Thursday, 1 October 2009


Charlie Brooker's Gameswipe
One-off special in which Brooker provides what effectively amounts to a Beginner's Guide to Gaming. There's a welcome disdain for the fetishisation of certain genres and their violent content, while continuing to appreciate what's actually good about gaming. Always nice to see Monkey Island turning up anywhere, but my main thoughts on this were how much I agreed with what Dara Ó Briain had to say. That and being rather surprised at just how bloody & gruesome some games are now -- the complaints on the news about the negative impact of games on impressionable minds used to be ludicrous, but I'm not so sure now.
[Watch it (again) on iPlayer.]

Film 2009 with Jonathan Ross
Episode 16 (29/9/09 edition)
[Watch it (again) on iPlayer.]

5x03 Adverse Events
5x04 Birthmarks
What an odd feeling to see the old team working together again. One wonders why they're still around -- they have so little to do in almost every episode, and are doing the new leads out of a place in the title credits. Still, while Adverse Events was perfectly adequate, Birthmarks was one of House's better episodes, thematically consistent (all the parent issues) and nicely revealing about its characters (by which I mean the regulars, particularly House and Wilson).

Never Mind the Buzzcocks
23x01 (1/10/09 edition)
James Corden did a pretty good job as the first incumbent of the newly guest-hosted Buzzcocks. Still, no Simon Amstell; but then, who is?
[Watch it (again) on iPlayer.]


Dean Koontz's Frankenstein - Book Three: Dead and Alive by Dean Koontz
Chapters 1 - 7

The concluding part of Koontz's trilogy finally arrived a few months back, delayed several years in the wake of Hurricane Katrina -- it's set in New Orleans and Koontz felt (not wrongly) that the devastation caused by Katrina made it inappropriate to so quickly publish a novel novel about the destruction of the city by supernatural forces.

The story hits the ground running, very much Part Three of one story rather than the third book in a series. As such, at just 38 pages in it already feels like it's nearing the climax. It'll be interesting to see what Koontz has in store for the next 300+ pages. It also makes few concessions to the gap between publication of instalments -- no "Previously in Frankenstein..." to be found here. That said, the text is littered with little nuggets of information to help jog the reader's memory.

Despite the series' title bearing his name, this is the first book penned solely by Koontz -- though new editions sneakily rob his co-writers (Kevin J. Anderson on Prodigal Son, Ed Gorman on City of Night) of a credit, so one could suspect that originally-announced co-writer Gorman may still have had a hand. Alone or not, Koontz certainly has a way with words and structure that feels superior to most pulp paperback fiction authors, making Dead and Alive pleasant to read for more than just the plot.

(The series also also has an official website, which can be found here.)


Review of The Invention of Lying by Chris Hewitt
(from Empire)
A surprisingly hostile single-star review of the new Ricky Gervais film from Empire. It doesn't look that bad.

Star Wars – Movie Poster for minimalists
(from Live for Films)
This is a rather nifty minimalist-style poster for Star Wars. The gallery linked to features 14 more. Unfortunately, at least 12 of them aren't very good.

new review at 100 Films

High Society (1956)
Despite being adapted from an acclaimed play and film, the plot feels like a relatively slight contrivance to link together a couple of songs and some farcical humour with a romance-based thread. That the right people end up together is no surprise — so little surprise, in fact, that the story doesn’t even bother with such trivial things as making the final entanglements come together believably.

Read the full review at 100 Films.

There are currently 14 films in the review pipeline at 100 Films. As ever, updates here as and when they're posted.