Friday, 31 December 2010

Top 5 Lists of 2010

With 2010 now behind us, it's time to look back at some of the very best things which came to pass last year. Here are my top 5's by section:

Youtube Vids

Honourable Mentions: Fitness for Nerds (Vlogbrothers)
5)California Dorks (JasonMundayMusic)
4)The Daily Mail Song (DanAndDanFilms)
3)Nerd by Travi$ (WhatTravisSays)
2)Bed Intruder (Schmoyoho)
1)Double Rainbow (Schmoyoho)

TV

Honourable Mentions: Mad Men, Misfits, Blue Bloods
5)Chuck
4)Being Human
3)Doctor Who
2)The Walking Dead
1)Lost


Film

Honourable Mentions: How to Train Your Dragon, Scott Pilgrim, Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
5)Enter the Void
4)Winter's Bone
3)Social Network
2)Inception
1)Toy Story 3

Thursday, 9 December 2010

Corrie Live - Recap/Review



50 years ago today, a programme debuted on UK TV which would change the way we looked at television, introducing the soap opera to Britain. That show is of course: Coronation Street.

Half a century on the show is still going strong, and to celebrate, the show was specially extended to a full hour long episode, which would go out LIVE, and it was announced that a whopping four regular cast members would die before the week was out.

On Monday night’s show, a tram came off the viaduct, destroying the night club and the corner shop, leaving carnage throughout the street, and many members of the cast left trapped in the wreckage, and over the last few episodes the aftermath has left devastation.

The first casualty of the week seemed to come in that first show, as John took a hammer and smashed it over Charlotte’s head, although he quickly becomes distracted, the crash coming before he has time to hide the body.

Last night, fan favourite Ashley Peacock’s 15 years on the street came to an end as the last remnants of the club collapsed, just moments after he left an emotional voicemail for his wife Claire.

As the live episode finally got under way Nick stumbled out of the Joinery, informing Deirdre, and in turn Claire herself, that Ashley didn’t make it.

In a superb performance, Julia Haworth, who plays Claire, screams at Audrey as she says that Ashley was a hero for saving Nick and Peter. “What good is a hero if he’s dead”, she moans. “I’d take a coward any day if he was here to tuck his sons in at night.” In that single moment, the heart of a nation cried out for her.

It’s not over for Claire though, and when later on Ashley’s message finally comes through, and she plays it on speakerphone to the crowd in the Rover’s, I defy anyone to have not let out a tear.

At the hospital, Fizz is gives birth to a baby girl, Hope, introducing a new life even in amongst the Armageddon going on else where. It’s not all easy though, as John finds out that Chesney has left the hospital to return to the house to get Fizz’s things, and John is forced to run home to hide Charlotte’s body.

The biggest shock of the night though comes as he drags the body out, and a paramedic who spots them both check’s Charlotte’s pulse and confirms that she is still alive, even if only barely.

Molly (Vicky Binns) is still trapped in the corner shop, and Sally Webster (portrayed by Sally Dynevor) convinces the firemen to let her go in, and be with her friend in what could be her final moments. In any normal episode these would be the best scenes by a mile and Dynevor and Binns act their asses off to really bring the fear and danger of the situation to the fore. Molly finally concedes that she is going to die, and with her final breath utters the words that will change Sally’s life forever. “If I’m gone, Jack won’t have his mummy. He’s going to need his daddy…. It’s Kevin. I’m so sorry”. With that her hand goes limp.

In another touchingly tragic sequence, we see Peter and Leanne tie the knot in the hospital, with Leanne finally telling Nick that she doesn’t love him, and that she wants to be Mrs Barlow, even if it’s only for a few minutes. As heartbroken as Nick clearly is, he agrees, knowing that she is making the right decision.

As Peter and Leanne kiss, Peter’s heart stops, and despite the doctors rushing to rescuscitate him as we leave the hospital for the last time this episode, we can only assume that Devastation Street has taken its penultimate casualty.

The episode ends with Tyrone returning, only to hear that he is moments too late, and that Molly is gone. He hugs a speechless Sally, and we are left to wonder how long it will be until Sally is forced to reveal what she knows.

Overall, this was a terrific episode. So much was going on, with over 65 regular cast members involved, and for a live episode this was a truly colossal undertaking.

It felt completely seamless though, and if you hadn’t known it was live, you would never ever have known. Every scene flowed perfectly into the next, every performance was as flawless as it would have been had they had 20 takes to get it right.

