Wednesday, 24 September 2008

Double The Love

Diva and I have no idea if this is legal but I received an award from Brett the other day I gave it to her and now she wants to give it to this blog, feeling that I deserve to have it both here and on Jamjarsuperstar.

I think this is fair enough, and to make it more legal I've decided not to nominate anyone and just leave it as the people I've mentioned on JJS.

Extra thanks to everyone who has given me awards/memes/general praise and support throughout my blogging voyage so far!!

Getting To Grips With Gadgets

Today was the day I finally came round to browsing some of the new little gadgets that Blogger have spent so much time compiling. Some of seem a little odd (I'll not say pointless but seriously, Mario and Zelda on your blog? What next?) but then I've found some lovely little gadgets.

When I first started SCG, I thought that it would be a good idea to put up a feature where I put a quote or saying up every day but this idea failed miserably - I just didn't keep up the payments, so to speak. But now I have blogger to do it for me! Hooray! We'll be enlightened every time we view the blog!

And I've inserted the headlines of the day on to my blog as well, so you can all keep up with current affairs (for the UK at least...) - see, I'm so generous with my information aren't I?

Tuesday, 23 September 2008

Epidemic! Run For The Hills!

So right now I'm recovering from the common cold (which I find as being an odd name because there's nothing common about the type of colds I get - it's much more than the regular sniffles and drippy nose!) and everyone around me is coming down with it.

My three best friends are either in the grip of the cold or are developing all the symptoms that point to them getting it! One was absent from work and bedridden today thanks to this supposedly harmless little virus that everyone says you should just get on with.

The thing is, when you've got the cold you instantly think that it's going to develop into something worse or you're paranoid about passing it on to other people. Watching "28 Days Later" yesterday turned my friend into a nervous wreck, not just because we'd watched a scary movie at 10am but also because it made her think that she was going to spread the cold to everyone and anyone she came into brief contact with.

Unfortunately if you're working in the confines of an office or are sitting in a meeting room you can't escape other people's germs and they can't avoid yours. I ate the whole "grit your teeth and get on with it" attitude to the cold, so can someone please invent a vaccination for it?!

And On That Note...

Remember last week when I said about the misreading of signs? Here's another one for you (please don't knock me for this, it was at a great distance on the bus today!):

"S&M Animal Accessories"

Make of that what you will - I think that the "&" was supposed to be a little fancy squiggle to make the sign look nicer but it made for me nearly dying of keeping giggles in for too long after I'd seen it!

Tuesday, 16 September 2008

Waht Wsa Htat?

Yes, this is supposed to say "What Was That?" in the title and the point is that today I was sitting on the bus travelling to work when I saw the most curious thing - and this must have happened to someone else at least once before!

So it's raining, I'm listening to Black Kids to cheer me up and we pass by Hays Travel where there's a sign in the window saying "Thinking of going on holiday? Cuddle us now!" Okay, yeah, the sign didn't really mean that we should be getting hugs for going on holiday but instead the sign really said: "Thinking of going on holiday? Come in now!" So either this was a bad case of morning eyes teamed with the rather annoying will it develop/ won't it develop kind of cold or I'm going crazy.

But then opposite there is a barber's where the sign says "Free Haircut With Every Chosen Design" - design meaning a pattern to shave into your head (why anyone would want to do that is beyond me!). So we've gone from misinterpretations to stupidness - does anyone else have a problem with signs and flyers in this way? No? Fine.

Sunday, 14 September 2008

You Can't Take The Sky From Me

The title is a fact: but then they can, and have, taken a pretty good TV show from our screens...

I started watching Firefly last Saturday, in a double bill. Unlike most space adventures, this dramatic, sometimes comedic (but always brilliant) features no mutant monsters or living jungles - all of the planets are distinctly barren and the threats are all very distinctly human.

So the story is this: Six years before the show is set, Independents were beaten in a battle against the evil, dominating Alliance and were forced to flee in fear for their lives. So we have our crew, forced into a life of crime, and avoiding the Alliance at all costs. In the first episode they pick up a Shepherd (that's a vicar to you and me) and a young doctor. There's revelations aplenty in this first episode, but I'll not give anything away apart from the fact that everything gets just that little bit more dangerous for the crew of Serenity.

Most sci-fi programmes have elements of westerns lying underneath the surface, but this is taking that premise to the extreme. Most of the inhabitants of the various planets are living in little wood shacks, wear Victorian-style clothes and use primitive technology to get by. As the little prologue before each episode explains: "A ship will get you work, a gun will help you keep it". Such is the volatile nature of this universe. But that's what makes this exciting. You're never quite sure what's going to happen next, and the mystery deepens the more episodes you watch.

Unfortunately the silly people who made the show have pulled the plug after one season! Hopefully there won't be a massive twist or cliffhanger at the end of this saga or I'll be very cross indeed! I'd suggest that you hunt the show down and give it a go since it's not cheesy or unbelievable like Star Trek or Stargate - it's much better, and I'm hooked!

Monday, 8 September 2008

The Dark Knight

Here at SCG I've gone a bit movie-fanatical. Whether it's because I'm immersed in my own work which has me racking my brains with them and their marketing or whether it's just the fact that I'm suddenly turning into a movie freak who can't discuss film in real life but can when I'm writing, everything at the minute seems to revolve around them.

