Archive for the ‘Films’ Category

Playing DVDs with Ubuntu Desktop (10.10)…

August 2nd, 2011 No comments

This is more of an aide-mémoire for me than a public guide. If it is helpful for other people then I am happy to make it available. If anyone has any comments or suggestion please contact me.

. . .

After installing Ubuntu Desktop (10.10) you need a few extra packages to read/play DVDs. These packages are provided by:

First thing to do is open up a terminal window and add the new source locations to APT:

$ sudo wget -O /etc/apt/sources.list.d/medibuntu.list

Then update APT and install the mediabuntu keyring:

$ sudo apt-get update
$ sudo apt-get install medibuntu-keyring
$ sudo apt-get update

Then install the required packages:

$ sudo apt-get install libdvdcss2

(Optionally) Install the w32 codecs to support (wmv, quicktime, realplayer):

$ sudo apt-get install w32codecs

If you haven’t already done so install VLC (the absolute king of media players):

$ sudo apt-get install vlc

If all went well you should now be able to play DVDs…

Categories: Computer Hardware, DVD, Films, Linux, Ubuntu Tags:

Star Trek

May 19th, 2009 No comments

Hmmm, where to start? The quick and easy answer is I liked it… However (and there is always an ‘however’ as you will soon come to realise) I came out of the cinema feeling, I suppose the word is cheated. Something just didn’t sit right. Before I explore my issue(s) with the film (and in accordance with the well understood management tactic of ‘praise – criticise – praise’) I will point out its many amiable qualities.

Would he be choked up..?

Would he be choked up..?

The casting was very well done – Kirk, Spock and Bones were very convincing. Zachary Quinto’s Spock was very well done indeed. Sulu and Uhura didn’t quite feel right, however I am sure that they will grow on me over the next instalments (of which I’m sure there will be many*). Chekov was the least convincing of the crew/cast, all I can say is he that he sounded Russian. Scotty, played by Simon Pegg looked and sounded the part, but I have a terrible feeling they will use this character as comic relief from now on, he even has a Disney-esque buddy sidekick (who I’m sure will get up to some hilarious antics!).

The set design was fantastic, with Vulcan being my favourite (I loved the stalactite/stalagmite design with the buildings almost dripping from the stone edifices). The Enterprise was also very well done, maintaining the original identifiable shape but with a few sleek add-ons. My only concern with the Enterprise was the over use of silo storage tanks and huge ‘tubes’ for engineering, giving it a 1940’s battleship feel, it also looked cheap (shining swirling lights on the end of a stainless steel tank is, quite frankly, naff!).

Now for the nasty bit! The plot and its execution was (in the vernacular ‘piss’) poor, this I suspect was because of the underlying direction in which I believe the production team wished to push it. When using ‘time travel’ as a core plot device in a film (or any story for that matter) you have to be very careful with how you handle the ‘time-line’ or ‘time-lines’. The Star Trek franchise has made use of time travel a number of times, it being a central theme in the fourth film ‘The Voyage Home’ (the one with the whales), and in all their travels through time it has always been assumed that time is linear, i.e. you can move back and forward along this time-line but it is always the same line (no splits!). This new film changes all that…

It is the use of a split in the Star Trek history line that I feel is unneeded and unwelcome. This film drives a wedge into the Star Trek universe and splits it in two; one slice being every other film and TV episode ever made, and the other slice being this film (and all future films). It is this disregard to the ‘history’ (both past and present) of the Star Trek universe that I dislike the most. The production team is basically saying: “Forget everything that happened, we have changed it!”.

Don’t get me wrong, I understand why they have done it, it gives them a clean sheet with which they can create whole new adventures. It may even work, and its not as if I’ll be boycotting future film releases. Part of me (probably the anti-trekkie bit) agrees with their decision to do it. However I still think it was unnecessary. There is unlimited scope in the original Star Trek universe to play out future stories. With careful writing you could even build in elements from the original TV series.

Another of the plus points were the occasional nods and winks the films made. Such as the old ‘if you’re in red and heading down to the planet, you’re not coming back’… Or the long forgotten love interest, no not that one, the other one!

All in all I’d give it a 3 out of 5, and I would recommend it to others. A good effort, but could do better next time…

Categories: Culture, Films Tags: