Friday, 29 April 2011

Movie Review: The Lost Future

Anyone who has read my blog for any length of time will know that I am a bit of a fan of the dystopian Post Apocalyptic (PA) genre. I have a fairly extensive collection of PA movies, covering the obvious ones, Mad Max, Book of Eli and the like, right through to some of the more obscure titles like A Boy and His Dog, The Ultimate Warrior and No Blade of Grass.
So when I spotted a PA movie starring Sean Bean, that I have never heard of, on the DVD shelves of my local Asda store (Wallmart to my American cousins), at a very reasonable price, I just had to pick it up. When I got home I looked it up on IMDB and was a little worried to see that it was a SyFy Channel movie. Still, the only review on there suggested that it was one of the better SyFy Channel movies, so I have been looking forward to getting around to watching it. I finally had a chance to sit down and watch it this evening, and I must say, I really enjoyed it.
From the outset the films sets out to have you believe that it is actually set in the stone age, a small tribe hunting for food and fighting a giant sloth, all points towards that assumption. However, slowly the dystopian future elements start to reveal themselves, a printed book, a pair of binoculars, eventually some ruined buildings. Also, along the way we find out that the tribe is hiding from "the Beasts", kind of ghoulish (in the Lovecraft sense) mutants, that have a passing similarity to H.G. Well's morlochs. If bitten or indeed exposed to the breath of these Beasts, the unfortunate person will eventually turn into a Beast themselves. There may be a cure available, but it is held the leader of a band of survivors who inhabit the ruins of New York.


Sean Bean
Anyway, without giving away anymore of the plot, lets just say, there are some interesting chase sequences, so savage fights, and even the bad guy doesn't come out as being all out evil, simply using somewhat dubious methods to help himself and his family survive.

The acting, although not Oscar quality, is perfectly adequate. The location shooting in South Africa is ideal, with some wonderful backdrops to scenes. The visual effects are very well done. The giant sloth was reasonably believable, and the ruins of New York city were beautifully rendered (fitting very nicely in with the Eye Candy painting I posted yesterday).

Sean Bean does an excellent job, and Annabelle Walis, Corey Sevier and Sam Claflin all give likable performances.


Friday, 22 April 2011

Book Review: Embedded by Dan Abnett

Embedded-new-72dpi

I have read three or four  of Dan Abnett’s books in the past, several Gaunt’s Ghosts novels and Xenos from the Eisenhorn series, all of which were set in Games Workshop’s Warhammer 40K universe. Recently Abnett has released a couple of books that are purely his own creation. Firstly there was Triumff: Her Majesty’s Hero, an alternate history tale set in an Elisabethan Clockwork world and featuring a lead character that has been compared to Blackadder. My copy is still woefully lurking in my too read pile. However, I have read Dan Abnett’s new book Embedded, which is released tomorrow (23rd of April).

Triumff-front-72dpi

Embedded is military science fiction of the highest quality, managing the merge in some corporate rivalry and journalistic shenanigans along the way. The central character, Lex Falk, is an award winning journalist who is investigating reports of escalations in tension between two corporate sectors on a reasonably new colony world. After much of the usual fobbing off by the military press liasons Falk is offered a backdoor way into the thick of the action. He will have his mind transferred, theoretically only as an observer, into that of a frontline soldier, who has agreed to the procedure.

As would be expected, things do not go exactly to plan and the story moves from science fiction espionage thriller into an all out fight for survival, while still pursuing the main secret at the heart of the whole plot.

There are plenty of twists and turns in the plot and characters never feel invulnerable (even Falk). The story seems follow a certain path at times only to be thrown in a completely different direction just when you least expect it. The tension certainly builds nicely over the second half of the book leading up to the final big reveal, which although not hugely original is handled with style and flair.

I have absolutely no reservations in recommending Embedded to any fans of science fiction in any of it’s many flavours, not just military sci-fi fans...

I read an ebook review copy and you can be assured, I am aiming to track down one of the limited edition hardbacked copies of Embedded that are available from Forbidden Planet.

Friday Eye Candy: Patrol a painting by Ignacio Bazan Lazcano

patrol_by_neisbeis-d3dzagu

I am not a great fan of the concept of giant robot battle suits (Mecha), after all they are invariably slow moving, inherently unstable (at least the two legged varieties) and basically make a nice big target on the battlefield! Having said that, when it comes to artwork, movies and wargames I tend to think that they certainly have a place, after all they can look really “COOL” (for want of a better phrase).
The battle suit in this painting (and indeed the troops at it’s feet) reminds me very much of Games Workshop’s Warhammer 40K Tau battle-suits (I have a large Tau army – and a separate Kroot army).
The shear feeling of power this painting and also the complex mix of machinery and cityscape suggests a very dangerous scenario. A very simple image that on one level is simply another “picture of a giant robot”, but when looked at more closely has real depth and tells a story….
If this were a book cover I would read it!
For more artwork by Ignacio Bazan Lazcano, check out his website HERE.
He also has a gallery on Deviant Art HERE.

Just a separate issue, I have not had time to finish many of my model making/wargaming projects recently. Between parents visiting for a week or so and also it being the busiest time of year at work (students reaching hysterical levels as they approach end of year assessments etc.) I have either not had any free time or been too exhausted to look at any hobby projects.
I do have several things lined up and hope to bring you a few new articles very soon, so please keep dropping by to see what’s new…

Friday, 15 April 2011

Friday Eye Candy: Emergency by Paul Boutros

Emergency by Paul Boutros


I love the atmosphere in this painting. The mix of artificial light and rain. The use of colour, both on the darker regions and in the burned out areas. The design of the aircraft/spaceship is clearly inspired by the X-Wing from Star Wars, but also has a nice weight and power of it's own.

For more of Paul Boutros' work check out his website HERE.

Thursday, 14 April 2011

The filming of The Hobbit has started!

Even though I am not a huge fan of The Lord of The Rings (I read it once and enjoyed it, but don't plan to read it again) there is no denying the power and quality of Peter Jackson's adaption into the movie trilogy.

So it sends a tingle down my spine to see that shooting has actually started on The Hobbit...

Friday, 8 April 2011

Friday Eye Candy: The Wrong Step

The Wrong Step by Aj Collyer



This is a beautifully picture, monochrome, with simple use of layers and fog/smoke to add depth and character. It evokes a very pure sense of atmosphere.

For more work by Aj Collyer check out his Deviant Art page!
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