• Tag Archives review
  • Cool Scoops Diner

    Cool Scoops Diner and Lounge – Kettering

    1950’s style American Diner serving amazing 50’s style grub including foot long chilidogs, twinkies, burgers, sundaes, and amazing milkshakes to name a few. Great jukebox and live music plus upcoming entertainment and movie marathons for the summer. Friendly staff with a quirky atmosphere – great for a quick coffee and chat or food with friends – check’em out – Kettering town – 5 Gold Street, NN16 8JA (01536 517446)

    chilidog

    cool scoops diner1cool scoops diner2


  • The Machine

    “Apart from their flesh, what makes them any different from me?”
    A marriage of true artificial intelligence developed through semantic and syntactic analysis of conversation and the power of quantum computing technology. A joining of minds to create the perfect machine.What is it to be alive? What is it to be human? If a machine passes the Turing test does that make it real? What if you needed it to be real? What if you needed the machine to believe it was real, not as a means to pass the test, but to stop bad things happening?
    The movie was shot in around 5 weeks on a relatively low budget, it uses physical effects, very clever prosthetics and amazing special effects to deliver a gritty hard science fiction work of art. Director Caradog W James did his homework and extensive research on AI and advanced robotics used by the Ministry of Defence.
    A computer scientist finds consciousness and the meaning of the soul through a machine who has been modelled on its former developer. However when the machine starts to convey emotion, establish trust and develop a true connection with its master, the question of whether it is artificial becomes unclear.
    Killing is prohibited?
    Killing is prohibited?

    There is a truly beautiful moment in the movie when The Machine (Ava) breaks free from her restraints and begins to explore the power and beauty of her own body, of free movement – it was wonderfully shot and all movements (and indeed all stunts throughout the movie) were performed by an amazing upcoming actress (Caty Lotz – Ava)

    TheMachineConcept_FL01

    This is by far the best original “recent” science fiction film I have seen since Moon. Low budget and from a director who has never done a science fiction film before. The competition between free-will and psychic-driving (influence), the many questions relating to the field of AI, and its masterful delivery through superb casting and acting are a true pleasure to behold.

    The-Machine-Poster

    http://www.redandblackfilms.com/machine-movie-extra/

    The kind minds behind The Machine just added a nice high resolution bonus:

    High Resolution Poster

    The Machine has a very active Facebook page, featuring the chance to win some really cool merchandise, check out The Machine Facebook page here.


  • Think Floyd 2014

    Think Floyd – live at the Lighthouse Theatre Kettering.

    There are many bands out there who have gained fame by keeping Pink Floyd’s material alive but few are as well produced, talented and in-sync with the material as Think Floyd. Their own renditions and subtle twists and contributions to the well known  tracks are beautifully delivered.

    I was blown away by this evenings session and awed by their choice of old and new Floyd titles, they have been on the scene for 20 years now and well worth checking out – www.thinkfloyd.net follow them on facebook

    Think Floyd live at the Kettering Lighthouse Theatre 2014
    Think Floyd live at the Kettering Lighthouse Theatre 2014

  • e-cig by ecigwizard

    Ok so your one of the following:

    You’re a smoker actually looking for an alternative to patches and inhalers, or gums and tablets.

    You’re a smoker looking to cut down and need something to help

    Perhaps you have no intention of quitting but would like to get into “vaping” because your friends do it.

    Myself, I have been down the quitting route, quite for six months using a trusted and very effective combination of patches and inhalers – and yes my life “was” transformed, however my battle against the cravings was not over and before I knew my ass from my elbow I found myself smoking again. Then in November 2013 I began to see people using a strange electronic contraption that looked like a compact bong, an e-cig (from ecigwizard) not to be confused with those shitty electronic cigarettes that look like cigarettes but taste fowl and run of AA batteries.

    Today I was bought my first e-cig, a starter pack consisting of the following:

    • A battery (rechargeable via branded USB cable)
    • An atomizer component using a Clearomizer unit (unlike those preposterous cigarette form factor things these utilise a solid non-foam method consisting of a glass tank to store the liquid and a coil system to absorb and vaporize the liquid) – this essentially is the main component of the e-cig and is responsible for providing the artificial smoke (vapour).
    • 10ml “melon magic” e-liquid

    The principle behind the e-cig is fairly simple, (assuming the unit is charged) one simply fills the atomizer (ensuring liquid does not enter the central heating element – achieved by filling from the edges), connect atomizer to battery and then activate unit (typically by pressing button 5 times) then press button once while inhaling – this will produce the vapour.

