I saw this idea initially over at The Sporadic Chronicles Of A Beginner Blogger, although the idea originates from this blog:The Drama Llama and well I thought it was pretty cool. Below you will see my choices and I heartily recommend you have a go yourselves!
Anticipating Movie Of 2014
Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes
I was very impressed with how ROTPOTA turned out… really well done origin tale of the whole ‘apes mythology and made me anticipate what comes next immensely. That anticipation has died down in the few years since, but now it’s finally due out this year … I can’t wait.
Book Adaption I’d Like To See
Before I Go To Sleep
I didn’t realise it was coming out, and as I am not an avid reader, of the very few books I have read, last year I got around to Before I Go To Sleep … a wonderfully thrilling and gripping story about a woman with 24hr amnesia, and the mystery of those in her life, who can be trusted and who is telling the truth etc. The movie has Nicole Kidman and Colin Firth in it, very much NOT how I saw it, but will be interesting to see how S J Watson’s text translates to the big screen.
Celebrity I’d Most Like To Meet
I tried and failed to read his autobiography last year (will I pick it up again?) but have always been an admirer, not just down to his movies, but also his political career.
Dream Director / Actor Pairing
David Fincher & Ellen Page
One of the best directors around right now with one of the best young actresses right now. ‘Nuff said.
Essential Classic Film
Taxi Driver – one of the most thought-provoking and daring movies of the 70s with a superb Robert DeNiro and a stunningly convincing Jodie Foster. Love it.
Favourite Film Franchise
I actually don’t think I have a favourite right now…titles like Lord Of The Rings, Star Wars etc come to mind, but firstly is ‘Rings a franchise? Oh and Star Wars has disappointed me too many times to be a favourite.
Genre I Watch The Most
Thriller – I was going to go for drama, but I think I find myself watching crime movies, action, something with a bit of danger, violence or mature themes in it a lot… gritty you might say, so yes thriller kind of covers all those.
Hmm, by this I’m guessing something fairly obscure that not many have heard about? I’ll go for Let The Right One In … yes marginally famous but believe me, most who don’t have an awareness of world cinema (and have only seen the dire remake) will not know about this one. And they really should do … now!
Important Moment In My Film Life
First time I watched Quentin Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction. I remember bringing it home from the rental store, on VHS and thinking I had something very special in my possession. It remains my favourite movie of all time, endlessly watchable and has inspired my style of fiction writing and my love of great dialogue and the crime / gangster genre a whole.
Just Right Movie For A Rainy Day
The Back To The Future Trilogy
I’ll go for these as they are easy watching, very easy to enjoy from the start, not overly deep, serious or complex and when not in the mood for anything else, superb fun.
Kiddie Movie I Still Shamelessly Enjoy
The Lion King
… a great story, beautiful hand-drawn animation and memorable songs!!
Location I’d Most Like To Visit
The Shire … I mean, who wouldn’t? Beautiful, and such lovely houses!
Marathon I First Attended
I haven’t ever done a movie marathon … to my recollection. I don’t think I have the attention span.
Netflix Movie I Actually Watched
V/H/S – which I enjoyed a lot. Strangely the last Netflix movie I saw too, if you don’t count documentaries. I do intend to rectify this though as there are a few movies I plan on watching.
One Movie I Saw In Theatres More Than Once
I actually don’t think this has ever happened.
Preferred Place To Watch A New Movie
Difficult one … I love the cinema, but technology being what it is now, I’d say the home get’s my vote.
Quote That Inspires Me
‘This is your life, and it’s ending one minute at a time’ and pretty much most of Fight Club as well.
Remakes (Friend or Foe)
I don’t have a problem with remakes in theory, as long as they bring something new to an old idea, not just re-tread the same ground, often resulting in a poor imitation. Which is often the case.
Snack I Enjoy Most
Anything chocolate based.
Twist That Boggled My Mind
Hmm how to say this without a spoiler…so I wont… but pretty much the best goes to Twelve Monkeys.
Unapologetic Fanperson For
Martin Scorsese … but who would apologise for that? He’s amazing.
Very Excited For Award Show Season?
Mostly ‘meh’ … good movies rarely even get a nomination, let alone win, with some exceptions. I’ll check out the winners and be happy if something I think is good walks away with something… but otherwise I’m not overly bothered.
