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Każdy kraj miał swoje mody (For the Love of Cars, 2014; Car SOS: 2013-2014; Wheeler Dealers, 2003-2014)

Interested in old cars? Or just in mechanics? Years ago, I watched on I-can’t-remember-which cable channel some shows dedicated to car being restored. Notably about old american cars made into hotrods (the show was quite disturbing since it had some boring reality-tv ingredients) or land rover restoration.

Although one season was made, For the Love of Cars is a good quality show. You have two guys teaming up, an actor (Philip Glenister) and a car restoration expert (Ant Anstead) and they take cars that are of a specific matter to british automotive history: Ford Escort Mark 1 Mexico; Land Rover Series 1; Triumph Stag (I was not familiar at all with this one); Mini Cooper Mk 1; MG TC; DeLorean DMC12.

They manage to include interviews of unexecpted enthusiasts of interest. For the Mexico, and old copper and an old car thief are interviewed and meet so they can discuss good old time. For the Land Rover, the show present us a guy that travelled through the world with a similar model, etc. Ant Anstead shows a lot of the restoration process, it’s a must watch.

Car SOS does not even get his own en.wikipedia page. That is to say that’s a bit of cheap version of For the Love of Cars. Here, you have Tim Shaw, tv host, as Philip Glenister, and Fuzz Townshend, bus mechanic and drummer as Ant Anstead. The idea of the shows is to meet people that have a car dying in some garage and to repair it. Usually, it’s the car of the father and there is a sob story about why it has not been fixed but abandoned over years. Not a bad idea – but when you see a guy playing golf and driving very expensive car, it looks funny, to say the least, to think he really need a free restoration of one of his cars. In some others cases, you can see that some guy get totally moved by seing his car even better than when he bought it decades ago. And that’s nice. A drawback of this show is that it often miss to describe and show the restoration process. And often too, they just buy parts or almost complete cars instead of fixing what they have; but that’s probably tied to the concept of the show: they start sometimes with cars beyond salvation so major parts just need to be completely replaced.

I’ll mention last the show that is actually the oldest but that I’ve just started to watch. It’s Wheeler Dealers. Here you have the buyer (since it started in 2003, I cannot keep considering For the Love of Cars as the reference), Mike Brewer, real car trader, and the mechanic, Edd China, Edd China is as impressive as Ant Anstead, in his own way. No matter what car Mike Brewer brings, whether it’s a BWM 840ci with a 4000 cm3 engine and lot of electronics or a BMW Isetta, microcar with 247 cm3 engine, whether the fix is about engine or the car shell, he get the job done. Plus he shows lot of tricks and tips. That’s great. This guy famous for fatest moving toilet/furniture world records knows his business.  And, you got it, Mike Brewer is providing him with a large range of cars. He’s always very happy with what he bought. But why would he not, since he went for it? Depending on the seasons, the initial buy got a price limit (first £1000, later £2000, then £3000, etc). It’s kind of obvious that if you buy the same car as Mike Brewer but don’t have an Edd China, with the knowledge and the tools, around, you’ll probably wont make any profit. Still, it does not make the show less interesting.

 If you can’t watch the show, you can always buy a Maluch. I na niego mocno chuchał, Mały, tani, na urlopy, Zjeździł z nami pół Europy.

Update: It turns out Edd China worked on Father Ted!

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Nie płaczcie panny, nie płaczcie za nami, Obowiązek wypełnić musimy (Afterfall: Reconquest, 2015)

Afterfall: Reconquest seems promising: an episodic story-driven third-person shooter video game with action and adventure elements in some post-apocalyptic world, inspired by S.T.A.L.K.E.R. (except it does not take place in post-Chernobyl Pripyat but in some New Poland, buffer zone in an alternate history where nazi germany was not defeated). I tried to play episode 1 and it really fit the bill: as much as S.T.A.L.K.E.R. after the release, it’s good enough for you to be seriously interested but the interface and several bugs prevents you to explore more.

