Monday, July 18, 2016

Movie Review: Ghostbusters

I've been a bit lax on updating here in the last few weeks, as I'm running to an exam and that's eating a fair bit of my spare time. Hopefully once that's done - and the frantic summer holiday scheduling is over with - things will settle back to normal. I am, of course, still consuming a fair bit of culture, and this weekend I took the Teenager to the cinema for the first time in what seemed like ages, to go see Ghostbusters. Now, I'm a huge fan of Ghostbusters '84, which came out when I was 11, but it's also a film with a good many "of it's time" flaws and a dissapointing sequel, so it's probably no great surprise that the Remake Train eventually reached that stop. This time, they've handed it off to Paul Feig, swapped a cast of male ensemble comedians for a cast of female ensemble comedians, and raised the ire of some of the darker cesspools of the internet. On this latter point I will only say - if this film is part of your "childhood" then you're my age, right? So grow the fuck up. Right, onto the review. 

Thursday, July 7, 2016

TV Review: Penny Dreadful, Series 3

So farewell then, Penny Dreadful. Like your characters themselves, you were glorious to look at, often deeply flawed, occasionally mesmerically wonderful and always, always, mad as a box of frogs.  Showtime/Sky's batty period drama has now finished at the end of it's third series, apparently at the behest of it's creator, rounding off some it's long-running characters in typically over-the-top fashion. After ending it's second season by sending it's cast off on wildly different arcs, and trying to establish some sort of wider mythology, this series focuses back a little, understandably, on the shows core, and makes a game effort to tie it all up neatly. But does it? 

Thursday, June 30, 2016

TV Review: Voltron: Legendary Defender

There's a surprising amount of anime on Netflix, we discovered recently. It's not always the most up to date, and it's not the deepest of catalogues compared to dedicated services such as Crunchyroll, but certainly more than I expected to find given the sparsity of shows coming over to the UK that aren't spin offs from kids video games. It obviously does quite well on Netflix's viewing stats, too, because they've commissioned their own anime-esque show, albeit one aimed slightly younger, and based on one of the great legacy properties from the 1980s - Voltron: Legendary Defender. Now I've seen very little of the original Voltron, but like many a 90s anime fan probably picked up most of the beats through watching the wave of mech-anime that was the fashion at the time. But as a family with viewing tastes well disposed towards Giant Robots fighting, we were on this pretty quickly. 

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

DVD of the Week: Bridge of Spies

I didn't write it up, but last week we watched the recent movie of The Man From UNCLE, a film that can be best be summed as "Okay". I mean, it's fine - functional, inoffensive, but like it's two leading men, hopelessly bland and short of the necesary charm or wit to really make it work. There is a moment in where Hugh Grant turns up and effortlessly outshines everone else and I suddenly realised what was missing. Anyhow, enough of that, because this week we watched another movie set around the Cold War, spies, and even the Berlin Wall, but it really couldn't be more different in nearly every way. After missing it at the cinema, I finally got to see Steven Speilberg's Bridge of Spies

Thursday, June 23, 2016

TV Review: Supergirl, Season 1

And so we come to the end of this year's DC TV Universe Review Extravaganza! Four shows from the CW/CBS stable, three in the same world, and one, because it's on a "grown up" network, out  on it's own barring a single crossover. Because yes, one of these shows jumped from the smaller network on a Major Network, building off the success of it's predecessors and presumably hoping that it can make it as a breakout hit. It's an interesting choice of lead character too; an all too rare female lead; a character that a wider audience may not be aware of, but part of hugely popular brand. I'm talking, of course, about Supergirl, cousin that grumpy guy that was up on cinema screens not so long ago. 

Monday, June 20, 2016

TV Review: Legends of Tomorrow

I think it's fair to say that expectations were running pretty high for Legends of Tomorrow, a full spin-off of both The Flash and Arrow incorporating supporting characters from both, running around time and space. Both their parent shows spent a good amount of time setting it all up to, introducing both it's primary villian, Vandal Savage, and moving it's existing cast members into the right places to picked up in it's opening episodes by suspiciously bearded Rory Pond Rip Hunter and send off on a grand adventure. Sadly, and maybe inevitably, Legends of Tomorrow stutters throughout it's run, sitting in that slight frustrating zone of always being watchable but always falling short of it's true potential. Spoilers under the cut, naturally. 

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Holiday Reading: On Stranger Tides and The Lions of al-Rassan

I feel that I let myself down slightly this year on holiday, as I only managed to get through two books in the week we were away. In my defense we did fill the time with a lot of activity, including (but not limited to) Laser Tag, Quad Biking, a lot of boardgaming and ice cream. All good stuff. But in between all of that I did manage to get in two books, one of which I've been meaning to read for years, and don't have any real excuse for avoiding, and the other I'd not got around thanks to the terrible pirate movie of the same name. But I've read them now, and really enjoyed both, so lets talk a bit about them.