Wednesday, September 30, 2009

You're never too old to be Tasered! - Part 17 in my "Shoot First, Questions Never" series!

Police in a small Wyoming town used a Taser 5 times on a 76-year-old man riding an antique tractor in a parade after he allegedly disobeyed police orders and the tractor hit a car.

Retired truck driver Bud Grose of Glenrock told The AP in a telephone interview that he was OK after the incident, but is consulting with an attorney. "Yes, it hurt, but it didn't put me down or cause me any reason to go to a doctor," Grose said. "But I am 76, and I have a heart condition."

The incident occurred during the annual Deer Creek Days event in Glenrock, a town of about 2,200 residents about 20 miles east of Casper in central Wyoming. Police said Grose disobeyed their orders and the tractor hit a police car.

[Right: An example of the 1958 John Deere, Mr. Grose was driving recklessly]

Grose said the tractor was pulling a four-wheeled wagon that carried three women sitting on chairs inside and was near the end of the parade route when the incident occurred.

The Division of Criminal Investigation report said Grose disobeyed Officer Michael Kavenius' traffic command and steered around him to head toward the town park rather than the end of the parade. Kavenius told state investigators he was struck by Grose's tractor, but Grose denied hitting the officer.

The report said Kavenius then chased Grose on foot until an Officer Brown joined the pursuit in a police SUV and caught up to Grose's tractor. The police pulled in front of the tractor, which came to a stop as it bumped the SUV. That's when Kavenius shocked Grose with the Taser.

Following the incident Grose was quoted as saying "I'm probably gonna retire from parades now", so I say - lesson learned.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Iran's Second Nuke Site

By now, everyone will have heard that the whistle has been blown on Iran having a 2nd Nuke site. Apparently they blew it themselves and revealed it to everyone because they were under the impression that the site had been infiltrated by Western intelligence agencies and it's existence would be revealed at the G-20 economic summit in Pittsburgh for maximum impact.

A US official revealed Washington knew of the new Iranian nuclear facility since the Bush administration but wanted to make sure of the intelligence on the facility before revealing its existence. Most likely to avoid the backlash from acting on "non-human intel" which suggested Saddam Hussein's WMDs in Iraq. Additionally Washington was waiting for the facility to be further along in its development before making its existence known, so it would be more of a "slam dunk case." The official went on to say there were no plans to make the information known this week or even at next week's P5+1 meeting on Iran. The speculation is that when Iran became aware that the West know of the plant, they made the tactical decision to make the plant public to try and get ahead of Western adversaries.

But there did the intelligence come from....?

Well obviously the official report is highly classified but it has been referred to by a host of officials in the US while giving press statements Friday. The following lines were referred to by one anonymous individual but parts have been redacted.

... under the direction of the CIA's Special Operations Group ... team, consisting of Gunnery Sergeant Tyler, Marine Force Recon, Senior Chief Petty Officer Samuels, Navy SEAL and commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Creedon ... in total darkness ... a HALO drop into Namak Lake in the Kavir National Park, approximately 70 miles South East from target ... at 05:30 began a 4 day trek ... to minimize contact with indigenous peoples ... buried the goat shepard in the foothill ... 80 high resolution photographs and sound recordings of the ... separate routes ... Creedon made it safely to Halabjah, Iraq on the night of ... other personnel are uncertain and are missing presumed dead ...

Source: Fox News, CNN, NBC, Sky News, BBC, Wired, The Guardian

Friday, September 25, 2009

Steven Segal: Lawman

I've just learned from reading this in IGN; but apparently since filming in Louisiana 20 years ago, Steven Segal himself has been working as a fully-commissioned deputy with the Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office. In addition to going out on patrol, Seagal is an expert marksman who has worked with their SWAT team and has instructed the officers in firearms and hand-to-hand combat.

A new reality series Steven Segal: Lawman on the A&E channel, will allow us to ride shotgun with Seagal as he and his hand-selected elite team of deputies respond to crimes-in-progress. Then, when Seagal goes off-duty, the cameras will continue following him as he pursues his many ventures – including musical performances and philanthropic efforts – all over New Orleans. I swear I'm not making this up!