Eastenders attempted a live episode earlier this year, and as good as it was, it felt live. You could see the cracks. The greatest praise I can possibly give to Corrie as it celebrates its half century: this was FLAWLESS.

Saturday, 4 December 2010

Wikileaks - Journalism or Terrorism?

Wikileaks is a website which will have escaped no one’s knowledge in recent months, but just in case you have been living under a rock or something, here’s the basic jist: Wikileaks is a site where people can anonymously send in whistle blowing tips, and, once verified, these tips will be posted, bringing them into the public domain, without the fear of backlash to the whistleblower

There have been more than 20,000 “leaks” to date, and the man the world has to thank (or not) is Julian Assange, the founder, and webmaster, of the site.

The site has been criticised in recent weeks for releasing files which the US government believe endanger their troops in Afghanistan and Iraq, by leaking confidential military records.

There is certainly an argument to be made that Assange acted recklessly in the publication of some of these communiqués. I won’t deny that.

But in general terms what he was doing was reporting on injustices that the general news media saw fit to keep from you, and which the governments of the world hoped you would never see.

Take this video, which can be found at: http://www.collateralmurder.com/ .

It portrays a group of Reuters journalists in Baghdad, being fired upon – and killed – by an American helicopter crew who justified the shootings on their radio to command by saying the men were “insurgents”, and “carrying AK-47s”. The video – which just for the record Reuters themselves tried to obtain through a Freedom of Information request which was shut down – clearly shows this entire account to be false. The men both have cameras, but there is no weaponry. These journalists were shot and killed for no reason, leaving 8 men dead, and 2 children seriously injured.

This story, if not told here, would have completely passed by other major outlets, and the US army would have got away with what they did.

Because of Assange, even if no true punishment is brought on the men, the world at large can at least know what they did, and the knowledge of their crime will be the greatest punishment humanity can put upon them.

Now, this view is, surprisingly, not exactly shared by many in Washington.

Over the past few weeks and months, many have spoken out against Wikileaks.


Hillary Clinton, Secretary of State, has openly said that “We strongly condemn leaks on American diplomacy. US is taking "aggressive steps" to hold those responsible for release of confidential documents”
, going on to say that “The United States deeply regrets the disclosure of any information that was intended to be confidential including private discussions between counterparts or our diplomats’ personal assessments and observations”

Former vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin went one step further, saying that: “[Assange] is an anti-American operative with blood on his hands…Why was he not pursued with the same urgency we pursue Al Qaeda and Taliban leaders?”

Yes, if it were up to Palin, the United States of America would be at war with Wikileaks, and Mr Assange would be public enemy number 2, right behind Osama Bin Laden himself.

Well Mrs Palin, and anyone else who holds such narrow minded views, allow me to remind you of one thing: Julian Assange is a journalist. Wikileaks is a media institution. Freedom of the Press is an important human right, and if this was any other, more traditional, media outlet then you’d see that what you’re trying to do is openly censor the press – the first step away from a democratic society and into a totalitarian dictatorship.

As a budding reporter, I cannot help but salute Julian Assange’s bravery, in standing up for what he believes, and risking his liberty to bring real stories to the world, where other journalists would sooner just allow them to slide to save their own jobs.

36 years ago, two journalists broke a story, with the help of a whistleblower, which would go on to bring down the highest office in the land. I am talking of course about Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward, and their work for the Washington Post in bringing to light the Watergate Scandal, and forcing the resignation of Richard Nixon.

Breaking a story, about people in positions of power, doing bad things. Officials leaking official documents and sources to a member of the press to get these stories out. Does any of this sound familiar? Bernstein and Woodward are two of the most highly respected investigative reporters of all time. And yet for committing the same “crime” (if you can call it that) – Assange is being hunted down.

The corruption of power, and the weakening of the news media in just 35 years, is plain to see.

How can a reporter ever hope to repeat the success of this kind of story, if their alleys of pursuit are automatically shut down by the words “national security”, at every available juncture.

With Assange on the run, and his arrest unfortunately probably imminent, it is up to us, the reporters of the world, to stand behind him. Unite behind his vision – of a world where the truth is told, no matter what the cost – and never back down, even when the powers that be would rather quieten us (especially then even).

Wherever you are Julian, just know that while there are those who seek to destroy you, there are just as many of us out there who truly support your endeavours, and who believe that only through work like yours can we return to a day in which the journalists hold those in power to account, not simply work as their lap dogs.

