Tuesday 30 November 2010

Flavours of the Month: November 2010...


The Walking Dead - as you will have noticed I have been putting up my thouhts about each episode every week, so you can read what I've thought of this spiffing new undead TV series from AMC.

Twin Peaks - the Horror Channel has been having a David Lynch season this month, and the tentpole of it has been the showing, from start-to-finish (at the time of writing it's still part-way into season two), of Twin Peaks. I had never seen it before, but knew of it, and being a fan of the videogame Alan Wake, it's interesting to see where various elements of that game came from (indeed the creators are big fans of Lynch's dream-like drama).

Avatar 3-disc (Blu-Ray) - if only every studio/distributor would tell you in advance that a kick arse version of a movie on disc was coming later on. Fortunately Fox and James Cameron put it out on front street that Avatar would be getting a super-duper home video release in due course (when they were launching the vanilla disc). Naturally, being a whore for making-of documentaries and special features in general, I bided my time and finally I got my mits on Cameron's eco-actioner. It may not be in 3D this time, but now I get to view it without the 30% loss in brightness/contrast (such as you get with 3D glasses) and with 16 extra minutes (which, handily, you can view on it's own if you want to).

As far as the new footage goes, some is mere extensions, but quite a bit of it provides worthwhile new content and background. We get to see what Earth has become (providing good grounding and context, as well as visible reason, for mankind's actions on Pandora - it's a nice Blade Runner-esque counterpoint too), and learn more about Augustine's school and her relationship with the Na'vi. You can still see plotpoints coming from miles away, but Cameron's work has often (if not always) worked in popular broadstrokes. In short, it was great to get back to Pandora.

Toy Story 3 2-disc (Blu-Ray) - I never got to see it in the cinema, and I'll blog about the film separately, but it was great to finally get to see Pixar's latest, and well, that moment (if you've seen it, you'll know what I mean) was jaw dropping. That entire sequence was jaw dropping in fact. Bravo Pixar. Bravo.

The American Nightmare - I've seen Adam Simon's documentary on the American/Canadian horror flicks of the 1960s and 1970s several times over the last several years, and it's still a joy to watch. Informative, incisive and creepily stylish in its construction. A must-watch for any fan of the horror genre.


Airbourne "Runnin' Wild" - I already had the vice-rock group's second album, so it was about time I caught up with their debut. Fast, loud, wild and all about women, drink and everything in between. Inspired by the sound of AC/DC, it's a thrashingly good time.

Angelo Badalamenti "Twin Peaks Theme"/"Laura Palmer's Theme" - unsurprisingly, having gotten into Twin Peaks at long last, Badalamenti's dreamy score has become one of the constant sounds of November for me.

Godspeed You Black Emperor "Moya" - I'd always wondered what that mournful-then-energised music was in The American Nightmare, but I finally found it, and it's mesmerising.


Solitaire - sometimes when I'm listening to shows from the SModcast Podcast Network I'm not doing all that much, but then I remembered about Solitaire (which I used to play quite a bit in the 1990s), and I've become oddly fascinated by it again. It took me ages to get a win on it initially however as I kept running into dead ends - frustratingly so - fortunately the vagaries of a computer software's random card dealing didn't last long and I've been enjoying this little trip down memory lane.

Dead Rising 2 - I've got it for the 360, but I'm not good enough at it to do the story (or the rest of it anyway), so I got it for the PC so I could use cheats to just run around having all sorts of fun - and, importantly, actually get to play the story mode. You might think that slaying thousands upon thousands of zombies with a Light Machine Gun (or a Humvee) would get boring, but you'd be wrong.

STALKER: Call of Pripyat - I was a big fan of the original STALKER game (Shadow of Chernobyl), which provided the best atmospheric dose of gaming that year (2007, if memory serves), and while the follow-up (Clear Sky) was a bit disappointing towards the end it again provided that jolt of The Zone that we "STALKERs" crave ... in 2007 I got into the whole thing in a big bad way with the game, and the movie and book upon which it was based (not to mention absorbing documentaries about the real "Zone" itself). Anyway, it's been on the to-do list for a while, but I finally got around to it.

Unfortunately the DirectX 9 graphics are nowhere near as good as they were in Clear Sky (no doubt to push the DX10/11 technology), and while the pace is a bit slow so far, I'm getting into the world of STALKER all over again. It might be feeling a bit dated and too-samey to the previous two games, but you can't deny the lure of lurking around the rotting ruins of "The Zone".

Crystal Lake Memories: The Complete History of Friday 13th by Peter M. Bracke - I got this for my birthday and I've only just gotten around to it, and boy will it be a long old read. Nevertheless I've covered the first two movies in the long-running franchise. It's a must-have for any fan of the franchise as it's crammed with behind the scenes photos and mountains upon mountains of information from those involved.

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