Saturday 31 October 2015

For the Emperor

It's like a Korean, live-action version of Gungrave sans guns, coolness, and zombies.

A somewhat skilled baseball player with a lust for money is caught match fixing and soon is hired by a mafia type boss to be one of his enforcers. He quickly rises through the ranks to try reach his own ambition. Now is a good time to mention that this is a very violent movie. Most of the first five minutes is a stab fest where people are knifing each other, which brings me to an interesting point: no one in this film -including the police- uses guns, preferring to instead use clubs or knives. Maybe that's how it is in Korea? I wouldn't know.

Sub-titled title?

This is also the first movie where in no main character is part of the police force, yet the police utterly kick ass when they are brought in. They don't even need to fight, and I found their use very clever as the main players all try back stab (literally) each other. There's also a number of sex scenes and nudity that are there to showcase Lee Tae-im's hotness.

On the downside, there are a few shots that linger a bit too long on the main character and the story telling itself is a bit of a knot in places. The fighting is also more brawling than anything else, and the "boss" battles are pretty average. I suppose the main issue though is it doesn't really leave much of an impact and is a bit ho hum at the end. All up I give this two knives out of five and while I would watch it again, I'm not sure who I'd actually recommend it to. :P

Friday 30 October 2015

Sunset Six: Looking for Group

[Part of my Sunset Six story.]

The discipline of Worship holds for me, what are hands down the hardest set of tests. While comparatively they don't need as many of the exorbitant items for constructing things they are still usually required as offerings but the real challenge is that all tests needs a group of people. Let's start with the Test of Vigil.

A favored test of pyromaniacs.

In it, you build a large fire then listen to the flames for what it wants to consume. You then have a time limit to get all the said items (which can be anything in game) and burn it. The rarity and number of items increases the longer the Vigil goes on. Failure to burn the requirements on time ends the fire. You individually gain points equal to the number of sacrifices you made multiplied by the number of sacrifices made by -other people-, meaning if you attempt to do this alone you get ZERO points. Highest scores pass the test.

If that sounds tough, you should see the Test of Beacons. Doing some random mundane activity has a chance of attracting a holy altar to spawn nearby. Once it does you have three in game minutes to anchor it to this plane of existence through meditation... by three people. Once anchored the three anchorers have thirty minutes to work out the proper ritual as it only gives each of them a fragmented piece. If you manage to do all of that seven times (including anchoring) you pass.

Anchoring fail, as we needed one more person.

Thursday 29 October 2015

Seventh Son

F*cking witches.

Jeff Bridges stars as an aging "spook", something like a paladin without the lawful good part I suppose, and the story is mainly about him and his apprentice trying to put an end to a coven of shape shifting witches. The CGI here is top notch and the critters, sets and costumes are amaze balls (especially the underused mounted knights). There's also a pretty big roster of witches, each with their own unique talents but majority of them are throw away characters. If you haven't guessed it yet, there is a bit of violence in here too, though mostly bloodless.

Lesson One: Orcs have good defense.

While Mr. Bridges has an interesting and very funny character I found it a little hard to understand some of his lines and his apprentice is a bit of a fool at times, just like a few other people who really make poor decisions at bad times.  Also some of the witches could have been acted better I think, the main bad one not being evil enough for my liking. Fantasy wise it's a magnificent setting and a pretty entertaining watch. I can't help but feel they could have done more with the story though. I give this movie two flames out of five and would definitely watch it again.

Wednesday 28 October 2015

Sunset Six: That's Just Lovely

[Part of my Sunset Six story.]

Before jumping into the last discipline I thought I'd talk about a few other things first. For example: Offline chores. Once you've manually done something enough times you can start doing it while you are offline too, which I thought is pretty cool.

Travel time is used to power chariot fast travel.

I also like the idea that players can build working ferries (which move faster than swimming) and trade posts which are the only way to actually "trade" between two players. Otherwise you either drop stuff on the floor that anyone can pick up or directly give someone something. They don't even get to say yes or no, they just get the item. I also like the notion of player built "Welcome Banners".

When creating a new character you can warp 20 times in the first four hours to any of the ones already built. Another cool thing is being able to randomly run into the Pharaoh (lead developer) himself!

