Picture of the Day: Man of Steel Superman Suit

man_of_steel

Today we get to see a official image for the upcoming Man of Steel movie. The movie will be directed by Zack Snyder and star Henry Cavill. The Man of Steel is set to be released in summer of 2013. So, what do you think of the look and feel of the new superman?

 

 

 

 

 

New Ultimate Spiderman identity

Miles Morales - Spiderman

After the death of Spiderman by the hands of the Green Goblin, fans have been wondering who would take the reins of Spiderman and today we learn his name is Miles Morales. Miles is a half-black, half-Hispanic teen that has never appeared in any Spiderman comics before.

There have been a number of changes to characters in Marvel Comics to add more minorities to the cast of heroes. One of the most notable recent changes is Nick Fury who was changed from a white man to a black man after the portrayal of him by Samuel L. Jackson.

There has been a split reaction, not mainly because of his race, but of Marvel’s reasoning’s to do this. Many believe it is an attempt to steal some thunder from DC re-launch. Others believe it is political or pandering. Some blame the media for making more of this than it is while a few consider the ultimate universe non-cannon so it does not matter.

I try to think and write as a human of earth than a specific race. While I think it is good to add more minorities to stories, I think we need not make it such a spectacle. I remember before the awful Batman and Robin movie they considered casting a black Robin. When I said, no, keep him like he was, people looked at me weird as if I should be fighting for a black everything.

While I believe change is good, I do believe some things should stay as they are. Since this is an ultimate series, it is fine to try a new Spider man, but in historic series keep the original and instead try to push new characters that are of different background instead. Afterall, we cannot keep pushing Superman, Batman, Spider man stories forever. We will need new blood, no matter what color the skin above it is.

Torchwood: Dead of Night

Torchwood-Dead-of-Night-1

The episode opens with a James Bond feel to it as Rex confronts Friedkin in his own home pressuring him to give up the people pulling his strings. Rex is able to get Friedkin’s phone, but as you can guess Friedkin does not know who contacted him, but he does know they have been around for years.

After their escape, Team Torchwood meets up in their temporary hideout, but just before meeting up with them Gwen sees a group matching in the street in the dead of night. These silent, candle-holding people wearing white paper masks with sad frowns on them are known as the Soulless and they believe that by not dying that humanity has lost its soul.

This sets up a theme that humanity is looking for guidance and Oswald Danes appears to be the leader some are looking for. Danes continues making television appearances as more and more people look upon him as part rock star, part cult figure.

Torchwood - Dead of Night

Team Torchwood is slowly coming together as there is a lot of character building in this episode. While there is tension between Jack and Rex, we really get to see the team working together. Esther discovers a warehouse that Team Torchwood ends up investigating and finds a massive stockpile of pain medication from the drug company Phicorp.

It is reiterated again that pain management and medication will become increasingly important since humans no longer die, but can still become sick and feel pain. We also learn more about how humanity reacts to Miracle Day including the crime of attempted murder and murder being no longer valid. Dr. Juarez attends a medical panel where they learn some countries are putting birth control in the water and babies with severe birth defects are still being born.

At the panel, Jilly asks Dr. Juarez to attend a presentation with Phicorp. Later, Jilly asks Danes to meet with Phicorp representatives as well. Learning that Phicorp began developing and stock piling drugs a year before Miracle Day leads Team Torchwood to believe that Phicorp is more involved than they even believed. Rex, using his personal relationship with Dr. Juarez, convinces her to go to the presentation.

Using a contact-like camera device Gwen also goes to the presentation to gather information on Jilly and Phicorp. When Jack sees Danes at the presentation, he goes after him while Dr. Juarez calls Rex allowing them to listen to the presentation.

Torchwood - Dead of Night

The goal of the presentation is to push new legislation that would allow prescription drugs to be sold without one. This would raise the company’s profits tenfold. Meanwhile, Gwen is able to copy information on Jilly’s computer and Jack confronts Oswald.

Danes admits he does not feel sorry for what he has done, and in the end tells him Phicorp wanted him to deliver a message. Jack records the conversation, but Danes has Jack beaten and the recording taken away. At the end of the episode we see Danes on television using all the airtime he is receiving to also push for drugs to be made available without a prescription and for Phicorp to lead that charge.

Overall, a good character building episode that advances the story along. Unfortunately, we do not learn anything about the “triangle” group, but Rex believes he has them on the run when they call the cell phone and he answers.

I doubt Miracle Day is just about Phicorp and drug profits, but this does set up Danes to really take a stronger role in the story. I still want to know who Jilly really is. Is she just a go between or does she really have some power, either way, a good episode and a great series so far.

A look Back: Journeyman

journeyman

Sometimes a remake or program that appears to be a remake can be lambasted because it is just a cheap attempted to bring in viewers (cough, Knight Rider, cough). However, there are some shows that give a new generation a chance to experience something good and in my opinion, Journeyman did just that.

In 2007, Journeyman premiered on the NBC network and followed the story of reporter Dan Vasser who one day begins jumping backwards in time. The show had a very Quantum Leap vibe to it because Dan would need to interact with the life of the person he jumped to in order to change his or hers destiny. The different with Journeyman was that Dan did not jump into the body of the person so there was much more room for mistakes.

The story had a decent love story involving Vasser’s wife Kate who began to wonder where Dan was disappearing to. The only part I did not like was the brother Jack who seemed bent on breaking Dan up with Katie, but towards the end, their relationship got better. Dan eventually meets another “jumper” named Olivia, played by Moon Bloodgood who Dan knew and believed had died.

journeyman

The show had some great stories about the people Dan was meant to interact with as well as the love story between him and his wife. The science behind the jumps came out slowly, but was enough to keep the sci-fi fans interested without scaring off anyone else. Sadly, just as the show was really getting good and we learned more about the jumps and what they really meant the show was cancelled.

This was during a time when NBC was fighting over whether the American public wanted to come home and turn its brain off and watch 24/7 reality television or enjoy shows that could make you think and feel like Studio 60 and Journeyman. Unfortunately, we saw what won out.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CvOt3D64dqE[/youtube]

There were only 13 episodes aired and because of this, we may not see the show on networks such as Netflix and Hulu. However, you can view clips and show information on NBC’s Journeyman website.

[mp3player width=300 height=100 config=fmp_jw_widget_config.xml playlist=journeyman.xml]

 

The Visitor

The Visitor - Movie Screenshot

The Visitor (2008)
Director: Tom McCarthy  Starring: Richard Jenkins, Haaz Sleiman, Danai Jekesai Gurira, Hiam Abbass
Certificate: 15  Running Time: 104 Minutes

Tagline: “Connection is everything”

Thomas McCarthy is a talented fellow. He’s primarily an actor, featuring in films like Meet the Parents, Good Night and Good Luck, and 2012, as well as a few TV shows too such as Boston Public and The Wire, but he is also a talented writer and director, and it’s these ventures of his in which I am most interested. As many will probably not be aware, Tom’s screenwriting abilities have brought us the superb Pixar adventure, Up, but he also wrote and directed one of my very favourite films, The Station Agent, a low-budget but superbly crafted exploration of loneliness featuring some fantastic performances from its four main actors. The critically-acclaimed film, his directorial debut, went on to win numerous awards and plaudits and showed great potential for any future projects, but his sophomore effort was a long time coming.


The Visitor - Movie Screenshot

Like McCarthy’s previous film, The Visitor features few principal actors and follows a similar theme, albeit in markedly different circumstances. Walter Vale (Jenkins – Six Feet Under) is a widowed college professor from Connecticut who has grown rather anti-social and now lives his days alone and unfulfilled. Upon being asked by the head of his department to present a paper in New York, he reluctantly agrees and travels to the apartment he keeps in the city only to find an illegal immigrant couple living there (Sleiman and Gurira). After initially kicking them out, he takes pity on them and lets them stay there with him. Wary of each other to begin with, Walter and Tarek gradually forge a friendship which soon takes a dramatic turn when the latter is arrested and taken to a detention centre and his worried mother (Abbass) arrives in New York looking for him.


The Visitor - Movie Screenshot

It seems clear to me that Tom McCarthy strikes up a great relationship with his actors. Evidence of this can be seen by the fact that the stars of The Station Agent were all guests of The Visitor’s premiere despite the fact that none of them appear in it, but regardless of that, it also means he tends to get great performances from them. Richard Jenkins is generally good value in all his (often minor) roles but here he’s superb in his portrayal of Walter. He doesn’t like his job and he doesn’t like his life, it just takes a while before he admits it to himself. His new-found friendship with Tarek is almost like a wake-up call, an opportunity to be the person he actually wants to be for a change. As odd as it may look to see a 60-year old white guy enthusiastically pounding an African drum, he thoroughly convinces throughout and was duly nominated for an Oscar for his efforts.


The Visitor - Movie Screenshot

Portraying Tarek and Zainab, the couple befriended by Walter, are relative newcomers, Haaz Sleiman and Danai Gurira. Zainab spends her days selling ethnic jewellery in a market but remains wary of Walter. The happy-go-lucky Tarek, on the other hand, is charismatic (this film’s Joe Oramas to Walter’s Fin) and the unlikely duo of he and Walter form an enjoyable friendship which is quickly put to the test. After Tarek’s arrest his screentime is more limited and his lively nature is sorely missed, but when his mother, Mouna, arrives wondering why she hasn’t heard from him, it’s replaced by the new friendship that she and Walter form as they anxiously try to organise his release.