I cannot play with the keyboard: keys are not configurable and not properly set for AZERTY keyboard. So I’m forced to play with a gamepad and then mouvements are overly slow and clumsy: I’m dying at every corner just because my guy takes ages to properly aim. Aside from that, the game is not overly responsive despite the fact that I’m using a decent rig. There’s a lot of screen tearing. Plus the all black and white -with some rare colors- is giving me headaches. As result, the game is hard to play, you are fighting with it.

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I hope they’ll work that, even though it’s probably a bit late already. Because the story seems otherwise good and the graphics are great. It deserves to be fixed. As much as S.T.A.L.K.E.R. would have deserved a real multiplayer mode. Będziem was czekać.

 

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All is safe and all is good but lately I’ve had dreams of blood (The Detail, 2014)

Presented as “The Detail combines the emotional impact of Telltale Games’ The Walking Dead with the themes of a realistic crime drama like HBO’s The Wire, delivered with our own unique visual style inspired heavily by graphic novels.”, I was afraid it would be too-much.

As the next prick, I both love The Wire (not that much season 2) and dislike pricks that love The Wire – I watched it first when it was on air though. So anything pretending to be related in any way to The Wire has to be treated with suspicion. But the game was on sale so I went for it.

And I’m actually glad I did. So far (the game is delivered by episodes) The Detail is good. Not surprinsingly, it depict a sick sad world, it was not expected to be original in this regard.

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The characters are likely, the graphics are nice and the gameplay is really well thought of, you navigate a bit in a comic. I dare say Telltale people should take a look at it, there are some good ideas. From time to times, the interface is inconvenient but it’s very rare (I was also forced to play with the gamepad, but that’s the same with Telltale games and their keyboard setup stuck to QWERTY keyboard). Ambiance wise, in my opinion it does not relates that much to The Wire or The Walking Dead but more obviously to NYPD Blue (already mentioned there): the main cop in the game is totally a Sipowicz in any aspects.

I’m looking forward the following episode or any other game from Rival Games. You had me where you want me so you thought.

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Piszę do Ciebie mały gryps, wiedz że broniłem poczty w Gdańsku… (Westerplatte Broni Sie Nadal, 1967; Tajemnica Westerplatte, 2013)

A Battle of Thermopylae during early-WWII? It did not happen during la Bataille de France, when we managed to loose against an enemy not that much stronger (except aircraft-wise – long time I’ve talked about armored vehicules on this blog). 8 month earlier, during Fall Weiß, in Westerplatte, you had your 209 guys defending against circa 3500. They were tasked to hold this little piece of land around Gdańsk/Danzig, obviously overly symbolic for Germany in the same fashion as Eupen-Malmedy or Elsaß-Lothringen (up for grabs). And that’s exactly where WWII started for Poland.

 With a decent amount of machine gun and not much else, they were supposed to stand for 12 hours until reinforcements. They were never reinforced but stood nonetheless 6 days.

 Good movie material, wouldn’t you say? There are actually two movies made about it.

Westerplatte Broni Sie Nadal was made in 1967 by Stanisław Różewicz. Kind of conventional in fight scenes, some dialogs made me wonder. For instance, there is a scene where polish officiers discuss reddition, afraid they might actually get shot on the spot: one of them mention he was himself in Prussian army during WWI and witness that germans are not per se criminals. Could be a simple fact: any random man born in these contested territories might have been involved on one or another side depending on the timeline. Could also be seen as a communist point of view to which no national allegiance matters, honoring the fighters but sligthly disregarding their cause nonetheless. Thinking about this, I’m curious to know how many movies were made about WWII in Poland during the communist era. The year is 1939. August 24th, Nazi Germany sign a non-aggression pact with Soviet Russia – even if the secret provisions are not yet known. September the 1st, Nazi Germany invade. September 17th, Soviet Russia invade Poland. Short acceptable timeline. Kind of hard for Soviets to looks like they’re part of the good guys in this story, and I’m not going as far as talking mass-murders and deportation. Soviet Russia actually started what is called there the Great Patriotic War against Nazi Germany war by attacking on their rear people defending against Nazi Germany. If that was a joke, it would be funny. It’s not.

