Saturday, 18 June 2011

Movie Mini-Reviews: The Adjustment Bureau, Thor & X-Men: First Class

The Adjustment Bureau

Being based on a Philip K Dick short story, I will admit I was surpised that this movie was only 'sci-fi lite' at best. However, as a psychological/romantic thriller,
The Adjustment Bureau is fairly effective. Damon and Blunt do a good job of protraying a couple striving to be together, only to be torn apart by destiny, and the use of New York as a setting fits very well with the narrative. The quasi-religious undertones are a tad contrived, but overall this isn't a terrible flim. There are definitely better Philip K Dick adaptions, but equally there are others that are much worse.

Try this is if you like: The Time Traveller's Wife, Blade Runner, The Bourne Trilogy
Rating: 3/5


Going into this movie with no prior knowledge of the Marvel comic book series is not necessarily a bad thing. Thor does a really good job of bringing the viewer up to speed with the mythology and background info, without letting it feel exponential or clunky. Although the plot is fairly good, it's the performances that really shine in this film, with Tom Hiddleston deserving special note. Playing the trickster-villain Loki, Hiddleton toys with our empathy, causing the audience to pity him as much as we despise him. Apart from some minor flaws, such as continual and obvious nods towards the upcoming Avengers movie, Thor stands out as one of the best superhero movies this year.

Try this if you like: Iron Man, 300, X-Men
Rating: 4/5

X-Men: First Class

I think it's important to clarify one thing about this film: it is intended to be a reboot - this portrayal of the X-Men characters and story-lines will not marry-up with previous X-Men films. The main strength of this movie is also its main weakness - the subject matter. The film does a great job of telling the origin stories of Magneto and Charles Xavier, but it should have stopped there. Too many other characters are crammed in, and fairly weak characters too. However, the narrative of the movie is solid, making great use of historical events to frame the plot. McAvoy and Fassbender carve out original portrayals of their characters, and Kevin Bacon is an effectively sinister villain (and possibly the only new character with a cool mutant power). Not an awful film - still not sure why all the female characters had to be semi-naked though...

Try this if you like: Wanted, X-Men, Inglourious Basterds
Rating: 3/5 

Saturday, 4 June 2011

Friends of Samuelj

Tweet RPG is a free, Twitter-based, follower-defined RPG service, where adventure stories are played by a community of users, each having the chance to alter the progression of the narrative. I recently started this project, thinking it was a innovative way to promote my writing, and would be a fun way to be creative! The first Tweet RPG adventure, 'King Slayer', started on June the 3rd, and is progressing well, with followers easily engaging with the concept. To join in, all you have to do is follow @tw33t_rpg on Twitter and make your choices! You don't have to take part in every voting session, just vote when you can. You are the hero - the choices are yours.

The Neverending Story Project is a venture with the aim of encouraging anyone and everyone to write something. As they state on their 'about us' page, writing is something we all do throughout our daily lives; why not be creative with it? The NeS webpage promotes writers through interviews and posting stories and fan fiction, hosts Twitter-based writing events and compiles three-page short stories by combining the work of individual writers. If you're budding writer looking to get some recognition, or just want to get involved in a fun creative project, then head over to the NeS page. Follow NeS on Twitter - @story_project

Christian Hoagland - Santa Ana Video Game Community Examiner

Christian Hoagland writes a video gaming news and review page, hosted on A self-confessed avid gamer, Christian charts his love for video games beginning at the age of two, playing the Sega Genesis. He continued this passion through the changing generations of consoles, and has also provided articles for TrueAchievements. As well as collating up-to-date gaming news and reviewing new products, Christian also posts a series of 'Gamer Spotlight' articles, interviewing video game fanatics about their interests, adding a personal edge to his page. If you like gaming, head on over! Follow Christian on Twitter @ExaminerCKH

Friday, 3 June 2011

King Slayer has begun!

The day is finally here! As of 8.00 am this morning, the first Tweet RPG adventure, 'King Slayer', has begun! The votes are coming in - where will the story go?

To join in, just follow 
@tw33t_rpg on Twitter, and send us your choice. Once the voting session has finished, the winning choice will be posted and the next voting session will begin. It's that simple!

There are a couple of gameplay adjustments that you will need to take into account:

  • When encountering an enemy, you will be given an assessment of how dangerous your foe is. For example, you might see '[low threat]' after the enemy's name - this indicates the battle will be fairly easy. Precede according to this information.
  • There may be some situations where you cannot use your bow during battle. You will see '[bow unusable]' in these situations.
Keep voting and see where the story leads!