Chronicles of Ryebone
 
 

Chernobyl Diaries

We drove up the winding path towards a twenty foot tall, secure fence. Within the boundaries of the fence stood three large structures, clad in red brick. We equipped flash lights - even though it was daylight - and began circling the property. We had been told that there were openings; small cutaways big enough to crawl through, and what we got were even larger. It was trespassing, to a degree: there were no signs. The legality is grey, but we needed to explore. Hearts were pounding, as we looked in all directions for anyone who may be watching. We entered the grounds, and found another entrance into the first building. It was full of machinery, tools, parts and debris. Birds made nests in the larger areas, and it was evident that nature had been slowly reclaiming this abandoned facility for nearly ten years. This was urban exploration.

It could be considered one of the holy grails of urban exploration: Prypyiat. An entire city that once housed fifty thousand people, evacuated within a day or two. Entire apartment buildings abandoned and family possessions left behind. There is one catch: there is radiation. And there could be even more for those brave enough to adventure in. That's the premise of Chernobyl Diaries, at least. A group of young adults are looking for adventure in their European trip, and are convinced to take a tour of Prypiat, with the cooling towards of Chernobyl in the distance. Like anyone, they're hesitant, but like anyone, they find it extremely interesting. The history of it is fascinating and well worth investigating. The movie is interesting too, although it stops being so near the end.

John Carter

I'm really not understanding the extreme hatred that this movie pulls out of people. When I visit the odd forum (specifically: IMDB) people are just lit up, spouting off about what a wretched pile this movie is. It's like the gum that you step on and that sticky heap never comes off, picking up further dirt and terribleness with every step. You try and wipe it from your shoe on some soft grass, but you end up with grass stuck to your show. It goes on, as you can imagine. John Carter is nothing like this piece of gum. John Carter is more like a brand new, wrapped piece of gum you find in your drawer after lunch: exactly what the doctor ordered.

While the movie was tanking at the box office there were a few bloggers and movie reviewers of note that disagreed with the masses: they implored people to give Carter a chance, and enjoy the movie for what it is. And what is it? An epic movie of grand proportions, saddling a small frame of a storyline. You get big, exaggerating characters. You get dazzling special effects sequences. You get aliens. Even a bit of cowboy action. Yes, that's right: the movie starts off in the 1800's as Carter - a civil war veteran - is continuously escaping, where he stumbles upon a transport to Mars, where the bulk of the movie and story take place. This simple combination puts the entire Cowboys & Aliens movie to shame.

House

It's been a long time in the "making" but House is finally over. It's practically a relief, although I did enjoy the series...for the most part.

The year was 2005, I had just recently moved into my friend's basement and I had taken in a couple episodes of the show. Without much interest in any television during this time (except the mandatory, like Lost) it was pretty easy to watch an episode every so often. It didn't even matter if they were in order, they could have been repeats for all I knew. The basis of enjoyment was derived explicitly from the fundamental complaint about the show: how repetitive it was. Indeed, every episode followed the same formula: opening scene someone becomes expectantly sick, House et team spend 37 minutes diagnosing and experimenting, then in the last few minutes House as a eureka moment and the patient is saved.

The King of Kong

A fistful of quarters. I remember the days well: I went to the bank, armed with loonies and a five dollar bill, and requested, literally, a fistful of quarters. Ten dollars worth, in fact. The next step was going to the mall, where a multiplayer X-Men arcade cabinet sat, and by all means, I was going to beat that game. Unfortunately, I don't recall what happened next, aside that the dream never came true. I played the game a few more times, but there was no marathon. This was when I was around twelve or thirteen years old, where the industry was in a state of decline. There were a couple of arcades around, but they weren't proper places for kids - at least, in my town.

