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About me

Nothing is over! Nothing! You just don't turn it off! It wasn't my war! You asked me, I didn't ask you! And I did what I had to do to win! But somebody wouldn't let us win! And I come back to the world and I see all those maggots at the airport, protesting me, spitting. Calling me baby killer and all kinds of vile crap! Who are they to protest me? Who are they? Unless they've been me and been there and know what the hell they're yelling about!

Occupation: Engineer

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Fictive Naming at it's Very Best (10 items)
Person list by Heracles
Published 7 years, 9 months ago 9 comments
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Top Ten 'Credit Crunch Busting' Films (10 items)
Movie list by Heracles
Published 8 years, 9 months ago 4 comments
22 votes
Top 10 Retro Gaming Bosses (10 items)
Game list by Heracles
Published 8 years, 12 months ago 4 comments
Favorite movies (3 items)
Movie list by Heracles
Last updated 9 years ago



Recent reviews

All reviews - Movies (8) - Books (1) - Music (1) - Games (4)

Gulf Bore

Posted : 7 years, 6 months ago on 10 March 2010 11:29 (A review of The Hurt Locker)

I bought this film safe in the knowledge that it had to be something groundbreaking and after pocketing six academy awards with resistance from the likes of Avatar, I was surely onto a winner…..Right? Wrong.

Best Director is the only truly deserved Oscar awarded because she has somehow managed to construct a two hour long film out of three decent scenes. Not since the French fleet of 1805 have I seen such acclamation been awarded to something that is so truly mediocre.

Most of this film consists of an illiterate bunch of thugs beating each other up mentally and physically. It's not that this "boots on the ground" style doesn't appeal to me because it is in the same vein as 'Generation Kill' which was one of the best depictions of modern warfare in the Gulf that I have seen. The 'hook' with 'Gen Kill' was that you felt genuine compassion and empathy for the soldiers, they made you laugh and the script absorbed you into the plight of the Scout Marine.

When this is compared to 'Hurt Locker' which is also taken from personal experience, the only emotion I remember feeling toward any of them is that I wish they would shut the hell up. Dull, inane & repetitive are the three words that summon the script up best.

As I touched upon previously there were a small trickle of scenes that almost redeem the film and all of them fall within the realms of "the bomb disposal bits" which are 40-50 minutes of the film at most. Every other minute in-between them I was staring at the clock. The disposal scenes are very accomplished and are very well portrayed. The walk of solitude, the anticipation and the constant fear that death can come at any moment is ever present but without these rare scenes I don't think I would of made it through the film without switching off.

These brilliant scenes are broken up with mind numbingly boring conversation and character interaction such as "You hit me!" - "No you hit me!" - "No you hit me first!" - Cue a brawl on the floor……such interactions are common and laborious and would be better suited in a "Dannay Dyar" type movie. To add to the melanoma that is the script there are some ground creakingly, cock bogglingly ludicrous decisions made by the lead character i.e. forcing a local at gun point to take him to a strangers house in the middle of "haji" territory. Asking him to wait. Expecting him to and then running back through nutcase central for absolutely no reason other than what turned out to be a time filler. And don’t think I don't understand he got a thrill out of mortal danger. I get it. But this provided me with nothing as a viewer.

What completely ruined all sense of reality was when an ordinary group of American soldiers came to the rescue of the woefully inept SAS. I mean tally ho, gee-whiz and bloody hell. Thank god for the American Troops eh? What would us toothless SAS do with out that rugged, exceptional and special group of men pwhat pwhat? Thank god "the everyday US Trooper who rarely sees full combat because he's in a bomb disposal squad!!!" isn't a completely blundering buffoon who can't shoot straight!

You wouldn't see a group of Scots guards saving a group of CIA agents in the middle of the desert in a British film! In fact, why wasn't it the CIA in Hurt Locker? Why do it? The SAS and SBS are sent over to America to help train their troops. FACT. American directors need to get over themselves. FACT.

Amongst other things that repeatedly flashed my anger were the actors themselves, the over use of the phrase "coulda got us/me killed" and the death of the "recognised" child being revoked to save the audiences feelings. If you ask me Evangeline Lilley should have been awarded an Oscar for managing to keep her role in it to an absolute minimum. WHY IS SHE EVEN ON THE TITLE CASE!?

I can see no other reason why this film has done so well at the Oscars other than that the director is James Cameron's ex-wife and that this would be a very large middle finger to the man who directed Titanic. "Hurt Locker" has piggybacked on this fact and I sincerely believe Avatar was robbed because of it. While Avatar's story wasn't groundbreaking the film was and I can't remember looking for a clock or an escape route once!


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WOOnderful

Posted : 8 years ago on 2 September 2009 01:36 (A review of John Woo Presents Stranglehold)

If you are a fan of bullet time then this is the perfect game for you. Stranglehold reminds me of an East Asian Max Payne. Chow Yun-Fat reprises his role as the cop named Tequila from Hard Boiled and the scene is set in the back alleys and crack dens of China.

