Tuesday, 29 November 2016

Tuesday's Reviews - Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (2016)

Yesterday I finally saw the next stage in JK Rowling's plan to dominate the word of literature and film. I mean I have nothing against the woman but everything about Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them has just screamed of "how can we squeeze more cash out of our loyal fans?" I mean the decision to release the screenplay may be no-nonsense from a financial standpoint but it just seems like a shameless tactic to earn more cash. It kind of feels as though Rowling and her backers just see the Harry Potter fandom as bags of cash and are doing everything in their power to exploit them for continued financial gain. You know me by now; I think Harry Potter should have ended at the final book. It was complete and it was satisfactory. Rowling herself once said she wouldn't revisit the world again but has continued to prove that was a huge fucking lie. Yes, she gives loads to charity and helps people and I admire her for that. However, her constant flip-flopping on this and inability to leave well alone just makes me lose respect for her. She's like the literary world's George Lucas. So I wasn't exactly convinced I'd come out of Fantastic Beasts feeling much love... especially when the Rogue One trailer showing beforehand gave me literal tingles. I mean my legs went actually went numb. I haven't felt that kind of emotional response to anything Harry Potter related for years. I'll always be a fan but I've been over it for a while now. At least Disney don't try and pretend that you're anything but bags of cash in their eyes.

Sunday, 27 November 2016


This week saw the return of everyone's favourite time for violently trying to track down the greatest shopping bargains. Yes, Black Friday has come and gone once again. I still don't really understand why this American tradition has made it over to the UK but it has. It always gets out of hand and this year in Leeds, where I'm from, a man was actually stabbed whilst trying to stop someone shoplifting. It's fucking crazy. I'm not one of these people that like to take the day off to try and grab a bargain. Although, I can't say that I'm immune to the whole thing. As much as I'm annoyed by the constant stream of discount emails I receive in the run up to this weekend I did succumb to a few bargains myself. It's a great time to get Christmas presents after all. As you may know from previous rundowns I lack a lot of self-control when it comes to spending. I'm trying to get better and I think it's working. It's only going to be when I finally stop checking ASOS all day that I know I'm over it, of course. But for now, I'll embrace my bad habits and wait until the new year to fix myself. It's nearly Christmas and that is a well-known time for excess.

Thursday, 24 November 2016

TBT - The BFG (1989)

When it came to the adaptations of his books Roald Dahl was a tough critic. He was incredibly stubborn about giving the rights in the first place and, when he did give his permission, it was nearly impossible to create something that he felt was a faithful  It's a well known fact that he turned his back on Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, the 1971 adaptation of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. He wasn't happy that the focus was on Willy Wonka instead of Charlie and he was against the casting of Gene Wilder. It wasn't the film that he wanted to make and the alternative script wasn't what he wanted. However, it wasn't completely impossible to get Dahl onside and after he saw the 1989 animated version of The BFG Roald Dahl actually stood up and applauded. If I'm honest, I find it doubtful that Dahl would have been completely happy with Steven Spielberg's 2016 adaptation of the book despite the fact that it's a genuinely good film. So how does its predecessor actually stand up to Disney's CGI filled version?

Tuesday, 22 November 2016

Tuesday's Reviews: The BFG (2016)

Conditions aren't exactly ideal for writing at the moment. My back is aching again and I just can't get comfortable. I've changed position about a million times whilst getting to this point in the sentence. My computer is irritating me and annoying noises every few seconds. And it's nearly 11 o'clock and I'm feeling a bit under pressure to finish. Still, we all know by now that I like a challenge. I can and will write something before midnight. Now that we're done with exposition, you may remember that a few months ago I reread The BFG before I watched the film. I managed to read it before Spielberg's film came out but never actually came through on the second part of the plan. This Summer ended up being a bit of a blur that revolved around work and my sister's wedding. So the film came and went without me realising. However, it was finally released on Monday so I decided it was time I finally sat down and got on with it.

Sunday, 20 November 2016


Those of you who also follow me on Instagram will be aware that I gave myself a little treat this week and finally bought the Lego The Force Awakens video game. As a fucking huge fan of pretty much all of the previous Lego games, I've wanted it ever since I knew it was coming out. However, I can never justify buying new games because they cost a shitload and I never have the time to play them enough. But I had a few vouchers to use up and ended up finding a copy for a reasonable price and I'm so glad I did. I've spent every spare second I have playing it and I love it. Playing as BB8 is the best thing in the game. It's amazing. I realise that these games are for kids but they are so great. The characters look so good, the storyline is so loyal and the game play, except when it comes to flying/driving as it the problem with all these games, is so easy. It's not the most difficult thing you'll ever play but these games are rewarding in so many different ways. It's the greatest purchase I've made all year. Although, it has meant my reading hasn't vastly improved this week. I need to start dividing my time better.

