Mini Movie Review: The Avengers (2012)

Sunday 29 April 2012 @ 11:32 pm

Called Avengers Assemble in the UK, this superhero movie pits Iron Man, Thor, the Hulk and Captain America against Thor’s brother and nemesis Loki who is intent on enslaving the world. The film starts off with a mysterious energy source opening a portal to another universe through which Loki appears causing havoc and destruction before escaping with said energy source. Agency boss Nick Fury orders the mobilisation of the Avengers Initiative which brings together Tony Stark, Bruce Banner, Steve Rogers and agent Natasha Romanoff who are tasked with finding Loki and thwarting his plans for using the energy source as a bargaining chip with an alien race to achieve world domination.

With Thor and Hawkeye completing the team, the Avengers race against time to stop the aliens invading Earth whilst also trying to recapture Loki and retrieve the energy source.

This is one cracking superhero movie and one of the very, very few where you actually leave the cinema thinking you truly got your money’s worth. Leaving aside the stellar ensemble cast and a sharp script that invites empathy from the audience as well as a few well timed giggles, this really does feel like a proper blockbuster and delivers 100%.

Director Joss Whedon successfully manages to harness the personality and interesting characterisations of all the main protagonists without any single one stealing the show or coming out top, a difficult feat when you have the charismatic Iron Man and, my personal favourite, the awesome power of a rampaging Hulk in one flick. It’s not just the individual superhero’s though, the friction between some of the Avengers and the way they interact is a joy to watch with snappy dialogue and sharp delivery.

Although The Avengers can be watched as a standalone movie, it helps if you’ve previously watched Thor and Captain America which both tie in neatly with the events at the beginning of this film. Regardless though, this is fantastic entertainment, a fantastic movie and an absolutely sure fire hit with a riveting final act that see’s the Avengers in full battle mode. Make sure you stay until after the end credits to see a short epilogue.

Is this the best superhero movie of all time? Quite possibly, yes and I can’t wait for the DVD.

Score: 5/5


Mini Movie Review: Fright Night (2011)

Sunday 22 April 2012 @ 11:18 pm

A remake of the 1985 comedy horror of the same name but with a modern take, this is set in a small suburb of Las Vegas where teen Charley Brewster begins to suspect that his handsome new neighbour Jerry Dandrige (Colin Farrell) is a vampire. As his class mates begin to disappear, Charley becomes increasingly paranoid and tries to enlist the help of local vampire expert Peter Vincent (Brit actor David Tennant) to help defeat the undead.

This is a wonderful remake of the original and is both funnier and more thrilling with plenty of laughs and nods towards the jump-in-your-seat cliches. Colin Farrell is perfectly cast as the smouldering vampire next door but it’s David Tennant in particular who steals the show and gets all the best lines as a younger, over-the-top and foul mouthed Peter Vincent who’s not all too keen to join the vampire hunt.

What’s great is that this is not just a scene-for-scene remake, it’s been thoroughly updated with enough differences to keep it fresh whilst ensuring the core elements stay intact. If you liked the original, which I did, you’ll enjoy this lots.

Score: 4/5

Mini Movie Review: Faster (2010)

Saturday 21 April 2012 @ 11:33 pm

This stars The Rock as Driver, a felon released from prison who promptly takes a mean looking 1971 Chevrolet Chevelle SS and acquires a hitlist to go after the crims responsible for putting him in the slammer. Meanwhile a suave and sophisticated assassin is hired to kill Driver whilst a cop (Billy Bob Thorton expertly doing the washed out cop shtick) who is days from retirement begins to piece all the clues together in an attempt to solve the case before Driver gets to the final name on the hitlist.

Only slightly spoiled by weak casting of the wimpy hitman, this is solid bloke-film territory with great action scenes, good car chases and no-nonsense brutality from The Rock who has little dialogue throughout the whole movie. You’ll have seen similar movies before but this one is executed with flair, style and keeps you watching til the very end where the rather tame twist is revealed.

Score: 4/5

Mini Movie Review: Final Destination 5 (2011)

Friday 20 April 2012 @ 11:49 pm

You’ll know pretty much what to expect in any Final Destination movie; intricately designed death-traps to kill the protagonists in the most inventive way possible to keep the audience guessing. However, whereas previous two outings have gone for more darkly comic style deaths with a hint of slapstick, this fifth instalment ratchets up the tension with a degree of nastiness not seen since the original.