With the story in place and the license to shoot as many Triad ‘muddertukkas’ in the face as physically possible (And believe me the body count is staggering) you are pushed into an alley filled with some pretty angry Chinamen. These opening levels are designed to ease you into the game (Unless the difficulty is set to Hard Boiled in which case good freaking luck) and introduce you to the control system and health regeneration system. Having spawned into the alley, without even blinking to get my bearings my instant reaction was to sprint around the first corner, hit Tequila time (Bullet time), jump through the air, land on a service trolley and roll 20 yards, all the while smashing the shoot button. From the moment the debris fell from around the square, the doves cleared, the dust settled, the bodies cooled and the trolley creaked to a halt, the carnage was addictive. The bullet time system is an extravaganza once you master it and the game finds the next level because of it.

Other Tequila time specials include sliding down hand rails while unloading four thousand rounds into the nearest drug dealer’s chest. Or if you’d prefer, you can dive round a corner, rolling and shooting the interactive neon signs & air con units making them splatter any unfortunate schmuck who happens to be underneath them. Or if it floats your boat, you can slide over a table, shooting the explosive barrels that litter the room causing them to incinerate anything nearby. Or come to think of it....hmmm.....I better stop because I could go on and on, I think you get the picture. Inspector Tequila can interact with anything in the level and with Tequila time in place any number of destructive outcomes present an option.

Amongst all of this there are style points which recharge other special abilities and standoffs which consist of aiming and shooting at an enemy while dodging his projectiles Matrix style.

The plot jangles on amongst the carnage and if you can follow it then it is a pretty good piece of writing. John Woo’s American film making abilities are often questionable (Hard target instantaneously popping into my mind – “WHY HUNT WHEN YOU CAN KILL” HAHAHA) but his Chinese films are epic and this falls somewhere in the middle of these forays. Besides I can’t get enough of them slow mo dove scenes so who cares. To be short the plot is a matter of opinion and if you despise cheesy Kung-Fu movies then you probably won’t like the story but rumour has it the game is being made into a live action feature providing some credibility for the plot in game.

If the story isn’t your cup of oriental infusion then the game play will more than make up for it so don’t be put off. Having said this, the game is short (Very Short; Around seven hours or so I’ve read) so be prepared. However ‘replayability’ is decent, especially in Hard Boiled mode which sees an extreme increase in difficulty so be prepared to play with a couple of plasters over your thumbs.

The short game play and poor multiplayer are the only thing that truly stain the game and that’s only because you want it to go on and on. However with the game being made platinum the price is minimal so it is really worth a punt if you’re short of ideas and want a game to just unload on. Great graphics, great game play and a great gun toting funfest. A short but insanely fun piece of software - 8/10


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Tradjedi

Posted : 8 years, 7 months ago on 5 February 2009 10:11 (A review of Star Wars: The Force Unleashed)

In the build up to this game I was more excited than Eric Cartman waiting for the Nintendo Wii! I love Star Wars down to the last Ewok and with nothing of anything significance on the gaming front since 'X-Wing vs. Tie Fighter' (Cue the angry tirades from the 'Knights of the Old Republic' aficionados!) my mouth was more than a little dry in anticipation.

Having snapped up a few gaming magazines from the local newsagents I proceeded to wind myself up with gameplay tit bits and numerous screen grabs. The graphics looked scintillating and the premise of actually being able to use the force in a dynamic and 3D environment almost made me pass out. After having read all I could for the time being, all that was left to do was ferment in my imagination.

When I first got the game there was no doubt in my mind it would be great and for the most part it was. As the game loads, the breathing hisses into life and the story starts to unfold, more importantly it feels like Star Wars. The start gives you control of one of Science fiction's all time bad guys and serves as a warm up allowing you to learn the basic controls that will be vital later in the game. You have been sent to destroy an old Jedi as Darth "Feel the Power" Vader; Trees, boulders and even Stormtroopers can be manipulated with the force and hurled at defenceless defences and if this gets too boring (Which it doesn't) then the force push can be summoned to blow numerous enemies, objects and laws of physics away. To put it shortly you feel like a national superpower encased in a black iron lung.

After the battle with the Jedi you have been sent to assassinate the cut scene shows Vader choke the life from said Jedi and drop him to the floor. The lightsaber is then 'force pulled' from his hand by a very young child………… (these cut scenes are a continual strong point of the game and link in nicely with 'A New Hope')

Needless to say you are the child shown in the cut scene and have become the young apprentice of Vader known as "Starkiller"; fed lies by Vader you have become angry & twisted, corrupted by the powers of the Dark Side. You then begin your true gaming experience as the young sith and this is a very different prospect to playing as the all consuming DV. You immediately feel the impact of this loss of power; Troops are no longer cast aside by the force as easily and the lightsaber combo's do not flow or deal as much damage. As you fight through the various levels you begin to level up and are able to assign force points to various attributes in an easy to understand selection screen. This allows you to start picking up the skills that have been demonstrated by the dark destroyer himself, equipping the young sith with all the tools an evil assassin needs, lighting, lightning shield, force repulse, lightsaber throw, bad attitude etc etc etc

