Saturday, 31 October 2015

Slow West: DVD Review

Slow West: DVD Review

Rating: M
Released by Transmission Home Ent

Fresh from Sundance success, the blackly wry Western Slow West gives the genre something a little different and proves a welcome tonic to the usual genre fare.

Smit-McPhee stars as Jay Cavendish, a kid whose determination to reunite with his love Rose has seen him head across the plains of the Wild west of Colorado. But Jay is an effete, naive dreamer, whose first moments see him cross paths with Silas (a cigar-chewing Fassbender, who's terrific as the drifter who hides a secret). Realising that Jay's out of his depth, he offers to pay Silas to get him to his destination.

Which is probably a good thing - as there are all manner of hidden dangers in the Wild West, including Payne (a brilliantly quiet and menacing Mendelsohn) who's following them...

Packed with gallows humour and a heart as black as can be, Slow West is a terrific piece, shot in MacKenzie country, that packs a touch of the buddy road movie along with some unexpectedly humorous sight gags to great effect.

With diametrically opposed ideals, Silas and Jay make queasy road buddies, each with different reasons for doing what they need to do to survive (though Jay is completely out of his depth, his emotional touch gives us the cornerstone we need to connect).

Packing in philosophy with musings on how the west was (an anthropologist remarks at one point that soon all of this will be a long time ago) with some dark humour that shows the horror of the west (Jay tries on a suit at a trading post, only to discover it has a bloody bullet hole), Maclean's managed to create something that simultaneously embraces the Western tropes while adding something new. In among the uneasiness and violence on the road to resolution, there are laughs to be had, pratfalls to observe and some terrific musings on the nature of life and love. (As well as one particularly cruel but immensely funny take on the salt in the wound comment)

Smit-McPhee adds an ethereal almost sickly touch to his pasty Jay, a dreamer whose recollections of his time with Rose hint toward trouble ahead; equally, Fassbender's drifter has a touch of the classic western man with no name ethos around him (though his change of heart seems to come from leftfield) but he embodies the gruff Marlboro men of the time as the mournful score progresses.

With its off-kilter sensibilities and its 4:3 aspect ratio, Slow West is something different; a take on a tale of the Frontier previously unwitnessed but yet reverent to its roots. It's an exciting fusion of daring; a shaking up of the genre that embraces, then subverts the romance of the Wild West and gives the audience a breath of cinematic fresh air.


Friday, 30 October 2015

GTA Hallowe'en is here

GTA Hallowe'en is here

Grand Theft Auto Online: Halloween Surprise

Hi all,

From now through November 16th in GTA Online, special Halloween treats will be available to the residents of Los Santos and Blaine County on PS4, Xbox One and PC. And no tricks here – once acquired these special items will remain in players’ inventory, even after November 16th.

Navigating the freeways of Los Santos just got more terrifying with the addition of these two ghastly new vehicles. Players can show their dark side while getting around in the Lurcher Hearse and the Franken Stange – both available for a limited time only, along with 20 ghoulish new Bobbleheads that can be added to the dashboard of any customizable Lowrider.

Strike fear into opponents by donning one of the horrific new masks now available in the Monsters section of Vespucci Movie Masks. Crews tackling a Heist between now and November 16 will see a new Halloween mask category as the default option on all Heists. 30 Spooky new styles of Face Paint are also available to help players get into the spirit of the season.
Enjoy thrills and suspense with the lights out in this tense new Adversary Mode for up to 8 players. Run, hide, and fight to survive in the darkness as the player designated as the Slasher stalks his prey with a Shotgun. Players can use the new Flashlight to navigate if they dare, but risk revealing their position and quickly becoming prey. Survive for 3 minutes and get the chance to return the favor with a Shotgun of your own.


Stay tuned for details on this weekend's special Halloween activity, including a livestream this Friday October 30th at 5pm ET featuring the Rockstar Broadcast team and special guests to be announced.

