Film: Source Code

2011, Directed by Duncan Jones, written by Ben Ripley, starring Jake Gyllenhaal

If you know nothing about Source Code, you shall enjoy it all the more. As such, this may be the blandest, least explanative review anybody shall ever read of any film. While it’s perfectly possible to have a great time watching it having read the blurb on the back of the DVD box, for the best experience, know nothing, and keep it that way until the film begins to twist and starts to turn. Know nothing until you know it all. Continue reading

Film: Liberal Arts

The cast/crew bit: written & directed by Josh Radnor, starring Josh Radnor & Elizabeth Olsen

The ten-word synopsis: 30-something goes back to University; falls for 19-year old.

There’s a central theme running through Liberal Arts of whether or not something is worth reading just because you like it. This stems from an argument between our two leads over whether Zibby (Elizabeth Olsen) was justified in her reading of an unnamed vampire romantic fiction (Read: Twilight) just because she enjoyed it. While Josh Radnors’ character, Jesse, argues otherwise, (Prompting a wonderful line that all but instigates the grandest of debates: Twilight or Chaucer?) Liberal Arts is a fine example of Zibby’s point. If everybody enjoys the film just as much as I did, it’s certainly worth seeing. Continue reading

Film: Harvey

The cast/crew bit: directed by Henry Koster, starring Jimmy Stewart & Josephine Hull

The ten-word synopsis: Man befriends 6’3.5″ giant rabbit only he can see.

Vertigo may have topped the AFIs list and It’s a Wonderful Life might be the most charming film ever made, but for my money, James Stewart never put in a better performance thanĀ  that of Elwood P Dowd in Harvey. The man affectionately known as ‘Jimmy’ is the kind of actor who is just immensely likeable, perhaps more so than anyone before or after him, and Harvey is, as an actor, his coup de grace.
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: Maid Marian and Her Merry Men – Series One

The cast/crew bit: written & directed by plus starring Tony Robinson, also starring Kate Lonrgan and Wayne Morris

The ten-word synopsis: An alternative take on Robin Hood, where Marians’ in control.

You know your scripts an absolute winner when you can make a program that remains funny despite a distinct inability to act from your lead actress. Maid Marian and her Merry Men is possibly the funniest childrens TV show ever made, but it’s no thanks to Marian herself, Kate Lonergan. Originally broadcast in 1989, the program is the brain child of Blackadders’ Tony Robinson, with Richard Curtis also involved less prolifically Continue reading

Film: Batman Begins

The cast & crew bit: written & directed by Christopher Nolan, starring Christian Bale, Gary Oldman, Liam Neeson and Cillian Murphy

The ten-word synopsis: Batman as put through the mind of genius director Christopher Nolan.

I’m going to start by saying it: The bit where he summons all the bats as ‘back-up’ is naff. Naffer, in fact, than the word ‘naff’, which is a word I thankfully haven’t used in a very long time. It’s a cringe-worthy moment, especially as it comes at a point in which the mask and voice still look a bit daft to the audience. Whilst the bat-face undoubtedly fades into commonplace after a scene or two, the voice is, annoyingly, going to force me to use that word again. It’s naff. Continue reading

Film: Seeking a Friend For The End of the World

The cast/crew bit: written & directed by Lorene Scafeira, starring Steve Carell and Keira Knightley

The ten-word synopsis: The end is nigh. Two neighbours look for companionship.

The end of the world is an odd choice of topic for a comedy. While it’s worth noting that the film takes a far darker tone than the trailers do, it is refreshing to see a film willing to have a crack at a fairly difficult subject in an almost light-hearted way. As such, seeing these kind of norms challenged and subsequently beaten down makes Seeking a Friend For The End of the World feels like a far better film than it probably is. Continue reading

TV: The IT Crowd – Series One

The cast/crew bit: Written & directed by Graham Linehan, starring Chris O’Dowd, Richard Ayoade & Katherine Parkinson

The 10-word synopsis: Computer-Illiterate woman gets job in IT with two geeks.

Graham Linehan is clearly a man with genius in his blood. In a world awash with unfunny sitcoms and so-called ‘comedies’ that couldn’t raise a laugh if they wore those glasses with fake moustaches attached over their nose and their nans’ pants on their head, Linehan has struck gold for the second time, following up the brilliant Father Ted with 2006’s equally fantastic The IT Crowd. Continue reading

Game: Picross 3D

The system/publisher/developer bit: Nintendo DS, published by Nintendo, developed by HAL Laboratory

The ten-word synopsis: Chisel blocks to make an object using logic and numbers.

For a game that hinges itself around logic, Picross 3D doesn’t make a lot of sense. By rights, a slow-paced, ugly-looking puzzle game that just makes you count blocks for hundreds of hours worth of levels shouldn’t be fun. The appeal of Picross 3D, like it’s flat predecessor, is a mystery. Yet it remains just as endearing to play as the 2008 title, the bane of so many of its’ purchasers social lives. Continue reading