The Visitor - Movie Screenshot

So, is Tom McCarthy’s second film as good as The Station Agent? Well, yes and no. They do have a few similarities and, while his first film is more re-watchable in my opinion, this film touches on matters of greater importance, especially in recent years. In the wrong hands, this could’ve been a melodramatic mess but McCarthy’s restrained direction makes it a highly entertaining look at post-9/11 attitudes to immigration in the US which, thanks to the great performances as well, makes it uplifting and thought-provoking. After all, to quote the film’s other tagline – “In a world of six billion people, it only takes one to change your life…”

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KY0FEt3mBog[/youtube]

RKS Score: 8/10

The Secret Of My Success

The Secret Of My Success - Movie Screenshot

The Secret Of My Success (1987)
Director: Herbert Ross  Starring: Michael J. Fox, Helen Slater, Richard Jordan, Margaret Whitton, John Pankow, Christopher Murney

Certificate: PG  Running Time: 106 Minutes

Tagline: “There’s no such thing as an overnight success. Brantley Foster took two weeks”

I’m sure most of us had a pretty good idea of what we wanted to do after school or college but those lofty career aspirations don’t always work out how we planned. A similar problem befalls the star of this feel-good 80’s comedy. Landing the lead role fresh from the success of Back to the Future, Michael J. Fox stars as Brantley Foster. Aiming to escape the confines of the Kansas farm on which he grew up, Foster graduates from college and moves to New York after lining up an apartment and a decent executive position. After arriving for his first day at work, however, he finds himself laid off before he’s even started after his new employers fall victim to a hostile takeover. Having no luck with subsequent interviews elsewhere, his last chance is to ask him uncle for help, Howard Prescott (Jordan), who just happens to be CEO of the Pemrose Corporation…
The Secret Of My Success - Movie Screenshot

After impressing ruthless ‘Uncle Howard’ with his determination, he lands a job in the company mail room where he becomes friends with Melrose (Pankow), but finds himself longing for one of the executive ‘suit’ positions instead. He soon starts reading the company memos he’s been delivering and finds that the company is apparently not being run very well. When he chances upon a ringing phone in a newly empty office (thanks to a recent Howard firing), he seizes his chance and assumes the identity of a new executive, Carlton Whitfield! Now struggling to manage two jobs at once (amusingly switching between appropriate sets of clothing in the elevator), he must evade the suspicious eye of mail room boss, Rattigan (Murney), keep his alter-ego secret from Howard, and all the while trying to fend off the affections of his amorous aunt, Howard’s wife, Vera (Whitton), and win the love of financial expert and ‘fellow’ executive, Christy (Slater – Supergirl).
The Secret Of My Success - Movie Screenshot

Yes, it all sounds like fairly typical 80’s tomfoolery, and it does require a certain suspense of belief for much of its duration, but fortunately it has a decent enough cast to save it from potential mediocrity. The charms of Michael J. Fox were already well known by this point after his popular turns in Family Ties and Back to the Future and this role could’ve been (and probably was) written for him. It doesn’t take much for him to get you on his side you’ll have great fun while there as he flits back and forth between his two personas, talking business and cracking droll jokes with equal aplomb. The other standout character for me is that of ‘Auntie Vera’, featuring a fabulous turn from Whitton with her continual (not to mention inappropriate!) lusting after her nephew (don’t worry, they’re only related by marriage!).

The Secret Of My Success - Movie Screenshot

Helen Slater, previously best known for playing ‘Supergirl’ (chortle) is also great as Foster’s love interest (or rather, the one he’s interested in!) and the two have good chemistry. At first cold and serious, she gradually warms to his affections while Richard Jordan, who also has designs on her, is pretty amusing as the company’s slimy and ruthless yet ineffective leader. John Pankow is likeable enough on best friend duties too but Fox is the star of the show here and he’s… well, the same as usual really! That’s no bad thing though, it’s almost impossible not to like him in any of his roles and this one is certainly no exception, it’s just a shame his on-screen career was cut so short.

The Secret Of My Success - Movie Screenshot

Likeable characters are important in any film but how much you enjoy this film depends largely on your ability to look past the obviously implausible plot points. Luckily for me, I know little of the subjects at hand which makes it easier for me to ignore the liberties taken by the writers, and the result is one of my favourite films. The fantastic soundtrack also helps, featuring 80’s classics like ‘Walking On Sunshine’ and of course ‘Oh Yeah’ by Yello (which plays during a superb ‘late night sneaking around’ scene involving the four main characters) and lots of other great songs, all of which add even more charm. Yes, it’s a bit silly and yes it’s not terribly realistic, but it’s a damn funny and hugely enjoyable piece of fluff and one of the best feel-good movies around.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cot5rEGcDek[/youtube]

RKS Score: 9/10

Torchwood: Miracle Day Trailer II

Torchwood mircale day

Here is a new and longer trailer for Torchwood: Miracle Day.

[youtube width=”600″ height=”480″]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uVktcOQD1zA[/youtube]

About Torchwood: Miracle Day
Torchwood begins with a day when nobody dies. All across the world, nobody dies. And then the next day, and the next, and the next, people keep aging, they get hurt and sick, but they never die. The result: a population boom, overnight. With all the extra people, resources are finite. It’s said that in four month’s time, the human race will cease to be viable. But this can’t be a natural event – someone’s got to be behind it. It’s a race against time as C.I.A. agent Rex Matheson investigates a global conspiracy. The answers lie within an old, secret British institute. As Rex keeps asking “What is Torchwood?,” he’s drawn into a world of adventure, and a threat to change what it means to be human, forever.

Green Lantern Emerald Knights Trailer

Green Lantern Emerald Knights Trailer

Coming June 7th there will be a new animate DVD for all us DC fans to collect. Green Lantern Emerald Knights combines a number of Green Lantern stories from the comic books; in fact it was pretty well summed up by a commenter on the YouTube page:

This will weave 6 stories of the Green Lantern Corps’ mythology around preparations for an attack by an ancient enemy told by Hal Jordan as he mentors a new recruit named Arisia 0:32 before the occasion of helping Hal, Sinestro, & The Corps save the universe from the destructive forces of Krona. Hal tells tales of Avra(the 1st GL of the Green Lantern Corps) & several of Hal’s comrades- including Abin Sur 1:23, Kilowog 0:33, Laira 0:55 & Mogo(A Green living, sentient planet GL) 1:21

[youtube width=”600″ height=”480″]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BgLbBf02Nxg[/youtube]

Monsters & Mercenaries Collectors Guide

In case you haven’’t figured it out yet, today’s post is about the ‘Monsters & Mercenaries Collectors Guide’’. A 170 pages long, full color and (very) well-priced volume published by Games Workshop, that doesn’’t limit its content to neither monsters nor mercenaries. A great variety of armies are dealt with instead: Dogs of War, Regiments of Renown (up to the very recent like the cutely and aptly named ‘Mengil Manhide’’s Manflayers’), Kislev and Ogre Kingdoms. Each army’’s units and models are presented, both in fully painted and in component mode(!), while every entry is accompanied by a short piece of fluff (sorry kitty). Obviously and as we’’ve come to expect no actual rules are included. On the other hand component codes and prices are mentioned. [You can find the Dogs of War and Regiments of Renown armylists here.] Oh, there are contemporary, collector’’s and archive models presented, as well as the Monsters, Siege and parts of the Mordheim ranges. Even drakes and golems are included…

The book also gives (brief) background information on relevant issues, such as the Tilean cities of Remas and Luccini or the Ogre tribe of the Blooded Gut. It is lavishly illustrated too.

The most impressive thing in the ‘Monsters & Mercenaries Collectors Guide’’ though, is not it’s size or the amount of useful information included. Neither are the usual photos of Golden Demon winners’’ entries nor the dioramas and conversions presented. It is the fully converted Araby themed army by Justin Hill. It simply has to be seen to be believed.

Finally do check what G.W. has to say for this collectors guide…

P.S. I do consider this guide a very good buy. Just not intended for everyone. It is a glorified miniature catalogue after all.

 

D.E.B.S.

D.E.B.S. Movie Screenshot

D.E.B.S. (2004)
Director: Angela Robinson Starring: Sara Foster, Jordana Brewster, Meagan Good, Devon Aoki, Jill Richie, Jimmi Simpson, Geoff Stults, Holland Taylor, Michael Clarke Duncan

Certificate: 12  Running Time: 88 Minutes

Tagline: “They’re crime-fighting hotties with killer bodies”

Just when you thought you’d seen just about every kind of spy film possible, it’s time to think again… Prepare yourself for… the D.E.B.S! Apparently, there is a secret test hidden within the SAT exams that measures an applicant’s ability to fight, cheat, lie, and steal. Students who score high enough are plucked from high school to join a paramilitary unit called the D.E.B.S – Discipline, Energy, Beauty, Strength – whose job it is to protect us all from the world’s ‘Super Villians’! One particular team of D.E.B.S is nearing graduation from the Academy just as the criminal mastermind, Lucy Diamond re-emerges from the Super Villian wilderness.

D.E.B.S. Movie Screenshot


Led by Mr. Phipps (Clarke Duncan), the team consists of bad tempered leader, Max (Good), second-in-command and ‘Perfect Score’, Amy (Foster), French exchange student, Dominique (Aoki), and naive rookie, Janet (Ritchie), and they have been charged with bringing down Lucy Diamond (Brewster) and her criminal empire. Back in town after a self-imposed exile, Lucy’s first order of business is to go on a blind date arranged by her right-hand-man, Scud (Simpson), and it is here that the D.E.B.S take their chance to capture her. The only problem? Nobody has ever faced Lucy and lived to tell about it! Oh nooo!


D.E.B.S. Movie Screenshot

During this inevitably botched attempt to capture Lucy, it transpires that she’s gay (her blind date is with another woman)! After evading the D.E.B.S attempts to take her down, she makes her escape only to quite literally bump into Amy. They are initially wary of each other for obvious reasons, but after a brief stand-off they hit it off! Lucy makes a hasty exit before anyone else finds her, but not before deciding she wants to see the apparently straight Amy again. Amy, meanwhile, is immediately hailed a hero for being the first person to survive an encounter with Lucy! Will she remain loyal to her fellow D.E.B.S, or will she be tempted by Lucy?

