Sunday, 30 May 2010

Film Reviews:

Spiderman: Enjoyable and a good cast but lacks in dynamics. The story is faithfully told, which is a plus, but seems a little unfocused at times. 2.5 Stars

Terry Pratchett's Going Postal: I really enjoy the Pratchett adaptations and I am excited each time a new one is released. This Sky funded installment to the series has a fluid tempo and the characters are beautifully cast. Nice CGI effects help to fluff out the action sequences. One of the best TV adaptations I have seen in a long time. It could be a little bit more serious though. 3.5 Stars

The Mask: The moments where Jim Carrey is the Mask are often funny, and more-than-often entertaining. Once the mask has been taken off, though, you are watching a really bad movie. 3 Stars

Gladiator: While this film has a high-end production value (although it's pretty murky looking) it lacks a little on the character side—there's too much focus on the interactions between characters and it overloads on emotional overkill (is the love story really necessary?).The acting is often poor and I feel the movie lacks any real social or political messages—which it craves. The fight scenes are impressive (probably the most worth-while parts of the movie) but the rest of the film drawls on and feels kind of pointless. Worst of all—the film panders to idiots. 2 Stars

Saturday, 29 May 2010

TV Reviews:

Doctor Who: This show tends to keep itself lighthearted to avoid being over-dramatic. I like the to-the-point plots and the acting ability of the cast is impressive enough (especially David Tennant—who shines). A−

Tuesday, 25 May 2010

Film Reviews:

American Movie: What can I say? Every single second is funny and it's not boring like most documentaries. 4 Stars

Monday, 24 May 2010

TV Reviews:

Freddy's Nightmares: Although the series pertains a level of cheesiness—it only carries across from the movies. The amount of effort that goes into each episode is surprising—although Freddy rarely attacks his victim there are some good plots and atmospheric pressure. There are parts which may just be too camp for the good of anyone. A−

Sunday, 23 May 2010

Film Reviews:

Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure: I like the characters the two play but I dislike the story-line. Or, at least, how it pans out. A large portion of the film drags on—are all these scenes necessary? Just to hear them play air guitar is enough for me though. 3 Stars

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy: Everything about this film sucks. The characters are lazy, the plot menial and (above all) it has bad pacing which makes it difficult to understand. 2 Stars

Thursday, 20 May 2010

Game Reviews:

Final Fantasy XIII: The graphics are the only thing keeping this above sea level—they're very impressive. The game-play systems they employ are just a new take on old systems which stray from usability. The story and characters are trite and the camera is irritating—the designers are clearly focused on the girls of the game (as all Japanese game designers are, nowadays). Oh yeah, did I mention the soundtrack sucks? ***

PaRappa the Rapper: The only rhythm based game I enjoy, it is very hard and always fun. Even now the drawings still enthrall me and the tunes aren't half that bad either (for a game). I find most rhythm based games dull (Guitar Hero included) so it's nice to have, at least, one that I like. A−

Monday, 17 May 2010

Film Reviews:

The 40-Year-Old Virgin: This is the only film with Steve Carell that I actually like. I usually find his characters overly obnoxious and irritating—but I like the character he plays here (he is believable). A film which focuses more on the story-line than the one-liners (a lot like There's Something About Mary). It's still a little too immature for my tastes. 3.5 Stars

Saturday, 15 May 2010

Film Reviews:

Spaceballs: I'll admit—this movie is a guilty pleasure of mine. I find a lot of it funny—but it's too slow and unoriginal. It is one of those films you can enjoy with a beer, even though it's bad—like Die Hard. 2.5 Stars

Let the Right One In: Beautifully shot, a great cast of unknowns, deep characters and a truly horrifying atmosphere make this one of the best vampire movies around. There's just something so weird about a blonde, Swedish kid (who's friends with a vampire). 3.5 Stars

Friday, 14 May 2010

Album Reviews:

MGMT: Congratulations:

I actually liked there first CD—well, at least, a couple of tracks. They encompass everything I hate about hipsters and indie music. Oracular Spectacular (***) did have an atmosphere; which was actually quite nice. This EP is really, really bad. Period. It's grinding too which only adds to the excruciating pain. Not catchy in anyway, poor melodies, lyrics and riffs all round. DO NOT BUY! C+

