2008 in Music

Why hello there, may I introduce myself as the latest member to the Wyvern covern. I will be posting music and music technology bits alongside the usual games, films and television banter from Geeky Tom, Crabs, Saltdog and the Other Girl (and of course the costume drama and naughty work related nonsense from RGB).

2008 has been an excellent year for the musical underdog. The criminally underrated geniuses Elbow won the Mercury Music Prize, the much maligned Kings of Leon finally converting the entire country to their sexy country swagger; but the biggest triumph of 2008 has to be the return of Leonard Cohen. The seminal singer songwriter, now 78, only decided to tour to claw back some money after a manager swindled him out of $10 million. Yet after a fully sold out 30 date tour culminating in an incredible performance at Glastonbury, his vicious twisted love song Hallelujah now sits at the top of the charts in both the number one and number two spot. Hallelujah to that.

Even the crap music this year has been better than the crap music of other years. Duffy may be bad, but she is a homage to all things girl group sixties and northern soul – I never thought I could dislike that. Even The Ting Tings, though over exposed and irritating are something of an ode to all that is good about Blondie.

Other honorable mentions for the best moments of 2008, have got to be all things lofi and Americana – Fleet Foxes, Bon Iver, Deerhunter, as well as the swirly attitude of MGMT and Santogold.

So I’ll leave you with the obligatory YouTube clip. With this tip for 2009... Passion Pit. There’re just ace.



and I think you’ll agree that hearing once is a good thing. However hearing it again and watching THIS.MAN.DANCE is even better



(image taken from http://www.flickr.com/photos/michaelfoleyphotography/ under Creative Commons)

Film review: Seven Pounds, starring Will Smith

Quick update on the new Will Smith film which I had the mixed pleasure of seeing yesterday evening. Given its premise, the less you know about it the better, although if you want a brief synopsis, IMDB.com sums it up in one sentence which nonetheless gives some indication of what to expect. That said, if you're accustomed to much cinema-going, you'll probably realise pretty quickly what's going on, in spite of the deliberately obscure narrative and gradual drip feed of information.

This was the crux of my problem with SEVEN POUNDS, along with the overriding impression that my buttons were being pressed every step of the way. Call me cynical, but surely nobody likes feeling emotionally manipulated, even by the ever-appealing Will Smith?

From the outset we are aware that Smith's IRS (Inland Revenue Service) tax officer is palpably weighed down by some heavy burden, and the fact that he's seeking out very sick or disabled people reinforces the atmosphere of doom and gloom. Smith has always had the knack of creating empathetic characters, and it is in no small part due to his likeability that the overabundance of wounded looks (mostly accompanied by mournful music) still strike a chord. In less capable hands, I would have dismissed the story as oversentimental tosh. As it stands, Smith's performance, and his convincing rapport with the truly excellent Rosario Dawson (whose character suffers from a serious heart defect) lift this in parts beyond soulsearching melodrama.

During one scene, Smith and Dawson lie in bed playing a game of 'What If?' and the intimacy and poignancy of the moment is lump-in-the-throat inducing. And there are a few fleeting moments of levity when you can actually crack a smile. However, the fact that the outcome seems so clearly signposted, along with the deliberate tugging of heartstrings, ultimately frustrated my attempt to indulge in this as a proper, old-fashioned weepie. Call me a cynic but overall then, a watchable film that, in spite of good intentions, simply tries too hard.

My Best & Worst Movies Of The Year

I have been very remiss of late in posting, leading GT to despair of me and rightfully so. Anyway, to make amends I thought I would do a little round up of some of the good, the dreadful and the mostly meh movies I have had the pleasure and misfortune to see over the past year.

A look back through my diary and an online calendar of 2008 releases tells me I have seen 44 films out of a possible 90+ throughout the year, so this is not a comprehensive reckoning. I have not, for instance, seen either TWILIGHT or HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL 3 and have absolutely no plans to do so. This probably means I have automatically discounted most of the teen and tween's 'bestest movie of 2008' in one fell swoop. Likelihood of them reading this blog being virtually nil, that clearly isn't a problem. I should also point out that at least two the films (my favourites in fact) aren't released in the UK til early 2009. Which is actually a good thing because now you'll be all keen as mustard and race to the cinema when they do open...

So, starting backwards with the mostly so-what films that failed to leave any kind of impression once the credits rolled. INDIANA JONES IV, THE INCREDIBLE HULK and QUANTUM OF SOLACE were the main contenders in this category, although I would also add SEX AND THE CITY: THE MOVIE to that list. What's noticeable here is that all of these were big budget movies with big names attached - brands in their own right. And all failed to either live up to the promise of what went before or, in the case of HULK, improve on what many see as Ang Lee's flawed first attempt (I think Lee's version is thoughtful and interesting, but many disagree - google if you want to see what I mean).

I found INDIANA overblown and ludicrous - why the sudden recourse to alien artefacts in a story which has always delighted in historical archeological finds? HULK failed to move me by all but wasting the acting chops of its lead, Edward Norton and QUANTUM was the biggest disappointment of the lot since CASINO ROYALE had proved so thrilling. Poor old Daniel Craig was reduced to fighting, running and jumping on/ through/ over things - no time for the patended Bond badinage and charm here. Hopefully the third and final instalment in the purported trilogy will realise the importance of a decent story and proper characterization over non-stop action sequences. Not only was there very little sex in the big screen outing for SATC, there was also little in the way of a good story or the witty banter which made the TV series so beloved. Frankly, it was little more than a fashion show - very pretty but ultimately superficial and unsatisfying.

Miscalculated as they were, I have no real hard feelings towards the above quartet. I save my vitriol for the clutch of films so dreadful that not only do I resent having parted with hard earned cash to see them (OK, only in one case since I went to two as work related screenings) but more importantly, precious hours of my life being so joylessly squandered. The absolute worst culprit was FOUR CHRISTMASES. Damn you Vince Vaughn and Reese Witherspoon - two actors normally signifying enjoyable if not groundbreaking entertainment. I also blame New York in December for being festive enough to persuade me that a 'holiday comedy' would be a good idea. I cannot stress enough how freaking awful this film was - the comedy set pieces were simply unfunny, the various relatives were wholly cliched, the performances tired (no chemistry between the two leads who I hope were suitably embarrassed to be participating in this dreadful charade) and - as pointed out by my fellow sufferer - shoddy production values. See at your peril. Obviously, it's number 1 at the US box office...

Two runners up for shitest flick of the year also fall into the comedy/ rom-com genre - WHAT HAPPENS IN VEGAS and MADE OF HONOR. The former saw Cameron Diaz and Ashton Kutcher getting drunkenly hitched in Las Vegas before hitting the jackpot and then having to try to make their marriage work because of the money. The latter was a gender reversal take on My Best Friend's Wedding with Patrick Dempsey assuming the titular role in order to stop his newly realised soulmate marrying a Scottish laird. Both films were painfully lacking in both romance and comedy. They don't make 'em like they used to (although I thought last year's Knocked Up was a great modern take on the rom-com).

