July 2014 has been dominated by GTA V's electro sounds, hard boiled detectives, and crime busting coppers. Horror rockers, horror soundtracks, and horror flicks - plus plenty more.
Click "READ MORE" below for this month's looks, sounds, vibes & flavours...
Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee Season 4 - five more episodes of Jerry Seinfeld's delightfully enjoyable and laid back interview comedy web series. What do you do when you've got all the money in the world and you're taking it easy? You hang out with your friends, talk about your favourite things, and drive around in cool cars.
Shameless Screen Entertainment 'Pop Erotica Fest' DVD Box Set - Venus In Furs, Baba Yaga, and The Frightened Woman. A saucy little trio of European delights from the fading lights of the sixties era. Click the titles to read reviews of each flick.
Rob Zombie "The Zombie Horror Picture Show" - the horror rocker's first live gig film. Visually stunning, aurally sensational, and altogether arse kicking.
Father Ted Series 1 - so begins a revisit of this classic Channel 4 comedy show from the 1990s. The first series was clearly a case of figuring out what the show was, who the characters were, and what the rules of their world were. It wasn't until the beginning of the second series that the really classic episodes kicked in. Highlight of the first series? Ted and Dougal's cinema protest - "Down with this sort of thing" - "Careful now".
Super Duper Alice Cooper - a fantastic tour through the life and times of Alice Cooper, the icon, the band, and the original horror rocker himself. Featuring no on-camera interviews (only the voices of the key players), the film takes a different approach to the music doc. It has an 'in the moment' feel, lending it a sense of immediacy, and being that it draws to a close in 1986, it has a clear narrative focus. Covering, appropriately enough, the first eighteen years of the band and the icon himself, it doesn't delve into the post-1986 years, which is unfortunate, but the filmmaker's reasoning in the DVD booklet makes complete sense. Highly recommended for any Cooper fan, particularly as it digs out new tidbits to shed fresh light on moments in their history that were previously considered revealed.
The Real Ghostbusters Volume 1 - I used to love this show as a kid, and it's still good fun. However, there is quite a range to the quality of the episodes at times - on the one hand you can have an episode like "Night Game" (concise, believable, and beautifully animated) but then also have one like "A Fright at the Opera" (dull, poorly animated, and bizarrely drawn). Some episodes are a bit too wacky (e.g. "Who're You Calling Two-Dimensional" or "Ain't NASA-sarily So"), but others are decided gems I remember fondly (e.g. "Venkman's Ghost Repellers", or "Citizen Ghost").
Wild Canada - a four-part UK/Canada co-production nature documentary series narrated by David Attenborough. I've had a long-running fascination with the country and this series revealed the incredible range of landscapes and wildlife the country has to offer. Stunning.
24 Season 9 - I really liked the twelve-episode approach as it helped focus the narrative; in later seasons of the original run you'd end up with, essentially, three consecutive stories - the bad guy's dead, long live a brand new bad guy, then another - kind of thing. It wasn't always brilliant, and it still relied on certain cliches that are all-too-familiar to fans of the show, but it was frequently thrilling and it's impossible to resist another dose of the Jack Bauer Power Hour. I'd definitely like to see another twelve-episode run next year!
Ashes To Ashes Series 1, 2 & 3 - a second go-round for this superb follow-up to Life On Mars that is, for me at least, an improvement over a show that was already excellent. Keeley Hawes provided a much needed sexual tension to the show (as-in the 'war of the sexes' sparks between Hunt's old school male copper, and Drake's future-thinking female detective - both driven, both determined, but with clashing approaches that just as often melded together perfectly). A brilliant show that's just as good a second time around. Fire up the Quattro!
Utopia Series 2 - Channel 4's excellent conspiracy thriller returns and continues to be fan-bloody-tastic. Darkly comic, gorgeously presented, and pleasingly murky in it's obsession with the grey area - and all-the-while daring to go where you wouldn't expect it to.
The Shining - Stanley Kubrick's seminal horror classic just gets better and better and better with each viewing. A masterpiece in every regard and one of the most chilling films ever made.
The Lego Movie - I finally got around to seeing what all the "everything is awesome" fuss is about. Cracking stuff, but my favourite bit was "SPACESHIP! SPACESHIP! SPACESHIP!".
Comic-Con 2014 - one day I'd love to visit the San Diego Comic-Con, but until then an onslaught of YouTube videos will have to suffice. Naturally for me the big draw was the season 5 trailer for The Walking Dead - have a look at my in-depth analysis HERE.
Dan Croll "From Nowhere (Baardsen Remix)"
Tangerine Dream "Mona Da Vinci"
Tangerine Dream "GTA V The Cinematographic Score"
Twin Shadow "Old Love New Love"
Stevie Wonder "Skeletons"
Queen "Radio Ga Ga"
"The Shining" Soundtrack
Stelvio Cipriani "La Polizia Chiede Aiuto" - from Massimo Dallamano's "What Have They Done To Your Daughters?", and also featured in "Amer".
Sigur Rós "Brennisteinn" - from the season 5 Comic-Con trailer for The Walking Dead.
VIBES & FLAVOURS:
"Scene By Scene" by Mark Cousins - the film critic/historian/writer interviews movie stars and directors about some of their most famous work. Insightful reading.
GTA V - I've had a lot of fun out of this game, and now I'm just hopping on every now and then for a piss about. Even after all the time I've spent in the world of Los Santos, there's still tiny little details I'm discovering for the first time! The coppers are still way too aggressive (and accurate) though, as I keep on saying.
"Blood On The Moon" by James Ellroy - the "demon dog" of crime fiction's third book, and the first part in the "Lloyd Hopkins Trilogy".
Photo Album - these days you take lots of photos and keep them digitally, but a virtual photo album isn't as nice as a real one, so I've been trawling through my archives and printing off a whole bunch of memories to help craft a chronological visual history of my life (and my family) thus far. I'll organise and collect it all together in the coming weeks. Those little captured moments of time are precious. Don't just let them drift away into a digital fog, get them printed and map out your adventures too. A simple image and all of a sudden a tidal wave of memories comes forth; sights and sounds that you'd forgotten about, but which were locked away in there somewhere.