Saturday 30 June 2012

Flavours of the Month: June 2012...


Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol (Blu-Ray) - the second time around it's still great, and it still spins my head when the Burj Kalifa segment comes up.

Mad Men Season 5 - the last few months have had a decidedly Mad Men flavour to them, and now I'm finally all caught up on Don & Co's adventures in advertising ... roll on season 6!

2 Broke Girls - sometimes E4's relentless advertising of new shows really grates (I almost didn't start watching Lost specifically because I hated how often they trailed the first season on Channel 4), but now and then that doesn't factor in so much and you give a show a fair chance on its own merit. It took me a few episodes to get into it, but I've found myself somewhat curiously into this show, which is like a strange clash of 'ever-so-sitcommy' and 'post-modern-malaise'.

Hell On Wheels - all I knew of this show before reading an article in Total Film about it, was the title, and I'd just assumed it was a rip-off of Sons of Anarchy or something. However, having got utterly obsessed with Deadwood earlier this year, I was up for more western drama, and AMC are delivering. It's not in the same league as Deadwood (the first two seasons of which were downright perfect, while the third season lost its sense of pace until the final episodes), but I'm still watching it - so it must be doing something right. You gotta love the opening titles too - I've had Gustavo Santaolalla's toe-tapping, hard-edged themetune in my head for weeks.

Leon (Blu-Ray) - it's been a very long time since I saw this excellent flick, and I have to say the Director's Cut (133 minutes in length) is a superior effort. It delves much more into the ever-so-strange relationship between the eponymous assassin (Jean Reno) and his young ward (Natalie Portman).

Jackass 3 & 3.5 - the last time I saw these was a few weeks before Ryan Dunn was killed in a high speed car wreck along with Zachary Hartwell in 2011, and until now it felt a little strange watching anything Jackass knowing that Dunn was gone ... however it was about time I gave these another spin, and they're still hilarious. Dunn may be gone, but he ain't forgotten.

Click "READ MORE" below for the sounds and flavours of June 2012...


A Perfect Circle "Counting Bodies Like Sheep to the Rhythm of the War Drums" - I finally got around to playing id Software's Rage this month, and I distinctly remember this track in the background of the TV adverts. It's a kick arse track.

Alice Cooper "The Definitive Alice Cooper", "Welcome 2 My Nightmare", "Spark in the Dark: The Best Of" - there's been a full-on Alice Cooper vibe this month too. I don't know why it took me so long to get into it, as I'd been listening to a few of their tracks for years, but better late than never.

M83 "Hurry Up, We're Dreaming"

Guns 'n' Roses "Use Your Illusion I & II" - the first kicks arse, but the second loses the spark bar a few key tracks (such as "Knockin' On Heaven's Door", "Get In The Ring", "Pretty Tied Up", and "You Could Be Mine").


Rage (Xbox360) - unfortunately, plot isn't of much importance to this game (in the wake of Fallout 3 it feels beaten-to-the-punch, and the generic 'evil government' schtick has been done-to-death), and the finale is surprisingly brief and lacking in any sense of grandeur (meanwhile a couple of missions prior, a visit to Jackal Canyon proves thrilling and memorable). However, the setting and the gameplay are strong, and I found myself decidedly addicted to exploring the wasteland (even though Fallout 3 had much more to offer in terms of exploration and plot). Imperfect, but ruddy good fun nonetheless. I'm glad I didn't let this one slip-by.

Hunter S. Thompson "The Rum Diary" - I'm fairly new to his writing (I've only read this and, of course, Fear & Loathing In Las Vegas thus far), however I really enjoyed this meandering and semi-autobiographical tale of 'Paul Kemp', a young-but-not-too-young journalist who heads to San Juan to work for an English-language paper that's seemingly forever teetering on the brink of bankruptcy. As testament to the vivid nature of Thompson's writing, I found myself with a certain wanderlust while reading the book - part of me wanted to be a writer sipping rum in 1950s Puerto Rico ... but then I'd close the book and remember that I can't stand heat, I've got a rather low tolerance for alcohol, I don't particularly care for journalism, generally speaking, and it's not the 1950s...

Red Dead Redemption: Undead Nightmare - a quick second spin around Rockstar's brilliantly realised western sandboxer, but this time with zombies. Rather good fun ... although when you have to stop the fun to go picking bloody flowers for one mission, you can't help but grumble as you look forward to headshotting undead ghouls from the saddle of your flaming horse again.

John W. Campbell "Who Goes There?" - the novella that inspired The Thing. As a huge fan of John Carpenter's 1982 film, I simply had to get around to this sooner or later. Well worth reading.

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