    OK now for the facts:

    • My e-cig tastes great
    • It gives me the right balance between throat hit and vapour production (if you want the science of PG vs VG – propylene glycol vs vegetable glycerine and nicotine then check out the many youtube vids on “vaping”)
    • Of course the above two facts are based on the liquid you use, but already I am finding it much easier to control my cravings, and the e-cig has now become an alternative to smoking
    • E-cigs are NOT yet regulated – there is NO medical evidence of their efficiency or short-term and long-term effects.
    • From my experience e-cigs are very much a personal taste thing, like patches they either work for you or don’t, and like the process of quitting it relies on your own will power and chemical needs as an addict and consumer.

    Recommendations then: well as far as electronic devices go the e-cig is certainly an affordable and effective device, and used sensibly it is an efficient way of quitting, however I have observed a culture change where e-cigs are being over-used and “vaping” is the new smoking – and without proper medical evidence I am a little concerned about its long-term effects on the lungs.

    ecigwizard


  • Featured (psychedelic) Band 2014

    Temples – Sun Structures

    Ok I may be behind the times somewhat when it comes to music disc-overy and I did hear rumours of their live (November 2013) Kettering HMV session, but because of (at the time) work commitments I never got round to listening to them, however recently I have revisited my “to do” listening list and have been quite literally blown wide open with amazement – why oh why did I miss such a rare occurrence. The Temples are now my psychedelic number one for 2014. (more details to come)


  • Mirrormask

    Helena Campbell was born into a family of circus performers who put on an amazing performance of comedy, acrobatics, stunts and entertainment to the masses; however Helena just wants a normal life. In her travelling caravan she has created her own world of light and shadow, and one night she wakens to find her normal world shrouded in darkness, lost in a monochromatic land she has so longed to escape to – however the balance of this world is broken and a shadow threatens to engulf all who stand in its way.

    Mirrormask has been a favourite of mine for so long I forget exactly how I came upon this film. Helena’s adventure begins in a dilapidated apartment building on the seafront of Brighton whose bohemian look sets the visual style for the movie, in fact I found its crumbling walls of dulled whites and mossy blacks so visually striking and characterful that I soon visited the area myself.

    Helens drawings and indeed the world behind the mirror is a surreal sepia dream world of strange creatures and asymmetric architecture complete with flying fish, talking chickens, floating books and giants orbiting. No surprise then that the creative team behind this film is non-other than the Jim Henson Company (responsible for such paradoxes as Labyrinth 1986 and The Dark Crystal 1982).

    The score (composed by Iain Ballamy) is an eclectic mixture of saxophone jazz, ambient soundscapes, and haunting mechanical samples and melodies – it features a particularly surreal version of Close To You by the Carpenters depicted by mechanical clockwork figures who cast a dark enchantment over Helena during her capture by The Queen of Shadows.


  • Tron Legacy

    20 Years away from the grid: Don’t get me wrong, I was a massive Tron fan in my younger 90s days but somewhere in the 20 year gap I forgot about The Grid. Then in late 2009 comic-con released a teaser trailer for a sequel – and suddenly I was revisiting the digital domain of Tron – one aged and much darker than before.

    Kevin Flynn

    The Creator – Flynn

    I was fascinated by Kevin Flynn’s return, the idea of an older, much wiser Flynn and one that is perceived as a deity on The Grid. And so I followed every development and every rumour (much thanks to ign.com) of the film up to its release. I have always believed in the spirit, discovered the art of meditation quite naturally as a very young child, but after seeing this film I have become passionate about Zazen and following my way of Zen.

    People have criticised this film on its slow build-up and story line, personally I believe its slow build-up is necessary – there is 20 years of retrospection to be covered, however when the true-action begins things really start to move. But this review is not about the action, visa vie its inaction what matters, the importance of waiting, being still, moving past wants and needs. Visually Legacy complements its 1982 predecessor perfectly while still maintaining a contemporary visual. The Grid has changed, its much larger, infinitely more possible, and much darker. I will not go into specifics regarding plot, there are plenty of well-read reviews for this already, suffice it to say Kevin Flynn became locked within the world of Tron and (as covered in Tron Uprising) there has been a rebellion by the Programs against its Creator. Tron who was once the architect’s assistant has been corrupted and reprogrammed by Clu who has now gained power over The Grid and forced Kevin Flynn into hiding. When the Son of Flynn enters The Grid the time of meditation is over – the resurrection is begun.