Finally, in amongst the amusing enough/ interesting enough/ affecting enough pile of others - including the likes of CLOVERFIELD, GARAGE, CHOKE, ROLE MODELS, ZACK AND MIRI MAKE A PORNO, THE CHANGELING, THE WRESTLER and WALTZ WITH BASHIR, all of which are worth a look, particularly the last three which really are very good indeed - two jewels shone out. Neither are art house movies, or in any way inaccessible, although they won't be as ubiquitous as Quantum of Solace. However, they are gems you should seek out which will hopefully send shivers down your spine and truly make you feel.

My joint best movies of 2008 are Danny Boyle's SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE and NICK AND NORAH'S INFINITE PLAYLIST. Groan if you must, but both share an uplifting belief in love and friendship, although they couldn't be set in worlds further apart. SLUMDOG, based on a bestselling novel, tells the tale of a young boy from Mumbai (Dev Patel from C4's Skins) who ends up one question away from becoming a millionaire on a TV gameshow and must prove how his poverty stricken upbringing has taught him all he needs to know to answer the questions, rediscoving his childhood sweetheart in the process.


NICK AND NORAH is set in New York and is about a boy and a girl who, over the course of one night, meet and fall for each other. Straightforward and sweet, what makes this movie so appealing is not just the great use of real Manhattan locations and cool music, but utterly endearing and believable performances from Michael Cera (Superbad, Juno) and Kat Dennings as they eponymous Nick and Norah, and who could more than teach Vince n Reese a thing or two about on-screen chemistry. A movie to make you wistful and hopeful at the same time (the balance between the two probably depending on how many years you have on the clock).

Slumdog is out Jan 9th 2009 and Nick and Norah comes out Jan 30th 2009 in UK cinemas so there is no excuse not to make a beeline for these. Merry Christmas and Happy Viewing!

Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix new moves controversy

Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix is out there and it's awesome. Whisper it quietly, as Capcom are known to follow the Wyvern, but it's better than Street Fighter IV.
This isn't the major controversy about this new game though. Oh no. It's more mental than that. You see, the developers Backbone Entertainment gone and rebalanced the whole game. Ryu has a fake fireball, E. Honda can smash through fireballs and Chun-Li's spinning bird kick now moves both vertically and horizontally. Personally, I love that they've changed the rules, although it now means that I can no longer count the frames and demoralise people with Dhalsim. However, some people are less than happy, as this video demonstrates.

World of Warcraft Paid Character Customisation

I’m a bit annoyed at Blizzard. I understand that they have to turn a profit, but I feel that they have a rather monopolistic hold over the MMORPG (massively multilayer online role playing game) market which they are taking advantage of.

I will explain what’s going on. To play World of Warcraft you must pay a monthly subscription of around £10. This is a common model that a lot of MMO’s use. The other model is called the micro-transaction model. Basically the developers make money through players buying items that cost real life money. This allows the developers to offer the game for free. Both are acceptable models, however Blizzard have decided to combine the two. Not only do you have to pay to play their game. You now also have to pay if you want to change the name and appearance of you character. There is also a card game you can buy where – if you are lucky - you can pick up items that can be used in game as well.

It’s seems they are implementing the micro-transaction model by stealth and I don’t like it...

Over here in the UK we have something called the competition commission. It basically stops one company taking over a market and thus taking advantage of their customers with higher prices and a poorer quality of service. I’m sure they would be very interested in Blizzard actions. Although I am sure they can do nothing about it

Anyway, this won't be the last paid service that Blizzard will be offer up to its cornered market, mark my words.

Left 4 Dead (Fun with Witches) and Mirrors Edge (Live Action)

The Xbox 360 Version

I love this game, my friends love this game and I though it was about time I wrote about this game. It’s a co-operative Zombie shooter and It’s genuinely scary, not because of the source material more due to the fact that zombies will be hiding in cupboards, round corners, in trees – basically where you least expect them.

It’s based on Value’s Half Life Source engine, so if you have ever played a Valve game before then you will know the score with the graphics and the game-play. My biggest fear when I heard about this game is that it was originally developed for the PC so Xbox 360 port was probably going to be an after thought. My fears quickly evaporated when I got my sweating hands on it. It’s just as good as the PC version, you will never be able to replace a keyboard and mouse for games like these but the ease of Xbox Live really makes the whole experience fan-bloody-tastic.

Oh and I nearly forgot, this game has the greatest character probably to ever grace a computer game. Meet the Witch.



A horrible sobbing girl that can kill you in a single blow. The aim is to not startle her, so its flash lights off and time to hold your breath when you hear her theme music. The problem is that is just too dam tempting to try get that head shot achievement – the one where you have to kill witch with one shot to the head. This normally ends in much hilarity and a dead team member.

Here’s a video of the general vibe of the game because my reviews are always rubbish.




Mirrors Edge (Live Action)

In an attempt to make my posts seem a bit bigger, here is a real life version of the free running game from EA.
I really enjoyed this trailer. The marketing and the game have been truly innovative. In a year of guns and guts, I have really enjoyed this side order of running, jumping and climbing trees.

Lost In The World Of Warcraft

This is probably a bit of old news but the new World Of Warcraft (The Wrath of the Lich King) expansion has sneaked in a cheeky nod to Lost.

In the zone they have named the Sholazar basin, there is a small island. And on that island is what appears to be a hatch, and upon the hatch is a set of numbers. A set of numbers that I think we are all quite familiar with now.



Blizzard are notorious for squeezing nuggets of popular culture in to Warcraft. It was only a matter of time until Lost got the treatment.

Meteor Strike and Alien Squid Monster Caught On Camara

Sometimes you don't have to watch a Sci-Fi show to see catch some stella special effects. Sometimes the natural world provides excellent entertainment all by it's self.

IMAGINE THAT, check this shit out.



Whats this I hear you cry?




That's right, it's an alien squid monster caught on one of those underwater drilling camara thingys.

Storm Trooper Hoodie By Marc Ecko

Here's something a bit strange, a bit useless and a bit Star Wars. Some clothes companies have managed to pull off the cool Star Wars apparel trick. However I don't think Marc Ecko has quite managed it. Some people will probably wazz all over it and fork out the rather step $98 dollars...not me though. I don't fancy looking like a Halloween reject and a Sci-Fi nerd all rolled in to one.

Star Wars Real Storm Trooper Hoodie By Marc Ecko

$98.00











It's crazy times we live in.

Terminator Salvation Poster

Arrgh, I know I shouldn’t be looking forward to this film but I can’t help myself, It looks good...well the subject matter looks good. I love the Terminator films, well the first and the second ones anyway. I think I just have a fascination for end of the world scenarios.



Anyway I thought that this online poster was pretty nifty. I've never seen flash used like this and I guess it goes to show what a versatile thing it really is.

Lost Season 5 Footage Set To Crap Music

Here’s a promo trailer for the latest season of Lost. It shows off some nice new footage but I am a bit confused about the slit your wrists soundtrack that drones on in the background. The show has such a great original score that it's such a shame not to use it. You may disagree, but on a more positive note. Watch out for the first person shooter view at 1:38, now this I approve of.



Lost Season 5 Poster

Hey look! It's a poster for season 5 of Lost.

My thoughts on EA's Mirror Edge

I managed to play the Demo of this game over the weekend. It was the PS3 version and it really did grab my attention.