Thursday, 29 October 2015

The Dressmaker: Film Review

The Dressmaker: Film Review

Cast: Kate Winslet, Liam Hemsworth, Hugo Weaving, Judy Davis, Sarah Snook, Rebecca Gibney
Director: Jocelyn Moorhouse

Set in an Aussie small town where everyone is an oddball, The Dressmaker's quirkiness begins to grate pretty quickly.

The deranged and nutty tone sets the scene for a story that's as steeped in tragedy as it is over-the-top garishness. 

A perfectly cast Winslet plays Myrtle, a woman scorned from the small fictional Aussie backwater Dungatar with the belief she caused the death of a boy. Returning to her mother, Mad Molly (a wonderful Judy Davis who imbues her bitter mother with as much heart as she does black humour) after a spell working in high fashion, Tilly sets feathers flying with her seamstress skills and her vampish figure, reminiscent of a Hollywood siren.

But she also captures the heart of Liam Hemsworth’s rugger boy and neighbour Teddy (who gets shirtless on numerous occasions) and begins to melt back to the charms of Dungatar while trying to exact her revenge for years of ostracism.

The Dressmaker is a curio, which is verging on high campery too as Winslet's Myrtle arrives back in town with revenge on her mind and snarling out a "I'm back ,you bastards" from under an icy veneer as the film starts, channelling a wild western showdown soundtrack and signalling something is in the water.

But under the high 1950s fashion is a simple story of reputations unfairly gained and rumours viciously spread among the ghouls of a small town, a trope that many who have tried to flee their past only to run home will recognise. The film heads more for farce and a parody of grotesques in its execution, rather than giving the supporting players a touch more humanity.

For this is a small town where the police are more interested in high fashion than high crime, where one man drugs his wife to rape her in her sleep and where a secret truth has festered for years rotting the community from within – it’s not exactly the most pleasant place to dwell, and Moorhouse works reasonably well from the Aussie ocker source material the Gothic book written by Rosalie Ham.

Of the leads, Davis seriously impresses, giving Molly the emotional arc she needs as the prodigal daughter returns home; elsewhere Winslet’s thawing of the stark and severe Myrtle seems as inevitable as the wonderful dresses she wears but her turn gives the predictable story a kind of watchability that’s welcome among all the frocks and barbs. It’s the mother and daughter relationship that is the real thrust of this film and proves to be the reason to plough on through the nuttiness and extreme stereotypes.

Weaving’s cop also deserves mention; a policeman who is more interested in the fripperies that Myrtle brings from Paris and whose cross-dressing is indulged but never revelled in. Granted, it’s like watching another variation of Weaving’s turn from Priscilla, Queen of the desert but he’s a small oasis in a backwater of confused tone, overlong pacing and dusty yesteryear drama.

Ultimately, The Dressmaker is a celebration of the absurd, a gallery of grotesque and unfortunately, a grating film that will surprise many who are expecting something else than what the poster appears to promise.


Rock the Kasbah: Film Review

Rock the Kasbah: Film Review

Cast: Bill Murray, Zooey Deschanel, Bruce Willis, Kate Hudson, Scott Caan, Danny McBride
Director: Barry Levinson

If you ever wanted to see a film with Bill Murray trussed to a bed, bedecked in a blonde wig and wearing a diaper, then Barry Levinson's latest is for you.

Murray plays washed up verging-on-con-man music manager Richie Lanz who spends his days listening to awful karaoke singers and promising them the world in return for cash. But his world turns around when he takes his last remaining client (Zooey Deschanel) on a USO tour of Afghanistan, believing fame and fortune lie around the corner.

However, having been ripped off and left without any means of escape from Afghanistan, Richie has to try and turn his fortunes around to make it out alive - and things get more complicated when, for the first time in his life, he discovers a genuine talent. Could his shot at redemption also be his undoing as he travels to Kabul to get his female singer on Afghan Star?

