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August 09, 2011

Child of Eden

Ladis and gentlemen: if you have the opportunity to buy today's Cairns Post, please make sure you do so, as there's a very important article on page 16.

If you don't... click below!

May 09, 2011

Thor

I know I promised that I'd write my next post about going into business for myself, but Vickie and I saw MovieBob's review of Thor on Saturday and decided to go and see it for ourselves that evening. And before you raise your eyebrows, I had enough CineBuzz reward points to get a free ticket, so it wasn't a hole in the already-stretched finances. Besides, sometimes you need to have some fun, right?

And fun is definitely what Thor delivers. It's a straight-up special effects action film of good versus evil and never pretends to be otherwise. If you weren't sure what sort of film it is from the obligatory introductions, you know when you see Chris Hemsworth in full armour and silver-winged helm with a big grin on his face, encouraging throngs of Asgardians to greater exaltations as he approaches his father Odin's throne. Hemsworth's Thor is a cocky, yet endearingly cheeky young (although technically, I suppose he's hundreds of years old by now) warrior god all set to be taken down a peg or ten.

Continue reading "Thor" »

March 14, 2011

Music Monday: Huey Lewis & The News - "Back in Time"

Hi, all. Music Monday is an idea I'm shamelessly stealing from the blogs Reality Escapes Her and Lace & Cream. While these ladies don't put one up every Monday – at least, I don't think they do (correct me if I'm wrong, girls) – you can usually find them talking about their favourite bands and current muses at the beginning of the week. While they often dedicate their posts to a whole band, I fear my tastes aren't as diverse, so I'll try and keep it to a single song or album.

Still, a couple of folks have threatened to inflict their favourite music on me recently, so I may well wind up blogging about the new stuff as I dip my toes in.

I'll kick this off with my most recent purchase: The song "Back in Time" by Huey Lewis & The News.

Continue reading "Music Monday: Huey Lewis & The News - "Back in Time"" »

October 10, 2010

Halo: Reach

Sorry the posting here is a little late, but please, head over to cairns.com.au/entertainment check out (and comment on) my review of Halo: Reach for the Xbox 360!

July 11, 2010

Transformers: War for Cybertron Expanded Review

This is sort of an expanded edition of my review of Transformers: War for Cybertron for the Cairns Post, compiled from the 500-word version of that review and various forum posts I've made in the meantime.

Keeping in mind that I wrote that review so as many readers as possible would understand it, let me expand for all you pro gamers out there. For starters, don't buy it expecting anything earthshaking or revolutionary. High Moon set out to make a Transformers game that works, and they've succeeded. It mightn't be an outstanding experience but it's certainly a solid one, which puts it head and shoulders above the two movie games.

You'll probably see a lot that's familiar. Base gameplay is reminiscent of Gears of War, minus the cover system. Campaign battles go in for quantity of enemies over smart AI; things can get a bit repetitive and frustrating, especially the campaign-ending boss battles (for which the winning strategy seems to be "run like hell and hope your computer allies don't get in your way"). Still, I found I did better once I remembered the two special abilities each character gets. The whole thing was pretty fun, although I doubt I'll play it again unless it's co-op with someone.

Continue reading "Transformers: War for Cybertron Expanded Review" »

July 08, 2010

Transformers: War for Cybertron

If you've already read this in today's paper, I'd like to point out that I gave it 3 1/2 stars (the sub-editor must've rounded it up) and that the actual recommended retail price is $79.95, not $109.95 (if it were the latter price I wouldn't have given it more than three stars).

But if you haven't, go buy today's Cairns Post and check out Page 14 of the timeOUT liftout. Or read it on the cairns.com.au website!

Continue reading "Transformers: War for Cybertron" »

July 06, 2010

Metro: 2033

I think this is the first negative review of a game I've written. I tell you what, it's not something I liked doing. There was quite a bit I liked about Metro 2033; it oozed character and its Russian development brought a refreshingly different perspective to gaming.

You could argue that this post-apocalyptic game just wasn't my taste. My usual fare - Halo, Mass Effect, Burnout Paradise, the Guitar Hero games - are pretty cheerful, after all.

Still, in the end, I just couldn't get into Metro 2033. And I'm not alone; the entertainment editor, Jesse Kuch, also received a copy and came away with largely the same impression I did.

