock are vocal on the internet, they are but dilettantes in comparison to the foaming-mouthed, nerf-herding fanboy rage of Star Wars fans reacting to changes in their favoured fictional sandbox.

It’s a brave director who takes on this job, but I hope that the guy who made “Trek”, “Mission: Impossible 3” and the excellent “Super 8” is up to the challenge of facing down naysayers by doing what he’s great at – making a fun blockbuster which succeeds purely as entertainment first and then as a contribution to the wider “Star Wars” universe second.

Truth be told, I have every faith in him – and there’s not a lot of directors working in this scale of genre film-making of whom I would speak so glowingly.   The action will be spectacular, he works well with emotion and relationships (the previous architect of this film series? Not so much…) as does “Episode VII” writer Michael Arndt and he’ll doubtless bring Michael Giacchino aboard to bring a different musical note to the series, which will be nice.

The big question is, of course, this – who is Greg Grunberg going to play?

 

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Is this the next Xbox – or just a very confusing infographic?

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Look! Colours and boxes!  Via VG Leaks.com

So, this is what the inside of the next Xbox looks like, apparently.

It’s a deeply interconnected series of coloured boxes with vaguely impenetrable titles, which will somehow allow you to play the next “Gears of War” in eye-wateringly intense super HD vision from the future.  Why, it’s almost as if we’re on the verge of a new generation of games consoles, Valve-approved PCs and similar free time monopolising devices of fun…

I’m no technologist, but I know that 8 GB of RAM and an identical number of CPU Cores promise lots of potential to deliver more immersive games worlds.  Of course, it’s an arguable point as to whether the complexity of the PS3‘s internal architecture was ever satisfyingly grappled with by most of the multi-platform publishers and developers in this generation of machines – if the 360 couldn’t handle it, it does seem that EA and Activision didn’t exactly shoot for the fences with the systems out there.

Ever played “Dragon Age: Origins” on the PS3?  Exactly.

Expect major fireworks to be unleashed come E3 this June – or possibly earlier, if you believe the word on t3h str33tz…

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Hagrid’s Feeling For Snow…

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We took Hagrid for a walk in the overnight snow which blanketed the UK on Monday morning – he wasn’t that keen, you’ll be surprised to learn.

Sure, he pads about in the curious white carpet which has unceremoniously deposed his normal pavements and parkland, and he has a sniff about, but he’s just not that into it.

Where are the smells?  And why do his paws not have as much traction as normal?  What’s this cold stuff on the end of his nose?  And why is it drastically reducing my daily walks from two to one longish one?  So many canine questions, so very few answers…

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