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Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 2

Its back. Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. second season was aired last night on Channel 4 at 8pm.

I followed the first season which had a slow start (agent May and Skye was enough reason to continue watching) and it gradually became better, especially towards the end of the season but it still wasn’t a “must watch” contender for me. So naturally, I wasn’t exactly hyped for the second season, I wasn’t sure whether my invested time in another season of AoS would pay off. Especially when they had a spoiler for Captain America 2 in the first season.

Luckily, I caught the first episode. It was very impressive. Full of action and goes straight into the main story. I guess now that we’re familiar with the characters and story, the second season was able to just dive right into it. The first episode set a very good expectation for the rest of the season. I really like how much Skye has developed as a field agent (and her suit); the scene between her and Ward was really good too – can we trust him, can we not? The only thing I think is real is his feelings for Skye. But the best bit was the big reveal about FitzSimmons. I won’t ruin it and I will only say it was a brilliant move and makes me look forward to future episodes to see if anything changes.

Love the new hair and suit

Love the new hair and suit

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Tomb Raider 1.25?

So I’ve read the new Tomb Raider: The Ten Thousand Immortal novel by Dan Abnett & Nick Vincent and have mixed feelings about it.

To be fair, the authors did have a tough task at hand as they’re supposed to pick up the story from the end of Tomb Raider, yet their story can’t contain events or characters that are so important that it would have a great effect on the upcoming game (Rise of the Tomb Raider).

I thought the book spent a tad too much time setting everything up in this adventure, it may have been necessary though. When I got to about a third of the book, I was hooked. It was like reading about something straight out of the Bourne Identity movies. This was also the point when some cools characters appear – they’re not quite fully fleshed out and used in the whole book though (*spoiler and reason below). About 65% through the book, I think there’s just too many adversaries in the equation. Frankly, one of the parties could’ve been absent from the book.

***Spoiler***
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Lydia was so cool, she used her amazing parkour skills to traverse the rooftops of Paris to track down the escaping Lara and then the authors easily kill Lydia off and replace her with lots of generic thugs in the end.
***Finished***
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I did, surprisingly, enjoy how the tales and legends unfolded through Lara’s conversations. How there were multiple views on just one artifact and it provided leads to her next location.

Tomb Raider: The Ten Thousand Immortals isn’t a master piece but it was a fun read. It was restricted in how much Lara can actually develop as this is canon material. As a result this felt like a Tomb Raider 1.25.

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Watch your fuel!

On a lazy Sunday afternoon, I was flicking through channels until I saw a still racing car that was on it’s roof! It happened very recently as there was talks of the safety of the driver and a safety car coming out to play.

I don’t watch motorsport racing much, but I was hooked onto this scene. Not due to the accident, but because something felt very familiar about what I’m seeing. As if I’ve been there before but just looking at it from a different angle. Then it hit me, its the race track where I’ve driven hundreds of digital miles over and over again just to try beat my own time by 0.1 second. Yep, it is of course Bathurst race track from Forza Motorsport 5. This is when I can fully appreciate just how much work Turn10 Studios has put into replicating the tracks. I was looking at a close up of a corner and it was enough for me to recognise where it was!

I continued to watch the race and I was genuinely excited by how fast and skilled these drivers were. The race was filled with drama, at several points, I was sure of the winner only to be greeted by surprises where small differences, changed everything. These drivers were really pushing their cars to their absolute limits. What an amazing race.

This is the race I was watching:

http://www.v8supercars.com.au//view/videos/supercheap-auto-bathurst-1000-top-10-moments

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Ghost in the Shell movie starring Johansson? Yeah baby!

Right now, Scarlett Johansson is one of my favourite actor in action movies. She’s proved herself as a powerful ally in Captain America 2 and capable of kicking bad guys butt as the leading role in Lucy.

I’ve always loved anime and manga, they’ve got over the top stories and some amazing action. Johansson has had a very good record of depicting fictional/sci-fi characters of recent years. So I’m really looking forward to their collaboration and see what they can produce. I’m sure Johansson will be able to bring a lot to an anime/manga adaption and the nature of the story will be a good base for creating some amazing (and hopefully artistic) visual effects. Ghost in the Shell is very popular, my friend has instructed me to watch it over the years but I’ve yet to get round to it. This may motivate me to pick it up and see what all the hype is all about.