Here's a screen shot:



Here's the trailer:



Here is a link to a 2D Flash version of the game

And here is me telling you that it's fucking great.

Its based on the whole free running phenomenon and I think it does a great job of putting you in the shoes of one of those nutters. Of course it has a Manga style plot to lead you through the game but thats a positive thing not a negative.

As you can see it uses a first person view for a game that is essentially a platform game. It should feel completely wrong, but do you know what? It feels so incredibly right. For the first time ever I did the whole body movement thing while I was controlling the very attractive young Asian lady as she hurtled across the roof tops. You know the thing, the thing your mum or your sister does when you give them a go on a Mario game. They seem to make these weird body movements in the direction they want their character to move. I have always thought that it was a sign of you being completely absorbed in a game.

Anyway I will be purchasing this little beauty when it's out and I recommend you do to if you like this sort of thing.

Geeky Tom Lost Update

I still like to talk about Lost from time to time so...

It's back on air in the US for a 2-hour season premiere in Jan. 21 at 9 p.m, which means that we should get it a few days later.

Also, Michelle Dessler from 24 (another one of my favorite shows) has joined the cast:

Aylesworth will play Amy, a smart and successful professional woman with a love for the outdoors who is looking for the right man.


It looking set to be another great season, just what happened to Locke? How did he die? It has thankfully come round really quickly and I'm just about ready to have my find blown for a 6th time...

Sony push UGC in gaming with LittleBigPlanet

Found this great article about LittleBigPlanet on Giant Bomb today. Basically, it points out what I've been wondering for ages. How are Sony going to police the UGC content in the game? Are they even going to police it?

Given that some of the coolest levels in LittleBigPlanet are based on classic games, most of which appear originally on other platforms to Sony Playstation, what's going to happen? I suspect, as do Giant Bomb, that the lawyers will be tearing all these brilliant levels down soon.

LinkedOut


In these dismal days of retrenchment and redundancy I've finally spotted a gap in the market of Hot New Web Ideas that's bound to make me millions - LinkedOut.

It's so simple it's not even true. I'm now in my third round of redundancies (which isn't I hasten to add a reflection on otherwise excellent work record), and two things always bothered me: 1) How come it's always Editorial that gets cut? and 2) How do those fucking twats who manage to steer the successive departments and Channels I've worked for onto the rocks, not only keep their jobs but get large pay rises? HOW?

It seems to me we need to start whistleblowing on these fat-headed idiots and what better way than to set up a parallel service to LinkedIn, revealling the truth behind their CV lies?

So let's start a list of idiots revealling who the managerial dross currently cluttering up the world are, and warning potential employees and staff about the dead weights lurking on Monster. I'll go first:

< linky removed to stop Geeky Tom crying about the lawyers >This man is the kiss of death </happy tom?>, and during his time 'strategising' he managed not only to close a whole channel twice, he proved his 'down with the kids' credentials by banging on about hot new band 'Coldfeet', and combined making us all redundant with buying a £500K house using the office fax machine. At our leaving party he then allowed us all one free drink each, which we had to get using a special token. Almost eight years later I'm still enraged by his conduct.

Start sending in your nominations and let's get this baby live!

Quick Tour: New Xbox Experience - giantbomb.com Videos




Take a tour of the new Xbox Live experience with Jeff Gurstmann. Half-Wii, Half PS Home.

Old Fridges Can Kill!





A fantastic public information film that warns kiddies of the dangers of abandoned fridges. I'm going to find it very hard to sleep tonight knowing such terrors exist in this world.

Max Payne Live Action Comic

I started out cynical about the Max Payne movie, but the more I see of John Moore's take on the the game the more I'm starting to like it. A promotional "live action comic" is doing the rounds at the moment. Looks like the first 2 minutes of the movie to me, but whatever, it captures the tone of the game pretty well. Unusual for Hollywood.



Tinman - The Wizard Of Oz but better


I love discovering new shows. Well this one isn’t really new; it came out last year on the Sci-Fi channel as one of their original commissions. It’s a modern take on the Wizard of Oz, it’s not a scene by scene remake but a original take, set in the universe. They have great twists on the all the old characters, the scarecrow is in fact someone that has had part of his brain removed because apparently he knew too much, the cowardly lion is this ape like creature that is able to connect with living things and see their future...weird. And the Tinman isn’t in fact made of tin, he’s a policeman (they call them Tin Men in central city, which is basically the emerald city)...oh and the wizard has a drugs problem!

And that leaves Dorothy Gale, or DG as she’s known. She’s the plucky 20 something who we follow as she discovers her destiny is a lot bigger and more exciting then she could possibly imagine...whoops, sorry I went al Hollywood trailer on ya there.

The world they have created is really dark and very film noir. It almost touches on the steam punk genre - especially when they reach the central city. I have only watched the first part and none of my friends seem to have the concluded bit which is really annoying.

Anyway I recommend finding this one – I’m pretty sure you can buy it on DVD now.

Terminator: The Sarah Conner Chronicals Could Get The Axe



I used to like Prison Break don’t get me wrong, but I kind of feel that the show has run its course. Apparently not... Fox in their infinite wisdom have decided that the reason none of us watch it is because one of my favorite (Terminator: The Sarah Chronicles)shows is being aired before it. So what do they do? They have decided to axe TTSC and move Prison Break to another time slot. They are basically trying their hardest to save a show that we have all got bored of.

This is still rumor but as TTSC hasn’t bee pulling in the viewers its sounds like a possibility. I hope there is a big enough fan reaction and Fox decide to change their minds. It happened with Family Guy so there is still a chance. If you haven’t caught the Sarah Conner Chronicles then it’s worth a watch, it will never be as good as the films but they were always going to be a tough act to follow. I watch it for Summer Glau, she does a great Terminator impression and she’s a bit of a looker.







What the Frick? BBC Comedy is Good Shocker - Mutual Friends


So here's the thing, the received wisdom of the past few years, dictated on high from the likes of Heat, and the grauniad: BBC Comedy is shit, compared to the cutting edge fare offered on C4.

It's a no brainer really. Auntie Beeb have recently given us Katy Brand, Touch Me I'm Karen Taylor, The Wrong Door, and yet *another* series of Little Britain. Woop de do. Add to that their prime time offerings seem to be neatly encapsulated by the likes of The Family, Two Pints of Lager..., and Hyperdrive, and you'd be forgiven for hearing the likes of Black Adder and David Brent spinning in their graves.

Which is what makes tonight's last episode of Mutual Friends so surprising - it's everything great comedy should be: Dark, bitter, twisted and fuck funny. More surpringly it's all the things currently missing from C4's current roster of Alan Carr repeats, with the honorable exception of the excellent Inbetweeners, and when you add it to the Beeb's other recent successes (Massive, Summer Heights High, and Flight of Conchords), maybe just maybe the world has turned upside down? Dig it out, you'll love it

What the heck!!!! (yup no references to Odin, beards or hammers and such here)

Just sat down and the big freaking news that jumps up and chews my nuts in a totally welcome way is the director of THOR.

KENETH freaking BRANAGH!!!

Dead Again is an amazing film, and though I wasn't blown away by his Frankenstein it was still rather pretty. Couple this news with the fact that the budget for this is pretty big and I may be starting to think that there taking this one seriously.