Monday, 10 May 2010

Film Reviews:

Silent Hill: I watched this movie, before bed, because I wasn't tired. Anyone who watches this film will know how poor it is. Everything about it is so obviously bad. There are so many times I want to punch Radha Mitchell you could make a drinking game out of it. You know, if the actors could act as if they were real human beings it might not have been so bad. But then again, the direction lets it down too. 1.5 Stars

Sunday, 9 May 2010

I've just finished reading the third installment of the Akira series. What a book! Thinking back to the movie, it seems more obvious now that Katsuhiro Otomo wanted us to be intrigued into reading his books—and boy is it worth it! Compared to most graphic novels I've read the direction is of a much greater level. The plot is something I must take seriously (not just find fun). Obviously, it has to do with the length—6 books at roughly four hundred pages a piece. Everything from the drawings to the dialogue are just marvelous. The plot really fills out—the movie takes major events from each book to make a synopsis—more characters are introduced and the atmosphere reaches new heights, even the film didn't brink. A+

Saturday, 8 May 2010

TV Reviews:

Dragonball Z: Although I can see why people may dislike the time consuming dialogue between characters—it develops the plot thoroughly. The epic battle sequences are interchanged with moments of humour which brings a much fuller feel to the characters. A−

Friday, 7 May 2010

Game Reviews:

Pokemon (Red/Blue): You know, more than ten years later, this is one of the greatest games of all time. Perhaps the greatest Gameboy game of the last generation. Beautiful level designs that (although may be tedious to trek over) stay fresh for a long time. A great story which, may seem childish on the surface, turns into a highly interactive plot via the game-play. I rarely get hooked to things which have a collectible aspect but I have to admit I have all the cards and thoroughly enjoyed the whole encapsulating experience of this game. Even the music. A+

Advance Wars: Here's another great Gameboy game which I first played on my little brothers handset. I instantly liked the game—the graphics and fluid pacing really sucked me into the battle sequences. It's incredibly easy to understand yet still has a sufficient difficulty level (hard yet not annoyingly so). You've seen this kind of turn-based squared movement system before but the way they animate this game allows a new experience. A
Film Reviews:

Drag Me to Hell: One of the best horrors I have seen in years. Every aspect of this movie is great—a nice balance of shock and comedy, great characters and development, great direction, great effects. Perhaps not the most original storyline but they film it in such a way that it is truly brilliant. This is horror as it should be. 3 Stars

Paranormal Activity: A big part of me refused to enjoy this movie. On the surface the plot and the acting seems superficial. I did enjoy the horror aspect of the film and it truly is scary. It was still a little cheesy but if you looked at the horror alone you're surprised by how effective it is. One thing I can praise this movie for is the lack of a high budget cast and special effects. Back to basics. 3.5 Stars

Thursday, 6 May 2010

Game Reviews:Dungeon Keeper: One of my favourites when I was a kid (and still is)—a beautiful game design with an array of highly crafted monsters. Perfect level designs and a superb gradient of difficulty. I always prefer games with a simple game-play system over the more difficult RPG and D & D style games. One of the most underrated games of all time. A+
Album Reviews:

Johnny Cash: American VI: Ain't No Grave:

Usually when I think of Johnny Cash I think of a series of great singles tied to a bunch of filler tracks. I was pleasantly surprised to discover a calmer, wiser Cash with this album. Not so many obvious singles here but a full, rich, intelligent outgoing which I'm sure will go unnoticed by many (dude to lack of singles herein). A

Wednesday, 5 May 2010

Game Reviews:

Eve Online: A few different people recommended this game and (as always) it was a poor decision to check it out. One of the most boring games I have eve played in recent history. You basically fly around space (which takes forever and is very easy to get lost in) and gather items you don't care about. The game system is thoroughly difficult to understand and the quests are dull. ***

