Sunday, December 30, 2012

Movie Review: The Hobbit

So it seems that increasingly any sort of commentary on a movie needs to be prefaced by a disclaimer of technical information relating the format that we watched the film in. So with that in mind, we went to see The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey this week, and we saw it in 2D, 24FPS, non-IMAX, digitally projected, standard seating and no popcorn format. There is a whole post in how ridiculous this is getting, but for now let us say that I saw this in "normal" cinematic format, so I can't comment on anything other than, y'know, the content of the movie. Which lets be honest, is how it should be!

Anyway, the film.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Games Review: Dishonored

I got to the end of Dishonored, and the game made me feel like a bad, bad man. Having finally rescued Emily, the young girl you've spent the game trying to protect, she looked at, and told me her plans with something terrible in her voice, and something changed in her face. She had learned, not from the things done to her, but by the example I had set her in my quest to free her. Just for a moment, I shivered at the "bad ending" that I had created.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Games Review: DOTA2

There are games that are easy to explain, games that can be intuited without needing to be hands on, and Valves' DOTA 2 is not one of them. It is however, remarkably easy to pick up once you're in the game, and in a brief window between the game starting, and the learning curve crashing away from under your feet, it all looks very promising and straightforward. But it isn't. Its fiendishly complex and intricate, and compellingly addictive.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Reading Plans, or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love my "To Be Read" Pile

First up, the comics world seems to be buzzing with the news of Gail Simone's removal from Batgirl over the weekend. In some ways I don't have a dog in the fight, as I don't read Batgirl (or any other "Big Two" comics) but two thoughts leap to mind. First, firing someone by email is shitty and cowardly, even if they are the tea-boy, never mind one of your flagship writers. Secondly, regardless of the rights and wrongs of the decision, an industry sector with a growing image problem regards female characters and female audiences, should probably think really fucking hard before adding female creators to the list of the disenfranchised.

Anyway, to what I was actually thinking about.

I've been thinking a lot recently about what to read next year. You see, several years ago I had the shock the realisation that I didn't read anymore, and that was a bit of a kick in the self-image. I'd always been a reader, I'd always had a book on the go, and suddenly, I wasn't and I didn't. So in an attempt to force myself back into a pattern, I came up with the idea of reading lists - planning a list of themed books and reading through them (and blogging about them) as a way of getting back in the habit.

So first I picked 12 "Great American Novels", and then I moved onto 20 Crime Novels. After that, I did Fantasy novels - a genre i'd never got on with - and the folks at Geek Syndicate let me post them up on their site, which was pretty cool. After that I did post-apocalypse novels and this year I'd done Horror. The tourism into different genres has been wonderfully broadening and I heartily recommend it. Its too easy to just read the same stuff, and think that's all that's out there. However, now I'm hitting an unexpected side effect of these projects, which is causing me a few problems.

I'd like to read more Hemingway. I want to read all of "The Dark Tower". I should probably give Scott Lynch another go because many of my friends rave about him and I want to make sure I'm not missing something there. I've not read much Science Fiction - my first literary love - for a long time and want to go back to it, but not sure I could do a year of it. I've unread novels by James Ellroy, Adrian Tchaikovsky and David Brin to get through. I'd asked for at least two History Tomes for Christmas.

So, yeah.

I suspect I'll still try and put together a list this year, but one without theme, just an aspiration of books and authors I want to read, books and authors I'd only discovered from the previous years lists. But no matter what I end up reading, the important thing is this: I'm a reader, once again.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

DVD catch-up, November 2012

Yes, I know it's December. But it's only just December, and I meant to post this last week, when it was still November. That counts, right? Anyway, the bi-monthly round up of DVDs provided to us at semi-random from lovefilm continues after the break.