Saturday, 25 February 2012

Bye-bye Blogger, Hello Wordpress

As part of my blog rationalisation (goodness, I even have corporate speak in my blog!), I have decided to cease blogging on blogger. The reasons are numerous. Part of it is the time factor, but the main reason is that there are so few readers left on this platform, that I am appealing to just a handful.

But I am not stopping my blogging. I am just hopping across the water to Wordpress. Nor will I be deleting my blogger profile. For as long as the great Google in the sky continues to have its machines churn away my data, I will forever have a presence on this platform. And I have too many blog posts and photos on this site to actually want to delete this page.

So if you are on blogger and still reading this, then do jaunt down to my wordpress blog - http://charlesmichelduke.wordpress.com

And I will see you there!

Friday, 24 February 2012

The week

Wow.

One word.

Busy.

Sunday, I was in Whitstable, and did not sleep. Monday, shot some footage for a grant application. Then worked on Monday right through until today, and will next be off on Wednesday. I do plan a cinema trip then on Wednesday to celebrate this fact, and of course, as I have a mission to visit cinemas every month.

Today, as I have a long gap in between shifts, I went to the bank, booked hotel rooms for May and also organised a stag-do (yes, I am a best man this May).

And the amount of paperwork I have done this week in between everything else has been astounding! Pre-Production is never fun. Pre-Production for what? Oh yes, do not worry, that set of blog posts is in the planing. I have been meaning to tell the world about the next project in January, but getting things off the ground is never easy.

Don't forget the taxes!

Oh, and I have been cycling instead of driving in an effort to maintain some sort of fitness for myself. This of course, adds an hour to my commute per day.

So, yeah, a little busy. Therefore, tomorrow's blog post I promise will be more interesting.

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

The film world for me at the moment is...

...taxes!

Never muck about with Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs. So unfortunately, nothing glamorous to report at the moment...

But for those Zelda fans out there, I have just got the Ice Arrows in Ocarina of Time 3D and I am loving the fact that I can freeze everything!

Saturday, 18 February 2012

5 Reasons to be a Kinky Boy

I am in that mood again. Mischievous. I do not know what makes me so, but here are five reasons why every man should really be a kinky boy:

1) It is fun.

Being a straight laced, by-the-books person is kind of dull. In fact, you end up looking like a w**ker. So be a bit kinky, it really is as fun as it looks.

2) It is frisky.

Being kinky adds a certain dimension to your private life. Friskiness. And where's the harm in that?

3) It is liberating.

The freedom to be as kinky as possible gives such a feeling of freedom that is impossible to compare to anything else. Self liberty is such a hallmark of humanity, it shocks me to think why people deny themselves of it.

4) It is devious.

A little bit of devious behavior goes a long way...


5) It is kinky.

For the sake of being kinky, why not be a kinky boy?

Friday, 17 February 2012

This damn blog - the reorganisation

After so many years of blogging, I have run out of stuff to say.

No, I am just very busy.

So I am going to change my blogging output to something more manageable and more realistic for me to do.

Tuesdays will be the main blog day for the week, and usually film related. Oh yes, the blog of El Director will finally live up to its name.

Fridays and Saturdays will be back to normal random fun, unless I am out of the country. In that case, I will not be blogging that week. And yes, I have a lot of trips planned this year to leave the country.

That does not mean I will not be blogging in between, but I want to make sure that this blog, and it has been going on for such a long time, will get the posts it deserves, rather than the patchy rubbish I have been spouting recently :)

And yes, I am going to explain what I have been upto next Tuesday...

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Valentine's Day - The Hangover...

Not that I am a party pooper, but in case you got carried away by yesterday's crap...

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Blogging...

It has been a busy past few weeks. As has been evident by the fact that my blogs have been very thin on the ground and that I have not spent as much time visiting other blogs as I should have done.

Despite the fact that my last few entries have been about video games, the reality is, I am not playing them as much as I should be or want to. Yes, life really is that busy.

Things will be explained on my return after the weekend. So until then, bear with me!

Monday, 6 February 2012

Operation Moonfall - Please Bring Majora's Mask to the 3DS!



