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Alden Bates' Weblog

Feigning normality since 1973

June 27, 2009

Wednesday Night Movie: Revenge of the Fallen

Filed in: TV & Movies.

Having seen Revenge of the Fallen at long last, I can see that Michael Bay has taken on board a lot of the criticisms from the first film:


  • We complained that there wasn't enough screen time for the Transformers, so the sequel has a lot more screen time for the Transformers

  • We complained that there wasn't enough interaction to establish personalities in the Decepticons, so there's a lot more Decepticon interaction.

  • We complained about the rampant comedy, so the sequel has a lot more comedy.

Oh wait, that last one isn't a positive. The first ten minutes of the film is a great action sequence, as Autobots and humans hunt Decepticons together in Shanghai. Then we cut to the Witwickys' house, and are hit with the sight of Mojo taking his new pal doggy-style on the Witwicky sofa.

COMEDY GOLD!

Yes, if you loved the scene in the first movie where Bumblebee pees on Sector Seven agent Simmons, you're sure to love the humour in Revenge of the Fallen. If not... well, they don't raise the bar. At all. It's sad when Transformers Animated, a cartoon aimed at children, is more mature than the live-action movie series.

So, anyway, ROTF is two and half hours of robots beating the crap out of each other while the humans have comedy antics and occasionally some plot happens. There's an even better, though spoilery, review on io9.com, but it's very spoiler. Speaking of, the plot left me with some lingering questions, which I'm putting under the cut to avoid spoilering anyone who lands on the main page.

Continue reading "Wednesday Night Movie: Revenge of the Fallen"

Posted at 1:09 PM | Comments (0)

June 17, 2009

It's the long awaited sequel!

Filed in: TV & Movies.

Hey! Which movie sequel featuring giant transforming robots smashing up cities come out later this month? That's right, it's.... TRANSMORPHERS: FALL OF MAN.

No, it doesn't have Shia LaBeouf, but it does have Bruce Boxleitner! And it's coming out on the 30th of June! What an amazing coincidence!

You can watch the trailer here (I'd embed it, but new wide-screen YouTube is too wide for my blog).

Posted at 12:36 AM | Comments (5)

June 15, 2009

Thursday Night Movie: Terminator: Salvation

Filed in: TV & Movies.

Since it's still over a week until Revenge of the Fallen, I decided to go and see Terminator: Salvation. Unlike the previous three films in the series, this one totally eshews the use of time travel in favour of depicting a post-Judgement Day America under the grip of Skynet. While it succeeds really well at showing us a post-apocalyptic US, and at being a decent action flick, that's about all it does. The characters are only barely drawn in most cases, and the movie can't seem to decide who the main protagonist is — John Connor or the other guy.

Spoilers ahoy!

Continue reading "Thursday Night Movie: Terminator: Salvation"

Posted at 8:52 PM | Comments (0)

June 6, 2009

Questioning Hasbro

Filed in: Transformers.

Every couple of months or so, Hasbro has a Question/Answer session where they take questions from Transformers websites, three questions each, and answer them. I was fortunate enough to have my question picked to be sent in by the Transformers Wiki. My question was:

Given the advances in toy design over the last twenty years, if you could go back in time and impart one piece of knowledge to the Transformers design team of the 80s, what would it be?

You can read the answer Hasbro replied with on the Wiki's May Q&A article, along with the other two questions and answers.

Posted at 12:12 AM | Comments (2)

June 3, 2009

No haiku for you

Filed in: TV & Movies.

I've been watching the old Man from UNCLE series, and partway through The Five Daughters Affair, we get this exchange:

Geisha: You know, ah: When homesick / think of friends / loneliness flees ... is ancient haiku
Napoleon: Haiku?
Illya: It's a classic form of Japanese poetry. It has to have exactly seventeen syllables. My favourite is: The old pond / a frog jumps in / plop.

You may notice that despite the correct (if imprecise) definition of haiku, that both examples completely fail to get anywhere near 17 syllables. Tsk.

