Saturday, January 24, 2015

Black Widow Deadly Origin

I borrowed this book from the library a couple of weeks ago and have finished it today. It is a bound volume collecting together Black Widow Deadly Origin #1-4. I wanted to know more about the Black Widow and whilst it does contain some flashbacks I found it difficult to follow them as they were heavily interspersed with a current day story. The artwork is great. I just felt that there was too much going on to follow it coherently. That said, it was only one reading and I would probably enjoy it more with further reads.

Gotham, series one

This is another series that I have recorded on the Sony HD DVD recorder. I transferred the shows to DVD earlier this week and I look forward to watching them. I'm not exactly sure when I'll get around to doing that but that goes for a lot of things really! Books, games, comics, films, writing, painting etc. Practically all of my hobbies. A good work/life balance for me would be 4 days off and 3 days at work but I doubt I'll ever get to follow that pattern. It is a series about Gotham super villains and super heroes and their genesis. It doesn't sound like it would be any good, a show about Gotham with no Batman but it actually is very good. I especially enjoy watching the character who will become The Penguin, his nose is really penguin-like.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

The 100, series one

Last year there was a new science fiction series on TV called The 100. It is the story of life on a space station that is orbiting the Earth after a nuclear holocaust. The space station is running out of resources to sustain itself and the criminals are sent to Earth to test the atmosphere and conditions. The criminals are all young enough to survive the journey and landing and there are 100 of them. I recorded the show on my Sony HD DVD recorder and yesterday I did the dubbing to put the series onto a DVD. I had to reduce the quality to get it onto one disk but I did it. It's quite a good series really and the second series has started on TV now so I'm recording that too.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Catwoman - The Game vol 1

I read this book this week. It's a great book, I've also borrowed vol. 2 from my local Library to continue the story. I liked the way the story was told and the artwork was totally great. The history of Selina's fence Lola is told, helping Catwoman since her early days there is a special bond between these two women. However, Catwoman stole things from a mob boss that he treasured after never having any possession of worth in the children's homes he grew up in. Lola gets murdered by the drug boss and in a shocking scene Catwoman discovers this. The effect is truly captured well. Catwoman herself is done over but she gets out and goes after the small time mob boss and she makes him pay. Well, almost, because she is prevented by Batman. The romance and sex between Batman and Catwoman is hot but also slightly uncomfortable because you know that they are opposites. It's a good story well told with excellent drawing and inking.

Kooza - Cirque du Soleil - London - Albert Hall

We had an evening in London yesterday to go and see this amazing show at The Royal Albert Hall. I confess I was a little bit sceptical beforehand. It's not something I would choose to buy seats for on my own but a few of our friends were keen to see it and so I thought it would be good to see for myself. I was aware of the type of show it was, Cirque du Soleil is an international venture and I have seen things on TV from time to time. The spectacle is one best enjoyed there in the audience though because you can hear gasps and applause. The athleticism of the show's performers is astonishing, amazing and inspirational. They truly are technically perfect but also beautiful in their artistry. I particularly enjoyed the hoola hoop girl who was able to keep the hoop going around her body as well as one around her outstretched leg with the hoop moving around on her ankle! The other astonishing performance was a couple of guys on this enormous spindle that resembled some kind of dual hamster torture wheel. They were pretty amazing and so was the music. The band are almost forgotten but they sit in a tiered tower that has sails coming out from it. The three Asian girl contortionists were amazing as well, so flexible with how their bodies could bend that it was mind blowing.
Very impressive and a wonderful thing to see and hear. The Asian girl singing was exceptional. It was a great evening. Beforehand the food at Wagamama was great as well, I had a Ginger beer and a spicy hot chicken Firecracker that was lush.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Robocop 2014

I watched the latest reboot of the Robocop film this week and I'm feeling very disappointed by it. I did enjoy the role of the doctor played by Gary Oldman and there were some good actors in it, Michael Keaton and Abbie Cornish. But compared to the original film all of the humour had been taken out of it, as well as the violence. In my opinion it was a much poorer version of the film. I felt it could have had more drama in it, it was just a bit bland for my taste. I didn't really feel very much for family, so the shift from man to robot-man didn't affect me emotionally very much. There were moments when I thought it was going to step up the terror but it never did. Such a shame, with a great cast as this that the script wasn't better. If you want to watch a Robocop film, the first one is still the best, in the same way that remake of Total Recall was pointless.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Suicide Squad: Kicked in the Teeth

I picked this up from my local library last weekend. I liked the cover and inside the artwork appealed to me, I like to see Harley Quinn drawn well and this is a great rendition of her. She's the best thing about this book but there are other stars of the DC Universe here, such as Deadshot. There's the evil governor Amanda Wallace, who plants bombs in the necks of prison inmates and gets them to risk their lives to save some time off their sentences, giving them a set number of hours to complete a mission before their heads are blown off. You do get the action of the comic interspersed with clips of life of Harleen before she became Harley. I enjoyed the story a lot more than I thought I would, I wasn't sure what to expect but I quickly got into it. I found it worthy of reading for anyone, especially those who might be thinking about trying the Suicide Squad.

Sunday, January 04, 2015

Sci-Fi Female Leads

As my holidays end in just a day's time, I thought I'd just go through the films I've enjoyed during the holidays. I watched The Hunger Games Catching Fire, I thought it was a great film and very well paced. As ever the main protagonist was acted excellently by Jennifer Lawrence, she is such a good actor and I think deserves an Oscar for the series.