Type the word Zelda into the search bar for this blog and you will find a fair few posts on the topic. To say I am a fanboy is accurate. I am a happy Zelda geek, and although I have only played three of the games, the more I get into the series, the more I just want to experience. I think the surrounding fan community is amazing and it makes The Legend of Zelda stand out from other game series that have been created over the years.

And, I will be blunt. The main reason I got a 3DS was to play Ocarina of Time (OOT).

Let me state that last line again.

I only got the 3DS because Ocarina of Time was released onto the system.

You see, I never got to play the game the first time around. Back then in the late 1990's I believed that exams were more important than video games. I regret that decision to this day. So I never got to experience the N64 when it was at the leading edge of video game technology. And then I got distracted by petty drugs and trying to get laid. Both terrible mistakes. I should have stuck to video games, far more sedate. But, as the years passed I learned the error on my ways. And digging up my Gameboy last year was the thin edge of the wedge that got me back to the video game world and to buy a 3DS this year.

And yes, I am thoroughly enjoying playing OOT. It really is the best game I have ever played, and everything else, while brilliant, somehow just never matches up. It is both a blessing and a curse on the Zelda series. Having created the best game ever, Nintendo has won the accolade of accolades. But of course it means that everyone moans about future installments in the Zelda series either saying it is too much like OOT or too different from it. Nintendo can no longer win with the fanboys.

So how about Majora's Mask, the other of the great Zelda titles on the N64? While it may not have won the accolades of its predecessor, it is the natural sequel to Ocarina, and more importantly, it is what so many people want. Hence the start of Operation Moonfall in 2011. To help convince Nintendo to bring Majora's Mask to the 3DS. And while Nintendo have promised something in the pipeline it seems to far away!

I am all for a new Zelda game on the 3DS. I understand that they want to wow audiences with a Zelda title that will help push sales of the system. But why not release Majora's Mask sooner. Always, a Zelda title takes years to develop, and by then, where will I get my Zelda fix from? Master Quest?

So to Zelda fan that happens to stumble upon this blog, then show your support for Moonfall if (shockingly) you have not done so already. The link is below. Anything that may get Nintendo to release this game sooner for the 3DS. How I am waiting!!!

Operation Moonfall.

Sunday, 5 February 2012

What I want from the 3DS in 2012 and beyond...



I know many people will churn through video game systems like they are brands of cereals. But I am a tight wad, and for me, when I buy a system, I expect to get games for at least five years out of it. Maybe more. And while I love my 3DS, its software offerings have been sluggish. Nonetheless, there are fun releases coming up this year, and some promises of more to come. Here is a list (geek filled) of the games I would like to get in the next year or so...

The big three that I am looking at this year as follows. Kid Icarus Uprising, Heroes of Ruin (I could really regret buying that game for the amount of time it could take up from my life) and Professor Layton 5 (why isn't it released now!). To be honest, I doubt that I will actually spend that much cash on games in the upcoming year, but it is nice to have a wishlist to aspire too...But one title I will definitely but will be Mariokart 7.



I played the original Mariokart on the SNES. And as I have not kept up with video games in the intervening years, I think now is as good a time as any to get that game. I also have loved ones who I need to convince about the goodness in video gaming. I believe Mariokart 7 will help with that quest...

There are other games that I am looking forward to. The ones that Nintendo have announced look great, but so far off into the future! Their new Zelda for the 3DS is something I may well camp outside Amazon's warehouse for. Likewise I am looking forward to the new Mario adventure promised.

There are also a few releases that I would love to see on the 3DS but have so far not been announced in any official capacity or seem limited. Firstly, the Ambassador Games really should be made available for the general public to pay for. I would love to get my hands on the Minish Cap, Warioland 4, Kirby. Great titles, that I would happily pay for and are yet locked out of.

Also, I have to ask why Majora's Mask is not being released for the 3DS. It would be such easy money for the game maker, but for now their focus is on other things. I will be blogging about Moonfall later...

I know that my selection of games may not be as widespread as some other choices. But I am not really into beat-em-ups or hardcore racing games. I like the games with a story...

One of the reason I got the 3DS was to take advantage of the DS' back catalogue. And if there are cheap DS games available second hand, then I will certainly go out and get them. Sim City Creator DS - Actually, I am getting it. I found a second hand copy on the internet for less than a fiver. For me, I love the Sim City series, but the mixed reviews this particular title got meant I was not prepared to pay full price. But under £5 is a price I can live with.