Seagal has never sought publicity for his work with the Sheriff's Office before now, which is why we don't know about. "I've been working as an officer in Jefferson Parish for two decades under most people's radar," said Seagal, "I've decided to work with A&E on this series now because I believe it's important to show the nation all the positive work being accomplished here in Louisiana – to see the passion and commitment that comes from the Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office in this post-Katrina environment."

Source: IGN

Thursday, September 24, 2009

The A-Team is cast

It seems like Smokin' Aces director Joe Carnahan has finalised his casting choices for The A-Team movie and has begin filming...

The role of Colonel John "Hannibal" Smith played by the late George Peppard will be assumed by Liam Neeson (Star Wars Episode I & Batman Begins).

Bradley Cooper a recent breakout star appearing in The Hangover, Midnight Meat Train and Alias will assume the role of Lieutenant Templeton "Faceman" Peck, formerly played by Dirk Benedict.

Sgt. Bosco "B.A." Baracus, famously played by Mr. T. will be played now by UFC fighter Quinton "Rampage" Jackson.

As I write this, it's still in the rumoured-but-also-a-done-deal but as they've started filming, I'm going to call it and assume that District 9's Sharlto Copley will assume the mantle of Captain H.M. "Howling Mad" Murdock previously played by Dwight Schultz.

Interestingly Patrick Watchmen Wilson will play a CIA agent and Jessica Biel has been added to the cast to ensure that we'll actually give this a chance - bizarrely she appears to be cast in an ex-lover of Face role and apparently also the Army general in pursuit of them - I'm sure that's a mistake - but general or not, this Colonel will be standing to attention - Ha!!

Lucas! - I hope this isn't shit, just so Iron Man 2 wont be alone in the cinema all summer...

Get the first look at the A-Team van on

Source: Variety,IMDB, AICN, IGN

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Whiteout - Frosty

What an incredible opening to a movie - It's nighttime and there's a snowstorm. A Russian transport plane is flying over Antarctica. Then there's like this shootout - an incredibly clever thing to do on a plane. Naturally the pilot is killed and the plane spectacularly crashes in the ice and snow, it's fires are soon quenched by the intense cold leaving no trace. The following scene is even better; as one of the most supremely hot women on the planet Kate Bekinsale arrives at her Antarctic base and she promptly sheds about nine layers of clothing down to an impossibly white white sports bra and panties and proceeds to remove them too and take a splendid shower which unfortunately restricts you to imagining what she's doing as the steam reacts far too quickly to the cold air obscuring our lecherous gazing. Both scenes comprise the first 10 minutes of the movie...

Sadly the rest of it is cinematic excrement.

Dear God, what a travesty of cinema. After the opening 10 minutes we're soon treated to the most dull, boring, cliched and predictable thrillers I've ever had the misfortune of seeing. At first I thought they had taken a daring step with vaguely 'film noir' style dialog, but I soon realised it was just shit writing. I think it was catering to some of the most stupid people on the planet - you know the blonde bimbo sitting behind you at the cinema who needs the movie's plot explained - well not this time Barbie, because it's practically spelled out for you here. Dialog like: "I'm in the shower", says Kate as her doctor friend [Tom Skerritt] enters her quarters to the sound of running water and endless steam - he's an M.D. I think he'd work out that for himself luv. Later Kate finds a map with big squares drawn on it like a grid with big numbers from 100-105 in each square. Big red Xs have been drawn through 100-104 and Kate points to the map now filling the entire screen: "It looks like they stopped at grid 105." Truly a master detective.

After about an hour of fuck all happening I just wanted to drift off and dream that shower scene was longer but my eyes were transfixed to the hole-filled train-wreck plot which contained about seven or eight flashbacks of increasing duration to explain the traumatic on-the-job experience that Kate had years ago to prompt her to escape to Antarctica to forget about it. Once the director has used up these flashbacks however, he starts to create flashbacks of things we saw at the beginning of the movie, including the plane crash and the dialog that practically reveals the true evil mastermind - just in case we weren't paying attention the first time we saw them just over an hour ago. Why couldn't Kate have a flashback of the fuckin' shower scene? I remember that too but I'd not object to seeing it again - from an ahem, different angle perhaps.

