Sunday, October 25, 2009

Review - Babylon A.D.

Babylon A.D. (2008)
Score: 3/10

Did I enjoy Babylon AD? Yes.  Would I recommend it to anybody else? No.

Read the IMDB Trivia Page for Babylon A.D., and you’ll find out why this movie seems like it could have been so much more. Kassovitz has gone on record as saying that the studio (20th Century Fox) refused to allow him to shoot anything as it was scripted, or as he imagined. Add to that the fact that his 166 minute film was then cut down to 96 minutes, and it’s easy to see why this move leaves you with a feeling that there was just so much more happening that we didn’t see.

I enjoyed it, but mainly because it reminded me of so many other things. The Cage Fight scene is pure Johnny Mnemonic (Gibson’s short story, not the film), the cityscape is so Blade Runner you’re just waiting to hear a voice preaching the benefits of a life in the off-world colonies, and visually the whole film looks like it just jumped off of the pages of Heavy Metal (or, since the director is French, Metal Hurlant) magazine.
I’d never claim that Vin Diesel is one of Hollywood’s greats, but I’ve always enjoyed his hard-arse characters. Toorop never seems to rise above “just another Vin Diesel character”, and in the scenes where he’s supposed to be particularly hard, it’s too easy to remember that he’s the mercenary with a heart of gold. Michelle Yeoh is woefully underused as Sister Rebeka, which again leads me back to imaging how much was cut out. Surely you wouldn’t cast Michelle Yeoh and then restrict her to one serious fight scene? Melanie Thierry may have been hamstrung by a poorly written character in Aurora (Is she the mother of the Messiah? A genetically engineered superbeing? And what was with the random scene where, out of nowhere, she hits on Toorop, and why is this never mentioned again?), but in the end, I just didn’t care enough about the character – she’s just the macguffin, and not much more.

If you’re a card-carrying Cyberpunk/Vin Diesel/Michelle Yeoh fanboy with an hour and a half to kill, Babylon A.D. may fit the bill, but otherwise you may be left wondering how to get your evening back.

Geek Cameo – Lambert Wilson – The Merovingian from The Matrix: Reloaded & The Matrix: Revolutions


Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Win passes to "The Box"

From Richard Kelly (director of Donnie Darko) comes "The Box".

Norma (Cameron Diaz) and Arthur (James Marsden) Lewis are a suburban couple with a young child who receive an anonymous gift bearing fatal and irrevocable consequences. A simple wooden box, it promises to deliver its owner $1 million with the press of a button. However, pressing this button will simultaneously cause the death of another human being somewhere in the world… someone they don’t know. With just 24 hours to have the box in their possession, Norma and Arthur find themselves in the crosshairs of a startling moral dilemma and face the true nature of their humanity.

To win two passes to The Box, check out the forums for our latest competition.

Happy Comping :)
~ Rogue

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Toshiba Cell REGZA 55X1 unveiled at CEATEC Japan 2009

Almost eighteen months after buying Cell chip manufacturing facilities from Sony, Toshiba have stepped forward to show the world what it’s created with that US$835 million dollar acquisition.

The Cell REGZA has been unveiled the day before the official start of CEATEC to the oohs and ahhs of all... and with good reason! Utilising the Cell Broadband Engine jointly developed by Sony, Toshiba, and IBM, the Cell REGZA is a television full of fantastic capabilities.

The Toshiba Cell REGZA 55X1 is a 55 inch, 2160p (able to upconvert 1080p), 240Hz LCD with 5,000,000:1 dynamic contrast ratio, self-congruency technology, peak luminance of 1250cd/m², 512-zone LED backlight, 7 speaker horizontal sound bar below the screen, eight window simultaneous multi-display (that can move through them without delay), Opera-based HD web browser, DNLA support, HDMI, USB, SD card slot, tuner, and 3TB HDD (2TB used for time-shift recording of up to 26 hours in 1080p, and 1TB used for long-term storage) with the ability to record eight channels simultaneously.

The HDD, along with the Cell technology itself, is housed in a separate box to the TV. A keyword search facility is used to locate exactly what you’re hankering to watch amongst your stored recordings. Toshiba have also stated that YouTube videos viewed on the Cell REGZA will display in near HD quality through their technology correcting noise compression on low resolution videos.

The remote, HDD box, and television all come in the popular, and almost standard these days, smoked aluminium finish. The set measures 133.3 x 96.3 x 40.2cm, including the stand, while the HDD box measures 43.6 x 10.9 x 38.7cm. It has an estimated price on release of 1,000,000 yen (US$11,140), and has a start of December 2009 release in Japan with other countries to eventually follow.

Guess I've got some saving up to do :D
~ Rogue