D.E.B.S. Movie Screenshot


Yes okay, it sounds ridiculous, I know! Teenage spies working on a par with the CIA, Homeland Security, etc is somewhat improbable to start with, but when they’re all sexy girls complete with impractical, not to mention highly conspicuous uniforms consisting of miniskirts and a white blouse, it’s bordering on preposterous! Still, whoever said that every film has to be super-realistic? The acting on show here is actually of a pretty decent standard. Not a huge amount is asked of anyone in the film and they all perform their roles well enough. The two main characters, Amy and Lucy, are both very likeable and it certainly doesn’t hurt that they’re both lovely to look at either!

D.E.B.S. Movie Screenshot


Jordana Brewsters Lucy Diamond is probably the most memorable thing about this film. Whilst never making a convincing ‘Super Villian’, she remains appealing and every scene involving her is enjoyable, especially when she’s practising her squinty-eyed look. Sara Foster, meanwhile, is convincing as the conflicted, goody-two-shoes Amy, and the two make a nice, if somewhat unlikely pair. Of the remainder of the team, Aoki is, in my view, horrifically miscast as the French exchange student, Dominque, and she sports among the worst fake accents I’ve ever heard in a film. Luckily she doesn’t get a lot of screen time! On the other hand, Ritchie is highly amusing as the prissy rookie, Janet, and Good is equally entertaining with her bad-tempered shouting and scowling.

D.E.B.S. Movie Screenshot


The only other noteworthy character really is Scud. Like Lucy, he’s not remotely convincing as a bad-ass criminal, I expect that’s part of the joke, but he’s very funny in almost all of his scenes and I get the impression he improvised a lot of them. Particularly enjoyable is his and Lucy’s mimed performance of ‘A Little Respect’ by Erasure. In fact, while I think of it, the whole soundtrack is pretty decent, including the likes of Goldfrapp, Garbage, and The Cure among the lesser-known, but equally enjoyable artists. It’s just a shame it’s not easier to get hold of!

D.E.B.S. Movie Screenshot

It’s really hard to know what to make of this film! To be perfectly honest, I almost turned it off after the first 15 minutes. The brief ‘making of’ on the disc features an interview with director, Robinson, and some of her crew. I’m pretty sure they’re all lesbians and it seems like Robinson made the film (based on an earlier short of hers – Ritchie is the only returning actress) purely to satisfy fantasies of hers. The entire premise of the D.E.B.S is ridiculous and never convincing but, comedic spoofiness aside, it’s the love story that is the point of the film, and that aspect is handled pretty well.

D.E.B.S. Movie Screenshot


The film does improve after the somewhat inauspicious opening act though, and is worth persevering with despite the patchy-at-best script. In short, D.E.B.S is ridiculous, even cringe-inducing at times, but also intriguing enough to keep you watching. It has enough bright spots to make up for its obvious shortfalls (including many gaping plotholes) and, for me at least, is something of a guilty pleasure! Hell, it even has a homage to Citizen Kane. In a film like this, that’s a must see!

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XWSyv4z1_PA

RKS Score: 6/10

Michael Shannon is Zod

Michael-Shannon

In the upcoming Superman reboot film, now titled Man of Steel action Michael Shannon has been named to play General Zod. You might remember Shannon from such shows as Revolutionary Road and Boardwalk Empire.

In a statement director Zack Snyder said:

“Zod is not only one of Superman’s most formidable enemies, but one of the most significant because he has insights into Superman that others don’t.” He continued with praise for Shannon. “Michael is a powerful actor who can project both the intelligence and the malice of the character, making him perfect for the role.”

Personally, I think he has the chops to play the role; the question is how the film will present him. We will see.

Into the Wild

Into the Wild - Movie Review

Into the Wild (2007)
Director: Sean Penn Starring: Emile Hirsch, Marcia Gay Harden, William Hurt, Jena Malone, Brian H. Dierker, Catherine Keener, Vince Vaughn, Kristen Stewart, Hal Holbrook, Jim Gallien

Certificate: 15 Running Time: 142 Minutes

Tagline: “Your Great Adventure on Alaska”

Hands up who’s ever felt like dropping everything and just disappearing off the face of the Earth to live a totally different life? I’m sure most of us have considered it more than once before realising the impracticality of such a venture. Into the Wild, a true story incidentally, is the tale of a young man who has no such second thoughts. After growing up in a turbulent family in West Virginia, Christopher McCandless (Hirsch) graduates
from college with near straight A’s and then…
disappears…

Into the Wild - Movie Review

Apparently having grown tired of the ‘lies’ of those around him and society in general, Christopher sets off on what he calls his ‘Great Alaskan Adventure’, without so much as a word to his friends or family. He donates the remainder of his substantial savings (intended by his parents to last through university) to charity, destroys all his credit cards and identification, moves out of his apartment, and sets off with no clear plan or objective other than an intention to at some point reach Alaska. He begins his journey in his tatty old Datsun but it isn’t long before he falls foul of a flash flood in Arizona. From here he burns the rest of his dwindling money reserves, and continues his journey on foot, undeterred.

Into the Wild - Movie Review

From here he hitchhikes from one place to the next, never staying in one place for long, but not before he gives himself a new name for his rebirth – Alexander Supertramp. During his travels he meets many memorable people with whom he becomes friends including Jan and Rainey (Keener and Dierker), a kind hippy couple, teenager Tracy (Stewart), and lonely retired leather worker Ron (Halbrook) in California, Wayne (Vaughn), a harvester from South Dakota, a loopy Dutch couple in Colorado and many others, and even travels as far as Mexico for a short while. But he is only ever passing through and eventually leaves them all to realise his ambition of reaching Alaska.

Into the Wild - Movie Review

To be completely honest, I didn’t really know who Emile Hirsch was prior to this movie’s release, but he really is amazing to watch in this fascinating biopic. It’s rare that someone can consistently hold the screen so well when they spend the entire duration of the film in the centre of it. But even in the silent, barren lands of Alaska, he is riveting, whether hunting through the wilderness for food or merely writing in his journal in the old abandoned bus he makes his home. Regardless of what you think of Christopher’s actions, and motivations fuelling them, you can’t help but be impressed with Emile’s charisma and dedication. Not all the people he meets in the film agree with his actions, but it’s a testament to him that he leaves them with at least some understanding of why he has to take them, and his ultimate realisation only makes his relationships all the more poignant.

Into the Wild - Movie Review

The supporting cast are all superb too. Despite their actions earlier in Christopher’s life, it’s hard not to feel sympathy for his parents (Hurt and Harden who do much with their limited screentime). Interspersed between the scenes of his travels, the film details their struggles as they search for him, increasingly desperately, with his sister (Malone), one of his few friends, providing a stirring voiceover. However, it’s the friends he makes on the road that you’ll warm to the most. You’ll probably find yourself willing him to stay with them, with Jan and Rainey, Wayne and Ron (Holbrook’s superb performance is a real heart-warmer) being particularly memorable. In fact, such is the splendour of the performances here, credit is seldom given to Sean Penn for his superb direction, with some truly jaw-dropping cinematography, and the film is accompanied by an outstanding soundtrack written especially for the film by Pearl Jam frontman, Eddie Vedder.

Like a lot of viewers, you may not sympathise with Christopher too much. He did after all grow up as a priveleged child. You may even consider him to be a selfish, spoilt brat with no regard for those who care about him, at least initially. On the other hand, you may find yourself envious, wishing you had the courage to undertake such a liberating venture to obtain ‘ultimate freedom’. Regardless of which way you lean, Into the Wild is an immersive film that you can just sit back and watch in wonder. It’s one of those films that will be on your mind for days, even weeks afterwards, and that’s something that many films strive for but very few achieve.

httpvh://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1urIn_1Qe2E

RKS Score: 9/10

Wondercon 2011: Green Lantern Trailer

Green lantern movie

The latest Green Lantern trailer shows us a much more grittier and violent look at the GL universe. You can tell the CGI budget for the film is going to be massive. It is good to see the movie is looking much more true to the comics and that it turns slightly away from the standard hero movie cookie-cutter style.

httpvh://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4EIPny-Jcok

Broken Arrow

Broken Arrow Movie Screenshot

Broken Arrow (1996)
Director: John Woo Starring: John Travolta, Christian Slater, Samantha Mathis, Delroy Lindo, Bob Gunton, Howie Long

Certificate: 15 Running Time: 104 Minutes

Tagline: “Prepare to Go Ballistic”

It was in 1994 that a little film called Pulp Fiction reminded the world that John Travolta exists. After over a decade in the relative wilderness, thanks to QT, he was finally ‘cool’ again. At this point, of course, the fickle movie business decided he was once again ‘hot property’ and inevitably, there soon followed a glut of films starring him. Some, of course, were utter nonsense, apparently made purely to have something out there with his name attached. Some others were actually pretty good. Which was Broken Arrow?

Broken Arrow Movie Screenshot

The plot is straight out of the 80’s. Major Vic ‘Deak’ Deakins (Travolta) is a veteran pilot who’s been passed over for promotions once too often. Captain Riley Hale (Slater) is his upstart, younger protege. During a flight designed to test their Stealth Bombers effectiveness while carrying live nuclear warheads, the former, apparently tired of his boring life of flying multi-billion dollar aircraft, decides things would be more exciting if he stole the warheads! Well, he must’ve decided that some time in advance, actually, since he seems to have a whole elaborate plan already set and ready, assisted by various, equally bored mercenaries and paranoid financier, Pritchett (Gunton).

