Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Rambling: Dublin!

No DVDs or much TV this weekend, as we took a rare opportunity to leave the kids behind (with grandparents, I hasten to add) and jet off for a weekend away. Its not something we get to do very often; the odd convention in the last few years but that's always been UK based, and pretty much every trip abroad we've done in a long time has involved friends or family. Which is cool, but a weekend for "just us" has been long overdue. After some debate, and the "too hot, too cold" game in terms of destinations, we settled on Dublin, which had the benefit of being relatively close and English-speaking, and neither of us had been before, so was a good start for what we hope will be the first of many weekends away. 

Friday, August 15, 2014

Movie Review: Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

The Planet of the Apes movies were one of these series of films that always seemed to be on TV when I was a kid. Actually it always seemed to be Escape from the Planet of the Apes for some reason, but broadly speaking its a series I grew up with, and probably affected my sense of what Science Fiction, as a genre, should be - something that for all its faults wants to be about deeper things. So you can imagine how crushing I found the Tim Burton film, and how hard I fell for Rise of the Planet of the Apes, which could have just been franchise fodder but instead insisted on being a smart, thoughtful movie. A couple of years on we get the inevitable sequel, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, although I can't help but feel that they got the titles the wrong way round.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

DVD of the Week: The Wolf of Wall Street

There aren't many directors for whom I'll just watch a movie because it has their name at the front. The Coen Brothers, for one. Spielberg, for good and ill. Soderburgh. Christopher Nolan is getting there. There are some film makers that just remain diverse and interesting, no matter what they turn their hand to, and so a white box with "new movie by X" on it would still get bought or rented. Included in this list is Martin Scorcese, who I seem to have come to late in life, after not really "getting" in my twenties, due to what I can only assume is a fit of extreme dumbness on my part. Since whatever it is that needed to clicked in brain, I've been a devotee, and some of the gaps on viewing his back catalogue still niggle at the back of my mental watchlist. But he has a new movie just hitting rental, so obviously we watched it as fast as we could.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Box Set Blues: True Detective

If you had any sort of Social Media presence in the earlier part of the year, you had to have noticed that True Detective became "a thing". Which was annoying in part because we were clearly missing out, and in part because it's a Detective show, and the risk of inadvertent spoilers was reaching epidemic levels. Thankfully we now have Sky, who kindly repeated the whole series late at night so people like us could record it, and we managed to (mostly) avoid spoilers outside that we needed to be looking out for some "King in Yellow" references. So, eight episodes later, was it worth all they hype?

Monday, August 4, 2014

Movie Review: Guardians of the Galaxy

First, a confession; For a long time, I really didn't see how Guardians of the Galaxy could succeed. Sure, Marvel Studios are in a solid groove now, with a good reputation for delivering at the minimum solid, at at the best really excellent, blockbuster entertainment, but this just seemed like a step too far. Outside of comics fans - and not all of them at that - who has heard of StarLord and the like? This is the age of pre-loaded franchises, dammit, of playing it safe with established characters, not sailing off into a strange corner of the Cosmic Universe to play with a Talking Raccoon. So lets just say, for the record, that I was dead wrong.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Rambling: Super-Diversity

Well, this feels like sticking my head into shark tank. There seems to be a running debate about the moment about diversity in superhero-land, and sometimes it feels dangerously insane. I'm not talking about the headbanging idiots that seem to think that their toys are being taken away, more that it feels increasingly less like a debate and more a complex series of battlelines designed to facilitate the throwing of insults between people who mostly agree. The latest outbreak seemed to be sparked by Marvel's announcement that the next Thor would be a woman, and the next Captain America would be a black guy, but San Diego Comic Con, and its array of white-guy leading roles let it all simmer along too. Like everyone else, it seems, I have opinions, although they're somewhat contradictory in places, which makes them ill-suited for 140 characters or less.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

DVD of the Week: Her

Joaquin Phoenix stares out of the movie poster for Her with a strangely bemused expression, a little like a puppy confronted with their own misdeeds but really not sure what its done wrong. Its an expression he wears for most of the film, that of someone truly lost, adrift one of those strange worlds that only seem to exist in movies where every has huge apartments and works in interestingly creative jobs. I think the film knows this though, and there is a level of artifice in the construction that rules throughout it, a strange, almost fairy-tale air that tries to talk about love, identity and belonging. Its all very, very, strange.