Of course there are also things I dislike, such as quarries needing two to four people to run, and balancing the temperature of a glazier's bench to form sheets of glass only to have it crack and disintegrate until your glass fabrication level increases a bit. How does it increase? Through practice and many broken sheets of glass! The last thing for this post I dislike is not really something that's difficult, just something that's yucky: making saltpeter which is used in quite a few things. Behold the secrets of its acquisition!

I'm sure it smells lovely.

Tuesday 27 October 2015

The Water Diviner

Dehydration is no threat to him!?

A man with a knack for finding things (Russel Crowe) decides to go looking for his missing ANZAC sons, four years after they went to war at Gallipoli (and never returned). Most of the film takes place in Turkey which is a pretty nice setting and Crowe has believable acting chops for his part. While the first section of the movie is mostly drama which works well, following how Crowe gets past a lot of red tape, towards the end they tried to infuse more action into it which sort of dilutes the whole thing.

Now where'd I put my keys...

Cinematography wise it's a very nice picture to watch. It's also nice to see a guy totally out of his element and what life over there is like, as well as seeing the people on both sides who can't let go of the bloodshed. Yilmaz Erdogan is fantastic in his role here too, perhaps doing even better than Crowe. The flashback war scenes are also nice, but clearly not as much budget was pushed in that direction as the rest of the movie which is fine since it only plays a little part in the over all tale.

All up, it's not a bad flick to watch and I give it three holes out of five. I don't think it's one that warrants a second watching though.

Monday 26 October 2015

Sunset Six: Here's Hoping

[Part of my Sunset Six story.]

The final three Leadership tests don't involve any voting systems but the theme of "hoping people do what you want" continues to ring true. In the Test of Plantation, you are tasked with building said plantation and then growing and storing the most cocoa to pass. A tree can only be harvested once every day. The real catch is that every time you plant a tree, you are asked to name a player. From then on ONLY that player can tend the tree. You cannot name yourself.

No tending your own farm.

In the Test of Coalition you have a week to either join or create your own coalition and then edit the agenda to match the list assigned to you. If you are the sole member this is easy as you can change them at will, but if not you can only change one stance per day and will probably have other players doing the same. Coalitions with the -most- members gain points for said members, with scores varying to how closely the final agenda matched your own. The highest scoring players pass. During this late game however, this is an easy test.

Some interesting agenda ideas in there. Too bad it's blurred. :P

Finally we have the Test of the Bureaucrat which again requires highest individual points to pass. It also seems to be built for the specific purpose of trolling others and creating drama. At least it gives you fair warning with a pretty decent description when you pick it up.

Ho ho ho.

Every day you get 1 point for yourself and 1 point for each person under you, meaning the top dog gets a lot of points. If you seize control the top dog is immediately you. Too bad about anyone not under you though.

Sunday 25 October 2015

Double Statham: Parker and Wild Card


How the movie does not end at the "van scene", I do not know.

Jason Statham is a professional heister, but after being teamed up with a crew that doesn't uphold their end of the bargain he hunts them down to teach them a lesson. Like, don't screw up killing a guy because he might be upset at that if he actually survives. Yep, that happens in this movie. Fortunately there are pretty nice and brutal action sequences in this flick but there's one glaring problem with it: JLo. Yep. While I don't mind her acting ability or screen presence it's just the way her character is written that makes it smell like they went "Hey, let's put in Jlo!". Why?

Because she's nice eye candy?

This also results in Statham putting on a ridiculous Texas accent for a part of the film (undercover purposes you know) and it is ... really bad? I'm being polite here. It's a pity since the first act (that has no Jlo) is pretty engaging, then it sort of drops to a lower gear when she appears. All up I give it two firing pins out of five, can only recommend it to Statham / JLo fans, and wouldn't want to watch it again.


Wild Card

Jason Statham is a "security specialist" in Las Vegas who has an aversion to firearms. Again, thanks to his skills there are some nice action sequences to be had here even if some fight segments are sped up, it still works. Also there are lots of decent actors that have more or less cameo roles in the flick and the use of country music works well given the setting.

But he looks so harmless...