The level format is fairly similar to what everyone would expect from a platform/third person game with legions of angry enemies who try to prevent you from making it all the way to the standardised boss level at the end. This does not take anything away from 'Lucas Arts' though because most levels are well designed, well executed and on the whole visually beautiful. The boss levels are fun to play through (especially the angry Rancor) and the cut scene kill at the end of a correctly entered combo is always eye poppingly cool. One of my favourite mini cuts is the demise of an AT-ST walker of which there are two variations: One sees you pick the machine up and crush into a square cube using the force. Ok not bad I hear you say but the real piece de resistance is when Starkiller blocks a bolt of lasers, dodges a large bolt and then jumps upward cutting the whole walker in half. At the top of this pirouette of destruction Starkiller unleashes a force repulse which blows the machine apart leaving the troopers inside dead and the walker in two red hot steaming pieces. Fantastic stuff, it never gets old and I always find myself making some kind of unneeded "boom" sound.

Another huge strength of the game is the combo system that can lead to some eye watering visuals. If you get good enough at the game it is no problem to destroy 20 enemies in a huge blur of lightsaber, lightening and force explosions. Some of the game play is comparable to 'The Matrix' Burley Brawl scene with hordes of enemies being scattered around the level by your awesome power. An example of such a combo is a large number of lightsaber spins and slashes culminating in a force slam where Starkiller pounds the floor. Any enemy within 20 feet is knocked into the air and off of their feet. This serves to prevent button bashing and give the gamer full control of the fights.

On top of this there are some other satisfying segments of gameplay including an action where you lift the enemy into the air with the force and then throw the lightsaber through his torso spearing him like a Zulu and inflicting massive damage. Alternatively once you have lifted the enemy off the floor you can send 10,000 Volts through him and then throw him at his mate resulting in a shower of sparks. Using the force in imaginative ways is up to the gamer because it really is a dynamic weapon.

Unfortunately despite these outstanding features the game is littered with lots of small issues that continually frustrate you. Nothing so large as to truly spoil the game completely but issues that gradually begin to pick away at the gloss.

The small annoyances begin with a Darth Vader that cannot run; Very accurate seeing as he is practically a droid/machine, but when you first purchase a game all you want to do is sprint around like a child with A.D.H.D. high on cocaine destroying everything with a pulse, and in this circumstance everything without one as well. Instead you find yourself plodding around raining destruction willing Darth Vader to go faster like an old beaten up Skoda.

Some of the smaller issues include the save system that is confusing and unclear, check points rear their ugly head which means hours (in hard mode) replaying the same segment over and over and over again, while the load screens seem to go on forever, a truly annoying waste of life. This is compounded by an event which I lovingly nicknamed "F**K SAKE I'M SLIDING AGAIN, GET UP YOU S**T JEDI WANNABE!!!!". To elaborate, getting shot by a snipe trooper or hit by an AT-ST walker can sometimes result in Starkiller skidding across the floor as if it was made of ice. The inability to break out of this slide means you are a MASSIVE target for every enemy in the area and on the upper difficulty setting of Sith Lord it usually results in you "becoming more powerful than you could ever imagine". Granted this is a one off every now and again and feels more like a glitch than a constructed piece of gameplay but with the ill-defined checkpoint system explained, it can cause a great deal of heartache having to start from the beginning.

One thing that is a continual frustration is the very slow paced camera! Some of the camera angles the level designers give you are truly dreadful and although this is something that I feel almost every third person suffers from, with the exception of Prince of Persia, a good game usually gives you a control system malleable enough to respond to the problem rapidly. 'Tomb Raider: Underworld' exemplifies this characteristic perfectly; Most of the camera angles are intentionally designed to show Lara's backside and are therefore completely useless for standard gameplay. On the other hand the camera is very fluid and allows you to zone in on that next ledge or lever quickly and without too much drama.

However, comparing the The Raider's camera controls to the The Sith's camera controls is like comparing a tooled up 'Royal Marine' to a 'Football Hooligan' armed with a duster and foul language! It is slow and cumbersome and half the time it makes you feel drunk! This is a minor issue on some levels but on the trickier levels or on increased difficulty settings it makes you explode with rage as you repeatedly hurtle over the edge of the Death Star's numerous balconies or get 'smacked upside ya head' by the 10 foot rocket wielding blue Stormtrooper standing directly behind you!

To counteract this there are three things to remember when playing 'SWFU' on the PS3. DON'T try and fight in a corner because you might as well fight blindfolded, lock on to EVERYTHING (L1 I think??) and utilise the camera centralisation button with every ounce of your being (R3) because if you don’t you might as well cut your own head off and run around clucking!

Despite these faults the game as a whole is well paced & well designed, an overall good platformer and does more right than it does wrong* but the thing that annoys me about 'The Force Unleashed' is that it has all the attributes to be a truly great game, and really could have been if a little more care was taken with the smaller details.

