Andrew Farrell

Dec 04

Scratching the surface of dude

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Scratching the surface of dude

Study of the second most flexible four letter word.

Oct 04

Life in the Resident Evil games

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Life in the Resident Evil games is mediated through two screens. The obvious one is the inventory, which lets you pick between carryng around plot items (key cards etc), health stuff to keep you alive, and shiny weapons. The other, no less important, screen is the map. The stuff of life is finding keys to open doors far away, and figuring out that if I’ve gone up one flight of stairs, then if I can get through there and down those stairs, I’ll be .. eaten by zombies. Arse.

It’s for this reason that the Nemesis introduced in the third game works so well. It appears, you fight it till it drops, then run away. After a bit, you realise that this hall you’re running down does pass by the room you last saw him in, and then through the wall he comes.

Resident Evil:Apocalypse is a lot more faithful to The Map than the first film was: there’s a sense of spaces, and their division into safe and dangerous (to be made safe with guns). And, occasionally, cheap thrills via formerly safe places that are now dangerous. The Nemesis has the same effect on these divisions as in the original game: he smashes through everything to deliver some death. This only happens once for about five minutes – possibly the filmmakers realised that an excess of it would cause the similarities to The Terminator to become too apparent.

The rest of the time, the film does what it does: an unoriginal but impeccably constructed jigsaw of corporate conspiracy thriller, zombie movie and action flick. It also adds some comic relief with a little (goes a long way) of Mike Epps.

Sep 04

Vote Beaker

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Vote Beaker the word went, and we did, and it worked! Science has been served.

Sep 04

On Hellboy

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On Hellboy

  • The opening voiceover describes a day 60 years ago when the world was changed – cut to Andrew hoping that the film will take the opportunity – and his hopes crushed as it finishes “FOREVER!”
  • Epic is still a viable way to go, but unfortunately Selma Blair is from another, indier film. Ron Perlman tries his best, but there’s only so much empathy you can generate for someone with a fire hydrant on his arm.
  • Ron Perlman is on screen quite a bit though, which is never a bad thing. Guillermo Del Toro seems to work to his actors’ strengths: Blade 2 had a lot of Wesley Snipes in motion, Hellboy has a lot of Perlman at rest, striking significant (and cool-looking) poses. Which is nice, as the action scenes are mostly quite dodge CGI.
  • It is nice to see a hero motivated not by indominability, but by bloodymindedness.

Sep 04

The majesty of Google

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The majesty of Google means that an interview in The Times of India with Mira Nair can be quoted around the world by now, or at least the part about her maybe directing the fifth Harry Potter film. The scrap that made it to the IMDB’s news section includes her talking about her levelheadedness: “I’m a Dilliwalli, only an asana gets me on my head!” I know asana’s a yoga pose, but what’s a Dilliwalli? Google provides 84 pages to help. 81 of them are reprints / translations of the original article.

Dilliwali appears to be the word: someone from Delhi, only moreso. Like the way you have to be born in Dublin to be a Dub, but just that itself won’t do it. But as of yet there are only 89 pages containing Dilliwali, while the imposter will surely close the gap in the near future. What monster has Google wrought?

Jul 04

Around The World in 80 Days

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Around The World in 80 Days

I don’t actually have much to add to Pete’s review. I didn’t even consider the few problems (not that I’m suggesting Pete was much bothered) because I saw the film as a perfect merging of the 80’s cartoon animal version with the films that were shown a little later on kids TV (One Of Our Dinosaurs Is Missing being the classic example). Except the one thing I did want to say is that there is still few moments in film more joyful than Jackie Chan catching sight of a small trestle.

Jul 04

The IMDB doesn’t have Pauly Shore

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The IMDB doesn’t have Pauly Shore doing much since 2001 except playing “himself”, so it’s surprising to see that he hasn’t quite got a firm grip on the role during Cribs. It’s also surprising to see him on Cribs period – I’d have assumed it was a repeat of an early episode except for a modern (eg “P.I.M.P.”) soundtrack (for all that MTV doesn’t play music videos, it does match the right bits of songs to the right visuals quite a bit), and Pauly keeps making jokes about how his life is a wreck.

