25 September 2011

Fcon countdown!

Exxxxxxxxcellent, Smithers! The Fantasycon programme grid is now up on the website here! Gosh, is that packed or what! Is it me, or are there more parties and readings than ever before? And a disco! And burlesque! And masterclasses!
(And I'm on registration during the Friday & Saturday daytime hours so I'll just gaze wistfully as you all wander past to heckle the panels!)

Friday night, though, peeps of unerring good taste must wander over to Louise Morgan's reading (and make a note to get her book Blood and Feathers when it comes out from Solaris next year - because it is teh awesome!)

22 September 2011

Alice in Zombieland

So over on Floor to Ceiling Books is my rambling post on the awesomeness that is Alice from the Resident Evil movies. Go see! ;-P

21 September 2011

Resident Evil Rewatch

So, very recently I opened wide my gob and promised the fabulous Amanda Rutter of Floor to Ceiling Books a guest blog post on Alice from Resident Evil. (Which will be online tomorrow. Oo-er!) Now the Resident Evil films may have their flaws but I unashamedly love them anyway – and of all the films in the series, the first one remains my favourite. The Alice/Rain double act is a joy to behold, the visuals are glorious and it's extremely quotable.

But good lord, is it a tease with the set up. I was watching it for the seventy squillionth time the other day and after the verrrrry slow sequence of dude in the haz-mat suit playing with twisty test tubes (and what is it with the twisty test tubes? How is that a sensible design feature?) realised it's thirty seven minutes until you get some actual zombie action! (But then I have the patience of someone with not very much patience so those thirty seven minutes were looooong ones.)

My brain went a little something like this:

00:03:55 - Uh oh, it’s fire drill time. Counting down to total carnage…

00:05:40 – Aaaaand this is why the lifts in convention hotels make me nervous.

00:06:25 – Woah, wait, how is this is the first time I’ve noticed how very identical the suits are that the office drones are wearing. Say bye bye, office drones.

00:07:30 – Nooooooo, silly woman, don’t try and squeeze out of the lift! And, seriously, how on earth do you think you’re getting through that teeny tiny hole anyway? Behave.

00:08:09 – Splat! I'm so not going near the Fcon lifts.

00:08:12 - Enter Leeloo Multipass! In the obligatory nekkid Milla shot.

00:10:30 – Don’t mess with the Milla, she keeps guns in her undie drawer.

00:11:35 - Eeep. There is a Weeping Angel under that there plastic. Do not blink!

00:12:55 - Finally, some excitement! SWAT is in da house!

00:14:40 – Yay, it’s the train from the games! Have to say, one of the things I do love about this film (and something that wasn’t quite followed up so much in the later films) is all the video game elements. The computer vision and map segments are particularly good touches, and the disappearing bodies, while possibly a smidge illogical in places, are a great nod to the magically disappearing corpses in the games.

00:19:30 – Infodump time! With handy computer graphics. Everything is fake and classified, just so you know.

00:22:18 - Okay, that whole underground aboveground office view with bonus traffic noise thing is just disturbing.

00:24:16 – Mermaid! Undead mermaid! Undead mermaid in a lab coat!


00:29:35 - Uh oh, the Corridor of Doom! Do not enter the Corridor of Doom. No matter how shiny it looks. And especially do not enter it when you’ve just said how you’re going to fry the crazy AI at the other end of it.

00:32:00 - Colin Salmon is such a badass. (Alas, he is now a cubed badass.)

00:35:15 - ‘You’re all going to die down here.’ Love that line!

Plot hole, though. So, there you are, able to actually ask the crazy AI why she killed off a whole facility full of people and at this point, not one person asks the question? Or attempts to get any information about the incident out of her at all? Hello? Anyone? (Also, calling the Red Queen a crazy AI does, technically, do her a bit of a disservice as the whole facility lock down thing was perfectly logical given the insane communicability of the T-virus. Though she can totally put the crazy pants back on later when she unleashes the Licker…)

00:37:35 - Fiiiiiiinally, some zombie action!

00:38:45 ‘We found a survivor.’ ‘And you shot him?’ Hah!

