Sunday, 29 April 2012

Review time! #16 - The Avengers (film)

I think there's a distinct danger of hyperbole surrounding films such as this. From the very beginning, The Avengers (or Marvel Avengers Assemble as it is shudderingly known in the UK) was always going to be a AAA blockbuster that carried the very highest expectations. It has an A-List ensemble cast, more CGI than the state of Namibia could afford and Joss Whedon at the writing/directing helm, a man who is as close to a geek-pope as we are ever going to get. I've seen a lot of people on message boards in the last few days proclaiming the movie was "10/10" or that it's "better than The Dark Knight". I'd disagree with both of these sentiments, but nevertheless The Avengers is a great movie, and does everything it sets out to do with aplomb

Saturday, 28 April 2012

A quick personal announcement...

You may notice I've been doing a lot of gaming coverage of late. Really, it was because I don't have much else in my life worth talking about, but it turns out it's caught the eye of the right people! The deal is still being finalised, but things are concrete enough that I can announce I'll be contributing to gaming website darkstation.com. This isn't just some second rate blogspot with no purpose, this is a reputable site who have their opinions taken into account by such sites as metacritic and gamerankings.

Friday, 27 April 2012

Basic Lupine Urology, and assorted thoughts

For all the luvvy-duvvy relationship plotlines and slow pacing Community has shown of late, it hasn't really had a properly dedicated high concept episode for a little while. Sure, Pillows & Blankets had the documentary pastiche, but it was more of a framing device for the character conflicts that were occurring within it. In comparison Basic Lupine Urology takes the show back to it's series two heyday - self contained, highly strung meta-comedy that is simultaneously dumb and clever.

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

24: Where did it all go wrong?

Due to the combined wonders of Netflix and university life I've been able to storm through the first five seasons of 24 in a couple of months. It occurred to me that there is a definitive shark-jumping moment in the show about halfway through season five - a specific moment where the show begins to experience diminishing returns. Sure, there are still a couple of cool bits, but the number of times I started thinking "wait, what?" or "that doesn't make much sense" began to grow exponentially. So I'm going to try and sit down, currently working my way through the show's sixth season, and figure out just where it slipped up. WARNING: I'm going to spoil seasons one to five heavily in this article.

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Formula 1 2012 - Sakhir and other stuff

I didn't particularly want to spend much of this round-up talking about the politics and protesting surrounding Sunday's race, but I feel that certain events and reactions have forced my hand somewhat. Not only did the Force India team get caught in the middle of a violent clash on the way back to their hotel at the start of the weekend, but Channel 4 journalists have now been held against their will. "Let's go to Bahrain", Bernie said, "it's perfectly safe", he said. Bernie should count his stars the track itself is so well cocooned, as he would have had no excuse had anything happened during the race.

Sunday, 22 April 2012

Review time! #15 - The Cabin In The Woods (film)

Let's get this clear from the start. I'm going to tell you pretty much nothing about The Cabin In The Woods in this entire review. No plot details, no spoilers, nothing. I'll spoil the gist of this review and say that it's brilliant and that you should definitely go and see it, but DO NOT read up on the film or watch any trailers beforehand. This is a film that is better the less you know about it.

Friday, 20 April 2012

Virtual Systems Analysis, and assorted thoughts

Bearing in mind last week's episode was one of my favourites for a long time, I didn't expect Virtual Systems Analysis to keep the quality of the series consistent. Whilst it certainly wasn't as good as last week's, it was another character-focused episode with a far more traditionally Community-esque bend, blending both the old meta style and new focus on character development the show has exhibited.

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Review time! #14 - Trials Evolution (XBLA)

Trials Evolution is the perfect XBLA game, the result of seven years of refinement to the groundbreaking downloadable medium that is Live Arcade. It is not only one of the most polished titles on the service, but it's also a more complete package than many physical, £40 titles. I've still got at least another three or four paragraphs to go of this review and I'm already struggling to think of anything I don't like about this game. I'll give it my best try.

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Review time! #13 - Fez (XBLA, not the hat)

Fez delivers a fresh, evocative take on puzzle-platforming. It's environments are varied and strangely beautiful despite the retro sprite-driven camp that pervades the entire game's image, and it carries a decent amount of content for it's budget 800msp asking price. However, Fez isn't my favourite XBLA game this year (in fact, as Trials Evolution is out tomorrow, it won't even be my favourite XBLA game this week), and it is every bit obtuse and frustrating as it is magical.