You can read our thoughts here. As usual, you'll need Adobe Reader to view this PDF document.

April 15, 2010

Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War II - Chaos Rising

That's right, folks; yet another game review in today's paper! Check it out here OR on the cairns.com.au website!

Next up: Hopefully, the Russian-developed post-apocalyptic FPS, Metro: 2033.

March 04, 2010

MX Vs. ATV: Reflex

Here is my latest game review for The Cairns Post, my second of a game provided by a publisher: THQ's motorcross simulator, MX Vs. ATV Reflex.

This one was definitely out of my comfort zone. The first game I reviewed that I hadn't actually bought was Speed Racer, way back in '07, so I didn't have the anticipation and enthusiasm that kept me playing though Halo 3: ODST, Bayonetta and Mass Effect 2. It's also a strictly real world game, right down to the licensed bike parts and rider gear, so it can't afford to go all arcade-y like Burnout Paradise. Still, all that made for a refreshing, challenging change.

As always, the review is a PDF file, so you'll need Adobe Reader.

Next up: Back to familiar territory with Capcom's pulp-SF jetpack shooter, Dark Void.

February 11, 2010

Mass Effect 2

According to Movable Type, this is my 1,000th post. technically, it's not true, as I have a heap of posts I've not yet imported over from the old, manual blog, but what the heck. Happy 1,000th, everybody!

To celebrate, here's my review for the paper of the Xbox 360 and PC game, Mass Effect 2. My editor reckons it's the best I've done so far, and that I'm really getting the hang of writing for an audience that isn't familiar with gaming. I hope you all agree!

February 04, 2010

Mass Effect

I was intending to do a review of the newly-released Mass Effect 2 this week. But the damn thing's so bloody big - it comes on two discs, for crying out loud - that I wanted to spend some more time playing before I penned the review.

Continue reading "Mass Effect" »

January 28, 2010

Burnout Paradise

After my page-dominating review of Bayonetta last week, the folks at The Cairns Post wanted to know if I had one for today. Having pretty much broken the bank with Bayonetta and with Mass Effect 2 not out until today, I had to tell them no - until I had the brainwave of reviewing an older game from the perspective of (a) picking it up cheaply and (b) it being kept fresh by downloadable content.

Thus, today's review of Burnout Paradise. Download (make sure you have Adobe Reader, naturally) and read!

January 21, 2010

Bayonetta

The newly-revamped timeOUT, the entertainment lift-out in every Thursday's The Cairns Post, now sports a page called timeIN, dedicated to having a good time at home.

Okay, you know, I ought to admonish you dirty-minded lot up the back where you think I can't see you having a rude little laugh at the double entendre there - but I can't, really, because my game review in the second-ever timeIN (it would have been the first except Jesse had already queued up a Darksiders review from IGN before he went on leave) is of the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 hit, Bayonetta.

Download and read!

January 05, 2010

Borderlands

My second review for the paper this year (that's two reviews published in under a week) and third published game review!!

The Cairns Post, Tuesday January 5th, 2010, page 16

You can find more info on Borderlands here.

Next up: Mass Effect 2. And if EB Games have a midnight launch for it I'll see if I can cover that too...

January 04, 2010

John Dies At the End

Here's a book review I wrote for the first Weekender liftout of the year!

December 20, 2009

Avatar

This is a damn hard one to write about. Let me just say right off the bat that Avatar is good. The only way you could possibly waste your money seeing Avatar is by not going to a 3D session. This is the first feature I’ve seen in 3D (my first exposure was that Captain EO short with Michael Jackson at Disneyland in 1988) and it’s definitely a fine example of the technology – because it just works. There aren’t any of the “engineered to have something jump out at you because wow it’s 3D” moments that confined the technology to novelty status in the past. We put the polarised, horn-rimmed plastic glasses on and within a few minutes forgot we were wearing them, even Vickie who had to wear her glasses underneath them. The 3D works just as well with the live action footage as it does with the CGI. I was even a bit worried when I walked out that dear old 2D, even hi-def, wouldn’t look quite as good any more.

Continue reading "Avatar" »

September 29, 2009

Halo 3: ODST

Here it is, folks: My second published game review, a little over 300 words long. Click on the picture below to download a PDF of the page.

The Cairns Post 29 Sep 09, page 15

The official site for Halo 3: ODST is here.

