Posts Tagged ‘2007’

Gaming: World of Warcraft: 4) Draenei

Azuremyst Isles

You can tell they're near the night elves because of all the purple.

When the draenei race were first announced as being the new race who would join the Alliiance in World of Warcraft’s first expansion pack there was a fair bit of controversy. Like the blood elves the draenei are an established race in the Warcraft setting, but where the new blood elves fit the established version of the race, the draenei… didn’t. In the established lore the draenei, part of another race called the eredar, were the wholly evil race responsible for driving the titan Sargeras mad, who then went on to start all the troubles with the demons (ie. the entire Warcraft storyline). When you meet them in Warcraft 3 and World of Warcraft they look like this:

Were the Alliance about to get their first 'monstrous' race?

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Gaming: World of Warcraft: 9) Blood Elf

Eversong Woods

The orange is a bit too omnipresent to make the place truly autumnal, but I do like it.

The blood elves first appeared in the Warcraft 3 expansion pack, The Frozen Throne. Shocked at the devastation Arthas and the Scourge had inflicted upon their homeland, the remnants of the high elves, led by prince Kael’thas, called themselves blood elves and adopted red uniforms to represent the blood their people had shed. They ultimately fell in with Illidan, renegade night elf and sworn enemy of Arthas, taking refuge in Outland with his faction of draenei and naga.

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Film – Quick Thoughts: Paranormal Activity

Paranormal Activity
Paranormal Activity, directed by Oren Peli
Written by: Oren Peli
Starring: Katie Featherston, Micah Sloat
My rating: 4 of 5

Paranormal Activity is essentially like The Blair Witch Project but in a house, the couple involved using a camera (the whole film is their footage) to study the strange things that are happening in their home and which have followed the woman, Katie, since she was eight years old. Her boyfriend, Micah, is convinced he can solve the problem (which is why he gets the camera) and starts performing all sorts of tests, but the more he tries the quicker things escalate.

Just like The Blair Witch Project I found it very creepy to watch even though you’re mostly looking at or hearing little things, footsteps  on the stairs or doors opening and closing, but that’s why it works. Mundane things are acting in abnormal ways and you’re left wondering what’s causing it, because it’s another one of those films that holds back from explaining or showing too much. When you don’t know everything it allows you to imagine absolutely anything, which makes it all the more creepy. I can understand why so many people liked it because it really is good, though it’s a shame they’ve decided to milk it with sequel after sequel as it’s exactly the kind of film that works best in isolation, without further explanation.

Film – Quick Thoughts: Gone Baby Gone

Gone Baby Gone
Gone Baby Gone, directed by Ben Affleck
Written by: Ben Affleck & Aaron Stockard
Starring: Casey Affleck, Morgan Freeman and Ed Harris
My rating: 4 of 5

I’ve seen this before but wanted to watch it again because I really did enjoy it. A little girl goes missing and a private detective is hired to help investigate, because he grew up in the area and can talk to people who won’t talk to the police. Once he starts investigating though it becomes clear that things are even more complicated than they seem.

Every major character is either already broken and jaded when the film starts off or they end up that way by the time the story concludes, being exposed to elements of society or having to do unpleasant things or make hard choices. There are some interesting questions in the film about right and wrong, the law being clear on what you’re supposed to do but most other aspects of the situation suggesting something else. It’s a very good film with some excellent performances, though quite a sad one.

Film – Quick Thoughts: 5 Centimeters Per Second

January 28, 2012 Leave a comment

Sucker Punch
5 Centimeters Per Second, directed by Makoto Shinkai
Written by: Steven Foster, Makoto Shinkai and Alex Von David
Starring: Kenji Mizuhashi, Yoshimi Kondou and Satomi Hanamura
My rating: 3 of 5

The film consists of three separate short stories, connected through Takaki, the boy-turned man each tale is focused around. It starts with him in school, where he’s quiet, likes his books and is generally a bit of a loner. Then this girl, Akari, comes into his life and they click but she moves far away and they only meet once more, when he takes a long, difficult train journey just to see her. The next story has him in college and is told from the perspective of Kanae, the woman who has fallen for him, but who he can’t see because he’s still focused on his teen sweetheart. The third story takes place years later when Takaki realises he has no idea what he is doing, has no goals and doesn’t really care. Everywhere he goes he sees Akari but it’s never really her.

I enjoyed each story, the second probably being my favourite because Kanae was so sweet, and it’s possible I relate more to the unrequited love in that tale than the missed opportunity that defines the other two. The second also takes place around the Tanegashima Space Center, features a rocket launching and thoughts about space travel, so the trains and city life of the other two can’t really compete.  Taken together the three stories are a tale of lost love and trying to move on, and the overall story is sad but sweet.

Film – Quick Thoughts: Shoot ‘Em Up

January 12, 2012 1 comment

Shoot 'Em Up
Shoot ‘Em Up, directed by Michael Davis
Written by: Michael Davis
Starring: Clive Owen, Paul Giamatti and Monica Belluci
My rating: 4 of 5

I’ve seen this before and is still a lot of fun. Even from the title it’s clear they just wanted to make a big dumb action film, all over-the-top action and bad jokes, almost like a modern Commando. Clive Owen and Paul Giamatti are obviously enjoying themselves, the action almost never pauses and it’s all very flashy, mindless entertainment. I think it succeeds in its goals better than The Expendables does.

Reading: City of Bones

January 11, 2012 1 comment

City of Bones
City of Bones by Cassandra Clare
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Christmas Book Number: 10

Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight series has led to a huge surge in popularity for a certain kind of fantasy story, bookstores setting aside shelves purely for ‘dark romance’ or ‘vampire romance’ novels aimed at the young adult market, particularly girls. City of Bones falls into that general category and has a glowing recommendation on the cover from Meyer herself, which is almost guaranteed to deter people who (somewhat accurately) think of the Twilight series as a bad thing.

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