As before, a group of students cheat Death who promptly comes after them to claim their lives from the most trivial of situations. This time though, there is a new angle of how the survivors must stay alive and it all neatly ties in with the other movies as the series comes full circle to a satisfying conclusion, one that has been sorely missing from the other films in the series.

Score: 4/5

Mini Movie Review: The Hangover Part II (2011)

Sunday 15 April 2012 @ 12:16 am

Set two years after the previous instalment, this has the guys travelling to Thailand for Stu’s stag do and once again waking up the morning after with everyone in a state and no recollection of how they got there or what happened the previous night. The gang have to piece together the clues in a race against time before the evening wedding reception whilst trying to placate both the local gangsters, Russian mobsters and Interpol.

This supposed comedy is crude and short on laughs with not even the appearance of a chain smoking monkey capable of raising a smile. It’s saying something that the best and funniest thing by miles about the whole movie is the guest appearance right at the end followed by the closing credits that show photos of the stag night.

Score: 1/5

20 reasons why Windows 7 sucks

Tuesday 10 April 2012 @ 3:30 pm

1. A search engine that’s as useful as diet water
The search functionality is stupidly convoluted. No longer are you easily able to search system folders or hidden files and directories, you have to tag these elements first for indexing (which grinds your PC to a halt) and click through several incoherant prompts before it actually starts searching for what you want. In short, the stupid Windows 7 search engine would have difficulty finding whiskers on a cat. Plus it’s stupid. Did I mention it’s totally stupid? For a usable search that works just like it did in XP (in other words, properly), you will have to resort to downloading a third party utility like FileSearchEx.

2. Just wait a moment so I can totally waste your valuable time
If you install anything, no matter how minor, chances are that Windows 7 will configure some crap on startup and then again on shutdown. When I switch my PC on or off, I don’t want to have to wait 5 minutes for Windows 7 to show a percentage bar telling me how long till it’s finished taking a dump. My time is my own to waste, I don’t need Microsoft wasting it for me. And why does it need to configure any application on startup or shutdown in the first place? XP was never like this.

3. Scrolling start menu with multiple clicks
It’s not often that you find something that both sucks and blows but the start menu on Windows 7 is a prime candidate. I get angry just thinking about that damn stinking start menu. With Windows XP, you simply move the mouse and click once to open an app. It’s simple, efficient and ergonomic. The stinking Windows 7 version forces you to scroll vertically, and also horizontally if the app name is too long, through some damn hideous menu showing everything clumped together with no sense of hierarchy and requires several clicks to navigate to the app you’re after. Alternatively, you can start typing like a muppet to find the program you want, as if you didn’t already know where it was, and then double-click (not even a single click like XP) on the miniscule icon. Nice one Microsoft, have us all chopping and changing between mouse and keyboard like a demented chef trying to cook a stew and wash the dishes at the same time.

4. Get that USB outta here
Plug in a USB drive and Windows 7 Explorer pops up showing the contents. Navigate to another folder on your hard disk using the same Explorer window and then remove the USB drive. Of course, the most logical thing for Windows 7 to do is close the whole damn Explorer regardless of whatever I might be doing. It’s so fuckin’ obvious, I’m amazed nobody else saw fit to build their sub-optimal OS this way too.

5. Ludicrous Spec
Microsoft claims that Windows 7 is fast, speedy and efficient. And yes, it is providing you’re willing to upgrade all your hardware to Ludicrous Spec levels containing the very latest expensive dual core processor that would have been fine running a server farm a few years ago. Add to that, 4GB pumped up RAM and a hard disk that’s more capacious than the Hoover Dam and you might, just might, find Windows 7 performance acceptable. For the vast majority of us who live in the Real World though, installing something that’s twice as slow as XP, runs no quicker than a 10 year old operating system and offers minimal business benefits whilst recommending users buy hugely powerful hardware is reason enough to snort in derision whenever some gullible muppet crows about how much faster Windows 7 is. Virtually all major corporates across the world are still on XP and the reason certainly ain’t because it’s slower than Windows 7. There is absolutely no need for Ludicrous Spec levels of kit to run a fast, secure and efficient operating system when Linux manages just fine on far lesser hardware.