Thursday, 17 November 2016

TBT - Angels and Demons (2009)

It seems that I'm going through a bit of a Tom Hanks week this week. I can't get away from the man. This week Michael Moore declared that he run for president in 2020; my Tuesday Review this week was his latest Robert Langdon film Inferno; and today my colleague told me she preferred younger Tom Hanks to younger Harrison Ford. Now, I'm not trying to criticise the man but there is no competition. Tom Hanks is Hollywood's Mr Nice Guy but he's hardly a fucking pin-up. Anyway, I decided to continue this trend by discussing another of the Dan Brown film trilogy. But which one to pick? A few weeks ago the Cinema Sins YouTube channel brought out a video describing everything that's wrong with Angels and Demons and, weirdly, it made me want to watch it again. I've seen The Da Vinci Code a couple of times and it bored the shit out of me every times. As you may remember from Tuesday, Inferno hardly set my spirits alight so, by process of elimination, Angels and Demons had to be my favourite of the Robert Langdon trilogy. Although this probably has something to do with my love of Ewan McGregor and Stellan SkarsgĂ„rd because you can hardly say that I love the film or the book. Still, I'm never one to ignore a craving so I spent last night reminding myself of what a travesty it really is.

Tuesday, 15 November 2016

Tuesday's reviews - Inferno (2016)

Considering my general anger about the whole thriller genre it shouldn't come as any surprise to you guys that I'm not a fan of Dan Brown. However, this dislike comes from a place much deeper than mere genre. It basically comes down to the fact that Brown is a fucking shit writer. Something that is even more worrying when you consider he used to be a creative writing professor. Still, it's something that seem unwilling to admit. I have had several arguments with people over the years about why his books are so awful but Dan Brown's fans are as stubborn as his books are dull. There's no way around it, Dan Brown just doesn't know how to write. He uses words in completely nonsensical ways; he's incredibly repetitive; his dialogue is clumsy; he gets bogged down with insignificant details; and he's incredibly repetitive. He's a man who's name should be Dan "tautology" Brown and who should really ask a creative writing professor what a real metaphor is. Not only is his writing bad but it's incredibly simplistic in the midst of all the biblical/ literary history. I mean each chapter is about 2 pages long and each one ends on some kind of underwhelming cliffhanger. It's fucking awful. However, desperately trying to find something positive to say, Dan Brown's stories do make fairly adequate cinematic experiences. Once Ron Howard and co manage to remove all the bullshit and get down to the puzzle then it's not quite as bad. I mean it's not good but it's not the worst thing I've ever seen. Plus, Tom Hanks is so fucking likeable that it's easy to get swept away. So, despite the fact that I never bothered to read Inferno I was interested in how it would work on screen.

Sunday, 13 November 2016


Fair warning, I've just got to the end of a week of 7am starts and I'm feeling tired and melodramatic right now. 2016 is turning out to be a pretty dismal year all things considered and this last week has definitely been a tough one. It started with the news that the great Leonard Cohen had died at 82 and then continued to reveal that Donald Trump would become the next President of the United States. Then Nigel fucking Farage has been popping up spreading his usual bigoted bullshit and looking extremely pleased with himself. It's too much. We've lost so many talented people and seen too many political upsets this year and we're still only in November. I'm going to blame this difficult week for the fact that I haven't done any reading. I've just been hiding in my room, listening to Leonard Cohen songs, and pretending 2016 isn't happening. Only a month and a bit until we can start a new year and leave this awfulness behind us. 2017 has to be THE year, right?

Thursday, 10 November 2016

TBT - Liar Liar (1997)

This has been an absurd week really. Just when we thought no political decision could out crazy Brexit America decides it's time to up the game. The world has changed dramatically thanks to the this weeks American election. We've been through weeks of incredibly mean campaigns and general horribleness only to be left with scenes of despair, fear and violence when the least likely Presidential candidate actually fucking won. Still, I also feel that it's not really my place to go too far into how much of a fuck up this could be. It will have an effect on everyone but will have a major effect on the people who live in American who aren't white, male and straight. It's crazy and I can see why people are worried. Even if Trump does eventually tire of politics it won't exactly leave us in a better position. Compared to the rest of his party, he's fucking liberal. He goes and we get Mike Pence. Hardly comforting. Anyway, this has never been a political blog so it's time to get back to normal life. So, for this TBT I decided to find a film that both summed up my feelings about this election and provided an escape from reality. Liar Liar is a film that works on both levels.

