Saturday, November 27

Film: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 Click for more info

You've probably already heard how dark and serious and, from some people, boring the first part of the seventh and final film in the series is. Personally I would probably agree with the first assessment, partly agree with the second one and disagree with the last. I'm going to assume people have read the book (if you haven't, then you should) so consider this your spoiler warning.

So yes. It's dark. People die. Hormones rage. You get involved, feel the pain, hate the bad guys. This is more the fault of the book the film is based on than the film itself so in many ways was the be expected really

That said, I thought it had some very poignant light hearted and even funny moments. Most of these were borne out of the teen angst that is finally coming to a head, but even apart from that there was plenty of the wizardry and magic I thought might have been missing from a chapter not based in Hogwarts.

And so overall I didn't find the film boring at all. Yes, the acting was still painful to watch with some of the scenes as cringe-worthy as they come. But this was Harry Potter through and through and for fans an absolute treat. Recommended.

Book of the Dead Click for more info

The British Museum is currently hosting an exhibition outlining what can only be described as the death process of the Ancient Egyptians. Most of the gathered information was acquired from the study of their various Books of the Dead (there's more than one? How anti-climatic), a death manual upper class Egyptians were often buried with. The book was actually a collection of both instructions (for burial etc) and spells (for various protections and benefits in the after-life) which also itself served as a talisman for they who was being buried.

I guess the biggest issue I had with the exhibition was that of scope. Although death is morbidly exciting (of sorts), there isn't really much to talk about it once you've covered the basics, and as such I felt a lot of the points being made by the various exhibits were slightly laboured. My seven year old nephew certainly lost a lot of his initial interest by the first room. He certainly enjoyed his short time in the museum a lot more, and that despite being given the opportunity to collect spells and create his own Book of the Dead (which in hindsight is pretty scary).

Of course there were some gems which had to be seen, most of them the larger caskets, sarcophaguses and mummys, and in some ways it was worth going just to see those. However as my co-attendee pointed out, the museum itself already had multiple rooms dedicated to these things.

So in conclusion I guess my advice is to spend your time checking out the rest of the museum instead - if only the Egyptian bits if you like.

Wednesday, November 24

New Music

Chains - Tina Arena

Don't worry, I'm as shocked as you are. I think I actually fell for Tina Arena when she sung this. And also: 1995!

Monday, November 22

XKCD Click for more info

When I do this, it's called stalking. But semantics aside: Just Do It.

Sunday, November 21

Film: Skyline

Oh dear. I wanted to like this film, honestly I did. I like the whole humanity uniting to face the aliens thing, and so it doesn't take much to have me cheerleading the characters in such a film.

This time around, I actually wanted Man to lose. Anything to cut this film short - at times it was as if Skyline knew exactly how much pain it was inflicting and was getting some kind of perverse pleasure out of it.

Perhaps I'm being a little unfair though: there were a few - no wait, there were only two - quite enjoyable set pieces, but without a decent plot, context or even blummin' special effects (where was the money spent? Certainly not on the actors), those faded from memory as soon as they were over.

Anyway, I'm wasting time just writing about this. Not recommended.

Saturday, November 20

Food: Cafe at 104 Click for more info

Small and cosy, Cafe at 104 offers a decent Turkish menu for an equally decent price. It's local (in the geographical sense) food at its best, with good, fast and friendly service, a clean and intimate dining area and lots of choice on offer. Who needs to go into town when you have a place like this up the road?

Granted, you won't get more than the party of four we had in there, but with a bill not hitting a tenner a head (with starters but no drinks), this is pretty much something you want to keep a secret anyway.


Tuesday, November 16

Film: Due Date Click for more info

Following on from the surprise hit (well for me anyway) The Hangover, Due Date is pretty much more of the same bromance-road-movie lark that we saw over a year ago.

The farce this time is made up of the contrasting characters - the uptight and always correct Peter (played by the now legendary Robert Downey Jr.) and the irritating failure personified in the form of Ethan (played by the equally awesome Zach Galifianakis). Make no mistake, everyone else just plays bit-parts in the wake of these two.

Hilarious, crazy and yet all too real, Due Date manages to hit that spot of your funny bone where you're genuinely laughing out loud because you want to rather than because you feel that you have to. It's a refreshing brand of humour that you can't help but enjoy. The fact that it's polished too sets this film apart from that other brand of funny film from the likes of Rogen and all.

Absolutely genius. Recommended.