Monday, 16 April 2012

Spurs v Chelsea retrospective (oh dear)

Oh dear indeed. Where do we begin? Spurs's simply fantastic 2012 goes from strength to strength. A powerhouse display against Norwich in which we were completely bossed by Grant Holt, a man who, according to the mystical font of footballing knowledge 606 will never wear an England shirt. Then to cap off a stunning week of football, we ended up getting mushed up and plastered over the walls of Wembley by a Chelsea team who managed to score 5 goals through a truly confusing mix of skill and scummery. By the way, if anyone so much as tweets at me with a link to that Mitchell & Webb sketch, I will end you.

Sunday, 15 April 2012

Formula 1 2012 - Shanghai and other stuff

Just when you thought Sepang was going to prove the surprise victory of the season, eh?! Nico Rosberg took 111 races to prove that he's more than just a handsome German with a famous father. Likewise, it took Ross Brawn two whole seasons to prove that he's more than just a huggable Brit that got lucky in '09.

Saturday, 14 April 2012

Origins Of Vampire Mythology, and assorted thoughts

I'm not one for overstating stuff, but this week's Community was one of the best episodes of the current series. Every so often this show will have an episode that's so funny and dense with great writing that I immediately rewind to the beginning and watch it again after the tag scene. This was one of them. Twenty minutes of simply fantastic comedy, and at this rate I'd be absolutely flabbergasted if this doesn't get a fourth season.

Friday, 13 April 2012

Ricky Gervais - Derek: disablist or defensible? PART TWO: THE REVIEW

The good news is that Ricky Gervais's Derek was not at all offensive to disabled people. In fact, it was pleasingly heartwarming and supportive of the entire issue. The bad news is that as a comedy drama it was neither particularly funny or dramatic. However if you consider Derek in the wider context of all things Gervais recently, it's a reassuring (if cynical) show of tact.

Ricky Gervais - Derek: disablist or defensible? PART ONE

A Gervais "controversy scandal" has become as predictable as the spinning of the Earth itself. Every year the winter ends, the harvest begins, the sun rises and sets in the sky and Ricky Gervais will do or say something that someone, somewhere doesn't like. This year's Gervais scandal is the flashy, more wealthy older brother of last year's "Mongate", and comes in the form of his new one-off comedy drama Derek. The show's namesake is, how shall we say it, on the Father Dougal end of the comedy character scale. With arguments already flying out of blogs across the internet before the show has even aired, I thought I'd take some time to look at the merits of the show and try and decipher whether I should be upset about it or not.

Thursday, 12 April 2012

Adventures in Demos #1: Resident Evil Revelations

I don't know if you noticed, but I do enjoy reviewing stuff. I have something of a fetish for the power you feel when you criticise something heavily and can get away with it under the pretence that it's part of some wannabe-journalistic piece. What's holding me back is that I never have enough stuff to criticise as nobody gives away free stuff to proper review outfits anymore, let alone hobbyists like myself. Nevertheless I've come up with a handy little way of slagging things off with zero expenditure - reviewing demos! So let's go boot up the 3DS and start the bloodbath with Resident Evil Revelations.

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Enough with the zombies, already

The Yakuza games were always a series I had a certain amount of admiration for back in the PS2 era. They perched awkwardly on the iron fence that separates genre and did the beating people up, then going to a strip club thing as good as GTA. I haven't played one of them in years, and I was barely aware they were still making them at all because I foolishly chose to side with Microsoft this generation. They promised me the future of gaming and no more Halo cashcows, and all I got in reality was shouting at the dashboard to search for stuff and Undertow.

Sunday, 8 April 2012

Pillows, blankets and assorted thoughts

I'm back! Like Christ himself, I return on Easter Sunday to haunt you all like the hungover zombie I am. Except I'm not nearly as preachy. Anyway, the best bit about being without the internet for a week is that when you get a veritable deluge of new stuff to mine through when you come back to the real world, such as the latest episode of Community (which I definitely haven't talked about enough). So let's get back to business, shall we?