I know it's bad case of stereotyping Branagh here but you can't help imagining Thor with a Shakespearian tone to it. And thats what you need with Thor, christ just look at the way he talks.

This is genius, out of the box thinking, I love it.

Sweet!

Dead Set - Charlie Brooker

I've been doing some sleuthing on Dead Set and I have found out some info based an a Guardian feature done a while back.

It turns out that Charlie Brooker has penned this new E4 Zombie thriller. If you have never heard of him, he is the guy that co-wrote Nathan Barley with Chris Morris. He also used to write for PC Zone so he's a fan of computer games which is always a good thing.

The countdown on the E4.com/deadset will reach zero tomorrow - 19th September. So I'm waiting with baited breath for the zombie infested horrors that the site will undoubtedly hold.


Trailer 1:

Dexter - Season 3

Season 3 is about to start in America for all the people that watch this.



For everyone that doesn't, please do yourselves a favor and buy it on DVD, or download it or whatever. Because it's amazing TV.

It's based on a series of books, and for once, the TV lives up the to it's literacy counter part. It's a black comedy / thriller about a rather charming serial killer. He has rules though, the most interesting of which being he can only kill criminals. Unfortunately for his victims hes a blood splatter analyst for the Miami Police so hes able to cover his tracks and run interference when the police call him to examine his own crime scenes.

He has a sweary sister who is also in the police force, and some comedy friends. My favorite being Vince Masuka, one of Dexter's colleagues who's unrequited feelings for Dexter's sister, lead to some incredibly crass and indecent conversations.

This gets a Wyvern thumbs up so makes sure you take the time to watch it, or I will send Dexter round to cut you up and dump you in the sea...only kidding, or am I ?

Has the World Ended?

Here's a question for you, posed over some fish nuggets and a peri peri turkey wrap (that didn't quite work) this very lunchtime; When does costume drama become sci-fi, and therefore acceptable on this blog?

I throw it out there because I've pretty much been banned from the discussion of the relative merits of bustles, phaetons and tits.

"Oooh, you've got to be single and play computer games if you want to post on here," he'll mutter like the disaffected youth he is. But if GeekyTom decides he's going to start watching ITV's ace new mid-week drama (which I give three Wyverns), on the basis it has "an element of sci-fi" does that mean the world has irrevocably changed? And if it has, what kind of scary person is he turning into?

Braid - The Come Down



I have been following this game all through its creation and I feel it's about time I posted about it considering I have just completed it.

Braid is like a onion, it has layers...lots of layers. On the surface it just looks like a simple platform game. Peel back a layer and you come across the time travel aspect. You could essentially complete the game in 10 minutes but you would be missing the point, as you get to the next layer you discover that you are on a search for your princess who has been kidnapped. However upon completion you realise that there could be a lot more to this plot then a simple rescue mission.

Now you arrive at the last and rather interesting layer, it turns out that you are in fact a scientist. A scientist from the 1940's...in New York, and a member of the Manhattan Project. And your princess is in fact the secret to the Atomic Bomb...

Tim the main character is a dreamer, and likes to get rapped up in his memories and thoughts which are worlds in which you have had to traverse.

I have undoubtedly let a bit more go then I should of but I have a feeling that most people who have played this game haven't discover the real drive behind Tim, and have just enjoyed the puzzle and platform aspect. Don't get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with that, its just that there is so much more to this game.

If you have an Xbox 360 then I can't recommend this game enough. I wait with baited breath for Johnathan Blow's next creation, as I have a feeling that he has even better things up his sleeves.

Dead Set – E4.Com

While cyber-strolling around E4.Com, I stumbled across a rather intriguing banner that proclaimed "DEAD SET" in a rather familiar font. Immediately my zombie sense started tingerling, "If I’m not completely mistaken, that’s the font from the "of the dead" series. You know, Land of the dead, Day of the dead - All those George A Romero master pieces.


My instincts where proved right as I was directed through to a page with a countdown and rather bloodied Big Brother logo. Upon clicking said logo a rather nice trailer started to roll. Showing a few minutes of what seems to be a Big Brother house, infested with Zombies.

Divina was there, and everything...I wonder if the Geordie voice over guy will be too?

I did a Google and came up blank so I guess we will have to wait for the countdown to get to zero!


Anyway, It looks bloody amazing, See for you self.

The fantastic tale of Guillermo Del Toro.

The news that Guillermo Del Toro is directing The Hobbit films is old news, and though I know without a doubt that his amazing style that brings back the feeling of wonder and fantasy to a movie business that is a little too transparent these days, I still can't get that excited about it. I'm tired of Tolkien. Sure that will change when I start seeing stuff from the project but that's not here yet.

So when I read this article from Variety that explains how Del Toro has signed an first look contract with Universal and saw the material we're going to be getting, its safe to say I did a big 'ole geeky sex-wee in my pants.

You really have to hand it to Universal, I have to say as Studios go, they have been good to Del Toro. They took a chance on Hellboy first time round, and when it came to number two after everyone else had turned him down they took another chance, good for them. But Del Toro is definitely the guy you take chances on cause the goods just don't stop coming.

So on top of the two Hobbit movies we'll be seeing an adaptation of DROOD by Dan Simmons (after a bit of Googlology this is a book, musical, etc based on Charles Dickens last unfinished novel). There's SLAUGHTERHOUSE-FIVE which was an award winning film in the 70s, though a box office flop(anybody else notice a strange link between box office flops and films winning awards or becoming cult classics?). There's also the exciting news that he wants to do FRANKENSTEIN and DR JEKLL AND MR HYDE, projects that I feel would really suit Del Toro's style.

And finally his pet project which he's been trying to get made for a while AT THE MOUNTAINS OF MADNESS by H.P. Lovecraft. The issue with this project is that its Lovecraft and that means two things, theres no love story and there sure as hell is no happy ending. Del Toro himself has claimed these reasons for why the project hasn't yet been signed. But lets hope Universal take another risk, because Del Toro visualizing Lovecraft, I would think, will blow your socks off.

There seems to be a lot of focus on the human condition here, especially when you consider FRANKENSTEIN and DR JEKYLL AND MR HYDE. And the stuff Del Toro is saying in Variety sounds like what someone with a brain would want to hear about these projects. FRANKENSTEIN will focus on the monsters relationship with his creator and questions of why am I here. While DR JEKYLL AND MR HYDE will look at Jekyll's addiction to the dark freedom of his alter ego.

And there's always the promise of another Hellboy we hope, that will of course be decided when the dust has settled and Universal see how much dollar they get back in the bank. Personally I think this one will come down to DVD sales. Hellboy had two DVD releases, the first was one of the best I've seen and the second was even better, the kind of DVDs you have to own. If we see a repeat with the sequel you be damn sure we should see another Del Toro Hellboy. I personally hope we see some more of the animated movies to tide us over.

I can't wait, the director who has returned some of the wonder of the cinema to me has an amazing diary of projects, what more could I ask for.

Sweet.

Alan Dale on his role in LOST


Just saw this interview with Alan Dale on Digital Spy - freaking superb, not for him the diplomatic and cagey answers common to American stars, he just tells it like it is!

