New links on the left

Posted in Site news with tags on 7 February, 2009 by J-Man

Ok, I’m adding a new category of websites; lolz. Rather than meaningful blogs, these will be slightly random, but amusing websites. The links will be on the left.

In Defence of Mr. Bale

Posted in Films with tags , , , , , on 5 February, 2009 by J-Man

So, pretty bad, eh? There’s been tons of people on forums condemning him for this, so here’s my official defence of him.

First off, the life of an actor is stressful. Bale might have done this scene over half a dozen times before this, and he specifically says this is the 2nd time the DP (Director of Photography has done it. “It”? What is “it”? I hear you ask.

When an actor does a (especially intense) scene, the crew is expected to be extremely silent. In fact, they don’t yell “lights, camera, action”, they yell “silence on set, rolling, action”, to make sure everyone is aware of what’s happening. The crew is then expected to stand still, so as not to distract the actors. The DP decided to check a light in the middle of Bale’s scene, which to be honest, certainly is amateur-ish. Especially when the DP does it, as he’s meant to be the second-in-command to the director.

Bale also could have worked for several hours before this, and it might have taken several takes to get each scene, so stress is understandable.

You might also notice the wimpy director’s voice in the background. If an actor goes nuts, it’s  the director’s job to calm them down. Having a guy that sounded as patronising as that probably would have pissed me off as well.

EDIT: Here’s a remix.

Best Search Ever

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , on 3 February, 2009 by J-Man

WordPress does a neat little thing that shows you the most used search terms that were utilised to find your blog. I have no idea what this one is, and I don’t think I wrote about whatever the searcher wanted to find, but it made me laugh out loud.

” what is the song that is like cult 44 but its not a good song”

Vicky Cristina Barcelona

Posted in Films, Review with tags , , , , , on 2 February, 2009 by J-Man

vicky_cristina_barcelona

This is one of those films that without a doubt, certainly and absolutely, will divide people. Its like Burn After Reading in that its an observation of human psychology, politics and philosophy (although in Burn it was more about morality). Here’s the premise, without spoilers: 2 american tourists go to Spain, are approached by Javier Bardem, and offered a weekend of wine, candle-lit dinners and… well… sex.

The plot progresses from there, the 2 american tourists acting as each other’s foil. Vicky (Rebecca Hall) is the sensible one, with perfect ideas of what she wants from love, and Cristina (Scarlett Johnasson) is the wilder, bisexual one, with a more Nietzschean approach to love, resigned to suffering, but knowing she could obtain some happiness from it.

Throw in the womanizing, bohemian Javier Bardem as Juan Antonio, and the neurotic and crazed Penelope Cruz as his ex wife, and you have a pretty damn good romantic drama, with love quadrilaterals, depressing looks at the committment involved in marriage, and philosophical bitterness.

Bardem and Cruz absolutely nail their roles, creating a completely believable yet dysfunctional couple, who’s desire for Cristina add another dimension to what could have been a plain ol’ three-way love triangle.

Woody Allen brings great direction, creating a beautiful portrayal of rural Spain, but this is eclipsed by the story, which takes a dominant role over the aesthetic part of the film.

Some called this a return to Woody Allen’s classic humour, but I totally disagree. Not once did I laugh (not necessarily a bad thing), compared to Love & Death where I giggled every other sentence.

So why will this film divide people exactly? It’s the ending, and it brings to mind There Will be Blood. You’ve invested in the film, care about the characters, want some conclusion, and it’s just open-ended and vague. Now as a film buff I can deal with that, but others won’t. They’ll stomp their feet and wonder why its not a happy ending, and how nobody’s learnt anything, and that its the directors job to literally tell you what happens, giving no room for any personal creative thought.

So let me simplify things; this isn’t a conventional film. Neither was Blood or Burn, and this is in the same vein, so if you didn’t like those two (brilliant) pieces of cinema, you’re not going to like this one.

However, the soundtrack is absolute gold, with spanish guitars and female vocals singing tales of love (pienso, hablo poco espanol) over the well directed film. There’s no numerical rating for this one, because it will most certainly be different for each viewer.

