Monday, 30 December 2013

New to Netflix UK - 30/12/13

It's almost the New Year, so lets hope we get a wider variety of content soon...

The Good Wife (TV) - A housewife returns to work as a lawyer in order to make ends meet after a humiliating scandal involving her husband. Law dramas are almost as common place as police procedurals but strong leads and good storytelling help to keep this series above the others.

A Late Quartet - An ageing group of musicians' inner demons come to light when one of them announces his retirement following a diagnosis of Parkinson's disease. Not to be confused with the more humorous Quartet (also available), the movie is a captivating drama fuelled by excellent performances and is a sombre portrait of escalating egos and mortality.

Like Crazy - A relationship between an English and an American is put to the test after she is deported for overstaying her visa, forcing them to cope with the long distance. Surprisingly decent romantic drama, particularly given the track record of these kinds of movies, that is made all the more heartfelt by the realistic and natural performances of the lead actors.

Wuthering Heights - After being rescued from poverty, a young boy develops a relationship with his foster sister, but the relationship becomes more complicated as they grow older. Dissecting the classic novel to its rawer elements, Arnold's film is in some ways the best film adaptation of the novel but also the worst straight forward adaptation, and while fans of the novel might whine about the lack of key plot elements, many will revel in the new take on the story that's brought to life by a great cast and keen direction.

Monday, 23 December 2013

New to Netflix UK - 23/12/13

No new movies this week it seems, disappointing given its the Christmas week.
If new content crops up during the week I may be forced to do an extra post...

Dexter (TV) - A Miami forensics expert tries to hide his serial killer alter-ego. The last two seasons have finally been added and while the show can never live up to the greatness that was Season 2 or 4, the series does start to get better after the stale last two seasons. Season 7 sees Dexter goes up against a Ukranian crime boss looking for revenge while Debra deals with the fallout of learning about Dexter's true nature. Season 8 has a mysterious figure from Dexter's past come back to haunt him as he and Miami Metro take on a sinister killer called 'The Brain Surgeon'.

Californication (TV) - A writer struggles with alcoholism, sex addiction and writer's block in California while desperately trying to keep his family together. Season 5 of this criminally underwatched series picks up three years after Hank's lucky escape from a jail sentence and sees him living in New York with a new bestseller about to be released only for Charlie to drag him back to California where Hank has to deal with the fact everyone else has moved on.

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

New to Netflix UK - 16/12/13

It's a bit of a late post but there's some good stuff here...

Chuck (TV) - After a computer nerd accidentally gets top-secret CIA files implanted in his brain, he is forced to accompany two of their top agents as they try to take down a sinister terrorist organisation. Surprisingly decent spy comedy series that works thanks to Levi's great comic presence and Baldwin's physical presence. All five seasons are available though the show starts to go downhill by season 4.

Adventure Time (TV) -In a post-apocalyptic wasteland colourful fantasy version of earth, inhabited by candy-creatures and magical animals, a boy and his dog go out in search of adventure and to battle evil. It may be a kid's show but there is a lot in here to cater to the needs of an adult who grew up with the golden-era of cartoons, or simply people who have a love for whimsical D&D-inspired shows.

Black Rock - An island holiday for three friends turns into a battle for survival after they meet some people from their past. Though it's better than most people give it credit for the film can feel a bit loose at times and this can affect the otherwise tense atmosphere of the movie.

The Words - A writer finds his past comes back to haunt him after it becomes apparent that the best-seller he wrote was another person's idea. A prime example of a love/hate movie, you will either find yourself drawn in by the compelling story and complicated characters or bored by the messy and unconvincing narrative.

The Short Game - Netflix Original documentary about 7 year-old golfers as they strive to win the coveted 'world champion' title. It can be at times charming but it is otherwise one for true golfers.

Dirty Wars - Documentary following a reporter as he uncovers the truths behind America's covert wars and operations and the impact they have on the world, even if no one ever knows about them. Compelling and highly relevant look at the shady dealings behind the world's greatest superpower, what makes this movie one to watch is that without it you would otherwise have no idea what was going on.

Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God - Documentary following the sudden wave of sexual abuse claims against the Catholic Church as it's traced all the way to inside the Vatican. Gibney is one of the most important documentary makers of our time and he turns his keen eye onto one of the most shocking revelations of the modern age, providing a gruelling experience that's as informative as it is horrific.

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Trailer Frenzy (part 2) - Inside Llewyn Davis, Nebraska, Open Windows, All Is Bright, The Double, Anchorman 2, The Raid 2, X-Men, Jupiter Ascending, Bad Words, Spiderman 2

More trailers...

Inside Llewyn Davis 
A semi-musical drama chronicling the rise of folk music in 60's New York and directed by the Coen Brothers? Sold.

Out of 15 full length features, they have only made two questionable movies. Suffice to say their latest effort is nothing short of a must see following the sprawling epic that was True Grit. The critical response has been nothing short of phenomenal so expect this one to eat up awards a Coen Brothers movie. It opens January 24th.

Alexander Payne's follow-up to 'The Descendants' puts us once again on a journey of self discovery, full of humour and (possibly) tragedy.

Another movie that's likely to eat up awards (given the already glowing response), hopefully giving Bruce Dern that Oscar he's deserved for so long. The film should have opened last Friday (8th), so I guess it's a matter of finding the right cinema...just do it fast.

Open Windows 
Nacho Vigalondo gave us the mind-twisting time-travel thriller 'Timecrimes' and the offbeat romantic-comedy-with-alien-invasion conception that was 'Extraterrestrial'. For his latest effort, he seems to be channelling the world of voyerism.

Elijah Wood seems to have made a name for himself starring as creepy weirdos (to be fair he does it really well) and it has an actress who I'm sure I've seen before...somewhere...In any case, this looks to be a unique thriller, given that it's supposedly shot in real time only from the computer camera. No UK release date as of yet.

All Is Bright 
'Junebug' director Phil Morrison returns to the chair after a lengthy absence to spin the tale of an ex-convict who is forced to sell Christmas trees to buy a gift for his daughter for Christmas.

The reception has been mixed but it seems Rudd and Giamatti have good chemistry and it could prove to be a decent alternative Christmas movie...if it's ever released, as there's no date set.

The Double 
Richard Ayoade (aka Moss from IT Crowd) wowed us with 'Submarine' and he looks set to wow us again with a thriller about a doppelgänger.

'Loosely' based on the Dostoevsky novel, there's no denying that this trailer brims with style, showing everything we need and yet revealing nothing. It opens April 4th.

Anchorman 2
They've teased about it for so long, and it's finally here.

Apart from the fact Ferrell and Carell don't seem to have aged as well as their team mates, this looks to be exactly what we wanted. Be classy for December 18th.

The Raid 2: Berandal
The Raid was among the top action movies of 2012 (hell, it was one of the best action movies in a very long time). It was brutal and unforgiving...and it's sequel is set to top it. See the Red Band below now.

Set 2 hours after the first, Berandal ("thugs") was intended to be the original movie however 'The Raid' was made due to low funding. God only knows what we are in for if this is the movie they wanted to show us. No exact date has been set but expect it spring/early summer.

X-Men: Day of Future Past 
The most popular storyline of the X-Men universe gets the big-screen treatment in an attemoot to tie in all the movies...and it's directed by Bryan Singer.

Despite the fact they lifted the music from other movies, this trailer does everything right in getting people excited once again for a full-on X-Men movie, reuniting the original cast and the First Class cast. See it May 22nd.

Jupiter Ascending 
The Wachowski's return, not to confuse us (hopefully), but to wow us.

