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Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Movie Revews 2 for 1: Gravity and Machete Kills

Hey there Chaos disciples! Old Man Chaos is back again with another posting. Don't worry, I've been doing my modeling like a good 40K fanatic, and I am looking forward to showing my new stuff as soon as its done. In any event, I managed to see 2 movies this past week. One was a sequel that I have been looking forward to, and the other is a sci-fi movie that's been getting a lot of buzz. Did they live up to expectations, or did they crash and burn? Let us take a look, as I briefly review them:

Machete Kills

When I saw the Grindhouse double feature several years back, I was excited to see what Tarantino and Rodriguez had to offer, as I am a fan of both their work. Ultimately, I was disappointed by Death Proof- its not a bad movie, and has a great car chase scene in the 2nd half of the movie, but I just didn't care for it overall- certainly the weakest from Tarantino's incredibly strong filmography. On the other hand, I really enjoyed Planet Terror- a zombie movie filled with good natured cliches, good scares, and some cool special effects. Plus, it had knockout performances from Josh Brolin, Rose McGowan, Michael Beihn and Jeff Fahey, and I love the "missing reel". Hahaha. But, the best part of the whole enterprise was the "mock teasers", including one for a character called Machete. Now, I was all over that- what a great concept, and a well set up trailer. When Rodriguez said he was going to make a real movie from it, I was thrilled. When my brother and I saw Machete, it certainly had flaws, but I loved it. The action was over the top but bloody, the acting was top notch (Cheech Marin versus Tom Savini- I'm there), and there were political overtones (obvious, but there in an interesting, in your face way) and some clever political commentary. Of course, there was Danny Trejo himself, giving it his all as this insane character. I loved this movie, flaws and all.

So, that brings us to Machete Kills. I was excited for this, and the casting seemed to confirm that this would be something special. And then... I saw the damn thing. This movie was a train wreck, pure and simple. I know that Rodriguez wanted to "defy expectations", but this... was just the wrong way to do it. The humor was absolutely STUPID (President Rathcock. Seriously- Rathcock- that was the cleverest name they could come up with). The action beats were weak and uninteresting. The characters are totally wasted, with threads being brought up and then forgotten about when convenient (and I am furious over what they did to Tom Savini. When I heard he was coming back, I wanted Machete to get revenge on Osiris, but that ain't what we got. At all). An overly complicated plot that was nowhere near as political OR clever as the original. Finally, the movie veered off into sci-fi (yes, you read that right)- but as it veered off there, it began to play as an AUSTIN POWERS SPOOF!! Yes- it felt like a riff on Austin Powers. WTF?!?! Basically, this sucked. Big time. Rarely have I been so disappointed in a movie.

The only redeeming value was the actors. It was clear to me that these guys and gals were giving it all they had. Mel Gibson makes for a good bad guy (forget whatever you think of him personally), he never goes too far over the top, and his eyes show that he absolutely believes in his mad scheme. Demian Bechir on the other hand is perfectly over the top for his warlord with a split personality. Michelle Rodriguez is back as She, and does a great job, as before. Sofia Vegara is also a good foil for the stoic Machete. Then there is Danny Trejo, who IS this character, and he wants this to be great- but I could see it in his eyes- he knew that this script sucked. He gave his all but he knew the truth- nothing he could do would save this movie.

Ultimately, this was bad. It felt like Scary Movie was trying to spoof Austin Powers. That is NOT what Machete is about. I'm giving this a half mark of chaos (and the half was only earned by the actors who tried their damnedest to make this work). Ugh. At least I'll always have the first Machete. Now, perhaps, someone will make a drinking game for this move to make it bearable (but I don't drink, so...). Its a damn shame.


This will be a shorter review, because it doesn't have the baggage of Machete for me. Basically, this is a sci-fi movie (kind of) in the best possible way. On the surface, it is about a space mission that goes wrong, but it is much more than that. Its about surviving in a hostile world/universe, in which just about everything can kill you.
A space shuttle and crew is repairing the Hubble Telescope. They are headed up by Kowalsky (George Clooney) and Stone (Sandra Bullock). In the midst of the repair, debris suddenly hurtles its way toward them, doing catastrophic damage to the shuttle. Now, Kowalsky and Stone are on their own- floating in space, desperate to survive in the vacuum of space.

I don't want to say too much more, as I feel this movie should be experienced by yourself and without me blabbing. The special effects are quite frankly, stunning, as is the cinematography (if this doesn't win Oscars in the technical categories, it'll be a crime and a half). You FEEL like you are in space, every step of the way- it looks so vast, that man is just a spec in its darkness. It's amazing. But, the story is compelling too. While it is a primal survival tale, its also a meditation on how people cope, how they survive in a bleak world/universe. Space is beautiful, but oh so deadly- how can we survive in this place? But, more importantly, how can we conquer our fears? Kowalsky and Stone represent two views on this, and it is fascinating to watch this "debate" play out over the movie.

You need to see this movie in 3D Imax if at all possible. This is a movie that these formats are made for. It is well worth the extra ticket price- and this is from a guy that usually hates 3D. The movie is just a sight to behold, and you need to see it on the biggest screen possible.