I did briefly nap but woke up about 10 minutes towards the end to the noise of the final fight scene between Kate, the one-dimensional Gabriel Macht [he wasn't he in a shit film already this year?] and someone I'd obviously missed the introduction of. This ended exactly as I though it would - completely unspectacularly. This left only the obligatory "shocking twist" as our heroine puts all the pieces of this painfully obvious puzzle together revealing the true culprit to this ridiculous plot.

Final Verdict: For this, I'll use the words of Sith Master, who mailed them to me earlier: "Watch the 1st 10 minutes and the trailer. Any other good bits (blood freezing underfoot, slashed throats, etc.) are interspersed with tedium. Watch the rest only you have a fetish for the lead actress."

Colonel Creedon Rating: *
[because I can't give ***** for the just first 10 minutes]

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Neverwinter Nights 2: Mask Of The Betrayer - Review

Obsidian’s first expansion to Neverwinter Nights 2, itself the sequel to one of the most beloved RPGs of the decade is entitled Mask Of The Betrayer. The expansion adds on about 20 hours or so to the 40 hour strong original campaign both continuing and bringing a closure to your main character’s adventure. Now I had high hopes for this as I had not played Bioware’s expansions for the original Neverwinter Nights and as I had never experienced playing a character beyond level 20 [even in PnP D&D], this was a somewhat exciting departure.

The story and progression were for the most part, the usual standard. The main quest is to determine the nature of a curse you were inflicted with. Two areas of Faerûn's "Unapproachable East" are the setting for the game, inhabited by many spirits and feature many tears in the veils between the material plane and that of the shadow-realm. Rashemen and Thay are areas oft cited in D&D lore but never visited in a video game before. All I really knew of Rashemen was that the Baldur’s Gate character Minsc hailed from within it’s borders and Thay was the realm of the Red Wizards. As such, this became a refreshing change of pace from the Sword Coast, which has been the subject of practically all the D&D based RPG games I've played.

You can play the same character you played in the original campaign or create a new one for MOTB. Playing the same character does have a few benefits, obviously you are well used to your abilities and feats but also you bring whatever you were wearing when you export your original character [right before you kill the King Of Shadows at the end of the original campaign] so any rings, amulets, cloaks, helmets, footwear, robes or armour remain part of your character from the outset of your new adventure. You loose all weapons as well as all the crap in your inventory, but that's a good thing in my opinion as after 40 hours you've collected far to much shite, that you really don't need. In fairness you’ll obtain items that make those former possessions seem like child’s toys soon enough as the level cap is now 30 [up from 20] and you’ll gain equipment commensurate with this level or perhaps fashion your own epic items before long. While it will affect only the most immersed players of this RPG, the crafting system has been completely overhauled. One good thing is that you can now craft on the fly without needing a specific workbench. However the magical components of the equipment you can create are “essences” dropped by fallen foes, so you have to collect dozens of essences of Earth, Fire, Wind, Water, Power or Spirit to imbue your equipment with any worthwhile power and this can often turn the joy of crafting into a tedious chore, but it is worth it to have an in-game crafted weapon like “Karadon’s +5 Burning Frost Sword of Justice.”

It’s important to note that this expansion is significantly darker in tone than the original. There is little comedy relief and the story is deeply personal and introspective, concerning mainly only you and your place in the word as opposed to your influence upon the world as a greater whole and so is quite different to what has come before in that regard. What’s more distressing is that before long you’ll become afflicted with “The Curse of the Betrayer” [which would have been a far more apt title for this expansion. This curse is a frustratingly annoying “enhancement” to your character but it’s an integral part of the story, so I don’t want to spoil it for you. However the way it was implemented was ridiculous. I don’t mind telling you that I hacked the game to eliminate the negative effects of this additional ability because if I didn’t or couldn’t do it, I wouldn’t have bothered to continue playing. On a level that wouldn’t affect everyone: whatever about other characters, a supremely heroic, selfless, holy Paladin would not have used this ability as the game intended. Had this happened in a P&P game, I’d have sacrificed myself for the first noble cause I’d have found, even a charity cake-sale, rather than be subjected to performing the curse's "acts". However, the curse is part of the storyline so it does have a place and once you understand what has to be done in the game word it all comes together, but there has been other ways where an “affliction” had been implemented if they studied Baldur’s Gate 2’s Throne of Bhall expansion more closely.

