Friday, 3 February 2012

Unconsumed Media Project #3: Community (Season 1)

Another Christmas present that I was more than happy to receive. This is one of those things that I'd read about on the internet but had never actually seen - I think it was only shown on the Viva channel here in the UK, and I didn't even know that channel existed.

I don't really get why it isn't much more popular. The set-up is fairly 'classic American sit-com' - a bunch of oddballs with a 'will they won't they' handsome couple at the centre. I can easily imagine E4 repeating it infinitely, but for whatever reason it's never really found a broader audience.

From the description above I've made it sound a bit rubbish, but it is actually genuinely great. Beyond the basic set-up there's enough self-referencing and continued jokes to make it a cousin of Arrested Development. It also features Chevy Chase in his best role since The Three Amigos/the video for 'Call Me Al'.

Annoyingly, there doesn't seem to be any immediate plans to release season 2 on DVD. And 'they' wonder why people illegally download...

Sunday, 29 January 2012

Unconsumed Media Project #2 - Taken

Technically this isn't my DVD, but it was sat on the shelf all unwatched so I'm including it. My friend bought it for my girlfriend as a birthday present. I'm not really sure why.

The film itself is basically Liam Neeson Kills A Load Of People, and for some reason it's massively popular. I have nothing against action films really but I just found this a bit boring. It's a bit like watching someone else playing a video game. There's no tension to it, and it's all a bit too 'serious' to just give yourself over to the ridiculousness of it all in the way that you can with a film like Crank, for instance.

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Unconsumed Media Project #1: 'Snuff' by Terry Pratchett

So in a vague nod towards 'New Year's Resolutions' I set myself the challenge of reading all my unread books and watching all my unwatched DVDs. I'm starting with trying to clear my way through some of the stuff I got for Christmas before I get bogged down with whatever I end up receiving for my birthday.

First up was the latest Discworld book, Snuff. Getting the new Terry Pratchett book is a Christmas tradition that's been going on for years now. I'm not even that 'in' to them any more, but they're nice and readable and still raise a few laughs. I'm sure I'll be a bit sad when Pratchett's illness progresses to a stage where he can no longer write, so I'm glad that the tradition can continue for now.

Generally I'll start reading the new Discworld on Christmas day itself, and my Mam will tell me I'm being anti-social (whilst making me sit through 2 hours of Downton Abbey isn't) but this year I didn't crack on with it until the New Year had fluttered her eyelashes.

So, the book then. I'd say it was fairly typical of the later Discworlds. Amusing and enjoyable, but not much more than that really. The more established characters seem to have run out of a bit of steam unfortunately, and the plot felt like a bit of a re-tread of others in the series. Still, let's hope that the Discworld continues for as long as possible

Thursday, 14 July 2011

Preview Review: Pixar directors doing action filums.

Hello blog!

Sometimes I think I like watching film trailers more than I like watching films themselves. It's fairly rare to find a good trailer. One that actually makes you want to see a film without giving away everything that happens. Luckily, most films aren't very good and are way too long anyway; so it's nice to have a film's best bits shorn of its 2hr30mins into an easily digestible format.

Today I am looking at newish trailers for Mission Impossible 4: Ghost Protocol (catchy name that) and John Carter - formerly Of Mars. I'm comparing them for no reason other than they're both 'live action' films directed by people better known for their animation work, specifically with Disney Pixar. MI4:GP (catchy initials!) is directed by Brad Bird (The Iron Giant, The Incredibles, Ratatouille) whilst JC (of Mars, not Nazareth) has Andrew Stanton (Finding Nemo, WALL-E) shouting "lights, camera, action".

The MI4 trailer does a nice job of outlining the basic premise before descending into a mess of too-fast cuts and action shots of Tom Cruise running, jumping, climbing, and having silly hair. Jeremy Renner decides to blur the lines between franchises by playing a government super agent. He will also be appearing as government super agents in The Avengers and the new Jason Bourne film that won't actually feature Jason Bourne. That Eminem song is pretty awful, but I guess they're appealing to a demographic.

John Carter doesn't once mention that he's actually on Mars, but the big red sandy deserts, alienoids, and twin moons have a fair old crack at giving it away. I think tonally I prefer this to MI4's trailer, even if it does use the horrible 'close up on an opening eye/wake up in a strange location - where am I?' shot and a pretty shoddy cover of Arcade Fire's My Body Is A Cage. Those desert shots really are nice, the Willem Defore voice over bit gives it some 'gravitas', and they seem to have balanced the campness away from Flash Gordon territory. And in that scene of John Carter wearing a hat, he looks a bit like Jack White.

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

The Pizza Slice: Rustichella at Pizza Express

Ended up in Pizza Express on Monday night. My jet-set social life meant there was little point in me going home after work, and so I answered the call of the ever present voucher code.

I usually order a La Reine, but I fancied something different. After some umms and ahs I settled on the Rustichella. Supposedly topped with pancetta, rocket, and roasted tomatoes. Unfortunately it was also topped with a Jackson Pollock splatter of Caesar salad dressing. There is absolutely no need for such a thing on a pizza.

Saturday, 30 April 2011


Must. Write. More.

Friday, 14 January 2011

At The Pictures: Of Gods And Men

I saw Of Gods And Men last week. I thought it was rather great. It’s the (based on a true) story of a community of French monks, living in Algeria in the mid 90s, and how their lives change with the growth of Islamic fundamentalism. The monks have an almost symbiotic relationship with the indigenous community, but the monks find themselves between the terrorists and the government, and have to decide between abandoning their monastery or staying the course. The direction mirrors the monks’ lifestyle with its meditative slow place but it never fails to engage, mostly thanks to the brilliant cast; each character reacting in their own way to the changing world around them. It could have been so easy to show everyone as a stereotype or an archetype, but the film’s real triumph is to portray them as genuine human beings.