00:40:00 - Bring on the zombie hoards!

00:46:55 - And this is why I hate dogs - I remain secretly convinced that behind every fluffy puppy is one of these waiting to rip your throat out. Now if I could just learn to do that very awesome running up a wall kick move…

00:56:00 – Annnnnnd, finally they start asking the very sensible questions…

00:59:50 - Alice kicks ass, as only Alice can.

01:02:00 – Pipe walking over the zombie hoards. See, this? Is exactly what you need during a zombie apocalypse. Stay above them! (Unless there's a Licker nearby, then you're screwed.)

01:06:18 – ‘When I get out of here, I think I’m gonna get laid.’ ‘Yeah. You might wanna clean up a little bit first.’ Hah!

01:10:30 – And this is why you never put your gun down on random tables…

01:12:01 – And this is why you shouldn’t indulge in evil overlord monologues…

01:14:12 – The Red Queen’s been a bad, bad girl. And has now got her crazy pants well and truly on. (And, incidentally, is it me or does Spence look just a little too professional at the shooting up thing. Umbrella are really not doing their background checks are they?)

01:18:18 - And is there any logical reason why you would have a bunch of random metal poles just hanging from the middle of your cargo train? Really? (Apart from the obvious monster killing usage?)

01:20:54 – ‘I’m not dead yet.’ (Alas, poor Rain, don't speak too soon...)

01:25:34 – They’re coming to take you away… (eeew, tentacle arm!)

01:28:24 - Luckily being head of security for the Hive means knowing how to disable the very expensive high tech locks with only a medical needle thingy. (While wearing only two bits of strategically placed paper held together with string.)

01:29:15 – And yet, somehow, that very empty hospital hallway is even creepier than if it had been filled with bodies…

01:29:43 - Okay, I do get the sly reference, but seriously though, when, during their zombie apocalypse, did they have time to put out a newspaper detailing it? Would they not have been a bit busy with the whole screaming in terror and eating of brainzzzzz?

Ah logic, we knew you not. Never mind, in the next one there's more ass-kicking, the legendary (oh yes it is) motorbike scene and the delectable Oded Fehr...

(1) Pic from http://www.cinemorgue.com/annabolt.html

10 September 2011

Academic Jollies

So, it being September (it's September! So soon!) means that the next batch of OU courses are kicking in. Woohoo! Was initially a little worried about being able to do stuff, what with the insane price rises due to bastard!government!practices! but, luckily, the OU is keeping prices stable for peeps already in the midst of studying degrees. (Newbies, however, are totally buggered. Unless they happen to have a won a lottery or two.)

Anyhoo, this still-friendly pricing means I can happily continue on with the next course in the History BA - Exploring History: Medieval to Modern. Not my favourite era as I'm more an ancient history kinda gal, but on the plus side, shiny new information! (And a scary exam in June! Arrrgh! Must refine my (lack of) revision skills!)

Plus, just for fun, there's the short science courses. Given that I hated science at school this is probably a slightly twisted definition of fun. (Also I'd quite like to write some decent SF one day so a basic understanding of that there science thing might be helpful...)

So, right now I'm doing a shortie Human Nutrition course (and getting a crash course in the chemical composition of stuff) which is actually quite fascinating and fodder for dropping all kinds of 'and did you know' into random conversations with the parentals. (They did not, in fact, know, and are also quite fascinated. Which is nice.)

Then once the scary history exam is done and my brain's clear from nasty revision stuff, there's a couple of environmental science shorties I can squeeze in for doing over the summer break. I say couple, but actually there's four I've got my eye on but what gets done will depend on finances at the time.

Then come next September it's the Empire history course with a couple more shortie science courses and possibly the shortie Welsh history course fitted around it. Then 2013... (yes, I have planned that far ahead. That I've got a spreadsheet going to do so will surprise no-one I know.) ... 2013 will be From Enlightenment to Romanticism, with more shortie science things. Then after that, all I need to finish the degree will be Myth in the Greek & Roman worlds and Exploring the Classical World. (More scary exams! Double argh!)

Fun times!