And he does keep making jokes, in all flavours of bad. Homeboy impressions, showing us the names of the artists on his wall written on his hand, bursts of crazy eyes swearing and that old standby homophobia/philia (the last shot of him is him squirming on a guy on a deck chair, declaring himself “so gay” then leaping up and diving straight into the pool for a cleanse), and simple whiny self-deprecation. The only constant is his need to embarrass himself, like a comedian’s Tourettes.

It is for all it’s 5-10 minutes more compelling than any of his film work (NB I am not claiming to have seen 5-10 consecutive minutes of same). He looks like someone who has no earthly idea what magic key will make him famous again, and the suspicion is never far away that the answer to the main question is “He paid them”, that this is just a Pauly Shore demo reel 2003. It must have been one of the most uncomfortable Cribs ever to shoot, not least because at the end of the day, he is still living in a fucking mansion in the Hollywood Hills.

Jul 04

Spiderman 2..

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Spiderman 2..

  • is really New York 2 feat. Spiderman (also feat. the return of New York public spirit)
  • suggests that Spidersman 1-3 will all feature villains with voices in their heads. Which may make it easier to attract the stars, in fairness.
  • twice sets us up to make Doc Ock more dependent on his arms, bottles it both times (by outright ignoring it on one occasion). Probably related to the previous comment – more Otto Octavius = more chance for Molina to Act (but not really – see Ian McKellan going over and under the top in the XMen films)
  • is more enjoyable because Peter Parker is such a nebbish (or F*#k-up as fellow New Yorker Eamon might say) (or nebbish, as millions of fellow New Yorkers might say). He isn’t anymore, but he used to be, what Marvel was about: an ordinary stiff, with the same problems as the rest of us (and in this case, unequal to them) despite the powers.

  • plays up one of the things that’s nagging him – the superheroes constant trouble (and easiest source of angst), his real identity. Spiderman’s got enemies, he says, despite the fact that he doesn’t. It’s sort of annoying to imagine what enemies he might already have had between 1&2, much as it’s annoying to imagine what exactly is in the box of comics that Aunt May throws out at some point. They can’t be Marvel, they can’t be not-Marvel (it might have been nice for them to be The Escapist, but that’s now a (not particularly good) non-Marvel comic). The comics world not just rubbing but grating against the constraints of the real world.
  • doesn’t improve on its Bruce Campbell cameo. In other news, bear still shitting popes – “We really wish he’d stop” say anxious cardinals.
  • raises suspicion that the swooping through the air stuff looks too much like the upcoming video game, but in general this reverses the original’s record: the action scenes look fantastic, the Doc Ock arms look so alive, and sinister from the get-go.

Jul 04

There’s an effect in Shrek 2

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There’s an effect in Shrek 2 that I don’t remember seeing elsewhere, though it doesn’t even need a completely animated universe: It switches scenes by keeping the lead character in close up, and simply fading one background out and another in at the same time. Not to be confused with the much more common “spin the camera around a couple while the backdrop changes”, which they polish off in the first five minutes.

There isn’t really anything else of merit in the film, apart from brute cleverness.

Jun 04

Biff! Pow! Computer Games Grow Up!

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Biff! Pow! Computer Games Grow Up!

No, wait, that’s every news article about comic books ever. Computer games don’t usually fare much better, despite a higher profile in real life – compare the number GAME bags around town with those from Forbidden Planet/generic comics store. Though this has been skewed in Ireland by the Plastic Bag Tax, which has the result that comics fans are receiving their wares in brown paper bags. Nice.

Anyway, computer games coverage in the news is generally “Videogames cause crazed teen to kill entire town” or a paragraph on page 7 about “Korean man dies after playing games for 50 hours”. So it’s nice to see something like this piece about DDR. The notional focus of the story – bright kid starts scamming the arcade to improve his skills – is second to establishing a feel for how teenagers can form a community around anything substantial: It’s closer to Slackers than Hackers.

See also: Penny Arcade’s Child’s Play, which got some, but not enough, coverage.