Broken Arrow Movie Screenshot

Evading execution and escaping during the intentional crashing of the bomber, Hale soon enlists the help of an initially hostile park ranger called Terry (Mathis), on patrol in the Utah park (desert) in which the bomber crashed. Together, they try their hardest to pursue Deak and his happy band of enthusiastic helpers, and thwart his twisted plan of holding the country to ransom. Of course, it’s not long before they discover this and subsequently direct their malevolent fervour towards our heroes. Back at the Air Force base, Colonel Wilkins (Lindo) and a worried group of military leaders and politicians try to do the same thing, though far less effectively as you might guess!

Broken Arrow Movie Screenshot

Despite being a legend in his native China, John Woo’s Hollywood output has been decidedly patchy. Whilst Broken Arrow is far from his worst effort over here, it’s clear that someone has just hired him for a project. Any project. With him in the bag, who better than the at-the-time-hot-again Travolta to star? Then, around these two, a film was crudely constructed. I can imagine it now… Studio Fatcats: “Hey, Woo is directing and Travolta starring, it’s bound to be awesome!”… Of course, it may not have been like this but it seems like it when watching it!

Broken Arrow Movie Screenshot

That’s not to say it’s a bad film, it’s just that if they’d put as much enthusiasm into the rest of the film as they apparently did in recruiting the two main men, it could’ve been awesome. Travolta’s performance is adequate, although he spends a lot of his time exaggerating every angry scowl and grimace he can, but plays the part of the maniacal bad guy as well as you might expect. Slater pretty much plays it straight throughout. He never really looks like he’s having much fun, but I suppose his character wouldn’t be either, what with all and sundry trying to off him! The far-from-unappealing Mathis is nice enough whilst never really doing a great deal. Other characters are merely functional rather than memorable, although Gunton’s constant whining is hilariously silenced by ‘Deak’ midway though the film.

Broken Arrow Movie Screenshot

I guess I’ve made the film seem terrible so far but it’s really not! It’s perfectly watchable in its own check-your-brain-at-the-door kind of way. It’s certainly reminiscent of the 80’s popcorn action flicks that were so common then, what with its strutting bad guy, big explosions, helicoptors, etc, and is reasonably entertaining stuff if you don’t go in expecting too much. Plus, any film featuring nuclear bombs is at least a little intriguing!

RKS Score: 6/10

Toy Train Tycoon

 

Here I am letting you know all about the progress of the model/electric train diorama, that will hopefully sometime evolve into the official coffee table of the non-virtual, strictly analog and rather comfy version of Inverted Paradox. Well, progress has been made. The wooden basis of the thing has already arrived, the table’s frame has been designed and ordered, a ton of miscellaneous stuff has been bought, ideas have been discussed and -finally- its actual construction has began. Things initially looked like this:

Toy Train Tycoon 1

Slightly chaotic, but -trust me- it could have been worse. Anyway, after deciding that using all those train pieces would simply be over the top, the very WIP diorama has been arranged into what can only be described as a first draft:

Toy Train Tycoon 2

And here’s a zoomed in look at the station. Nice, innit? Watch this space for further developments. They wont be shocking or anything, but I sincerely do hope they’ll be quite interesting for you game-loving people.

Toy Train Tycoon 3

 

Eriq Chang Art

Eriq Chang - Kings Quest 3 Art
Stunningly beautiful pictures, aren”t they? Well, better thank Eriq Chang for being brilliantly creative in all sorts of ways and -of course- for being generous enough to let us glimpse both his studio and the creative process taking place there. And in case you hadn”t noticed, you are indeed looking at art and the game”s official poster. To actually grab said poster better have a look .
Eriq Chang - Kings Quest 3 ArtEriq Chang - Kings Quest 3 ArtEriq Chang - Kings Quest 3 Art

Booster Gold and Blue Beetle on Smallville

Booster-Gold-and-Blue-Beetle-Smallville-Screenshot-1

The final season of Smallvillie is bringing in more DC fan favorites and the next upcoming episode will feature none other than the Blue Beetle and Booster Gold. With Lois, perfecting Clarks bumbling fool routine Booster Gold arrives in Metropolis from the future and begins saving people and posing for pictures quickly becoming a fan favorite. Meanwhile, an alien suit of armor crash lands on earth and becomes infused with a young teen who tries and fails to control it and it is up to Clark and Booster to save him.

I personally like what they did with the Booster Gold costume. I understand people hate the “biker jacket” costume style, but I guess they really rather go that route than something like spandex or tight leather. Blue Beetles costume on the other hand has a mix of cool and cheese looking. In the clip below it looks pretty good, but in some of the pictures, not so much so.

I guess we can all decide once the show premiers, for now check out these shots from the CW.

Booster-Gold-and-Blue-Beetle-Smallville-ScreenshotBooster-Gold-and-Blue-Beetle-Smallville-ScreenshotBooster-Gold-and-Blue-Beetle-Smallville-Screenshot

New Thundercats Trailer

NewThundercats

Yes ThunderCats fans a new cartoon is in the works by Warner Bros and will be premiering in July on the Cartoon Network. Newsarama recently featured an article from a Thundercats panel at Wondercon 2011.

Check out the article here.

We know there will be some retuning of character and story, but the team behind the new series promises to keep true to the story and keep the classic fans in mind.

Check out the new trailer for the upcoming show.

Introduction: Pen and Paper RPG’s

PenandPaperrpgs
So, uh, let’s start with a disclaimer, shall we? Lovely. If you are one of the few proper pen & paper RPG gamers frequenting this site, then you really don’t need to read any further. Really. You’ll probably know all there is to it. If, on the other hand, you are video gamer or preferably a video gamer that can appreciate the intricacies of Fallout, the vast worlds of Morrowind, the demented setting of Planescape and truly enjoy your average (or garden) video game RPG, then you might just be interested in finding out a bit more on them pen & paper RPGs, the sources of inspiration behind every CRPG from Ultima to Fallout 3, in which case you should probably read on.

For starters, in an ideal world, nobody in their right mind would ever dream mentioning pen & paper before the RPG bit. The later should be enough, mainly because the vast majority of computer/video game RPGs (CRPGs) lack the actual roleplaying bit, at least in the more traditional sense, which of course you wouldn’t know unless you had already played a real RPG, something rather impossible as you wouldn’t be reading this very article, would you now? Anyway. All a CRPG ever did to earn its role-playing title was borrow some ideas (e.g. character creation), game mechanics (e.g. combat, hit points, to-hit modifiers) and/or setting (e.g. The Forgotten Realms, Shadowrun), but never came close to emulating the true, traditional, wholesome, imaginative, wholly satanic and ridiculously time-consuming RPG experience.

So, what is an RPG? Well, it’s a role playing game, that’s what it is. Players assume roles and act out impromptu parts -following certain rules and in thoroughly defined settings- much like actors in radio theatre. Only, this is interactive theatre. You not only take part in a story but actually help tell it, as you’re absolutely free to do whatever crosses your mind.

How is this achieved? Simple. One of the players assumes the very important role of Game Master, Storyteller, Dungeon Master, Keeper, whatever. Let’s call him -as most RPGers do- the GM. Well, said GM’s job is to act as the other players’ senses, describing everything they see hear and smell, as the general organizer of play, as the narrator of the main plot and as the ultimate rules referee. His or her job, essentially, is to be what a PC or games console is -say- to an Oblivion gamer: the screen, the speakers, the physics engine, the enemy A.I., the voice of Patrick Stewart.

The major difference though is that a GM, unlike even 2 PS3s supported by a Pentium 5, can react and adopt to absolutely anything a player might come up with…Hence the importance of the rest of the players in the storytelling part. They are free to experience, twist, enrich, play through and ultimately shape the GM’s plot, always following some rules, not unlike those a video game would impose on a gamer. Rules, that determine whether a player kills a monster, is stealthy enough to bypass a drowsy guard or even adequately desirable to organise an orgy. What’s more, and just like in the vast majority of CRPGs, players get to create a character, an in-game persona, typically called the PC or Player Character, as opposed to the NPC or Non Player Character, obviously played by the GM.

 

What must absolutely be understood is that the GM is not the adversary of the players. He or she is just an instrumental part of a group of people enjoying a storytelling game. After all, there is no antagonism among players. Nobody can win in the traditional way and the game never really needs to end, as PCs grow older, more experienced and set forth for new adventures (in true MMORPG fashion). RPGs are collaborative, social, storytelling, imaginative affairs, totally unlike board and war games, even though they might share the use of dice -usually to determine the success of an action, be it combat or not.

Now, provided you’re even slightly intrigued, here are some pretty popular games/systems/settings (they usually come in the guise of books, you know, them nice papery things) to get you started. Surely you’ll recognize some of the names… Dungeons and Dragons (the father of the modern RPG, pretty complex, but perfectly balanced rules, huge variety of mostly fantasy settings), Call of Cthulhu (simple rules, fantastic insanity system, spawn of Lovecraft, brilliant and comfortably short scenarios) Vampire / WoD (simple and extremely versatile rules, Gothic feel, excellent prose), Shadowrun (very tactical, smart hacking mechanics, cyberpunk meets fantasy setting), Rolemaster (more complex than an accountant’s spreadsheet, but weirdly enjoyable) and the utterly notorious Aftermath!.

Anything else you care to know? Well, that’s what the comments section is for, you know…

Blood Bowl

When it comes to the Black Library’s Warhammer novels, my expectations are generally low. All I’m asking for is a fun but grand(-ish) story, decent writing, a few jokes and puns, and perhaps a deeper glimpse in the Old World’s workings. Books like Skavenslayer managed to meet my meager expectations to the full, books like The Dead and The Damned failed horribly.

Matt Forbeck’s Blood Bowl, on the other hand, was quite a revelation.

(Apparently it also was the first Blood Bowl book I ever laid my gnomish filthy little hands upon.)

To begin with (this review I mean), Blood Bowl nicely covered all my basic prerequisites. The story felt like something an imperial scholar would bother to write about, the humor was good and not over-used, Blood Bowl’s (the game’s) fluff (sorry kitty) got expanded -even explained- and the writing was surprisingly inspired.