So. Much. Epicness.
It looks insanely ambitious, just what you'd expect from the Matrix duo. Let's just hope this doesn't turn into another Chronicles of Riddick fiasco, although in any case the action and visuals look stunning. July 25th is when all will be known.

Bad Words 
Jason Bateman goes behind the camera (and in front) in a tale about a man who stays at an 8th grade level so he can compete in spelling bees. Yes, really. Red Band trailer ahoy...

In all fairness this doesn't look too bad. Bateman has a certain charisma about him that makes him highly watchable and the insanely bad-taste ongoings in this trailer add a lot of promise to this title that could end up being as heart-warming as it is crass. It opens sometime next year. Probably.

The Amazing Spiderman 2 
The sequel where they try to repeat everything that went wrong with Spidey 3, only trying to get it right this time...

I didn't think too much of the reboot. The actors were fine (no JK Simmons though) and it was a refreshing take on the character but it's still too soon. Looking at looks promising but it also looks hideous (seriously, what's up with the CGI for these movies). Only time will tell, it opens April 18th.

And that's all the upcoming movies for a while. There's absolutely nothing else to mention. No sprawling fantasy epic. No part 2 of any kind.

The Hobbit: The Desoulution of Smaug 
 It opens in naught but a few days, but what the hell. It's Christmas...

Trailer Frenzy (part 1) - Godzilla, +1, We Are What We Are, Neighbours, Dom Hemingway, The Grand Budapest Hotel, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, The Monuments Men

Part 1 of a bumper selection of trailers.

Starting off with the big one, Gareth Edwards brings the big monster back to the big screen in an attempt to erase all memory of the last Hollywood outing.

A top secret mission, soldiers jumping out of a plane, a destroyed city, frightened people, that shadow, that roar. Hopes are exceptionally high for this one and this teaser does exactly what it sets out to do. It's a shame they'll ruin any anticipation with another trailer (the typical Hollywood "let's-show-off-all-our-major-set-pieces-so-you-know-how-much-money-we-spent-on-it" trailers) as this one just sets the mood so well, giving us just enough to begin desperately counting down until May 16th.

It may fool you into thinking it's another 'Project X'/'21 And Over' movie, but get half-way through the trailer and there's a clever little twist that makes this indie film catch your attention.

The idea is a nifty take on the teen-party-gone-wild scenario, almost Project X meets Primer, and preliminary reviews seem to be favourable towards it. I personally think there should be more movies like this out there, just because they actually try to upset the norm (even if they do end up being bad). No actual release date for the UK yet however something tells me this will probably end up heading straight to DVD.

We Are What We Are
 Jim Mickle (director of the criminally under-seen vamp horror 'Stakeland') offers his take on the watchable Mexican film about a family of cannibals.

It looks to be a very dark and grim affair indeed. The current consensus seems to be that it's a competent remake ('Let Me In' style) that offers an authentic horror experience without resorting to cheap thrills. This has apparently already opened in the for next Halloween methinks...


Not an adaptation of the Aussie soap, this film sees a new family waging war on the frat house that just moved in next to them. This is the Red Band trailer (which is arguably a lot funnier than it's counterpart) so don't watch this at work.

 It's probably going to be a dumb movie but it's brought to you by Nicholas Stoller, who made us laugh at Russell Brand in 'Forgetting Sarah Marshall', so this should still be an entertaining watch. Plus Zac Efron has still got some ways to go to shed his Disney image and this seems to be a good way to do so. Film opens May 9th.

Dom Hemingway
The director of 'The Matador' and 'The Hunting Party' returns with a film about a robber released from jail and going after what he's owed...while enjoying himself along the way.

There's also a Red Band trailer which gives a much better indication of which direction the humour heads in.

The reviews for this have been mixed, with many pointing out that the story doesn't really work, but they all agree that Jude Law dominates as the titular character...and who can blame them. Plus it's also nice to see Grant in a role that's not too far removed from Withnail. Again, this film has apparently already opened, which is weird as I never saw any listings for it.

The Grand Budapest Hotel
Wes Anderson films take far too long to make. Far...too...long.

Say what you will about the man but he has a unique visual brilliance about him that makes anything he touches turn into a wonder of quirkiness. After the more straight forward Moonrise, this looks to be a return to form, full of whimsical nonsense (in the most flattering use of the term) and amazing characters, and is one of my most anticipated films of next year, opening March 7th.

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty 
Ben Stiller tackles the classic James Thurber story about a man who resorts to escapism to cure his mundane life.

It was at one pointed mooted for Oscar buzz but that seems to have all gone away since critics have taken a dislike to the movie, which is a shame as it does look somewhat magical. Normal people on the other hand seem to be more positive about it, but you can make your own mind up when it opens on Boxing Day.

The Monuments Men 
George Clooney puts together an Expendable's-style ensemble of 'oldies' whose job it is to save art from the Nazi's.

Clooney has had a pretty strong track record when it comes to directing and his latest effort looks to continue that trend. The film alone should be worth watching for both Murray and Goodman (who seem to be less and less on our screens at the moment) however the subject of the movie itself is one that hasn't been seen before so this could turn out to be a very memorable experience. It opens February 14th.

Monday, 9 December 2013

New to Netflix UK - 9/12/13

Slim pickings this week, not really what you would expect in the lead-up to Christmas.

Person of Interest (TV) - An ex-CIA agent with a complicated past is hired by a shady programmer to help prevent violent crimes. Combining the brains of JJ Abrams and Jonathan Nolan was always going to result in special and this is one of the most thrilling series currently on air, filled with political intrigue, daring espionage and edge-of-your-seat action.

War Horse - After his horse is sold to the army, a young man enlists and is sent to the front-lines of the First World War where they must both find a way to survive. While not as impressive as the stage version, it's still incredibly moving in its own right with great acting all round and the film stands as proof that Spielberg is still on of the greatest storytellers of the modern age.

Me and You - A young boy tricks people into thinking he is going on holiday so he can spend a week by himself in his basement surrounded by the things he loves but his solitude is brought to an end when his older sister discovers him. It's Bertolucci's first film in 9 years and while it lacks his cunning political eye or in-depth analysis of sexuality it still manages to be rich and uplifting in a way that's not been seen in his movies before.

Also it seems Netflix jumped the gun last week when they uploaded some Cartoon Network shows as by Tuesday they had been taken down.
Those shows are now once again available to stream.

Saturday, 7 December 2013

Telltale Games Announce Two New Series

Telltale Games, despite having a rough patch in regards to their point-and-click games, stunned gamers everywhere when they released their Walking Dead series. Keeping a faithful tone to the original comics, the series proved to be an exercise in making tough decisions and caring about the characters in the game, something which few games can lay claim to, and remains one of the greatest story-driven games of the 21st Century.

They recently released a series based on Bill Willigham's Fable comics called 'The Wolf Among Us' (currently on episode 2), which sees fairy-tale and folk creatures hiding out in the modern world under human disguises, which was also well received by critics, with many drawn to it's violent noir atmosphere.

Now, witha second series of the Walking Dead of the Walking Dead on the way, Telltale have just caught the attention of every gamer with their announcement of not one, but two new games, one of which is based on a highly lucrative fantasy TV series.

At the VGX awards, the company announced they would be adding series based on both Game of Thrones and Gearbox's Borderlands games. Not much is known about their Game of Thrones series (chances are it will be a prequel, given the nature of previous titles) but their Borderlands game (called 'Tales from the Borderlands') is promised to incorporate the wit and atmosphere of the popular first-person shooter while being a completely different experience.