New Super Mario Bros. and Super Mario 64 DS are other titles I will probably snap up later in the year or in 2013. Likewise the two Zelda games on the DS are offerings I will probably scour during the console's lifetime.

Call me a geek...I wear that badge with pride!

Saturday, 4 February 2012

My 3DS Games - A review



One month on from buying the 3DS, I have 6 games. Two were freebies, the rest bought. Those titles include Super Mario 3-D Land, Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3-D, Starfox 64 3-D, Kid Icarus, Zelda: Four Swords and Airport Mania: First Flight. Here is a quick skip through the games to see the high and lowlights of my gaming world. (I do have other gaming apps on the 3DS, but they came preloaded, I did not actively seek them out, so they are not included)

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Super Mario 3D Land
:



I am a big fan of the Mario platformer games, but I have never tried my hand at the 3D games. So Mario 64, Super Mario Galaxy remain tantalising promises of what happens if you get a console and attach it to a TV. So I was a bit hesitant about Super Mario 3D Land. But the reviews were good, and most importantly, it came bundled with my 3DS. So, I got it. And played with it.

Oh my goodness. What fun it is! Really, the only word to describe this game is fun. Whether you are new to Mario, have only experienced the 2D games like me or are a Mario-Pro, this game is simply addictive. And the difficulty settings are just perfect. Starting off easy, but getting well tricky towards the end. And it is perfectly designed for handheld gaming. With the levels short enough for quick burst of game play fun. I have never played a more perfectly designed hand held game. Thoroughly addictive and fun! Get it!

(5/5)
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The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3-D:



What happens if you take the greatest game of all time and convert it to the 3DS? Well, you get the best game on the 3DS. What else can I say about this game that has not been said already? And I make no apologies for being a Zelda fanboy, but it is games like this that make me so. I will do a proper review of the game when I complete it. At the moment I am readying myself to do the water temple...

(5/5)
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Starfox 64 3D:



I played the original Starfox (known as Starwing in the UK) on the SNES back in the 1990's. A great shoot-em-up, with some flaws. Most tellingly, you could not save your progress. To complete the game, you had to do it in one sitting.

However, on the 3DS version, you have the save option. Plus, the 3D visuals. Wow! This has to be one of the most gorgeous games I have ever played. Combined with the addictive style of Starfox's playability, this is a fantastic addition to my collection. I love it, but those gyro controls mean that I get well peeved off when playing this on the tube!

(4/5)
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The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Anniversary Edition:

My least favourite game on the 3DS. Hey, I may well be a fanboy of Zelda, but if I do not like the game, then I do not like it. This is Zelda without the storyline. Slash, burn, chop, collect rupees and defeat bad guys. For what reason? Oh, and it is annoying having to control two Link's at once.

But this is meant to be a multi-player title, and as I have no friends, I have only played this in single player mode. I think I would enjoy the game a lot more if I had buddies with the same gaming addiction as me. But, at least it was free!

(2/5 - but have only played this in single player mode)
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Kid Icarus 3D:

Ported from the original NES title, this old and incredibly hard game was a pain in the butt to play at first. But slowly, I am getting used to the controls, and while this is no the first title I turn to, I have begun to appreciate the game a bit more. Plus, I have to be honest it was a freebie, so I am not complaining!

(3/5)
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Airport Mania: First Flight
:

This is a simple, App style game. Just like the smart phones around on the market, the 3DS has an App store. And I felt like a game that did not involve running, jumping and killing things in order to save the princess or something like that. So this was the perfect candidate. Plus, at £1.80, it was cheap enough to try. And, it is a lot of fun. It makes a change from the other games I have on my 3DS, and while it may b=not be for everyone, I find it a really fun game to play!

(4/5)
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So that is it. My games, and some potted reviews surrounding them. Join me tomorrow for one last geek fest of 3DS fun, as I go over what I want for my new piece of video game technology in the upcoming year!