I can think of only a very limited number of female actors who have led a sci-fi franchise such as this:
  • Sigourney Weaver (Alien - film franchise)
  • Milla Jovovich (Resident Evil - film franchise)
  • Kate Beckinsale (Underworld - film franchise)
Although, I would say that I would welcome a new sci-fi franchise featuring any of these great female actors in a lead role:
  • Scarlett Johansson (played Black Widow in Iron Man and Avengers)
  • Jennifer Garner (from Alias the TV series and Elektra film)
  • Hayley Atwell (Agent Carter and Agents of Shield the TV series and Captain America films)
  • Angelina Jolie (a strong female lead actor, and the Tomb Raider films)
  • Michelle Ryan (played lead in the Bionic Woman, a series I never saw)
  • Olivia Thirlby (played Anderson in Dredd)
  • Charlize Theron (played a strong character in Prometheus and Aeon Flux)
  • Abbie Cornish (played Sweet Pea in Suckerpunch, was also in remake of Robocop)
  • Jena Malone (played Johanna Mason role in Hunger Games Catching Fire)
  • Jessica Alba (has played Sue Storm in The Fantastic Four among other roles)
  • Violante Placido (played the Nadya role in Ghost Rider Spirit of Vengeance) 
  • Megan Fox (for her role in the Transformers films)
  • Gemma Arterton (for roles in Byzantium, Prince of Persia, Hansel and Gretel and Clash of the Titans)
  • Antje Traue (for her role in Pandorum and as Faora Ul in Man of Steel)
  • Carrie-Anne Moss (for playing Trinity in The Matrix)
  • Emma Stone (for her role as Gwen Stacey in The Amazing Spider-Man films)
  • Anna Silk (for her role in the TV series Lost Girl)
  • Abigail Breslin (for her role in Ender's Game)
  • Emma Watson (for her role as Hermione in the Harry Potter franchise)
  • Emily Blunt (for her roles in Looper and Edge of Tomorrow)
The list above could go on and on though, these are based on appearances I've seen and enjoyed in the films and TV series but the most important thing is that the actor and role are a perfect fit for each other.

I also saw Ender's Game, which I'd heard good things about. Having watched the film, I can say that I enjoyed watching it but it's not a film I would like to see again and again. I disliked the way Harrison Ford played his role, it just felt too wooden for my tastes. Perhaps it was the script and the casting though because Harrison Ford is obviously a great actor. I guess securing Harrison Ford in a role is a way for a film to ensure it makes some money at the Box Office.

I'm not a great fan of children in films though and here I didn't engage too much with the young male actor although he played the part well. I thought that there was more heart and spirit in the part played by the female actor Abigail Breslin (she makes my list above for this role, although she is less experienced than others on the list). The story was pretty decent though, so I may read the book it is based on.
The other film I have watched these holidays has been Elysium, which I have already mentioned.

Friday, January 02, 2015

New shaver

My wife and I went into Boots the chemist looking for a few items, like dental tape etc. We came out with a new beard trimmer for me and other bits. My trimmer was in the sales and was down from £30 to £15, so was a decent buy. For the last year I've been using a hair trimmer and it isn't the best tool for the job. So now I have a trimmer exclusively designed for my face, well, "the man's face" - to be more precise. It cuts quite well and seems to have done a good job on me. I tried it out this evening on my beard, which probably had about 5mm worth of growth - I can live with 5mm but I prefer it shorter, at about 3mm. The new trimmer can cut down to .5mm, which is great because I could only get down to 3mm with my hair trimmer. The trimmer I got is made by Philips, a good make you can trust and was the model QT4002, photos below.


Cinnamon Swirls

Well, the second batch of Jus-Rol pastries turned out OK too, this time it was the turn of the Cinnamon Swirls and they were tasty. Although, I ate half of them so I think the cinnamon was a bit too much for those in my family who liked just the one. My daughter piped the icing on and she did a fine job for a first attempt. See what you think with the photo below.

The Hunger Games Catching Fire

I really want to make this the first movie I see of 2015. I am planning to watch this tonight. I love watching Jennifer Lawrence and just think she was awesome in the first film.

The tag line is "remember who the enemy is" and I wonder what that means, perhaps it is about the Tributes learning that fighting each other does not change the society. I love the story behind these films, I've read the first book and have this instalment on my Kindle to read but I don't know when I'll get around to reading it. I'm still reading the Michael Cobley book Seeds of Earth, which I am enjoying but my reading speed is not fast and I don't read it every day.

New Year 2015

I didn't post yesterday because it was a funny old day really, no shops are open and because we stayed up the night before it was a late starting day. I did go out for another run though, this time I went at a slower pace because after my first run on Monday I experienced back pain. I haven't experienced as much pain after my second run, just judging by the little bit of activity I've done this morning so far. I'm feeling my age, as my body creaks after I've used it to break sweat. I used to be so slim and healthy when I was in my twenties. I'm pretty sure that I wouldn't have felt a run through my back way back then. I starting reading a compilation graphic novel of Suicide Squad, one I'd not read before. I also played more of a PS4 game called Watch_Dogs (underscore is intentional) and have almost completed it now. I haven't done any work this holiday and am feeling terrible about it. I don't understand why I haven't and the last days of my holidays always seem to be blighted by a fear of returning to work after not doing anything for a couple of weeks. On the other hand, holidays should be a time to recharge - rather than doing work. My wife works during the holidays but she does get a lot more holidays than I do. Seeing her work does make me more guilty that I'm not. When she works I have to compensate by doing more family cooking.