Friday, 31 January 2014
Tuesday, 28 January 2014
Or Ghibli Experimental Theater On Your Mark. Completed, as a distraction, during the production of Princess Mononoke when Hayao Miyazaki was suffering through a particularly dreary case of writer's block. On Your Mark allowed Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli the opportunity to experiment with the kind of computer and cel animation blending techniques that would go on to inform the twisted demon flesh sequences seen in Mononoke.
Sunday, 26 January 2014
Saturday, 25 January 2014
Inside Llewyn Davis is a film about pain. Not some sharp, hissing injury that instantly makes you recoil, but a slow, deliberate ache that nags and nags until you can't ever settle. Set in and around the folk scene of early 1960s New York, the film presents the movement in the dispassionate language of a bored booking agent. The musicians are explicitly considered as commodities, either as smiley presentables to be desired, or as ciphers, bland enough to be easily understood.
Llewyn Davis fits neither mold. He's told he's too frayed and ethnically ambiguous. His music's a little too raw and personal. It shouldn't mean so much to him. The other folk musicians sing product, some even explicitly branding themselves through identikit clothing. These people understand themselves as consumable merchandise, how their cute ticks and non-threatening sunniness is easily digestible. Llewyn Davis fails utterly in this respect. He just has his talent, an ability to take someone else's song and play it in such a way that you believe this man is making himself vulnerable, begging to be understood. This is Llewyn Davis' pain. He can't believe no-one else is even remotely interested in what he's trying to sell.
Wednesday, 22 January 2014
Word out of Sundance is incredibly positive - among other plaudits, The Raid 2 is being compared The Dark Knight and The Godfather. Apparently such is this film's violence that during the première screening the film had to be paused, and the lights raised, for medical staff to attend to a gentleman who had gobbled up some ecstasy then had himself an episode.
Sunday, 19 January 2014
Saturday, 18 January 2014
Last night, in the thirty minute block of adverts you're now forced to sit through if you turn up on time for the cinema, The Wolf of Wall Street was preceded by an extended shill for Turkish Airlines starring Kobe Bryant and Lionel Messi. Naturally, it's a repulsive little piece. The two impossibly rich stars try to outdo each other by travelling all around the world taking selfies in front of historical and geographical landmarks. There's no sense they're enjoying this globetrotting, it's just two dull, wealthy men using their infinite resources to potentially make a vague acquaintance feel momentarily defeated. Ugh. Fuck watching a film about yuppies.
Pleasingly, The Wolf of Wall Street is different. Although categorically about reprehensible people leeching money from anyone unwary enough to entertain their cold calling, Jordan Belfort isn't bored or dispirited by his successes. He wants more. Excess is hard-wired into him, he needs to win and keep winning. Any advantage he thinks he has, he pushes. Any goodwill, any note of interest is identified, then ruthlessly, needlessly exploited. He loves his work, and is extremely talented at it. His methods may be vile, but there's no denying his aptitude. The psychological model for this kind of protagonist is then closer to something like an Arnold Schwarzenegger muscle thumper. It's not about learning the error of your ways, it's the pathological need to consume and excrete everything in reach. Wolf's driving force is a prehistoric idea of success. A throng of bleating, screeching apes pounding their chests and gloating on the ruin they have wrought.
Friday, 17 January 2014
Are people still playing Ghosts? I don't know anyone. Even the YouTube commentators I'm subscribed to, whose livelihoods depends on Call of Duty hype, can't seem to muster up much enthusiasm. Having spent a few days slogging through the apparently unpatchable Battlefield 4 (Dice's latest 'fix' has introduced at least as many problems as it's solved) I've started to miss Ghosts' comparatively fine-tuned latency.
BF4 currently has serious problems giving accurate damage reports. Unload on an enemy and they'll frequently turn around like nothing's happened and one-shot you. Irritation is multiplied when your still standing foe is then listed as having zero health on your death screen. It's a shame that Infinity Ward have finally made some in-roads solving the problems that have plagued the last few entries, only to find everyone's moving on. Still, it's good to see Scrapyard back.
Thursday, 16 January 2014
Thursday, 9 January 2014
Wednesday, 8 January 2014
After years of reducing HR Giger's Xenomorph to jittery cannon fodder, video games have finally decided to play around with the creature as a persistent, singular threat. Alien: Isolation puts you at the mercy of one prowling bug as you desperately attempt to escape from a malfunctioning space station.
There's been a bit of a stink about the player character, you take control of Ripley's daughter, but I'm not sure that it's a deal breaker. Yes, it reeks of a studio notes style hook and messes around with a beat from the Special Edition of Aliens, but we already know there can be no reconciliation. Instead the idea seems to suggest that Creative Assembly are approaching their game as a stand-alone sequel that maybe even replaces Jim Cameron's masterpiece. The first two (three?) Alien films are forever. Even Ridley Scott himself couldn't undermine them. Why not treat chronology as a malleable thing if it takes us new places? It certainly worked for the two dozen Godzilla films I watched recently.
Tuesday, 7 January 2014
This game is called TIME VIKING!!!!!ANDSPACERAPTOR. It's currently available somewhere in the Xbox Indie ghetto, costs about 70p, and looks splendid. I think you're fighting the Moon? I could be wrong. I need to get my Xbox hooked up again. If I'm very lucky I might even have some Bill Gates currency left on it.