A trailer was released for Tales from the Borderlands as well as Game of Thrones, but the latter hasn't made it to YouTube yet.

'House of Cards' Season 2 Release Date Announced (UPDATED with teaser trailer)

Continuing on from the Netflix announcements, the company just announced that the second season of the critically acclaimed US adaptation of House of Cards will hit the site on February 14th, just in time for Valentine's Day.

The series follows ruthless congressman Frank Underwood who, after being turned down a position in the White House, starts the gears on a scheme of revenge on those who betrayed him with the ultimate goal of becoming president himself. Those of you who haven't seen it yet, I strongly recommend you go do so now. It's exceptionally well written and it gives Kevin Spacey on of his best roles to date.


The teaser trailer has been floating around on YouTube. Don't get your hopes up though, this is by all definitions a 'teaser'.

Netflix's Daredevil Series Get a Showrunner

Marvel have announced that the new Daredevil series, exclusive to Netflix, will be helmed by Drew Goddard. For those of you who don't know who is (you really should by the way), he is the writer of Cloverfield and co-writer/directer of Cabin in the Woods (as well as writing several episodes of Buffy and Lost). In other words, Daredevil just became one of the most promising looking new TV shows to be announced. Goddard is also set to write some episodes as well as direct the pilot.

Unfortunately, the series won't hit Netflix until around 2015 (although I have a feeling they may try to have it ready at around the same time as Avengers: Age of Ultron opens). There's still no cast attached nor is there any word on the three other Marvel/Netflix ventures, though this should hopefully change in the coming months.

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Japan Pledge to Turn the Moon into a Solar Farm

Or at least Japanese construction company Shimizu does...

Japan has been actively embracing forms of alternate energy following the aftermath of the Fukushima disaster but one company seems to have gone the extra mile by promising to provide power to not only Japan, but the entire world.

In what feels like a suggestion from the pages of a sci-fi book, Shimizu are looking to place a ring of solar panels around the moon's equator, effectively resulting in non-stop exposure to sunlight (also because there's no weather in space). Solar energy becomes electricity via generators which will then be 'beamed' down to earth via lasers to be converted into conventional power.

Seem mad enough yet? It gets better.

The facilities on the moon to help with all this will be constructed with resources from the actual moon, with all the necessary raw materials already available to make concrete, glass and bricks (though no word on how they plan on constructing furnaces out there).

It's an ambitious proposal, and the scary thing is that it completely plausible, but what are the implications of such a venture?
It's nice to think that the whole world can be powered using only the moon but it is disconcerting to think that only one company will be responsible for dishing out the power. This means they can dictate prices, especially if they control the market, and this could lead to severe political issues some ways down the road. Also, solar cells are currently incredibly ineffective to the point that every day someone invents a much more capable design. To get the most from this project you would have to ensure that what you were sending up into space was the most technologically advanced solar cells ever designed because once they are up there it's going to be difficult to replace them.

Consider me intrigued, no less because of the huge benefits this could have on mankind, but I still can't help but be sceptical about it.

Monday, 2 December 2013

New to Netflix UK - 2/12/13

An interesting mix this week including forgotten classics, game-inspired-series' and some rather excellent kids shows.

Farscape (TV) - After getting sucked into a wormhole, an astronaut finds himself in the midst of a full scale war and bands with a small alien crew on the run from a violent military species. Though largely forgotten, there's no denying that many elements of Farscape - notably the complex plots, edgy humour and dark storylines - would influence many the modern sci-fi shows, but it still remains a gripping piece of space opera and a must watch for anyone with a love of the genre. (All four seasons are available, but no Peacekeeper Wars).

Warehouse 13 (TV) - Season 4 has been added of this show that follows a secret government organisation who track down historical artefacts that possess supernatural behaviours. It took me a while to get into the series but once you're hooked that's it, and it seems that it just gets stronger and stronger with every season.

Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol - After being framed for an attack on the Kremlin, the IMF have to track down a dangerous terrorist who's stolen nuclear launch codes while finding a way to prove their innocence. Despite being Brad Bird's first live action debut, this is one hell of a great movie with all the action/suspense/humour/gadgets you would expect from the franchise, and it is by far the best one yet.

Munich - After Israeli athletes are assassinated by Palestinian radicals at the '72 Munich Olympics, a covert squad of Mossad agents is put together to exact revenge on those responsible. Spielberg crafts a finely weaved tale of revenge and determination that, powered by some exceptional performances, makes for a very enjoyable suspenseful thriller.

Dragon - A martial artist, looking for a clean break, finds himself stalked by a persistent detective determined to prove he's responsible for many unsolved violent crimes. It's not the most robust thriller ever made but it keeps you hooked until the end with it's deep characterisation and some well choreographed fight scenes..

Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn - Cadets at a military training academy find their knowledge and skills put to the test following a sudden attack by hostile aliens. It's really one for the Halo fans out there but this movie (compiled from the web-series) is actually surprisingly well made and, even if the acting feels a little flat at times, it probably is one of the best video game movies made.

Video Game High School (TV) - After successfully defeating one of the top gamers, a gamer with next to no social life finds himself enrolled at the prestigious Video Game High School, a facility that aims to produce the best gamers on the planet. Another one for gamers, this diverting series was created by Freddie Wong of Rocket Jump (formally FreddieView), a popular YouTube contributor who incorporates game logic into the real world with special effects, and that's pretty much what you get here.

Regular Show (TV) - The adventures of a blue jay and raccoon and how they cope with their boring jobs as park grounds-keepers. It may be a kids show but there's something about this one that makes it highly entertaining for adults to (like Adventure Time), what with its bled of surreal humour and otherwise 'grown-up' situations.
[Netflix have announced that this should have been released on Dec 9th]

Netflix have also made available some of the classic Cartoon Network shows.
- Samurai Jack
- Courage the Cowardly Dog
- Jonny Bravo
- Dexter's Laboratory
- The Powerpuff Girls
Fingers crossed we get the golden era of Hanna-Barbera shows too...

Monday, 25 November 2013

New to Netflix UK - 25/11/13

Only three new titles this week...

The Last Stand - After a violent drug lord escapes from prison and makes a run for the Mexican border, a local sheriff sees it as his duty to stop him. It's a real shame this film was so overlooked when it came out as it's a great come-back vehicle for Arnie, features a lot of the same wacky humour Jee-Woon brought to 'The Good, The Bad, The Weird' and it's just a hell of a lot of fun.

Twixt - A struggling writer investigating a local murder finds himself becoming more and more obsessed in the case to the point that his destiny becomes linked to it. It's an interesting film that takes some interesting turns but it's overtly ambitious and the end result can feel muddled and incoherent.

Once Upon a Time in Mexico - A hitman becomes tangled in a vast conspiracy involving the CIA, a rogue general and the Mexican president.The final act in the 'El Mariachi' trilogy, the film does an excellent job in providing you with the OTT action you seek but it's attempts at trying to deliver a 'serious' political thriller results in a generically dull plot.

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

New to Netflix UK - 18/11/13

[Sorry for posting a day late...]

The Giant Mechanical Man - A women who's finding hard to adjust to adult life finds a connection in one of her co-workers, a man with similar problems and who moonlights as a street performer. It's not perfect and it's easily forgettable, but it's charming and quirky and perfect for a quiet night in.

Best Worst Movie - Documentary looking at how horror movie 'Troll 2' went from worst movie ever made to being a midnight-screening cult classic. Although this is aimed more towards the fans of Troll 2, it's still an insightful look on how movies are made and in particular how public opinion over them changes with time.