Massive thanks to Jesse Kuch and The Cairns Post editorial team for the opportunity!

July 28, 2009

A Collage of Homage, Pt. 1

Moving on fro my last post about an in-the-works sequel to a science fiction movie beginning with T, I figured it was high time I got around to writing about two released sequels to science fiction movies beginning with T, namely Terminator Salvation and Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. One would think the similarities between the two would end with the fact that both deal with robots, yet they have something else in common: Both spend a significant amount of time paying homage to an existing body of fiction.

Terminator Salvation stands on the shoulders of one of the most enduring film franchises of all. The original film, The Terminator, was released in 1984; its third sequel, then, sees release a full quarter century after the original. It’s also a significant departure in two respects: One, that it’s the first film without the presence of the Terminator himself, Arnold Schwarzenegger (and fair enough; after all, to paraphrase the man himself, any sequel featuring him would probably be called Terminator in a Wheelchair), and two, it’s the first that isn’t set in our modern day (impossible, as the delayed Judgment Day, when computerised arch-nemesis Skynet struck out against humanity, occurred back in 2003, at the end of Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines). This is the first film entirely concerned with the Future War, where humankind’s last remnants struggle against Skynet’s mechanised armies.

Continue reading "A Collage of Homage, Pt. 1" »

May 09, 2009

Star Trek

Jim Kirk (Chris Pine) is a rebel without a cause, until he's pulled out of a bar fight by Starfleet Captain Christopher Pike (Bruce Greenwood). Pike studied the career of Kirk's father, who gave his life to save those of his wife, his newborn son and his crew, and Pike believes Starfleet needs Jim Kirk as much as Jim needs something bigger in his life.

Although Kirk joins Starfleet, he's a cocky and impulsive cadet who gets caught hacking a test computer. The only thing that saves him from official reprimand is a distress call from one of the Federation's key worlds. Suddenly Kirk finds himself aboard Starfleet's newest vessel, the U.S.S. Enterprise, at odds with its first officer, Spock (Zachary Quinto), the Vulcan who created the test Kirk cheated at, and heading toward the same danger that killed Kirk's father when Kirk was born...

Continue reading "Star Trek" »

October 28, 2008

Max Payne

Cold case detective Max Payne (Mark Wahlberg) spends his nights prowling the streets of New York for fresh leads on the murder of his wife and child three years ago. Whilst shaking down a contact, Payne meets a party girl who is later dismembered not far from his apartment. Discovering Payne's ID on her body, his old partner Alex (Donal Logue) tries to help, but Payne, blaming Alex for not solving his wife's murder, will have none of it.

Unfortunately for Payne, the dead girl's sister, Mona Sax (Mila Kunis), an assassin for the Russian mob, has vowed revenge on him, and a bald, tattooed stranger (Aumury Nolasco) is also following Payne. And why are those who try a new drug on the streets seeing visions of fearsome, winged creatures?

Continue reading "Max Payne" »

September 30, 2008

The Dirty Secrets Club

The Dirty Secrets Club by Meg Gardiner
Verdict: A cracking modern murder mystery.

Read the full review here!

July 04, 2008

The Host and Red Seas Under Red Skies

The first of my book reviews to appear on the Cairns.com.au website! The Verdict: Does without SF’s usual toys and doesn’t need them – a gripping, heart-wrenching read.

Actually, sorry, it's the second: the first is here! The Verdict: Less pacy but more characterful than the first (book in the sequence); a great sophomore work for (Scott) Lynch.

June 25, 2008

I'm a Game Reviewer!

When I was growing up, one of the answers I gave to that perennial question, "So what do you want to do when you grow up?" was "Work at a newspaper." This was, of course, a cover for my real answer which was (and still is) "For crying out loud, I have no idea!"

Continue reading "I'm a Game Reviewer!" »

April 18, 2008

Stardust: The Book

You know, I’m becoming more and more impressed with the quality and diversity of stock that the Cairns Libraries have in. Books I wouldn’t have dreamed of searching the Hornsby Shire computer system for, like Callahan’s Con or Red Seas Under Red Skies, are present out here in what many would consider Hicksville. After getting the movie out on DVD from my local video rental place I decided to try my luck with the library. Right there on the G shelf was a copy of the novel Stardust by Neil Gaiman, but this was just a plain prose novel; I wanted the original with Charles Vess’ artwork. I hit the computer system and found that the library had three more Stardusts in stock, including one with the full title of Stardust: Being A Romance Within The Realms of Faerie at the Earlville branch. Figuring I had nothing to lose I put a reservation on it. Within a pair of days the library had e-mailed me with confirmation that it had arrived at the city branch, and when I went in this morning, there was the Vertigo graphic novel.

