Will Preston

Archive for October, 2011

DVD Review – The Poet (2003)

by on Oct.31, 2011, under Films, Flickering Myth, Review

Ever since the outstanding Leon, contract killers in the film world always carry a lot of emotional baggage, usually tucked away next to their folding sniper rifle. For every body dropped, another part of them dies inside. Maybe all film hitmen are just as emotional and vulnerable the camera cuts to the good guys. Or is it just another good idea that’s becoming a tired cliché due to unimaginative overuse? In the 2003 Paul Hill film, The Poet, we learn just how absurd this character device can be.

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Dead Pinups EP

by on Oct.28, 2011, under Albums, Music, Review

Click the picture to go to the bands site

Well my large clock is yelling to me that Halloween is this weekend. If all hallows eve is going to really go off without a hitch, you need some anthemic tunes that are going to define 2011’s darkest day. The ideal melding should include the dark metal of White Zombie, the rotting rawness of misfits, and perhaps spray some right old dirty rock out of your jugular whilst you’re looking for a bandage. Which brings me to this month’s newest act, Dead Pinups.

Lurking under your bed in Portsmouth, this frightening four-piece are the must have for anyone who knows how heavy rock should sound. I was convinced I could feel the leather after a minute in. Now that is scary. Mixing the repertoire of drink and drugs with stuff that makes you jump in the dark, there is nothing stopping you waving a severed arm in the air like you just don’t care. Bouncy, swaggering and just enough riffs to bury in a mass grave against UN regulations.

Without stopping to check the speed limit, Drone Zombie bashes through the wall of the EP as the opening track. Pounding with a creeping guitar riff. Bump in the Night feels more like a mosh in the pit. This one will possess people and have them chanting the chorus back at the band like the best dressed cult ritual you’ll ever see. Turning right at Serenade Boulevarde is Dancing Tonight, a headbanging declaration of filthy love. Finishing with a stunner is Facedown, a White Zombie-inspired track with unexpected jabs of Oingo Boingo.

Dead Pinups are the only thing you need to listen to whilst wearing leather and looking cool this month. Just remember to take a shower before, and preferably after; this is dirty rock.

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DVD Review – Devil’s Gate (2003)

by on Oct.24, 2011, under Films, Flickering Myth, Review

One of the least appealing settings for any film is in a small and isolated community. If the inhabitants aren’t committing some kind bizarre ritual, they’re usually making any token outsider feeling extremely unwanted. From burning policemen in The Wicker Man to raping and terrorising a couple in Straw Dogs, highly populated cities never felt safer in comparison to the middle of nowheresville. So when a woman has to travel from the mainland to a remote north sea island, the isolation is so thick you could batter an outsider to death with it.

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DVD Review – Deep Winter (2008)

by on Oct.18, 2011, under Films, Flickering Myth, Review

When is a film not a film? When it’s an extreme sports video with a story stapled on in a panic at the last minute. Now I’m a lay man when it comes to the nuances of snowboarding and downhill skiing. Obviously, a film exclusively dealing with the subject isn’t going to be my first choice when it comes to vegetating in from of the telly all evening. The main problem with Deep Winter, is that it seems to think it can just sell an entire film on it’s only saving grace. It’s almost as if fusty things such as narrative, dialogue and character development don’t really matter at all to Mikey Hilb.

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5 Classic games you can finish in an afternoon

by on Oct.12, 2011, under Opinion

Being a gamer can be a full time job at times. No, really. Whilst there are a few major releases each month, there are still the backlog of titles through the years that you’ll end up coming back to on a particularly dull Sunday. Sometimes, you might want to go back to the more retro era of gaming where graphics were cutting edge if they had an extra dimension and voiceovers where unheard of (no pun intended). Here are a few forgotten pieces of gaming grandeur that are not only great examples of electronic entertainment from days of yore, they can be conquered in a couple of hours.

Another World

There's a funny story about how he got into that situation

Cinematic atmosphere in a game was unheard of during the early nineties. When it came to story in a game, you had to read the instruction manual or watch the Saturday morning cartoon. Delphine Software were ahead in the field of cinematic gaming. Another World (or Out Of This World) was the first major title they released. During a lab experiment, Lester Chaykin is inexplicably zapped to an alien planet. Unfortunately this planet is exclusively populated by just about everything that can kill him. From bear-like beasts, to claw wielding blobs to a race of totalitarian hulks, there is never a dull moment. In terms of visuals, the animation is extremely flowing and feels like a movie. Although there’s a password system, you could easily beat this in under two hours. An ambitious game that doesn’t sacrifice gameplay for outstanding presentation.