Few choice quotes but go and read it yourselves!

"How invested are you in the show? Do you follow the twists?
"Truthfully, no. I know as much as anyone else, but I don't even know as much as you because I got sick of it. It went through a lull in scripts in the third season. At that point I felt like I had watched them wandering in a line through the forests a bit sweaty for the 1000th time. I thought 'I can't watch this anymore'. Then out of the bushes came a black cloud, which grabbed a black man and threw him to the ground, and I thought 'I definitely can't watch this anymore'."

The [producers] don't tell anyone what's going on because the show has a lot of nutcase fans, and people could get a lot of money if they sell the storylines online. So they protect themselves by telling nobody."

Hahahahahaha!!

The new (Beverly Hills) 90210



For anyone that might be remotely interested, I saw the first instalment of the new 90210 recently. Back in the 90s, Shannon Doherty, Luke Perry and Jason Priestly supposedly spawned a generation of teen and prepubescent crushes, and this is an attempt to resurrect the highly successful teen drama for a new generation. I have to confess - the original pretty much passed me by, I don't recall watching more than the occasional episode and I certainly never, EVER found leading men Perry or Priestly remotely attractive.

As it happens, little has changed this time around - and probably for the best as it would be tantamount to cradle-snatching now. The teen(y) girls and boys are all immaculately coiffed and styled, and look as wholesome as could be. Unfortunately, after recent glossy teen angst like THE OC and GOSSIP GIRL, this just lacks bite, sophistication and glamour.

The pilot hour introduces us to the Wilson family en route to California – teenagers Annie and Dixon are about to join the privileged ranks of high schoolers at West Beverly Hills High School, where dad Harry is the new head teacher. Annie is shocked to stumble on the popular jock she hooked up with the previous summer indulging in some playground tomfoolery - especially as spoiled rich bitch Naomi thinks he's her boyfriend. Presumably in a nod to contemporary pasttimes, there's a rebel girl called Silver(!) who updates her own blog on fellow classmates, as well as an aspiring journo who produces a daily video newscast. Rounding out the adults are the high school counsellor (Jennie Garth, former BH 90210 alumni) and the egotistical, wealthy parents of Naomi. Adding to the complicated relationships, Annie's dad Harry Dixon learns that Naomi's mother, a former girlfriend, may have had a child by him. Confused yet?!

This was a messy and overly plotted introduction, striving to be edgy and modern, as signposted by a decent pop soundtrack including Ting Tings, MGMT, Adele and Coldplay - but actually feeling oddly dated and young, particularly when compared to other aforementioned teen dramas. The opening scene, featuring the four members of the Wilson family in the car en route to California from Beverly Hills, is stilted and suffers from some painfully contrived dialogue and unfortunately things don't really improve.

Much of the writing is clunky, and in attempting to set up complicated relationships and tensions between characters it feels as if the writers have over-egged the pudding – in the space of one episode couples are established, cheated on, broken up with – friendships formed, trust broken and new allegiances made. Not to mention the reveal of a love child between the parents of frenemies Naomi and Annie!

The cast are undeniably pretty young things with varying degrees of charisma, but the older characters (apart from the splendid Jessica Walter as Annie's grandmother who steals the show) are less successful – one of the teachers appears to be barely six months older than the students and trying to meld a former character from the old series into the story felt a bit disjointed.

Overall, not a great first instalment, but the CW were airing the second one immediately after, which could help if it's a marked improvement. The cast are pretty easy on the eye and the nostalgia factor mean this series could still take off and frankly, if something as dire as THE SECRET LIFE OF AN AMERICAN TEENAGER can be so successful in the States then there's no reason to think this won't do well.

However, I shall be sticking with the new Gossip Girl for my fix of beautiful, troubled young things.

Edinburgh TV Festival, Tropic Thunder and Pineapple Express

Hello,
I didn't make it to the Edinburgh Interactive shinding Geeky Tom did, but I WAS up there for the weekend-long liver damaging shenanigans of the TV Festival. Mighty good fun it was too - best thing I heard all weekend was a talk on the future of telly owing to the rise and inexorable rise of digitisation (I think he means any non-linear platform there, so web and mobile etc) by new media guru Clay Shirky. That's a link to his site - not had a chance to look on it yet, so no idea if any good but his talk very much was.

The other good sessions were ones by Tim 'Heroes' Kring, where he recounted how and why he first got into writing for TV (first gig was an ep of Knightrider, and when he got his cheque he was so stunned at how much it was for, he decided he had to do this for a living). As for the next instalment of Heroes, the volumes will be 'Villains' and then 'Fugitives' - lots already on the net about so I will refrain from going on about here. There was a cool clip reel with a shot of Sylar opening up Claire's head to reveal a whole mess of gooey brains - grossly hilarious, as she says 'are you going to eat my brains' and he says 'Claire.... that's disgusting...'. Cue squelching noises. Fab! Stephen Moffett was also ace, refused entirely to be drawn on any speculation about David Tennant's future as the Doctor but very entertaining nonetheless.

In film terms - have seen both Pineapple Express - stoner action comedy with James Franco and Seth Rogen as well as Tropic Thunder.







The former was a real laugh in the first half - Franco is superb as the laid back pot dealer who's breadth and depth of knowledge regarding weed is highly impressive and Rogen is endearing and watchable as the straight man. The scene in the woods and the car chase scene are frickin hilarious. Danny McBride also deserves a proper mention as the chicken shit friend/ fellow dealer who takes an unholy beating. My main issue with the film is its descent in the last third into full on violent action thriller. Not that some of it isn't amusing, but it's where and when the laughs become a little thinner on the ground. That all said, it's still bloody (very bloody in fact) funny so go watch it. Out mid Sept I believe.

You should also make it a point to check out the Ben Stiller-helmed Tropic Thunder. I don't want to say too much, partly as I'm loathe to spoil anything, partly as I have shit to get done before the end of today, but it's very very good. Not flawless (Jack Black's character - where's the satire? Ben Stiller - another of the same kind of dumbass vain morons?!) but those two get some laughs, and Robert Downey Jr's performance as a blacked up method actor is greatness indeed, perfectly offset by Brandon T Jackson's reality checking straight man. I really liked Jay Baruchel as well (Knocked Up) - very sweet. Also out I think later in Sept.

So a good month for movies, particularly if you choose to ignore another Guy Ritchie film. Which I will. Let's be honest, even if his new one (RocknRolla) is brilliant, after Revolver, who in their right minds would subject themselves to more from him? Naturally, this is where I'm wrong and it's a masterpiece, but I don't care - I've got Mad Men and The Wire to occupy my eyes and ears...

Geeky Tom's Insert Noah's Island in to Lost Campaign




I thought I would follow up Crab's piece on Noah's Island. So I YouTubed it (is that a verb now?) and discover the above piece of video.

Wow, just wow. There are SO many similarities which I won't point out because you have eyes and you have undoubtedly seen them yourself.

However I want to take this one step further. Lost is renowned for hinting at books and pieces of writing that link in to the themes of the show.

So Damon Lindelof, yes you Damon, we have met before and I would like to follow up that friendship by imploring you to insert this in to one of the upcoming seasons of Lost. Come on, just put it in one Episode! Have it playing on a TV in the background. Maybe have a video of it laying around in one of the Darmah stations.