Continue reading "Stardust: The Book" »

April 17, 2008

Some are born and some are dying…

There’s a rule in fiction: Show, don’t tell. If something’s going on, show it happening; don’t have someone in the fiction talk about it.

On Tuesday night, the first season of Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles came to an explosive end. Apparently, this was due to the US writers’ strike, but it left the show on a very neat cliffhanger to be picked up next season (and although it’s never a sure thing until it hits the screens, signs seem pretty good that T:SCC will be picked up for Season 2).

The capstone of a very intense final episode, though, wasn’t the bright last couple of shots, but the major fight scene near the end. Except, it wasn’t a fight scene.

Continue reading "Some are born and some are dying…" »

April 12, 2008

Stardust

I think – heck, I’m pretty sure – I have a new favourite movie.

I’ve gone trough favourites a lot lately. As many will tell you, my favourite movie from between 1991 and, I don’t know, 2000 or so, was Aliens. Things got uncertain for a while after that. A Knight’s Tale was in there for a while, then Serenity and recently, Transformers.

Last night, though, I went to the DVD store to find something to tide away a dull-TV Friday Night. I narrowed it down to three films; Surf’s Up, Stardust and Ratatouille (I was in a kids’ film mood and Enchanted isn’t out yet). I was keen on Surf's Up (Shia leBoeuf and Jeff Bridges jamming on dialogue sounds like the hot-buttered awesome), but I figured I'd leave the final call to Vickie, and after telling me I didn’t have to get a kids’ film (no, she loves them too, she just wanted to be sure I didn’t think I was being brow-beaten into a genre) she asked for Stardust.

Continue reading "Stardust" »

July 03, 2007

Transformers

Although they’re half a world apart and have never met, Captain Lennox (Josh Duhamel) and Sam Witwicky (Shia leBoeuf) both have girl trouble. Lennox and his platoon of infantry are stationed at a US Army forward base in Qatar, thousands of miles from his wife and their infant daughter, the latter of whom he’s yet to meet. Witwicky, a seventeen-year-old high schooler, doesn’t have a girl, and in order to rectify the situation he needs a car.

Sam’s dad (Kevin Dunn) is helping to rectify the problem, though, by pitching in half the money for a used car. No one notices the battered yellow muscle car that cruises onto the sleazy dealer’s lot by itself until Sam picks it out. Luck and some not-so-subtle promptings from his new car’s stereo see Sam driving gorgeous fellow student Mikaela (Megan Fox) home that evening – but later that night, his car takes off on its own. Sam loses the car in a rail yard, but seconds later he sees a giant yellow figure send a signal into the sky.

Lennox is nowhere near as lucky – a video transmission with his wife is interrupted by the arrival of a special ops chopper believed shot down weeks ago. The aircraft disrupts all transmissions and radar, then breaks apart, reassembling itself into a massive robot, and lays waste to the base. The armament of Lennox and his team is useless against the monster, which hacks the base’s central computer, looking for something buried deep within the US military network. The data line is cut before the machine can succeed, but Lennox’s team is forced to flee into the desert, where a sinister pursuer is intent on ensuring no word gets out before the machines find what they’re looking for…

Continue reading "Transformers" »

December 23, 2006

Weapons of Choice

(The Christmas post will have to wait until tomorrow. This is cross-posted from Robinson's Place.)

A couple of Sundays ago, around midday, I splurged twenty dollars on a nigh-on seven-hundred-page book. By the evening of the next day, I'd made it to the back cover. Although I could put it down, I had a very hard time doing so; I devoured chapters during morning tea, lunch and afternoon tea at work. I enjoyed it so much that I decided to read it through again, much more slowly this time, something I don't think I've ever done with any book before.