What impressed me the most, was that the author actually managed to create a Blood Bowl setting, that -despite its contradictory self- fits nicely in the Old World’s … er … world. For example: having an undead team fighting the Chaos All-Stars on imperial soil under the watchful eye of a Skaven bookie, just doesn’t sound as implausible as it should. Quite an accomplishment that. And the characters seemed like normal people too, devoid of most heroic-fantasy cliches and definitely sporting quite a few dimensions more than Dan Brown’s abominations.

The only problem I actually had with this book was the repetition of a specific plot pattern, but it wasn’t even that obvious, and is definitely forgiven due to the fantastic names used throughout. Dunkel Hoffnung as the main character? (Ein kleines und ganz geiles) Laestiges Weibchen as the tabloid journalist? That’s just brilliant! Congratulations Mr. Forbeck. You’ve just won yourself a link to your blog! Here.

In a nutshell: Blood Bowl is a highly recommended book and a perfect and relaxing summer read. If of course you’re into Warhammer. Or Blood Bowl. Even fantasy literature will do.

What to do? Have a look at the book’s webpage and read the first chapter for free. That will help you decide. Then, just to make sure, have fun with the free Blood Bowl (the game) rulebook or the mandatory Wikipedia entry.

The History of the Swastika

swastika meanings

There are few symbols in history that bring out as much emotion as the swastika. Forever tied to one of the darkest times in human history the swastika for many stands as a symbol of hate. However, this symbol’s past goes back farther than the Nazi party it has more recently been attached to; since 10,000 BC, the swastika has been used in Hindu, Buddhist, Native American, ancient Iranian, Greek, Chinese, Japanese, and countless other cultures and religions throughout recorded history. In part two of the three-part series on the history of symbols we explore the origins and uses of the swastika throughout the world.

A Forgotten Meaning

Even after sixty-two years since the end of World War II the swastika is seen as a symbol of hate and racism. From the young to the old this symbol has been defined and will most likely remain defined in this manner for a long time to come. The word swastika is derived from the Sanskrit svastika meaning any lucky or auspicious object.  Composed of su- meaning “good or well” and asti, a verbal abstract to the root such as “to be” the suffix –ka intensifies the verbal meaning of beneficial which can be translated to “that which is associated with well-being” what one would consider a lucky charm.

swastika meanings

Origins of Light

Long before times of modern history, the swastika has been and still is a part of many religions and cultures throughout the world. In Hinduism the two symbols that create the swastika represent the forms of the creator god Brahma. It is considered extremely holy and auspicious by all Hindus and can be found in many places and items associated with Hindu culture including clothing, buildings and letterheads.

In Buddhism the symbol has been used in art and scripture since the 5th century BC. Known in Japanese as a manji, it represents Dharma, universal harmony and the balance of opposites.  Jainism considers the swastika one of the twenty-four auspicious marks and the emblem of the seventh arhat of the present age. It is a symbol of the seventh Jina (Saint) and all Jain temples and holy books must contain the swastika and ceremonies typically begin and end with creating a swastika mark several times with rice around the altar.

The symbol is also used by many other religions throughout the world, in some cases the symbol has been replaced or abandoned altogether. Many religions that are no longer practiced used the swastika as a symbol of balance or harmony and believed it brought good luck. Still today the symbol remains part of many religions despite the more mainstream views of its meaning.

swastika meanings

Redefined in Darkness

As a symbol of Nazism the swastika or hooked cross was used on the Nazi Party’s flags, badges and armbands from as far back as 1920.  Combined with the colors found on the flag of the old German Empire, Hitler believed the swastika represented the mission of the struggle for the victory of the Aryan man. The use of the swastika was associated by Nazi theorists with their conjecture of Aryan cultural descent of the German people.

The Nazis claimed that the early Aryans of India were the prototypical invaders. Following the Nordicist versions of Aryan invasion theory it was widely believed that the Indian caste system which believed in the ranking of members in a society by occupational status and degree of purity or pollution as determined by their birth, they believed was the basis concept for racial purity and cause to avoid racial mixing.

With the Nazis belief in racial superiority and their anti-Semitic views the use of the swastika became a symbol of the goal to create a world where their view of a master race would be dominant.  Because of its use during world war two and being associated with the holocaust, the swastika is prohibited from being show in Germany considered illegal and punishable except for scholarly reasons.

swastika meanings

Adaption’s and Influences

While banned in Germany except for education purposes the swastika or images of the like are still used today in various forms of media influenced by the events surrounded the symbols use by the Nazi Party during World War II. One such adaptation of the symbol can be found during the 1983 mini-series V. The story surrounded an alien race disguised as humans who planned to steal all of earth’s water and harvest human beings as food. The red and black uniforms and the swastika-like emblem was a Nazi allegory.

The symbol has also been used in animation in its traditional and redesigned shapes usually as a mark of shame or servitude or as a seal locking away a good or evil presence within a human being. Most of the western uses of the swastika are to reinforce its redefinition as a symbol of hate. Beyond that there are many hate groups active today who use the symbol in the Nazi interpretation of racial supremacy.

swastika meanings

A Global Symbol

Darkness or light, oppression or well-being, saints or sinners the swastika is a symbol known throughout the world in many different ways. Revered in many cultures by millions, despised by millions in others, it is one of the most widely know symbols on earth. Another symbol shares a sometimes reverse reception in the modern world. While it is wildly accepted that most in the western world look upon the swastika in a negative light, the cross is looked upon mostly in the positive.  This however can also be debated with some segments of the global population.

Games of Empire

games of empire
Remember books? Remember their smell? The way they made you think and question stuff? Well, you really should dear reader. The times are desperate and knowledge can indeed make you powerful, kind, beautiful and heroic. And since, dear reader, I know how much you like games, let me present you with the key that will help you understand what they are all about: Games of Empire – Global Capitalism and Video Games by Nick Dyer-Witheford and Greig de Peuter. It apparently is a book and smells lovely. You can and quite frankly should order it from the University of Minnesota Press, though I’ll admit to ordering my copy from Amazon. Anyway, here’s the UMP link.

Unlike most gaming books I’ve read so far Games of Empire is neither a game creation guide, nor a retro gaming essay, though it admittedly does cover most of video gaming’s history, yet in a way you’ve definitely not been accustomed to. Instead of finding some sort of childish glee in the birth of Mario and Space War the authors prefer to look at the nation-bombing military complex that allowed for the first video games to be created, being especially interested in pointing out the obvious antithesis of the joys of playing and being creative to the ultimate horror that is war. Unless of course war is slowly being turned into a plaything or games -like, say, America’s Army– are used as recruitment tools, which also happens to be a subject Games of Empire isn’t afraid to tackle.

Then again, this is a book that tries to completely lift the fetishistic veil covering the games industry, tackling everything from the militaristic propaganda of Full Spectrum Warrior and the racist/sexist overtones of most mainstream games, to the underpaid people working in the industry or even the wars the production of consumer electronics has fueled. Yes, the wars. The interesting little stories about money laundering via Second Life and the informal economies of gold farming aren’t left out either.

History and shocking facts aside and despite the book’s fascination with Negri’s not particularly impressive imperial theory, Games of Empire does manage to come up with an extraordinary -impressively, quite entertaining too- critique of video games. It shows how a World of Warcraft player is indeed both a consumer and a producer of value, discusses the representations of actual space and spatial relations in games (mostly GTA IV) and even helps us hope that indie and radical games can fight the good fight, while avoiding any kind of conservative moral hysterics. Games of Empire is an eye-opener. And you too dear reader have to read it.
Here’s the back of the book blurb to further intrigue you:

Video games have become an integral part of global media culture, rivaling Hollywood in revenue and influence. No longer confined to a subculture of adolescent males, video games today are played by adults around the world while also serving as major sites of corporate exploitation and military recruitment. In Games of Empire , Nick Dyer-Witheford and Greig de Peuter offer a radical political intrigue of such video games and virtual environments as Second Life, World of Warcraft, and Grand Theft Auto, analyzing them as the exemplary media of Empire, the twenty-first-century hypercapitalist complex theorized by Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri. The authors trace the ascent of virtual gaming, assess its impact on creators and players alike, and delineate the relationships between games and reality, body and avatar, screen and street. rejecting both moral panic and glib enthusiasm, Games of Empire demonstrates how virtual games crystallize the cultural, political, and economic forces of global capital, while also providing a means of resisting them.

Oh, and fuck off banal internet-man. Video games are not just games.

Falling Skies: Promo and Trailer

Falling Skies Poster

Falling Skies a sci-fi program that will be premiering on the TNT network on June19th. Falling Skies, created by Steven Spielberg follows the aftermath of an alien attack that has left earth devastated. The show follows the resistance efforts to fight back against the alien invaders and surviving daily life.

A new promo trailer was recently released.

You can learn more about Falling Skies here.

 

Wonder Woman TV Show: WW in Action

wonder-woman-tv-show-action-shot-5

A lot has been made about Wonder Woman’s costume in her recent pilot. Many fans did not like the lighter blue pants or the blue boots instead of her classic red. From what we see in these shots, thanks to The Daily Blam and Daily Mail, the management over at NBC were listing well and made some changes.

Justice League Movie by 2013?

justice-league

We have heard the talk about a Justice League movie for a while now and through Warner Bros, have always said that a movie would be forthcoming we as fans all wondered if and when such a movie would take place. Recently, in an interview with the Los Angeles Time, Jeff Robinov, president of Warner Bros. motion pictures said that a JL film was a “first priority” for the studio.

What does this mean, well the current information according to the interview is that a script is already being worked on for a JL film and they expect a movie to hit theaters sometime in 2013. We already know there are scripts for a Wonder Woman and Flash movie. We also know that with Christopher Nolan stepping away from the Dark Knight series after The Dark Knight Rises that there may be a reboot for the franchise. Finally, we know a new Superman movie is in the works, so like Marvel, DC is bringing out all their solo projects before the massive undertaking of a Justice League movie.