If you're expecting a hoot-a-moment film from the man who cocked a snook at the armed forces with the Adrian Cronauer story in Good Morning, Vietnam, then Rock The Kasbah is not the film for you.

It lurches wildly between tones as it negotiates a lunatic sensibility with a social commentary - and not always entirely successfully. Murray brings his usual deadpan laconic stylings to the table and there's just something about this rapscallion and his louche outlook that gets you on side. Certainly, in parts, Murray looks like he's having a blast.

The rest of the supporting cast don't fare as well - Hudson gets some extra time in the final furlong as the Armed forces tart-with-a-heart (even if one scene looks quite obviously like it was re-shot and re-scripted); Caan and McBride make the most of their extended cameos as black-market dealers - and even Willis shows up to whisper some lines before slinking off into the sand dunes of both the desert and the movie, only to reappear when dramatic fortune requires him to do so.

Equally, the film's sensibilities border on abrasive too, with the sentiment that Lanz can do whatever he wants with his client simply because he's American. Want to ride roughshod over years of cultural issues and oppression of women without any consequence? Sure, then Lanz is your man - and the script crassly precipitates this with Lanz getting his way for Afghan Star. Granted, it's morally questionable and perhaps a tighter script or a neater plotting of the arc could have helped, but this last third push within the film rankles and feels grossly awkward despite Murray's innate charm propelling it along.

That's the main problem with Rock The Kasbah; its tonal inconsistencies end up providing a patchy affair that's scrappy and amusing in equal measures. As the Clash remarked, the Shareef don't like it - and for large parts of this film thanks to its cultural awkwardness, if you'll forgive the pithiness, neither did I.


Magic Mike XXL: Blu Ray Review

Magic Mike XXL: Blu Ray Review

Rating: M
Released by Roadshow Home Ent

The fact that it takes five minutes for Channing Tatum's Mike to emerge from a pool, fully clothed and with a soaking shirt stuck to his near-perfect abs should tell you all you need to know about the sequel to 2012's misunderstood-stripper-with-a-dilemma Magic Mike.

This time around, three years after quitting the Kings of Tampa, Mike's running his furniture business when he gets a call out of the blue from Tarzan (Nash) to tell him that Dallas has died.

But that turns out to be a ruse, and given that Matthew McConaughey's troupe leader Dallas has fled abroad to start anew with the Kid, the guys are on one last road trip heading to the Stripper Convention at Myrtle Beach for one last blast - and they need Mike along as they're lacking an MC and a direction.

So heading to the last hurrah, the group get distracted, stopping off at a bordello run by Jada Pinkett-Smith's , who has a history with Mike and making a house-call in Savannah that leads to a contrivance that could only happen in the movies.

Ladies, there ain't nothing wrong with a bump and grind, and, heaven knows, there's plenty of that on show in Magic Mike XXL.

Whereas the Soderberg original three years ago (he's back on exec-producing duties this time around) was a more heady affair, blessed with character, with occasional scenes of stripping thrown in as the plot progressed, this is anything but.

Aside from just hanging out, this latest sees the Hollywood machine cater to the lowest common denominator (and serve the audiences the more intellectual flick only flirted with) with endless scenes of heavily choreographed routines, complete with so much gyrating, gold lame pouches and dry-humping that it would make anyone blush.

Except it doesn't - because that's really all this film has to offer, and even the fun is lacking at times.

In among the bickering and squabbling, hidden within the utterly atrociously banal dialogue and debate that these bros engage in ("Did you bang her?" being one of the more eloquent moments) there is nothing more than a shallow series of excuses, complete with distinct lack of plot, to let the man-candy let it all hang out on stage and with each other.

There's no edge to this film, no bite in the character and no tension nor sense of any arcs.

