Thursday, June 27, 2013

DVD of the Week: Les Miserables

If I have a shameful movie-going secret, it's that I am a crier. There is a substantial list of movies that make me cry - not just the ones that get anyone with a soul, like the opening of Up, but even blatantly manipulative stuff like Titanic can leave me all wet-faced and sniffly. Some of it is to do with music, I think, which just makes the problem worse. So it was with some glee that I was lent Les Miserables in the firm knowledge that music + pointless tradgedy = me turning into a puddle. I think I made it about half-an-hour before choking up and it was all downhill from there.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Movie Review: Man of Steel

Ah, Superman, how comic-books seem to struggle with you. You've been around for so long, and have become such an archetype, a god-like, morally upstanding symbol of what everyone thinks of when they think "superhero". Latecomers seem modeled on you, or consciously reacting against you, and whilst the cool kids all want to be Batman, to the wider world there is you, standing in the spotlight, being difficult to write new stories about. Because how do you make such a paragon interesting? Well the latest attempt is here, and I took Ewan to see Man of Steel on Saturday.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Book Review: The City of Dreaming Books

Sometimes there are books that are hard to categorise, that sort of sit in a genre, but aren't really part of that genre in terms of what springs to mind when you mention it. So when I say that the Zamonia series by Walter Moers is fantasy, it certainly is, but at the same time modern fantasy feels defined by grim-dark blood'n'guts epics, not otherworldly, multi-species'd metaphors running off with their own skewed sense of reality. It's Fantastic Fantasy, something that seems a little of fashion at the moment, at least in Anglophone Fantasy circles, which is a shame, because Zamonia is a fun place to hang out. The fourth in the series (although they all stand alone) is The City of Dreaming Books, and somewhat unsurprisingly, it's all about the power of stories and the pains of writing them. 

Monday, June 17, 2013

DVD of the Week: Cockneys vs Zombies

The current wave of Zombie fiction (or should that be Horde?) has got to burn itself out soon, right? I mean, nearly every computer game seems to have some sort of zombie level in it now, TV shows regularly do some sort of "zombie homage" episode, the pop-culture-black-hole of the mash-up genre seems to be reduced to "....and zombies". Zombies. Zombies. Zombies. I've never been a huge fan of the sub-genre - with some notable exceptions - but i recognise the fun that can be had with it, and am certainly happy to paddle in the shallow end of "zombie comedy", rather than the more nihilistic "proper horror" deep end. Which brings us to Cockneys vs Zombies, a zombie comedy that appears to be happening just around the corner from Shaun of the Dead.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Book Review: Red Seas under Red Skies

Sometimes I think that there is nothing worse you can do for a piece of media - be it games, books, films, television, whatever - than to thrust it upon someone with a wild look in your eye and the exhortation "oh you must read this! You'll love it!". And so it was with Scott Lynch's The Lies of Locke Lamora, which when I set out to read my way though the Fantasy Genre a couple of years back, was held up by several people as "the one" that would sell me on the genre forever. As it was, I thought it was OK, but a little flawed, and went and fell for Joe Abercrombie and Adrian Tchaikovsky instead. I did lend it to Z though, who liked it more than I did, certainly enough to buy the sequel, Red Seas under Red Skies. which was passed down to me when she finished with it.

Monday, June 10, 2013

DVD(s) of the Week: More Catching Up!

Time of another catch up the DVDs we've watched over the last few weeks. A bit of an eclectic mix, but thats the benefit (?) of random lists, I guess. Also, whilst a few of the bigger films of the Oscar-bait period are now starting to come out on DVD, annoyingly a lot of them are being held from rental for an extra couple of months, which I don't really understand. After all, whilst I'd like to see, say, Les Miserables, I'm not going to rush out and spend £15 buying it, I'm just going to wait, whilst vaguely resenting the studios distribution policy.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

TV Review: Doctor Who: Series 7b

So, as I write the news has broken that Matt Smith is standing down as the Eleventh Doctor at Christmas, so we can all look forward to a regeneration story, a new Doctor, and weeks, if not months, or people on the internet pontification on what the next Doctor MUST be like, else disaster. I may even join in at some point. But for now, the second half of Season 7 has just ended, so before we look forward, we should look back. A new companion, a new mystery arc, and a big anniversary to build up to; how will the Doctor face these challenges?