Sunday 30 June 2013

Flavours of the Month: June 2013...


Django Unchained (Blu-Ray) - I finally got to see it, at long last, and I absolutely loved it. It's a shame that QT's flicks never come accompanied with much in the way of extra features, though.

Argo (Blu-Ray) - three-for-three for Affleck.

Jay & Silent Bob Get Old: Teabagging in Ireland (DVD) - as an avid listener of the SModcast Network, I have to admit I'm getting a bit tired by the formulaic Hollywood Babble-On (it could use freshening up - new jokes, new impressions, more varied targets for seething parody) as well as Jay & Silent Bob Get Old, but only in regards to the repetitive portions of the shows (e.g. the same questions getting the same answers from different audiences in different editions of the podcast during the recent 'Groovy Movie' tour, or Smith going on yet another long-winded rant about filmmaking ... yes, it's inspiring the first couple of times you hear it, but when you've heard it literally more than a dozen times, you get a bit fed up and skip to the best bits of the show). Anyway, point being, I find there's a lot more humour to Jason Mewes' stories when you can see him perform them on-stage ... the added dimension really helps bring back the funny (as well as the shows on the DVDs cutting out the 'chuffa', as Bruce Willis might say).

Click "READ MORE" below for what else has been flavouring my June 2013...

Long Way Down - they were never going to out-do Long Way Round, and they definitely bit off more miles than they could comfortably chew, but it's more of a good thing nonetheless. Hopefully we'll soon get the long-awaited "Long Way Up".

The Returned (Les Revenants) - bizarrely (or lazily) referred to as a "zombie series" by news outlets (a cursory glance at Wikipedia would instantly have told them otherwise - the title is a bit of a clue, in all), this fascinating and atmospheric 8-part French mystery (with a soundtrack by Mogwai) has been a real joy to dig into. We're only a few episodes deep, but the multiple mysteries, large-and-small, keep you hooked. Absolutely superb stuff!

Top Gear: The Great Adventures 4 - the Middle East special as well as the US and Albania road trips.

By Any Means: Ireland to Sydney - I've been on a bit of a 'McGregor and/or Boorman' travelogue kick of late, re-viewing all the DVDs of theirs on my shelves. There's a strong focus on the modes of transport in this one, and as such, too large a portion of each episode is taken up with travel, rather than the journey itself. On the plus side it's an epic trip with a sense of family to it; Boorman teams up with Russ Malkin again, and new camera guy Mungo fits seamlessly into the 'blokes on a journey' vibe with ease.

By Any Means: Sydney to Tokyo - the follow-up to the above series. There's less focus on the transport in this series, which makes for a better travel/journey balance, and with a shorter distance to cover you get a really good look at some of the countries they pass through. On the down side, Russ Malkin wasn't along for the journey, but familiar face Claudio the cameraman (from Long Way Round etc) is back. Boorman is very much centre-stage for the vast majority, which does impact the family vibe of their previous journey, but with less miles to go, they get far more time to give the viewer a real taste of each country they visit - something that was a bit limited in the first By Any Means.


Rob Zombie "Venomous Rat Regeneration Vendor"

The Black Angels "Indigo Meadow"

The Velvet Underground "All Tomorrow's Parties"

HIM "Tears On Tape"

ROB "Maniac 2013" Soundtrack
- particularly "Juno" featuring Chloe Alper.

David Lynch & Lykke Li "I'm Waiting Here"

David Lynch "Are You Sure?"

HIM "Strange World"

Sonic 3 Final Boss Battle
- even in the 16bit era you could get brilliant soundtracks to a game, and the music to Sonic 3 on the Sega Mega Drive was like the soundtrack to the early 1990s for me.

Mogwai "Les Revenants" Soundtrack - particularly "Hungry Face" and "Wizard Motor".


The Walking Dead: Volume 18 - getting the trade paperbacks means you wait six months for a new issue, read it feverishly inside an hour, and start another six month wait. This 18th volume (after the shocking events of Volume 17) was a really good way to delve deeper into the world of the new big bad - I'm looking forward to seeing things develop from here.

Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 - a final spin before trading it in. The level design is the real downside here, it lacks a sense of drama and interest that the franchise usually has in spades, and while it's pleasing to see a longer play time and attention to story, the implementation of the story is a bit awkward. At times you're desperately waiting to gain control and get into the fight, while at other times it's slowing the pace down too much in the midst of the action. On the plus side, the ability to customise your 'load out' is a brilliant addition, the story and characters are compelling (even with the aforementioned pacing issues), and the ability to choose the outcome of your story is a welcome change-up.

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 - the 'blood jelly vision' is damn annoying, and the time-scale for the story is moronic (e.g. infiltrating a secretive terrorist group thousands of miles away in under 24 hours), but the on-screen spectacle is second-to-none. The Russian invasion of America is jaw-dropping, the prison-raid is pleasingly influenced by The Rock, and the story plays out quite dramatically - plus, the Price/Soap team-up is made strong here.

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 - improving on some faults with the previous game, MW3 continued to bring epic-scale warfare (those Parisian levels are particular highlights), combined with a more sensible story timescale. While MW2 was a bit light on story, MW3 re-balances and makes sure the trilogy goes out with a satisfying punch. Great vocal support from William Fichtner as "Sandman" too. This all said, I've never once played COD online - I have no interest in doing so - I might be in the minority, but I'm purely about the COD single player.

"Sleazoid Express: A Mind-Twisting Tour Through the Grindhouse Cinemas of Times Square" by Bill Landis & Michelle Clifford - I've been after this book for a couple of years now, and I finally got around to it. So far, so good - the authors possess a flair for illustrating the seedier characters and corners of New York's 42nd Street exploitation cinema era. A must-read for any fan of cine-sleaze and grindhouse-grue - it covers everything from roughies and gendertwisters, to Eurosleaze, Mondo movies, gore shows, and Ilsa.

Roll'up Tutti Frutti Bubblegum

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