Revanche - After a fatal encounter with a policeman following a bank robbery, an ex-con hides away on a farm only to learn that the police officer and his family live nearby. Less of a conventional thriller and more of a character study, this is still a highly engaging film full of twists that will leave you hanging on the edge of your seat until the very end.

Safety Not Guaranteed - A journalist intern is brought along to capture the story of a 'crazy' man who believes he has travelled through time and is looking for a partner to experience it with him, and ends up finding a deeper connection with him. Based around an actual ad in the wanted pages of a local newspaper, the film is a highly imaginative and a very enjoyable comedy/drama/sci-fi/romance with a strong script and an amazing cast.

Maniac - A mannequin store owner is approached by an art student for help with her exhibition, but their friendship begins to take its toll and the owners repressed dark desires begin to surface. Grisly, sinister and extremely violent, this is not a movie for the faint hearted and while the plot may feel like a sub-par slasher at times, it's Mr Wood who keeps us watching thanks to his highly watchable (but highly disturbing) performance.

Hysteria - In Victorian England, the sexual frustration of women is put to an end when a doctor invents the vibrator. Given the subject matter, the film is surprisingly light and opts for a more comic approach to the backstory of one of the most popular inventions created, and for the most part it works.

Monday, 11 November 2013

New to Netflix UK - 11/11/13 (plus a bonus short movie, "The Fifth")

There's some bad, some really good, plus the addition of one of the better-but-lesser seen dark comedies of the last year inspired by one of my favourite short films.

Race to Witch Mountain - Two siblings with psychic powers enlist a reluctant taxi driver to help them escape from a shady government organisation. Dwayne Johnson manages to provide enough charisma to keep this children-fantasy film moderately engaging but otherwise it's typical mediocre Disney fuel.

The Human Centipede 2 - A mentally troubled loner obsessed with the first movie decides to re-enact the events. The meta angle the film aims for is interesting to say the least but it's still a poorly executed mess of tasteless images that only a niche audience will appreciate.

There Be Dragons - A journalist uncovers a slew of dark mysteries about his father when he interviews one of the father's former friends. The storytelling is inconsistent and the characters and dialogue feels forced and unnatural but it is still a decent portrayal of the horrors of the Spanish Civil War, which has unfortunately been largely forgotten in recent years.

Lore - The children of a Nazi Officer flee for their lives when the allies start sweeping in through Germany, forcing them to come to terms with their beliefs. A highly engaging, thought-provoking and well-acted drama that shows a side to the war that is seldom portrayed.

Starbuck - A slacker who has been donating sperm for the last few years finds his life spiral down another direction when he discovers that he's the father of over 500 children, some of whom are taking legal action to find out who their real father is. The story has it's issues and holes but if you look over it you can find a rather unusual but warmhearted comedy.

The Bridge (TV) - A body on the bridge linking Sweden and Denmark forces two detectives from, one from each side of the bridge, to team up and catch the sadistic killer. Standard Scandinavian fare in that it's an exceptionally well thought-out and manoeuvred thriller (putting most English language productions to shame) that still manages to remain original.

Bomb Girls (TV) - Follows the lives of a group of women working in a munitions factory during WW2 as they struggle to cope with the changing social scene around them. Engaging drama from Canada that does a good job of reminding how hard it was to be a woman during the war and the obstacles they had to overcome, even when they were directly contributing to the war effort.

Some Guy Who Kills People - After he is released from a mental institution, a man finds himself stuck in a dead-end job and decides to exact revenge on the people who screwed up his life. A very dark and twisted comedy, with a great performance from Kevin Corrigan, that looks like a sure fire candidate to become a cult hit.
(It's based on a fantastically dark short by Ryan Levin, who also wrote the movie, which you can watch here).

Saturday, 9 November 2013

Netflix and Marvel Sign Deal for Four Exclusive Superhero Series

Netflix must really be hungry to offer more original content as they've just signed a deal with Marvel to produce four individual series based on the Marvel Universe. This isn't exactly too surprising given that Netflix and Disney already have an exclusivity thing going on, and Marvel are owned by Disney, but it's interesting to note that they are going ahead with a full series (probably ~12 episodes), not just greenlighting a pilot.

The catch? The superheroes in question are from the B-list of superheroes..
-Luke Cage, an excellent fighter with superhuman strength and an amazing durability to harm.
-Iron Fist, an expert martial artist who channels his power through his fists.
-Jessica Jones, who has the ability to fly as well as superhuman strength.
-Daredevil, whose blindness has heightened his other senses making him a formidable fighter.

While the characters may not be from the more popular pages of the comics, the end product should be very interesting as all the characters end up crossing paths in one way or another at some point in their careers.
Luke Cage (as Power Man) and Iron Fist start up a detective agency together called "Heroes for Hire", Iron Fist dons Daredevils persona at one point to prove Matt Murdoch isn't Daredevil, Jessica Jones and Luke Cage are romantically involved and Murdoch employs Jessica Jones as his bodyguard.

The potential for this deal, if handled correctly, would be allowing for each character to cross over into another's story almost seamlessly, much like in the comics (or even like with the Marvel-verse movies).

It's worth noting however that it's unlikely all four will be released at the same time as their plan is to release them over the course of several years, starting in 2015.

I feel really sorry for DC Comics right now.

Monday, 4 November 2013

New to Netflix UK - 04/11/13

Nothing too special out this week.

Episodes (TV) - A husband and wife writing team head to America to remake their beloved TV show, but it all falls apart when their lead character is replaced by the unpredictable ex-Friends star 'Matt LeBlanc'. Highly amusing, if somewhat slow, series that has some great laughs but above all gives LeBlanc a chance to show he isn't just Joey (to some degree).

Wake Up - Documentary following a man who wakes up one day to find he has the ability to see other-dimensional entities. The credibility behind it is highly suspect and the sceptics out there will dismiss it as a hoax, however the film provides a unique look on achieving spiritual faith without the hassle of organised religion.

Blackthorn - An aged Butch Cassidy decides to leave Bolvia to finally return home, but his plans are put on hold when he stumbles across a miner who's on the run after stealing money from his employers. The idea of making a 'sequel' to the immortal Roy Hill movie leaves a bad taste in the mouth (no less because of the way it ends) but Blackthorn manages to conjure up a decent 'what if' scenario resulting in a rather sombre epilogue for one of the greatest robbers ever created for the big screen.

The Deep Blue Sea - The wife of a respected judge engages in an affair with an RAF pilot but the passion doesn't last long and it soon begins to break her down both mentally and physically. Incredibly well adapted version of Terence Rattigan's play, the film is heartbreaking to watch but the compelling performance of the lead characters makes this drama a hard one to miss.

Funny Games (1997) - A family on their vacation find themselves in increasingly horrific situations when two charming psychopaths hold them hostage. The original game-changer from Haneke, this film is less about the violence on screen but more about the psychological torment the viewer goes through as the film breaks every horror/thriller trope and movie law.

And apparently there's a movie called Big Fat Gypsy Gangster...
If this is what counts as original ideas nowadays I can see why all the studios are so obsessed with remakes and sequels.

Monday, 28 October 2013

New to Netflix UK - 28/10/13

Mostly just 'watchable' releases this week, including some from the last year.

Saboteur - A factory worker goes on the run after being accused of sabotage and finds himself drawn into a sinister conspiracy. Essentially a reworking of The 39 Steps (which Hitch already masterfully adapted), it's still a thrilling movie in it's own right and still stands as one of Hitchcock's better (but lesser known) works.

