Thursday, June 30, 2016

TV Review: Voltron: Legendary Defender

There's a surprising amount of anime on Netflix, we discovered recently. It's not always the most up to date, and it's not the deepest of catalogues compared to dedicated services such as Crunchyroll, but certainly more than I expected to find given the sparsity of shows coming over to the UK that aren't spin offs from kids video games. It obviously does quite well on Netflix's viewing stats, too, because they've commissioned their own anime-esque show, albeit one aimed slightly younger, and based on one of the great legacy properties from the 1980s - Voltron: Legendary Defender. Now I've seen very little of the original Voltron, but like many a 90s anime fan probably picked up most of the beats through watching the wave of mech-anime that was the fashion at the time. But as a family with viewing tastes well disposed towards Giant Robots fighting, we were on this pretty quickly. 

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

DVD of the Week: Bridge of Spies

I didn't write it up, but last week we watched the recent movie of The Man From UNCLE, a film that can be best be summed as "Okay". I mean, it's fine - functional, inoffensive, but like it's two leading men, hopelessly bland and short of the necesary charm or wit to really make it work. There is a moment in where Hugh Grant turns up and effortlessly outshines everone else and I suddenly realised what was missing. Anyhow, enough of that, because this week we watched another movie set around the Cold War, spies, and even the Berlin Wall, but it really couldn't be more different in nearly every way. After missing it at the cinema, I finally got to see Steven Speilberg's Bridge of Spies

Thursday, June 23, 2016

TV Review: Supergirl, Season 1

And so we come to the end of this year's DC TV Universe Review Extravaganza! Four shows from the CW/CBS stable, three in the same world, and one, because it's on a "grown up" network, out  on it's own barring a single crossover. Because yes, one of these shows jumped from the smaller network on a Major Network, building off the success of it's predecessors and presumably hoping that it can make it as a breakout hit. It's an interesting choice of lead character too; an all too rare female lead; a character that a wider audience may not be aware of, but part of hugely popular brand. I'm talking, of course, about Supergirl, cousin that grumpy guy that was up on cinema screens not so long ago. 

Monday, June 20, 2016

TV Review: Legends of Tomorrow

I think it's fair to say that expectations were running pretty high for Legends of Tomorrow, a full spin-off of both The Flash and Arrow incorporating supporting characters from both, running around time and space. Both their parent shows spent a good amount of time setting it all up to, introducing both it's primary villian, Vandal Savage, and moving it's existing cast members into the right places to picked up in it's opening episodes by suspiciously bearded Rory Pond Rip Hunter and send off on a grand adventure. Sadly, and maybe inevitably, Legends of Tomorrow stutters throughout it's run, sitting in that slight frustrating zone of always being watchable but always falling short of it's true potential. Spoilers under the cut, naturally. 

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Holiday Reading: On Stranger Tides and The Lions of al-Rassan

I feel that I let myself down slightly this year on holiday, as I only managed to get through two books in the week we were away. In my defense we did fill the time with a lot of activity, including (but not limited to) Laser Tag, Quad Biking, a lot of boardgaming and ice cream. All good stuff. But in between all of that I did manage to get in two books, one of which I've been meaning to read for years, and don't have any real excuse for avoiding, and the other I'd not got around thanks to the terrible pirate movie of the same name. But I've read them now, and really enjoyed both, so lets talk a bit about them. 

Monday, June 13, 2016

Games Review: Rise of the Tomb Raider

It took me a long time for me to find a game in the long-running and oft-rebooted Tomb Raider franchise before I found a game I really liked, with the recent do-over called, unsurprisingly Tomb Raider. The story Lara before she really gets into the Raiding of Tombs (and a game which features very few Tombs to Raid!), I really liked it back in 2013 and was really looking forward to it's inevitable follow up. And, after a period of being one of those horrible console exclusives on the XBOne,  Rise of the Tomb Raider finally made it to PC and has eaten up most of my free gaming time over the last month of so. Does it, as I hoped, build on the last game? Do we get Tombs to Raid? Well, yes, on both counts. 

Thursday, June 9, 2016

DVD of the Week: Mr Holmes

It feels like ages since I reviewed a movie here, although looking back it's only been about a month since the dissapointing Mockingjay Part 2. We got heavily derailed by The Hollow Crown, I guess, which is no bad thing. But it was nice to get back to it this weekend with Mr Holmes, yet another take on Sherlock Holmes, who never seems to go out of fashion, nor ways to be reinvented. Mr Holmes is an adaptation of a book called "A Slight Trick of the Mind", which I've never read, and from the outside it's looks to be a showcase for Ian McKellen and the sort of small budget awards/festival fodder that can be a little hit and miss. Thankfully, Mr Holmes is mostly hit. 

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

TV Review: Arrow (Season 4) and The Flash (Season 2)

So we reach that time of the year when the US TV Season draws to a close, and all the imported shows start to finish at once in a blaze of finales and cliffhangers. Exciting, but also daunting, as the long summer stretches out in front of us, although we're so behind on some shows we've got enough catching up to do. And iZombie just dropped onto Netflix, so there's that too. We've struggled to keep up with the superhero shows this year, as there are just so many of them, not least four - four! - from the CW stable  (yes I know Supergirl is on CBS but it's the same production house) in what is an increasingly ambitious TV shared-universe. With both Supergirl and Legends of Tomorrow on their first season I'll talk about them separately, but it feels fair to wrap up the other two together. So how are things with The Flash, and The (Green) Arrow?