Although I din't know it when I bought the book, it was written by an Australian. John Birmingham previously (well, twelve years ago) made a literary splash with his novel, He Died With A Felafel In His Hand, about sharing a house in Brisbane, which was made into a movie locally. He followed it up with Leviathan: An Unauthorised History of Sydney. He's also a regular columnist for the current affairs magazine, The Bulletin.

The novel I read was a marked change of pace to say the least. It's called Weapons of Choice: World War 2.1. It opens fifteen years from now, as a fleet of ships from the US, UK, Australia, Japan, France and Indonesia gathers off East Timor under the supercarrier USS Hillary Clinton, preparing to take Indonesia back from the radical Muslim sect that overthrew its government. Tagging along with them is a reserach vessel at work on a new form of weapon system. When the head researcher decides to try to break the speed of light instead, Something Goes Wrong - and the multinational force suddenly finds itself halfway across the world and eighty years in its own past, materialising in the midst of Admiral Ray Spruance's task force en route to what ought to be the Battle of Midway.

Continue reading "Weapons of Choice" »

July 02, 2005

War of the Worlds

I know I was intending to write a review on Batman Begins, but I let that slide a little too late. Besides, I've been harping on about the various movie versions of H. G. Wells' The War of the Worlds for ages, so I thought I'd be remiss if I didn' review its most recent film adaptation ASAP.

So, as many are already aware, the Steven Spielberg film War of the Worlds, starring Tom Cruise, is an adaptation of H. G. Wells' seminal turn-of-the-twentieth novel about alien invasion; probably the first alien invasion story ever written. It opens on an introduction to Ray Ferrier (Cruise), a New York dockworker who has just been given his kids, the sullen teen Robbie (Justin Chatwin) and precocious pre-teen Rachel (Dakota Fanning) by his divorced wife Maryann (Miranda Otto), for the weekend. It's clear that the younger Ferriers don't exactly get along with their dad, and that he's not the world?s best father either.

Things start turning strange when an unnatural storm forms over Ray's suburb, sending bolts of lightning repeatedly into the intersection in the middle of town. Ray goes to investigate, only to discover a huge alien machine rising up from under the road on three legs. The machine starts killing townsfolk indiscriminately, and Ray barely escapes with his life. He races back home, and begins a desperate journey to keep his family safe as alien tripods emerge across the globe and set about the extermination of the human race?

Continue reading "War of the Worlds" »

May 17, 2005

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (Film)

The very bad day of Arthur Dent (Martin Freeman) is just starting. A group of council workers have turned up in bulldozers and excavators, with the intent of knocking his house down to make way for a bypass. Arthurs lie-down protest is interrupted by the appearance of his friend Ford (Mos Def), whos in a hurry to get him down the pub and get some beer into him.

At the pub, Arthur relates the tale of a party he was at, where a bright young girl he was making progress with (Zooey Deschanel) was swept off by some smug jerk (Sam Rockwell) with a pickup line about being from a different planet. Then Ford tells him that Ford himself is from a different planet, and wants Arthur to depart Earth with him ASAP.

Ford is interrupted by the council workers demolishing Arthurs house who are in turn interrupted by the arrival of the Vogon Constructor Fleet, who have come to demolish Earth itself to make way for an interstellar expressway. Ford grabs Arthur and, sticking out his thumb, hitches a ride on board a Vogon ship mere seconds before the Earth is destroyed...

Continue reading "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (Film)" »

March 12, 2005

Alien Vs. Predator (Extended DVD Release)

Its 2004, and the billionaire head of the Weyland Corporation (Lance Henriksen) is paying top dollar to gather a team of archaeologists, scientists, drillers and explorers from across the globe. Once aboard his ship in the Antarctic ice pack, Weyland explains his mysterious purpose to be the first to reach a heat source that suddenly appeared deep under the ice. Satellite photos indicate the bloom is some sort of underground pyramid. Archaeologist Sebastian (Raoul Bova) believes the pyramid may be a missing link between three ancient cultures, while climber and Antarctic expert Lex (Sanaa Lathan) is only concerned with the lack of prep time the team is being given before they face the perils of an Antarctic expedition.