Heretic Pride Review

Posted in Music, Review with tags , , on 2 February, 2009 by J-Man

So here’s the second music review on EG by popular request (actually it was just Dom asking for it). It’s the album Heretic Pride by the Mountain Goats.

Sax Rohmer #1

In my opinion, the first song of an album has to show what the rest will be like. You need some lyrics, some choruses, some acoustic guitars etc. Sax Rohmer has all of these, but twists it in a peculiar way. Kinda depressing lyrics, mixed with happy and cathartic drums and acoustic guitars makes an incredibly good sounding track.

San Bernardino

Here’s the song for the softies – a tale of love amongst “yellow and blood red bits; like a kaleidoscope.” There’s no hint of sorrow in this track, but there’s a sacrifice of energetic sounds, for a slightly more repetitive group of strings. There’s twinging of guitars, and is that a violin I hear? (I listen to the songs as I write this, to be as accurate as possible. You may also have noticed I never use the music jargon for 2 reasons; I don’t know it, and it’s slightly exclusive to solely those who know it.)

Heretic Pride

The track which the album is named after, and its probably the best. While the Goats never blast me away with their melodies, the lyrics are just incredible. They fit in perfectly, are sung with conviction, and engross me every time I hear them.

“Crowds grow denser by the second
As we near the center of the town
And they dig a trench right in the main square right there
And they pick me up and throw me down”

This song is probably the best, due to the fantastic story backing it. Its also a great example of a typical Goats song.

I’ll finish this review later by editing the post, I’m a tad busy right now. Expect part 2 within the day or by tomorrow.

Short update

Posted in Gaming, Site news, Uncategorized with tags , , on 31 January, 2009 by J-Man

Ok, its been a bit quiet on EG for a while, but for good reasons. Firstly, I haven’t bought a new game for ages, so there’s little for me to write about. I’d rather have few posts of good quality, accurate games journalism rather than spamming my blog with crap about games that nobody plays.

Speaking of games nobody plays, I installed Thief: Deadly Shadows on my 2nd PC, because it refuses to work with my main PC, so expect a few posts on that.

In other news, I intend to pitch a few more articles to the Escapist, because their new editorial calendar is out, and quite a few issues have caught my interest.

Finally, I’m considering a change of banner, because this one is getting old. Opinions please.

Dream Games No.1 – Dexter

Posted in Dream Games, Gaming, TV with tags , , on 25 January, 2009 by J-Man

So this is the start of a new series of blog posts entitled “dream games”. It’ll just be a collection of my unfulfilled and futile dreams of games that should be made. So to start off; Dexter.

The essence of the TV show is that its all about him trying to mix in with society, while having murder as a hobby. Rather than funnel you down a semi-linear, highly scripted experience, like most TV/film adaption games do, this would be completely free-form. There’d be a GTA style city, with huge amounts to interact with. You’d have to manage three things; your job as a forensics investigator, your social life, and your serial killings. Fucking up in one will affect the others.

For example, a messy kill will mean you have to spend time investigating your own crime scene, which means less time to socialise with friends or Rita (who you have to keep pleased, lest she dump you). Inconsistencies show up, and people get suspicious. You could theoretically murder these people, but it’ll be hard to avoid being caught.

Fuck up horrifically, and you’ll enter a flashback, where your father will give you assistance, or advise you on what to do next. The game would have a Left 4 Dead-ish director, making sure things are kept interesting.  The game might have Doakes, a suspicious co-worker, start stalking you, or have Paul, Rita’s ex, suddenly start trying to get back into her life.

But the main part of the game will be managing the aforementioned 3 things; social life, work, and murdering. Mixing them would create interesting scenarios. For example, you suspect someone of homicide, but theres not enough proof to get him legally, so he goes free. You could use your work resources to find out where he lives, then approach him to try to find out more. Once you’ve collect enough intelligence about your target through work and socialising, you can choose your kill-area, set it up, then take the target down in your choice.

The game will basically be a mix of Fahrenheit, Fable, and Hitman. And it’ll be made by the team that did Deus Ex. In the CryEngine. With Source physics. And a script by Tim Schafer.