6/10

*I think I'm quoting here so don't chastise me if I am I can't remember


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Raidical

Posted : 8 years, 8 months ago on 8 January 2009 04:27 (A review of Tomb Raider: Underworld)

The new Tomb Raider is a massive leap forward as far as the saga is concerned; I personally stopped playing after TR3 because of the mundane puzzles and the tedious story lines the game began to pursue. The storyline became lost in time for me and the swan dive a distant memory. It wasn't until I read about TR: Underworld in a magazine and see the stunning graphics on 'PlayR' that I even thought about purchasing the new game...... as well as the fact that Lara looked much much fitter in this new instalment.

I purchased it on PC because of my lack of PS3 and the £20 pounds price deficit, I have a PS2 control adapter and although it took a 103 Mb patch and a graphics driver update to run the stupid thing, it was well worth the hours delay. You begin in a training scenario set in the future which takes you through the different controls and key combos as well as the skills Lara has acquired during her decade of raiding experience. On the whole this is a pretty mundane level and just gives you a starting foundation to lay your skills on.

The level ends in pretty uninspiring fashion and after a cut scene the game begins by taking you to an earlier point in time set in the middle of the Mediterranean sea. Cue some very very skimpy bathing wear, wet cleavage and a whole lot of zooming in and out on Lara's perfectly rendered bottom, a process that was a particular highlight, especially while she is squatting balanced on a pole of some description. Immature? Yes. Sad? Yes. Desperate? Yes……... but I really feel this is one of the major selling factors behind the game, if not the largest, and the new Lara Croft is a hotcake make no mistake. Almost seven weeks went into getting her womanly bits perfectly formed and another 4 months were spent putting her together in just the right way. On top of this you as a gamer can select her clothes from mission to mission and not in the gay designer kind of way. And remember if it aint skin-tight then it just aint right!

After at least 4 hours of complete immaturity, I decided to start playing the actual storyline and satisfy myself with a sneaky glance now and again.

Anyway reverting back to my initial point and forgetting Lara's boobies for just one second no matter how bigger part of the game they have become; the levels are well designed and can be quite taxing if you are not paying full attention to the world around you. It is all to easy to run around for half an hour straight and miss the obvious stone ledge that is just slightly obscured by a furnace…….not that I ever did that of course! It's the usual Tomb Raider take on puzzles i.e. Slide this box, flick this lever, depress this stone switch. But there are some very cleverly designed missions, the addition of the grapple hook adds a new dynamic to the game and has allowed the level designers a lot more freedom. Some tasks really make you think about your approach to the problem and a particular task stands out in the form of a rotatable bridge that you have to spin on it's axis while jumping and swinging around different platforms.

I haven't completed the game yet and I have just finished getting out of croft's own basement but from what I have seen I have been impressed. Thailand is a beautiful level and I can fully understand why this was released as a demo. Whether it is swan diving from the highest ledge around straight onto my face, admiring the scenery, ogling Lara's bum or simply cracking on with the mission, the game play, stunning visuals and a really good puzzle kept me going for at least 3 hours on this level alone and I was thoroughly satisfied once I had played it through.

However I hope this is not the only level to be played above ground in such a beautiful location because no matter how detailed you make an underground cavern or a Pharaoh's tomb it can all be a bit repetitive and dull. Thailand made me fall in love with platform games all over again and highlighted the fact that Lara is back on top…..I wish.

A great purchase for any pervert/platform enthusiast.


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No Crysis at Crytek

Posted : 8 years, 8 months ago on 6 January 2009 04:35 (A review of Crysis)

It is very hard to try and start a sentence post Crysis as this game left me in such a state of awe that the dopamine released left me as a drooling wreck. From start to finish the action is non stop, the graphics are unbelievably beautiful and the user interfaces are innovative and stylish. In short this game is a work of art. There were at least five times where I paused just to admire the scenery overlooking a bay or a giant chasm.

The start of the game begins at 124 Mph…….literally! From then on it only picks up pace, you shortly lose half your team mates to an unknown evil and once the squad leader is speared and dragged into the sky, the scene is set for the protagonist: Call sign NOMAD to take centre stage. The frenetic action is stitched together with a ludicrously unbelievable story line that retains the player's interest and adds to the all too common phenomenon of "Just this next kill, Just this next stage, Just this next chapter………" meanwhile the sun has set, 10 hours have passed and you have become nothing but a Crysis gaming robot!

I don't want to give the ending away to all those who have not played it because it is a little slice of gaming genius smeared all over some truly ground breaking graphics! I'll just leave it at that, you won't be disappointed!

Instead of discussing the plot line I will focus on the gaming experience it gives the player. Set in 2019 NOMAD is a special forces Soldier (In fact this is something of an understatement, NOMAD is an extreme special forces soldier, in fact he makes the SAS look like a group of 17th century dragoons), the unit he serves with is a gathering of the worlds finest soldiers all of whom are equipped with Nano Suits that gives both physical and tactical advantages.