When the group arrives at the deserted whaling town atop the ice above the pyramid, they find that someone has already drilled a perfect tunnel down into the pyramid chamber. They start to explore, but its only a matter of hours before they realise the pyramid is preparing for the resumption of an age-old hunt and before they know it, theyre being used as breeding stock for acid-blooded creatures, which the pyramids ancient hunting gods have returned to Earth to do battle with

Continue reading "Alien Vs. Predator (Extended DVD Release)" »

January 08, 2005

Paranoia XP

Thanks to an expanded setting that caters for any particular taste of Paranoia you may have, a satirical take on modern woes and new mechanics that encourage Paranoias brand of backstabbing and betrayal without sacrificing speed and playability, Paranoia XP manages to successfully modernise the game whilst keeping the best of what old-time players love about previous editions. Worthy of a place on the bookshelves of all self-respecting gamers.

Continue reading "Paranoia XP" »

December 17, 2004

Alien Summit

Although hampered by vague writing, Alien Summit does what it intends facilitates interesting conversations and arguments and does it well. Well worth ninety-nine cents as a before-the-main-event activity or something different for jaded die-rollers.

This review is hosted on RPGnet.

July 22, 2004

King Arthur

Its the Dark Ages, and the Roman Empire is in control of roughly half of England. The Roman legionnaire Artorius, often called Arthur (Clive Owen), is commander of a unit of Knights from the country of Sarmatia. The conscript Knights have served Arthur and Rome for fifteen years in battle against the rebellious Woads, led by Merlin (Stephen Dillane), and are on the verge of being freed when a Roman bishop (Ivano Marescotti) orders Arthur to take them north of Hadrians Wall on one last mission. An army of Saxons is pillaging its way south, and a friend of the Catholic Church is to be evacuated.

At the village of Marcus Honorius (Ken Stott), Arthur discovers Marcus priests torturing captured Woads, including the mysterious Guinevere (Keira Knightley), in the name of saving their souls. Arthur frees them just before the Saxons arrive, and the evacuation becomes a race against time and the elements to get Marcus, his family and the villagers back beyond the Wall before the Saxon leader, Cerdic (Stellan Skarsgrd), and his army catch up with them

Continue reading "King Arthur" »

April 11, 2004

50 First Dates

Henry Roth (Adam Sandler) has a life any bachelor would kill for. Hes a veterinarian for a Hawaiian aquatic park, and is refurbishing a boat for a trip to Alaska; in the meantime, hes romancing gorgeous tourist women, then ditching them when they get clingy.

Things suddenly change when Henry's boat breaks down off the coast; taking his dinghy into shore to call the coast guard, he meets Lucy Whitmore (Drew Barrymore) at a local caf and is immediately smitten, departing with a promise to see her at the same place the next day. But when Henry returns, Lucy acts as though shes never seen him before. She lost all short-term memory retention a year ago in a car accident, and her family and friends, including the caf staff, conspire every day to make sure shes happy, even if that means pretending its the same day over and over again.

Lucys protective father (Blake Clark) and brother (Sean Astin) warn Henry to stay out of Lucy's life or else, but he just cant go back to who he was before, and must come up with ever-crazier schemes just to spend a few minutes in Lucy's company each day

Continue reading "50 First Dates" »

December 09, 2003

Equilibrium

Its some time in the near future. The survivors of a third World War believe that the human race wont survive a fourth, and have taken drastic steps to ensure it doesnt happen. Deciding that the root of all conflict and war is human emotion, they have created out of the ashes a new nation Libria whose citizens are required to inject doses of an emotion-suppressant called Prozium every day. Enforcing the edicts of Librias leader, Father (Sean Pertwee), is a new arm of the law, the Grammaton Cleric, tasked with hunting down and executing sense offenders.

Cleric John Preston (Christian Bale) is the best of the order; able to know an offender is feeling almost before the offender does. Within the first five minutes of the film, he employs his orders dual-pistol-wielding martial art, the Gun Katas, to spectacular and deadly effect, dispatching an entire room of armed sense offenders quickly and efficiently. When his own partner, Partridge (Sean Bean), is caught concealing a book of poetry, its Preston himself who pulls the trigger.