Tajemnica Westerplatte was directed in 2013 by Paweł Chochlew. However slow at times, it’s decently done, good dialogs, comedians (Michał Żebrowski: Jan Skrzetuski in Ogniem i mieczem; Geralt of Rivia in Wiedźmin – the Witcher movie which I’ll watch any time soon but I’ve been told is astonishingly cheap; surprisingly Polish hetman Kybowsky in Kremlin-sponsored movie 1612released on November 1, 2007  to coincide with the celebrations of National Unity Day on November 4 that marks the expulsion of Polish troops from Moscow”, that he does not find more anti-polish that Ogniem i mieczem would be anti-ukrainian), special effects. In Tajemnica Westerplatte too there are debates among officiers -and troops- about whether they should surrender or not.

not a polish flag

In 1967 movie, Major Henryk Sucharski was outright portrayed a charismatic, down-to-earth, caring, commander of Westerplatte. Each time he thought about surrender, he did it with regards of saving lives of his troops. Each time, except when he actually surrendered, he consulted with his fellow officers. It was stressed several times that, unlike his second, Captain Franciszek Dąbrowski -much more warmongering-, he was a son of peasants like the rest of the soldiers. In this new movie, Sucharski would be shell-shocked and Dąbrowski in command.

It apparently leds to arguments summarized on wikipedia as “(the dispute) centres on the question of who commanded the defence of Westerplatte […]. Interestingly, this dispute does not involve historians since it is not taking place as an academic debate. It is the domain of disputes of people passionate about history on the internet and in the press, in an atmosphere of gradual and consistent repetition of various unconfirmed sources […] This dispute has gone so far beyond its narrow circle of fans of the internet, moving into the mass media as a dispute over a film script and the spending of public money on a film which aims to show the new ‘truth’ about the defence of Westerplatte […] Regardless of the disputes, Sucharski and the two hundred other defenders of the WST will remain in the circle of good memory, regardless of whether they wanted to defend it to their last bullet, or whether they contemplated putting down arms already after 12 hours of the first shot of the Schleswig-Holstein on 1 September 1939″.

As a matter of fact, even in most hardcore german units where fanatism was a priority matter, giving up when there was no longer any ammunition and mean to continue the fight was not considered undignified. No matter how much true they historically are, none of this couple of movies is depicting a shaming way the defence of Westerplatte, on the contrary.

the end
Tych parę słów na koniec już, wspominajcie mnie i pożegnajcie, Gdy odnajdziecie gdzieś mój grób, dopiszcie “bronił Poczty Polskiej”

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Silence warps through the halls (Alan Wake, 2012; Murdered: Soul Suspect, 2014)

Did I ever tell that I’m not fan of horror-based-whatever? Why would I enjoy putting myself into a serious disconfort? I did not like Doom 3 because it was all that: crap appearing behind your back to suscitate sudden fear, nothing more.

There are games somehow horror-related that I enjoyed nontheless – fear was a part of them but not the only content. Alan Wake is a good example. The gameplay is both and innovating, thriller story is captivating, fear is the beat of the game and not its essence.

Murdered: Soul Suspect is made in a similar fashion. You can be frigthened/surprised a bit but since your character is already dead (I dont think I spoiled much here, it happens as soon as the game starts) you don’t feel you risk too much. The story is quite conventional but quite solid. Graphics are clean. Ambiance (sounds, visuals) well set. While non-essential, I’d almost recommend playing it. Unless you have to pay it’s full price. Because the gameplay is a clunky as a console-designed game usually is. Because it’s buggish: I had my share of issues (unexpected framerate drop, sound out of sync with image during cutscenes, etc) that could not be fixed, enough for me to look on the support pages to find many similar reports. Because of very backward design in some regards (cutscene prerendered and in low quality, forced advertisement videos on game startup not even letting the game load on background, etc). 30€ is too much for a play-once buggy but otherwise fine adventure.

Silver moon silhouette, In due time you will forget