The very nature of the Nano suit gives the game and the way the player can approach it a completely unique and fluid appeal. The suit allows the player to switch between Armour, Strength, Speed and Cloak; when I first heard about this my initial reaction was one of scepticism, the last thing I want to be doing in a first person shooter is fiddling around with buttons and hotkeys! In reality the system is set out very ergonomically and each performance enhancement is carried out using a mouse gesture control i.e. When the centre mouse button is pushed, the physical enhancement desired can then be selected by dragging the mouse toward the chosen feature. Very quick and very smooth. This allows the player to flick through the different enhancements rapidly whilst picking the best possible attack strategy…...Maximum Powerrrr. On top of this the suit looks preposterously cool!

However, don't think you can spend your whole Crysis life as a blurred illusion in the jungle or a bolt of lightning skimming across the ground. The suit has an energy bar that depletes exponentially with the amount of movement required. For example if you were to stay prone while cloaked, the bar depletes much slower than when you are sprinting from tree to tree ducking for cover and once you take a shot or the suit runs out of energy you de-cloak and are visible to all those around. Although I cursed this multiple times (Especially when I suddenly lost cloak in the middle of a machine gun nest) it is an essential branch of the game; If the player could stay cloaked constantly then it destroys the skill involved.

The array of weaponry within Crysis is pretty standard for a first person shooter but it is the way the gamer can utilise and customise a gun that makes it special. The armoury can be modified to suit a particular style of play or a personal preference. The options vary depending on weapons, but most carry the same modifications: Silencer or No Attachment, Tactical Attachment (Tranquillisers) or Grenade Launcher, Flash light or Laser Pointer, Iron Sights (Basic gun sights), Reflex Sight (Red dot in a glass sight), Assault Scope (Scope with limited magnification) or a Sniper Scope with 4x10 Magnification. As you can see this gives the player an immense amount of freedom to 'play as they please' whether that is putting the bad guys down in a myriad of flying bullets or a well placed and silent head shot.

Any situation can be tackled differently depending on how the gamer is feeling or progressing:

Angry? Then jump in the nearest Jeep, accelerate to top speed, point the hood at a number of enemies and oil barrels and bail out of the truck to watch a magnificently detailed explosion of smoke, fuel and body parts that shower the local shrubbery.

Calm? Collected? Cloak in and silently put the enemy to sleep with the tactical adapter, collect the data and cloak out. (A lot more skilful than it sounds, especially when there are more gunmen than at a James Blunt concert)

Bored? Jump up and down repeatedly in power mode laying waste to everything in sight with a rocket launcher.

In fact a personal highlight whilst infiltrating an enemy AA position was cloaking in next to a helicopter and sticking a lump of C4 to it, after carefully escaping through a dense thicket it was time to start picking off the guards with the silenced, sniper scoped Scar rifle I had customised earlier. Once the enemy caught wind of my existence the helicopter took off and flew straight over the top of them at which point I triggered the C4 to witness the aircraft explode into a hailstorm of really hot tiny bits that rained down on the people below. Beautiful. A gaming experience well up there with the completion of Sonic.

Aside from the complete freedom the game gives you in terms of tactics and your interaction with the world around you (The maps are free roaming and the world around you is fully interactive from tanks to twigs) the aesthetics and attention to detail continue to astound throughout. Every single weather condition is executed in staggering fashion by Crytek, from sunrise to sunset, snowfall to rain, and all affect the player to some extent, when playing in the rain or surfacing from a body of water the droplets roll off and stream down the camera at random. Later in the game when roaming around in the icy tundra the frost begins to build up on the camera when still and if static for too long the mask becomes completely opaque, only clearing when moving forward or standing next to a burning vehicle . The game pays so much attention to detail that even the reflex sight becomes frosted making the iron sights the only accurate method to expend ammo.

There are however a few blots to Crytek's copy book, the enemy soldiers as a group are very tactically aware and band together running proven scout patrols and real search operation tactics. Unfortunately as individuals they are pretty dumb……for example a classic way to knock off a lone soldier is to crouch behind an object, cloak, stand up and shoot him, crouch, recloak, stand up and shoot, crouch, cloak and repeat until dead. It's a useful tactic but it is a bit sad the game with such detail lets you down on some of the A.I. Ideally the soldier under fire would realise, run around the object and smoke your ass. It is also a little easy to stealth round a patrol or sneak up to within two inches of an enemy and power punch the guy in the back of the head (Ah who am I kidding that part is more fun than a bouncy castle with wheels!) nevertheless it does make the gameplay a little tiresome when you figure out how to beat the system.

Another small bug in the game is a weapon drop within a building. I'll elaborate; When an enemy is shot the gun he was carrying is dropped to the floor and the ammo/gun can be retrieved. If this occurs in a house or a building of some sort the gun can sometimes become stuck in a wall or the floor and constantly make a *phut, phut, phut* noise which ruins the games well achieved Doppler effect. On top of this the gun cannot be retrieved so the noise has to be endured unless you reload.

Other things that bug me yet are not really considered to be bugs per say include a tank that can't run over a garden gate and a world in which everything is harder than a coffin nail, for instance I switched to max power and threw a twig at a corrugated iron shed which promptly collapsed as well as making the vehicle inside explode alerting every Kim, Jin and Norryata in the vicinity! I mean for crying out loud it's a stick not a cluster bomb!