Mike's given the largest reason to get back into it all (cos stripping's just in his blood, yo after he has his solo dancing moment in the garage at home) - none of the rest of the crew give any valid reason as to why this stripper convention should be the end of the line for them; there's no call for the finality and no joie de vivre in the long drawn out finale that separates the gang and deprives them of the chemistry of the group.

Andie MacDowall's frustrated Southern belle is a highlight; Jada Pinkett-Smith plays the same character as Fish Mooney on Gotham; and Elizabeth Banks' energetic cameo towards the end provides a welcome burst of joie de vivre. Elsewhere, Mangianello's Big Dick's attempt to get a smile out of a gas attendant at least borders on the self-knowing and comical; and Tatum brings a bit of charm as Mike, but this sequel is relatively flat and stuffed simply with robotic dance routines - though it has to be commended for widening the audience appeal thanks to a scene in a drag club and the aforementioned Southern Belle stop-off, an acknowledgement of older ladies (and even the guys spend a lot of their stage show making sure the plus size ladies are gettin' the lovin' in a rare moment of equality)

Some awkward attempts at character arcs fall flat - Tarzan's getting too old for the game and contemplating life after alone, Big Dick's unable to perform in the bedroom as no lady is ever the one, Ken's facing life when his looks fade. These are all big issues to the guys, but are handled in such a shallow vein and the life lessons are barely learned as the stilted road trip progresses.

All in all, Magic Mike XXL is anything but abs-olutely fabulous; its lack of drive. magic, character and flaccid excuses to whip the ladies up into a frenzy may prove to be cinematic viagra for the girls' night out, but unlike the first film which benefited from being based on Tatum's dancing days, this XXL outing is all trouser, but definitely no mouth.


Wednesday, 28 October 2015

F1 - Sergio Perez Hotlap

F1 - Sergio Perez Hotlap


SYDNEY, 28th October 2015 - Codemasters® and BANDAI NAMCO Entertainment today released a new Behind the Scenes video for F1 2015, the official videogame of the 2015 FIA FORMULA ONE WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP™.

Absent from the FIA FORMULA ONE WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP since 1992, the GRAN PREMIO DE MÉXICO makes its grand return this weekend. Take an exclusive insider look withSergio Perez (Sahara Force India F1 Team) on-track ahead of the upcoming race held at the famous AUTÓDROMO HERMANOS RODRÍGUEZ!

Paris Games Week trailers

Paris Games Week trailers

Here are just some of the PlayStation trailers from Paris Games Week

Star Wars Battlefront Gameplay Launch Trailer

Star Wars Battlefront Gameplay Launch Trailer

Prepare to be transported to a galaxy far, far away and fight in epic multiplayer or single player battles on Hoth, Endor, Tatooine and the previously unexplored planet, Sullust.


22 New PlayStation games and VR experiences unveiled

22 New PlayStation games and VR experiences unveiled

Paris, 27th October 2015 - Sony Computer Entertainment Europe Ltd. (SCEE) today announced the future of PlayStation®4 (PS4™), with a huge range of exclusive software announcements from both first and third party studios, as well as brand new content announced for PlayStation®VR.

On stage at the PlayStation® Media Preview in Paris, France, SCEE unveiled new details and PlayStation – exclusive features for over 20 games, with 9 of these newly announced, demonstrating why PS4 is the best place to play this holiday season and beyond.

In addition to this, Jim Ryan, President and CEO of SCEE celebrated twenty years of play and the success of PS4, the fastest selling system in PlayStation history with a global sell-in set at 25.3 million as previously revealed*(Number as at June 2015). In addition, he commented on the impressive range of network services offered across the region.

A number of exciting new exclusive games for PS4 were revealed for the very first time, including the latest title from critically acclaimed studio Quantic Dream,Detroit™, as well as a brand new racing simulator from Polyphony DigitalGT SPORT™. A beta test for GT SPORT™ was also announced for early 2016.

