Monthly Archives: November 2014
by David Roberts
Call of Duty : Advanced Warfare is out now on PS3, PS4, PC and the Xboxes. The first thing I noticed about this game is that I should have been playing it on a PS4. The cutscenes are utilising the Avatar 2 motion capture for Kevin Spacey’s Face (or Kevin Facey) if you would prefer, and then when you are left winding up your playstation 3 graphics chip with a winch just so see what is only a slightly more sophisticated version of the paddle in Pong with Kevin Spacey written on it, I suddenly started to regret giving my PS4 to Matt last Christmas. Every cutscene from here on in feels like every PS4 owner individually rubbing their high frame rate testicles in your eye sockets.
The actual first thing that will come to your attention here is that the game is now based, initially at least, in the not too distant future. This depends of course on your opinion of ‘too distant’. Without breaking any rules that we understand to be true in science the game feels like a Robert Heinlein novel instantly but with a lot less incestuous yet sexy time travelling weird paradox stuff. He invented the word Space-Marine. Did you know that?
The game feels like modern warfare but a small bit into the future at the beginning, just men with guns and bombs but also strapped with exoskeletons that allow them to perform faster and more efficiently, also allowing my character to slowly glide down from high areas, or to double jump over busses and the like. Featuring swarms of drones to make it feel futuristic but also things going wrong and sushi shops to make it feel real and authentic. After some events that caused my character to be hired by a ‘super-power for higher’ named Atlas, Kevin Spacey starts to make it all seem very futuristic . Grenades that show where enemies are standing, grenades that follow people as they try to run away, the ability to slow down time and whole training areas like the holodeck from Star Trek.
There were levels that made me think of the game Fear, and some that made me think of Halo even some that made me think of stabbing myself in the eyes out’ve frustration because I am really shit at Call of Duty. Not as much as going online within minutes of the game being released to find out that all of America and England have become teenagers and highly skilled tacticians. I played a bit of co-op which was like a more involved Tower Defence game as I just waited for streams of enemies to pop out’ve nowhere and annihilate me and make love to my lifeless corpse. Metaphorically. It’s a bit like the Zombies levels from previous games though the multiplayer maps are much more generous with space and design I think. Apparently you can unlock interesting things if you survive enough but my friend is as bad at Call of Duty games as I am, if not amusingly worse.
The campaign mode is really fun though, making me feel like I was James Bond one minute and then investigating a school in Silent Hill the next, there were minute moments of stealth, not metal gear solid but with the level of tension you get when two people go for the last biscuit on a plate at the same time in a posh event somewhere. A posh event that has biscuits on a plate.
Sledgehammer have taken the reigns on this one as Infinity Ward decided they had made enough Black Ops/ Modern Warfare games I assume, and it feels the same but different. Like when you accidentally sleep with your ex girlfriend one drunken night. Or when you get her to dress up as Liam Neeson so you can pretend you are the wife from Taken. Which we’ve all done. The cutscenes are superb and the game really deserves to be played on a PS4 or an XBOX One (but a PS4 really, obviously). There are a few bugs in the PS3 version I played, such as NPC team mates suddenly doing a somersault and swan dive through the floor when I accidentally shot them which was awesome, but unintentional. The team AI is really good, they don’t just shoot mercilessly near all the enemies while you have to take them all out yourself, which makes it feel more like a Team instead of like the A Team. I imagine these PS3/360 versions are polite releases and money based decisions because they play very well but every cutscene just makes you feel like such a dick when you go back to playing the game. Like if you were getting your girlfriend to dress up as Liam Neeson and then realised you don’t have a girlfriend and you’ve just closed yourself in a DVD box and have to go to the hospital.
Everyone knows children are shit at acting, painting, singing and all those other things. Not all children obviously, but your children definitely are, and yet you find yourself putting everything you’ve got into seeing the positive in their creations and you fool yourself into thinking you’ve enjoyed them no matter how relentlessly terrible you know their performances to be. This is exactly how I felt watching Kite except I have no biological programming or emotional investment that makes me think this. Starring Samuel L. Jackson and India Eisley, Kite is a dystopian film, based on the anime of the same name, which is two parts Hannah and one part frankenstein. Which in case you didn’t get the reference is highlighted by some terrible dialogue at some point.