Posted at 12:14 AM | Comments (4)

May 29, 2009

Smoking up

Filed in: Tetrap.Local.

According to a news story on TV3 news tonight, smoking rates are up, despite the government spending money on trying to encourage smokers to quit. Tariana Turia, Associate Minister of Health, says that the government doesn't care about the revenue from tax on tobacco, as the health costs are outstripping revenue from same taxes.

But hey, then she's talking about increasing the taxes on tobacco to encourage people not to smoke. Because that worked sooooo well last time.

Here's an idea: BAN TOBACCO! If the government really doesn't care about the taxes from it, then ban the stuff.

Turia herself says in her speech that she wishes tobacco was a relic of the past, yet she doesn't seem to have considered making the stuff illegal at all - surely a vital first step.

BAN TOBACCO!

Posted at 7:10 PM | Comments (0)

May 26, 2009

Slow news day?

Filed in: Tetrap.Local.

Two of the stories on the front page of the Dominion Post are about how Palmerston North has an obscure bylaw which makes house numbering skip the number 13, and about how the winner of last weekend's Lotto jackpot bought Chinese takeaway for dinner.

I mean, kudos to whoever managed to spin the latter out to a couple of hundred words, but how did that make the front page? Are they trying to take our minds off the looming recession or something?

Posted at 7:53 AM | Comments (2)

May 8, 2009

Friday Night Movie: Star Trek 11

Filed in: TV & Movies.

Star Trek! As people who might have glanced at my LiveJournal know, I like Star Trek a bit. Apparently not as much as Moby does, but enough, I think...

There are no spoilers in this review, and I'm going to be fairly brief.

This is the best Star Trek movie since Undiscovered Country at least. It does New and Exciting things with the franchise, which frankly I'm glad about, as it was getting it bit stale in recent times. There were a few things which seemed to harken back to some of the earlier movies (is that vague enough for you?) and there were naturally lots of little nostalgic touches, mostly in the sound design, which made it feel enough like Old Trek that the fans were kept happy. The cast were great, the SFX were, as you'd expect, fantastic and hopefully we'll get a second movie.

I have a complaint though: why why why with the lighting? Seriously, it seemed like every few seconds there was a light shining directly at the camera or massive lens flare effects all over the picture. It almost felt at times like someone had the great idea that lens flares look really cool and stuff, so lets put them all over the movie and make it hard to look at anything for more than a few seconds.

Aieee! And I thought Michael Bay's constant shaky-cam during fight sequences was annoying.

Speaking of which, we got the latest Transformers 2 trailer before the film, and it looks even better on the big screen. June 24 cannot come fast enough.

Posted at 11:40 PM | Comments (1)

May 3, 2009

Shamus Young's Procedural City

Filed in: Links.

I've been following with interest Shamus Young's project to create a Procedural City. He's posted a video to his blog, which you can watch below and read a bit about the creation of in his latest post.

I was surprised at how well the effect works!

Posted at 12:46 PM | Comments (0)

May 2, 2009

Wacky comment spammers

Filed in: Spam.

Seems for a long time I wasn't getting any comment spam. Probably the long gaps between updates were taking this blog off their radar. Anyway, I've gotten a few really curly ones in the last week or so from one guy who appears to be trying to spam domains similar to search engines. The spam comments generally look like:

Hi, I found your site using [domain close to search engine domain], does your site support [web browser]?

A day or so later, I got another one trying to give the impression it was a real person:

Hi, It's the second time i'm posting you without a reply. I found your site using [domain], does your site support [web browser]?

Gee, that's really annoying. They've also posted it to the NZDWFC forums a couple of times, but I've temporarily added "does your site support" to the spam filter - hopefully it won't crop up in any legitimate posts.

So far I can only only see google results for "does your site support firefox", none for Google Chrome (which they posted a comment about overnight), Opera, or Safari.

Meanwhile there's another spammer who's been posting comments with random strings of characters, but including no URL at all. Them spammers are crazy.

Posted at 10:26 AM | Comments (0)

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