G.I. Joe: Retaliation - Framed for treason, the Joe's must find a way to take down COBRA who have managed to infiltrate the White House. The first film was a mess, and this one is no better, but the action is solid and the new faces to the team help make the experience enjoyable enough, so long as you completely ignore logic.

The Lords of Salem - A DJ plays a mysterious record which begins to cause strange events in the town, including reawakening a witches coven. Rob Zombie is very much an acquired taste and while he manages to conjure up a surreal and nightmarish movie, it doesn't really amount to much beyond that.

Bowfinger - A wannabe director and his crew attempt to make one of the 'finest' sci-fi movies ever and cast a leading Hollywood actor, only he doesn't know it. Thanks to a great cast and a great script, this is a really funny movie that will have you laughing more times than you can count.

Justice - After his wife is attacked, a man makes a deal with a shady businessman who promises revenge in exchange for a favour, but when it comes to repaying the favour the man starts to have his doubts. Less-than-average action/thriller with the Cagemeister that has some cool moments but is otherwise generically bland.

Plus, Thor: The Dark World opens this week at the cinema. Remind yourself how great the first one was.

Thursday, 24 October 2013

Indie Games - Candy Box 2

A while ago I mentioned a quirky little browser game called Candy Box, which involved you for the most part of eating candies and watching as the game unfolds around you.

Today Candy Box 2 has just been released and it seems to be a completely new fish, while still staying close to the original.
New features include improved ASCII artwork, a more interactive world, new objects and many others I have yet to find.

You can play it here if you have a few hours/days to kill.

Monday, 21 October 2013

New to Netflix UK - 21/10/13

Some promising new titles this week, including some phenomenally awesome cult favourites.

Repo Man - A youth with no real purpose in life finds himself drawn into the local car repossession company, with its colourful and philosophical characters, and becomes part of a wider conspiracy involving revolutionaries, rival repo men, government agents and dead aliens. Seminal cult classic from Alex Cox that's just so out there you have to watch it to believe it.

Where the Buffalo Roam - Loose biopic about journalist Hunter S Thompson and his relationship with lawyer and politician Oscar Acosta (aka Dr Gonzo). The story is all over the place and it lacks the gonzo feel that it so desperately needed but Bill Murray makes a decent Thompson and it's a good enough performance to warrant watching the movie.

Slaughter House Five - A soldier becomes unstuck in time which causes him to experience every moment of his life at the same time, including his time in the war, his family life and his time as a zoo animal for aliens. A faithful adaptation of Vonnegut's sci-fi masterpiece (Vonnegut himself gave it the thumbs up) Roy Hill manages to capture the absurdity of the plot almost perfectly and the result is a weird but incredibly funny oddity of a movie.

Seven Psychopaths - A struggling screenwriter tries to draw inspiration for his movie from the actions of his oddball friends, which include dog-napping for ransom money, but he finds the line between reality and fiction blurring with every page. It's not as brash or Un-PC as In Bruges but McDonagh's follow-up is every bit a must see, combining incredibly likable unpleasant characters with his trademark quick-fire dialogue and the result is a very very funny movie from one of Britain's most promising directors.

Far and Away - Two young Irish  lovers run away to America but life is tough as misfortune waits for them around every corner. Viewed by some as a masterpiece of love in tough times, it does feel like a rehash of other greater stories, but the performance by Cruise and Kidman are convincing enough even if the epic feel the movie went for feels exhausted within the first few minutes.

Cropsey - Documentary following two friends who investigate the disappearance of children in their hometown after they discover the 'bogeyman' from their childhood was actually a real person. Surprisingly creepy for a documentary, the premise is engaging enough but you feel that at the end nothing actually gets accomplished, which will either frustrate you of enhance the actual nature of the film.

Netflix have also uploaded a collection of 30 episodes from the acclaimed Hanna-Barbera adaptation of Peyo's The Smurfs. They aren't in any particular order (so I doubt we'll be getting the full series of 256 episodes) but it's better than nothing and infinitely better than the live-action dreck being peddled to the kids.

Monday, 14 October 2013

Halloween Short - 'Halloween Hugs'

The latest annual Halloween short from ArieScope is here and features some very creepy, furry creatures.

For those of you who don't know, ArieScope is the production company founded by Adam Green (director of the Hatchet films, Frozen and's Holliston series) and every year they release a short movie to celebrate Halloween.

While not the best of the shorts they've released, it's still pretty funny and worth watching (if you're into the campy horror/gore genre...or hate Muppets).

You can check out their back-catalogue of shorts via the ArieScope website or via their YouTube channel.

New to Netflix UK - 14/10/13

Mostly guilty pleasures this week, though there are a couple of more 'intelligent' films available too.

The House Bunny - An ex-Playboy Bunny finds herself in charge of a socially awkward sorority house who only have a couple of months to find new pledges or lose their house. It's a pretty dumb movie, but dumb in a good way, and it's a good showcase for Anna Faris who makes the film just about watchable.

The Help - An author decides to chronicle the lives of African American maids during the 1960's, much to the chargrim of the white housewives. It's a crowd pleaser in all respects of the term but it doesn't ram the social commentary down your throat which makes it a highly enjoyable movie that just happens to have a lot to say on the social status of many American citizens at the time.

Bedtime Stories - A hotel janitor aspiring to become the manager finds that the stories he tells his niece and nephew have the tendency to come true. The combination of Sandler and Disney is enough to put most people off but Sandler is forced to restrain himself, making him watchable, and the result is acceptable piece of escapism that children should enjoy.

A Night at the Roxbury - Two hopeless brothers' dream of opening their own club is brought one step closer to reality when they manage to gain access to an exclusive nightclub. It's pretty dreadful, despite being a guilty pleasure for many, but it does have a good [cheesy] soundtrack and worth watching if you're curious where Will Ferrell started from.

Red: Werewolf Hunter - A descendant of Little Red Riding Hood must protect her boyfriend from her wolf-hunting family after he is bitten by a werewolf. It's a made-forTV movie, so it's not exactly got the best production values but those looking for cheesy fun could do a lot worse and Ms Day is always very watchable.

Identity - Ten strangers, stranded at a motel during a violent storm, have to band together to fend off a murderer. It's one of those movies that starts off as one thing and goes in a completely different direction halfway through, and the result is an exceptionally well-made and intelligent thriller that will have you eager to rewatch it once it's over.

The Odd Couple - After a failed suicide attempt, a man with the penchant of being a 'neat-freak' moves in with his best friend who happens to be a slob. It's a classic for a reason, with Lemmon and Matthau playing off each other with hilarious results.

Saturday, 12 October 2013

Cheap Blu-Ray Deals (UK)

Blu-rays are great, but they can also be expensive. To save you the hassle of tracking down the current cheapo's, I've listed the better movies currently on offer below (prices also include delivery).

Anger Management [£2.99]
Rachel Getting Married [£2.99]
The Mask of Zorro [£2.99]
Redbelt [£2.99]
The Thirteenth Floor [£2.99]
The Karate Kid (2010) (DVD + Blu-ray) [£3.26]
Rocknrolla [£3.99]
Edge of Darkness (2009) [£3.99]
Wanted (either Reel Heroes or Standard Cover) [£4.00]
Identity [£2.99]
Almost Famous [£2.99]
Erin Brockovich [£2.99]
The Social Network [£3.89]
The Mist [£3.79]

The Green Zone [£2.65]
Robin Hood (2010) Extended Cut [£2.71]


Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps [£4.00]


The Crossing Guard [£3.99]

Monday, 7 October 2013

New to Netflix UK - 07/10/13

A few good movies out this week, though nothing too special.

