Monday, April 29, 2013

DVD of the Week: Seven Psychopaths

Expectation is a funny thing. When I say Martin McDonagh's last film, In Bruges, I didn't really have high expectations for it other than I'd vaguely heard it was alright. Its picked up quite a following since, so it shouldn't be too much of a surprise to reveal that I was pretty awestruck by it - a witty and dark character-piece masquerading as a crime thriller, anchored by top-notch performances from Colin Farrell, Brendon Gleeson and Ralph Fiennes. Cracking stuff. So when McDonagh's new film came out, expectation was high, especially when it has the excellent title of Seven Psychopaths. And with crushing inevitably, it is slightly disappointing.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Games Review: Bioshock Infinite

I have come to believe that Gaming is in flux at the moment, unsure, as an industry and community, how it wants to be seen. In the last few years Video Games have become an important part of the entertainment business, economically powerful, big games with big marketting engines meaning that big releases can get coverage on the news in the same way a major book or movie might be. So it wants to play with the older kids, but at the same it's also self-concious about it's own immaturity. The Games-as-art debate swirls around it's feet, constantly. The desire for creator-led authorship fights with the desire for player agency. The up-front cost of development fights with the long-tail of DLC and Direct Download sales. Its a pretty exciting time, in many ways.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

DVD of the Week: Silver Linings Playbook

On the occasions that Z and I get to the movies, we seem to have developed a tradition that whilst the trailers are on we wait until the end of the trailer then look at each and pull faces. Its sort of like "Rock-Paper-Scissors" based but with weird expressions, signifying how much we want to see the film we've just seen advertised. I distinctly remember seeing the trailer for Silver Linings Playbook last year, which made it look like a thin and vaguely generic RomCom, and the two of us exchanging expressions that can loosely be summed up as "oh dear god, not another one". And then the reviews got pretty nice about it, and then it was getting a load of awards attention, and we had to face the fact that perhaps - just perhaps - this was a case of shitty generic trailers, rather than a shitty generic film.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Movie Review: Oz The Great and Powerful

You can probably tell I've had some time off recently, due to the amount of movies we seem to have got through recently. Not only that, but I got to an actual cinema not once, but twice! My second trip was with Ewan, to see his choice of Oz The Great and Powerful, the sort-of prequel-but-not-in-a-intellectual-property-infringing-sort-of-way to The Wizard of Oz. So it's based on the books, clearly, not the movie, and any stylistic equivalence is just a happy coincidence, OK? 

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

DVD of the Week: End of Watch

After last weeks experience watch Expendables 2, Z was a little wary when End of Watch turned up this week. She'd not really heard of it, and my airy "I've heard good things about it" isn't always the guarantee of quality that you might expect. Mild scepticism is better than the other common reaction to opening the lovefilm envelope, which is "why is this on the list?", and a modern cop drama isn't high on the list of safe entertainment choices in our house, for all the box sets of The Wire and Justified that we own. Thankfully End of Watch is an interesting and entertaining movie that doesn't seem to have had the interest that it deserved. 

Friday, April 12, 2013

DVD of the Week: The Expendables 2

I quite liked The Expendables. I mean, its dumb as a rock, but it was dumb fun. So we rented Expendables 2 because, well, more of the same right? Well, its sure still dumb. To be honest, I'm not sure I can face reliving it to write it up properly, but for prosperity, here's my comments from my Twitter Feed as I endured it. When the best moment is Chuck Norris doing a 10-year-old "Chuck Norris gag", you know you've got problems.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Movie Review: Trance

Danny Boyle has been doing the rounds to promote his new movie "Trance" so I've now seen him interviewed on it several times. One of the common threads in all his interviews has been that this is the "dark side" to his work on the London Olympic Opening Ceremony; that whilst they were putting together the dancing nurses and parachuting Queens by day, at night he and his team were heading off to shoot a dark, twisty neo-noir thriller so sort of balance their creative Chi. The result is an entertaining, if ultimately shallow film, that clearly wants to be the sort of thing that lingers into the morning after, but unfortunately doesn't.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

TV Review: Young Justice

Cartoon Networks Young Justice has been cancelled after two series, and when it was announced a couple of weeks ago, there much sadness at it's passing. Warner Animation Studios have an excellent track record with handling the DC universe, dating back to the 1990s Batman series and it continuations as far as Justice League Unlimited, and a number of stand-alone projects along side it. Young Justice, focusing on the side-kicks of the great and the good  (at least to start with) always felt like a strong but risky choice, and I can't help but feel that at the root of its demise is a difference between what the network expected, and what it got.