Fantastic Dizzy

I also forgot to mention that he lives in a tree-top village.

Before all games starting using generic characters in games, imaginations ran wild. One particularly weird creation was an anthropomorphic egg who wore boxing gloves. The Dizzy franchise spanned around ten games and each one followed the exact same plot. Dizzy’s girlfriend (another egg, in case you were wondering) gets kidnapped by an evil wizard and puts a curse on the rest of his family. Why he does this is never explained, but with the twee approach to the game, it’s pretty clear that narrative isn’t going to be it’s strong point. The game is a series of item based puzzles across a large platform jumping affair. For some bizarre reason, Dizzy can only carry three objects at once, leading to a lot of backtracking. But despite this annoying flaw/challenge, the game is pretty big for a platformer with some fantastic and varied level design.

Desert Strike

Back in the day, this was the closest thing to 3D graphics

Subtle propaganda in games is pretty standard when it comes to military themed ventures. The bad guys are never American and everyone you kill is guilty by default. It’s about time someone made a game that made you test your morals to the extreme. But until then, grab that gun and salute a flag. Before Call of Duty blazed away the competition, war games were limited to flight simulators and strategy games. One of the earliest examples of semi-realistic action games was the Strike series. The first game, Desert Strike, is set in a fictional version of the gulf war, with a mock-Sadam Hussein controversially shoved in. Essentially, you pilot a helicopter with enough firepower to destroy an Eastern Bloc country. You’re given a set of missions to complete that mostly deal with blowing up various enemy bases. Other than enemy fire stopping you from doing this, the chopper needs to refuel at the most awkward moments. At moments it fills like juggling an exciting business schedule, but it doesn’t get in the way of the straightforward warfare. You aim the helicopter. You fire your guns. The enemy stops giving you grief. Nothing complicated here.

Streets of Rage

The closest simulation of Millwall you'll ever play

If there’s one genre that seems to have been rubbed out of the modern gaming scene, it’s the scrolling beat em up. Rather than restricting the combat to a mana a mano arena, it’s one man (or two) against a torrent of angry thugs. Streets of Rage was a fantastic example of beating up hundreds of people in one street. Set against a sprawling city and a thumping nineties dance mix (well, a 16bit one at least), you play as one of three policeman dressed to look like the cast of Fame. As you progress through the dangerous urban sprawl, you can use various melee weapons to beat down a series of foes; each of them ranging from spiked punks to ninjas. As far as fighting technique goes, it’s simply a case of punching the person in front of you until he stops fighting back. Whether you chose to use a broken bottle or a baseball bat to speed up this process is totally up to you. If you and a friend have a free evening in, Streets of rage and the other two sequels are a fantastic way to kill time.

Sonic 3 & Knuckles

It'll take you around ten seconds to actually realising what's going on here.

Oh, how mighty the Sonic legacy was back in the age of the Mega Drive. The early Sonic games are probably still amongst the fastest games you’ll ever play. Towards the end of the Mega Drive’s reign, a special cartridge was made for the game Sonic & Knuckles. essentially, there was a slot in the top for combining other games with it to make quote unquote brand new games. The idea flopped and history has never dared to repeat it. The only two games that worked with this idea were Sonic the Hedgehog 2 and 3. The idea was, that you could play as Knuckles in the older games and use his gliding and wall climbing abilities to find secret parts of the game. The only game this worked well with was Sonic 3. Basically, Sonic 3’s story ran straight into Sonic & Knuckles’ story. By combining the two games together, you could play both games in one epic adventure. Not only this, but by taking the perfect path of victory (collecting all 14 chaos emeralds), you were treated to a conclusive level that saw a charged up Sonic chasing Dr Robotnik (his nemesis) across the planet’s orbit. After this you were treated to the true ending to the saga. If you want high adrenaline platform action, take a step back in video game history.

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Chimaira – The Age of Hell

by on Oct.05, 2011, under Albums, Music, Review

Click picture to listen

It has been ten years since Chimaira’s first album screamed into existence and the band have just about perfected their heavy roar. The Age of Hell is the latest offering from Cleveland’s metalcore gathering and there is nothing light about this album.

On the whole, it’s a gritty and pounding affair with little call for calm. The title track bursts into the album like an epic doom anthem that draws you in. There are moments throughout of surprising guitar finesse. The track, Scapegoat, suddenly whips out a beautiful rush of Spanish guitar straight after a heavier than thou grindfest.

It’s also a pretty well produced affair, but you can tell that Chimaira have just about got their sound perfected. Not the most surprising album, but certainly not the dullest.

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