Grabbers - When blood sucking aliens terrorise a small Irish community, the residents find that the only way to repel them is by getting drunk. It's not laugh-out-loud all the way through (though when it's funny, it is funny) but thanks to a great plot gimmick the movie ends up being a lot of fun.

Hamburger Hill - Tells the story of the men who tried to take Hill 937 from the Vietnamese in was was considered one of the most violent and vicious battles of the infamous war. It's a tough film to both like and watch, though this might be on purpose based on the authenticity they were aiming for, but if you can endure the gruelling experience you'll no doubt forget it in a hurry.

Quartet - At a home for retired musicians, three friends find their performance in the annual concert put at risk when the forth member of their group suddenly turns up and starts acting out. It's very well acted but the film lacks any real depth and at the end doesn't amount to anything more than a charming film, which sometimes is enough.

Pretty in Pink - A teenager finds herself torn between the affections of the her best friend and the most popular guy in school. While the setting may feel dated it is still one of the most iconic high-school stories that's still relevant today.

Orange County - When his application to Stanford is denied following an error in the form, an aspiring writer hits the road with his brother in an attempt to get accepted, no matter what. Fun, if forgettable, movie that has enough funny moments to keep going and is held up by the strong talents of the two lead actors.

Melancholia - As the earth prepares for a collision with another planet, two sisters try to patch their dysfunctional relationship when one of them is getting married. Very weird but very compelling drama from Von Trier.

Monday, 30 September 2013

Breaking Bad: The Final Episode - Up Now on Netflix UK

It all ends here.
Felina, the series finale, is available for your watching pleasure.

New to Netflix UK - 30/09/13

Only one real stand-out this week, a series all the way from New Zealand, otherwise it's a pretty mediocre list.

Great Expectations - A man, who was the recipient of a large sum of money as a young boy, finds himself righting the wrongs of his past when the benefactor makes himself known. A passable, albeit unnecessary, adaptation of the Dickens' classic.

Hounds (TV) - A lawyer finds his life heading in a different direction after his father dies and makes him the guardian of his half-sister, as well as co-owner of their racing greyhound. I can't give enough praise to this exceptionally (if unconventionally) funny series that brims with sharp writing and doesn't shy from presenting you with laugh-out-loud awkward situations.

Won't Back Down - Two mothers take to politics to save their children's failing school while the bureaucracy surrounding them tries to take them down. It's well acted and has a lot to say but the message is so heavy handed that it would be less noticeable if it were hitting you with a bat.

Love Crime - An exec toys with her new assistant, even stealing her ideas, but she underestimates how far her assistant is willing to fight back. Decent, though predictable, psychological thriller that benefits from some well placed twists and good acting.

Texas Chainsaw - Another remake, because why not. This is the 2013 version that was made in 3D. It's still not that good.

16 Acres - Documentary looking at the vast conflicts of interest over building rights to ground zero. It's not going to rock your world and doesn't stand out to people with little interest in the matter but it's a well made doc that shows how absurd the whole situation is, especially given how the site marks one of the greatest trageties in American history.

Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters - Having survived their ordeal as children, Hansel and Gretel are all grown up and offer their services as supernatural mercenaries. It's mostly fun, though incredibly silly, and does feel a little too similar to 'The Brothers Grimm'.

Faster - A bank robber just out of prison hits the road to exact revenge on the men who put him there, hotly pursued by a cop out to get him and a hitman out to kill him. The perfect example of the throwaway movie, The Rock makes the revenge flick worth watching and the action keeps you interested but in the end you've seen it all before.

Sunday, 29 September 2013

Check It Out: Hounds

Just added to Netflix UK is the New Zealand critical sensation 'Hounds', which follows a lawyer who's just been made guardian to his half-sister and owns half of his fathers racing greyhound. But be warned, this is no warm and fluffy family comedy. Hounds bulges with dark humour that will make you think twice while you laugh. Seriously, you will never hate yourself more than the time you laughed when a dog gets put down.
(To give you a better taste of the humour, the dog is called Lundydixonwatson which is the names of three notorious New Zealand murderers. Why? Because why not.)

What really makes this show unmissable is the wide range of characters who, no matter how important they are to the story, feel like they have such full personalities and feel like they could carry their own series if they had too.

At the time of writing, 230 people had averaged the show out at 3 stars but in my opinion this show deserves a lot better. Fans of the Aussie 'Wilfred' should definitely invest their time as the style of humour is practically the same.

Check it out. It's not often you get a chance to watch shows that are this smart or funny.

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Valve Presents 'SteamOS', Next-Gen Consoles Die a Little

The gaming company Valve are one of the hottest properties on the market right now. They have a slew of amazing games to their roster (Half Life, Team Fortress, Portal) and have won over gamers by their encouragement to mod the games to the communities heart's content. They also have a good monopoly on the digital distribution market via the Steam platform, which lets you buy and download games and access them on any PC with your account. With cheap daily deals, disc-free gaming, cloud-based saving and a budding online community, this is the future of gaming.

But Valve have been secretly hinting at a new development first believed to be a Steam Box that would sit under your TV and allow you to play games streamed from your PC. As it turns out, the reality is even more futuristic by doing away with the box and having Steam run off of a Linux-based Operating System on apparently "any living room machine".

This means you will be able to stream your games to the TV with almost no hassle whatsoever.

What to expect:
-The system will be 100% free (not the games however) making it easy for manufacturers to license
-Modders will be able to connect with their fan-base to receive tips and suggestions
-All the current features of Steam remain, but with added parental controls and family sharing
-Increased performance from graphics processors and better audio output

It probably won't affect the sales of Xbox One's and PS4's, given that you still have to use what crappy PC setup you currently have, but it's a sure sign that PC Gaming is just as strong as ever and it is early days meaning we could be in for a PC gaming revolution.

There is no physical date for the OS system yet, with Steam promising 'soon'. Given their reputation with this word, it could mean next month or by the end of 2019.

The Butcher List

Rather than list/review every movie soon to disappear from the Netflix catalogue, I've decided to create a static page that will show all the titles I've come across that will soon be unavailable to watch.

It probably won't be complete but I'll do my best to ensure it's as accurate as I can make it.

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

The Butcher List - "Fire in the Sky"

Netflix is great. It has a vast collection of movies available for a low monthly subscription. Unfortunately, every good thing must end and that includes the licenses on some movies. 'The Butcher List' honours those great movies that will soon disappear from the roster, and we can only hope they will grace the catalogue in the near future.

Alien abductions have been done so many times, with most of them taking their cues from the epic that is Close Encounters, and yet it's a shame that everyone tends to forget about the 'based on real events' movie Fire in the Sky. Not only is it a good example on how to do an alien encounter story, it's a pretty chilling thriller in it's own right, especially if you choose to accept that the story is true.

Based on Travis Walton's 'The Walton Experience', the film follows a group of lumberjacks who, on their way home, suddenly lose a member of the group (Travis) to strange lights. Obviously no one believes their alien story and they become the subjects of a gruelling homicide case as the police and townspeople try to find the missing man's body. It's only when he surfaces 5 days later that events prove more complicated than they seemed.

Robert Patrick turns in a great performance as Travis' best friend while DB Sweeney does a great job as Travis himself, helping to sell the traumatic experience he went through; and traumatic it is as the abduction sequence still proves to be as effective now as it was back in '93, with the scene still disturbing to watch. The only downside is the ending feels a tad anti-climatic but it fits with the whole 'real life' story and doesn't tarnish what is a damn near-perfect sci-fi thriller.