While this does have a bit of action the movie is actually a character piece to which the action plays second fiddle, and it actually makes for a good change. Statham's character has a pretty basic goal all up, and it soon becomes clear that he's actually his own worst enemy. Probably helps that this is based off a book. I also have to commend the editing work here as they manage to really make the most of the run time and by that I mean off the top of my head I can't say they should have cut "x" which I normally do. It's a pretty clean and entertaining piece of work, and one I give two and a half cards out of five to.

Would I watch this one again? Yes!

Saturday 24 October 2015

Sunset Six: Cover your Cartouche

[Part of my Sunset Six story.]

The last of the Leadership tests that involves voting is a strangely named the Test of the Covered Cartouche. I also quite like that there is a warning that "Numerous people have quit the game over this test in past tales," and can see why. First of all you sign up at a University, when the test appears (which is rare) and hope enough other people did the same. If there aren't enough, or you are the odd duck out, tough luck you miss out. Once you are in a group of twelve you are tasked as a team to construct a ceremonial voting booth which requires more than a few, high end materials and cut gems.

Does it really need to look that fancy?

Once done, it's every man for himself in the alternating build and voting rounds. During a build phase, everyone is tasked with building one of the many doohickeys associated with this test, individually. You can construct it anywhere and more importantly, you can increase the size of it by however much you are willing to afford, materials wise. Whoever builds the smallest doohickey is eliminated. In case of a tie for smallest, one of them is eliminated randomly.

Some of the doohickeys.

The voting rounds is where the drama llama can really appear I think. Not so much in my experience during this late game though as people specifically sign up as fillers for others to pass, but I can see that when that drive is there to "win" you'd probably vote out the person who is building the best stuff, or has the most materials, or you simply don't like. The person with the most votes is eliminated, or in case of a tie, one is eliminated randomly.

If everyone is too nice and no one votes? EVERYONE IS ELIMINATED. Yep. No being nice here!

Unfortunately since I encountered this test early I goofed on the second build round since I didn't know how to get leather. For future reference, you nab a wild sheep, shove it in a pen where it can't escape then murderize the f*** out of it and take the loot.

Nice that some of my old MMO skills are still handy. :P

Friday 23 October 2015

The Proposal

Sandra Bullock plays an abrasive and much disliked boss who blackmails her assistant (Ryan Reynolds) into marrying her to get around being deported. Of course this lie doesn't go smoothly when real feelings become involved. Yep, another pic by my wife - I found myself laughing quite a lot during this romantic comedy and found it very entertaining. Since there are no explosions or a high CGI requirement they collected decent actors to fill up the cast.

Good leads for this sort of thing.

Betty White is always entertaining for me (fan of Golden Girls, eep) but is outdone by Oscar Nunez's "Ramone". It also helps that the setting quickly changes from that of a busy city to the picturesque Alaska. Bonus points for having an adorable puppy! There are some odd bits such as the Indian chanting segment and why in the world would Ryan Reynolds undress entirely on a balcony IN ALASKA? Is it not cold there? Well, I guess if I looked like Ryan Reynolds maybe it would be different but I digress. :P

If you dislike rom-coms but are forced to see one, this isn't such a bad choice. For everyone else, I give it three and a half Samoyeds out of five. That's three full grown ones and one puppy by the way, don't go chopping dogs up. Surprisingly, I also wouldn't mind watching this again.

Thursday 22 October 2015

Sunset Six: Powers of Power

[Part of my Sunset Six story.]

Now that we have paper we can do some Leadership tests! It occurs to me that many of them also rely on a voting system so lets go with those ones first. In the Test of the Demipharaoh, players "compete" every month to earn the titular name, and the perks that go with it. Once signed up you are put into a pool of seven people and you have three or so days to convince the majority of them to vote for you. Winners advance into the next pool (pools that end in ties means everyone there loses) and so on, until only two are left at which point the whole of Egypt gets to vote on the winner. Often, there are also public debates that happen as well.

No prizes in guessing who I voted for.

A player who becomes demipharaoh gains the ability to exile (ban) seven other characters for the rest of the Tale. When you consider that this Tale has been going on for a number of years now you can see how much that can hurt. Furthermore, as long as they have at least one exile power remaining, they themselves cannot be banned. Yep, GMs don't need to do the banning around here so you need to behave! Even now during the sunset, this is one highly contested position.