World of Warcraft: The greatest MMORPG ever made? Possibly. What I like about the game is the game-play, the leveling system and the enormous beautifully designed world. What I dislike is sitting around for days on end futilely leveling up just to use that sword you found which has a fire bonus. MMORPGs have added the most heinous aspect to gaming in all of gaming history—prescription payment. I am absolutely against this form of payment as this system taunts the gamer into spending cash just to get that nice suit of armor. That aside, the quests and character interactions are substantial. A+

Deus Ex: A personal favourite of mine—I've completed it several times and it hasn't become dull. A brilliant storyline and a stark, to the point, game system—Deus Ex is one of the greatest games ever made. Obvious AI flaws in most games would confuse and irritate me but in Dues Ex they are easy to ignore. Also the characters look like they have received a millenniums worth of botox in one sitting. A+
Dungeons and Dragons Online: Although I enjoy the familiarities to WOW and the basic game-play design the fact that you are capped at level 4 doesn't make this a very good free game. I like the character system (it kinda reminds me of Diablo) and I like the world designs. The game gets tiring easily, though, as most of the dungeons you encounter are very similar. In WOW I enjoyed leveling up (although the pressure to do so was excruciatingly annoying)—in DDO it's a little more tedious. If you compare this to WOW (as, I'm sure, you will) it will hold up on the basic game-play but fall short to the shear expansiveness of WOW. A-
TV Reviews:

Buffy the Vampire Slayer: I loved this series when it began (although I was young and didn't really catch onto the craze). Watching it now I still see a lot of great elements in it. Great characters, timing, plot development, it's funny, a nice love story (blah!) and some great dialogue too. It was ranked 41st greatest show on TV guide's top 50 and it's obvious to see why. A+

Firefly: I was a little apprehensive of this show. No one follows up a show like Buffy with a greater show and the cast on the box covers look like B grade actors. I have finally weaned myself into it and I have to admit it's not at all bad. Joss Whedon carries over a lot of the elements from Buffy, such as—the nice direction, good characters and plot development. There isn't the same timing here which made Buffy great and the cast are nowhere near the same level as Buffy's. A−

Monday, 3 May 2010

Nice jacket.

Film Reviews:

Back to the Future: What can I say? Everybody, young and old, loves this film and it's easy to see why. A great dynamic between the two protagonists who may act ‘a little too eighties’, for me, sometimes but they do it with such humour. An obviously great idea which is tied to an equally great plot creates a timeless family classic. 3.5 Stars

Sunday, 2 May 2010

TV Reviews:

Harry Hill's TV Burp: Probably my favourite show on air, at the moment. Although I used to find Harry Hill a little irritating—he's matured. Great production and hilarious jokes at a high consistency. It also has the rare quality of actually deserving an award. A

Peep Show: I really like this show—especially when it first aired. The whole first person conversation idea is a huge success. The characters are subtly great and the story-lines are always hilarious. If it wasn't for this show David Mitchell would have never been catapulted to stardom in UK and he's one of our funniest people. A−

QI: The only game show I can watch, on British TV, till the end. Stephen Fry is a smart guy (I loved his documentary on the U.S.A.) and one of my favourite celebrities. The fact that he can get easily distracted muppets to listen to what he has to say (and remain interested) is proof that this show is worth watching. Although the interesting facts the show relies upon is a bit of a weak idea it just holds it together. Also, I was surprised to find out he is gay. A−

Saturday, 1 May 2010

I think I've figured out which settings are best on the Xbox 360 (HDMI). Expanded is the superior display reference and source is the correct colour space. Choosing source will allow the Xbox to choose which colour mode is appropriate (I'm sure they would know over anyone else). Setting expanded makes black true black and white true white (0–255). A lot of people complained that it was too dark but I have a setting on my TV called black level which I set to high which corrects it. Expanded make a highly more dynamic image and is definitely worth setting. Finally, I have set my resolution to 720p as with all other resolutions the screen displays a pink hue whenever I open the dashboard system—I don't want to break my screen! :p Also, the Xbox is native 720p anyway so I assume it is correct.

Edit: I really want to use the optimal setting as the res is 1360 x 768p. It's not my exact res but at least it's better than 720p. Problem is it disables important display settings on my TV so I don't know what to set?! >:-( :p