As this was an expansion developed by the same folks as the original, albeit a different creative team, I was expecting to have companions as entertaining, vibrant, resourceful and worthy as those of the original campaign like Khelgar and Sand, but the cretins you’re landed with here are appallingly dull by comparison. Okku, a large fey bear-spirit proving the most interesting with regards to both personal development and ability to aid you. Should you play “darkside” you won’t have Okku for long but One Of Many - needless to say I never met him in my adventure. From the beginning you’re teamed up with Safiya a Red Wizard of Thay who is integral to the plot [or at least my choices] and an epic-level magic user came in always handy when you’re a magically deficient Paladin. Safiya has an almost permanently summoned Mephit[?] who acts as your rogue, and he is capable enough to pick most locks and disarm traps until the high more difficult obstacles but both are uninteresting and I doubt I’d have mourned their loss if suitable replacements were available unlike the attachments and bonds between the original campaign characters like Elanee and Neeshka. That said the companions now contain a sense of accountability with players as if you treated them well and if the agree with your actions, the will bestow certain benefits, such as bonuses in combat. On the flip side, treat them like shit and I understand they will become uncooperative and may even abandon you.

The game engine has been tweaked and it now allows two new camera angles. The first is a "3rd Person" over-the-shoulder camera where the mouse and keyboard control movement and the camera follows the view point of the controlled character. The second is an RTS style camera view, which allows you to zoom out and control the characters as though they were units (using shift-click, dragging boxes, etc). The game suffered from it’s ability to “forget” what view it was using every now and again but it wasn’t too hard to control once you got the hang of it. There has been quite a few graphical enhancements but the frame rate holds up, even during graphically intense battles where spell effects are everywhere on the screen. Many of the amazing spell effects of the original have been made even more spectacular. What is problematic with his however is that dozens of spells may be thrown around on screen at once with explosively bright coloured effects that can all but obscure everything on screen making it tremendously difficult to ascertain who is who or where your enemy is unless you manage to select them before the fireworks. But that’s a minor niggle.

In addition to patching the original game, the features of MotB will integrate themselves into the character creation and progression tables allowing you to create characters benefiting from the additional races [e.g. Half Drow, or Genasi], classes like spirit shamen and new feats and spells while playing the original Neverwinter Nights 2. I will also say the ante has been upped in the sound department too especially in the music department with a dark, haunting and magnificently thematic score by Alexander Brandon.

All in all Mask Of The Betrayer is extremely impressive for an mere expansion pack offering twice as much gameplay as you'd find in most full games out there. I felt my took a step forwards into the unknown, became an epic hero and my character is well on his way to becoming a god. Something that is unlikely to be realised in game terms but it's nice to know he will continue on in spirit. While initially upset that, being somewhat materialistic, that I lost my land, fortress, possessions, woman and money [not necessarily in that order] from the original campaign and so was no longer in complete control of my life or administrating the “big picture” of the character’s influence upon the game world; I did on the other hand get “noticed” by the Gods - So maybe that’s the ultimate progression here.

Final Verdict: Very polished with some impressive engine and welcome control enhancements, interesting and suitably epic plot but saddled with woeful characterisation of companions and annoying “curse.” You'll feel like a legendary hero all the way through beating enemies and obstacles you once would have ran from, the battles are a lot tougher, and there are also challenging puzzles to solve but the rewards are greater, not least of which is some mighty fine gaming.

Colonel Creedon Rating: ****

Monday, September 21, 2009

Supermarket Empire Strikes Back against Jedi!!!

Jedi Masters Morda and Jonba Hehol address some of their Welsh Jedi followers

Jedi Master Morda Hehol brother of Master Jonba Hehol, assaulted in March 2008, and the founder of the International Church of Jediism, which has 500,000 followers worldwide was thrown out of a Tesco supermarket in Bangor, North Wales for refusing to remove his Jedi hood which flouted store security rules. Dan Jones [Master Hehol's birth name] claims he has been "victimised over his beliefs" and left "emotionally humiliated" by the supermarket. "It states in our Jedi doctrination that I can wear headwear. It just covers the back of my head," he said. "You have a choice of wearing headwear in your home or at work but you have to wear a cover for your head when you are in public."

