Individual Entry


Post turkey syndrome

Well, Christmas has come and gone once again. The dust has settled, the unruly guests have left the house and things are beginning to get back to normal. I previously posted about the games, HD DVDs and DVDs I had ordered for Christmas, so I’ll simply link you to that rather than repeat myself. To my surprise, I also ended up with a new comfy chair and a pair of headphones from my parents. Oh, and a Terry’s Chocolate Orange.


Of the movies I received, the only one I’ve had a chance to watch yet is Tideland, and I’m still trying to work out how I felt about it. Like virtually every movie released these days (and I know I’m beginning to sound like a broken record here), it’s at least half an hour too long. In many ways it feels like a less impressive version of Pan’s Labyrinth, infused with the touch of Terry Gilliam rather than Guillermo Del Toro. Rather predictably, it starts out better than it ends, as I felt was also the case with Gilliam’s Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, but it’s nowhere near the stinker that the critics suggest. Transfer-wise, Concorde’s HD DVD is relatively good, but suffers from noticeable filtering and edge enhancement. In fact, it looks decidedly similar to second-tier Warner titles like The Matrix Trilogy and V for Vendetta. Most reviewers will probably rate it highly.

Oh, and continuing in the Gilliam vein, Lyris got the Blu-ray release of Life of Brian. We watched it on Christmas Day itself, which seemed strangely appropriate, but were less than enthused by its transfer. You can read his thoughts at the NTSC-UK forum, and I’m sure he’ll do a more in-depth post on his site at a later date.

The Witcher Unreal Tournament III

I’ve also been dabbling with the two games I got, The Witcher and Unreal Tournament III. The former looks like it could be a very strong game, but I haven’t been able to devote sufficient time to it yet in order to really get into it, while I must confess that I’m having a lot more fun with Unreal Tournament III’s level editor and the hours of video-based tutorials that come with the Collector’s Edition than I am with the game. Don’t get me wrong, it seems to be a solid enough package, and I’m happy to report that not every level is as colour-free as the ones included in the demo (although there has been a definite tendency to dull things down across the board in comparison with its predecessors), but the whole thing is too mode-based for my liking. I’ve never really enjoyed the more mission-based modes like Capture The Flag and Warfare in FPS games, so the fact that there are far fewer Deathmatch maps this time around, and the single player campaign seems to consist almost exclusively of non-Deathmatch missions, means that I don’t think I’ll be retiring Unreal Tournament 2004 from my hard drive any time soon.

Posted: Friday, December 28, 2007 at 11:12 AM | Comments: 6
Categories: Blu-ray | Cinema | Games | General | HD DVD | Technology



I have mixed feelings about Tideland, myself. In regards to where it picked up and fell, I think it's the other way around, weak beginning, and it picks up slightly more at the end. Even if the ending is chaotic and seemingly pointless.

Incidentally, Pan's Labyrinth is what I first expected Tideland (both book and film) to be like when I heard it was described as "a cross between Alice in Wonderland and Psycho". I bought the book a couple years back, when I heard that. I couldn't get through it. And when the movie came out, I absolutely hated it during the first viewing. But it's come on TV a couple times and I sat through it not having anything better to do. During those viewings, it's grown on me just a bit more.

BTW, would you want the novel? I have no use for it.

Posted by: Todd S. Gallows, December 28, 2007 10:52 PM


Thanks for the offer, but I’ll pass, for now at any rate. I’ve got a stack of books next to my bed that I still haven’t got started on yet, including Hannibal Rising which you sent me last year. So, for the time being, I’m covered.

Posted by: Whiggles, December 29, 2007 10:51 AM


Oh, and as regards my thinking Tideland started stronger than it ended, I tend to have a natural aversion to films that are longer than 90 minutes, unless they’re particularly good, so broadly speaking I always tend to find that I enjoy long, mediocre films more at the beginning than the end. I did think the climax worked well, though, although I did find myself wondering what the point of it all was. It seemed like a lot of setup with no pay-off, or at least a pay-off that was unrelated to the setup.

Posted by: Whiggles, December 29, 2007 10:54 AM


I really liked most of Tideland too, but as you kinda imply it's a good 30 mins too long. My girlfriend normally loves this kind of thing (I struggle for a word to describe this "genre" - things like The Passion of Darkly Noon, Lawn Dogs... things with a childish perspective tinged with darkness, a lot like Carroll, as has been mentioned) and she fidgeted quite a lot.

Posted by: anephric, December 29, 2007 2:30 PM


"The Passion of Darkly Noon"

Wow - I forgot this movie existed.

Posted by: Jeffrey Allen Rydell, December 29, 2007 6:29 PM


It's one of my absolute favourites. Why Philip Ridley doesn't get to direct more films is beyond me. Criminally, you have to take your pick of an extremely poor, P&S Canadian R1 DVD, various P&S European R2 DVDs or a non-anamorphic but 2.35:1 Italian DVD with forced subs. Quality on all ranges from utterly execrable to vaguely okay VHS-ish.

Posted by: anephric, December 29, 2007 7:06 PM

Comments on this entry and all entries up to and including June 30th 2009 have been closed. The discussion continues on the new Land of Whimsy blog:


Back to...