Wish I’d Never Watched
Seed Of Chucky
How to kill a perfectly entertaining franchise … or at least I thought it had…until I heard of Curse Of Chucky.
XXX-Movie I Watched At A Really Young Age
A Nightmare On Elm Street … scared the crap out of me, and I loved it!
Your Latest Movie Related Obsession
I love this style of animation, endless imagination, wonderful art and personality. I haven’t yet seen a Ghibli movie I haven’t liked … and several I have loved.
Anything with Harry Potter in the title … just does nothing for me and I am proud to say I have never watched even one of them.
Well it’s been about two weeks with the next generation of gaming that is Microsoft’s much hyped XBOX ONE the successor to the highly popular XBOX 360 that actually came out eight years ago! Whether this new generation will last as long, only time will tell, but for now here’s my impression of the new console after a lengthy amount of time with it.
The games I have played are as follows: Forza Motorsport 5, Battlefield 4, Killer Instinct and Dead Rising 3. All pretty cool. Out of these I’d say Battlefield 4 has had the most time played, mostly down to the online portion, which as many will attest, is the real meat of the game – although I greatly enjoyed the single player campaign and consider it one of the more underrated experiences around. The game has been cursed by bugs and issues, such as single player progress getting wiped (happened to me once, when I was almost at the end of the game…grrr) and various issues with the multiplayer, most annoyingly the inability to join a game. Graphically I might say that Forza impressed me the most, with its slick 60fps and 1080p capabilities, something that has been a bit of an Achilles heel for the XB1 so far, with games such as BF4 and Call Of Duty Ghosts suffering from lower resolutions than their PlayStation 4 equivalents (although apparently with more consistent 60fps than PS4 to make up for this). I’m not that taken by Killer Instinct … its just doesn’t feel very polished, despite some nice visuals, and the menus, character select are sluggish. Dead Rising 3 however has been a great deal of fun. Immediately the amount of zombies on screen at one time is a wow factor, and overall I think its a very detailed, very impressive looking game. Strangely the game seems to have a dislike of any sort of water or rain effects – meaning this isn’t included at all … and after the lush water seen in BF4, it’s disappointing. Yeah I know, a small thing … but surprising nonetheless.
The machine itself I am enjoying. I have had a lot of fun with the Kinect sensor, and overall it responds well to regularly used phrases like ‘XBOX ON’ or ‘XBOX PAUSE’ or ‘XBOX GO TO DEAD RISING 3’ and proves useful and a fun part of the whole experience. Apps such as Netflix, 4OD and YouTube work flawlessly in my experience and are a joy to use. The only real issue I experienced recently was with UPLOAD, the built in gameplay capture software that stores all your recorded clips. Now this is a great part of the XBOX ONE and playing a game like BF4 and getting a great moment and saying ‘XBOX RECORD THAT’ is so wonderful, I am surprised it’s taken this long to be included in a games console. However for reasons unknown, one day I went to view my recorded clips and the XBOX just kept trying to load them, sometimes saying I didn’t have any. I have 29 goddamit! I cursed, and of course this got me worried that something was wrong. After a quick Google search that told me a fix if some apps become unresponsive I power cycled my console … which is done by holding down the XBOX logo on the front of the machine until it reboots. This clears the cache on the system and also resets your network card – meaning I had to manually input my wi-fi details again. Then like magic, everything was working again, and has been fine for days now. Very odd. The only other issue I have come across is a slight lip-sync issue when playing Blu-rays. Now this I discovered only occurs when having the 24hz option ticked in the settings. When that tick is removed, Blu-ray plays fine. Some may have issue with not being able to take advantage of 24hz playback which is pretty much a standard for Blu-ray (and works fine on my PS3) and I hope there is a patch to fix this soon … but for now, I am not overly bothered.
