Thursday, October 30, 2014

Rambling: DC vs Marvel Movie Showdown

Anyone paying much attention to either the movie news or the comic book world news (or both, if you're like me) will have noticed that in the last few weeks both Warner Brothers (who own DC) and Marvel Studios have announced their upcoming slate of superhero movies for the rest of the decade. This is ignited a lot of chatter, a lot of excitement on the main but also a good helping of snark and some of the good old tedious Marvel vs DC argument. I have to admit I'm a good deal more excited about the Marvel properties than the DC ones, which has led to a little bit of self examination, as historically I've always been a much bigger DC fan. So, if you'll bear with me, this will hopefully go some way to bearing out my thoughts. 

Monday, October 27, 2014

First Impressions: Gotham

What a time it is to be a fan of capes'n'tights-themed comic books. A few years back, if someone had told me that the biggest film of the year would be based on the Guardians of the Galaxy, I would have called them mad. If they then went on say that the autumn TV schedules would feature five superhero shows I would have been on the phone to the local sanitarium. I mean, thats crazy talk, few supers shows have succeeded in the past, and even the ones that did are rarely fondly remembered, for all we're getting nostalgic about Adam West these days. And yet, here we are, As Agents of SHIELD enters its second year, and Arrow its third, one of this years newcomers is Gotham, which has now shipped out two episodes in the UK. So, how does it start?

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Book Review: The Bone Clocks

I think its safe to say that I was a huge fan of Cloud Atlas, by David Mitchell. It hit just the right note of pretentious cleverness and playful genre-savvy, and managed to sweep me along with a bold structure, well drawn characters and great sense of what each section was, making it one of my favorite books of the last decade or so. I've been remiss in catching up with the rest of Mitchell's work, but I found out he had a new book - The Bone Clocks - released just as I was needing something to get stuck into for a couple of long hauls flights (that I'm sure I'll shut up about soon). And that just seemed like too good an opportunity to miss.

Friday, October 17, 2014

(Another) DVD of the Week: X-Men: Days of Future Past

So the second movie of last week's long-haul flights was one I wanted to catch in the cinema but missed - X-Men: Days of Future Past. It was one of the films out this year that I wanted to see, but always held a slight fear for; the casting sounded overly cluttered, the franchise itself hasn't always been a mark of quality, and it felt like a little bit of a backward step after the interesting clean break that was X-Men: First Class. Still, that cluttered cast is made up of one hell of a line-up, Bryan Singer was a sure hand behind the first two X-Men movies, and it's a revered storyline with a lot of potential. So i'd be crazy to pass up the chance to watch it. 

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

DVD of the Week: Edge of Tomorrow

I may have mentioned that I spent last week in India, which meant that I spent a lot of time on a plane to get there. The upside of being cramped into cattle-class for up to eight hours at a time was that at least I got to catch up on a couple of movies that I hadn't seen. The in-flight magazine was really, really keen on getting me watch Transformers: Age of Extinction, but given that the trailer has enough dumb in it to concuss a Robot Dinosaur, I decided to spare myself that pain, and indeed that of my fellow passengers would probably have to listen to be complain about it. So on the outward flight I settled in with Edge of Tomorrow, which underperformed at the box office yet seems to have picked up a bit of a reputation for being actually rather good.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Rambling: India, Part the Third

So the trip home works like this; up at 1.30am (local time) to check out of the hotel and then get a car to the airport. Bag drop, security, immigration, and a bleary couple of hours sat around before being loaded onto a plane for 4.40am departure to Doha. Arrive Doha and at least find a decent cup of coffee to kick-start my brain before more sitting around in various lounges and then the actual bloody plane is delayed on the tarmac for over an hour, before the 7 hour flight back to Manchester, landing just after 2pm, which given the time zones means I've already been up 15 hours on about 3 hours sleep and some catnapping on the aircraft. No wonder I struggled to use the e-gate properly! 

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Rambling: India: Part the Second

I wake up in the morning - for the third time, as the unexplained drilling noises about 2am and the outbreak of barking at about 4am - and realise that my arm is laid loosely over the pile of unused pillows on the other side of the bed. There is a moment when I realise that I've subconsciously piled them on Z's side of the bed, to simulate no being alone, and suddenly everyone feels very far away, and no amount of interesting, productive work time can close that distance. But then I'm up and awake, and email and Skype are things that exist, so I can still talk to the people I love even from this side of the world.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Rambling: India, Part the First

The sound of India is the blare of the Car Horn. And the Bus Horn. And the Tuk-tuk horn, and the motorbike horn, and pretty much anything that goes "beeeep" as it hurtles through the traffic too fast that is comfortable into a space that always seems too small until it turns out that it isn't. Its the sound, as much as the wave of heat, even at 3.30am, that reminds that I'm back in the country after two years, on another trip out to see our development team in Ahmedabad, Gudjarat.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Books Review: The Dresden Files

My reading habits seem to be rubber-banding around a little bit at the moment, mostly between factual (mostly history) stuff and then whatever popcorn paperbacks I can find to fill in the gaps between them. It leads to some interesting whiplash in both style and content, if I'm honest, but mostly I'm fine that. My most recent Popcorn obsession has become Jim Butchers The Dresden Files, in part because I've been meaning to go back after reading one a couple of years back, and partly because I'm now playing in a Dresden Files inflected Role-Playing Game. More of that in some other post, perhaps. But, the books then, how are they?