I had an exam yesterday, in the centre of Leeds, which meant that I had a rare afternoon to kill on my own afterwards, which I decided to spend at the cinema. I've not been to the movies on my own for a very long time - over a decade, at least - but I'm a big boy now and I don't need Z to hold my hand! And being a Big Boy, who'd just had his nose in the books, I obviously went for what looked to be the biggest, loudest, crashiest movie out there - Max Mad Fury Road. I got what I wanted, and then a lot more on top.
Wednesday, May 20, 2015
Thursday, May 14, 2015
Not being a young adult, much of the recent "Young Adult" boom has passed me by. As much as anything this is because it's simply not aimed at me, and so many of the beats that make it popular with say, teenagers, are ones that I'm very familiar with (as YA existed long before it got it's own shelves at Waterstones) or don't appeal because I'm forced to admit that I'm not probably sort-of middle aged. Dammit. Anyway, the one series that does seem to have connected with me is the Hunger Games - I enjoyed the books, and the first two films were both corking good fun, anchored in strong performances and smart adaptation choices. However, as is the way of things, they have split the final book in two, and we've only just caught up with Mockingjay, Part 1, and will have to wait for the proper finale later this year.
Tuesday, May 12, 2015
If I can be permitted to observe one of Breaking Bads very few flaws, it was that outside of Walt and occasionally Jessie, we saw very little of the any of the characters as independent agents. They pretty much all exist to be foils, or metaphorical warnings, or counterpoints, to Walt and his rise/fall to villainy. As such. I've never been too sure about the idea of spinning any of them off, because the really interesting characters in that mix are often either a) dead, or b) built on mystique anyway, and often both. Also, is it a world worth exploring? Breaking Bad is a deeply personal story, not a portrait of a wider world, which is, of course, ours to start with. But we have a spin off, based on a supporting character, and that is Better Call Saul, based around Saul Goodman, sleezebag lawyer extraordinaire.
Thursday, May 7, 2015
As anyone who is lucky (!) enough to follow my twitter feed, or know me on Facebook knows, one of the big hobbies I've got back into over the last couple of years is scale figure painting. It's not the first time I've had this as a pastime - at least two phases as a kid, the odd dabble through my early 20s and then during my time is hospital, where I did quite a bit to pass the time. This most recent phase is probably - creatively - my best, which comes with age and patience, and has mostly been centred around Warhammer 40k, because I like the figures and the background and even occasionally get to play the game. I usually stick the odd picture up and no-one really cares much, unless you're also a 40k fan. And then I thought I'd do something different and bought a Viper Mk2 set, and suddenly everyone - relatively speaking - seemed interesting. So here's some more pics, and thoughts.
Tuesday, May 5, 2015
Marvel's Avengers Assemble burst onto our cinemas screens as a remarkable Victory Lap for "Phase 1" of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. These days, with "universes" being quite the thing for big franchises, it's easy to forget that it was a really astounding achievement - a series of stand-alone movies with different characters that build to a giant cross-over incorporating elements from each of them. Not only did all these films get made - but they were all pretty good, and all pretty successful, and Avengers Assemble went on be a enormous smash hit, a rowdy, crowd-pleasing smash hit. A fews year on the MCU has become a seemingly unstoppable juggernaut; it's last two films, The Winter Soldier and Guardians of the Galaxy, are amongst it best, and most successful, and now "Phase 2" is rounded out with another great big crossover - Avengers: Age of Ultron. (warning: light spoilers)
Thursday, April 30, 2015
Since our bad experience with the somewhat painful A Million Ways to Die in the West (spoiler: one of them is probably "being forced to watch comedy movies that aren't actually funny") we've had a few weeks off Saturday Night Movie Night. In fairness I can't blame it on that film, more that we started on Daredevil, and then Z wouldn't actually let me watch anything else until we'd burned through it. Not that I'm complaining, because Daredevil was ace, but we do now have quite the additional backlog of films and telly to catch up with. First off the grid this week was Nightcrawler, whose dark and sinister tone fit right in alongside the dark and sinister adventures we'd just seen in Hells Kitchen.
Monday, April 27, 2015
One of things that all the current crop of superhero shows - an ever increasing list, looking forward to next autumn - is that they all seem to want to stay safely middle-of-the-road. Most of them wear their superheroic costumes over well-established formats - The Flash's "freak of the week", Arrow's soap operatic character work, Gotham's crime procedural roots - and for the most part it works pretty well for them. And why shouldn't they? After all, "comics" isn't a genre, it's a format, and it's adaptations would do well to remember that. But the other thing they have in common is that by and large they're staying mass market, middle-of-the-road sort of shows on major networks. It wasn't until Netflix picked up Daredevil that we would see a superhero show wearing it's costume over a different sort of skin, that of the "quality, cable" end of the spectrum. So it was always going to be something a little bit different.