The controller in relation to the original XBOX 360 one is similar, but lighter, still requires AA batteries (surprising considering the PS3 and PS4 both use USB charging … but battery life is about a week after causal gaming (2-3 hours each day). I also love the rumble in the triggers, which gives Forza’s driving and BF4’s shooting real immersion. I should also point out the machine runs very cool, only gets moderately warm after a lengthy session of gaming, and despite a small wiring / humming of the fan, is relatively quiet in operation. Other things to note is that game installs (mandatory) are fairly painless, slowed down initially by the games I have played needing a hefty-patch which has to download, but usually the game is ready to play fairly soon (half an hour max? – I haven’t actually timed it). There are things I would love to see added, such as being able to manage hard drive space or see the battery life on your controller, both easily done with a patch … and Apps like Sky Player and BBC iPlayer at some stage. Being able to upload game footage straight to Twitter or Facebook needs to be implemented to I think. Also here in the UK the linking your XBOX ONE to your TV service is reportedly not that well done and something I haven’t even tried or likely to. I see how Microsoft wants it to be an all-in-one entertainment system, but that aspect isn’t something that interests me beyond the already good on-demand services.
For now only a slight games drought bothers me, with many big name titles not due to see light of day until at least March (Watchdogs, Titanfall) or not having a release date at all just yet (Tom Clancy’s The Division, Quantum Break) but this does mean there is plenty to look forward to in the year ahead. Just what the machine is capable of I don’t think we have even witnessed yet. Exciting times.
Well it’s that time of year again, and this year has certainly been a mixed bag. Some great movies and a few stinkers, but I have enjoyed compiling the good and the bad over the last week or so, to finally come up with what I consider to be the ten best movies of the year. Please note some titles may be slightly older than 2013…
Oh, and feel free to post your opinion of the list and if any of your own favourites are missing etc.
Top Ten 2013
1. The Impossible
2. Django Unchained
3. Captain Philips
7. Man Of Steel
9. The Wolverine
Notable mentions: Monsters University, The Great Gatsby, World War Z
Viewed – 23 October 2013 DVD
It always surprises me that it wasn’t until the late nineties that I first watched and loved Stanley Kubrick’s much acclaimed horror masterpiece The Shining. I have subsequently watched it several times over the last decade or more and enjoyed it on a very appreciative level – it remains for me the perfect horror movie – both technically and when it comes to foreboding atmosphere. So a documentary exploring the many hidden meanings supposedly within the movie was very appealing.
Directed by Rodney Ascher and pieced together from various testimonials by film fanatics, specialists and The Shining fans – this is a fascinating look at a remarkable piece of film making. Whether or not I agree with some of the theories presented here (many of which do seem a bit crazy) it makes for interesting viewing, especially if you have a good knowledge of the movie itself. It made me want to sit down and watch the movie again, but not necessarily to spot all the Native American imagery or vague nods to the holocaust(!) but because its just a damn good piece of entertainment. I think some of the people talking on this doc have waaay too much time on their hands, but some observations, such as little (deliberate?) mistakes and freaky coincidences are fun to ponder.
As a documentary I think it makes for an interesting 90 minutes, but doesn’t give you a completely new perspective of The Shining, unless you are as anal and obsessive as these guys clearly are … Kubrick faked the moon landing?? Okaaaaay.
Verdict: 3 /5
Viewed – 09 October 2013 DVD
A big-screen outing for the much acclaimed cult British TV series ‘The League Of Gentlemen’ would seem a natural progression for a series that spanned three seasons, a tour and even a pantomime (!). But the reaction to this imaginative feature was bittersweet indifference at best. I suppose in hindsight, basing a movie on the idea of these much loved creations being killed off, starts things with a downer from the off. But let’s not be too hasty. The characters of rural village Royston Vasey learn of an impending Armageddon on their world following a prophesy and choose to enter the real world in order to seek out their creators, Mark Gatiss, Steve Pemberton and Reece Shearsmith so to convinced them to write them back into being again.
For such a gifted group of comediennes, along with writer / producer Jeremy Dyson (played in the movie by Michael Sheen) such a premise seems right for them – they would never take the easy route and always come up with something clever – and clever this is. Segway’s into a sixteen century ‘movie script’ featuring David Warner as a wizard plotting a King’s murder causes proceedings to lose their focus, but along with cameos from Victoria Wood, Peter Kay and Simon Pegg – the wealth of ideas and sharp dialogue (with many funny lines) manage to make this entertaining regardless.
Fans of the TV series will probably always find room to nit pick (as could I – not enough Pauline or Papa Lazarou, dodgy stop-motion animation, and the ending plays on one of the oldest clichés in the book). This is after all, the ultimate swansong for the characters, and it’s sad to see them go. Yet on it’s own merits, Apocalypse probably is as good as we could have hoped for. Isn’t that right, Dave?
Verdict: 3 /5