Game of Thrones Season 2 Thronedown: Episode 4 – Garden of Bones
Apr 2012 27

*Bites fist in expression of extreme tension*… ARGH! All… this… buildup… don’t think I can take… any more… Benioff and Weiss are just playing with us, it’s the emperor’s new clothes, there is no matrix!

There, now I’ve got that out of the way, I feel a lot better. So after all my big talk last time out about the need to increase the ratio of payoff to buildup, we got another episode of… buildup. But what buildup! We finally got to see more of Joffrey, who plumbed new depths in his demonstrations of just how exquisitely evil he is. Poor old Sansa Stark, Sophie Turner puts in another affecting performance with, like, layers and everything, but even if she was a terrible actress, it would be hard not to feel sorry for her with the unique form of hell that Joffrey has engineered for her. My complaints about lack of dynamic story development were assuaged somewhat by some deliciously dastardly work from Jack Gleeson, as Joffrey is fast becoming an iconic screen antagonist.

It was good to see the remaining brothers Baratheon come together and have indulge a bit of verbal swordsmanship. Stannis has seemed quite one-note so far in this series, but later on in the episode, he starts to show why he could yet be a force to reckon with. If he continues in this vein, he could yet show beyond all doubt that while Ned Stark was a good man, he wasn’t a clever one.

Leave the poor lass alone!

Another character we haven’t seen much of is Tywin Lannister, but we got a much-needed glimpse of him, and Charles Dance brought that evil-charismatic-amitious portrayal that has made Tywin such a memorable character despite comparatively little screen-time. It was also good to see Daenarys finally get out of the desert, she is a character who has been repeatedly shat on from a great height, and Emilia Clarke could potentially have a thankless task in her hands with this character. Thankfully, she imbues Daenarys with a much-needed sympathetic edge, as otherwise her endless vacillating between victimhood and spoilt-child rage could grate. It will be fascinating to see how she grows from here.

Still, I did say last week that we needed a bit more plot, and a bit less character-development, and at this point, the slow-build is still in effect. It’s fair to say that we now know what most of the characters are thinking, most of the pieces are on the board, and everyone seems to be spoiling for a fight, so some story fireworks wouldn’t go amiss. The first season was impressive in its balancing of story advancement and character development, and so far this season has been weighted much more towards character than to actual plot. We’re still only at the 4th episode, which, (judging by the length of the first series) is not even halfway though, so there is still  lot of water yet to go under a lot of bridges. Stay tuned Thronerinos!

TA

Why I love Mad Men by Louise (@biscuitnose) Williams
Apr 2012 23

By the time I started watching (and living, breathing and loving) Mad Men the 2nd series was being broadcast on BBC4.
I had heard a lot of good things about it and was keen to try it for myself but honestly, I was a little nervous it would be too brainy for me. I have difficultly recognising characters and remembering their names and thought that the whole thing would intimidate me, like getting my hair done. For the first time in my life (ever) I was wrong.

My husband and I watched the first season on DVD and were able to motor through it. I loved it immediately wanting to drink in as many episodes as I could in one sitting.

Mad Men is set in an advertising agency in New York’s Madison Avenue. Series 1 is set in the late 1950s when everyone smoked and sexism hadn’t been invented.

If you haven’t seen any of it I won’t spoil the plot for you but here are a few of my favourite/jaw dropping moments from the first series of the show:

Don, Betty and their kids enjoy a picnic in the beautiful New York state countryside.
As they pack up the car to drive home they shake all the rubbish off their picnic blanket (wrappers, empty tins, leftover food) leave them there and drive off.

Betty’s friend smoking and drinking alcohol whilst she is pregnant.

One lazy Sunday Don and Betty spend the day at home with their children, who are keen to please them and make Bloody Marys for their parents. All day long. When it gets dark drunk Betty decides to put the kids to bed and it is only when her young daughter says she is hungry that Don and Betty realise they haven’t given their children any food.

The writers of Mad Men manipulate the viewers.
You love Don, you hate Don.
You hate Joan, you adore Joan and want to protect her.
You hate Pete Campbell and then you hate Pete Campbell more.
Not since The Sopranos have I felt so emotionally involved in the characters of a TV show. And the storyline is generally unpredictable and frequently shocking.

Mad Men is intelligent and slick but it isn’t pretentious. I can tell which character is which – a big deal for me. (I am not coping well with Game of Thrones.) It’s deep and clever and scenes can be dissected and read and broken down to form a layered study of the characters and the era. Or you can just watch the shit out of it and gasp in delight at Joan’s heaving chest or Roger’s unending wit.

