Tuesday, December 16, 2014

DVD of the Week: About Time

It feels like ages since we managed to sit down on a Saturday night and watch a movie, something borne as much from the Autumn rush of new TV as anything else. We've managed to keep up with four - four! - new seasons of superhero telly, plus Doctor Who and my own obsession with Strictly Come Dancing, but this week we finally managed to settle in with the latest DVD we've had from lovefilm, which been gathering dust from October. This turned our to be About Time, the lastest offering from Richard Curtis, promising to be an extremely middle-class rom-com with a smattering of Time Travel Shenanigans. 

Friday, December 12, 2014

Comics Review: Fatale and Gunnerkrigg Court

And so we come back to the sporadic round-up of things we bought at Thoughtbubble, but seem to be taking forever to read through. Indeed, a month on, there are still two or three things left to read, sat up on the sideboard with my 2000AD backlog, which is at least a sign that I got good value for money in terms of buying "stuff" this year. Part of the joys of cons is discovering new things - ongoing series you know you want you can pickup any time, really, but usually when at a con I try and focus on small press stuff, which doesn't get the exposure it often deserves, or more off-beat stuff a natural conservatism would pass over in, say, an actual shop. These two however were things we went intending to buy, so I guess count in neither of those categories. Hmmm. 

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Book Review Roundup: History!


I realised with some pleasure recently that I've hit my target of reading 20 books this year, which may not seem that many to some of you, but feels like an achievement to fit around everything else. It's been an eclectic year and mixed in is a bunch of factual books I've not mentioned here, yet. I'm not quite sure why - many reviews I read of history books tend to double as critiques of the history, as much as the book itself, especially for periods that feel contemporarily relevant, something you'll see a lot this year with all the World War One stuff. Personally I feel that if you're interested in a period you should read around from multiple sources anyway. So with that in mind, here is a round-up, along with a quick summary of why you should read them! 

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Comics Review: Grandville Noel

It's been a couple of weeks since Thoughtbubble, and I'm still slowly but steadily reading through my loot pile, held up thanks to visitors, house decoration and the usual distractions of parenthood. Also, it's a fairly big pile containing a lot of stuff, so I've been reading them through in order of excitement, or in some cases, mood. First off the pile was unquestionably Bryan Talbot's Grandville Noel, which wasn't actually out, officially at Thoughtbubble, and sadly Bryan wasn't there to sign it either, but a couple of stalls had advance copies and I snapped one up as my first purchase. I am an unashamed Bryan Talbot fanboy, and Grandville in particular has always been exceptionally good value to me.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

First Impressions: Star Wars Rebels

It feels strange to admit that I have a large affection for the now defunct Clone Wars TV series. Strange because when it came out it really looked unlikely to ever be the sort of show I could care about, and make an effort to watch. Set between two of the Star Wars prequels - which I've never hated, but certainly never felt more than "sort of liked, with some pretty decent sections" - and featuring whiny Anakin Skywalker and his never-even-hinted-at bratty Apprentice, it doesn't sound promising and its pilot "movie" wasn't that great either. But Clone Wars really grew on me - it handled its characters fantasically, expanded it's horizons, and in the end was a better prequel to the Classic Trilogy than the official Prequel Movies. Oh, and Ahsoka became possibly the best female lead on kids TV that wasn't called Korra. And then it was cancelled, a victim of the Disney buy-out of Lucasfilm, and instead we got Star Wars Rebels. How's that working out?

Monday, November 24, 2014

Box Set Blues: Breaking Bad

I found myself trying to describe what I loved about Breaking Bad to someone the other day and realised that it probably sounded really horrible. Whenever you wind up watching one a show that is so unrelenting dark, something so determined to keep hurting its audience, it's hard not to focus on the horrible things going on, and how horrible everyone is, and then, suddenly, you realise that you probably sound like one of those people that slow down for car accidents to check if they can see the blood. I'm not sure that that is Breaking Bad's attraction - I think I've got a certain intolerance for media that revels in it's own grimness, hence not watching (for example) The Walking Dead - but its swirling darkness is potent and tangible. So what, then, is it? 

Friday, November 21, 2014

Book Review: Declare


Over on the Dissecting Worlds channel, we're currently doing a series on Spies and all things Espionage related. We've just recorded the third episode, on the intersection between horror and the spy genre, and when we mentioned this planned episode a couple of months back, one book kept coming up, and it was one that I've never actually heard of. I guess thats kind of appropriate, right? The book was Declare, by Tim Powers, and when at least four people recommend is a "set text" for the subject, then you really have to read it. I'm really, really glad I did.