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The Crow

on May 22, 2019 · 3 min read

Film, 1994, USA, d. Alex Proyas. Language: English.

Starring: Brandon Lee, Rochelle Davis, Ernie Hudson, Michael Wincott, Bai Ling.

A vicious gang murders a young Goth couple and one year later the man rises from his grave to avenge his beloved.

The.Crow.1994.BrRip.720p.x264.YIFY.webp (1280x688)

Fuck me, it's already been 25 years since The Crow came out! And it shows: the movie feels very 90s (thanks especially to the grungey soundtrack) and, for me, hasn't aged as well as some of other early 90s movies I've watched recently. The whole premise feels very much a goth teenage male wish-fulfillment fantasy. (The fiancée was also murdered, and raped too. And watched her fiancé be murdered to boot. Why doesn't she come back from the dead to exact vengeance?)

While I liked The Crow a lot the first time I saw it, now it's just "OK". Good action; so-so story and characters (although an order of magnitude better than Lee's other films Rapid Fire and Showdown in Little Tokyo, which work only for hardcore action fans).

And yes, this was the movie where Brandon Lee died; the scene in which his character Eric Draven was shot and killed was the same scene where Brandon Lee was shot and killed in real life, when a piece of a fake bullet stuck in the gun from a previous take was pushed out by a blank charge and hit Lee in the abdomen. That's what happens when you try to save money by shooting in a non-union state, working people around the clock and then sending the (expensive) arms master home before shooting a weapons scene to avoid paying him overtime.

(Despite Draven's death happening at the beginning of the movie, it was one of the last bits to be filmed. As most of Lee's scenes had already been shot, The Crow doesn't have the obvious & terrible fakery employed to hide the star's absence that was in Game of Death, the film his father Bruce was in the middle of when he died.)

Who knows how far Brandon could have gone had he lived?

Technical

I watched a 720p, high-resolution-small-file size encode from YTS / YIFY. I tend to prefer getting these types of encode because I can keep the smaller files for longer on my hard drive and and share more of them.

But, while their video quality is good enough most of the time, it can be problematic with certain kinds of scenes:

  • dark
  • night-time
  • rainy
  • foggy

And The Crow is all dark, rainy, night-time scenes. I was getting artifacts all over the place for most of the film. (I wasn't able to capture them in my screenshots though; but it's really noticeable when the images are moving.) So I would recommend you go for some other version.

The.Crow.1994.BrRip.720p.x264.YIFY.2.webp (1280x688)

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SKYND - "Elisa Lam"

on May 13, 2019 · 1 min read ·
4 comments

Music video, 2019, directed by TallyHo!

I saw a post on ZeroMe by Deliriumgoddess6 about this song so I decided to download & watch the video. Click link below screenshot.

SKYND-Elisa.Lam-Official.Video.mkv

For me it's got a kind of industrial/goth horror vibe to it.

It's about a mysterious, unsolved death:

I don't know anything about the band/singer but the name is apparently that of a Danish troll.

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James Veitch's Contractual Obligation - Episode 1 - A Dark Web

on May 09, 2019 · 1 min read

Radio, 2019, UK . Language: English.

JVCO.webp (887x606)

Comedian James Veitch struggles to create a new challenge-based format for Radio 4.
In episode one he is tasked with examining the Dark Web but soon clashes with his producer. [...]
Instructed to create a challenge which will allow him to explore the Dark Web, James seems entirely bereft of ideas.... until an online shopping error results in the delivery of 22 packets of button mushrooms.

A comedian makes a parody show investigating the Dark Web, obviously using the strip club from The Wire as an analogy for the internet :)

You probably won't find it very informative if you're already here on ZeroNet (as it's just as much about parodying investigative journalism shows as it is about the Dark Web itself) but he does briefly interview a couple of experts about Tor and BitCoin.

From James Veitch, who's done things like a TED Talk about leading on e-mail scammers.

(The mp3 image says "... with Harry Hill" but I think that's a reference to an earlier series distributed by the 'Flip' podcast.)

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The Kill Hole

on Apr 27, 2019 · 2 min read

Film, 2012, USA, d. Mischa Webley. Language: English.