I give it 4 out of 4 marks of chaos.  My wife and I both loved it, and the images will stick with you long after the movie ends.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Some New World Eater Stuff

Hey there everybody! Welcome back to the latest edition of Chaos Corner. I have been a bit busy at work, but I think I'll be back a bit more often now, as the hustle is starting to ease up a bit. Further, I have been doing some more gaming at my local store. I have played 3 times within the past 5 weeks- not too bad.

So, a couple of weeks ago I was playing against a Noise Marine force in what was one of the most brutal games I have ever played- neither of us had any men left, believe it or not! Holy cow- I know now never to underestimate Emperor's Children (at least, if you are playing Khorne- my Plague Marines would have an easier time with T5 and FNP, but the Bezerkers HAD to get in close).

So, after that match up, someone I had played previously threw down the gauntlet- I had defeated him last time, and he wanted a rematch, but this time at 2500 points. I actually wasn't sure if I actually have that much for Khorne Bezerkers (it turns out I do). But, I decided early on that I would try to use Khorne Daemon allies as well.

Of course, nothing motivates modeling quite as much as the prospect of a good upcoming game. I decided to do another Maulerfiend. I felt that it was certainly fluffy- close combat monsters rushing toward the enemy lines, with Khorne Bezerkers running right behind them? Oh yeah... that's what I'm talking about!

The only trick was this: I had to finish it within two weeks! I do not like to play with unpainted minis- I think the battle becomes that much more exciting and interesting when both forces are painted up- its dynamic and makes it all that much more fun. Further, this only motivates me to convert and paint my stuff, which makes the entire hobby that much stronger for me (I enjoy both the modeling and the playing, even if I don't play as often as I'd like).

With that less than 2 week deadline in mind, I had to work fast. I unboxed the Maulerfiend that very night and began putting it together. I worked on it late into the night- gluing some, then playing Grand Theft Auto V while it dried, then hit pause and continued to work on the model. I was laboring on it into the wee hours of the night, then again in the morning.

While assembling, I knew that I wanted it to look like the previous one, but also different at the same time. First, I used the other set of rear legs than I did with the previous one, thus giving him a different stance. It is unfortunate that you can't pose the Maulerfiend quite that much- he stands on 3 legs and the 4th claw is open- I love the model, but I wish there was more variety in posing.

So, I had to do some add on conversions. First off, I decided to show what this thing was capable of doing- killing and destroying everything in its path. So, I put 2 poor Imperial Guardsmen with my Maulerfiend. One is being literally crushed underfoot. Ewww-- gooey. The other poor soul is being eaten by the Maulerfiend- the Ectoplasam mouth was perfect to put the victim in. I used zombie and skellaton parts to add some gore.

Then, just to add some more gravy, I put a Khorne Bezerker on the neck, as if riding the massive daemon engine. I used chains from the Dark Eldar (the Chaos chains weren't long enough). I then added a head and arm from the Forsaken from Fantasy, just to set him apart from other Bezerkers (and add a bit more variation from what was going to be a really large red model). Finally, I decided not to do lasher tendrils, and opted for magma cutters instead.

Once assembled and spray painted (thanks to my long night session, I was able to spray it in less than 14 hours).  Now, to paint it. Once again, I wanted it to be similar yet different enough from the first. I made the red just a bit darker by not going as heavy on the P3 red ink. The rest was pretty much standard on how I did the last one (various brasses for the metals, blue for the warp energy, and lots of brighter red for the splashes of blood).

I managed to finish it just in time for the game. It was great to take to the field with a new beast, freshly painted. My plan was to run both Maulerfiends forward, and watch them wreck havoc. Only... that didn't happen. The one Maulerfiend was destroyed in the first turn of Black Templar shooting. I was so sad about it. Alas, such is the plans of mice and men and bezerkers...

The rest of the battle was insane. Khorne would be pleased, as the blood was flowing in all directions. I was very annoyed by the Stern Guard that dropped in by my lines with their "various" ammo types. My Bezerkers did cull them, but only after a fierce fight. My 2nd Maulerfiend got up to the enemy Land Raider, but only took a hull point out of it. The tank then left the assault, so that an Ironclad dread could take the Maulerfiend out. My Heldrakes came in blazing, and seriously wrecked the majority of my opponents troops, but his Stalker did take determined shots at the 'drakes. Yet, my Land Raider couldn't hit the broad side of a barn.

My Bloodletters were utterly shot up by the Stormtalon, as there were no real troops available for them to assault, and they were kind of left out there hanging. Meanwhile my Bloodcrushers did cut a bloody swath through a squad of Templars. Now, no objectives were claimed (not enough troops or contested). It came down to a final battle between Kharn and a Chapter Master that had an annoying shield relic thing (3+ In Sv I believe it was). Kharn did damage, but he failed a few Aura of Corruption saves and... he died. When the die roll ended the game, it was 3 to 1 (he had gotten all 3 minors, while I had gotten linebraker).

I know I didn't just give a great battle report, but I just wanted to give an overview. Overall, it was a vicious match, and a bit of great back and forth, just the way I like it. My opponent was quite sportsman-like, and we had a lot of laughs as the die gods mocked both of us throughout the game. We both had a blast, and that is what its all about.

This week coming up I'm going up against Tau at 2000 points (I have never played a full on game with their new book). I know my opponent is going to take a Riptide (I saw his army as he saw mine while we were fighting other opponents)... any advice for this humble Khorne Bezerker?

Until next time...