    However all is not what it seems as these actions are all the design of Clu, who’s agenda threatens both the digital domain and the physical world. The chemistry between Creator and Creation, between Flynn and The Grid, is a perfect analogy for the Christianity faith – as is succinctly explained in The Likeness of the Creator by  James F. McGrath:

    ” The creator, Flynn, does not simply condemn and punish his creation, Clu, made in his own image and likeness. He recognizes that the shortcomings of Clu are a reflection of himself as creator. In fact, Clu’s vision of “perfection” mirrored Flynn’s own at the time he created Clu. But what he came to realize later is that such ideals of perfection in fact pale in comparison with the reality of human life, with all its flaws and failures.”

    Naturally Tron Legacy lends itself effortlessly to blu-ray and a good clear HD screen, the visuals are stunning and the digital realm is rendered in flawless detail. Indeed this was one of my best blu-ray purchases and truly made me appreciate just how good my screen is. Contrasts are well defined and edges pin-sharp, and pleasingly these are achieved without losing texture definition.

    light-cycle-tron1

    At the heart of all this is a truly great music score by Daft Punk, the digital realm is brought to life with an amazing soundtrack – digital beats and contemplative ambience. It has been quite some time since I last purposely purchased an OST, but the Tron Legacy OST is a must have and I have been listening to it ever since its release. The remixed score – Reconfigured is an amazing compilation presenting Daft Punk’s electronic masterpiece in another totally awesome light.

    Tron Legacy and the days up to its release have sparked many revelations and followers, the Flynn Lives following (elaborated during the bonus footage potentially showing the origins of a further film Tron 3 – see Tron Legacy blu-ray bonus content), Flynn Frontier, some fascinating fan-made pages and projects including Life Beyond the Digital Frontier by  MAXIMILIAN MAJEWSKI, and the previously mentioned The Likeness of the Creator by  James F. McGrath.

    Tron Legacy is one of three favourite films, and one that is always viewed with the lights dimmed, the surround-sound enabled, and the screen freshly cleaned. Its definitely a thinker’s film, deep and spiritual, a great sci-fi who fans of a digital existence like The Matrix will love.

    -Flynn Lives!


  • Lady In The Water

    Water has memory, it remembers who we were and sees who we now are, it senses the greed of men, water also remembers those things we have forgotten. Emotion, the spirit, kindness, guardianship, love and the future.Like many of M. Night Shyamalan’s films [allegedly] you will either love or hate this film. When I first saw this film I rented it from my local Blockbusters store (now closed down), the check-out guy gave me such an encouraging review of this film, and yet I have also spoken to people who hate it. I myself think it’s a work of art, the photography is amazing, each frame is meticulously shot and establishes a vivid visual style. The acting is sublime and made me an instant fan of Paul Giamatti.

    lady in the water

    A water Narf named Story dwells in a small deep communal pool at a building called The Cove, Story has been sent to fulfil her purpose, to try and make men remember how to listen. She meets Cleveland Heap a man who believes he has no purpose, a man of great knowledge and a man who lost everything. Every being has a purpose, sometimes we just need reminding who we once were.

    Story’s purpose is revealed through a gathering of 12 people, the vessel, guardian, a symbolist, a guild, one who has no secrets, seven sisters, and the healer.

    No one is ever told who they are.

    A word about which format best to view this film; I would not bother with it in blu-ray, it has been over-treated with such a high contrast that many of the shadow details are gone entirely, the dynamic colour range has been far too compressed and over saturated. The films soundtrack also sounds flatter. – This is far better viewed on DVD (in my opinion).

    This is an emotional film, it stirs the soul – calm waters run deep, and indeed this film is about water – something us Pisceans know all about.


  • A Scanner Darkly

    D is despair, D is desertion, D is finally death, from the head down.

    This is a self-shaded (interpolated rotoscope) tale of psychosis, addiction, split personality disorder, heavy drugs, and conspiracy.

    This is the future? This is a thinker’s film and is stacked closely to my copy of Waking Life and Cypher.

    Bob Arctor is NARC agent; he is also a man slowly falling down the rabbit hole on substance D. A scanner sees all, clearly or darkly? This is only known to those who control the system – although does anybody really control the system? Bob Arctor works for the system but he becomes the subject to its own design. He loses himself and finds strange things, darks things and wondrous unexpected things.

    This is no happy film, it sheds light on our not so distant dark cultural underbelly, glimpses at the mental sewers of those addicted to substance D.

    ” Who am I? And what does a scanner see? Into the head, into the heart, does it see into me? Clearly or darkly? “

    Dark sci-fi by inspired Philip K. Dick’s work of the same name.