Similarly there is the Test of Hegemon which involves candidates building tables across all the regions and then getting the residents of those regions (you can elect where your home region is) to vote for them. Whoever holds the most votes in the most regions wins the position of Hegemon. This one is pretty easy to win during the late game as again, there is no competition.

Still need more than zero votes though.

A Hegemon has the power to enable any one character to play the game for free for one month. Obviously with the whole thing currently (Tale 6) being free to play, there's not much of a perk there at the moment. The last test I'll talk about today is a nice one: the Test of Mentorship. To pass, you need seven people to build shrines to honor you as their mentor. Also, each player can only build one shrine (as in, ever). Definitely not going to pass this one, but it wasn't hard for me to decide whom to build a shrine to.

Too bad I couldn't build a small one for his cat.

Wednesday 21 October 2015

Berserk: The Golden Age Arc

Because you can't say "Griffith" enough times.

For anyone new to Berserk, it's a medieval tale with a ton of gore, violence and sprinklings of sex. This magnificently animated reboot, composed of three movies, follows the story of Guts joining the Band of the Hawk up to the Eclipse event, much like the previous series did. On the plus side, this one probably follows the manga better which leaves the door open to continue the rest of the story. On the downside, a lot of events are very much compressed and characters less developed (apart from the main ones) so we don't get to see much of Griffith's strategies and a few other bits.

Nice to see the gang back together.

You also might feel that this is a "gay" anime based on how Griffith and Guts interact sometimes (possibly all the time), but at least you now miss out on the scene where they play at the well fully naked. Sounds dirty huh? Music wise there are decent tunes to be had here but more than once does it seem to be mismatched to the scene that is taking place. I can't help but miss the old tunes like "High Forces" though. Also while all parts have nudity and gore there is way more sex (parts 2 and 3) than I remember. Or maybe the sex scenes are longer?

They also have a flash back for each character in each part and the first one is really disjointed, with probably only actual fans of the series able to work out what's going on. While those improve per movie, the last one gets a lot more tripping balls than it should - focusing on kaleidoscope colors for way too long or having unnecessary talking parts. Some serious ball tripping happening there, and not even the Skull Knight can save it. Indeed, he just brings more questions than answers.

All up I give it three behelits out of five. Is it better than the first series? Probably around the same. Would I watch it again? Possibly the first two parts sure. The last part just goes on... and on... and on...

Tuesday 20 October 2015

Sunset Six: Highs and Lows of Papyrus

[Part of my Sunset Six story.]

I think the discipline of Leadership holds the most number of tests that can spawn the drama llama. It is also most likely where you will first encounter the need for papyrus paper which is made by passing it through a paper press so lets take a quick look at that elusive plant first.

Papyrus and Paper Press

Early in the game, there are supposedly some "wild" papy just out there waiting to be harvested but now - all those are gone. To grow more, someone has to toss seeds into the water and after a number of minutes the plants will start growing a fair distance North of their original spot. Anyone can pick them up. If the planter isn't the generous type: queue drama llama! The planter can also grow them in water tanks which is a little bit eerie.

Attack of the Clones?

How do you get seeds? Well, you need a papy plant! A wild papy plant too, not one of those strange, seedless, cloned ones. Are you starting to see the Catch 22 here? Once you find one of these things you need to dry it to get seeds, but you can't just dry it anywhere. Drying it at sea level (where you plant it) will yield zero seeds. You need to hike up the tallest mountain you can find and dry it there to get some results. Once again Jeromai from Why I Game has a good post on this topic if you want to learn more.

Monday 19 October 2015

Pound of Flesh

Steal from Van Damme and lets see what happens.

While in the Philippines (which in many shots looks a lot like China), Van Damme uses the wrong head and wakes up to find he has been robbed... of an organ! Naturally this leads him on a quest of vengeance to retrieve what was taken from him. While JCVD is still in good form with flexibility he is definitely not as fast as he used to be but it still makes for an entertaining enough watch to see him beat down the bad guys while supposedly in a "weakened" condition.

Yeah, anyone can do that after major surgery.