'Fire in the Sky' is available until October 1st and well worth the watch if you have any love for things science fictional.

Monday, 23 September 2013

New to Netflix UK - 23/09/13

Not much in the way of interesting uploads this week.

Real Steel - A boxing promoter for robot boxers uses an obsolete model to helm his comeback while struggling to cope with the duties of being a father. It should have been a very silly movie but it actually amounts for a clichéd but humane family drama that just happens to have robots beating the hell out of one another in the background.

The Bay - A reporter tries to get to the bottom of a series of infections following an ecological disaster in a seaside town, infections that are causing the public to behave strangely. One of the better found-footage horrors in a long while, The Bay benefits from a decent plot and genuine chills and also marks the fact it is one of Barry Levinson's better films in a very long time.

Friday, 20 September 2013

Godus - First Impressions

Peter Molyneux has a reputation that means you either love him, hate him or hate to love him. He's been responsible for some of the finest games around, particularly through Lionhead Studios, and did a good job as creative director of Microsoft Games Studios. Unfortunately however he often ends up promising on more than he can deliver. Having grand ambitions for your game isn't necessarily a bad thing, after all who are we to thwart an artists visions of what they want to make, but when we buy a product on said ambitions and find missing stuff it can be disappointing and somewhat infuriating.

Then Molyneux quit his job as head of Lionhead Studios and Microsoft Games and founded a completely new company, 22 Cans, and spiked mystery and intrigue through their mobile-based "game" Curiousity, which involved tapping on layers of a cube to reveal the mystery inside. The gimmick was that everyone was competing with each other and that only one person would gain acess to the contents (which turned out to be not that special) but it revealed that Molyneux would be returning to the genre he invented, the God Game.

It should be said that I never played Populous however I spent hundreds of hours on both Black & White games but the idea that a supposedly fresh take on the genre was around the corner spiked my interest. Having missed out on the Kickstarter, I bought Godus via Steam Early Access for £15 (the most I've ever paid for a game through the client) which I saw as both a way of thanking Molyneux for his part in some of the best games I've played as well as to have a full copy of this 'game-changer' when it's released.

So what is it?

You play a God (duh) who has to see the evolution of a tribe of primitives into (one imagines) a thriving advanced race of intellectuals. You do this by expanding your population and discovering cards (either through the single/multiplayer modes or discovery) which allows you to 'level-up' your civilisation through around 15 different eras. Housing plots are automatically generated on empty land and you then click on full houses (houses with a flag) to send out a civilian to build the new house. You have to be careful however as they will only travel a certain distance to build and once out of a house they won't go back in, meaning they will wander the map until they die (it happens, a lot).

There is no resource gathering per se, however most of the actions require 'Belief' to function. Belief is generated automatically through houses, which generate pink bubbles above them, and you click on them to collect it. The more advanced your houses, the more belief you get. It should be noted that until you unlock the Settlement card, you are required to click on houses a lot to get enough belief to do your thing while the Settlement pools together all the belief in one convenient location.

One of the big selling points of the game is the ability to freely sculpt the land to your desire, which you have to do a lot of to ensure there are enough empty plots for your population to grow. This has been a big issue for many people as it results in having to do a lot of clicking to remove vast stretches of land. You can shift the land either by dragging, which can sometimes destroy buildings accidentally, or by double clicking, which smartly forms the land around a certain area. Obviously double-clicking  times a minute just to make a passage through a mountain is enough to make anyone annoyed however I've found that it can be just as easy (if not easier) to drag the land as, once you have unlocked the ability, you can clear multiple levels at the same time.

Sculpting land is also necessary to uncover certain shrines and hidden chests. Shrines offer special abilities, such as increasing the land available or offering up God Powers, while the chests contain cards needed to help your civilisation progress. The God Powers themselves are pretty effective. I've only used the Meteor Strike so far but I can safely say it does exactly what you would expect it to do (I accidentally released it over a crowded area which resulted in a drop of my population by around 400). Other God Powers are either still locked or not really useful.

The design of the game is odd to say the least. On the one hand the art-style is very basic but it works for this sort of game and it's incredibly colourful that you can't help but forgive it's not photorealistic. This is a game that's about the mechanics of gameplay rather than putting together a fancy presentation for the gamer and hoping they ignore the fact it's pretty bland on the inside.

So what do I think?

It's obviously got a long way to go but I'm really impressed with what I've seen so far. I've currently reached the limit as to how far I can progress but I've apparently clocked in over 50 hours doing that, more than I've spent on most triple-A titles.

The whole clicking debacle is an issue but the system they have is just so intuitive I can't really see how else to go about it. At the end of the day, if clicking a lot annoys you then you should look elsewhere.

Should you go about and buy into the Beta?

If you have a craving for a new God game then yes. This game has a lot of potential and we keep getting promised so many big ideas that even if they only deliver half of them, it will still end up being a remarkable achievement. It also means that you only pay £15 now rather than (probably) more on release.

On the other hand, the game is still not halfway finished so there's no rush to jump in now. The best thing to do is watch those cursed "Let's Play" videos and see if you could lose yourself in the game.

Monday, 16 September 2013

New to Netflix UK - 16/09/13

There's some powerful dramas available this week as well as the addition of one of the greatest sci-fi shows ever made.

Star Trek: The Next Generation (TV) - The crew of the Star Trek Enterprise scour the universe for new life, experiencing intrigue and adventure whether they go. The much debated battle on which version is the best (this one!) can begin now that the first four seasons of the acclaimed sci-fi series is available, featuring great characters and excellent stories this is one of the best series of any kind to grace the small screen.

The Hunt - A teacher trying to rebuild his life after a divorce finds his efforts put to the test when he is accused of being a paedophile. Incredibly well written/acted/realised drama that keeps you glued to the screen even though it's harrowing to watch.

Mars Needs Moms - A young boy is tasked with rescuing his mother after she is abducted by aliens. It's not the greatest movie in the world but the actual animation itself is stunningly realised and it can be fun if you let it.

Spiral (TV) - A new season has been added of this gritty French drama surrounding the Parisian legal system.

What Richard Did - In a single act, a Dublin teenager creates chaos in the lives of the people around him, but he has to come to terms with his actions as it will defy who he will become. Incredibly well acted slow-burn drama that's powerful to watch and leaves a lasting impression imprinted in your subconscious.

Monday, 9 September 2013

New to Netfliix UK - 09/09/13

Only found two movies this week, popular ones but not exactly decent ones.

Alice in Wonderland (2010) - A slight reimagining of the Lewis Carroll classic which sees Alice return to Wonderland to do battle with the Red Queen. Tim Burton is at his weakest when catering to a younger audience (excluding his stop-mo films) and while the film is suitably weird, it's just not up to par compared to his previous movies.

The Sorcerer's Apprentice - A college student becomes apprentice to a master wizard and joins the fight to save the world from an evil wizard. It's completely ridiculous but it's also ridiculously fun, just don't expect a cohesive plot or fleshed out characters.

Monday, 2 September 2013

New to Netflix UK - 02/09/13

Just Go With It - A man pretends he is getting divorced to win over a much younger girl, hiring his assistant to play the role of the wife. It's an Adam Sandler movie, what else is there to say.

Rushmore - A highly gifted but academically lacking student tries to woo the heart of a school teacher while competing against the local industrial tycoon. Wes Anderson's name may not be attached to many movies yet but is still one of his best movies to date and established him as the go-to guy for quirky indie cinema.

