Saturday, May 18, 2013

Eurovision 2013: Semi Final 1

It's hard to believe a whole year has passed since Eurovision 2012. It seems like only yesterday we were watching Sweden's Loreen beat the rest of the competition into submission with her monster track 'Euphoria'. Now, 12 months later it's time to say 'hej!' to Malmo, Sweden as we join the party at Malmo Arena for Semi Final 1 of the 2013 competition. Before we go any further, let's check out the opening sequence from our first night of qualifying.

Yeah, so Loreen was pretty good huh? Will we find another Loreen this year? Or a cutie patootie like Ott Lepland? Or a batshit insane nutjob like Rambo Amadeus? If we're going off the quality of Semi Final's unlikely. But join me below the cut and we'll check out what went down.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Thank GIF it's Friday!

I could watch this on loop forever.

(Credit: Dan-O-Vision)

Thursday Threesome: Three Cheesy TV Shows I Just Cannot Stop Watching

We’ve all been there; enjoying something we think we ought not to. Telling our friends enthusiastically about the latest developments on this television show while they look at us, one eyebrow raised in disapproval, and scoff.

Whether it’s a band, a movie or a television show, the outcome remains the same, we love what we love and there’s not a darn thing we can do about it.

Below the jump are three television shows, cheesy as they may be, some with questionable acting or fumbled plot lines, that try as I might I cannot help watching and loving in some strange way.

Enter at your own risk.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Game of Thrones Episode 3.07 Book Comparison and Review

What was that? Seriously. That was the worst episode of Game of Thrones I've ever seen. A friend who has not read the book series described this season as disjointed. This is how it feels, like a cobbled together clip show and the characterisation is suffering as a result. The episodes are relying more and more on shock value and pace to tell the story and it's clear that the complexity is getting the better of the writers.

There have been some significant changes made in this episode, so under the jump you'll find some theories as to why things have changed and what this could mean for future plotlines.

Please be aware, this post will contain potential spoilers for the end of this season of Game of Thrones and the end of book 1 of A Storm of Swords. All future book series spoilers will be labelled beforehand so that you can skip if you don't want to know.

Okay, let's take a look at The Bear and the Maiden Fair.

Book Review: Joe Hill's "NOS4A2"

Resurrection, parallel universes, creepy bone hammers, rhyming minions, and a demonic Rolls Royce?

Yeah, I'm in.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

DC Comics New 52 - Stryder's Weekly Top 5

Hey everybody!  Welcome back!  This week's comics were released on May 8th, 2013.  My time is short so let's jump right in!  Here's my 5 favourite comics this week, in no particular order:

Batman #20 - "But as you well know, sometimes I'm my own worst enemy..."

Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo let loose with part two of their quick Clayface story this month, giving us a fast-paced and fun story and really making me remember why I love this book.  It's great to have this action-packed move after two huge multi-issue crossovers in a row.  Plus Greg Capullo gets to have ALL SORTS of fun drawing the shape-shifting Clayface...there are so many fun textures and characters which he can become!  The issue is well written, too, with a nice nod to the overall story of Bruce still being torn-up about the loss of his son Damian "Robin" Wayne, without making that the main focus of the story (as Batman's grief and rage are fully covered in TWO other Bat Comics, at least).  It really makes me look forward to next month when we step into the past for a new arc that they are calling "Zero Year!" 

Oh I forgot to mention the Superman/Batman back-up feature of a haunted apartment slum also wraps's a nice character study of both heroes and their interactions.  Just like the main feature, it is very well done!  I'm impressed!

See what other comics I picked after the JUMP!  Here's a hint...we're not done with BATMAN...

The Book Was Better Podcast Episode 42: New York Minute (with guest host McNally!)

The Book Was Better is the podcast where we inexplicably read the often terrible tie-in novelisation of your loved/loathed films and then discuss, debate, and make fun of it.

Episode 42 is our long-awaited, all-mighty, massive globe-spanning, star-spangled extravaganza! After many, many months of poking fun at the culture of our American friends, a real-life American listener, the indomitable McNally, joins me over skype to read the All-American favourite New York Minute, based on the movie starring twin spider monkeys Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen! A bald eagle cries! A dingo howls! It’s the U.S. versus Australia in perhaps our most significant episode yet! Miss this and you’re a communist!

You can download it right now from the official site, or why not protect your freedoms and subscribe to us on iTunes?

F**k Yeah Game of Thrones! Episode Seven: The Bear and the Maiden Fair.

Ok, so this is one of those slower, filler episodes where OMG! WHAT IS HAPPENING! WHAT THE HELL IS THAT!?! Oh, Game of Thrones, even when you start slow, you’ve always got something insane stored up for the end!