Jones said he'd gone to the store to buy something to eat during his lunch-break when staff surrounded him and ordered him to the checkout where they demanded that he remove the offending hood or leave the store. "I said "No, its part of my religious right." I gave them a Jedi church business card," he said. Jones has made an official complaint to Tesco, is considering a boycott of the store and is seeking legal advice.

A Tesco spokesperson objected: "He hasn't been banned. Jedi are very welcome to shop in our stores although we would ask them to remove their hoods. Obi-Wan Kenobi, Yoda and Luke Skywalker all appeared hoodless without ever going over to the Dark Side. If Jedi walk around our stores with their hoods on, they'll miss lots of special offers."

[Right: Only one of these headdress' is a "security risk"!]

So it begs the question if Tesco in Wales don't allow Jedi hoods - why do they allow wogs wear burqa which are the proven headdress of terrorists!!! Who bestowed the power on Tesco of all people to dictate what is a real religion and what is not? There are reported to be half a million Jedi worldwide, so numerical adherence cannot be the criterion upon which Tesco makes its judgement about legitimacy. Jedi possess a ‘church’ and a creed, they adhere to doctrine and submit to their interpretation of the ‘Force’.

Now while I do accept that it's fabricated nonsense that practicers of the Jedi religion "must wear a hood up in any public place of a large audience;" as a "symbolism of your faith," -they're making that shit up - actually pretty much like the practicers of the hokey "Muslim" religion often change their doctrine to suit their mood at any given time and many of whom use it to commit obscene atrocities in the name of Allah.

Jediism is no more ridiculous than any other religion or belief. According to the last census, Jedi outnumber Sikhs who also wear headdress. Tesco's comeback to the Jedi was excellent, but I seriously doubt if they'd would be making Allah jokes if it was a Muslim in a hijab?

Source: Civilian Overseer, The Daily Telegraph, The Daily Mail, The Sun

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Could Eurovision Voting Be Treasonous?

The organisers of the increasingly irrelevant and ultimatly camp Eurovision Song Contest have threatened to bring broadcasting sanctions against TV networks if they disclose information about the contest's voters' identities.

This shocking news follows reports that a number of people in Azerbaijan were interrogated by police after voting for a song by neighbouring Armenia [with whom Azerbaijan had conflicted with over the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region in the 1990s] in this year's contest. One such person told the BBC he had been accused of being unpatriotic and a "potential security threat", after he sent a text backing Armenia's song, Jan Jan.

Telecoms companies had previously been responsible for protecting voters' details, but now broadcasters will shoulder the burden as the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) does not have the ability to penalise telephone companies, "for any disclosure of information which could be used to identify voters". The EBU's director general, Jean Reveillon, said violating the privacy of voters "or interrogation of individuals... is totally unacceptable". Banning a broadcaster would effectively stop a country from being able to take part.

Norway's Alexander Rybak won the contest this year, smashing the record for the most points awarded during the competition with 387.

Alexander Rybak (left) not to be confused with Casey "Fuckin'" Rybak (right).

Source: BBC News, Vaughan

Friday, September 18, 2009

Obama scraps Bush's European Missile Defence Plan

President Obama is overhauling President Bush's plan for a missile defense shield in Europe, based partly on an "updated intelligence assessment" of Iran's offensive capabilities and replaced it with a new system. Obama said "new missile defense architecture in Europe ... will provide capabilities sooner, build on proven systems and offer greater defenses against the threat of missile attack" than the program that Bush proposed. The Islamic republic's "short- and medium-range" missiles pose the most current threat, he said, and "this new ballistic missile defense will best address" that threat.

U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates, speaking from the Pentagon immediately after the president's announcement, denied the United States was "scrapping" missile defense. "This new approach provides a better missile defense capability for our forces in Europe, for our European allies and eventually for our homeland than the program I recommended almost three years ago." Gates said. The new system will have "hundreds" of missile interceptors.

Left: SECDEF Robert Gates. Right: General James Cartwright, VCJCOS

It also will have mobile radars, including some in space, "that can move to wherever the threat actually emanates and wherever we feel we need to defend ourselves," said Gen. James Cartwright, deputy chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. He contrasted the new sensor technology with the radar systems envisioned in the old plan, which he called "basically left over from the Cold War." The new plan includes three types of missiles to shoot down incoming threats -- Patriot missiles, which defend a single location; SM-3 interceptors, which he said could protect "a general area like the area from Philadelphia to Washington, D.C."; and large ground-based interceptors in Alaska and California. The first phase of the system is due to be in place in 2011, with the subsequent phases rolling out around 2015, 2018 and 2020. "It's a more advanced system, more cost-effective and efficient," the Marine general said.