The morning after Partridges death, Preston accidentally drops his dose of Prozium, and when the nearest depot is unavailable, he skips his dose. His burgeoning feelings are fanned by a recently arrested, aggressively emotional sense-offender, Mary OBrien (Emily Watson), and he begins to doubt his mission, so much so that he stays off the Prozium. Unfortunately, Prestons new partner, Brandt (Taye Diggs), is keen to advance his career, even if it means uncovering Prestons sense crime, and when Preston accepts an assignment from the head of the Cleric, DuPont (Angus MacFadyen) to infiltrate the underground resistance to Libria, he faces his most difficult challenge yet: bringing down the Tetragrammaton and destroying the very society that created him

Continue reading "Equilibrium" »

July 21, 2003

Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines

It's 2003, eleven years after Terminator 2: Judgment Day. August 29th, 1997, the prophesied date of the machines' nuclear revolt against humanity, came and went without incident, but John Connor (Nick Stahl) hasn't let go of the fear that Judgment Day might still happen. He's living as a drifter, leaving no public record of his existence; because of this, he must resort to breaking into the veterinary hospital of Kate Brewster (Claire Danes) in order to get painkillers and perform some self-surgery after a motorcycle accident. When Kate arrives to deal with a customer's early-morning emergency, she discovers and overcomes Connor, locking him in a dog cage.

Meanwhile, a naked young woman (Kristanna Loken) materialises in Beverly Hills. She commences a murderous mission, gunning down a group of young adults whose only apparent connection is the same high school - and Kate Brewster is on the list. It is only the explosive intervention of the Terminator (Arnold Schwarzenegger) that saves the lives of both Connor and Brewster from this new feminine assassin, the T-X. But the third Model 101 cyborg from the future also has an expanded mission: Not only must John Connor, the future leader of the human resistance against the machines, be protected, but the survival of Kate Brewster is also vital to the future of humanity...

Continue reading "Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines" »

April 21, 2003

Dreamcatcher and Final Flight of the Osiris (Movie)

Four men, all of whom share an unusual psychic power which estranges them somewhat from the rest of the world, unite at their hunting lodge six months after one of them, Jonesy (Damian Lewis) suffers a horrific car accident. Each of them has been thinking of a fifth, absent member of their group, Duddits (Donnie Wahlberg), whom they met and befriended as boys twenty years ago. The five of them made a dreamcatcher - a native American item meant to catch bad dreams - that hangs in the lodge.

Whilst out hunting in the snow-bound forest, Jonesy and Beaver (Jason Lee) come across another hunter wandering in the forest, bearing an odd rash on his face. After they take him in, strange things start to happen - a flood of forest animals rush past their lodge, all bearing the same scar as the hunter, and a pair of military helicopters fly overhead, announcing that the area has been quarrantined. In the meantime, Henry (Thomas Jane) and Pete (Timothy Olyphant), who went to the local store to pick up supplies, run their car off the road when they narrowly avoid hitting another half-frozen hunter (with the same rash on her throat) sitting squarely in the middle of it.

The four friends soon find themselves at the forefront of an invasion that the leader of a secret military unit, Colonel Curtis (Morgan Freeman) and his second in command, Owen (Tom Sizemore), will do anything to stop...

Continue reading "Dreamcatcher and Final Flight of the Osiris (Movie)" »

February 06, 2003

Halo: Combat Evolved (Xbox Game)

Halo: Combat Evolved has an interesting history behind it. It's developed by the publishing studio Bungie, best known for their Myth series of real time strategy games, but much beloved amongst Mac gamers thanks to the Marathon first person shooter trilogy. In 1999, Bungie officially announced development of their newest first person shooter, Halo, for PC and Mac; there was even speculation of a PS2 port (based on the release of Bungie's PC action game, Oni, on PS2). Screenshots and hype abounded, and gamers started drooling.

Suddenly, during the first half of 2000, Bungie was purchased by Microsoft. Development from Halo was immediately switched from the PC and Mac platforms to Microsoft's upcoming Xbox console (the "Xbox Only" stamp put the kybosh on any PS2 port), with release on PC and Mac promised for sometime in the future. When the Xbox launched in the US in November of 2001, Halo - now Halo: Combat Evolved - was its flagship title. Many credit the initial strong sales of the Xbox to Halo: Combat Evolved, and without a doubt, the title has almost become synonymous with Microsoft's console; in citing the Xbox as the world's most powerful gaming console in their 2003 Book of Records, Guinness used a half-page picture of Halo's lead character, the Master Chief. PC and Mac development has since been out-sourced to third-party port developers Gearbox Software (PC) and Westlake Interactive (Mac) in order to free Bungie up to work on the Xbox sequel, Halo 2.

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