Tuesday, 8 November 2016

Tuesday's Reviews - Mascots (2016)

I've had another pretty relaxed day off today. I've done a lot of sorting and tidying, which I of course have been putting off for a few days now. So now that my surroundings are clear my mind must also be feeling refreshed, right? Well, I can't promise that. I've been working my way up to writing this review for a while and have been unable to find the best way to start it. I think I sometimes find it difficult to collect my thoughts quickly after I finally watch a film that I've wanted to see for a while. I should really work my schedule better so I have the time but then I wouldn't be the same old unorganised mess that you've all come to know and love. So whilst I doubt this will ever be mistaken for the greatest thing I've ever written, I can at least take comfort in the fact that I'm finally getting around to taking something of my Netflix 'to watch' list. This is one of those films that I regularly scroll past during those moments when I'm desperately looking for something to watch. For the past few weeks I've guiltily ignored it in favour of rewatching everything I've ever seen. Not today though. Today I conquer something even greater than my ever expanding wardrobe. And it feels fucking great.

Sunday, 6 November 2016


Once again, I've have a Sunday off and I've done fuck all. This week has been a bit of a boring one. Work is increasingly frustrating and applying for jobs is back in full, repetitive, swing. Still, I'm remaining hopeful and trying to look into ways that I can prove myself. Bribery, selling my soul to the devil, that kind of thing. I've also, finally, come to the conclusion that I am too keen to wilfully spend my money on shit I don't need so I've been trying super hard to not do that. Unfortunately, the shit I don't need is actually really fun. So it's been a difficult start. I am, however, a stubborn old mule and will persevere. If I can only get rid of some of my stuff as well I might actually start resembling a functioning adult... or at least someone who could one day turn into one.

Thursday, 3 November 2016

TBT - The Addams Family (1991)

When I was younger our local village shop started renting out films on VHS. Yes, that does probably age me horribly but I lived through a golden age of video tapes, cassettes and floppy disks and I'm not about to hide that. Anyway, there were a couple of films available that I became obsessed with and always tried to get my father to rent for us. It drove my twin sister a bit mad because she got bored with them but I really didn't give a shit. One of them was Addams Family Values. I fucking loved that film. It was everything to my pre-teen self. I'm pretty sure it's the reason I love Joan Cusack so bloody much. Which makes it weirder that I don't think I saw its predecessor until quite a few years later. I don't know how I managed it but I somehow avoided the 1991 Addams Family film. Thankfully I've seen it more than enough times to make up for it now. And, as I never actually got round to creating that list of alternative Halloween films that I promised you, I decided I would discuss it here for my post-Halloween TBT. After all, along with last Thursday's Hocus Pocus, it definitely would have made the list.

Wednesday, 2 November 2016

Top 10 Wen-sday: Top 10 Magical Creatures I Would Most Like to Encounter

It's the start of November and that can only mean two things. Number 1: Christmas shit will start appearing in every shop and adverts will start talking about presents and Turkeys. Number 2: The Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them film is coming out in a matter of days. Now, I can't say that I was too pleased to hear that it would lead to a series of 5 films because it feels like a shameless money grabbing scheme but I am excited about the first one. I have such love for Eddie Redmayne that I can't wait to see him as Newt Scamander and it'll be good to expand the wizarding world beyond Harry Potter's tiny glimpse. I, like every good Potterhead, have my very own copy of the Fantastic Beasts book along with Quidditch Through the Ages and have done since they were first released for Comic Relief way back in 2001. And, just like every other good Potterhead, I spent time devouring the book and wondering which of the magical creatures I'd most like as a pet. In honour of the upcoming film I decided to make it official but, as so many of the creatures are not exactly domesticated, I decided it was only fair to change the rules to creatures I'd like to see the most.

Tuesday, 1 November 2016

Tuesday's Reviews - His Bloody Project by Graeme Macrae Burnet

It seems as though last Tuesday was about a month ago but, as it turns out, it was only 7 days. You may remember that last week's blog post was a bit of an unusual one thanks to some unexpected news. Instead of my scheduled review of the Man Booker 2016 Shortlisted His Bloody Project I spent the Tuesday review in a rather angry and sad analysis of a rejection for a job I really wanted. I've had time to come to terms with it now and, even though I'm still feeling all of those things, I'm not dwelling. I'm applying for more and trying to organise some useful shit to help me in the future. Now that I'm once again of sound-ish mind, I'm going to attempt to do what I wanted to last week. It may not have won the Man Booker Prize but His Bloody Project was a worthy, if unexpected, entry on this year's shortlist. It's my favourite entry on the shortlist... but, then again, it's the only one I've actually read.