The Sopranos is still my ultimate TV show but Mad Men is snapping at it’s heels. Until Tony whacks Don.

Sony’s Struggles to Regain its Supremacy
Apr 2012 23

According to a recent New York Times article by Hiroko Tabuchi; Sony, the Electronics Behemoth, the Entertainment Powerhouse and erstwhile Technologic innovator, is struggling and will continue to do so. Tabuchi cites the very obvious fact that Sony hasn’t turned a profit since 2008, but also that, in terms of market share and prestige, it has fallen far behind brands such as Apple and Samsung. The image of Sony as being the glamourous innovators who set the pace for the electronics industry is fading fast, and Tabuchi sends forth a litany of damning internal failures at the company, as well as finding some fantastic inside sources to really get to the heart of the problem.

Game Over?

What does this mean for us? Well, Sony does own Columbia Pictures, among others, as well as a large library of music artists, so were their struggles to take a turn for the worse, it could genuinely send shockwaves through the entertainment industry, not to mention the electronics and video games industries.

Perhaps it’s because I was given a Walkman at an age where I was impressionable enough to form adamantium-hard brand-loyalty, or was it my many hours of Playstation-gaming that has made a Sony fanboy of me? Maybe, because I grew up with them as one of the giants of the film, music and electronics industries and have a kind of nostalgic soft spot for them, but I don’t want to see them fail. There needs to be a legitimate contender for brands like Apple, Samsung and Microsoft out there, and I want to see them perpetuating our sedentary lifestyles with their film output and electronic gizmos for decades to come.

To check out Tabuchi’s article, click here.

TA

Polish Shining Poster
Apr 2012 22

Follow the link to buy Polish Posters.

Apr 2012 17

The have really gone to town with the viral videos for Prometheus, I think it hints at the detail they have put into the final film and how much people love the Alien franchise.  This video leaks the fact that Michael Fassbender’s character is a cyborg or ‘skin job’ as the colonial Marines refer to them.  If this viral is anything to go by the this is shaping up to be the biggest release of the year.

Apr 2012 16

Take a look at this video explain a riddle hidden on the 2009 game ‘Trials HD’.  I think more games designers should be hiding things like this in their games.

What J.K. Rowling did next…
Apr 2012 15

If you were J.K. Rowling the most financially successful author of all time what would you do after putting your cash cow to bed?

Adult Fiction apparently, I’m not talking about the books you see on the top shelf at airport book shops. Why is it you only ever see ‘erotic fiction’ at airports? Do they think people get to the airport and think ‘I need a book for the journey, you know what I don’t normally read porn books but I’m on holiday so what the hey!’. I’m talking about moving away from the teen kids fantasy novels and moving into more adult themes. It would is a bold move but one I think the critics will jump all over if it isn’t the greatest novel of its generation.

If you look at her options this may have been the best one though:

1. Nothing?

You are sitting on hundreds of millions of pounds and the royalty cheques look like they will flow until the end of time. How do you get out of bed in the morning and think right I better sit down and spend the next year writing a new book. If I was in her position I think a few years out of the game traveling and seeing friends couldn’t hurt. If after a break inspiration doesn’t strike then go on another one.

2. Re-visit the Harry Potter universe but in another timeline?

Right of the bat I would say this is a bad idea it might be what the fans want but I think it would be a cheap move. She will want to and some may say need to prove that she is not a one trick pony and can strike gold again.

3. Create a new fantasy world?

This on the surface would seem like the safest move in my opinion it is possibly the most dangerous. Her fan base will be the harshest critics, if the new characters don’t live up to the likes of Ron and Hermione they will dismiss it, if the lore isn’t strong enough they will get bored, if the locations are too boring and not magical enough they will put the book down. To me there just seems like there are too many ways to disappoint your key audience.

I think what ever she releases next will be jumped upon by the press and either hailed as the greatest thing since well Harry Potter or she will be dismissed as a one trick pony. In my opinion she is obviously a very talented writer and I enjoyed the first three of the Harry Potter books immensely. I think after that they became bloated and less edited, I worry that there are no editors or publishers in the world now brave enough to tell her that she can do any wrong. In their shoes I don’t think I would want to be the one put my hand up an point out that ‘it might be a little bit shit.’

Good luck J.K. Rowling at least you can cry yourself to sleep on your bed of cash if people don’t like you next book.

Rian Johnson’s Latest Film ‘Looper’ Has a Trailer… And it’s Good!
Apr 2012 14

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Rian Johnson is an odd director. Odd in that, despite lashings of critical praise for the two films he’s made so far, he’s still largely unknown. Out of those people who do know him, most were first made aware of him by his film ‘Brick’.