Lots to talk about this week, not the least of which is Brienne versus an unexpected adversary, and Theon learns that keeping your Throner boner strong isn’t always the best idea. If you’re not too well-read and fancy to enjoy the ill-informed ramblings of an enthusiast who belligerently hasn’t read the books, then I’ll recap the crap out of this episode... after the jump!

Star Trek: Into Darkness Review

As we approach the opening of Star Trek Into Darkness in the States, I’m sure a lot of you are waiting with baited breath. Will this film be as good as the first? Will Spock and Kirk’s friendship grow stronger? Who is Benedict Cumberbatch playing?

Is this latest outing J. J. Abrams’ finest hour? No. But, having been a long time fan of J.J., especially of his television work, I can’t say this surprises me. A lot of people expected it to have a darker tone like Chris Nolan’s recent Batman trilogy. Was it The Dark Knight? Of course not, it’s Star Trek. The film has divided fans and critics alike, but I can’t say that I was expecting a dark epic, so I wasn’t disappointed. This film, while darker than the first, doesn’t do anything heavy handed to make any particular point. That’s not the beauty of Star Trek. Trek is about exploration, a rag-tag family and moral ill-ease. Our heroes aren’t typical, they second guess themselves and many feel far out of their depth. The nuances of the journey are the heart of the story. But don’t worry; there are ship battles, fisticuffs and some explosions as well! Into Darkness was everything I expected it would be. It delivered the same grins as the first film, the same lens flare and the same adventurous nature. I thoroughly enjoyed it, right down to the 3D effects, though make sure you take something beforehand if you get motion sick; J. J. sure does love to swing that camera and zoom! Did I walk away thinking it was anything other than an adventure blockbuster like Iron Man 3 was? Absolutely not. What would be the point of expecting too much depth from either of these films? The point was to go on a space adventure with these characters, to enjoy their story and to file them away for another day.

These are the voyages of the Star Ship Enterprise.

Have you seen the film yet? Follow up under the jump for spoilers and discussion!

Monday, May 13, 2013

Book Review: R.E.M.: Perfect Circle

R.E.M. is my favorite band of all time. A favorite to the point of, when they broke up, I got a number of "are you okay" texts. I own nearly all their releases, I buy soundtracks and compilations simply because they submitted a single song to it, bought the import singles for b-sides, the whole nine yards.

This also means buying/reading a number of books. The gold standard, historically speaking, has been It Crawled From the South, which was less a biography and more a companion. R.E.M.: Fiction tried to be more of a biography, and was solid in its detail. There were others, of course, like Talk About the Passion and Reveal: The Story of R.E.M.,, neither of which were essential.

Remarks: The Story of R.E.M. was Tony Fletcher's original attempt and was also very solid, but, like all the other volumes, did not see new volumes in close to ten years, if not longer, and Fletcher finally chose to update the book following R.E.M.'s break-up. The high quality that existed with Remarks thankfully continues with Perfect Circle.

Review: Sci-Fi Revoltech 003 Kaiju Booska! Whatever That Means!


Don’t dismiss this fascinating, well-written, culturally significant article just because you’re some Western dummy that doesn’t know what a Kaiju Booska is. I don’t know what one is either, but goddamn am I determined to find out, and I want you with me, tightly holding my hand. There’s safety in numbers!

But what I DO know is, who can resist a face like this?

I happened upon Booska after recently reviewing the super-articulated Revoltech Iron Mark VII. I was browsing further Revoltech items and was filled with a heady mixture of joy and trepidation when the startling visage of giraffe/bear/baby Booska loomed alluring on the screen. At just $20 shipped, how could I resist? I couldn’t! And now I have to write an article about it to try to justify my purchase.

But if you love Japan and/or you love monsters and/or you’re really bored, then take my hand and join me... after the jump!

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Doctor Who: Nightmare in Silver

There’s only one episode left in season seven of Doctor Who and as we come to a close, rushing towards answers about the Doctor’s name and who Clara might be, we are treated to a Neil Gaiman Cyberman episode. The Doctor and Clara take Clara’s young friends Artie and Angie to the universe’s biggest amusement park and find much more than they bargained for. It’s a solid episode with some great characters and some good scares. The complexity of Moffat’s run has often been to the detriment of some of the things that I love about Who. This episode is simple, clean and sets the tone for next week’s thriller.

Take a look under the jump for what worked and what didn’t in Neil Gaiman’s Nightmare in Silver and the return of the beloved Cybermen.

El Professore Movie Reviews: The Golden Voyage of Sinbad

Director: Gordon Hessler
Starring: John Phillip Law, Caroline Munroe, Tom Baker
* * * *
With the sad passing of Ray Harryhausen, it felt right to travel back in time to the film that started my lifelong affection for all things stop motion animated.

Full review after the jump.

Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D Teaser

Look what dropped this morning! The new Joss Whedon series containing our collective hopes and dreams! Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D is going to be magnificent.

Check out the trailer below, complete with our favourite Agent.