I will leave its insertion up to you guys.

Lets make the internet laugh, I know I would if I spotted it playing in the background.

If any fans of Lost are reading this, please spread the word and make this happen, because I'm lazy and I can't be bothered to do it myself.

and yes I know the name of the Campaign needs a little work. Feel free to suggest a better one.

The Edinburgh Interactive Festival - Vegetate Me

I was lucky enough to be invited along to the Edinburgh Interactive Festival over the weekend. It’s split up in to two areas; the free section and the not so free section for special super cool industry people.

The free part (which I recommend everyone going to next year because it was brilliant) played to host to rather cool competition called Dare ProtoPlay.

Hey look here is a flier...





There were loads of great games created by teams of students from a variety of different universities. And do you know what? There was some pretty amazing games on show.

Here’s one now:





A katamari clone, but a very stylish one none the less, and considering it has been made by a bunch of students you can see that these guys can only get better at what they do, imagine that!

I will post up some more stuff on the festival when I have more time as I saw a working copy of Little Big Planet which blew me away. Also I want to show you some more of the Dare ProtoPlay entries because they where pretty amazing.

True Blood. Not just London street talk it's going to be a TV series too.

Friends don't let friends drink friends. Thats a tag line from part of the viral marketing campaign for this new series starting in America in September, genius.

It's the new project of Alan Ball creator of "Six Feet Under", kinda sticking with the death thing this series is set in a world were due to the creation of synthetic blood, vampires are integrating into wider society. Plus its HBO and those guys kick ass at making good TV.

Their based on a series of books by writer Charlaine Harris they focus on a Louisiana waitress called Sookie Stackhouse, who just happens to be psychic. Actually, don't think I can say she "just happens to be psychic" cause lets face it thats probably a key factor in the narrative.

Oh wait it is, friend of mine has read the books, highly recommends them too. You see being psychic ain't all roses, poor Sookie doesn't do so well socially what with being able to hear everyones dirty little thoughts, everyone but vampires. In particular a brooding male vampire that walks in her bar.

I've seen a few bits from the pilot, my friend tells me its a pretty damn faithful recreation of the books which can never be a bad thing. The other things I liked about was the kind of subtexts that were there such as issues with the integration of the vampires into normal society, and Sookie's social problems what with knowing what people are thinking. It reminded me of the kind of social commentary present in the amazing Battlestar Galatica, art telling the truth through lies type thing (thats pretty good, wonder were I got that from).

Keep your eyes open for this one, hopefully some smart people over here in the sunny UK will purchase it for our delectation. Kinda looks like a Channel 4 series, preferably not Sky, damn their black hearts.

Anyone hears anything let me know, if you want check it out at HBO.

OOH check out the amusing viral marketing thingy website TRUE BEVERAGE. Am I allowed to say it's viral marketing or does that devalue it as such a medium? I'll leave you with that one.

Sweet.

Geeky Tom's Car

I'm learning to drive.

This is the car I'm going to buy.



Its a 1954 Vauxhall Wyvern.

Genius

Medium and Middleman (the new one from Javier Grillo-Marxuach)

Yo - this wont be too long a piece as I'm feeling deflated and pissed off at the moment. Partly because it's raining and is due to rain most of the weekend - greatly annoying as I'm going to a festival again for the first time in 8 years and I didn't want to have to contend with mud and wet and cold. Urgh. But largely because I'm feeling disenchanted AND discombobulated - plus various other 'disses' you can add in yourselve - as it looks like I've wound up in a new job that sounds better on paper, but seems to now be affording me fuck all to do.

As Geeky T and Saltydog would be the first to tell you, I'm as fond of dicking around and watching stuff/ surfing the web whilst pretending to do work with the best of them, but I'd reached a point where I actually wanted to be challenged and gain some meaningful responsibility. And whether or not it's down to budget cuts/ imminent takeover / recession looming (and yes, I should be damn grateful I have a job and hope to god I don't get made redundant), I feel like I'm sat here twiddling my thumbs and not learning or doing anything. Anyway - have resolved to take the initiative next week and try to work out how I can improve the situation for myself rather than just whinging.

So, what have I been doing? Well, I've been slowly working my way through Season 4 of Medium since the BBC never bothered to air it, and which I still think is great and vastly underrated. Patricia Arquette is lovely and beguiling, and it's the most affectionate, understated but marvellous portrait of family life I can think of. Well, at least one in which one parent is visited by dead people in her dreams and her daughters are also inclined to spooky visions and mind-reading. I think it's fair to say there has been a satisfying improvement in providing more of an overarching story arc to reward ardent viewers since former Lost writer Javier Grillo-Marxuach took over as showrunner aka exec producer, although each episode has its own mystery so you don't have to watch it obsessively to follow what goes on.

Which brings me to my other recommendation - The Middleman. Created by the aforementioned Grillo-Marxuach and based on his series of comic books of the same name, it airs on ABC Family in the US, which means it's family friendly viewing - so nothing particularly scary or obscene or adult about it. However, it's smart and witty, with its tongue firmly in its cheek, and peppered with knowing pop culture references. In essence, it's about a young female artist recruited by a secret agency to fight against evil forces. So sort of a telly Men In Black but quirky and cool. You can read some of Grillo-Marxuach's comments about it in this online piece and watch the trailer below (if you look around, there are full length eps online, but I aint posting them here. Not til I get made redundant at least).



At this stage, I have no idea when or if it will come to the UK, but if it does, I would imagine it would potentially air on the BBC as part of their youth programming (as with Kyle XY, another ABC Family show) or possibly on Trouble. But I think it's fab and as someone in their late twenties, I'm not ashamed to say that if this is kids telly, I'm absolutely still a fan.

MadWorld Nintendo Wii





Crabs posts about space dragons and Vikings. Were as I post up trailers with extreme cartoon violence in them, which makes me so much cooler.

Great work Sega, its about time the Wii grew up, GROW UP Wii, JUST GROW UP.

I will be keeping a close eye on this one. My only misgiving is that commentary could get really annoying, really quickly.

Outlander says WAKEY WAKEY CRABS!!!



Where have I been skulking you may ask? I've been asleep so screw you.

Then the trailer for Outlander kicked me in the nuts and made a noise like a dying horse in my ear.

Vikings, Spacemen, dragons...no wait space dragons!?! You got to be shitting me!

But they ain't!

Sweet.

Metal Gear Solid: Cold Blooded

A brilliant piece of fan made fiction. I could watch these all day and so begs the question, why can’t I?

I demand more and hopefully The DuoGroup: Media (the guys behind this) will deliver.

So if MGS4 left you wanting more, then sit back, relax, and let this quench your thirst for a few minutes.

Sony's Afrika (with a K)

I think Sony have gone mad.

I’m a fan of new gaming ideas, but I thought the whole ‘taking photo games’ had died with that rubbish Pokemon Camera game.

Apparently not.

Afrika (with a K) gives you, YES YOU, the chance to roam the plains of Africa (with a C) taking photos of all the wildlife. Yup, photos.

