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Everything posted by d'artagnan

  1. Everyone's probably seen the adverts for Tesco's PPV VOD service but it may actually be the cheapest way to rent some of the bigger movies if you combine the deals. They do an initial sign-up deal where if you deposit one pound into your account you get an additional five pounds of free credit. The nice thing is you can combine this with their 99p Monday promotion where a dozen movies are made available at less than a pound with the use of a voucher code they email to you every Monday. Usually it's one big movie (today's is Star Trek Into Darkness, last weeks was Oblivion) and eleven other movies to choose from which essentially means you can get to view five recent big movies completely for free by using your five pounds of free credit. Normal pricing for movies is in line with services such as XBox Video and you've got up to thirty days to watch the movie even if you've rented it under the Monday promo. Tesco have even done a Metro app for Windows 8 users.
  2. I recently finished reading Charles Stross' Merchant Princes saga which was recently republished in the UK as a three parter (down from the original six parts). It starts off as the story of a lass who is given a locket that allows her to travel to a parallel earth which is stuck in the late medieval period and finishes up with thermonuclear armgeddon and genocide. It segues from high fantasy to sf conspiracy thriller brilliantly and is an exceptional feat of multiple world building.
  3. This thread has prompted me to actually buy Space: Above & Beyond on DVD after having it on my other laptop as a rip for years now. Figured I may as well pay for it after getting so much pleasure out of it - did the same thing with Firefly. Coolly though Amazon recommended Dark Skies which I saw when it was first on but had forgotten all about so I ordered that as well because it was a brilliant show.
  4. The kerb-stomp in American History X. All the more powerful because they don't actually show it and instead cut away and you hear the sound leaving you to infer what's happened. The first time I watched that it was a genuine wtf?! moment but it's actually worse on repeat viewings because you know it's coming...
  5. I'll second this recommendation. Bloody great novel. Part of the SF Masterworks set as well, IIRC.
  6. I'd bloody well hope Reynolds has that right given his former career as an astrophysicist for ESA! Just remember that were you able to travel at C then the perceived time of the journey would be zero. Travel would appear to be instantaneous from your perspective. As you approach C, the perceived time gets shorter and - at 0.85 C then a 10 light year journey would appear to take 5 years from the perspective of our traveller (from memory as to the numbers there). An interesting, or very fucked up if you think about it, consequence of faster than light travel is time travel. And for a novel which explicitly deals with that you could try Singularity Sky by Charles Stross (it's sequel is deliberately time-travelling Alien Space Nazis with a weakly godlike entity backing them up and is called Iron Sunrise).
  7. Put it this way, Reynolds has a million pound, ten book advance deal (I think his latest - Terminal World - is the first book in that deal). With the exception of his short story collection Galactic North I've loved everything he's written, and the only problem with Galactic North really is that it's like seeing how sausages are made after you've already read the Revelation Space universe novels.
  8. No, what she might get dragged over the coals for is when people figure out she works in marketing and is in some way involved in doing the PR at least for this film by working popular boards, but has tried to hide it. I don't take issue with marketing the film. I take issue with the coy attempt to try and hide that it's anything but and that littlelegs hasn't been completely up-front about it. Being involved in the marketing for films, tv shows, other fluff isn't something that's going to cause people to be hostile around these parts - there are plenty of people who are involved in the various industries covered by rllmuk for that, but they're all honest about their involvement in various projects. The best bet is for littlelegs to be completely honest about her involvement with whichever firm it is she's working for then to use that position to get things like early access to trailers for board members, promo gifts and competitions, advance screenings etc whilst participating in honest and friendly discussion in threads related to stuff she isn't trying to flog. It was a nice retort, but a little too practised. I'm a red-blooded male. I can happily stare at Natalie Portman's arse for two hours (Maybe Idiocracy wasn't far off the mark - a film that involves staring at Natalie Portman's arse for two hours should obviously win every Oscar going). This film won't be that.