Elements of the new plan are extremely familiar to those that were made aware of the United Nations Extra-Terrestrial Invasion Defence Agency's 2005 "Alien Mothership Deterrent Initiative" proposed by Colonel "Whopper" Creedon who was then the Extra-Terrestial Encounters Advisor to the Bush White House, now UNETIDA's Special Operations Commander who was unavailable for comment today. Other UNETIDA personnel were on hand however:

"A volley of multi-kinetic neutronic mines will solve most of your hostile encounter problems" said Captain "Harpoon" Dutton KBE, Commander, UNETIDA Naval Tactical Support (CUNTS) "but I'm a big fan of serious missile power too. It pleases me that we'll be getting more of them."

Brigadier General “Ballista” Jackson, UNETIDA Missile Defence Commander [Northern] said "The system that President Bush proposed would have deployed interceptors that had yet to be tested in real conditions to defend against ICBMs that Iran has yet to develop. They'd have been useless against the technology that we know Iran does have. The new plan make more sense short term, then we worry about long term threats once that's in place." When asked if Obama's plan was in fact related to Creedon's 2005 proposal he responded. "It's a more advanced system, more cost-effective and efficient plus we will now have hundreds of missiles at our command rather than just 10! Does that sound like a Colonel Creedon plan to you?"

Sources: Fox News, US DoD, CNN

Monday, September 14, 2009

New Pacific Trailer

A new trailer for the Steven Spielberg & Tom Hanks epic, The Pacific has been released...

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Fookin' Hell: District 9's an Explosive Prawn Cocktail!

If you examine the very best science fiction stories you’ll see they are in fact allegories for world events, problems and atrocities that have been brought to light in a manner that’s appealing because they’re wrapped up in the visual spectacle of the sci-fi genre. Lets face it; unless ythey're a pretentious Oscar-chasing director that also has some measure of talent, ythey're not going to be able to effectively get their message across to the audience without disguising it. However if they're a director who has Peter Lord Of The Rings Jackson and the Weta workshop behind you, then you may as well craft a controversial tale of racial intolerance and human rights abuse using highly impressive special effects, Aliens, gunfire and explosives.

District 9 is one of the few high-profile movies I’ve seen in a while that is not a sequel, a remake or an adaptation from some other medium, and that brings a virgin freshness as well as both the excitement and the interpretation from not knowing what to really expect. From brief hearsay and the usual internet mumblings all I was expecting from this was at best - a morality tale of racial intolerance where humans would most likely be depicted as the baddies. Now this is indeed to some extent what the first half of the movie alludes to; but then all hell breaks loose and it becomes an ‘80’s balls-out action-movie! I shit you not people, the set up may be a little tedious, but when the action starts and the lead begins flying - punctuated with only the most necessary of explosions, you’ve got little time to breath between digesting the action and trying to subconsciously remember where you’ve seen these scenarios before. Terminator 2, Lethal Weapon, Total Recall, Aliens and Black Hawk Down are things that came to mind here, but for anyone who loves Robocop, this is a real treat. Substitute apartheid for fascism and you'll quiclky see the similarities of corporate corruption, satire and the small cog in the machine that looses his humanity and becomes an uncompromising fighting machine.

This is a flawed gem however. While the effects are astounding expecially those of the Aliens [the prawns] and the action superb, there are alas a number of serious problems. One is that despite some excellent acting talent; all of the characters, including the main protagonist are complete assholes. I’ can't recall seeing such an unlikeable group anywhere. The main character, Wikus Van De Merwe says “fook” a lot [much like people from Dublin actually] due to his South African accent, but as this is his only likeable trait, it’s difficult to empathise with him once he becomes infected, as by then we’ve already seen him burn unborn aliens in their eggs which "sounds like popcorn" and he doesn’t redeem himself much for the remainder of the movie. The other major issue refers to the Aliens use of their highly-advanced super-powerful weapons and technology - but you'll just have to see the movie to know why this is a problem.