Is it just me or does this sound REALLY mundane. I have a feeling that Sony thought so to so they slapped this Hollywood blockbuster soundtrack on it to liven things up.





Jesus, this is the equivalent of slapping a V12 engine on a Moped. You not out their trying to save the world, YOU TAKING PICTURES OF ANIMALS. I would understand if you could get out of your van and wrestle a lion or slap a Giraffe around the face, then I think the music would fit the bill, but YOUR JUST TAKING PHOTOS.

......sorry I'm listening to it while I'm writing this and it is really making me laugh.

Haha, actually good luck to Sony with this one, maybe they will pull it off. Either way, hopefully Crabs will buy so I can give it a go.

Dum dum dum dummm dum dummmmm do do do do do do

Sorry, it is catchy...lol

The TRUTH behind LOST!!! A Wyvern Exclusive.

I have found the answer to the question that is lost, and I'm afraid its sad tale of plagiarism, sort of.

It's been bothering me for a while, I was convinced that I could remember a previous series that involved a polar bear and a moving island. It wasn't until a most random conflagration of conversational points that I stumbled upon the answer at work.

Noah's Island.



Here's the plot courtesy of wikipedia:

"The series focused on the adventures of a polar bear named Noah (voiced by Ron Moody) and a bunch of other animals who had been captured and were en-route to a new life in London Zoo. However the ship they were on was wrecked in a storm and the animals escaped. They find themselves on a mysterious floating island, a piece of land which has broken away from the Canadian coastline. The island becomes a sanctuary for a number of homeless animals. They work out how to get the island to co-operate with them and set off on a quest to find an uncharted island called Diamentina, while picking up other animals in peril along the way. Once they arrive there, it turns out to be more sinister than they imagined."






Ok not exactly the same but lets just highlight some key points here:

  1. Storm leading to wreckage on an Island.
  2. Polar Bear.
  3. Moving/floating island.
  4. And this is the freaking doosey...they get the island to co-operate with them...that's freaking right co-operate with them (can't remember how maybe they go to a shack and talk to freaking ghosts!!!).
  5. It turns out to be more sinister than they imagined.
Come on now Mr Abrhams admit it, so maybe you caught and episode once and just didn't remember it.

Now that I think on it Lost could almost be a sequel. So the animals have been living the good life safe on their island, along comes Jack and the team BOOM bye bye mister polar bear saviour of the animals. Your a sick puppy Abrhams, a stone cold mother.

Also did I mention it was British, thinking outside of the box since the dark ages baby.

Sweet.

Blizzard are fans of Lost

Over the last 4 days, Blizzard (the guys that make World Of Warcraft) have created their very own little internet shit storm, or ARG as they are officially called.

Their company website has been covered by this rather mysterious splash screen.



And each day, for the last for days. They have updated the page with a new image.







However, some rather intrepid geeks have hacked the CSS of the page, and discovered a group of images that (apparently will be forth coming) have a rather familiar numbering system.

That's right

4, 8, 15, 23, 16, 42

They get everywhere don't they!

There are 2 days left until blizzard's big announcement, which will of course be completely unrelated to Lost. So don’t expect a World Of LostCraft.

For anyone that is bothered, the announcement is blatantly for a new Diablo game. Look at the eyes in the current splash screen if you need proof.

Wall-E is out of this world

Pixar really have made sure that the magic dust is totally uncut for Wall-E and, in doing so, have stepped into a different galaxy of storytelling. Consider this before we move on, this company have already delivered Toy Story, Monsters Inc, Finding Nemo and The Incredibles. Wall-E is better than all of these films. It is quite simply Pixar's greatest achievement to date.

Wall-E is the last surviving robot of his kind, left behind on Earth to clean up after it became uninhabitable for mankind, because of the amount of rubbish we'd produced. After years of being alone, Wall-E has developed a personality. He collects interesting items from the trash he tidys up each day, is friends with a cockroach and watches old musicals. Unfortunately for Wall-E though, he also has the drawbacks that come with sentience and is incredibly lonely. However, all of this changes when a spaceship arrives carrying a robot probe called Eve to search for signs of life. Wall-E falls in love and embarks on a journey that will carry him very far away.

This is storytelling at its purest and bravest, with not a single line of dialogue spoken in the first 30 minutes of the movie. You don't notice for a moment though, because Pixar's visual language is so strong words aren't simply aren't required. Pixar might have invented a new form of movie experience, but their films are grounded in the art of story and feel as magical as the fairy tales Walt Disney told to you as a child.

Wall-E also delivers a tough message for your average mainstream audience to take. That our rabbid consumption with complete disregard for the planet will destroy us. I wondered to myself what people watching the film with their mega cokes and super size popcorn buckets would make of it all. Of course we also have robots falling in love and caring enough about their masters to try to save humanity in spite of ourselves.

But enough about the serious stuff, let's concentrate on the amount in this film that there is to enjoy. Wall-E himself is a wonderful creation, all determined innocence and inquisitiveness. The rest of the robots on show are an entertaining bunch too, including a fantastic gang of 'rogue robots' who subvert their mundane programming and rebel to help our hero. There's even a lovely nod to Apple computers in amongst it all, which you'll have to listen out for.

In conclusion, Wall-E is already the film of 2008. Personally, it has taken a place on the shelf reserved for my favourite movies ever. Pixar have proved themselves the master storytellers of their generation and should be celebrated by everyone who enjoys cinema.



Geeky Tom's Brief Wall-E Review


If I’m honest, I’m not a huge Pixar fan. I didn’t like Finding Nemo, much to the disgust of my friends. Up to this point, I would have classed Monsters Inc as their best work by quite a clear margin.

But we are at the point now and I have moved past it...smacked it over the head then thrown dirt in its eyes, as I lord past it, smirking my arse off.

Wall-E is a FANTASTIC film.

Its Pixar's BEST work, and I have no doubt that it will earn Pixar a lot of awards. It better, or I will get properly angry.

This is a brief review so I won’t go in to much plot details. But I WILL say the thing that makes this film stand out from the rest is that its practically a silent movie.

This of course isn't strictly true, but I reckon you could fit the script on the back of a McDonald's Napkin, with room to slag off how bad ‘the Happening’ is.

My friend Jon said 'that films should show, not tell' and Wall-E does just that. The Loneliness shown in the first 20 minutes doesn’t need any dialogue to explain. Wall-E’s glee when he first meets Eve is jumps off the screen, and thus needs no witty chat or ham fisted English bumbling buffoonery ( yes you Hugh Grant). Wall-E expresses more emotion with his two eye apparatus then Mark Wallberg can muster for the majority of the Happening; sorry, had to put that one in too.

So, I said it was brief because I sure Jon will put up a proper review.

Go watch it when it’s out next month.

I give it 5 Wyverns out of 5

So a whole flock or herd of Wyverns...just trust me when I say its good.

Metal Gear Solid 4:The Crabs Verdict


So the weekend of gaming is over, The Geek has left, and its time I said a few words on Metal Gear Solid 4:Guns of the Patriots.

I'm not going to go into too much detail, I know what I'm like and once I get going I'd be blabbing all the best bits with fevered excitement.

I recently bemoaned the current state of gaming, supposed Next Gen gaming and it was I have to be honest with trepidation that I began playing MGS 4. We all remember the feeling following the Phantom Menace, I didn't want a repeat.