New footage from other exclusive titles was also shown during the conference, including the multiplayer premiere of Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End™ (SCE Worldwide Studios), as well as a look at the gameplay vision for Michel Ancel’s WiLD™ (WiLD Sheep Studios). In addition, exclusive content was revealed for the latest installment in one of PlayStation’s most revered franchises, Tekken 7™ (Bandai Namco Entertainment), with a launch date provided for Street Fighter V™ (Capcom)Finally SCEE debuted exciting new downloadable content for PS4 exclusive, Bloodborne™ (SCE WWS) and, DRIVECLUB™BIKES (SCE WWS), which will be available either as a standalone or as an expansion pack.

PlayStation’s enthusiasm for the best games is also shared by the publishers of this holiday’s biggest blockbusters, with downloadable content for Call of Duty®: Black Ops 3 (Activision Publishing, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Activision Blizzard, Inc.) available exclusively for 30 days only on PS4, as well as a partnership withElectronic Arts to release a limited edition Star Wars™ Battlefront PS4 bundle this November.

Away from PS4 software, SCEE also offered the latest glimpse of PlayStation®VR, a breakthrough innovation that will take the PS4 experience to a new level of immersion. New software for the system was shown, including a global announcement of Until Dawn: Rush of Blood from Supermassive Games as well as never before seen footage of Guerrilla Cambridge’s VR shooter, RIGS™ and a brand new title fromCrytekROBINSON™: THE JOURNEY partnering the famous CRYENGINE and thePlayStation VR system’s ground breaking technology.  SCEE demonstrated that VR offers a wide variety of completely new experiences above and beyond gaming, by blowing away viewers with a special trailer for the film that’s getting cinema-goers talking: The Walk (Sony Pictures Entertainment).

Demonstrating a clear vision for the future of PlayStation with blockbuster franchises and all new IPs, as well as revolutionary ways to play, the conference demonstrates why PS4 is the best place to play for next year and beyond. Jim Ryan, President and CEO of SCEE, closed the presentation by saying: “PlayStation remains devoted to the Players. We thrive on our ability to delight you with extraordinary games, franchises, and experiences, and we remain focused on providing you the most sought-after exclusive content and breakthrough innovations.”

PLAYSTATION MEDIA PREVIEW 2015 – IN SUMMARY                         
With a focus on games, SCEE’s PlayStation Media Preview showcased 22 games which are all either exclusive to PlayStation or feature exclusive content. Some highlights include:

  • Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End™ (Naughty Dog) – Exclusive to PS4
  • GT SPORT™ (Polyphony) – Exclusive to PS4
  • Horizon: Zero Dawn™ (Guerrilla Games) – Exclusive to PS4
  • Dreams™ (Media Molecule) – Exclusive to PS4
Jim Ryan, President and CEO of SCEE, used the opening of the show to showcase the blockbuster third party titles launching on PS4 this holiday, making the platform the best place to play this Christmas.  
  • Jim Ryan reaffirmed the partnership between SCE and third parties includingElectronic Arts and Activision Publishing, Inc, bringing exclusive content to PS4 Players for the holiday’s biggest titles:
    • A new video for Call of Duty®: Black Ops 3 was shown to highlight the agreement between Activision Publishing, Inc and PlayStation to bring new DLC to Players 30 days before it’s availability anywhere else
    • The limited edition Star Wars Battlefront PS4 bundle was shown alongside a new video for the game.  
Looking beyond this year Jim Ryan then introduced a range of software titles that will arrive on PS4 with content exclusive to PlayStation, unavailable anywhere else:
  • Katshuhiro Harada took to the stage to announce the latest installment in one of PlayStation’s most famous franchises, Tekken™(Bandai Namco Entertainment):
    • To celebrate 20 years of Tekken on PlayStation, Tekken 7 will launch on PS4 with exclusive content.
  • Yoshinori Ono, producer at Capcom, appeared on stage to announce the worldwide launch of PS4 exclusive, Street Fighter V™, available on Tuesday 16th of February 2016.
    • Included in the announcement was the reveal of Dhalsim as a character within the new game and six new characters arriving at regular intervals throughout 2016 – all unlockable and free using in-game currency “Fight Money”. 
  • Boundless from Turbulance
  • Battleborn from Gearbox
  • Avicii™Vector announcement by Hello There
  • No Man’s Sky™ from Hello Games
PlayStation followed this by bringing on-stage Senior Vice-President of Worldwide Studios, Michael Denny, to debut a range of first party titles that will be available “only on PlayStation” within 2016 and beyond.
  • Finnish studio Housemarque debuted a completely new and exclusive title forPS4Matterfall
  • A new trailer for Insomniac Games’ Ratchet and Clank was shown to viewers ahead of its release in spring 2016
  • Hermen Hulst, managing director of Guerrilla Games, took to the stage to show a live gameplay of Horizon Zero Dawn, offering players a glimpse of how the game will play when it launches exclusively on PS4 next year, including its deep questing, crafting and combat systems
  • A video for the upcoming Bloodborne The Old Hunters expansion pack was shown on screen, available 24th November 2015 exclusively on PS4
  • DRIVECLUB™BIKESavailable either as a standalone or as an expansion pack for hit PS4 exclusive, DRIVECLUB™, was shown, including a new campaign tour, multiplayer events, challenges and the unique thrill of bikes for the very first time, the latter also available as part of a standalone update, offering the insane speed of two wheels to all DRIVECLUB™ BIKES Players
  • Keiichiro Toyama, Creative Director from SCE JAPAN Studio, took to the stage to introduce a gameplay video of the newly announced Gravity Rush 2™, coming exclusively to PS4
  • Continuing a barrage of exclusive titles only available on PlayStation,Christophe Balestra, co-president at Naughty Dog, gave fans and media the first ever look at the multiplayer for Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End™, showing what Players can look forward to when the beta will be available onPlayStation™Network from 4th December to 13th December this year.Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End™ will hit PS4 on 18th March 2016.
  • To round out the section, Alex Evans, director of Media Molecule brought other members of his team onto the stage to show the first gameplay reveal and design vision for the studio’s new IP, Dreams™, offering a weird and wonderful twist on their trademark blend of play, create and share
PlayStation is always innovating and developing new ways to play, with PlayStation VR representing a giant leap forward in how Players immerse themselves in the games they play. Playable on the Paris Games Week show floor, Shuhei Yoshida, President of SCE Worldwide Studios, gave viewers a new glimpse of PlayStation VR during the conference, highlighting the many studios developing for the system as well as how well received it is from both consumers and developers, ensuring it’s a revolutionary step forward for a range of different experiences.

  • Guerrilla Games Cambridge debuted a new video for much anticipated multiplayer shooter, RIGS
  • Shuhei Yoshida followed this up with the announcement that popular first party title would be coming to PlayStation VR in the form of Until Dawn: Rush of Blood
  • Founder of Crytek, Cevat Yerli, arrived on-stage to announce multiple new experiences built from the ground up for PlayStation VR, in ROBINSON™: THE JOURNEY
  • Demonstrating the potential for VR experiences outside of gaming, Shuhei Yoshida, introduced a video for The Walk (SPE), the latest film to raise the bar for visual spectacle within the world of cinema
Closing the conference, Jim Ryan returned to showcase three final titles that represent a bright future for exclusive software on PlayStation, each of which demonstrate the creativity and innovation shown by all of PlayStation’s partners.
  • Professional racing driver and President of Polyphony Digital, Kazunori Yamauchi, took to the stage to debut the latest title in the critically acclaimedGran Turismo franchise, GT SPORT™ the most authentic and visually stunning racing simulator ever made. A beta test for the title was also announced for early 2016.
  • Following this industry veteran, Michel Ancel, studio head at Wild Sheep Studios, presented the gameplay vision for open-world exploration gameWiLD, including an all new gameplay sequence that shows off the title’s groundbreaking emergent gameplay
  • Concluding the conference, David Cage, studio head at Quantic Dreams,surprised audiences by announcing the studio’s next title, Detroit™, built featuring the android Kara, shown first in a technological demonstration produced by Quantic Dreams back in 2012, asking powerful questions about what it means to be alive and what it means to be human
* Number as at June 2015 