6. Stop. Right. There
One of the best things about Windows XP is that power features and functionality are largely hidden away from users but still easily accessible when you need them. Not so with Windows 7. You wanna install a program? Better ask first to check that’s really what you want to do and then check again where you want to install it. Need to administer some user accounts or settings? Nope, can’t do that without checking first and ensuring you have the necessary privileges. And even if you do, I’m still gonna have a think about it before your ass gets anywhere near those power features. My point is that Windows 7 makes is far too cumbersome and difficult to access the tweaks and admin functionality, even when you are an admin. It’s plain ridiculous that an OS would be built this way when XP managed it perfectly well using policies without user impediments.

7. My view is the best
Despite Windows 7 having unreasonably bloated hardware requirements that calls for 4GB of RAM, this memory is obviously not put to good use. Why else would each folder not remember any of the settings I apply even after checking the “apply to all folders” setting across all templates? It’s a constant source of annoyance to create a new folder or access a directory on a USB and have it default to the crappy Icon view when I have got everything else set to List view. Why Microsoft, why?

8. From CD to DVD
Once upon a time, operating systems came on floppy disks. This then became CD’s for ease of use and we now have the bloated behemoth that is Windows 7 that arrives on a DVD. How is that we’ve gone from a perfectly usable OS under 5MB to one that needs 4GB? Well I guess all those gigabytes of extra space are surely being put to good use to install a speedy, fast, efficient and secure operating system. Heaven forbid that it’s actually filled with bloated graphical rubbish or useless features than 90% of punters will never need or use.

9. Windows 7: Rip-off Edition
Question: Just how many versions of Windows 7 does it take to build a decent operating system? Answer: None, they’re all shit although that hasn’t stopped Microsoft milking this particular udder dry with no less than six different versions, each slightly tweaked from the other builds but wholeheartedly still the same sub-optimal and thoroughly bloated Windows 7 experience. For goodness sake why do you need 6 versions, especially when they’re all very similar? The reason is so Microsoft can charge you double the normal amount for a version to be sold in rich countries whilst emerging economies get the same product badged differently at less than half the price.

10. DRM for the masses
Windows 7 has its fair share of rubbish features and there is none more unwanted and unnecessary than DRM, a feeble attempt by bullying mega rich media companies to scam and rob even more money from customers by stopping you from copying your own bought-and-paid-for CD’s and playing them on your own device. Microsoft has thoughtfully integrated DRM throughout Windows 7 so it oozes out of every bloated sweat pore and is ready and waiting for shithead media companies to exploit.

11. Nothing to see here
Got a list of jpegs or images you want to quickly see all at once without launching a full blown app? Tough, there’s no out-of-the-box thumbnail view in Windows 7 Explorer unless you fiddle around with folder settings to never display icons. Instead, marvel at the clunky preview pane that forces you to pick through each image one by one until frustration gets the better of your sanity and you kick a hole in the screen. Oh, and don’t forget to clean up the gazillion thumbnail files left littering your hard disk because Microsoft has thoughtfully removed the option to not cache thumbnails.

12. A Control Panel without control
The Control Panel in XP was simple and intuitive. The Control Panel in Windows 7 is complicated and counter-intuitive. For anyone used to quickly and efficiently configuring their XP PC through well-signposted Control Panel icons, be prepared for a hideous mish-mash of non-related functions clumped together in Windows 7 Control Panel, all thoughtfully arranged so it requires far more clicks than is necessary.

13. Resume at your leisure
A prime candidate for Most Irritating “Feature” of Windows 7 is the waste-of-time Resume that’s about as useful as an STD in a brothel. This much vaunted functionality is supposed to make resuming your Windows 7 PC a matter of seconds by saving the current session state of your PC ready for when you next switch it on. The reality is that it’s just as slow, if not slower, than doing a cold boot. In fact, it’s even slower than the old Hibernate feature which is the first thing I remove when creating an XP build. I can’t for the life of me figure out why Microsoft would add Resume to Windows 7 then do everything possible to ensure it’s no quicker than a cold boot. Answers on a postcard please to Microsoft Hates You, Redmond, Washington.