How will it turn out, we will have to wait and see.

Guillotine

Ladies and Gentlemen,

King Louis the XVI was neither the worst nor the dumbest of the rulers of France during the 17th and the 18th century. Although one could say that he lacked a certain determination – a fact that may be perceived as an indication of cowardice, he cannot be considered as particularly mean or nasty for his era (let us not forget that the competition in that domain was rather fierce…). On the other hand, the publicity given to some “saucy” details regarding the private life of his wife (the fabled Marie Antoinette), definitely affected Louis’ public image, but then again, no one can sanely claim that the scandals of a queen may be the sole cause of a revolution (unless we’re talking about some amazingly humongous, supergalactic, inter-species-erotic scandals)

This card game is not about the scandals of Marie Antoinette. After all, it is called “Guillotine”, not “Scandals”. On the contrary, it focuses on heads: Initially, as parts of the human anatomy; after a moment in time, as contents of baskets or spike ornaments.

Guillotine Card Game

The players (2 to 5) are given the privilege to impersonate for about 30 minutes (the duration of each game) the sensitive souls with the modest hats, those deeply political figures, without the help of which history would not have evolved as rapidly. At last, ‘Guillotine’ pays appropriate homage to the underestimated class of executioners, and portrays them in a time when there services were very much sought after: Revolutionary France.

Gaming purpose focuses on “collecting” the heads of the most famous of nobles, military officials and members of the clergy, or any other rotten supporter of the Ancien Régime. Of course, the value of each collected head is connected to the reputation of the deceased: The executioner who reaps the iconic head of the King is valued much more highly that another, who only manages to behead a puny piss boy, or a court guard.

Game mechanics are wonderfully simple: the noble cards are arranged in a line, each player collecting the head of the noble at the front. Players can alter the arrangement of the line, by playing specific action cards (such as bribing the guards, rescuing a Noble etc.). The player with the most valuable collection of heads wins. It’s that easy. It’s luck you need in this game, not wits.

Still, this simplicity adds to the overall enjoyment. It is not only the hilarious artwork of Christopher Rush, Quinton Hoover and Mike Raabe; Guillotine exudes an aura of lightness (in a “let’s-all-chop-heads-and-sing-till-we-get-tired” kind of way). Chopping and singing. Or to put more eloquently: chopping as entertainment for the masses.

The game keeps a loose connection with historical events. Players can reap the heads of King Louis, Marie Antoinette, Rovespiere (whose decapitation historically marks the end of “la Grande Terreur”, which partially takes place in the game as well), while other action cards make reference to famous punch lines (‘let them eat cake’) or literary figures (the ‘Scarlet Pimpernel’).

Nice game: easy as pie; and funny. “Guaranteed to brake the ice at parties

X-Men: First Class: Magazine Shots

Empire Mag - X-Men First Class 1

X-men First Class will be in theaters very soon, June  2nd to be exact, but the recent buzz has been over the costumes the cast will be wearing in the film partially January Jones as Emma Frost. Empire magazine this week showed off the cast with three different multicolored covers showing off the first class in the garbs.

Empire Mag - X-Men First Class 2

Along with Jones, we see Michael Fassbender as Magneto, Jason Flemyng as Azazel, Jennifer Lawrence as Mystique, James McAvoy as Charles Xaiver and Nicolas Hoult as Beast. Empire even included a special chrome cover of Xaiver and Magneto for subscribers only, pretty neat.

Empire Mag - X-Men First Class 3

Just in case you have been in a cave here is the trailer for X-Men: First Class.

Actress for Lois Lane Announced

Amy Adams

Word from the Los Angeles Times is that recent Oscar nominee Amy Adams has been cast to play the role of Lois Lane in the upcoming Superman film. Who else was rumored to play the role? Kristen Stewart, Olivia Wilde, Rachel McAdams and Mila Kunis were all named.  Adams joins the Lois club with Kate Bosworth who played Lois Lane in the 2006 film Superman Returns and Erica Durance who currently plays Lois on Smallville.

The Flaming C Returns

The Flaming C.

Conan created an awesome superhero based on himself called, The Flaming C. It is made by Warner Brothers Animation Studios, the same people who made the Batman Animated Series, Batman Beyond, Justice League, and Young Justice.

Brikwars

The Download Munkey had always been a most excellent of blogs, but its recent move to spanking new servers has really made it shine. Brilliant! Visit it @ downloadmunkey.net preferably by following this gamey link, thank Roys for taking the time to please you Internet people and -who knows?- you might also bump into a certain Brikwars post.

brickwarsarmy

Brikwars, should you fail clicking any of the above links, is in its simplest form a freeware wargaming rules system, that let’s use your Lego bricks and figures to ..uh.. play war with your mates. It is thus what some would call a tabletop strategy miniature wargame. Further inspection though, reveals a truly fantastic game that has been evolving for over a decade and is both simple (make that elegant) and deep enough to actually challenge Warhammer. As for the quality of the core rulebook and supplements, the top-notch humor and utterly jaw-dropping artwork, well, you’ll have to visit the Brikwars site and impress yourselves. You wouldn’t believe me otherwise.

24 Movie coming in 2012

24 Cast

What is better source for information on a 24 movie than Jack Bauer himself? We all heard about 24 movie rumors long before the series ended, but since the end a script, drafted by Billy Ray, was rejected by the studios and word on the film went dead.

Recently Kiefer Sutherland appeared on The View and stated that a 24 film would be released in 2012, however, there currently is no script or director but word is Tony Scott might fill the director’s chair.

In the meantime Kiefer will be staring in a new Fox show titled, Touch where he will play the father of a autistic child that can predict events before they happen, kind of like the Nicolas Cage film Knowing. Personally, I hope it is better than that movie was and I hope before the earth is destroyed we can see a 24 movie.

Whatever happened to Video Game Pornography

What you are about to read, oh precious reader, is an edited and updated version of an article that appeared a few years back on the now defunct blog. It also is slightly NSFW, but only if you work at some sort of weird ultra-conservative place where nobody has ever been to a demonstration for the past five years.

Let”s get one thing out of the way first. I don”t believe porn, or pornography as people in weird grey-ish clothing tend to call it, is evil. Or inappropriate. Or even inherently sexist. What I actually do believe is that -in all its varied guises- porn is both interesting and a frankly under-explored medium; or is that genre? Also, I quite love the idea behind it, and if you don”t or have anything against mankind, sex, having fun and/or life in general, and thus feel offended, well, that”s not my fault. I”m a bloody misanthrope too, you know (especially on Mondays).

So, what is porn really? Or, to rephrase the question, is every depiction of sex pornographic? Well, no, though admittedly the answer could change depending on the society within which the matter is discussed. 18th and 19th century Europeans for example were so shocked by the perceived obscenity of ancient Greek Alphabet and Roman nude statues, that literally went on and chopped their dicks off (the statues”, not theirs unfortunately), whereas pornographic depictions of sex were pretty standard in the practice of a variety of more humane religions. Personally -obviously influenced by contemporary society, too- and while cunningly avoiding narrow puritan definitions, I do tend to define any attempt at intentionally, sexually stimulating ones audience as pornographic.

Whether I (or anyone else) is actually stimulated is another matter altogether. It”s the creator”s -perceived or actual- intention I care about, in a way not dissimilar to what I would use to classify a horror movie. Or game.

Were I actually discussing cinema, I would definitely not consider any uncensored sex scene as reason enough to classify a film as porn. Baise-moi for example does sport quite a few sexually graphic scenes that are definitely not meant to arouse. The contrary rather. Then, there are films like Novecento where one or two sex scenes are merely added as just another story element or for purely realistic/artistic/whatever reasons. Wouldn”t call that porn either.

Proper porn movies, on the other hand, the garden variety of dirty flicks if you wish, usually fail on everything else besides the sex scenes, and one could even argue that most of them aren”t that good or varied to begin with. It was Clive Barker I believe who actually tried to define quality porn, as something that manages to captivate its audience even after said audience has climaxed and, sad as this sounds, the only porn movie I think managed to achieve such a lofty goal was Deep Throat with its -at times- brilliant humour (mind you, humour and porn do work quite well together it seems).

Thankfully though, quality porn is more than a theoretical construct or merely a wish. It can be found -among other places I”m sure- in literature, and as most should be familiar with Marquis/Citoyen De Sade”s works, indulge me while I go on and briefly focus on Andreas Embirikos. Embirikos, you see, besides being my favorite surrealist poet, a pioneer in Greek psychoanalysis, a photographer of beautiful girls, an excellent writer and, when in the mood, a socialist, was also a great pornographer. And an immensely proud one too. His greatest contribution to porn, Megas Anatolikos (The Great Eastern), was an epic novel spanning one hundred chapters, taking place on the titular cruise ship and eloquently showcasing the glory of almost every imaginable perversion.

Frankly, absolutely nothing was considered taboo or perverted enough to be left out and, were the book released in our dark and ultra-conservative era, the censors would be having an editing party. What”s more, the sex scenes were at once poetic, funny, arousing, plot advancing and brilliantly complemented with giant penises rising from the ocean or extensive descriptions of the ship”s library. Oddly, it was quite a publishing success too.
Lula 3d

Let us now move from literature to video games (a humongous leap indeed), where the story so far is rather sad. Pathetic even. To begin with, sex, let alone pure gratuitous porn, is virtually absent in the mainstream and to such a degree that a semi-naked woman is easily considered scandalous, whereas -say- a mutilated corpse goes largely unnoticed. Standard puritanic medium-wide ethics aside, even when sex is present, it usually is presented in a ridiculously sexist/immature way and lazily treated as a reward for gamers. Interactive sex, truly arousing scenes playing on the medium”s strengths and thus proper video game porn is, for the time, nigh-on unthinkable.