Anime + Johansson = Hell yeah baby!

Source: http://www.wired.co.uk/news/archive/2014-10/17/scarlett-ghost

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New place for news – Polygon!

I’ve been using Joystiq for most of my gaming news for a while now. It was fine when I was young, but the material just seems like a tabloid. The layout of the site feels dated and lazy. It’s not very inspiring. Then I discovered Polygon! I was very impressed with how the site looks and that everything is organised into different sections.

I was particularly impressed with their reviews. They come across as fair and they’re quite extensive. I like how it resembles a magazine review in that they will pull out quotes from their critique and overlay it over a screenshot. It’s very nicely put together.

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Practice video editing

Right, so I’ve decided to refresh myself on Adobe Premiere Pro as I don’t know when I will be required to use these skills again. I’m very grateful that we’ve switched to Adobe CC. It’s given me the opportunity to work from home and to do some training to help practice the new features Adobe releases.

I wanted to base it on something I have quite a lot of material to work with, something of interest to me and nothing that’s going to raise a debate of right or wrong. The only thing that left me with is my Xbox One game-DVR collection.

I had a few stumbling blocks and referred to Adobe’s help centre which is full of helpful information and before you know it, I was back in full swing with Premiere. Once I’ve remembered the keyboard shortcuts, it’s very simple to use. I’ve even used their Audition CC to create a looping background music. Pretty awesome and powerful stuff.

Well, below is the result of my practice:

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2 out of 47 Ronin

The good thing about NowTV is that I can catch up to movies I missed whenever I want. The bad thing is being disappointed in my own home with nowhere to walk/drive to vent off the poor experience. Spoilers ahead.

47 Ronin looked like a pretty decent movie from the trailers and posters I’ve seen. The story was painfully slow and took forever to get to the absolutely disappointing finale. 47 Ronin is a very bad movie which focuses on aesthetics rather than the story… and the other 45 Ronin… and a worthy bad guy.

Out of the 47 Ronin, I think we only have information on about 6 of them – 2 of which are Keanu and the other lead Japanese guy from the Last Samurai. We don’t know much about the others. Only that they served under the same lord and are all perfectly fine and healthy after a year of exile. Whilst we’re on characters, it was disappointingly lacking in the bad guys department. In the poster, we are lead to believe there are three antagonists. But in the movie, two of the three get 5 minutes of screen time in between them! Even the evil lord behind everything who is missing from the poster gets more screen time. The coolest character design has to be the ink guy (the one with tattoos all over his body), yet he only has one line in the entire movie (and yelling if you count that as well) and appears in 2 scenes. He doesn’t even face the protagonist directly! The black armour samurai is a giant in the movie. He has a brief fight with Keanu early on in the movie to show how strong he is. But in the final minutes of the movie he dies in seconds without really fighting anyone! What?! At least have 7 guys struggling to fight him then finish him off with a trap. The big finale wasn’t a fireworks show but a small sparkler that burns for five seconds – it just doesn’t deliver.

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The story feels rushed and under developed leaving many questions unanswered. Like why was the Japanese guy freed from the pit? He was kept there because the bad guy doesn’t trust him not to take revenge. Nobody really knew he was kept there right? So he wasn’t obligated to free him in the first place. Also, how convenient is it that he was freed close to when the bad guy can achieve total domination in Japan? When Keanu went to the Tengu forest to get more swords, the master there spoke of some powers that Keanu had learned from him which Keanu indicates are deadly powers: abilities that are designed only for killing. Yet the only thing we see him do is… fly/warp a short distance from A to B. Nothing else. Why is that a deadly skill? The mysterious swords they retrieve wield mystical powers and it depends on who is wielding it. But we’re not really told what they are. Sure we see Keanu slice a trunk with ease and later on when someone else attempts it, they fail. Does that mean these are nothing more than a normal sword for most of these guys?

All in all 47 Ronin was a bad movie, I wouldn’t recommend anyone to watch it.