  9. 01 - Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. 02 - Children of Men 03 - The Dark Knight 04 - In Bruges 05 - The Constant Gardener 06 - Shaun of the Dead 07 - Wall-E 08 - The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford 09 - The Hurt Locker 10 - Mystic River 11 - Serenity 12 - Adaptation 13 - Sin City 14 - The Fountain 15 - Moon 16 - No Country for Old Men 17 - Up 18 - Downfall 19 - A History of Violence 20 - Gone Baby Gone
  10. It was when I was at that sort of timeframe and I realised I'd only got those two that I realised just how engrossed I was in the game. Just wandering, exploring, taking in the sights is a game all on its own. And I love just listening in to incidental conversations such as the . Or the . But it's indicative of just how complete the game feels - it's a universe though you may be exploring just some parts of it, the parts you do get to explore are awesome with none of the emptiness you sometimes seem to get because there's a whole universe going on around you. And there are so, so many little touches as well as oblique references to the first game. Virtually every change that has been made to the game for this sequel has been for the better. The combat is actually enjoyable and fun and really mixes it up, your squad seem more balanced but the squad you put together actually does really alter how you fight (admittedly, that may be because at Level 60 in ME every single fight gets to be a cake-walk) and the squad AI is so much better, I liked idly wandering in the Mako but it was a case of seen one planet seen them whole with the scanning/mining wierdly addictive to the point I'm like a rat hitting a lever for cocaine because I know there's Eezo on this planet damnit!, the main missions and the side missions are far more varied and interesting - even making a side mission where you don't fire your weapon (sorry, used it once) tense and intriguing, the dialogue is better all around and the Renegade/Paragon morality is far more ambiguous and 'human' with your choices not necessarily being obvious or having the outcome you might expect,. Plus all the returning characters - both major and incidental - seem to rock without any of them irritating the hell out of me (yet) - killing the god-botherer was a no-brainer in the first one. The mission structuring itself is far better in all honesty. Only quibbles? A lot people seem staggeringly blase that Shephard isn't dead, NPC conversation trees do occasionally seem to come in at the middle (again, a lot of people seem to know all about the Collectors - it saves wasting time on expositionary exchanges that you already know about but you do wonder how the character you're talking to might know it), I actually miss the lift conversations with their muzak (there is some great banter between some of the characters in the first one in those sequences), and I've got caught on scenery a couple of times forcing a re-load. Oh, and I play with subtitles on so would just like to point out to whoever did the QA that it's court martialled and NOT court marshalled. Grrrr!!!! Final thought for now? It's Deus Ex 2 (and not just because it looks like an Unreal Engine game, in all it's shiny, beautiful glory)... But in a good and perfect way. The changes that they were making horrified you when you first heard about them although you could grasp why they were doing them though it seemed like they were dumbing down for the sake of dumbing down, but upon playing they all make sense and there really isn't anything major to complain about. It's a slightly different take on the experience of the first game but it just seems like they've managed to improve everything overall.
  11. I'd also recommend anything by Neil Gaiman, but particularly American Gods. It's a genuine masterpiece.
  12. I suggest both of you go and read T.S. Eliot's The Waste Land given that Banks is completely upfront about the source inspiration. Even the title comes from that work and structurally the novel reflects the poem's structure and also reflects its themes. If you check the titles for the various parts for The Waste Land then you'll even see that they correspond to events that happen in Consider Phlebas in the order in which they happen.
  13. I'll third Mieville - he's part of what has been called New Fantasy in which they consciously eschew the tropes of Tolkienesque fantasy. I'd actually recommend his novel Un Lun Dun as a starting point - it's aimed more at early teens than his other work but is a brilliant read and as well written as his other work with an incredibly positive moral message. If you like it then you should get on with his adult fiction. The reason for suggesting you start there is that his adult fiction is very literary, heavily politicised and can be a burden if you aren't into that kind of thing. If you read SF and Iain M Banks in full literary mode with his SF doesn't bother you (and you get things such as that the Shellworld in Matter is a thematic metaphor) then you really should get on with Mieville. If you get along with that the Mervyn Peake's Gormenghast trilogy might be worth a read. Mieville is very much the spiritual heir to Peake and there are serious comparisons between Gormenghast and Perdido Street Station, but I couldn't personally get on with Peake in the end (I think he runs out steam in the second book). Charles Stross has also written a couple of novels which use a Lovecraftian Cthulthu-esque universe as their basis - The Atrocity Archives and The Jennifer Morgue which - also pay homage to other writers as well. They're fantastical horror as opposed to straight fantasy though.
  14. Yep, maybe this is the beginning of how she became the way she is in Epitaph One? Also, it's very strongly implied in this ep that
  15. Saw it this afternoon and really enjoyed it. One thing that hasn't been commented on in the reviews I've read is that Visually and in terms of the choices that have been made with regards to the overall presentation, it's an amazing piece of film-making. It also happens to have the most visceral kills seen in cinema for a very long time. Blomkamp really doesn't shy away from things visually. What's also nice is that whilst it posits a load of socio-political commentary the film is never arrogant enough to try and suggest solutions. You're simply presented with the way things are and are left to draw your own conclusions. It's staggering to think this was made for just $30 million...