Cataloging every attempt at sexy games is of course beyond this article”s scope, but briefly discussing a few of the niches in porn games most definitely is not. First of all, we have the virtual dollhouse games a la 3D SexVilla or the less germanic Virtually Jenna, that besides their grotesque attempt at realistic graphics don”t offer much of a gaming experience either. Pathetic and marginally more fun than undressing your children”s dolls or something is what they are. Then, we have more or less proper games that tend to vaguely stick to a genre or another, while cunningly introducing an erotic theme and a few sex scenes, just like the that eventually spawned the atrocious Lula 3D, or a variety of Tetris-clones and chess games that sort of reward the player with the odd video of a tit being all titty.

Slightly better are the Japanese choose-your-own story offerings, which aren”t totally unlike watching a hentai porn DVD with a marginally less than obvious chapter selection feature. Finally, and after ignoring such bizarre masterpieces as the wonderfully nonsensical Sex Station 7, we do have games (in name only) that are nothing more than glorified adult chatrooms. Oh, yes, and a myriad of games like Leisure Suit Larry that never claimed to be pornographic, never tried to, but were still horribly misunderstood by the sex-starved gaming audience (and this of course does not include our readers; male or female). In a nutshell: video gaming porn is and has always been in dire straits. At best.

Leisure Suit Larry

The only exception that springs to mind is the 2010 release , but the question remains: Could it work? Could there actually be a video game that manages to be arousing? Well, I”d say yes, but only in theory and in the realm of the indie scene, as I just can”t see anything interesting happening in the world of children focused consoles or mainstream PC gaming. Quite obviously an erotic text-adventure/piece of interactive-fiction would be a nice start, and a rather easy one too, especially if one were to follow -as is rather typical for this kind of games- classic literally rules while adding a touch of interactivity. Interestingly, and that could be a positive sign indeed, women have been -up to now- more interested in the sexier side of gaming (have a look at the )… This could probably spare us the sexist bits.

Oh, and on an absolutely unrelated and definitively closing note, let me remind everyone that Woody Allen (I think) was correct: being punctual is a very lonely experience indeed. On the other hand, I”m absolutely positive Mr. Allen was the one to also insightfully notice that sex between two people is a beautiful thing. Between five, it”s fantastic.

Thor Movie Posters

Thor Poster - Thor

Six new Thor movie posters have premiered a little more than a month before the movie is to arrive in theaters. The six posters are Jaimie Alexander, Goddess of War, Tom Hiddleston, Loki, God of Mischief, Natalie Portman, woman of science, Chris Hemsworth, thor, God of There are always more casino games online to play and friends to meet on Pogo. Thunder, Anthony Hopkins, Odin, The King of Asgard and Idris Elba, Heimdall, The guardian of worlds.

Thor the movie will be everywhere May 6th.

King of AsgardGoddess of WarGod of MischiefWoman of ScienceHeimdall

War on Terror

 war on terror the board game

I’ll be honest and say I’ve never played The War on Terror board-game and haven’t really been following TerrorBull Games. Apparently that’s been quite a mistake of mine as a) The War on Terror seems like a truly great and impressively illustrated satirical game, and b) as TerrorBull definitely has a taste for the weird, the humorous, the political and the downright odd. In a nutshell? Well, I’ll have to do my research or most probably grab a new board game and let you know what the fuss is all about.

After all, the second edition of The War on Terror will soon be released. And -according to its publishers- it will be great. Spectacularly so. Oh, and yes, you can also get your cute little faces on the game’s money via one, two, three, four, five, six outrageous auctions. It’s all part of the aptly (let alone, cunningly) named Get Your Face on Money craze funded by the ever-popular World Bank of Capitalism. Or -of course- not.

My Comic Book Collection: II

Batman-500-768x1024

During the 90’s I spent way too much money collecting comic books and though several moves and even a house fire the comic books have survived. I am not a family man so I am not sure what will happen to my comics, but I wanted to share a little bit more from my collection.

Robin #1
Robin - Issue Number 1
Sabretooth #1
Sabretooth - Issue Number 1
Spider-man #365
Spiderman - Issue Number 365
The Maxx #1
The Maxx - Issue Number 1
Savage Dragon #1
The Savage Dragon - Issue Number 1
X-Men #300
X-Men - Issue Number 300

Little Wars

Playing with toy soldiers is apparently as ancient a hobby as playing with ones self (well … almost). Ancient Egyptians did it, the Romans did it, Indians did it and the Chinese must have surely entertained the thought.

Playing with toy soldiers in a modern context, on the other hand, is -as expected- a rather more recent development, and as such a more cruel one too. The whole thing, you see, didn’t start as playing per se, but more of as a way to train Prussian military officers in the subtleties (?) of war (Kriegspiel they called it, and it used dice to simulate random battlefield events). The concept didn’t actually evolve into something less blood thirsty till H.G. Wells decided that a game for boys from twelve years of age to one hundred and fifty and for that more intelligent sort of girl who likes boys’ games and books would be a nifty idea.

A game that would be the first modern miniature wargame not intended for being used in slaughtering actual people in particularly gruesome ways. A game Mr. Wells would cunningly name Little Wars. Also a game (published in the most traditional of book formats) lovingly preserved by the good people of Project Gutenberg and thankfully available in full and for free right here. Go on. Read the thing. It’s brilliant and you’ll get to feel all 1913 too. Seems pretty playable, mind you.

Proletariat

Proletariat-The Uprising-molotov
We’ve already enjoyed Vampire: The Requiem, Werewolf: The Forsaken, Mage: The Awakening, Something: The Something Else, but now the time has come to rise, raise our left fist and salute Proletariat: The Uprising. It’s a vaguely satirical, not particularly funny, yet quite interesting RPG-ish board game. Grab it here. It’s free. Obviously.

DC Nation: Cartoon Network

 

DC-Nation

If you have not had the chance to check out the new Young Justice cartoon on Cartoon Network you should and it looks as if DC will soon be bringing much more to the network of cartoons with their new DC Nation programing block.

For those that do not know DC Nation is the name DC Comics uses for the convention panels and their promotional column on the back pages of their comic, the question is, what will DC nation look like on television?

Here is what DC themselves had to say:

DC Nation: A multi-platform, branded block of original programming and exclusive content based on the DC Comics library of legendary character properties, DC Nation is developed in partnership with Cartoon Network, Warner Bros. and DC Entertainment. The all-new venture will harness the publishing, theatrical and television assets together for one powerful on-air block on Cartoon Network with exclusive online content.

What does that exactly mean, well, we don’t know. Here is what Newsarama said:

Best guess is that it’ll mostly been previously released animation panel combined with newly produced content promoting DC movies and comics. A weekly dose of Dan DiDio? Is the television world ready? We’ll see.

Perhaps along with original programing they will bring back the DC universe cartoons that resided on their sister network Boomerang such as Batman: The Animated series, Superman and Justice League. Either way it should be a good time for DC Comic fans and with the new Green Lantern animated series coming in late 2011 it looks as if DC is making a home on the CN.

DC Nation block is set to come to Cartoon Network in 2012.

 

Captain America: The First Avenger Trailer

Captain America movie wallpaper

Everyone has been waiting to see how this movie would look and considering the original Captain America movie there are many skeptics. Well, the wait is over as The First Avenger trailer is here and in HD.

 

RPG Sex

(Disclaimer: This is a naughty post. Not explicit but naughty. If, by any chance, you happen to be a minor, I advise you to not read it. Better click here. Or google words like porn, bouncy and boobs.)

RPGs and sex. They go together like bicycles and fish. Like unwashed teenage boys and 19th century architecture. Like the police and democracy.

Despite this, RPG sex is definitely lacking. The real problem seems to be a distinct lack of sex rules, that would seamlessly integrate the whole carnal experience into the game world. Rules that would intrigue the average Game or Dungeon Master. Rules covering such topics as Inter-Species Fertility, The Wild Thing or Sexual Psionic Powers. Rules that would be free.

Thankfully, another nonexistent problem has been solved. Just download The Complete Guide to Unlawful Carnal Knowledge (a.k.a. the AD&D Book of Sex), retrieve your trusted Advanced Dungeons and Dragons manuals and have a bath. A drink too. (Download link)

OR (and that’s an apparently big or) try the BBSW Roleplaying Game, widely recognized (by me and a few mates) as the premier Hentai RPG. Download it here. Oh, and in case you were wondering, this is a full-fledged stand-alone freeware RPG. And BBSW stands for Big Breasts Small Waist. Quite a shock, that.


All Star Superman

all-star-superman-dvd

I recently watched this movie and I have to say I enjoyed it; however, I am old school. I am a fan of the Batman animated series and all the series that followed and I liked that story. With that said, my main issue with All Star Superman was that it seemed rushed. First, let me admit I did not read all of the series, but I did read some and what I can tell you I felt that they rushed to many stories into the movie.

When the movie began, I felt it had a decent pace; Superman did have a creepy vibe when he and Lois went to his fortress, but I can understand that considering he was dying and wanted to profess his love. The first time I felt the movie seemed rushed was when Lois was seeing things, it just seemed so quick between her going crazy and Superman explaining everything away.

all-star-superman-movie-1

I liked the fact that we got to see heroes that most cartoon watchers would not have seen in Samson and Atlas 2, but even that “love triangle” between them seemed forced and too fast. The worst offense of rushing a story came when the Kryptoians showed up. One moment they are remaking Metropolis and backhanding Superman and the next, they are dying and had to be sent to the Phantom Zone. I just believe if given more time a really good story could have been told about those two.

all-star-superman-movie-2

Now don’t get me wrong, overall I liked the movie, the storyline was different as was the art and direction. All Star Superman also had some good music and great action and the interaction between Clark and Lex Luthor was great. The ending was also touching and it showed how much Lois loved Superman even if it also seemed a bit fast. In addition, we saw just how smart Lex is which is sometimes downplayed in the television series as well as the other movies.