In it's defence this is a PC game and like all PC games it is inevitably going to suffer from a few bugs. Thankfully such is the calibre of the game that it is just a drop of salt in a river of fresh gaming perfection.


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Alienated but still Friendly

Posted : 8 years, 10 months ago on 19 November 2008 04:32 (A review of How to Lose Friends & Alienate People)

Simon Pegg nestles in near the top of my "Funniest British Blokes" paradigm and given his foray into movies has quickly risen to the top of the comedic cream. It's a shame in some ways because Spaced was one of the first in a small list of cult comedies that capture me in the way a dopey moth flies hopelessly toward incandescent light. For some unknown reason it is often the lack of anybody else laughing that I find so appealing. This kind of show is usually offered up by a tentative BBC3 at midnight as a tabernacle for an experimental audience, The Mighty Boosh, Spaced, and Flight of the Conchordes are all examples of the kind of low budget cult comedies that the BBC try to show without drawing to much attention to themselves.

I am telling you all of this frivolous information so that you can begin to gain an idea of how I felt when Pegg went mainstream, disappointed at first, but reluctantly happy at the same time, for one of my comedy pseudo-children had taken flight. Luckily the quality of Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz was undeniable and all but the most humourless critics had to laugh at the timing and sharpness of Pegg's performances.

However, when I first see the premise of How to lose friends it did not interest me, the idea seemed dull and self-serving. Fearing the worst, I could envisage the clichéd headline from 'The Guardian's prep schooled entertainment journalist: "Pegg seemed so desperate to isolate himself from the Hollywood A-List that he has fallen into the all too familiar trap and cemented himself as one of them." (ALTERNATIVELY you could have had a classic headline from 'The Sun's cockney wide boy 'journo': "ICE COLD PEGG MISSES FROST" or other such dramatic & sweeping statements….."Pegless - Simon is S**T!!")

Anyway, I have diverged, I didn't particularly go into the cinema with much hope for this film to condense the paragraph above and to be perfectly honest I really couldn't be bothered to watch it. The start of the film sets the scene in the future and unless you share your neural functions with a polliwog then it is obvious to see that this is where the writers will revert to come the end of the film….nothing new and nothing shocking here. What is shocking is the way Pegg manages to pull an ordinary film out of the fires of mediocrity.

The character he portrays is a middle aged journalist that runs a disjointed and manic magazine called 'Snipe' in this he reviews the Hollywood A-list and takes pot shots at its underbelly. The magazine is effectively bankrupt and scoops are hard to come by because Sidney Young (Pegg's character) is black listed and cannot attend the celebrities known hot spots. Trying to get into these events provides some droll entertainment but the film really fires into life when Sidney gets his "lucky" break and makes it to the Utopia of New York working for a huge, yet manufactured magazine, from the moment he arrives Sidney is an outcast and the New York public are not shy to show it, not that Sid does anything to help himself; It is here that the real comedy lies. Dancing like a hyperactive spaniel, being generally ignorant and obnoxious and creating physical revulsion in everyone he meets is priceless.

An example of this is hacking up a huge lump of chewed up burger onto the Boss' wife's back, completely fantastic, showing that the comedic timing and poise that Pegg has is second only to some of the funniest moments in Blackadder. After laughing so hard I physically had to stop and draw breath the film carried on hitting the little dirty spot I have on my sense of humour with sharp lines and some cracking scenes. One such involving Pegg getting off his tits at a party and shouting "ENGERLAND, ENGERLAND, ENGERLAND, ENGERLAND, EN-GER-LAAAaaaAAND" while hurling abuse at Orlando Bloom because he refuses to join in…..hey, I know it's cheap humour but even Einstein enjoyed a good fart joke.

Sidney tries to alienate himself from this world of sycophantic hypocrisy, but soon he finds himself falling for the person who hated him the most (Kirsten Dunst) and when she hurts his feelings he drops all of his morals. From here on I don't think I really need to carry on, it follows the same unbreakable romcom pattern of 'Boy likes girl - girl likes someone else - confusion - a little heartache - WEYHEY everything is great and as clean cut as a Vicar's underpants'

It's a shame the film follows along this path and dries up somewhat toward the end because the first two thirds is comically brilliant. The underlying plot line (although a bit insincere and very thin) is setup to remind the audience of the plasticity of stardom, unfortunately this is already a well known fact and this means that Pegg still runs the risk of trying too hard to distance himself from stardom. However all in all I think it shows what a clever comedian he is. Comparable to, and no worse than, Ricky Gervais' ghost town. If you enjoyed that then you'll enjoy this; Light, humorous and no emotional strings attached.

6/10


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Celestial Freestyle

Posted : 8 years, 11 months ago on 13 October 2008 01:42 (A review of In the Hands of the Gods)

If you love football & a good old documentary film this tale of five lads is a very decent watch, if you don't like either, then I'd stop reading now.

In the Hands of Gods is a docufilm that latches onto the football wannabe in all of us. It tracks five lads from around the country & from very different social backgrounds in their quest to meet Diego Maradona in person. To do this the lads must raise cash by busking their way across North & South America in a marathon journey that tests talent, endurance and friendship.