  16. Almost finished with Alistair Reynolds short-story collection Zima Blue and it was upon reading through these that I initially realised why I didn't get on with the previous collection Galactic North the first time around (when I re-read it recently I liked it a lot more than the first time). My problem with Galactic North was that it was set in the Revelation Space universe but it was effectively a look at that universe as a work in progress and no attempt was made to modify the stories to fit in with what had been published in novel form so things just didn't quite jive with how I'd come to understand that sequence. Zima Blue just works so much better because I haven't come at it with any preconceptions and there are some very nice short stories in there. I wonder if he realised at the time of writing that the short Understanding Space and Time conceptually echoes, to an extent, Asimov's The Last Question? Currently got China Mieville's The City and the City and Greg Bear's City at the End of Time to plough through. Hopefully Mieville's latest is far better than Iron Council which I just didn't get on with at all - although I really liked both Looking for Jake and Un Lun Dun (I don't care if it's intended as a 'kids' book - it's for kids in the same way Roald Dahl's work was) so Iron Council may just have been an aberration.
  17. That should be fun - I've got tickets to that as well... I thought the model work was pretty good in general particularly given that the narrative prevented them using the common tricks you'd use to hide that they were models.
  18. Yeah - thought it was ace with Rockwell once again delivering and the Q&A afterwards was enjoyable. Shame I didn't think of the great question about Clint Mansell's scoring until afterwards though. The guy made a good question about the aesthetic although I'd say it reminded me more of 70s British TV SF such as UFO and Space 1999 rather than Alien but the film does pay a lot of homage in general to that intelligent strain of 70s SF films. Dead impressed that they managed to get it made for £2m. And having seen it, the bit in the trailer that seems like it might be a spoiler isn't as the film is very upfront about it - it isn't a 'twist'.
  19. Isn't that a given as it gets remade on a fairly regular basis? Admittedly, the most recent version with Nicole Kidman and Daniel Craig was a complete travesty but still there have been four versions of it to date...
  20. It is, however, featuring at the EIFF and it looks like there are still tickets available. Showings at Cameo 1 on 20th June and 23rd June.
  21. No. As they can't really do the Earth War story anymore, I'd like something loosely derived from the Salvation comic set on some remote farm world colony. If only because the scene in Jurassic Park 2 where they're running through the field fleeing the raptors and disappearing one by one always struck me as something that should have been in an Alien film, somehow. Really play with the religious allegory and find a way to mix in some nice anti-corporatist message. And shoot the whole thing like a Terence Mallick film. Well, there's a great film in there in my head. And I like the juxtaposition of the imagery we typically associate with the xenomorph and Mallick's method of making meditative filmic essays which comment on the relationship between Man and the natural environment he inhabits and the disruption that mankind brings to it.
  22. No. The correct way of doing it would be to have the lift segment as a twenty minute slog then during the post-credit sequence someone should point out to the Prince that he could have used the two Sands of Time he received immediately prior to the lift sequence to just freeze time and dispatch all the bad guys in the lift with ease... (always did amaze me how many people made that bit far harder than it needed to be despite it being so heavily sign-posted - a Water of Life and two Sands of Time? Hint, hint).
  23. I'm definitely looking forward to this although I am wondering just how much the film is supposed to serve as allegory for the refugee situation in post-apartheid South Africa particularly with regards to the Zimbabwean refugees who have fled the Mugabe regime. It's certainly the impression I take based upon what we've seen so far. Hopefully, if that is the allegory it isn't heavy-handed and the film will probably benefit from most being unaware of just how bad tensions are over it.
  24. Ooh... I hadn't thought about that ep in a while, but it really was amazing wasn't it? Our detectives are investigating a possible homicide where the victim is still alive but is going to die regardless of what is done, the victim is fully aware of their fate and just wants to speak to his girlfriend/wife one last time and they're all up against the inane timetable of bureaucracy which demands that the subway train be lifted so that they can get everything running as normal with no regard for this poor bastard who is going to die. It was even more outstanding having his girlfriend/wife not found in time and that the murder victim actually got to confront his murderer (if I recall correctly). Whenever I think of Homicide, I think of this episode.
  25. I suspect another part of the cause of the original problems comes from how the show came about. Dushku's production company has, if I recall correctly, a three show development deal with Fox. Her and Joss were talking over lunch about putting together a show which is where Dollhouse comes from. Given that ED and Joss have worked together before and anybody who knows Joss' work knows that he does ensemble pieces, it must have been clear to ED that what she wanted to take to Fox was an ensemble piece with her as the name lead. Apparently the guy at Fox who commissioned the show is also a big Joss fanboi so would also have understood that that was what they were buying. However, somewhere down the road, those at Fox responsible for the day-to-day must have thought that as the show was part of the development deal that Dushku has then it was supposed to be or should be 'Eliza Dushku star vehicle' rather than Joss ensemble piece. It's only when it became clear that the fundamental premise of Dollhouse just doesn't work as a star vehicle and only works as an ensemble that the day-to-day guys at Fox backed off and Joss got to run the show the way he and ED wanted. There's a reason why Minear and Espension are consulting producers and not executive producers or (co-)producers.
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