And so here we come to this. Like my review of Indy IV it's probably come a few months too late but here it is, finally! The Dark Knight! And I must say:

Give Heath Ledger the Oscar now pleeease!!!

Such compelling acting, a tour de force in acting! Disturbing, freakish, amoral (not even immoral, which has got to be a hard one to pull off) and possibly the most ironic portrayal of The Joker ever. Really you have to wonder what he could have done if he'd still been around - topping this role would be hard, but then wondering if there was still more left in the tank is tantalising.

Going back to the film, he definitely steals the show although there are other pretty special performances in here as well. Take Aaron Eckhart's chameleonic Harvey Dent, scarred in more ways than one by a horrific event that practically takes his humanity away from him. The CGI used on his face is just that little bit too realistic - I have to honestly say that I wasn't expecting such a graphic representation of such a heavily burned man. Kudos to the SFX department! Of them all, Christian Bale as Bruce Wayne (ahem, aka Batman) is the least impressive, and even he's pretty good!

In discussing Hellboy 2 before I touched upon the subject of whether monsters can really live amongst humans in perfect harmony. Now translate monsters as being human psychopaths and, yeah, superheroes, and you essentially have the subplot of The Dark Knight. Or at least what I'd like to think it is - while you have The Joker blowing up everything in sight and laughing as he slashes people up recklessly, Batman is going through a crisis all his own, eventually leading into the film's dark ending. Similarly, Harvey goes through an identity crisis and is brainwashed by The Joker into becoming an anti-hero, the complete opposite of the man who you see put 500 of Gotham's criminals in jail in one swoop. None of them are accepted by anyone and no-one apart from Wayne's butler knows the true identity of Batman. Thus when discussing the Joker, one of his henchmen says "Friends? Have you met the guy?"

I haven't been this entranced by a film in ages. I have always been that little bit skeptical of superhero movies, but The Dark Knight is different. It's a dark tale made even more twisted by stellar performances and the extremely capable directing of Christopher Nolan. I enjoy a film that can make you think - I suppose some of the little intricacies may have bypassed some people but it's what kept me hooked. By the end, I was gripped, not wanting it to end and with my hair all over the place from being so thrilled.

I only have one problem: it was so stupidly LOUD!!!!!

Hellboy 2: The Golden Army

Heh, I hope you like the little cartoon version of Hellboy - just that little bit more interesting than me plonking a still from the movie straight in here.

Before I begin my, ahem, dissection of the movie, I must first apologize for being away from my desk longer than anticipated. I feel horrible that I haven't been around to blog, although I did post a little teensy video on my other site, so I hope you checked that one out...

Review commencing now: This is the second Hellboy film that Guillermo Del Toro has directed and is none the worse for it. Unlike the first movie, Del Toro's somewhat childlike fantasy qualities shine through. The first movie could have described as standard fare, not too impressive but not incredibly bad either. In this one, Del Toro plays around more with both his characters and his creatures to create a much more fantasy-based world that questions whether the race of demons and magical monsters can ever live peacefully with the humans.

Case in point; Tooth Fairies that fly around eating people so there's nothing left shouldn't be even vaguely cute but they are. So they have big massive fangs, so what? There's a scene here that shows that they're slightly cuddly, when Johan Krauss (come back to him later) revives one and it starts "talking" to the others giving them information about who bought him and his little ravenous chums. Lurvely.

By no stretch of the imagination is this creation cute but the Angel of Death is also something to behold, even if his appearance is slightly spoilt by the movie's only walk into sickly-sweet "please don't die on me" territory. At first I thought, "nice eyes" (plastered liberally on his wings, a nice touch) but then there was something just a little more menacing about it - it was around seven feet tall and loomed over everything...

And then there's Johan, possibly one of the funniest and strangest characters I've seen in ages. He's German, wears a rather large diving/space suit and oh, did I mention that he's made entirely of gas? This gaseous element of Johan provides possibly the most comical moment of the whole film - no, not that bit where he keeps whacking Hellboy with the locker doors, the bit just after where he minces along thoroughly pleased with what he's achieved. Although, he does come out with same rather good lines as well. I enjoyed his transformation from a tied-to-the-rules figure to a more liberal, carefree person. Gas person. Whatever...

But hey, I was disappointed because when I read a preview in the Empire about the film I saw a character named "Cathedralhead" (I won't patronise you by explaining it) and thought he was going to be a prominent chracter. So imagine my disappointment to learn that he only actually appears on screen for a maximum of, well, a minute!! I was fuming. The film needed more Cathedralhead action...

But overall, the narrative turns out to be ever so slightly predictable. While you couldn't quite figure out overall what was to happen between the people, you always had this feeling that they weren't going to die or let the bad guys win. Hey, what kind of superhero movie is going to let its main chracters die and let the baddies get away huh? Um, actually I'll come to that in my next post.

Too bad that everyone pretty much neglected Hellboy this summer - despite being a great bit of fun no-one was really that bothered. Luckily Del Toro has the prospect of directing The Hobbit in front of him, so maybe more people will pay attention to that. I loved it really. I would hate to think what a terrible mess it would be if Peter Jackson had got his blood-stained paws on it and mauled the poor film with horrible creepy-crawlies and grotesque monsters like he did with King Kong (officially the most horrible film I've ever been to see - I don't want to ever see a man having his head bitten off by a giant maggot again. How on earth I was the only person in a packed cinema to sit through that sequence with eyes wide open is beyond me). Guillermo knows how to do it nicely.