TV: Doctor Who – Series Five

The cast/crew bit: written by Steven Moffat, Mark Gatiss, Toby Whitehouse, Simon Nye, Chris Chibnall and Gareth Roberts, starring Matt Smith, Karen Gillain and Arthur Darvill

The ten-word synopsis: Matt Smith takes over from Tennant as the Time Lord.

In 2004, former Coronation Street writer Russell T Davies was gifted the chance to bring Britains’ best-loved science-fiction series back to life after a 14-year hiatus. By the end of 2005, Doctor Who was one of the most popular programs in the UK and had inspired a new generation of loyal followers to the way of the Sonic Screwdriver Continue reading

Film: The Watch

Watch

The cast/crew bit: directed by Akiva Schaffer, starring Ben Stiller, Jonah Hill, Vince Vaughn and Richard Ayoade

The ten-word synopsis: Some A-listers & Moss off the IT Crowd fight aliens.

Simply sticking three of the biggest names in Hollywood comedy together should be a recipe for success. Ben Stiller has a huge pedigree of comedic talent, Jonah Hills’ got a knack for crude delivery and Vince Vaughn’s been in enough funny films to mask the fact that he’s actually just a bit annoying. So why oh why, should The Watch, which slings the three together against the backdrop of an alien invasion, need a relatively obscure, young British comedian to make the film watchable? Continue reading

Film: The Expendables 2

The cast/crew bit: directed by Simon West, starring Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Dolph Lundgren, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Bruce Willis, Jean Claude Van Damne, Jet Li, Terry Crews, Liam Hemsworth, Chuck Norris and all the rest

The ten-word synopsis: Read the cast list above. It’s them, blowing stuff up.

Look at the picture above. How does that make you feel? Excited? Joyous? Or perhaps wishing that the world would just end now and save everybody the pain? Your reaction to that screenshot shall more than likely sum up how you feel about The Expendables 2, the follow up to the 2010 original that just slammed some ageing action stars in a film together and told them to do what they do best.

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Game: Super Mario Galaxy

The format/developer/publisher bit: Nintendo Wii, developed & published by Nintendo

The 10-word synopsis: Mario propels himself around brightly coloured planets hunting magical stars.

On the whole, video games are made by adults. Adults are, let’s admit it, largely boring people. Whereas kids are quite happy to let their imagination run free as they bound around playfully, adults tend to sit around and eat biscuits or something, neglecting the concept of fun. So quite how 59-year-old Shigeru Miyamoto managed to create such an audacious fun-riot shall long be pondered as one of the great mysteries of the universe. Because if there’s one thing evident in Super Mario Galaxy, it’s that nobody in Nintendos’ famed EAD studio ever grew up. Continue reading

Film: Offender

The cast/crew bit: directed by Ron Scalpello, starring Joe Cole, English Frank & Kimberley Nixon

The ten-word synopsis: Bloke goes to jail to kill other blokes in jail.

I saw Offender in a near-empty cinema screening on a Monday afternoon. There were, perhaps, six of us there, excluding myself and a movie-going companion. All half dozen of them were in tracksuits, hoodies or the type of attire that would similarly get your brandished as a ‘Chav’. It was at this point that I, walking in late with my grey blazer jacket, realised that I may not be the target audience for this film. Continue reading

Film: Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days

The cast/crew bit: directed by David Bowers, starring Zachary Gordon, Steve Zahn and Robert Capron

The 10-word synopsis: Boy finds himself in constantly awkward situations over summer holidays.

HEY! YOU! Do you like WINCING? How do you feel about watching behind your hand as somebody does something so stupid you can’t help but CRINGE? Do you revel in seeing people do exactly the wrong thing, time after time, causing you to CREASE YOURSELF? Well if all this sounds like your idea of fun, you’ll love the Diary of a Wimpy Kid movies! Continue reading

TV: Nathan Barley – Series One

The cast/crew bit: written by Charlie Brooker & Chris Morris, starring Nicholas Burns, Julian Barrett and Claire Keelan

The 10-word synopsis: Sombre journalist wages his own private war against ‘The Idiots’.

There’s a part of my brain that thinks that Nathan Barley may be the best sitcom ever made. It’s a buoyant, bizarre concoction of wandering ideas and stray characters. Every second of Nathan Barley feels out of place, like the show isn’t suppose to fit together. Each actor seems to give a performance that feels like it’s in a different program to the next. There’s a lack of consistency that seems to characterise the series. Almost everything good about Nathan Barley can equally be seen as a criticism and, for this feat alone, you can’t help but praise the team behind it. Continue reading

Film: Ice Age 4: Continental Drift

The cast/crew bit: directed by Steve Martino, starring Ray Romano, Denis Leary and John Legizaumo

The ten-word synopsis: It’s an Ice Age film. No more words are needed.

The word ‘film’ up there in the title is perhaps pushing it a bit. Ice Age 4: Continental Drift is less of a ‘film’ and more of an economic machine. Ice Age films make lots of money. The first one took 6 times what it cost to make. The second made a similar figure. From a business point of view, Ice Age 4 makes sense. Continue reading

Film: We Need To Talk About Kevin

The cast/crew bit: written & directed by Lynne Ramsey, starring Tilda Swinton, John C Riley and Ezra Miller

The ten-word synopsis: Mother struggles to come to terms with her sons’ actions.

I have not read the book on which this film is based. While I’m aware that apparently it was an ‘Unfilmable’ narrative, I couldn’t comment on what an achivement it may or may not be to turn it into a successful motion picture. Nor could I comment on whether or not We Need To Talk About Kevin lives up to the hefty reputation that particular novel seems to carry. What I can comment on, however, is just how good a film Lynne Ramsey has managed to make. Continue reading

TV Movie: Bert & Dickie

The cast/crew bit: directed by David Blair, written by William Ivory, starring Matt Smith & Sam Hoare

The ten-word synopsis: Olympic drama based on a true story. It’s about sculling.

“Olympic Fever” may be the most contagious disease known to mankind. For a couple of weeks, once every four years, 90% of the population finds themselves plonked in front of a screen of some description, barely flinching, as they watch endless reels of sport. It’s like a mad athletic craving. Sometimes, simply watching the sport itself isn’t good enough for us, and our obsession must pour out into the rest of the world. We want to eat Olympic cereals for breakfast. We want to sleep in Olympic beds. We want to drive Olympic cars. Bert & Dickie exists to try and fill this kind of hole, for people who want to watch Olympic films. Continue reading