The Last Witch Hunter: Film Review

The Last Witch Hunter: Film Review

Cast: Vin Diesel, Rose Leslie, Michael Caine, Elijah Wood
Director: Breck Eisner

Mixing up a bit of Harry Potter, some of Men In Black co-existence and Vin Diesel's trademark gruffness, The Last Witch Hunter is a CGI genre fest that could have set up an interesting universe.

Diesel is Kaulder, who managed to slay an all-powerful Queen Witch back in the Dark Ages and staved off the unleashing of the Black Death. But in doing so, the Witch cursed him to be immortal, preventing him from joining his slaughtered family.

Now in the present day, an uneasy truce exists between witches and Kaulder, the Last (and only) Witch Hunter. However, when Kaulder's long time friend and watcher Dolan the 36th (played as the sole exposition deliverer by Michael Caine) is mysteriously offed, Kaulder uncovers a conspiracy to resurrect the Witch and her plans for world destruction.

With the usual Diesel acting flair, The Last Witch Hunter remains a film that could have been so much more, and one which proffers so much potential for a wider universe and tapestry.

Steeped in a mythology that has a depth but little breadth thanks to endless exposition, and touches of Supernatural the TV series, Eisner's managed to pull together a film that's not quite sure what it wants to be. Channeling a mismatched buddy cop vibe when Diesel's Kaulder teams up first with a new Dolan (Elijah Wood), who's clearly out of his depth when it comes to tackling matters and then a mortal enemy of a witch (played by Game of Thrones' Rose Leslie, who brings some light and spunkiness to the proceedings), the film struggles to balance its seriousness with its attempts to throw in some truly laughable dialogue and one-liners.

Shrouded in darkness, the action sequences never really deliver any real punch as this sub-par Buffy The Vampire Slayer rip-off continues - and not one set piece stands out. Although he struggles with the more emotive parts of the film, Diesel's watchable enough (and even the makers of the film are smart / silly enough to give him a fast car to prowl around in as a nod to his famed character) but wandering around like Blade and dipping into his own memories, complete with boggly eyes doesn't really further the plot at all.

While the CGI is clearly where the money has been spent on this B-movie and the evocation of the witch's world is a relatively intriguing one that could have done with some more depth to flesh it out. Our very own Rena Owen makes a strong lead as the head of the Witch's council but has little to do except deflect Misfits and This Is England star Joseph Gilgun's barb that they look like "a horrible band from the 80s". It's this kind of under-writing that plagues the film that aims for low-hanging fruit and succeeds; supporting characters are barely sketched so that when the emotional moments come, they fail to land properly.

All in all, The Last Witch Hunter is not campy enough to be a classic and not strong enough to resonate. It ends with the promise of more films to come, but one hopes that the only prophetic part of the title of The Last Witch Hunter proves to be the word "last".


Sony's PGW Conference is here!

Sony's PGW Conference is here!

All the big announcements for the coming year are here at Paris Games Week - here's Sony's media briefing for you to enjoy!

Tuesday, 27 October 2015

Dior and I: DVD Review

Dior and I: DVD Review

Rating: M
Released by Madman Home Ent

Haute couture and myself don't mix.

In fact, as I write this, I'm in an old T Shirt with holes in it and a pair of short longs. So that should give you some insight into my view of fashion - but Dior and I gives a tantalising look at the making of Raf Simons' first collection for Dior back in 2012.