Friday, 3 February 2012

Life with the 3DS - One month on



So, where is my life? Do I have one? Or am I lost in the maze of gaming? Well, I have had a lot of fun with it, and travelling to Poland last month meant that commute was not as dull as it could have been. But before I go into the games, let me taker you through the 3DS itself and peripherals I had to buy for it. I must admit, this is a relatively negative blog post. Not about the console or the games themselves, but about the little annoying things about the 3DS.


1) Earphones.

The 3DS is disgustingly un-mobile for a portable gaming system. Most tellingly, where are the earphones? I remember those heady days in 1991, when a Gameboy came with 4AA batteries and a pair of earphones. And in the 1990's the earphone really was revolutionary. And the Gameboy was designed to be portable from the word go.

But without a pair of earphones, Nintendo may have made 50p profit on the machine they sold, but I had to head to the supermarket to grab a £2 pair of the things. Decidedly un-mobile.


2) Game Cases.

The Game Cards for the 3DS, like the DS are super thin.

But the original packaging is extremely bulky. Great if you want to line up the case on a bedroom shelf, but let us be honest. We do not play hand held systems the same way as we play home consoles. We want to take our games with us. And so I had to buy a small carry case. It can fit 24 games inside of it. Not that I have 24 games, but still, thereis hope that one day I may actually buy this many games.


3) Battery.

Oh yes, the battery life for the 3DS is shockingly sort. And this is a hand held device, where am I going to get a power supply, thin air?

The first thing I bought for my 3DS therefore, was not an additional game, but a new battery pack. Seriously, I was having to strategically time when I wanted to play my new hand held console, just so I could max out the power. Plus, whenever I was carrying it, the system's wireless mode was switched off in order to conserve energy. So one of the 3DS' big selling points was unusable as I wanted to play instead of share the fun (which by the way is actually quite fun to do).

The battery pack I opted for was for the PowerA Rechargable Case. I very rarely make recommendations on this blog (I am not paid), but really this is a good product. Yeah, it does make your 3DS more chunky, but as the external knobs and sliders on the console are so flimsy, this is a good thing as it protects them from the harsh conditions in your pocket. Plus, it really does double the amount of playtime I get from the 3DS. It makes it worthwhile to go out with it!


4) Games.

Nintendo have gone really diabetic with the game releases for their newest offering. There are four great games on the system, plus a whole host of other games which are really cool. But...most of them involve running, jumping, shooting or killing something in order to save someone/thing. Now do not get me wrong, Mario, Zelda, Starfox, Resident Evil and Street Fighter are great games. But how about something a little more sedate? Unlike the DS which proudly made use of its touchscreen and chill out features, Nintendo seem to have taken an about turn and gone down the Awesome route. Awesoeme indeed, but I was really looking forward to getting Professor Layton on the 3DS, instead of having to hunt around for a DS version of the game.

Also, the e-Shop sucks. Nintendo have a great library of games that they are just not making available to the general public. For example, I would love to play (and pay for the privallege of doing so) the Minish Cap on the 3DS, but at the moment, Nintendo have no plans for a general release, not even an announcement for it.

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Don't get me wrong, I love my 3DS. But Nintendo have been surprisingly sloppy on releasing this system. It is definitely the best handheld out at the moment, and its software lineup is more appealing (and bigger) than the upcoming Vita.

But Nintendo have squandered their lead by some really inept planning. And some really easy ways to cash in. Well, 2012 is going to be a year of the handhelds, and when they take on mobile phones in the games market. Who will triumph?

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

January's Film - Tyrannosaur

I watched Tyrannosaur at the Prince Charles yesterday, and as my first movie of the year, it was great!



What to say about it? Well, watch it! Unfortunately, it has the classic British syndrome of crap marketing. Zero publicity means that the cinema hall was virtually empty yesterday. Checking out wikipedia, it seems that the film was made for £750,000 but has not even clawed back a third of its running costs. This is despite the fact that the film has won awards from film festivals worldwide. Yep, despite the accolades, barely anyone was in the cinema watching the film. And that, to me is really sad.