Story wise it's ok enough but there are a few characters that could have been excluded or minimized in the telling, Van Damme's American brother being my number one culprit. I also don't agree with their final decision (which basically lets the bad guy win) in the movie making it an even weaker outing than it was already. All up I give it one and a half roofies out of five and only can recommend this to Van Damme fans. Would I watch it a second time? No.

Sunday 18 October 2015

Sunset Six: Marriage Goods

[Part of my Sunset Six story.]

Balance of Goods continues the theme of Harmony which is guesswork, only this time you need to construct something first: an offering vault. Once built you can then load it with items of your choice (one unit per item) which are then taken up by the gods. You get points for each, but you get more if no one else puts the same item in their vault that week. My optimum strategy? Put as much garbage in there as you can. :P

After passing the test, it also becomes an awesome storage space.

The final test of Harmony I'll talk about is the easiest to pass but one I'm definitely not going to for moral reasons: the Test of Marriage. Yep, pixel murdering is OK but pixel marriage to anyone else but my real wife (who doesn't play this game) is definitely off the table. Anyway, all you need are some pretty common items, an altar for a quick ceremony, five witnesses and boom, you are married. Egypt is also pretty progressive in that you can marry an avatar of any gender and once married you gain the ability to instantly warp to them. Pretty cool right?

There's a small catch: Once married your spouse has access to all your stuff and all your constructs. They can also log in as you. Good thing divorce in game is pretty easy huh? :P The most common solution it seems is that people simply make alts and then marry themselves! That wasn't the case in the next picture though.

Kokabeel and Kamots wedding!

Saturday 17 October 2015

Double Neeson: Run all Night and Non Stop

Run all Night

An estranged father has one night to mend bridges with his kid. And kill all the bad guys.

Liam Neeson is an aging and retired hit man who happens to be best friends with mob boss Ed Harris. Unfortunately the sons of these two guys get into dispute and ultimately force them to fight each other because, hey - it's more entertaining that way, and way more violent. Liam is back in his "Taken" level of skill which is fantastic as he tries to protect his unappreciative kid. It's a simple enough story backed by good actors and good camera shots.

Get off my lawn.

Is it too simple a story though? I literally summarized the entire film in those few sentences, so maybe. You can also expect the mandatory car chase sequence and bad guys with terrible aim as per usual. Still worth a watch for Liam fans or action buffs though. I give it three people in the wrong place at the wrong time out of five and wouldn't mind watching it again.



Every 20 minutes, someone dies. And 20 minutes goes fast with editing! :P

Liam Neeson finds himself on a plane that is being hijacked by a very sneaky bastard. Can he find the bad guy in time before something bad happens!? The story is pretty simple and surprisingly clean in this one, despite how tricky the "who is the bad guy" aspect tries to be - and there are quite a few people to keep the audience guessing for the majority of the flick. I also quite like that almost the entire movie takes place on a plane, and that the actors all around fit their parts well. Also good to see Corey Stoll in something outside the Strain (a series I quite enjoy).

Dr. Goodweather taking a break from strigoi...

I do have to raise a point about the questionable physics towards the end, but since most of the science breaking stuff is bundled up in a small pile towards the end and goes by pretty fast I can almost look past it. Almost. Unfortunately due to the thriller aspect I can't really say more than that without giving anything away so I'll wrap up here. I quite enjoyed this film and would definitely watch it again. For any action fans, or Neeson fans, or Taken fans you will probably enjoy this film too. All up I give it three airplanes out of five.

Friday 16 October 2015

Sunset Six: Guessing Games

[Part of my Sunset Six story.]

Time to tackle a new discipline, this time that of Harmony which is meant to involve you being in touch with the rest of your fellow Egyptians but really plays more like a guessing game half the time. Still, it is perhaps the easiest discipline to clear - especially if you are at the start of the tale (which I'm not, doh). Let's have a look at some of these tests.

In the Test of Promotion, you simply build a list of players (at the rate of one a week) and should any of them advance in rank (not level - meaning they must be passing tests), you gain points. More when they reach higher ranks. Similarly, the Test of Chains has you building a list of married couples (in game) which builds points if both spouses gain a level during the week. Slightly more complicated because if they don't they drop from the list and you cannot reuse them.