Saturday, November 13

Film: Action Replayy Click for more info

A bollywood flick involving time travel was never going to be taken too seriously, but just in case it needs to be said: yes, this film was pretty ludicrous. But stranger things have happened, and if there's enough love, fun and dance in an Indian film there is always a chance that it could get away with it.

Alas Action Replayy didn't quite manage it. I was certainly fun, and a few times I did laugh out loud (and then, with it rather than at it). The love story however was very weak and the songs a mixed bunch with some excellent tunes alongside some really dire ones.

Both Akshay Kumar and Aishwarya Rai led the way through the film, with the latter looking especially good despite the quality of the film she was in. Oh and a nod of the head to Sudeepa Singh for, well, just being there. Oh and it does get bonus points for that catchphrase.

So yes. Pretty much a waste of time really. Just download the music videos if that's your thing.

Thursday, November 11

New Music

Just The Way You Are - Bruno Mars

This is one of those songs that makes me want someone just so I can sing it to them. Or something like that anyway.

Abstruse Goose Click for more info

Sometimes I use exactly this justification to console me when I realise I'm not actually as unique and special as I like to think I am:

Put in these terms, why does anyone deserve anything?

Wednesday, November 10

XKCD Click for more info

A comic which pretty much sums up the search:

I guess everyone wants someone who wants and needs them back - that's part of the point - but who goes first?

Friday, November 5

Food: Shinwari Click for more info

Although technically neither Persian nor Afghan, Shinwari provided the respective cuisines in spirit; we (all twenty odd of us) were made to eat on the floor, from communal bowls and with communal naans. It's a genius way to have a party, with the literal breaking of bread bringing us together as well as lack of obstructive things like tables and chairs getting in the way of group conversation.

The food itself was a mixed bag. We (over) ordered a variety of dishes, some of which were hits, many of which were misses. I liked the kebabs, the fruity rice and some of the meat dishes, but the rest were passable.

Still at 12 quid a head including drinks (consisting of a mango lassi), we couldn't really complain too much. The opportunity it gave to so many of us to engage and converse was worth the entry price alone - I'll have to go back in a smaller party to figure out whether it's any good as a restaurant though.

Wednesday, November 3

Game: God of War III Click for more info

I can't believe I have them both on my blog, but see here and here for the low down. Yes, once again this is more of the same, but multiplied by a gazillion.

The game starts where sequel left off, with Kratos climbing Mount Olympus to do in Zeus and company. The premise is as grand as the visuals and experience, with the FMV effortlessly blending with the realtime carnage. Awesome stuff.

Welcome gameplay tweaks have also been made, for example with the QTE button indicators now edging all sides of your screen (instead of just at the bottom). Overall though, I am still just button bashing my way through all the excellent cut scenes.

Mindless, sure, but oh so much fun. Recommended.

Game: Prince of Persia (360) Click for more info

It was my mistake really. You see the first rehash of Prince of Persia (of Sands of Time, the one that was adapted for film) was absolutely brilliant. It flowed, it was simple, the game mechanic was brilliant and the balance between platform puzzling and combat was genius. I never played the two sequels, but I assumed that they were more of the same; which is why I made it a point to get this, the second re-imagining of the franchise.

Despite being well received by the critics, I'm struggling to understand why. The biggest issue I have with it is the non-linearity of the maps - instead of having to get from A to B, you now have access to a multi-dimensional hub from which you can access various pseudo-sand-boxed worlds. The reason for this is because progress is no longer geographical, it's statistical. In short, the game is now a glorified collect-em-up. Yeh, that's right; GTA has a lot to answer for.

It's a fatal mistake in my opinion. There's only so much wall running you can do before the lack of progress makes it feel like a waste of time. What's worse is that you need to collect to open up new worlds, and the maps are so tight with collectibles that the whole thing becomes a bit of a chore to play. Which is a shame, since the non-collectable bits (ie the combat and puzzles) are quite good in their own right - it just sucks that they make up such a small part of the game.

It's such a pain that I'm considering writing the game off before completion, something I rarely do. I guess it goes without saying that I don't recommend POP.

New Music

Billo Rani - Dhan Dhana Dhan... Goal

This and the next track were added to my play list due to certain recent events. Lucky since it's such a tune.

Dus Bahane - Dus

I am ashamed to not have had this before now.

Anjaana Anjaani - Anjaana Anjaani

Namely Anjaana Anjaani Ki Kahani (super annoying, but hey), Tujhe Bhula Diya (awesome) and Aas Paas Khuda (Unplugged and excellent).

Zor Ka Jhatka - Action Replayy

I can't keep my shoulders still while listening to this. Lucky I no longer care about fellow commuters, eh?