Gosh it has been a while since I got anything down here, but life, as they say, barrels onwards towards the existential horror of the Heat Death of the Universe, or something like that. We've been busy, and one of the things I wanted to get down on (virtual) paper was mine and Ewan's experience at our first competitive gaming tournament, an X-Wing Miniatures Game Regional held at IQ Gaming in Huddersfield last weekend. Neither of us have done anything like this before, so it was with some trepidation we found ourselves in a 3-storey building full of gaming tables and about 130 competitors. So here's how I got on.
Thursday, November 24, 2016
Friday, October 28, 2016
It's almost getting to the point where the release of a new Marvel Studios Movie is greeted with a wave of reviews that almost copy/pasted from the last one, along with the usual barrage of "hot takes". After all, Doctor Strange is the fourteenth film in the MCU, a movie franchise with patterns just as strongly established as say, James Bond, so to an extent if you like the others (to lesser or greater degrees) you can be confident you'll like this, and vice versa. Marvel has a process, and a template, that it know works, and it's not going to change those fundamentals until it can be demonstrated that they don't work. Maybe this sounds defensive, but it's not supposed to - I like the MCU films, I get out of them what I want from them, but at the same time much of the commentary around is superfluous, unless something radically differnet happens. And Doctor Strange isn't radically different, not really, attempted appearances to the contrary.
Thursday, October 27, 2016
One of the reasons I keep this blog is that I have a record of what I thought about something in the immediate period after experiencing it. I find it useful and interesting to flick back because I can think of a lot of Books, Films, or other media that I've grown to dislike through memory or social influence, and others where they've lived with me for a long time, making me appreciate them more. It's also just a useful channel for my urge to "talk about stuff" lets me get it out of my head and move on a little bit. I guess that's the diarists main driver, even if this is (mostly) limited to cultural consumption. Anyway, on the reading front I've been heavily distracted by Stephen King's The Dark Tower series (now on Book 5!) but here's a quick run down of what I've been reading as refreshers in between.
Tuesday, October 18, 2016
One of the games I was most looking forward to on the PS4 was Arkham Knight, which I'd avoided on the PC due to it's extremely buggy release state. I'm sorry to say that it's a crushing dissapointment, deciding quite deliberately to move away from what was fun the earlier games - hanging around on rooftops being Batman - towards being an underwhelming Batmobile driving simulator and anti-tank shooting simulator. What good ideas and execution it has is lost on constantly being forced to use a bloody car that is no fun to use, and in the end I gave up in disgust, a sad end to a pretty great series. On the plus side, I've been playing a lot of Destiny, which I'm finding pretty damn great.
Wednesday, October 12, 2016
Last week we caught a rewatch of the Coen Brothers rather excellent Hail, Caesar, which is probably best described as a quirky take on the Hollywood of the late 1940s and early 1950s, if that era was telling the story itself. It's sharp, and tongue-in-cheek and I suspect there is a lot of gags I don't get at the expense of Hollywood fixtures of the period, although I certainly got a few, not least thanks to the excellent You Must Remember This podcast which covers the period. In a serendipidous moment, the movie we had for this week also covers the same period, that of the Blacklist, and the late "Golden Age", Trumbo.
Wednesday, October 5, 2016
I'm pretty wary about Disneys new "big idea" to go back and remake it's animated classics as live action pictures. I guess it's a decent way to keep these legacy properties (and their relevant merchandise) in the public eye, and it's easy to market to adults likely to bring their kids along due to nostalgia for the originals. But Alice in Wonderland was rubbish, and Cinderella was workmanlike, and now they've done The Jungle Book with realistic looking animals (mostly) and if it wasn't for the fact it got actually decent reviews I don't think I'd have bothered with it on principle. That said, I do have a nostalgic fondest for the original and I do have kids, so at the very least that part of the plan worked for Disney.
Tuesday, September 27, 2016
Finally! Despite a strong temptation to rewatch Hail Caesar! we got our act together and after much procrastination, finally got around to Straight Outta Compton. I would be the first to admit that the rise of NWA and West-Coast Rap totally passed me by, being a white, middle-class kid from the North East of England, and not the sort of one who ever felt to need to pretend they were "street" either. I was aware of it, of course, and even listened to some of it, but deep down I'd have been hard pushed to tell my Ice Cube from my Vanilla Ice (as a totally different song goes!), never mind have any real grasp on the byzantine web of rivalries and relationships that seemed to be behind it all. So, does the movie shed any light on this and convert me over to the scene?