  • Rotten Tomatoes: Critics: 17%. Audience: 31%.
  • IMDB: 4.1.
  • Wikipedia (It doesn't have its own Wikipedia page yet, so link goes to Chadwick Boseman's filmography)
  • Other links at bottom of article

Starring: Chadwick Boseman, Tory Kittles, Billy Zane, Peter Greene.

The.Kill.Hole.2.webp (1298x720)

Summary: An Iraq war veteran back in the US is haunted, not by the war itself, but by an event that happened when he went back later as a mercenary. And now someone has started killing those connected to that event...

I chose this film as part of my checking out the free streaming service Tubi (see this post). The previous film I saw (Death Race 2000, see this post) was an older film that was offered as a rather soft definition pan & scan 540p (probably converted from something made in the days of VHS tapes & 4:3 CRT televisions), so I went looking for something more recent to see if the video quality would be better.

In my market, Tubi's modern offerings seem to consist mostly of straight-to-video dross like Bikini Model Academy, so I had to dig a little to find something recent that looked interesting.

The Kill Hole seems to tick many of the boxes of Tubi's offerings in my market:

  • I'd never heard of it
  • It features an actor before they were famous (Chadwick Boseman before Get On Up and Black Panther)
  • It features actors after they were famous (Billy Zane after his 90s heyday of Titanic, The Phantom etc. Peter Greene after The Mask.)
  • Demographic "niche" (in this case, featuring African-American leads)
  • It bombed

Clearly, a lot of critics and moviegoers were not impressed with The Kill Hole. But I was: moving performances from the actors (and from the veterans in the support group, who are not actors); beautiful cinematography and landscapes; a quality score by composer Jason Wells.

While there are a few moments of action, this is essentially a drama about the aftermath of war, and one I found involving.

Technical
I watched it on Tubi and was offered a variety of resolutions including maximum of 720p (which is what I tend to watch other ways too, e.g. Netflix in browser, Bittorrent downloads).

The video quality was way better than Tubi's offering of Death Race 2000: high definition, widescreen, crisp and clean.

Furthermore, even though Tubi is supposedly supported by advertising, I wasn't bothered by a single advertisement in either movie: not before, during or after. I haven't even seen any ads on the website itself. And this is in bog-standard Chrome browser, with no ad-blocking extensions. I'm not sure how this is economically viable.

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Death Race 2000

on Apr 25, 2019 · 2 min read

Film, 1975, USA, d. Paul Bartel. Language: English.

From Rotten Tomatoes:

Cult hero Paul Bartel directed this low-budget satire in which America's passion for cars, violence, and sporting events are finally brought together in one convenient package. In the not-so-distant future, the United States has become a totalitarian regime overseen by the charming but sinister Mr. President, who, in order to satisfy the masses' need for entertainment (and to quench their thirst for violence), has created a new national sport -- the Death Race.

It's from the infamous producer Roger Corman whose low buget exploitation movies often acquired cult followings and gave a start in the business to many young filmmakers and actors.

Death Race 2000 is a movie I remember hearing about as a kid but never got to see , and I kept meaning to see it over the years but never got around to it. It eventually spawned a remake/reboot franchise and even inspired the Carmageddon series of video games.

After reading an article about it and seeing it was available on Tubi (see previous post) I decided to give it a go, and I enjoyed it. Fun, jokey with some decent action (if a little sped up at times). Don't expect aything great, just entertainment. And Sylvester Stallone getting his arse kicked!

Death.Race.2000.webp (1270x919)

Technical
I saw it for free on Tubi and the version there was 4:3 pan & scan (IMDB say original ratio is 1.85 : 1) and maximum resolution was 540p. I'm sure there are better versions out there.

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Tubi TV

on Apr 25, 2019

A blog post I read yesterday (MakeUseOf - The Best Free Alternatives to Paid Streaming Services) reminded me of a free alternative to Netflix, a streaming video-on-demand service called Tubi TV.

I had bookmarked it a few years ago but never really got into it because:

  • I had so much stuff to watch downloaded from Bittorrent.
  • I had so much stuff to watch on Netflix.
  • So much of Tubi TV's content looks like absolute shit. :) (And of the few things that seemed interesting, most of them were also on Netflix.)