As ever with fashion pieces, time is of the essence and there are levels of pressure which wax and wane - but the doco never loses an eye for the fashion itself and the tensions between Simons and Dior.

It won't appeal to everyone but fashionistas will lap up this sumptuously shot and carefully executed doco, which revels in the fashion, gives you an insight into a world you've never seen and will no doubt having you heading to the shops for a spree.

PlayStation VR hands on demo

PlayStation VR demo

Once Oculus Rift, now PlayStation VR.

Either way, it matters not, because over the long weekend at the Armageddon Expo, there was chance to be part of a demo for the headset and some of the properties which are coming to it, thanks to PlayStation NZ.

Needless to say, the queue for this all weekend was pretty full on, and it's easy to see why.

2 demos were on offer - one a space shoot-em-up game called E-Valkyrie, which induces a degree of dizziness as you scale the space heights. However, I was given a demo of a level of a game called The London Heist.

Firstly, the headset.

I'm a glasses wearer, so the idea of a headset on top of glasses, much like 3D glasses, does little to enamour me. However, it's incredibly light, fits snugly and comfortably over the top and is adjusted to ensure there's no light from outside coming in. Once the initial steam up of the glasses was over, 2 PlayStation Move controllers were thrust into my hand and I was told the demo would begin.

It's immersive to say the least - and once it begins, it's totally likely to envelop your world.

Sitting in a white van, hurtling along a freeway, with a fellow guy, it's clear (also from the title) that I've been involved in some kind of robbery and this is the getaway. The guy next to me looks like a Hitman who's been at the pies, and speaks with a cockney accent that Michael Caine would be envious of. He warns me of future people coming to get us - and that's when things change.

But not because of the shootouts, but because of the depth perception.

Using the move controllers, which become my hands (actual floating hands) I can grab stuff in the car - a takeaway cup suddenly becomes able to be grabbed, though I can't sip at it. Throwing it at the driver in frustration, he calls me a mug. My mentor from Playstation tells me I can open the car door by using the buttons to grab at the door handle. Laughing nervously, I open the door, and suddenly, I am aware of a world behind me, a speeding freeway, the back of the van, the tread of the tyres; it's all suddenly apparent and it's incredible.

There's no time to relax though as speeding motorbikes with people shooting at me and my mate show up. I thrash my hands in front of me, and punch the van's window out, shattering it into a thousand pieces as it flies past my eyes. And then the shooting begins. I grab a gun, open the glove box and load it up, using the move controller's switch to repeatedly fire.

The London Heist is essentially a shoot-out and it ends once a massive black truck speeds up, opens its doors and lets loose with a massive cannon, but the experience is a brief but unforgettable one.

It's incredible how immersive the world is and how much I adapt to it within; once the headset's removed, I've forgotten how many people are around as I've actually been locked in my own world.

It's a light set too, though if I'm honest, I worry about how alienating a social experience it can be - imagine a room full of players with these sets on would look, with nobody talking, nobody reacting. But at the same time, the potential for it and the ease in which it's executed is obvious. If PlayStation could link in with a triple A title, say the likes of Battlefront, the potential for a fully immersive experience is limitless. While the graphics of London Heist are fairly rudimentary, pleasantly executed and seamless, they still feel early generation, like there's more to come.

Based on my first hands-on demo of the former Oculus Rift and now PlayStation VR, there's a heap of possibilities, a world that lives beyond; and the potential for domination is easily obvious to see.

Let's just see where the future goes from here.

Monday, 26 October 2015

Halo 5: Guardians New Zealand launch

Halo 5: Guardians New Zealand launch

Halo 5: Guardians launched in New Zealand last night at midnight, with a special party thrown by XBox New Zealand in Auckland's Logan Campbell Centre.

 Below are some pictures from the event:

Armageddon's 20th anniversary - sights from the show

Armageddon's 20th anniversary - sights from the show

As Armageddon continues, here are more shots from the event at Auckland's ASB Showgrounds:

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