One thing that I never tried to do was get high scores, and I think this is in due part to me not being overly competitive (or at least, trying to avoid competition) and that arcade games in the early nineties weren't focused on scores. The majority of titles were fighters, like Virtua Fighter, Mortal Kombat and of course, the Street Fighter II series. Arcade games in the eighties were focused on scores, and difficulties. Donkey Kong is noted as being one of the toughest ever made, and only a few get to see the final screen. The King of Kong documentary focuses on two players who are, arguebly, the best there is at the game. Billy Mitchell would set the record (in the eighties) that would stand for decades, only to be beaten (in a way) by Steve Wiebe. It's a story of these two, locked in eternal competition in a game that's over thirty years old.

Chronicle

It's almost amusing that we are still being inundated with "found footage" movies, after all these years. It's in no way a big complaint, but I have to point out that many of these movies don't have to be that type of movie. It certainly lends itself to a horror film - as it was pioneered - and I'm not certain it lends itself to the superhero film that much. I'm pretty sure our main character in this film would not have the nerve to do all the filming he did, although it certainly acts as a decent outlet for his bullied life.

Skyrim

One does not simply...beat Skyrim.

But you can certainly try; I am not one of those brave souls though. However, I have nearly hit one hundred hours of gameplay, with very little left to do. The main quest became my primary goal after a while, and it was conquered quickly, and easily. The other "guilds" in the game have been completed, save for the Thieves Guild. The reason I left it behind is because it was so terrible, time consuming and uninteresting. In fact, you could say that about most the game, but the main storyline brought things back to focus for me. The quests were mixed up a bit - they varied - and was actually interesting. But the main story line only accounts for a fraction of the total hours you spend in the game.

The Cabin in the Woods

On opening weekend, I was visited by my friend from the south - a friend who was once of the north but abandoned the harsh winters for the quizzically lack of snow that is Southern Ontario, for presumably bigger and better things. At the very least, he wins in a variety of categories, mostly commercial and not limited to just having better multiplexes. In North Bay, we struggled with flat theatres, boasting not one but two screens, and it did the job: I saw a lot of movies in those theatres, but the opening of a modern multiplex was a blessing. Although small (pitifully so) by today's standards, the seven screens featured surround sound and stadium seating, and all the other amenities that a modern theatre could bring at the time. But over time, the establishment shows its age.

Star Trek: The Next Generation

Wow, it's finally over. Last December I undertook the task of watching The Next Generation in it's entirety, a task which is both daunting and insignificant at the same time. It's not often an entire series is consumed like this; perhaps a season or two to get caught up, but nothing of this magnitude. 178 episodes in total, spread over seven seasons. I won't go into much detail with my history of the show, as I did in a previous post (well worth the read, by the way). Think of this post as more of a braggart taking his dues, a badge of accomplishment that I bathe in. It wasn't easy, but it wasn't difficult either. Almost every episode brought back memories of watching it randomly over the past twenty years, either when I was a child, or on a business trip and catching it on the hotel television. Or the period of time a few years back where I would rush home every day from the office to catch (at least) the last half of the episode.

Human Centipede II (Full Sequence)

The first Centipede was a bit of a surprise, and will forever live on in a sort of cult favourite. The concept is so twisted and bizarre, that I'm surprised it turned out to be a decent movie. And decent may be a bit of a stretch, but it looks like a masterpiece compared to the sequel, although it's not without its own charms, I suppose. I was fully aware when the first movie came out, but had no idea the sequel was released, until a friend mentioned having seen it. He gave me fair warning, and I wasn't eager to take it in. But on a late Friday night, there was not much else to do, and Full Sequence beckoned from the depths of Netflix.

The Divide

The Divide has a fairly decent premise, a thin promise - at the very least - and jumps right into it. There's no screwing around here, be that as a result of a low budget or a focused director. It doesn't matter. New York is under attack, explosions are everywhere and building are crumbling. We follow a group of survivors in an apartment building escaping to the basement, where they bar the door behind them and survive. There's a bit of food and water to survive with, and some added mystery, but the most important part the survivors have is tension - and cabin fever.

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