The Replacement Killers - A retired hitman tries to make his way home but his former employer has other plans and sends some assassins to kill and replace him. An amicable attempt by Hollywood to emulate the John Woo movement of Chinese cinema, which mostly works when the movie isn't dragged down by the thin plot.

Castle (TV) - A crime writer acts as a consultant for the NYPD, using the detective in charge as inspiration for his new character, against her wishes. It's hardly cutting edge drama but the characters are incredibly well played, especially Fillion as Castle, and each episode solicits enough laughs to make this one of the better Police/Consultant team up shows. (First two seasons)

The Colour of Money - An ageing hustler takes a young upstart under his care, but his tendency to play fast and loose leads to complications between the two men. Interesting sequel to The Hustler that ditches the cool tense drama for something faster, but it's well acted and actually does a good job of standing up to the original.

What About Bob? - While on vacation, a psychiatrist finds himself going crazy when one of his less-stable patients unexpectedly turns up. Amusing comedy, thanks to an always excellent Murray, but a lot of the jokes are predictable and it doesn't quite live up to expectations.

El Mariachi - A guitar player is mistaken for a hitman who carries his guns in a guitar case and becomes the target of the local drug cartel, forcing him to adopt the persona of the man he is mistaken for. Fun uber-low-budget action film from Robert Rodriguez that's just as entertaining as his more modern stuff.

The Count of Monte Cristo (2002) - Based on the Dumas novel following a man wrongfully imprisoned who manages to escape jail, find riches on a desert island and reinvent himself as a mysterious lord to take down the men who imprisoned him. Enjoyable swashbuckler which, despite the short running time, manages to keep the more important points from the book, even if they are presented in a more Hollywood fashion.

Bruce Almighty - A man, after an argument with God, inherits his diving powers but finds the job much more than he can handle. A decent Carrey vehicle that does exactly what it sets out to do.

Father of the Bride - A young girl tries to impress a male suitor by pretending her father is her elder boyfriend. Odd comedy that's more heartfelt than you would give it credit for but ultimately doesn't quite live up to expectations.

Sunday, 1 September 2013

Star Drunk - A Short Movie About a Drunk Space Crew, Made By Drunk People

There's no denying that alcohol can immensely improve upon a movie watching experience (hell, some movies require alcohol to be watched in the first place). Then there comes a time when you're sitting with friends, you've had a few (or lot) and you start talking about how you'd improve the movie. This is normally where the devotion stops. Some people may go further and try to rewrite the film, only to realise in the morning how terrible their version was. What rarely happens is people sit down to write a movie with the intention of writing it drunk, and that's what has happened with Star Drunk.

To make things better, the entire film was acted by drunk actors. And the results are pretty hilarious (as well as pretty successful, all things considering).

One only has to look back at the golden years of Hollywood to remember that every actor would often loose themselves in an alcoholic mist; icons such as Richard Burton, Oliver Reed, Peter O'Toole would normally prove hard to work with such was their devotion to the drink.

If only film-makers back then had just decided to shoot the whole movie with their actors inebriated. Cleopatra would have been a much more impressive spectacle.

Tuesday, 27 August 2013

New to Netflix UK - 26/08/13

A slightly delayed edition, due to the Bank Holiday, but I wasn't able to find much in terms of worthy new content.

Hope Springs - A couple, whose thirty-year marriage is losing steam, attend a counselling retreat where they find the effort to rekindle their passion is a lot harder than they expected. Light and fluffy comedy that takes no risks but is helped forward by a great cast, particularly Mr Lee Jones.

The Moo Man - Documentary following a British dairy farmer who, unlike much of his competition, didn't sell out to the dairy industry and instead opts for a more down-to-earth method of earning a living. Much more engaging than you would have imagined, it's heart-warming on an emotional level but also a reminder on how fast traditional-Britain is being phased out.

Sunday, 25 August 2013

Elon Musk's Iron Man 'Inspired' Hologram Project - Details Coming Soon

After the Hyperloop proved to be a well talked-about engineering prospect for the South African Billionaire, it seems that he wasn't quite finished trying to revolutionise the world we live in.

Talking on Twitter, Mr Musk revealed that they had designed rocket parts (I assume space rockets, for Musk's SpaceX company, rather than military rockets) by just moving their hands and then sending it to be printed in titanium.

Using hand gestures to build stuff isn't a new idea but it's still in its infancy and given the extremely high precision required in making spacecraft components, one can't help but be intrigued as to how they did it. Apparently it involves holograms and Iron Man.

Musk promises a video this coming week.

Hyperloop - The Essentials (or "What is it?")

Wrote this a while ago but didn't upload for various reasons. Uploading it now however...

The sudden technology boom in the mid-nineties and the rise of the internet resulted in a lot of people getting very rich very quickly. You had companies with the likes of Amazon, Google and eBay making massive leaps forward and dominating their market, making their founders multi-billionaires with each passing year. Elon Musk has a similar success story with his founding of PayPal (which he sold to eBay for $1.5b) and has since gone on to invest heavily in the technology of the future, founding both Tesla Motors (electric car company that's still a long way from conquering the market) and more famously SpaceX (one of the major players in the new private space-exploration sector). But it seems that he wishes to go one step further and revolutionise the way we travel across the land with his new 'Hyperloop' system, a train-like system that has the potential of travelling 1000km in under an hour. To put this into perspective, the average cruise speed of the Boeing 747 is about 890km/h.

But just what is the Hyperloop?

Background Info

Mr Musk apparently came up with the idea after the proposed high-speed rail system to connect LA with San Francisco 'lacked innovation' and would prove to be both costly and not very fast (travel time of 2hrs40min at a price of $105 per ticket for a one-way trip). As a comparison, a return by air would cost $158 for less than half the time.

As a result, he was looking for a system that had the following traits:
  • Safe
  • Fast
  • Low Cost
  • Sustainable/Low Power Consumption
Obviously, we currently have no method of transport that incorporates these characteristics hence why it is proposed that a fifth method of transportation (after automobile, boat, aeroplane and train) be introduced.

The Hyperloop

Essentially described as a human-sized version of the Pneumatic Tube Transport (those pipes you used to get in shops and offices where you put the item in the tube and it goes "VVROOP" off to its destination), the Hyperloop will be an long pressurised steel tube which will contain a train-like carriage (or capsule) to hold people and vehicles. The capsules will be supported within the tube by aerodynamic lift and air bearings.

The intended route is LA to San Francisco (although Musk heavily hints that any country can install such a system) and the route will (hopefully) contain stops inbetween, although details on how the cars will stop at said stations have not been clarified upon.

The proposed method of power is solar, which if distributed across the roof of the tunnel will supposedly provide excess energy to power the transport system.

The Train

Two types will exist, one for passengers and one for vehicles (presumably just cars and not heavy freight). The passenger car can hold 28 passengers while the vehicle version has room for 3 vehicles.

The interior is designed with the passenger in mind, with high quality comfort chairs, LCD/LED screens displaying imagery (there are no windows after all) and an entertainment system for each person.

The Cost

Musk reckons that the whole thing could be built for around $6.0b, almost a tenth of the proposed cost for the high-speed rail system.Then take into account its completely self powering, it is actually a pretty cheap affair.

Tickets (remembering for the train it's around $105 for a single journey) will cost a mere $20.

Will it get the go ahead? Highly unlikely. After all, this is too much tech for many to handle and those behind the High Speed Rail project probably have extensively deep pockets and puppets to do their every whim.