Thursday, 29 September 2011

Flavours of the Month: September 2011...


The A-Team (Blu-Ray) - still rather good fun. After a year or more of thinking the movie would suck, when I actually got to see it in the cinema last year I had a really good time, and it still is a good time. I'm not sure whether they will or not, but I would welcome a sequel.

Fast Five (Blu-Ray) - I never bothered with the second or third movie in the franchise (I saw clips and didn't like what I saw), and I found the fourth movie to be a bit underwhelming, but this fourth sequel was a bloody great time at the movies, and it continues to be so on home video (although goodness knows what the additional one minute of content is). Blisteringly enjoyable big-scale mainstream action.

Dangerous Roads (BBC2) - three episodes, three pairings of household British names (comedians and adventurers), and three distinctly treacherous journeys. In the absence of a new Boorman/McGregor adventure, this satiates the appetite a bit.

Carnivale - I missed this curious-and-rather-good show the first time around, but thanks to Sky Atlantic I've been catching up, and this month saw the first season draw to a close ... and what a closer it was! Cliffhanger central, so it was, with shocking twists galore edited together incredibly effectively to Hans Zimmer's "Journey to the Line".

Fresh Meat - a new comedy created by the blokes who gave us Peep Show, detailing the off-campus lifestyle of a bunch of first year uni students. I'm quite enjoying it, and not just because it's giving me flashbacks of my own time living off campus - mind you, our gaff was far smaller and decidedly more of a health hazard (bed bugs, persistent mold, and a bathroom that was cleaned so few times in two years that you could count them on one hand ... at the time we didn't seem to mind, yet the further from it I get, the more disgusting it appears). Although, the second episode was a step-down - some plots have been dived into all-too-quickly, and some characters are feeling a tad one-note - but hopefully it's just an early wobble from which the show will recover.


AL-P "The A-Team Theme (AL-P MSTRKRFT Remix)" - as heard on the Blu-Ray menu for 2010 The A-Team movie.

M83 "Midnight City (Big Black Delta Remix)" - October will see the long-awaited release of M83's new double-album, and in advance there's a few remixes of the first single doing the rounds.

Stelvio Cipriani "La Politzia Sta A Guardare" - as featured (briefly) in Quentin Tarantino's Death Proof, I re-discovered it playing during the trailer for the Italian giallo flick What Have They Done To Your Daughters?

HIM "Deep Shadows & Brilliant Highlights" - this is the band's third album, and it takes me right back to the wintry beginnings of 2003, listening to this and their second album (Razorblade Romance) after getting back from late afternoon screenings when it was pitch black and raining outside. Some albums transport you back to very specific times in your life, and this is one such album.

Hans Zimmer "Journey To The Line" - as mentioned above regarding the season one finale of Carnivale, this haunting piece of music was created for Terrence Malick's poetic The Thin Red Line.


The 10th Anniversary of 9/11 - what is there to say? The event that defined the decade (and no doubt will define the century) was a shocking assault on all of mankind whether witnessing it first hand, or through the chilling footage streaming live around the world. When the event itself was unfolding I was in the final year of the Sixth Form and one of the girls from our year said, somewhat curiously, that "a plane has crashed into the World Trade Center" - naturally we all thought of the time a small plane crashed into the Empire State Building, but by the time we all got home and saw the endlessly repeating footage we realised this was something totally and horrifically different. With each passing year - and with more and more fascinating (yet terrifying) documentaries about that day - it becomes a little easier to process, while at the same time continuing to be an inconceivable horror.

GTA IV: The Ballad of Gay Tony - returning to the second DLC for Rockstar's smash hit sandboxer, and having got used to the tweaked controls featured in Red Dead Redemption, I found the controls and cover system to be at best fiddly and at worst utterly incapable (driving is something to merely get the hang of, but the cover system is awfully clunky here - however, thankfully, it was mostly improved in Red Dead Redemption). That said, I've had a ridiculous number of hours out of GTA IV (despite its faults) and I am very much looking forward to the next entry.

"Crystal Lake Memories: The Complete History of Friday the 13th" by Peter M. Bracke - I was given this last year but only got around to reading about the first two movies in the franchise before I found myself with a stack of books (as Christmas gifts) to wade through - however I returned to Bracke's vastly informative tome and it has been a stonking good read. At the time of writing I'm up to Jason X.

Allen Bridge - after a bit of a hiatus, in which I sought feedback from a select few readers, I have returned to my drama/mystery script. I've plotted a list of additions and tweaks that I want to make, but I can see that where I am currently at - heading into Draft 2.1 - is the point at which I would have arrived at last year by Draft 3.2, so I feel quite confident in that I'm learning an awful lot. Indeed I've been putting as much care and attention into this script as I possibly can. Like I've said before, I am determined to make this one count!

Homefront - there's a shed load of games coming out over the next few months that will go onto my 'to do' list, not that I'll get to many of them anytime soon if at all, but this B-Grade shooter (from the writer of Red Dawn and Apocalypse Now) isn't too bad. It's definitely not in the same league as a Call of Duty, for instance, but it presents an intriguing and scarily almost-possible bleak future where America becomes a nation occupied by a united Korea. At times it is hauntingly dark (mass graves at baseball fields, a child's parents gunned down in front of them, white phosphorous melting enemies alive, etc) and despite a number of flaws (such as a stupidly short campaign, weak protagonists, and an occasionally rough finish) it's worth a play.

Dick Figures, and ASDFmovie - these two online animated series are well worth checking out. The former has so far racked up 19 mini episodes (from the same company that gave us Happy Tree Friends), and the latter is a wonderfully silly and inventive series of mini-sketches that have - for one thing - birthed a ridiculously catchy song called "I LIKE TRAINS".

Gears of War 2 - in preparation for the third entry in the monstrously successful Xbox360 exclusive franchise, I've returned for another bash through this first sequel which was without a doubt decidedly superior to the solid first game.

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