The busking is carried out using their ample freestyling abilities that captivate the public around them as well as the audience watching the documentary; Some of the tricks the lads pull off are truly remarkable (especially the 15-16 reversible around the world's that Woody pulls off in New York) it is the unrecognised skill, talent and ambition that take football back to it's rawest form. There is only one thing on their minds and that is to meet Diego, although I don't understand this passion to meet one of the biggest cheaters on the planet, the motivation of the lads is so pure you could bottle it and sell it as Volvic, not one of them is desperately seeking fame or fortune from the film and I think this is what makes it such a pleasure to watch.

Sleeping rough, barely eating and freestyling for near on 8 hours is the daily routine and you cannot help but get wrapped up in the desperation to succeed. At the beginning of the film I found myself thinking 'oh no, chav wideboys, I cannot be bothered to listen to their inane and predictable babble for an hour and a half' but as the documentary moves on the stories behind the mouths becomes clearer and all the more moving. This film is the defining moment of these extremely talented lads' life and there is something extremely sad, and yet very refreshing about that in a film.

Enough though because I believe circumlocution is out of place in what should essentially be a simple review, therefore in summation this is one of those real life underdog stories that makes you smile at the end.


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A Gem Soaked in Violence

Posted : 8 years, 11 months ago on 3 October 2008 01:36 (A review of Blood Diamond)

I will start by saying that this film was excellent. The diorama created by the News and Bob Geldoff's perpetual & insincere pressure to donate cash to Africa has been one that has gone on for years. The product of all of this has made people numb whenever the trouble in Africa rears it's head again and I am as guilty as the next man. It's all too easy to shrug off and ignore the reality.

Blood Diamond repaints the horrors and atrocities that modern day Africa is still suffering, it focuses on Sierra Leone's civil war and the languid efforts of the west to try and stop it. After being immersed in the mindless and merciless killings being carried out in the region on a daily basis the viewer is forced into the nauseating reality of what is going on and the flagrant disregard for human life.

This picture is painted no better than by the character of Solomon Vandy played by 'Djimon Hounsou'; an actor I had never heard of before the film. He lights up the screen with his performance, displaying every spectrum of human emotion amongst the cacophony of bombs and machine gun fire. To add to this spectacular performance Di Caprio does a great job with what must be one of the hardest accents to pull off and adds a third very decent film to his acting belt.

I'd recommend it to anyone, whether they want to see a great film, or simply if they want a subtle reminder about the desperateness of the situation in Africa without Bob Geldoff's face preaching to them. This film is Bloody moving, Bloody fast past and importantly Bloody good to watch eh?


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Resounding Mettle

Posted : 8 years, 11 months ago on 2 October 2008 02:07 (A review of Death Magnetic)

Let's face it. Metallica's last album was pretty poor and sounded more like an upcoming thrash band's album. The process they went through to record the album was disjointed and riddled with interruption leaving the end product to be an angry tirade. I know this was the point but after 15 minutes of this blitzkrieg my tired ear drums submitted their surrender; Apart from 'Invisible Kid' and 'St. Anger' there really wasn't that much to offer in the way of lyrics and when combined with no change of pace throughout and far too much over strumming the album only succeeded in giving me a headache.

After this album and especially after watching the documentary "Some Kind of Monster" I was seriously worried whether Metallica would ever perform again let alone write another album. Fortunately for their fans they managed to pull themselves together, forget about downloading and covers and create what has to be their best album since 'The Black Album' which is all of 15 years old now. I even think this album goes someway to catching 'Ride the Lightening' but that may be an excited overstatement because I don't believe this album will be surpassed by anyone including Metallica themselves.

When you switch the album on you instantly know that this is Metallica, it has their scent all over it and once the drums and guitars roll on in you are confronted with more solo's than a Star Wars family BBQ, in fact with one entire 7 minute spot specifically dedicated to a guitar riff you know this collection of songs are going to be epic.

The album starts off typically fast paced and adrenaline filled while leaving plenty of time for some great lyrics and an interlacing of piano's, trumpets, strings and bass. Every song on the album could be laid down in a rock club without hesitation and set the place on fire which only goes to show the quality of the band's bottomless song writing ability. There is not one track I don't like and I'm still wrangling with the idea of "IS this album better than the Black Album?" Thanks to the complete murder of "Enter Sandman" by Kerrang it makes it very close.

I just hope I haven't got too excited and look back on this having changed my mind but my initial reactions are good. The only bad thing about this album as far as I can see are the impossible levels that will inevitably follow it on Guitar Hero!!


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ZzZzZzZzZzZodiac

Posted : 8 years, 12 months ago on 26 September 2008 09:36 (A review of Zodiac)

This film was one of those that slipped under the radar and was always one that I felt I missed out on. The premise of a code breaking crime thriller was the major attraction and one that usually always pushes my film appreciation buttons. I knew very little about the film….actually that’s and understatement, I knew nothing about the film. I knew the plot was about a murderer who used a code to give the cops clues and I knew it was based on a true story which usually always gives the film added poignancy.