The Test of Reason and the Test of the Critic are also similar in that you must judge both puzzles (Reason) and artworks (Critic) across the land to gain points. You get more points if your view lines up with the majority of other voters and it's a pretty good method to ensure non-biased voting.

Each week you can also see how balanced you are.

The Test of the Freeman is another guessing game where you guess the percentage of votes each law will get during ballot time. Laws in Egypt are pretty interesting in that they are player made, and if enough people sign the petition for it - it makes it to the ballot draw. Should enough people then vote on it, the developers actually put in code to enforce it. That's pretty damn cool for user generated content.

Probably should have lowered my guess on Useless Law to 0%.

Sample of a petition I made.

Thursday 15 October 2015

Double Cosplay: Dragon Crusaders and Dragons of Camelot

Dragons of Camelot

What happens -after- King Arthur dies.

The death of Camelot's king (and that most of his knights have been disbanded) provides Morgana the prime opportunity to summon dragons and take the place by force. While the dragons are pretty cool CGI wise and the locations for filming are pretty great there are a lot of things that bring this movie down, and for me the number one reason being the quality of props. Yes, that hurts more than the subpar acting!

In short, it looks like a cosplayer fair with mismatching armor and all too clean attire and both the "knights" of Camelot (very loosely used here) and Morgana's troops have no uniforms what-so-ever. Also, if you have an archer type character it might pay to actually have that person know at least some archery - like, oh I don't know... being able to properly draw the bowstring back to at least their chin?

No one is impressed by your archery.

I was also mildly amused by a clear stand in for Morgana in one of the opening scenes where the editor did everything to not show her face, splicing her (solo) closeup footage in later which is ridiculous because she's in a completely different room. My favorite character is one of her evil captains though, who gets the pranciest white horse of all time. He is tasked with pursuing the good guys but is very careful to not actually catch up with them at any point. Alas, as good (I'm being generous) as the dragons are there's not much reason to watch this and I can only give it one cosplayer out of five.


Dragon Crusaders

Featuring dragons, crusaders, gargoyles and pirates!

If you watched Dragons of Camelot then you will notice right away a lot of the cool locations reused here. Also, while it is still possibly the same cosplayer group used in this picture they are more believable with the dirty attire and better acting. The bow guy in particular is pretty cool though some of his archery is questionable (not as bad as archer in the previous movie). There's also a short, kick-ass chick who definitely brings the fight choreo up a notch and is perhaps a good example of a standard D&D halfling fighter. Some fight scenes make use of oddly cut segments though, which doesn't do this film any favours.

Dirt = Authenticity.

The CGI is not as good as the other movie, but it is passable enough and props to them for using gargoyles too. Where this film falls over bad is the story itself. A band of knights being chased by an unseen army (seriously) decide to try help some random people being attacked by pirates. In the process they get cursed by a peasant (LOL) and can only be freed by some bad wizard who happens to control a bunch of dragons, and possibly is one of the dragons himself. He also is a pretty decent swordsman, archer and cavalier. What? Also the pirate speak in this film comprises entirely of grunts and yelling incomprehensibly. Awesome.

Pity, it's like if you took the good aspects of the two films you might actually get something more worth while, but ultimately this too has nothing much going for it and I give it one cosplayer out of five.

Wednesday 14 October 2015

Sunset Six: Exotic Variants

[Part of my Sunset Six story.]

The final two tests for the Art and Music category are again, a little bit out of my league resources wise. The Test of the Formal Garden for example requires you to have already caught three ibis to turn their feathers into quills (on top of everything else). That's just for the Gazebo too - the actual garden is made of different plants and based on your knowledge of genetics, horticulture (for lilies) and xenobotany (for roses) to crossbreed them into more exotic variants.

So many plants!

The Test of the Windsong is the only actual "music" test and construct that I've seen in the game. Simply put, you need to make a chime tower and have it play a pleasant tune by creating correctly tuned and arranged chimes, and have seven people rate it as "good". The hardest parts for assembly here are the "cut gems" which I simply don't have practice in cutting. Also doesn't help that I don't have any. :P

Chimes with some Raeli art in the background.

Tuesday 13 October 2015

Double Space: Infini and Interstellar


Featuring teleporting with seizures!

