The Returned - this 8-part French supernatural series (that's not about zombies, despite what numerous lazy news articles claim - hint: the clue's in the title "Les Revenants") has been a real joy to watch. Beautifully crafted in all regards, it's a mystery that keeps on giving - so many questions, and thankfully numerous answers. There's the big central mystery that will go unanswered until the very end - naturally - but there are innumerable medium-and-mini mysteries throughout, which are either answered, or brought further into focus by small pieces of new information in each episode. There's always a sense of forward momentum, so the mystery never becomes frustrating or stagnant. Bring on series 2!
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Top Gear Series 20
Maniac 2013 (Blu-Ray) - one of the handful of remakes that have been worthwhile. Sure, it doesn't step that far beyond what the original did, but the difference is all in the presentation and the style. It simultaneously stays true to the source material, while bringing with it its own purpose-for-being.
This Is 40 (Blu-Ray)
The Walking Dead Season 4 Comic-Con Trailer - TWD fans rejoice, for the first footage from season four premiered in the much-anticipated Comic-Con trailer. Much nerd-joy and analysis followed.
Comic-Con - speaking of which, it's the greatest time of year to be a nerd. One day I'd love to go to Comic-Con (preferably representing a film/show that I'm involved in), but for now vicarious geek-thrills through YouTube shall suffice. Panel discussions, round-up videos, interviews, the whole lot - my favourite of the bunch? Glove and Boots' visit to SDCC - irreverently brilliant as always, Mario & Fafa.
The Black Angels "Phosphene Dream" - their third album is their weakest, but that's not to say it's a duff outing by any means. Somewhat of a holding pattern between the quality of "Directions To See A Ghost" and "Indigo Meadow". All-said though, their debut "Passover" remains my favourite.
David Lynch "The Big Dream" - a step-up from "Crazy Clown Time", and while certainly not for everyone (or perhaps many), I just dig that dreamy, askew sound.
Stereophonics "Decade in the Sun"
Alice Cooper "Constrictor", "Raise Your Fist And Yell", and "Welcome 2 My Nightmare"
Bruno Nicolai "Sequence 1", "Sequence 5", and "Sequence 11" - from the film "The Case of the Scorpion's Tail". Not seen the film yet, mind.
Sharon Van Etten "Serpents" - from the season 4 comic-con trailer for The Walking Dead.
Blanck Mass "Chernobyl" - as featured in the best, weirdest, and most disturbing portion of Brit-chiller "A Field in England".
Fatboy Slim "You've Come A Long Way Baby" - during my mid-teens, this was one of the most popular albums out there. I bought my copy on the ferry back from a school trip to Belgium, during which the CD played frequently on the bus stereo (this was in the days before every kid had iPods and Smart Phones) ... they never played track 3 though. Gee, I wonder why?
M83 "Hurry Up We're Dreaming"
VIBES & FLAVOURS:
Heat - we Brits love to natter about the weather, and this July has given us plenty of material. Generally lingering around 30 Celsius in the shade, with high humidity, and sod-all air conditioning (unless you're in some shops or places of work), it's been a double-edged sword. The weather is nice in small doses, but three unbroken weeks of a heat wave - again, with no air conditioning - and the resulting lack of sleep, gets quite annoying. On the plus side, it's BBQ season. On the down side, living in a rural area means that the inevitable electrical storms create bloody annoying power blips - for some reason the power network can't maintain a constant flow, so on one day we had five interruptions within a two hour period. When practically everything you do or enjoy requires power, these stupid farty little 2 second blips are quite intrusive ... and I can't imagine it does your electronics much good to be losing and gaining power so frequently. After a few days relief though, the heat is swinging back around for a second go at us.
Coke Zero & Ice - a daily respite from the heat. Delicious. Cold. Relief.
Cold Shadows re-drafting - after 'aging in wood' for an appropriate amount of time, I returned to "Cold Shadows" to polish it up before sending it out to a few places. Next up for the final polish treatment will be "Sleb". After that though, the hunt for an agent begins.
Max Payne 3 - a second blast through Rockstar's thoroughly enjoyable and action-packed shooter. It's not classic Payne, but it comes as close as possible, and most importantly it stays true to the spirit. It's a bloody good game too - McCaffrey does another excellent job of breathing life into everyone's favourite unlucky, boozed-up, pill-poppin' rozzer-on-the-edge.