14. Copying is slower than writing by hand
Want to simply copy files and directories in Windows 7 through the Explorer? Sure thing, but just wait a few minutes whilst I pop up this stupid bloody dialogue box telling you that I need to calculate the size of the files and the time remaining. And then wait some more whilst the same dialogue box hangs when copying files to and from a USB drive or other external device causing the whole operation to fail. Plus, don’t forget the slower copying speeds if by some miracle it actually works and decides to finish, but do make sure you have a packed lunch and a sleeping bag. I’ve wirelessly copied the same 300MB file to the same server using both XP and Windows 7 and XP was over a minute quicker. Proof positive that even when it comes to the most simplest action such as copying a file, Microsoft excels at delivering a screw up.

15. My policy is you can’t do jack
The Disk Defragmenter program has been buggered beyond the laws of sodomy. The initial analysis is now slower than a cucumber doing Calculus and there is no visual representation of the hard disk to see where all the files are being stored. If you actually bother to hang around for the analysis to complete and start the defragger, the process does several passes on the disk that are slower than a village idiot teaching a cucumber to do Calculus. And why the fuck the button is labelled “Analyze disk” is anyone’s guess, last time I checked, the correct spelling was Analyse.

16. No need to visit the opticians
Drag a file in Explorer and enjoy the huge icon that materialises in front of you merrily obscuring all and sundry so you can’t actually see what action to take. Why the fuck this icon has to be so large is anyone’s guess, mine is that Microsoft decided Windows 7 wasn’t irritating enough already.

17. You there in the corner doing nothing
The wireless icon doesn’t blink to show network activity, it just stays static so you have no idea if anything is happening connectivity wise. Microsoft claim the reason for it being static is that users found it too distracting which I don’t buy at all. More likely that Microsoft made it static so they could sneak in updates and uploads without the user realising. Oh, and lets not forget that usefulness is waaaay down the list of priorities for Windows 7.

18. Clickety click
Everything in Windows 7 seems to take more clicks than is necessary. Case in point, viewing the wifi adapter settings. In XP, simply right click and choose Properties. In Windows 7, right click and choose Open Network and Sharing Centre. Then click Change Adaptor Settings, right click the wireless connection and choose Properties. Click the Configure button and finally, you get the wireless adapter settings. Four fucking clicks to replace one! Want to repair your wireless connection in XP? Right click the wifi icon and choose Repair. Simples. In Windows 7, marvel at the clunky right click to open the network sharing centre and then another click to start the troubleshooter followed by more clicks through several screens as Windows 7 fucks around wasting your time. It’s a complete croc of clickety crap.

19. How big is my bin?
In Windows XP, you can use a slider to set the size of the recycle bin which shows you the space allocated or enter a value manually and even provide different sizes for different drives. Not so with Windows 7 where the recycle options number a grand total of one which amounts to entering the size manually. Example number 68 of how less usable Windows 7 is compared to XP.

20. Up we don’t go
The useful Up Folder button in XP Explorer has been removed and replaced with stupid Forward and Back arrows. What the hell those arrows mean in a complex folder hierarchy is anyone’s guess; the Up Folder button was plain and simple, alwasy in the same place, and did exactly what it said on the tin. However, Uncle Microsoft knows what’s ideal for everyone so best to stick the path in the address bar (truncated of course for maximum annoyance) with clickable folders, remove the more useful single button and replace it with two abstract ones. Where do you want to go today? Not where you want to, Microsoft has bloody well made sure of that!

Useless freeloading Queen invites blood spattered Bahrain king for Jubilee knees up

Monday 9 April 2012 @ 2:41 pm

If there’s one thing the UK could do without, apart from grasping parasitic MP’s, it’s the grasping parasitic so-called “Royals” who excel at looking after their own whilst dim witted peasants doff their caps and bow and scrape to the monarchy.

So no surprise then that sponging Queen Liz has invited corrupt Khalifa, the bloody king of Bahrain, over for tea and crumpets to celebrate her diamond jubilee. Yes, that’s 60 years of not having done an honest days work ever whilst living off the taxes collected from the peasants. And what better way to celebrate than invite some corrupt bastard from Bahrain just because “it’s very rude to leave anyone off the list”.

This is the same corrupt King Khalifa who has slaughtered innocent Bahrainis, banged them up in prison for no other reason than torture and collaborated with his Saudi overlord bitches to eradicate the majority Shia population. Whilst it’s perfectly fine to condemn the Syrians and mad bastard Gadaffi, when it comes to Bahrain, her Royal leechness can’t invite these same corrupt despots quick enough to fawn over the useless monarchy and offer jewels and expensive gifts.

Abolish the monarchy now, we want a republic!