In the future, 95% of the world is in poverty. How is that important? It isn't really. Stupid introductory text! In any case, mankind has progressed a lot in the exploration of space managing to practically teleport across vast distances via "slip streaming" using some grafted technology. A clever way to get around requiring space ships in the film, though it does come with some "BS time dilation" jargon which one of the characters in the film actually lampshades.

Any who most of the film focuses on one guy's disastrous first day on the job which sees him sent to the most distant, abandoned space outpost. Another squad is then sent to retrieve him but things go really bad when it's discovered there's something else out there with them. I have to say it's a pretty gripping thriller at the start, where you don't know what the hell is going on but as things become more clear it sort of loses traction a little and at some points even becomes silly (intentionally, judging how some scenes are cut).

Trippin balls in space.

This is one of those films that I feel could have been made a lot better if it did "x" (like a better focus on fighting) but for what it does do - it's pretty good, and it does make sense at the end why the combat isn't really the main focus of the story. I'm not going to give it away here, so if you like futuristic space thrillers then I think this is at least worth one watch. Expect to have a few unanswered questions though! Personally, I'd actually watch it again and give it three manual overrides out of five.



A lesson in relativity.

It's the future and the Earth is dying from simple starvation as crops simply lose viability. It's up to Matthew McConaughey and the remnants of NASA to find a new home for the human race. Right off the bat this is a high quality production from the much required and well done CGI and the experienced "big name" people that might even just show up for ten minutes of screen time. There are also lots of quiet moments, musically but these work well for the scenes they are used and are a nice contrast to the rest of the orchestral sound track.

Keep an eye out for them aliens.

Yes, much like the deus ex machina wormhole there are holes in the plot too, especially on the science end I would imagine (I wouldn't know though, not really my field) and the last section really just goes ultra weird but for me anyway it tied everything together decently (though not perfectly). Despite all that this is a bloody enthralling movie despite the long run time and one I would definitely watch again. I give it four gravitational pulls out of five and would definitely like to watch it again. Also, props to having a unique idea for robot design!

Monday 12 October 2015

Sunset Six: Up into SPACE!

[Part of my Sunset Six story.]

Continuing with the discipline of Art and Music, that gearbox lesson from last time was required to build the thing I am most proud of currently: my fountain for Test of Dancing Waters. Also found it cool that ants make glue! Most people have a number of basins that shoot water from one into the other but for me, I just put one basin, two el cheapo nozzles and made it shoot in one direction: up.

Up into SPACE!

Pleased with my showery design, Lazybum was kind enough to donate an explosives package ("with enough gunpowder to level River Plains") to assist me with the Test of Fireworks. In it you must design and display a fireworks show and basically be among the best to pass. It's an expensive hobby, requiring a bunch of materials to make each type of effect but thanks to the package I've got mine ready to go. Just need to be online the next time an official fireworks test is on.

Very cool to play with.

Keeping with the aerial theme, the Test of Flight has you construct a raeli glider port and build gliders from treated boards to put on pretty displays for everyone. No, you can't ride them but there are functional hot air balloon ships you can use in game. The only problem with them is that running is supposedly way faster. :P

My glider port was boring - this is a much better example.

Sunday 11 October 2015

Double the Romance: A Walk in the Clouds & Cinderella

A Walk in the Clouds

What's a romance movie doing here?

Keanu Reaves is soldier returned from war to what looks like a not so good marriage. While trying to reintegrate into society he meets a random girl (over and over again) and due to his sense of duty ends up pretending to be her husband when she returns home, just to save her from getting yelled at by her dad. Yes. He tries to help her with lies. Good plan! Obviously things get complicated when the rest of the household quite likes him and he starts falling in love with the girl he tells lies for.

Fly Neo... Fly!

I have to admit, the acting, setting and story here are all decent enough. I especially liked the dad and grand dad of the "fated" girl. While I'm not sure -I- would have done the same thing Keanu's character did I'm pretty sure the only thing I don't like about it is that it's a romance flick. No guesses on who chose this movie (thanks wifey). :P Ultimately I give it two and a half clouds out of five, but isn't something I'd watch again.



Disney proves it has a lot of money.