It goes without saying that I was horrified when Jake Gyllenhall appeared on screen! His lack of acting finesse never ceases to amaze me. His moping schoolboy face screams "kill me now and put me out of my emo misery!" while his confused face does nothing other than get under my skin. Unfortunately these veneered facial expressions appear right from the start and left me gasping for 'Jake Gyllenhall free airspace' by the end of it.

After my brain had finished dismantling Gyllenhall's acting ability I was determined not to write the film off there and then. The start was reasonable if not a little predictable, but there was enough violence to shock you into the plot and with the appearance of Downey Jr. my film expectations started to rise. However through no fault of his own even Rob DJ couldn't save this pancake and it has to be said that it is one of the most uninspiring films I have watched in recent times.

The Zodiac wrote the police letters and challenged them to break his codes providing the directors, producers and script writers with a perfect opportunity to challenge the audience and invite them to try and solve the riddles. Instead this seems to be written for a target audience of pregnant hillbillys living out of a toilet and cleaning their rabid syphilis with a wet sponge. Nothing is left to you as the viewer to wrap your mind around, in fact everything is spoon fed to you so badly that the director may as well appear on the screen waving a big wooden spoon around while making aeroplane noises.

The segregation of the audience is my main issue with the film because it defeats the object of a crime thriller. In my opinion the ideal crimer (That’s a portmanteau of the words Crime & Thriller) should present you with an array of possible suspects and allow you to try and guess your way through it (The Departed/Usual Suspects being great examples of this). In this film, the code is broken for you with no real explanation of how and then insults your intelligence further by presenting you with the only suspect and therefore the killer himself. What a joke!

After the letters and murders have been used and the film has used/mutilated all of the real life evidence it descends into a Jake Gyllenhall bore fest which focuses on his Cartoonist persona single handedly solving the case. Unfortunately for the directors and more importantly the audience, this relies on Gyllenhall's acting ability which is so dreadful it made my white blood cell count double in self defence.

If you make it this far then you really are doing well because it is terrible, I was watching this film alone in my room with the lights off for maximum effect and three times I muttered "Boooring" with nobody to even hear my dismay. I was more thrilled by the dump I had to have half way through! It came as a complete surprise to read that this is one of David Fincher's workings because the fear factor is so completely absent, I was more scared of the killer in scary movie.

All in all this film is pretty darn bad, the acting is poor, the script is more than sleep inducing and the code breaking is non-existent. The only things that save it are the violent killing scenes which are few and far between and Downey Jr. who is written out far too early.

If you want to learn about The Zodiac killing's then read a book, watch a documentary or listen to an audiotape, do not bother with this film. The plot loosely follows the true events, but without adequate script writing the truth cannot hold an audience for 195 minutes. It is this fact that makes the film feel more like a history lesson than a piece of entertainment.


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Comments

Posted: 6 years, 11 months ago at Oct 9 22:19
Thanks for the image vote -- LMAO at
your "About Me" quote... EPIC STUFF!!!
Posted: 7 years, 11 months ago at Sep 28 15:34
I love Pulp Fiction. I love Reservoir Dogs. I love Jackie Brown. I enjoyed the Kill Bill films. I love True Romance. I hate Death Proof.

I saw Inglourious Basterds due to the good reviews and because I want to see a *good* Tarantino movie again.
Posted: 8 years, 9 months ago at Dec 23 19:40
Yeah, pretty much. I'm just trying to make this site as unworksafe as possible.
Posted: 8 years, 10 months ago at Nov 20 13:51
We got too many of them on this website. Don't fall into the Status Quo!
Posted: 8 years, 10 months ago at Nov 19 22:32
I was ripping off Mortal Kombat so that peeps would start using my nickname as opposed to another two-letter combo.
Posted: 8 years, 10 months ago at Nov 12 14:28
Hurry up and make a Most Hated list so we can all make snide comments about it!
Posted: 8 years, 12 months ago at Sep 25 16:42
Posted that comment too soon! I was meant to add: "Any suggestions?"
Posted: 8 years, 12 months ago at Sep 25 16:41
So I was just sitting there wasting time in the lab wasting time when the boss comes up to me and basically delivers this line in a whole lot more words: "hey Dan what drug should we spend 3 mill on to save the country from pandemic influenza? You've got 8 hours, let me know by tomorrow!"
Posted: 9 years ago at Sep 21 11:16
I was so close to buying Force Unleashed this morning! Got to put it off for a few days, at least after Spend-Fest Friday!
Posted: 9 years ago at Sep 19 15:22
Mate, how can you give a monumental inspiring game like Shadow of the Colossus a 7/10 when you haven't even witnessed its glory?!?!
Posted: 9 years ago at Sep 11 17:46
Nope. It's just the game, and the only real interaction you have with others is that their creatures get uploaded to the Spore server, and might show up in your universe.
Posted: 9 years ago at Sep 2 13:41
At least I enjoy looking at my profile background in the mornings. Good to see you and all though!
Posted: 9 years ago at Sep 2 10:39
Alright Big Man, Welcome to the fold!

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