Taking in a breadth of social issues in England today ranging from poverty, domestic violence, racism and (surprisingly for a British film) religion, Tyrannosaur entertained the hell out of me. Again, it is the kind of film that encourages me as a (struggling) film maker, although those guys really did have some backing to make the film including Film Four and Studio Canal. They also had some fantastic actors in the film. Peter Mullan (My Name is Joe), Olivia Colman (Hot Fuzz) and Eddie Marsan (take your pick - Hancock, Vera Drake, 21 Grams). Look, I cannot praise this film enough!

And just wonder why there are so few viewers? It has everything you want in a film. Drama, tragedy, happiness, sadness and a compelling story with addictive characters. Okay, I know art house fare might not be everyone's cup of tea, but even for a daytime art house film, the attendance was low. And shocking, considering that Tyrannosaur did win so many accolades. Really, if you want to know how not to market a film, then learn from the British.

Most of the people in the cinema seemed like me. Film makers who wanted to see a great film on the big screen. To watch a fantastic story and to see how it was made. In one word, beautifully. But it is sad to see that so few people bothered to turn up, and it will be interesting to see if the film can make a profit. I would have loved to have gone to the Q &A with the director tomorrow, but work calls and so I had to make do with a sparse attendance yesterday. Still, as the first film (in the UK) this year, I am well impressed! Long may my journey through London's cinemas prove as entertaining! But I hope I am joined by more people.

Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Repertory Cinemas of London 1 - The Prince Charles Cinema

London is filled with Repertory Cinemas. I am not sure exactly how many, but that is the whole point of my latest quest around the city, to find out more. So I promised. And I have snuck it in, during the last day of January, my first of a series of journey's to London greatest picture houses. To what is possibly London's quirkiest picture house - The Prince Charles Cinema.



Ah, the Prince Charles Cinema. I am a member, you know? A lifetime member! I joined in 1999 for the princely sum of £15. And I am a lifetime member. Today that same lifetime membership costs £50! And it is limited in number...so when I present my crusty yellow card that states 'lifetime', I feel quite proud that I am able to get some of the cheapest cinema tickets in London.

Ah, the Prince Charles Cinema. I have spent far too much time here. The tail end of my teens, the bulk of my twenties and even a lot of my thirties so far have been spent inside one of this cinema's two screens. Usually the main auditorium. Classics such as Alien, Lethal Weapon II, the Breakfast Club, Desperado, Clerks, Slumdog Millionaire, Metropolis I have seen them all and more. And I have also seen my fare chunk of art house fare too. My Name is Joe, Looking for Eric, The Long Good Friday, La Haine, Bad Education, Amores Perros, Y Tu Mama Tambien, City of God, the list is endless. I have watched more films here than even on television. Hell, I have even sung along to The Sound of Music and watched a late night rendition of the Rocky Horror Picture Show. While my compatriots were getting drunk and trying to get laid in their twenties in lousy bars serving watered down alcohol, I was eating pop corn and failing to get laid while watching movies, in between low-paid jobs and going abroad on exotic trips. My life was quite literally at one point the Prince Charles Cinema...

So for those who are are not in the know, what is the cinema like? Well, it is basic. Two screens, a large sloping auditorium in the basement and a small screen in what used to be the balcony. The chairs are meh comfy, but they do have cup holders! The pre-trailer music is usually funky and in addition to the great selection of films (cult, old, new, unusual, independent, mainstream - the lot) it has managed to keep its prices relatively low despite its location in the heart of the West End, where nearby, cinema tickets can cost up to £20 per person! Plus there are a lot of theme events. So there are horrors on Halloween, slushy movies on Valentine's etc. There are early screenings to pass away hangovers and double bills for films by the same director or in the same series. I need more time in my life, so I can fully enjoy all this cinema has to offer!

But it is the movies that we, the audience are interested in. And what are they like? One word, eclectic. The Prince Charles Cinema is London's most eclectic picture house. From one month old releases to movies from the silent era. The Prince Charles has probably screened everything available to it. And more. My favourite picture house in London, and the first on my list London Repertory Cinemas!

Saturday, 28 January 2012

Tube travel...the fun way...

Unfortunately over the past couple of weeks I have spent far too much time on the London Underground network than I really needed to be. It is all part of my general busy-ness, which is why my blog posts have been so thin on the ground.

But, if I was in Germany, there would have been a more fun way to travel around town...



Enjoy the weekend, I should be back to regular blogging in the next week!