But that article reminded me of Tubi TV so I decided to take another look at it.

At almost the same time, I was reading another article (The Action Elite - Looking back at the Death Race series) which reminded me of the movie Death Race 2000, a notorious scif-fi action movie/satire that I've been meaning to see for... decades.

And then looking through Tubi TV's content, what do I see? Death Race 2000!

Thus I think to myself "No time like the present! Let's finally give both this service and this movie a try."

So in the next few posts, I'll give my impressions of Tubi TV, Death Race 2000 and a few other things I watch on this free alternative to Netflix. (Hey, just because I'm on a darknet doesn't mean everything has to be about copyright infringement.)

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UK newspaper posts moved to their own blog

on Apr 20, 2019 ·
2 comments

In order to allow this blog here to focus more on other kinds of media I'm consuming and sharing, I've created a new blog especially for the "mirror" posts of the BBC News blog The Papers.

In a stroke of imaginative genius, it's called The Papers :)

It even has its own imaginative personalized vanity address!

  • 1Papers8S7fe6LEsa7BwVVywWVbMpUjgwx

You can see the new blog's first post here:

Changes

To those who've been following these newspaper posts, there are a few other changes too.

  • The file name made shorter and includes source name (e.g. BBC.News-The.Papers-2019.04.20.Saturday.html.)
  • The files are now "self-hosted": they are optional files in the blog's own data folder, and no longer uploaded to third-party site ZeroUp Unlimited.
  • I'm no longer writing my own recap of the stories:

    • because it's more work for me!
    • because that cannot be automated (my eventual goal).
    • because you're going to see the stories anyway when you view the article.
    • to reduce space usage.

      So instead of a recap of stories, I'll just "mirror" the original title of the post on the BBC (e.g. Grief and 'outrage' over Lyra McKee death)

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UK Newspapers Front Pages - Friday 19th April 2019

on Apr 19, 2019 · less than 1 min read

📰 UK.Newspapers.Front.Pages-2019.04.19.Friday-BBC.News.html

Stories:

  • Climate protests continue over Easter weekend, might also target Heathrow airport
  • A few constables seen joining in protests' festive spirit, amid anger over police response to the disruption
  • Home Secretary Javid urges police use full force of the law against protests
  • Mueller report details about Trump's reaction to the investigation
  • Prince Charles urges end to "pervasive horror" of knife crime
  • Easter Sunday to be UK's hottest ever
  • NHS "battle plan" to change unhealthy lifestyle of millions
  • UK's tiniest baby born: 12oz (340g)
  • Kids' football club ordered to pay £3,000 to dad for substituting his son
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UK Newspapers Front Pages - Thursday 18th April 2019

on Apr 18, 2019 · less than 1 min read

📰 UK.Newspapers.Front.Pages-2019.04.18.Thursday-BBC.News.html

Stories:

  • Climate protests cause chaos in London, with some accusing police of being soft on protesters while some police accuse mayor Khan of encouraging them
  • David Attenborough warns that climate change is the greatest threat to life on Earth in thousands of years
  • Farage's Brexit Party leads in polls ahead of EU elections
  • Pig brains partially revived after death
  • Half of England owned by less than 1% of population
  • Home secretary Javid splurges on extra policing over Easter weekend to fight knife crime
  • Schoolkids collapse after one brings in hash brownies
  • Deadly coach crash in Madeira
  • Complaints over tax write-off of tycoons' donations to rebuild Notre-Dame cathedral
  • Piranhas in Yorkshire!
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UK Newspapers Front Pages - Wednesday 17th April 2019

on Apr 17, 2019 · less than 1 min read

📰 UK.Newspapers.Front.Pages-2019.04.17.Wednesday-BBC.News.html

Stories:

  • Firefighters saved Notre-Dame from collapse just in time
  • Hundreds of millions of euros pledged to cathedral's reconstruction
  • Minor offences to be removed from criminal records, to improve employment prospects of juvenile offenders
  • Climate change protests in London, police run out of holding cells
  • Mastercard may have to pay every adult in UK £300 compensation for excessive transaction fees
  • Record number of women over 50 in work, due to social change, financial pressure and higher age for state pension
  • After 737 Max crashes, investors demand change in leadership at Boeing
  • Care homes evict elderly tenants whose families complain about abuse
  • Football legend may face ban from the sport over betting scandal
  • Concert details for this year's Proms
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Время и Стекло - "Тролль" (Vremya i Steklo - "Troll")

on Apr 16, 2019 · 1 min read ·
4 comments

🎶

(Note: The videos are 720p WebM format, which was the best quality I could download with sound. But I can't successfully embed WebM videos in ZeroBlog posts, so click the KopyKate links to watch.)

