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Tuesday, October 18, 2016 - 10:00

West.

Or rather Westeros.

It will soon be gone.

With only a few episodes left, until the Game of Thrones is won (or lost maybe), HBO looks westward, hoping to capture the lightning again.

So we move to Earth in the future.

America to be precise, or rather a simulation of the old west.

The Game of Thrones comparison is not a coincidence. This show is being touted by the network as the next GOT, even the continuity announcer before the UK Sky Atlantic broadcast referred to it as such.

A lot is riding on this.

So hitch up your saddle and get ready to ride out onto the prairie on your synthetic horse.

For those that may not have seen the original, the 1973 film of the same name is a classic of science fiction, from an age when the genre was dominated by cold-war inspired moody post-apocalyptic dismal-fests.

Essentially it was a theme park with robot attractions that are not supposed to kill the guests. Westworld was...

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Monday, June 20, 2016 - 11:00

If you were to sit in the restaurant equivalent of the Hollywood script industry it would probably go like this.

You are shown to your generic NY diner style booth by a generic waiter and offered a menu that has been through a thousand hands before yours. 

‘Can I interest you in the specials today?’ 

‘Not today’ 

‘Can I get you anything to drink’

‘Yes, I’d like a standard diet cola please.’

‘Coming right up’

A few minutes later the drink arrives in a plastic cup with a lid that has a slot for interchangeable figures on it. Today, a plastic rabbit.

‘Are you ready to order?’

‘Could I get a Minions short to start please?’

‘And for your main?’

‘Yes, could I get a Lost Animal Tries To Get Home please?’

‘Of course…any sides?’

‘No Thanks’

Off scuttles the waiter to the kitchen where a catering college graduate, absent mindedly rooting around one nostril with a wet finger and...

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Thursday, May 19, 2016 - 20:57

About a week before the release of Uncharted 4 the press embargo on reviews was lifted, so those who had received advanced copy of the game could release their opinions to a PS4 community hungry for the lowdown.

I was not one of those reviewers. 

This is a review of game that I purchased last week and have spent the intervening days playing, around my work and home life.

This means a couple of things.

Firstly it is later than the reviews from the members of the press, secondly I have only just finished the game in single player mode on moderate difficulty, which means that thirdly, my thumbs still hurt from all the button mashing, which could mean typos and meaningless gibberish because my hands don't work any more.

There is also a very good reason that I am not reviewing the multiplayer game. I don't like online multiplayer communities. If I’d wanted to have a snotty 12yr old shouting and swearing at me and telling...

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Friday, February 5, 2016 - 10:00

Ah, the sad life of the Hollywood scientist.

They tend to fall into two camps…

The first is the Evil scientist, hyper-efficient, thoroughly immoral, clutching for power and mastery over the elements, man, and God. He will eventually fall victim to a horrendously gruesome death at the hands of his own creations.

Then there is the Good scientist. The flawed genius, performing calculus before they were potty trained, the ugly social outcast, sporadically inspirational, unflappably moral, and prone to using the phrase…

‘There are just some things that man is not meant to meddle with’

The Good scientist will either triumph over Evil but lose his entire life's work, or make the noble sacrifice to make up for angering the fates.

For either case, the reality of the common man is a mystery, a thing to despise with contempt or marvel at these quirky non-brainy types. 

Hollywood does not like sciency people, they are to be feared or...

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Tuesday, February 2, 2016 - 10:00

Hey ! 

I think that Marvel must have read my reviews of the last season!

We start by addressing one of my comments about the last episode of season one, namely the short fight between Peggy and Dottie. This is rectified almost straight away with a satisfyingly brutal set to in a bank vault which, to coin a phrase, is right on the money! 

Before Peggy gets a chance to conduct a proper interrogation, Chief Thompson packs her off to Los Angeles to investigate a different case. Thompson hasn’t mellowed much, and this posting appears to be to sideline our heroine and embarrass both her and newly appointed 'Chief' Dan Sousa. There appears to have been some attempt at a liaison or two Peggy and Dan in between the seasons that hasn't really gone anywhere, so relations are a little awkward.

Thomson also wants to take control of the Dottie case, he can sense a commendation coming his way for a successful capture and wants all the glory. Oh, and because...