Add the fact that MGS is always one the most hyped games around and you have a dangerous mix. But then you remember Hideo Kojima and his team are nothing short of genius.

Suppose I should just come out and tell you...this game is amazing/astounding/fantastic/monumental/incredible/epic. I could honestly go on but I don't know how.

Everything they have added, all Next Gen wizardry, it just works and not just that it adds to what is all ready a great game.

The graphics are some of the best I've seen, creating awesome fluidity from cut-scene to action, it just zooms in on Snake and away you go.

The gameplay is once more gripping but your options on how to play out each scenario are even more complex and exciting. Not only that but they have brought whole aspects to the game that just keep you working and give the game some fabulous pacing.

Finally the story, yes we all know the MGS plot is more twisted than the American government but the production values they have here far outstrip any blockbuster movie. Not only that put the many plot twists and layers are picked apart in such a perfect way that really closes this saga beautifully. I mean, just look-




Once it was over, the final cutscene playing; after what is the greatest end boss of all time; I turned to Tom and Rob and said "It's not that it's the greatest game I've ever played, but that it may just be the greatest game I ever get to play in my whole life."

Sure some people won't like it but fuck you what do you know, you're probably watching Big Brother or murdering children.


Epic Sweet.

A friendly note to Crabs

I know you and Rob got your copy of Metal Gear Solid 4 a day early.
If you even dare start playing it without me I will fucking kill you.
I'm not joking, I will actually kill you and Rob until you die.

So just to summarise my threat.

1) Don't play Metal Gear Solid 4 without me
2) If you do play Metal Gear Solid 4 go to point 5
3) ???
4) ???
5) I will kill you.

So I hope for your sakes that you make the right choice, you have until I arrive tomorrow to think about your course of action.

I will either be posting pictures of their dead corpses, or an account of us all playing Metal Gear Solid 4 in my next post.

The Incredible Hulk is nearly a smash

Waiting for The Incredible Hulk to begin last night I had really high hopes. Edward Norton, a promised appearance by Tony Stark and a comic book adaptation delivered by the newly formed Marvel Studios. Surely this was going to be awesome. The problem with every other superhero movie had been Hollywood. They just don't treat the material with enough respect. Don't understand. Don't care. Just see them as a giant cash machine. So with Marvel now at the helm Hulk couldn't fail to deliver, well nearly...

During the first hour of The Incredible Hulk, it threatens to be one of the great superhero movies. The film deals very effectively with Bruce Banner's backstory during the opening credits, plus teasing you with hints that Marvel are going to bring their comic book universe together on film in the way they have in print - look out for mention of Stark Industries and Nick Fury. We then see Edward Norton exiled in Brazil, hiding from the monster inside and desperately training himself to control his anger. There are references a plenty to The Incredible Hulk TV show here, with the old theme tune even turning up at one point. Banner has abandoned all of the stresses of modern living here, choosing to have no mobile phone, credit cards or ID and the film seems to be trying to make a interesting point about him having more freedom in exile living with his monster than we all do each day fighting to catch the tube.

Of course, the army then show up and ruin everything. Their early battles with the Hulk are fought out in brilliant horror movie fashion, with the audience only being given glimpses of the big green monster. Unfortunately, after this the movie takes a turn for the more traditional, with Banner being forced to return to America to find a cure and pointed in the direction of a showdown with Tim Roth's Emil Blonsky, who has decided he wants a bit of the gamma juice for himself. Thereafter, there are still fantastic battles between the Hulk and the US military and of course a giant wrestling match with the Abomination, but you can't help feeling that Marvel are playing it safe to ensure the future of the franchise when they should be Hulking out and really going for it.

Which brings me back to my disappointment with Marvel Studios. They've now got total control of the movie destiny of some of their most famous comic book characters, but rather than setting them free you can't help but feel that the scale of the task is weighing heavily on them. I've always felt that comics are about the outsider. The kid who doesn't fit in. The person whose powers mean they don't belong. Marvel used to be the outsider, but suddenly the success of their films has thrust them into the mainstream. Instead of using their new found powers for good, they seem to have decided that fitting in is better and they're making movies based on marketing decisions and focus groups. Unfortunately, the thing about The Incredible Hulk is he's aways going to stand out in a crowd.



The latest Resident Evil 5 trailer reveals no new surprises, brilliant!

The latest Resident Evil 5 trailer reveals several reasons to be super excited about the sequel to my favourite game of all time, but none of them new. The blood chilling cries of zombie townsfolk can clearly be heard. This was one of the coolest aspects of the last game and I'm glad they've kept it in. Back again are the infamous killer zombie dogs (well, it wouldn't be Res Evil without them). Thank God they've also kept those crazed zombie chainsaw baddies, as being cornered by them is one of the best things about Resident Evil 4. Even the one thing that's got the fans super excited, a female partner, isn't new. Haven't girls been a staple of Resident Evil since day one? I'm glad to see Capcom are applying the good old if it ain't broke, don't fix it reasoning to this. It's going to be amazing.

When watching the trailer, look out for zombies with a very similar bite to Luke Goss's character in Blade 2. Nasty...



JJ Abrams' Fringe - First look

Sorry this post has been a while coming - Geeky Tom has been on at me for ages (my excuse has been starting a new job, which has kept me butt-numbingly busy) but since I did finally get to see the pilot of FRINGE earlier this week, (along with a couple of other unremarkable shows) it's only fair that I share some thoughts with you and put all of us out of our misery.

You may recall that I was able to read the script a few months ago, and posted on it at the time - check this out if you want a plot summary, no spoilers of course.

I absolutely loved the script - it was exciting, intriguing and unpredictable. So while I was really looking forward to seeing it realised, I was also a little anxious about it potentially being not quite as magnificent as I'd imagined. In a nutshell, it was extremely good. I think. The opening tease on the plane, with people literally melting away, was a bit more B movie than I'd envisaged, but the effects were cool, especially later on when the main character's lover is infected with something that makes his skin go hard and translucent, so you can see all the internal organs and veins. Nice.





Joshua Jackson was fine - and went down well with a fair number of the female viewing audience - but for me, the real standouts were Anna Torv as Olivia Denham (the lead FBI agent) and John Noble as Walter Bishop, the eccentric and disturbed scientist whose research may hold the key to curing Olivia's lover. Noble (yes, you may recognise him as Denethor from Lord of the Rings - Return of the King) is sublimely good - funny and heartbreaking at the same time.

Torv is an Aussie actress who was in last year's BBC drama Mistresses (also being remade in the US fyi) as a hot lesbian mistress. She's beautiful, but in quite an understated way, and brings intelligence and guts to the part.

Although it was pretty long - clocking in around 80 minutes - my attention remained focused all the way through. Yes, there's loads of action, but there was also room to let the characters breathe and get a sense of who they are.

So overall, I think this has real potential. The only thing I would say - and this is probably more with my work hat on - is that it didn't quite give me the same rush I got when I first saw the pilot for Heroes, which was just so bold and different and immediately gripping that I was hooked from the get go. I really really like Fringe, but I don't quite feel it in my bones yet. Fingers crossed though...