The film is set in a future where the banks have crashed and the good guys are only considered to be good because they aren’t as bad as the bad guys. It begins with bad man bringing a young beautiful girl to be sold on as a prostitute, and probably to harvest organs from and forced to work in a second-hand shop for minimum wage, which is a fate worse than being harvested. The young girl has bright pink hair and a gun in her purse with exploding bullets which causes the would-be harvester to give birth to his brains out of his face. The young girl is Sawa, a drugged up semi-super hero with a vengeance for the murderer of her her parents. Sawa is played by India Eisley, and is not played by Jamie King like I had thought, which probably would’ve led to this film being banned and my computer being seized by the police.
It comes to light quite quickly that Sawa is off her tits on some drug called Amp that causes her to be brave, strong and efficient in her fighting style while also, unfortunately, leaving her memory substantially missing. Which is exactly the same as what alcohol makes you think you are achieving while making you just increasingly less socially desirable and capable.
Samuel L Jackson is in this film and proves an interesting point. A great actor can seem like a shit actor with a terrible script. The music, which is awesome, is used very rarely and not well. The script is like a fine wine…probably cost a lot more to make than it’s ever going to be worth. Samuel L. Jackson is Sawa’s protector and father figure, ensuring she stays on Amp, kills the right people and doesn’t get caught. Sawa does some violent sexy moves and kills many bad men. The sudden introduction of a guy called El Plot-Twisto gives the film a reason to end but ultimately the film felt bland, gray and underworked. It could have been great, there were so many amazing elements to it, and I looked at it like a child’s drawing that I was hanging up on the fridge, it’s just that I started thinking about sudden infant death syndrome while I was doing it.
I give the oddly named Kite 2/5
by David Roberts
I have to admit this will be biased. I am obsessed with Richard Herring at the moment, wether I end up preparing a well inside a shrine with increasingly disturbing images of him is yet to be seen. I think my obsession will probably stop after I have bought everything he has every made and funded Chris Evans’ from gofasterstripe with enough money to build his own o2 size arena wherein he may keep Richard Herring, Tony Law, Stewart Lee (the thin one from the 90s) Lucy Porter and all the other comedians in cages like Papa Lazarou and his wives. I imagine Chris feeding them events and experiences, so they can keep writing, through a machine that is a cross between the Ludovico technique from A Clockwork Orange and the one from Total Recall and then forcing them out on to stage one after another to create a DVD each a week, putting me into perpetual debt until I can no longer afford to laugh let alone eat food or buy DVDs. I think it may be worth it though.
Richard Herring has had a long career one that would have started to bear much more fruit than it has if he would only give in to the wishes of the general fucking moronic public and write/perform comedy that is intrinsically shit and appalling unfunny. Fortunately for us, or at least me, he insists on writing obscure clever genius comedy in a way that he has become the yard stick with which to measure wether a comedian is a funny person or just a performer saying funny things.
It is my experience with progressive rock music that the first time I listen to it, it is tedious, endless, repetitive and pointless and barely worth the money. Once I come back to it though the music has taken on a new veil, the notes, the small passages and the harmonised background vocals now sound, not only good, but better than anything else I have ever heard.
Richard Herring is the comedic version of this sudden epiphany and his new show Lord of the Dance Settee is proof of this. Some of the jokes are beautifully rewritten versions of stories that you can probably find on a podcast somewhere, but don’t make the mistake of thinking he is rehashing anything as this is someone who, via radio, podcasts, blogs, books, stand up shows or DVD extras, has documented at the very least 50% of his life. If he ever needs an alibi, the detective in charge needs only to spend between 3 and 12 pounds to have some sort’ve evidence.
Herring has always had a serious topic or theme for his shows, be it politics and racism, religion, growing older or even just willies. This show takes a more casual look at a few things he has written in the past, and wether his most successful shows are behind him. Self indulgent this may sound but that’s only because it is, though Richard Herring is the master of ejaculating the silver sheen of irony over everything so frequently that you can enjoy his self indulgence as if it was your own.
The Belfast show was one of the strongest of his I have ever seen, though the first I have managed to see live, the crowd seemed to get all the jokes very quickly, nobody was so drunk that they decided to ruin the show and there was enough time and such a good energy that he seemed to be able to improvise a few things, though side stepped his Northern Irish impression in favour of trying to unite protestants and catholics by offending them both enough that they would join forces against him. The Dave Manager material will, without a doubt, be the bit that is used to illustrate to your incredulous stupid friends that Richard Herring is a comedy genius.