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Monday, January 4, 2016 - 10:00

You can guess by the title of this rant that there are spoilers included in this article.

There are indeed spoilers.

Yes spoilers that spoil things in three movies.

Star Trek Into Darkness

Spectre

Star Wars - The Force Awakens.

And although at least two of these spoilers are now going to be common knowledge, I wanted to talk about WHY those spoilers exist , since there are parallels between all three. 

So just to make absolutely sure that you have all had opportunity to not read any further. There are SPOILERS!!

All clear about the spoilers then?

I'm pissed off ! 

‘Yeah,yeah’ I can hear you say,’I bet this is some rant about how someone revealed some bit of plot line on the Internet that you came across when you weren't expecting it’ . 

Well yes that did happen, I was reading a comments section on a news article about a mass shooting.

Smack in the middle of a depressing...

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Wednesday, November 11, 2015 - 12:00

You know that sound?

That ‘gnnnhhh’ sound?

The one that you do in earshot of young children when you have just stepped on a piece of Lego and don't want to use profanity?

Well imagine the sound of dozens of adults having to crawl on hands and knees in a 20 foot square pit of Lego bricks some 6 inches deep. 

Many a profanity was uttered, which must help the makers of Denmark’s finest toy fulfill their remit of educating children through play. I would suggest they didn't really mean like that though.

This is Brick 2015 at the Birmingham NEC, a celebration of the world’s most prevalent toy.

Lego holds a special place in many a heart. As a child, a method of endless expression, building amazing creations that rival the greatest imaginings of the world's most famous engineers, mechanics, builders and minds.

As an adult, a way to connect to your children and/or your own youth. Although through the prism of age those amazing devices...

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Monday, November 9, 2015 - 12:00

Twenty-four films in do we need an introduction?

No of course not.

So let's get the less successful stuff out of the way first.

It's too long by probably about 30 mins. In fact the whole final act of the film is superfluous.

The plot is convoluted and requires at least a cursory knowledge of ALL of the immediately preceding three films (yes even the really bad one that no-one can remember - oh you know, ‘Quarrel Of Something…’).

There is a relationship that is central to the plot and is absolutely key, but feels very forced and unnecessary (more on this later).

The quality of the effects work from the inside of the helicopter during the fight scene are a bit ropey.

The theme song is terrible (but you have probably already heard it and made up your own mind on that). It is even worse than the Madonna one and the Alicia Keys/Jack White one from ‘Quibble Of Scrotum’ or whatever it was called.

The overall threat makes sense, but...

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Friday, August 28, 2015 - 20:52

I have spent today trying different ways to review this book.

A straightforward unbiased critique of a young adult's fantasy story?

A potted history of my relationship with the books of this author?

Perhaps a tribute to the writer who has spent over 30 years of giving me a world to wonder over?

I can't do the first of these and do justice to the others. In fact let's make this simple...

Unbiased critique?

Not an option.

So I'm warning you now. If you want to read a scathing review, I'm not going to be able to do it. I don't mean that as a challenge or some sort of belligerent fist-shaking rant either, I'm just stating a fact. 

This is the last Discworld book. But you already knew that. I would go as far as to suggest that for the majority of anyone reading this, you may well agree that it should be as well. The series ends here, the estate of Terry Pratchett has decided that they don't want there to be any more....

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Thursday, July 2, 2015 - 20:41

Where were we ?

Jonathan Strange enchanted in a mystical energy sapping vortex, Arabella, Lady Pole and Stephen Black are all still enchanted, Norrell is under the influence of Lacelles, and all the mirrors in England are broken. Oh, and let's not forget Vinculus swinging by his neck from a tree.

With all of this going on, someone needs to take the rap. Step forward Sir Walter Pole, who resigns from the government for releasing magic on the general public in his attempt to bring his wife back from the dead.

Speaking of Lady Pole, there's a small piece of her on the way from Strange via an ex-publicist courier. Drawlight, who is now utterly pitiful, runs into Lacelles who finishes off their partnership permanently. Despite Lacelles best efforts to hide his treachery, the battered and tatty magical  cards that Childermass owns reveal all, there's a confrontation and Childermass leaves Norrell's service with nothing more than an enchanted finger and a...

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