Thursday, October 27, 2016

Book Review Catch-up!

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

Games Review: Destiny

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

DVD of the Week: Trumbo

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

DVD of the Week: The Jungle Book

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

DVD of the Week: Straight Outta Compton

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? 

Friday, September 23, 2016

DVD of the Week: High-Rise

We've had Straight Out of Compton sat on our coffee table for about six weeks now. I really want to see it, but things keep getting in the way - usually other movies that I'd rather see more, or on occassion just a desire to see something lighter or more comfortable than I imagine it to be. Maybe this week, but maybe not, especially with Strictly Come Dancing being back this week. I know, I know. Anyhow, this week a film I've wanted to see since it was announced dropped through the letter box - Ben Wheatley's adaptation of J G Ballard's High-Rise. Ambitious, but full of acting talent and from a director with good past form, this was something I really had to see. 

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Movie Review: Kubo and the Two Strings

I had a strange thought coming out of Kubo and the Two Strings, the latest glorious stop-motion picture out of Laika, which is that it is strange that we are currently seeing more emotional depth coming out of movies obstensively aimed at children, than those aimed at broader, older audiences. I like my blockbusters, but they're really, really ephemeral, so much that we sometimes talk about the Planet of the Apes films as "smart blockbusters" because they at least attempt to acknowledge the existance of actual ideas, but largely multiplex fodder is just that. What they rarely are is about stuff, apparently content to leave that field for the winter season oscar contenders and, strangely enough, kids movies.