It is strong material, a fantastic show, definitely much easier to digest for people who don’t know him particularly well, the show is evolving and he is still on tour so fly somewhere and see him, I personally have seen him live in two countries in the past month and I’m very lazy. Apart from me drunkenly assaulting him with kindness at the end of the show, embarrassingly just short of yelling “Please be my friend” over and over again, everything went more smoothly than most comedy gigs and it was great to see a Belfast crowd appreciating what is a rather refined taste of comedy.
Richard Herring is currently doing a million things.
RHLSTP : An interview podcast with comedians and amusing non-comedians, one of the best things ever made.
RHMOL: An online TV show discussing the meaning of life via standup and interviews with intelligent interesting people who are qualified to talk about death or what happened before the big bang and the like.
Me1 vs Me2 Snooker : A podcast wherein Richard plays snooker with himself and commentates on it. It’s been considered to be a documentation of his mental collapse.
GoFasterStripe.com a website where you can go to pay for comedians dvds and the like, most of which gets pumped back into the making and selling of more dvds of shows. There’s a sale on right now on a massive chunk of the best stuff so I suggest you take a good look at your friends and family and buy them all dvds for christmas.
by David Roberts
This week I’ve been sitting around and doing very little so I decided to watch a film. Since I don’t like enjoying myself very much, and because it was in the spirit of Halloween I decided to watch the worst sounding horror film I could. I decided on WolfCop. The one thing about Wolfcop that instantly strikes me as odd was how often people asked me what it was about. There really isn’t much more to it than a cop who is also a wolf. Starring Leo Fafard, Amy Matysio and Jonathan Cherry this is a comedy film which I’m fairly sure is funny in all the wrong places.
Lou (Fafard) is a cop in a small dusty American town, there is not a lot of respect for the police, nor is there a lot of crime, this causes Lou, the son of a great cop, to be negligent. Finding himself waking up time after time, covered in the his own vomit and wee-wee beside a naked woman with no face or name, Lou has little interest in solving crime or doing his job, but seemingly is the only person in the town qualified to do it other than Tina (Matysio) who just happens to be perfect for the role of supporting policewoman number 1. A conspiracy theorising, government fearing, paranoid, liberal hating, gun toting and slightly mentally ill member of the town is responsible for almost every call made to the station.
This nut is called Willie (Cherry) and is concerned about some weird occult behaviour he thinks he found in the forest near his house, which he thinks is related to a lot of missing animals. Dogs, cats, sparrows, chimps and anything that bleeds have been going missing recently and Willie is freaking out and Lou doesn’t care anymore than he ever did. Instead he wants to go and sit in Jessica’s bar and flirt with her. He flirts with her so hard that she becomes a plot point in no time, as the least terrifying man in the world comes to destroy her bar the following night, unfortunately for the ‘bad men’ this coincides with Lou getting a bit Wolfie and he pops in and pulls all the men apart like a bag of crisps.
The film progresses from here with a weirdly off balance approach to violence moving from Laurel and Hardy slapstick and then suddenly someone will get their face ripped right off their skull leaving blood everywhere. A problem I had was with the voice of Lou when he is WolfCop which is so distorted that I couldn’t understand what he was saying. It was distorted in that way that monsters voices get in films, where the voice has had it’s pitch shifted down so low that it makes anyone with a subwoofer in their house shit themselves right into hospital. The supporting characters where strangely but efficiently credulous when it came to receiving the news of Lou’s condition.
“I’m a werewolf”
“Ah right, what are we gonna do about that”
“I dunno let’s get a drink”
It also transpires that he is a very powerful werewolf and takes it upon himself to investigate an occult conspiracy, the reason he is so strong is because he drinks so much, making it a mixture between American Werewolf in London and Legend of the Drunken Master.
It’s meant to be a comedy, but part of me thinks that it’s funny in a way that it’s not supposed to be, being that it’s clearly a terrible film that is so bad it’s good, and the ‘jokes’ are barely definable as such. If I’m wrong about this then it’s style slots somewhere in between Garth Merenghi’s Darkplace and Evil Dead : Army of Darkness, not in quality I must point out merely in style. It’s not a must see but I enjoyed it much more than I thought I was going to. Some of the lines, like the tagline ‘Here comes the fuzz’, made me cringe my way to a hernia but over all it was what it was and what it was was a silly film that was quite fun.