Overall, if you are a fan of Superman and the DC universe then All Star Superman is worth a buy.

 

Talisman Returns

 TalismanBoardgame

Games Workshop, even if via the deceptively named Black Industries, seems to be returning to a few beloved games of yore, that don’t necessarily fit into the wargames category. It all began (Oh, praise the Dark Gods, cherish the Ruinous Powers, thank LotR!) with the new edition of the excellent Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay RPG, went on to its 40k counterpart and is now maturing with the forthcoming release of Talisman edition 4, bound to happen when the stars are right or sometime during October 2007; whichever comes first, really. Oh, and yes, I did mean Talisman, as in Talisman.

TalismanBoardgame

Why not then hop over to the official announcement? Why not indeed. Just click here, or there for a nice press release. Expect to read something along the lines of: “Talisman is a cult fantasy board game for 2 – 6 people. Players control a myriad of characters from a heroic warrior to a powerful sorcerer. In this perilous adventure, play centres around the journey of these gallant heroes to find and claim the Crown of Command, a magical artifact with the power to destroy all rivals and make the bearer the true ruler of the kingdom.”


Puttanopoly

puttanopoly-

Monopoly. Definitely not a good thing, thoroughly described by Lenin, detested by most, but also one of the landmark board games of the 20th (and apparently 21st) century. And with more than 100 different versions too. Problem is, Monopoly doesn’t have the history we all believed it had… Head over at SnakeOil labs, read everything about Anti-Monopoly, the true story of the game and the obscure Landlord’s Game , thus preparing thyselves for something completely different. The actual point of this humble little post.

Puttanopoly:

puttanopoly

An Italian adaptation of Monopoly, that does to board games, exactly what Pimp: The Backhanding (by none other than the prestigious White Wolf of Vampire fame) did to card games. Unfortunately, it’s only in Italian. Still, the idea is internationally understood. Be a hooker, avoid evil pimps, get to the rich customers, avoid Jack-the-Ripper wannabes and cops and (that’s the Monopoly bit) protect and expand your turf.

If you must know, Puttanopoly derives from the word puttana, a mostly Italian -partly Greek- word that could not mean anything else but whore…

Great stuff. Let’s wait for a translation, right?


Robin Hood

 

Robin Hood - Movie Poster

Robin Hood (2010)
Director: Ridley Scott Starring: Russell Crowe, Cate Blanchett, Mark Strong, Alan Doyle, Scott Grimes, Kevin Durand, Danny Huston

Certificate: 12A Running Time: 140 Minutes

Admittedly I don’t buy the movie magazines like I used to but this one seemed to pop up out of nowhere for me! Once I found out about it though, the expectation and excitement immediately began to surface. How could they not? What film fan wouldn’t be at least intrigued by the prospect of another Ridley Scott / Russell Crowe collaboration to begin with, let alone a Robin Hood one? Perhaps it would end up being a big ol’ Summer Blockbuster along the same lines as the fantastic Gladiator! Or would it be a more cerebral piece like American Gangster? One things’s for sure – anyone expecting a retelling of the classic tale is in for a surprise, for the yarn this film spins is in effect a prequel to that oft-told legend.

Robin Hood - Movie Screenshot 1

It’s fitting really that, what with the influx of comic-book, superhero films since the last Robin Hood film came out, you could consider this an ‘origins’ film of sorts! The story, you see, harks back to the days of Richard the Lionheart and the Third Crusade. When the King (Huston) is killed in battle while returning home to England, the party sent to take his crown home is ambushed by Sir Godfrey, a traitorous English knight who has French allegiances. Stumbling across the aftermath of the attack having recently gone on the run is an archer by the name of Robin Longstride (Crowe) and some of his friends, Allan A’Dayle (Doyle), Will Scarlett (Grimes), and Little John (Durand). Amid the bodies they find a wounded knight called Robin Loxley who, in his dying breath, asks Mr Longstride to return his sword to his father in Nottingham. Taking up the identity of his fallen namesake, he and his friends set course for home.

Robin Hood - Movie Screenshot 2

Before taking the sword back however, Robin must deliver King Richard’s crown to the Royal Family whilst hoping his ruse isn’t discovered. There, he witnesses the coronation of the arrogant and ruthless King John who immediately sets about imposing his will on all and sundry. Once Robin arrives in Nottingham he meets Loxley’s now-widowed wife, Marian, and his aged but wily father, Sir Walter Loxley, who asks Robin to continue impersonating his son in order to protect the family lands from new taxes imposed by King John. And so, whilst attempting to maintain this deception, he finds himself becoming increasingly involved in the affairs of those around him, and as he does so he ends up further and further down the path that lead to him becoming the legendary hero that we all know today.

Robin Hood - Movie Screenshot 3

To be honest, this isn’t the film I was expecting it to be when I first sat down in the theatre. As far as I’m aware, there are two versions of the Robin Hood legend doing the rounds. One has him as an aristrocrat turning to crime after losing his wealth. The other has him as a commoner taking up the fight to help those around him. This film goes the way of the latter, making him a lowly archer in the Plantagenet army before becoming embroiled in matters beyond his control, resulting in unintended outlaw status. I’m sure both versions would’ve made entertaining movies, but I think the route the filmakers have opted for here allows the audience to better like Robin and even identify with him to some extent, with Russell Crowe putting in his standard high performance. He portrays his Robin as humble and honourable yet courageous and holds the screen as well as always. His friends (the future ‘Merry Men’) don’t get a great deal of screentime but are likeable too and provide him with frquent opportunities for entertaining banter.

Robin Hood - Movie Screenshot 4

Talking of characters getting little screentime, the traditional Robin Hood bad guy, the Sherriff of Nottingham (played by Matthew MacFadyen) gets barely a handful of minutes with which to make an impact, but his performace is promising for any potential sequels. Getting far more screentime as far as bad guys are concerned are Marc Strong as the sneering (and scarred, of course) Sir Godfrey, the traitorous English knight, and Oscar Isaac as the slimy Prince/King John. The latter in particular makes full use of his screentime and ends up with the most memorable Scott bad guy since Emporer Commodus. Slightly surprising is the choice of Maid Marian. Far from the elegant lady of privilege seen depicted elsewhere, this Marian is a humble, downtrodden wife struggling to manage the family farm in her husband’s absence, and Blanchett plays her as such – a tough and strong-willed, yet world-weary woman.

Robin Hood - Movie Screenshot 5

So, it’s a fairly unorthodox take on the Robin Hood legend all in all, and I’d say it’s better for it. Scott’s direction is near flawless as always, and the script by Brian Helgeland, one of my favourite screen writers, is for the most part top notch. I wouldn’t really say this was a typical summer blockbuster – it’s probably a bit too grown up to be comfortably labelled as such, but it’s definitely a top quality, action-packed adventure, and the surely-inevitable sequel could be even better!

RKS Score: 8/10

Top Five Ugliest Cars

Tata Nano

Tata Nano
Created by Indian company, Tata, the Nano is currently the cheapest car in the world to buy brand new. As you might imagine, it’s specs reflect that, with a 624cc engine which generates a mere 35bhp, and it only has the absolute minimum of interior features. The boot doesn’t even open – it has to be accessed from inside the car! All this is understandable for its price though, but did they really have to make it look so hideous?
Fiat Multipla
Fiat Multipla
Good old Fiat. They’re never ones to make conventional-looking vehicles, are they? I guess they’re relying on the old “Oh, it’s Italian, it must be artistic!” cliche. Well sorry Fiat, but this offering is a monstrosity! What’s with the bit under the windscreen? Granted, the second-generation model looks a lot nicer and does away with this weird bit but still! This version regularly appears on ‘ugly car’ polls and with good reason – the Multipla is a MultiFAIL!

Ford Ka

Ford Ka
I was a bit surprised when I first saw this stupid thing from Ford. Their cars are usually decent enough, if unspectacular, but this pretentiously-named ‘Ka’ (definitely NOT pronounced the same as ‘Car’ by me) looks like a wedge of cheese balanced on marbles! The ‘Sport’ Ka and ‘Street’ Ka (both all of 93bhp) look even more annoying. Like the Fiat, however, the new version of the Ka is a vast improvement.
Citroen 2CV
Citroen 2CV
This post-WW2 designed car was a monument to minimalism, and very typically French. It’s practicality is to be begrudgingly respected but as a modern car it’s just ridiculous! The headlights stick out on little stalks, the roof is a bit of cloth that you can push back, the wheels are about 2 inches wide, the windows don’t open but instead fold in half… It’s just such a horrible little car. It was orginially designed as an “umbrella on wheels” to take French farmers to market and back. You know what? They should’ve kept it to themselves!

Smart

Smart car
Well, after many, many years as my most hated car, if the Citroen 2CV was ever to be toppled from its lofty perch, it would take something very special. So step forward… Mercedes? How can the designers of some of the automobile world’s finest vehicles be responsible for this… I can’t even find the words to describe it! This… affront to all that exists! But yes, sadly it’s true. Mercedes, in collaboration with Swatch (they of weird wristwatches) unveiled this in 1998 and the world has been a worse place since. If aliens made first contact with Humans, out of all the things in the world, out of all the things we’ve been responsible for, this pathetic thing is what I’d be most embarrassed by. Plus, if you crash in one at speed, you’re screwed!

 

Kevin Costner as Jonathan Kent

Kevin Costner - Pa Kent

The Hollywood Reporter first reported that the upcoming Superman movie will feature Kevin Costner in the roll of Superman’s dad. The latest movie being made by Warner Bros. and Legendary pictures will also feature Henry Cavill playing Clark Kent/Superman and Diane Lane who will be playing the role of Martha Kent.