‘Brick’ had an audacious concept: a film-noir set in a contemporary high school. An engrossing and labyrinthine plot defines the film, and this is enlivened by an (initially impenetrable) youth slang devised by Johnson, who wrote the film itself. Joseph Gordon-Levitt acquits himself well as the protagonist; effectively tying all the strands of the taut plot together against a backdrop of youthful apathy and atmospheric music.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt is SO much more than just that kid from 3rd Rock From the Sun

Rian Johnson followed that up by releasing the less well-known ‘The Brothers Bloom’: an interesting conman movie that had, in Mark Ruffalo and Adrien Brody a strong and chemistry-laden rapport between its stars, if you then throw a memorable part for Robbie Coltraine and an energetic and imaginative turn from Rachel Weisz into the mix, you end up with the recipe for a lightweight, romping con movie with a jaunty yet surprisingly emotive feel. A good time to be had at the movies, yessiree.

In Bloom: The Stars of the Brothers Bloom

Both of Johnson’s films so far were written by him, and both demonstrate a strong vein of originality and a willingness to try new things. Listen to the guy speak or just watch any of his films, and it’s clear he loves movies. His films are full of knowing winks and nods.

And so, with that, we come to his latest, ‘Looper’. ‘Looper’ is a time-travel movie where said time-travel exists, but is, in fact, illegal in the future. Mobsters use it to send assassination targets back to be eliminated by Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s character, Joe. All seems hunk-dory until Joe is asked to kill what appears to be his future self… And that’s about all that’s known of the plot. I’m willing to bet that, at the very least, his job-satisfaction goes right down though, and it’s hard to see how his next appraisal meeting is going to go well (or at all).

Hollywood doesn’t often allow original properties by interesting directors to get made, so it’s a good opportunity to send out a message that you want to see more of this. Check out the trailer below, and prepare to be excited:

See this film before it’s too late, and all we have are films like the forthcoming ‘Battleship’ *shudder*…. That’s a dystopian future I don’t want to see.

TA

Apr 2012 13

TED0

Posted In Funny,Music,Slider

This does look funny but does anyone think Leigh Francis (Keith Lemon) should be a bit annoyed as the bear does remind me of his ‘bear’ character.

Game of Thrones Season 2 ‘Thronedown’: Episode 2 – The Night Lands
Apr 2012 11

Building on the absolutely epic amount of scene-setting and character introduction of the first episode, this episode brought new characters and locales to the series in the form of the Iron Islands and Baylon Greyjoy. Patrick Malahide was excellent as Balon, bringing a harsh northern tone that couldn’t contrast more with Sean Bean’s considered and withdrawn Ned Stark from the first series.

After the airing of the second episode of this series, the million-dollar question for most people is “is it as good as the first series?” and the answer is… I don’t know. Honestly it’s too early to tell, both episodes have exhibited plenty of what made the original series so great, but maybe the lack of a de facto protagonist in this series is making it harder to tie all the plot strands together and give the plot its moral centre.

Arya: Left-Handed

Arya is growing as a character, and Maisie Williams is a very charismatic choice for what could potentially be a fairly obnoxious character. This Williams kid will hopefully go on to have a good career, an example of her moxie is evident in the fact that despite being right-handed, she learnt to sword-fight left-handed because Arya is left-handed in the books. Her budding unconventional brother-sister relationship with Gendry is a pleasure to watch, and has the potential to have great influence on events further down the road.

Peter Dinklage continues to be the star turn in this series, even though he has a low-key start in this episode, he has some great character moments which showcase what make him so compelling as a character. His wry humour, intelligence and sensitivity are all on show, as is his finely-honed survival instinct in his tete-a-tete with his sister.

The only problems I have so far are that the plot is building on such an epic scale at such a rapid pace, it makes me wonder where they can go from here. Having seen how they dealt with the first series, I trust D.B. Weiss and David Benioff , though. My other slight concern is Lord Baelish AKA Littlefinger. It’s something that’s a hangover from the first series, and maybe he’s a character who works better on the page than on the screen, but someone who uses his brain and strategic behind the scenes manoeuvring isn’t always as easy to realise in a visual medium. The end result of this problem is that there are lots of scenes of exposition, as he tells his life story to one or two whores who are usually being gratuitously sexy at the time. It’s not terrible or anything (I’m only human, after all), but it may wear thin as a narrative device.

Those (minor) concerns aside, the plot is very nicely poised, and the various factions jostling for position is compelling viewing. I advise you to tune in and get involved with all the opinionated shouting!

TA

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