The documentary-style direction of former digital effects animator Neill Blomkamp compliments Trent Opaloch's photragraphy and they treat the subject matter perfectly. There is some exceptional acting from the completly unknown cast, led by Sharlto Copley which just goes to show that if you have a competant casting director and have the balls to take a chance on someone, you can shave off several million dollars from the price-tag and pour it into SFX and pyrotechnics! Another chance was taken on a reletivly unknown Canadian composer Clinton Shorter whose only body of work was television and DTV movies and he provided one of the most remarkable and unique scores of the year. I sure hope Peter Jackson has many more friends like Blomkamp whom he'll help make great movies like this.

Colonel Creedon Rating: ****1/2

Monday, September 07, 2009

Stallone's been taking LSD with his Steroids

Sylvester Stallone has revealed to AICN, the true plot line to Rambo 5 and it's most certainly not what Variety published recently...

So basically, Stallone is abandoning the quasi-realistic setting of a clinically disturbed Vietnam vet surviving in the world which made the character what he is and is doing his version of John Carpenter's The Thing melded with a story from G.I.Joe: Frontline.

This is insanity of the highest order and probably the riskiest move a studio could take with an established character that they don't intend to push straight to DVD.

Hell, it just might work...

Source: AICN

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

War is a Drug. Get addicted with The Hurt Locker

I don’t watch The Colbert Report for Sir Steven’s glowing movie reviews, but I do remember Kathryn Bigelow being on a few weeks back. I recall her as director for Point Break, a classic but ultimately unfulfilling movie and the far more substantial tale of K-19: The Widowmaker. Colbert interviewed her in his usual manner, questioning her ability as a woman to direct what is essentially a guys action movie. Ultimately however through her description of the movie and the clip that was shown – I was sold once I saw the quality of the explosions and I was hoping it wasn’t going to be another whining liberal tirade as a lot of these movies tend to be.

The Hurt Locker is purely about the mentality of the soldiers with one of the most unenviable duties in the world – Explosive Ordnance Disposal [EOD]. Are they just ice-cool or raving lunatics? Well this movie is well written, acted and directed enough for you to make up your own mind.

Jeremy Renner [28 Weeks Later, S.W.A.T.] plays Staff Sergeant William James, team leader and EOD technician who arrives to command Bravo Company for it's final 39 days before they're rotated out. The team consists of himself and his two subordinates, Sergeant J.T. Sanborn [Anthony Mackie of Eagle Eye and The Manchurian Candidate] and Specialist Owen Eldridge [Brian Geraghty] and they quickly learn that Jones is a reckless maverick that will most likely get them killed. These three powerful flawless performers head a cast that was enhanced by actual Iraqi refugees in Jordan and included cameo appearances from Guy Pearce, Ralph Fiennes and the most excellent David Morse as Colonel Reed delivering an exceptional performance that’s one of the many highlights of the movie.

The movie is not without faults; one obvious issue would be that blood would not stop the operation of an M82A1 Barrett sniper rifle. Then there was the complete lack of backup for the EOD team whole driving around Baghdad when in reality there'd be a quick reaction force of three or more Humvees with associated personnel. Bigelow's final mistake was framing her picture in 2004, which predates the iPod touch, YouTube, the Xbox 360 & Gears of War as well as more obviously the ACU [Army Combat Uniform] which did not begin fielding until February 2005 but all feature in this movie. Admittedly, these wouldn't be picked up by everyone but they were enough to tarnish my personal experience ever so slightly.

Issues aside, I exited this movie's cinema on Saturday with hope, a hope that more movies can be made to this standard, where neither left nor right wing agendas are forced upon an audience that just doesn't give a shit about policy, they just want to see a good movie as do I at the end of the day. Bigelow has captured the essence of war flawlessly, utilising the camera work of Barry Ackroyd [The Wind That Shakes the Barley] from a script by Mark Boal who wrote the movie after he himself was embedded as a journalist with the real EOD teams. The tension is sharp, the violence visceral and the few moments of gore are shockingly authentic. This is a movie that will be remembered with Black Hawk Down, Saving Private Ryan and Full Metal Jacket.

Final Verdict: The Hurt Locker is thus far, the greatest film made about the war in Iraq.

Colonel Creedon Rating: *****