_______________-_______.50pc.webp (640x360)

Время и Стекло (Vremya i Steklo) are a Russian-language pop duo from the Ukraine. I can't remember how I originally came across their video for their song Тролль (Troll) but I remember enjoying the song (sparse bass-heavy dance with singing and rapping) and the video as just great fun, even though I had no idea what they were saying. Apparently it's about a woman meeting a man in a nightclub and her positive and negative impressions of him , with the chorus roughly meaning "Don't troll me / don't cause me misery".

Here's a page with the Russian lyrics and English translation side-by-side. (There are also translations into French, Italian and Portuguese. You can even switch between Cyrllic and Roman alphabet for the Russian.)

Here's an interesting English language article about the group and the song, with a few phrases for those interested in learning Russian.

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UK Newspapers Front Pages - Tuesday 16th April 2019

on Apr 16, 2019 · less than 1 min read

📰 UK.Newspapers.Front.Pages-2019.04.16.Tuesday-BBC.News.html

Stories:

  • Nôtre Dame cathedral in Paris burns
  • Microplastics found in even the remotest locations
  • New "big data" system shows UK economy "lost momentum" in 1st quarter
  • Home Secretary Javid launches Conservative leadership bid
  • 1 in 4 NHS hospital wards have unsafe staffing levels
  • US politician Pelosi warns of no post-Brexit trade deal if Northern Ireland peace agreement is affected
  • Half of statins patients on wrong dose
  • TV celebrity denies being woman who took her top off at football match
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UK Newspapers Front Pages - Monday 15th April 2019

on Apr 15, 2019

See this post for more info.

Adjust browser width until you see the images at native maximum resolution (image width: ~970 pixels).

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UK Newspapers Front Pages - Sunday 14th April 2019

on Apr 14, 2019

📰 Stories: Polling reveals general election now would put Labour in power due to collapse in support for Conservatives over handling of Brexit ● But Corbyn warned failure to back 2nd referendum could lose Labour millions of votes in EU elections ● Recording reveals Corbyn's own concerns about anti-semitism investigation in Labour ● Ministers fear Brexit is "dead" ● Claims that jihadi teen bride Begum was ISIS enforcer, recruiter, and sewer of suicide vests ● Woman jailed in Dubai for Facebook comment describes her "hell" ● Police probe racist attacks on footballer's kids ● Meghan to have water birth ● Commons speaker Bercow to stay in post, with Remainer support ● Assange responsible for his own downfall ● Next Bond film to get script doctoring from creator of sitcom Fleabag

See this post for more info.

Adjust browser width until you see the images at native maximum resolution (image width: ~970 pixels).

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Serbuan Maut (The Raid)

on Apr 13, 2019 · 2 min read

Film, 2011, Indonesia, d. Gareth Huw Evans. Language: Indonesian. English dub available.

To clarify, I watched the 'Sony Pictures Classics' US release titled The Raid: Redemption, with English dub and new score.

The.Raid.Redemption.2011.BRrip.x264.YIFY.webp (1280x720)

The Raid is an action movie from Indonesia about a police SWAT team taking on a crime lord's high-rise fortress, and getting trapped there in a battle to the death with no backup on the way.

Despite the plot devices/holes that mean the police can't call for backup (no radios, no mobile phones etc), I found The Raid to be great entertainment, with a brisk pace, and fights with moves I hadn't seen a hundred times before, or even ever before, and without looking too "forced" or choreographed.

Being a 2000AD / Judge Dredd fan, I saw Dredd (2012) in the cinema, with a similar plot line (and even architecture), albeit with a sci-fi setting, but The Raid didn't suffer in the comparison. I recommend both.

In short, it's a great action flick!

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