Wednesday, August 31, 2016

DVD of the Week(s): Speed Review Blow-Out!

My only real aspiration for this blog is to be my own small corner of the internet where I can record my thoughts on the meandering cultural journeys I end up taking through screen and page. I don't have to worry about posting frequency, or if my opinions are half-formed rubbish, because they're mine, and this gives me something to look back on. Sometimes I surprise myself, looking back, at how kind, or mean, I was to something. Anyway, the point is that it's been a rough summer, all told, and so this has dropped off a little bit, so it's time for a bit of an epic catch-up on movies we've seen recently. Here we go. 

Monday, August 22, 2016

Nine Worlds 2016

Nine Worlds has only been around for a couple of years (this is it’s third, i think) but it’s made a splash in that time with a reputation of accessibility, inclusivity and taking a different approach to fandom than many traditional cons. It’s aimed at everyone, but feels representative of the younger, more demographically diverse side of modern fandom, an attempt to move away from the gatekeeping and monoculture that the con scene can get a reputation for (fairly or not). This is our first trip to Nine Worlds - a pair of early-forties straight cisgender geeks, coming to see what the fuss is about.

Friday, August 19, 2016

TV Review: Stranger Things

We were a couple of weeks late to the Stranger Things party (although it's nice to see it's still carrying on even now) because it's initial trailers and synopsis don't look that promising. Hey, it seems to say, you remember those 80s movies you liked, a bit of Speilberg, a bit of Carpenter, a bit of Stephen King? Well we made some fan fic about kids on bikes, scary monsters suspect government men in small town America. Enjoy!. But yes, I thought, I did like those things, but I'm not sure I need more of them. It turns out, however, that I did need more of them, and Stranger Things is rather more than the sum of it parts.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Movie Review: Star Trek Beyond

As part of a build-up to an exceedingly geeky weekend at Nine Worlds Geekfest, Z and I snuck out to the cinema to see Star Trek Beyond, a movie whose initial trailer made me gnash my teeth and fanboy anger, despite all my attempts to prevent such ardent knee-jerking. It's safe to say that I've enjoyed both rebooted Trek films - I was pretty kind to Star Trek Into Darkness, looking back - but they're relentless in their attempt to push the films into slick, shallow, modern formulas, further away from the more thougthful source material. I'm not wholly against that either, as franchise need to move forward to live, to keep reengaging audiences, and become new things. I did see in that early trailer the step too far though, a line fatally crossed. Thankfully, it seems like that trailer is almost the exact opposite of the finished movie.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Games Review: Overwatch

Well, we finally bit the bullet and bought a Playstation 4. It's a prety impressive piece of kit, too - the interface is a big step up from the PS3 in terms of getting at what you want, and its looks sleek and modern wedged under the TV waiting to collect an inevitable layer of dust. As part of the first wave of games for it, we picked up Overwatch, Blizzards answer to Team Fortress 2 and other arena-based shooters, abandoning the PC for now as it meant that we only had to buy it once and both Ewan and I could play it. Ewan, being time-rich, has played it a lot more than me, so some of this review is coloured by his assessement - I've not hit the competitive play level yet, for example. 

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Box Set Blues: iZombie

It's a sad fact that after a bit of a land-grab for US shows coming over the UK a couple of years back, when you could pretty much be assured of seeing everything, we've started to "lose" shows recently, presumably as they just don't pay their way. It's a bit of a vicious circle, of course, as if you wait 6 months to screen a show that would have a small, yet devoted audience, they'll have aquired it by other means by then, reducing it's audience further.  Worse, some channels have bought shows and then handled them badly, burying them late at night before dropping, as fans of Orphan Black, Person of Interest, Once Upon a Time, and Justified have all found to their cost. The metrics for streaming services are different, of course, and so Netflix, Amazon and even Sky have picked up these shows to stick behind their paywalls, in a bid to make those paywalls more attractive. And so it is that iZombie finally reaches the UK, courtesy of Netflix. 

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Cambridge Folk Festival

Sometimes I feel like starting some sort of  blog about the "Younger Me" being appalled at the sort of thing "Older Me" gets up to. I mean, for a start I've got two kids and a mid-range family car! This would probably most apply to things I've started doing in the last few years that I definately remember being "beyond the pale" when I younger and one of those is definately the Cambridge Folk Festival; several days of live music (what?), outside (what??) to cap it all off, it's Folk (WHAT???). Younger me was, I'm starting to suspect, a bit of a prat. So despite these inner protestations, we were at the  Cambridge Folk Festival last weekend, and jolly good it was too. Pictures and more commentary below the cut!