Friday, January 29, 2016

DVD of the Week: Insurgent

As the Hunger Games series winds to a close, the powers that by over in Hollywood continue to hunt around for a big-ticket replacement franchise, with a lot of casualties on the way. As a card-carrying member of "really not the Target Audience" I haven't watched too many of them, but I was entertained enough by Divergent to watch the sequel, Insurgent, as our saturday night movie this week. As is the way we do things now, apparently, it is to be followed up by an adaptation of the third book, Ascendant, split into two parts, so you can pay twice to find out how it all ends. But first, we have to maintain enough interest to get us that far. 

Monday, January 25, 2016

Book Review: SPQR

After some dailliances with "mere fiction" recently, I seem to be solidly back on a History kick at the moment. This is partly due to some of the books I got for Xmas, which included some cheery looking tomes on the Ardennes Offensive of 1944 and the Stalinist Purges  of 1937, happy reminders of what a great time the 20th Century was. But that is something to look forward to, as whats really kicked off this run is Mary Beards' excellent SPQR, which covers the Roman Empire from what I found to be a novel and interesting perspective. 

Friday, January 22, 2016

Games Review: Colt Express

So, our attempt to own and play all the Boardgames in the world continues. It has been, and remains, a main source of family entertainment around the house, and with Robert approaching 6 there there is always new games we can try him with. Z has also found a local games club, which we've only managed to get to once (dammit) but looks to be a fun group with lots of opportunity to make me buy new games. Which is pretty cool, it has to be said. So today we'll catch up with one of our recent aquisitions, Colt Express which has had multiple run outs recently.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

DVD of the Week: Jurassic World

So this week, for movie night, we watched Die Hard, in honour of Alan Rickman and his general awesomeness. Which was cool, because it's a great film, and it's been many years since I last saw it, and we let Ewan stay up with us and watch it too, as part of an ongoing project to expand his cultural education. We also took Robert to see The Force Awakens, which he really enjoyed, applauding the appearance of X-wings, covering his eyes at Kylo Ren and yelling "No Way!!" at that moment.  All very successful. And for anyone keeping score, then yes, thats a 13-year-old watching an 18-rated movie* and a 5-year-old at a 12A. Don't tell my mum! So I'm going to take this post to go back and catch up a movie we watched over the Xmas break; Jurassic World. 

Friday, January 15, 2016

DVD of the Week: Kingsman: The Secret Service

Early Spring seems to be the time when Hollywood drops a supposedly "edgy" and "growed up" comic action movie on the eager public who have suffered through the post-xmas rush of Oscar Fodder. This year we have Deadpool, and in past years we've had Watchman and Kick-Ass in the same slot. They tend to do pretty well, too, and I'm not going to claim that I haven't enjoyed all or part of these films. Last years was Kingsman: The Secret Service, which seemed a little divisive, some seemingly repelled by it, others entraced, and that divide seemed to break down in unpredictible ways, too. But with a lot of talent both in front of, and behind the camera, I was largely expecting to enjoy it. And i did - with reservations. 

Monday, January 11, 2016

Book Review: Welcome to Night Vale: A Novel

As some of your may recall, I pretty much flipped out for the Welcome to Night Vale podcast last year, as I got sucked into its compelling vortex of deeply strange storytelling in 25 minute bursts. The news that there was to be a Night Vale novel, however, was both exciting and slightly troubling; exciting because, hey, more Night Vale, but troubling because it feels so natural in a Radio Station format, and I wasn't really sure how it would translate onto the page with Cecils' voice to work some magic. Regardless, it was at the top of my Xmas list, and then the top of my read pile for the New Year. And only a week in, I've finished it - and here's what I think.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

DVD of the Week: American Sniper

Welcome to 2016! With a New Year, a chance to settle back into some old routines now the Xmas decorations are packed away and (most of) the chocolate is eaten, we got our first proper movie night over the weekend. American Sniper has been sat on top of the TV stand for a few weeks now, passed over in favour of lighter and then festive fare. It was one of those movies that felt like it would be a harder watch, and much of the publicity I recall about it was vaguely (if non-specifically) controversial, although at the same time well reviewed, and that sort of added to the unease. However I'm generally well-disposed to Clint Eastwood as a director, and so it became the movie to start the year with.