Friday, October 28, 2011

A classic from "Turn Signals on a Land Raider"

A blast from the past from TSONALR a brilliant webcomic focused on 40K exploits and hilarity.

Why I hate telephones so much:

Friday before Halloween HYR loves Jamie Lee Curtis

One of our favorite scream queens here at HYR, Jamie Lee Curtis.  Still one hell of a good looking woman, must be all that activia she eats.

NoMads poster

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Nomads (1986) dir John McTiernan

I had never seen or heard of Nomads, McTiernan's first feature film - written and directed by him.  In all honesty I'm not surprised, it's kind of awful.  However, it's one of those 80s movies that is so bizarre and original that the awfulness is outweighed by the originality and imagery - example The Keep (1983).

The basic premise is French cultural anthropologist Jean-Charles (Pierce Brosnan) "discovers" a bizarre nomadic gang led by Adam Ant and Mary Woronov.  This turns out to be a bad thing since the nomads begin to terrorize him and his wife.  Okay, cool pretty straight-forward.  Here's the kicker - and not a spoiler - the last week of Jean-Charles' life is being experienced by Dr. Flax (Lesley-Anne Down) in a sleepwalking hallucinatory state after an emergency room encounter between the two.  To say anything more about the plot will give too much away but let's just say there's some weird shit going on.

It's not a fantastic film by any stretch but there are some concepts and imagery that I feel are going to stick with me for some time.  There's a briefly touched upon theme of the modern nomadic lifestyle (in reference to LA).  There are a couple of points in the movie that are genuinely spooky, not in a scary ooga booga way but in a that's just kind of unsettling way like Malcolm Morley's Beach Scene (1968):

Nomads isn't going to end up on the top of your "must see" spooktacular movie list but it is worth checking out.  It's certainly better than most of direct-to-video horror schlock out there.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

The Thing (2011) dir Matthijs van Heijningen Jr

As many of you long time HYR readers and friends of mine I put John Carpenter's The Thing (1982) in my nebulous top five favorite horror movies. I also really enjoy The Thing From Another World (1951) .  I genuinely love that movie and though it's turned into a movie I throw on in tandem with another Carpenter/Russell team-up there are moments that still get to me.  Rob Bottin's effects still look excellent - the complete edition has long interviews with Bottin about how the effects were pulled off - and the sheer inventiveness and imagination in design and creation fill me with joy.  In case you don't know who Rob Bottin is, he's the man who worked on the effects and creature design in The Howling (1981), Legend (1985), Robocop (1987), Total Recall (1990), and more.  Ennio Morricone's score is still harrowing (and impossible to find for a reasonable price).  Wilford Brimley doesn't have a mustache.

Needless to say I went into Matthijs van Heijningen Jr's prequel very very wary and armed for snark.  I had avoided all reviews, trailers, junkets, or anything related to the movie.  One or two things had popped about the quality of the film from people I trust but still I was prepared for suck.

Note: contains spoilers but if you've seen the 1982 version you know what's coming and
 if you haven't seen the 1982 version then stop reading now and go sit in the corner.  
You can rejoin the class when you don't suck.

MvH Jr's version is a damned faithful prequel and comes across as real tribute from the pacing, effects, scoring, down to nitpicky details I was looking for.  Amalgamated Dynamics Inc. led by Tom Woodruff Jr and Alec Gillis did an excellent job with effects (considering they've not exactly worked on any gems since the 1990s - their creature effects in Skyline were okay) that in some sections of the movie I wish I could have paused and rewound.  They stayed faithful to the original design and feel of the Thing as horrific gribbly but with some really nice polish from the modern age of technology.  Marco Beltrami (one of the best new generation of composers) lifts tell tale cues from Morricone's score and puts together a solid score.  I don't know if it could stand on its own but I'm willing to track down the score to check it out.  The cast is solid though I didn't recognize anyone, though when I checked Mary Elizabeth Winstead's imdb page she's been in a lot of movies I have seen.  I really appreciated the fact the Norwegians were Norwegians and not Englishmen pretending to be Norwegian, plus with all the Norwegian horror movies coming out it's nice to see a potential jumping off point for new horror fans.  What got me was the sound design - digital sound really amped up the horrific noises the Thing makes.  It's pain/anger cry is top notch.

However my over-all impression isn't blown away.  Part of it was the theater, the screen was filthy and vast expanses of white were marred by weird stains.  A large portion of the movie was dark yet it didn't simply seem to be part of the design but just poor cinematography.  There were a couple of moments were I felt a little squinty but at least the movie wasn't in 3-D.  A section or two of the movie just felt out of place.  Additionally the pacing did not convey the isolation and claustrophobia that 1982 did, which ratcheted up the tension.

I'm certainly going to watch The Thing again if only to be able to instantly watch 82 afterwards.  The way the two films dovetail is one of the high points of the prequel.  Well worth seeing.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Deus Ex: Human Revolution (PC) 2011

Truthfully the boss fights and end(s) of Deus Ex: Human Revolution sucked.  The three boss fights weren't simply difficult (which they were), annoying (which they were) the main problem was - and I've read this in other eviews - the boss fights come out of left field and consist of the tactic: hoard ammo and guns use them all in a boss fight because otherwise you're fucked.  If you've put your efforts into creating a stealthy hacker and not dermal armor plating and shooting skills then a) you're gonna get dead right quick and b) the boss fights do not allow for any other course of action besides run and gun.  In one fight I saw a series of crates hanging from the ceiling and after getting killed for the umpteenth time tried to find a way to drop them on the boss.  Nope, sorry. Fuck you.  Well maybe I could hack some sentry guns...yeah fuck you.  Could I...sorry fuck no.  Each of the fights made me dread the next one, not because it was hard but because I simply didn't have the option of playing the fight out in a different way.  In the final fight I ended up backtracking through the entire level and scavenging every round of ammo and guns I could find and I still got shredded time and time and time again.  Finally I had to drop the difficulty down to Tea Cup ride and that still was a bitch.

The denouement is less frustrating but kind of let down on its own, sort of like Fallout 3 and Fallout: Vegas.  Despite my loathing of the boss fights Deus Ex: HR had a solid, mildly convoluted cyberpunk, story with dynamic character interaction.  Communicating with side characters was a high point of the game for me and one particular conversation will stick with me more quite sometime - let's just say it didn't go well.  The ending just goes yup and the end.  Shrug.  I wasn't looking for Return of the King but a little more would have been nice.

All in all I enjoyed the game.  It was a solid forty hours of adventuring though I doubt I'll be replaying it or bothering with the DLC anytime soon.   

Thursday, October 06, 2011

Vexor, Vexor, Vexor, Vexor, Ishtar! Ishtar!

Finally I am one day away from getting into the Ishtar!  From what I read on EVE-fail and Memoirs of a Carebear I should be in for a good time.  Happy fat kid hand clap glee.  I'll post pics when I finally take it for a spin.

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