A live action remake of the cartoon classic, Disney really outdid themselves in recreating Cinderella. From the sets, to the CGI, to the costumes, everything is of fantastic production value. Obviously there's great music too but if you are looking for the sung songs they are scarcely used during the actual film and were plonked at the end credits instead, much like in the footsteps of Maleficent.

Count the number of different dresses.

While all the actors play their parts well, for me Cate Blanchett really stands out as the cruel step mom. Unlike Maleficent there are no real "dark" bits here that parents might shield their kids from though and if you remember the original film then you basically have the whole story repeated here for you. This is both a plus and a minus in that there's nothing new, but you know what to expect. All up I give this movie four glass slippers out of five, and can recommend it to pretty much anyone (unless you absolutely hate all things Disney - you monster! :P). Would I watch it again? Hrm... I'd have to say no. Maleficent is more my thing.

Saturday 10 October 2015

Sunset Six: A Gearbox Lesson

[Part of my Sunset Six story.]

Gearboxes are required for mechanized things in game, and they look pretty damn complicated to build especially when your only guide of building one is a weird combination like "Gearbox A250-A350 D140-200 G460-560". Fortunately Balthazarr was free to give me a tutorial at the zFree laboratory on how all this works. First thing to know is that all Gearboxes start at A1 and that position always spins at 100%. By using a variety of gears, you can manipulate the speed of the next gear as shown here:

"Same, faster, slower."

You also need to take into consideration the expenses of building the gears you use - simply put bigger gears are more costly to build. Fortunately all the math for the ratios is already done on the wiki so all you need to do is look through the range you are interested (as defined by the requirement, so A has a range of 250-350) to see which sets will be the cheapest to build. The 5/3 numbers on the side there are the number of teeth per gear to achieve that speed with five being medium and three being small.

For this range, the cheapest to build would be A333 D167 G463.

This means that we want A8 rotating at 333%, D8 rotating at 167% and G8 rotating at 463%. To get to that top line, you simply need to make a snake of gears up to the desired spot like so:

Since the gears are all the same size, D8 is spinning at 100%.

That's nowhere near strong enough, which is where using the 5/3 gear combos help to boost it up. Also, the gears can be multi-levelled so you can have a big one right above a small one or one on top of a "spacer" for example. Ultimately the final box of A333 D167 G463, which obeys the initial range of "Gearbox A250-A350 D140-200 G460-560", looks like this:

Thanks for the lesson Balthazarr! :)

Just FYI - It's worse IRL. :P

Friday 9 October 2015


Surprisingly, fits the title.

This is a tale of good vs evil on the smallest of scales, which for me made me feel "ho-hum" right at the get go - but upon starting it up was instantly drawn in by the absolutely gorgeous art in this film. Yeah, unlike the environment the characters are a bit cartoony but they are filled with good animation and tons of expression. There are good themes for kids here like the daughter trying to reconnect with her estranged, slighty crazy dad and the reckless orphan who needs to learn about duty. I quite like that even the "bad" guy quite obviously loves his kid.

Yes it is.

Surprisingly though, there is a fair amount of death! And not just of the "oh, that guy got killed" variety but the type where people are working through loss. That... yeah that slightly makes it a non-kiddie movie. Also, if you are taking the scientific approach to things then there are many holes here you won't like. Time altering glasses would probably make the top of your list if all the fairies don't. :P

Anyhow, despite that I ended up quite liking it, wouldn't mind watching it again, and give it four leaf men out of five. 

Thursday 8 October 2015

Sunset Six: Pop Quiz

[Part of my Sunset Six story.]

Pop Quiz: You are playing an MMO and encounter a horrific, giant beetle. What do you do?


The correct answer in this game is: You pick it up. They are needed for the school of Art and Music's Test of Khefre's Children. You actually need more than one as you must breed them (males pass down color and females pass down pattern) then make statues of them and worship them as gods. Ok not that last part, but if you want to pass this test you must have the most votes from the public to win three rounds of competition.

Preparing to windmill in case they come to life and rush me.

Getting public votes of "good" or better is a theme in this discipline, and it is the same for the next test of the Raeli Mosaic, which requires you to construct an artwork from raeli tiles (not all the colors link). This is a lot harder than I thought since it's almost like playing evil tetris as the shapes given to you are pretty hard to put together into a logical picture.

Everything has to fit perfectly. >.<