I will leave you dear readers with a quote from Texan state representative Ron Paul. A man not particularly known for his liberalism, and yet a man who in this instance has hit the nail on the head when it comes to Wikileaks: “In a free society, we are supposed to know the truth. In a society where truth has become treason, we're in big trouble.”

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

There is no Buffy without Joss Whedon

In May last year, it was announced that Kaz and Fran Rubel Kazui, who own the rights to Buffy the Vampire Slayer, had accepted an option from Warner Bros Pictures to make a new feature film about the heroine – Joss Whedon, creator of the acclaimed TV series, wanted nothing to do with a reboot, both because he’s too busy shooting other things, and because as far as he was concerned he was done with Buffy.

18months later, we fans of the show had hoped that Joss’ disinterest in the project had meant that it had simply slipped off the radar entirely, to be one of those films which just never got made.

Yesterday that hope was shattered; as Warner Brothers officially announced that a Buffy reboot was not only on the way but that the writing of a script was well underway. The woman chosen for the task: complete unknown, former actress Whit Anderson, in her first attempt at a screenplay. Well, doesn’t that just fill you with confidence?!

Even the idea of rebooting Buffy, without it’s great creator, or any of the Scoobie Gang we all loved, it not only doesn’t feel right, honestly it feels outraging!

Ever since 2003, I’ve waited patiently for the day that the Buffyverse would once again come calling.

This was not the call I wanted. It’s not the call that anyone wanted.

Whit Anderson could do a great job, and write a brilliant movie, maybe. But it’s never going to be MY Buffy. And that’s what I’ve spent 7 years longing for.

Joss created a world so complex, so interesting, and Sarah Michelle Gellar et al worked so hard inhabiting every inch of it. James Marsters will always be Spike. Alyson Hannigan will always be Willow.

Noone else will ever be able to fill those roles in the same way.

So I’ll put it simply: without the original Buffy crew involved, and Joss at its head, there is simply no way I’ll be going to see this.

Saturday, 13 November 2010

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part One - A spoilerific exploration

This post will include just about every spoiler imaginable for Part One of the Harry Potter and Deathly Hallows film, so if you haven’t read the book, or don’t want to know how certain things were covered on screen, then go and read my spoiler-free review of the film at: http://platform-online.net/2010/11/review-harry-potter-and-the-deathly-hallows-part-one/ instead.

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I’m going to look at the film scene by scene, see how it works in comparison to the book, and give any general thoughts on the piece as it goes along. So without further ado, here we are

The Opening Sequence: Making a bold move, they opted not to open at Malfoy Manor as the book does (although that scene does come up very quickly). Instead they open with a montage of the trio, each at their own house. We see the Dursleys leave (unfortunately losing Dudley’s touching goodbye, but ah well), we see Hermione erase her parents memories, and we see Ron, stood in front of the Burrow, realising that soon he will leave it, possibly forever.


This sequence is great, and it really makes us realise that all three of them, not just Harry, are making a huge sacrifice when it comes to going off hunting horcruxes. It’s a bleak beginning, but honestly: it sets the tone for what is certainly the darkest HP film to date.

Malfoy Manor: Now we are back with the scene which should have opened the film, and it’s practically verbatim from the book, minus the bit about the peacocks. Snape swoops in through the huge gates of Malfoy Manor, and arrives at the table, Charity Burbage hung above it, with Death Eaters all around. I’m pretty sure the script is taken straight from the page here, and it’s great to see Lucius tremble in fear as he realises that the Dark Lord no longer needs him.

Seven Potters and the arrival at the Burrow: This is one of the most action packed sequences in this half of the book, and as you’d expect, they’ve taken it even further on screen. The transformation sequence is just as fun – and funny – as we’d want it to be, and once the gang are in the air, the broomstick battle is incredible to behold. Not purely restricted to the skies, Harry and Hagrid race on the motorbike along the M25, with Death Eaters in hot pursuit, flipping cars, caravans and all sorts before the bike manages to get airborne again.

Hedwig’s death is understated, but touching nonetheless, and the arrival at the Burrow is superb. The slightly mad glint in Remus’ eye as he grabs Harry to check if he is an impostor, and the “I’m holy” joke from George both make the cut, in a scene which is as close to the book as anything Kloves has written to date.

So far so good then!!

The Wedding: Following the long awaited arrival of Bill Weasley to the series during the Seven Potter sequence, we’re straight into his and Fleur’s wedding. It’s a lavish and beautiful affair, and there are a couple of great lines for Luna, which will no doubt get a laugh.

Of course the important part here is the moment the Patronus appears, and the moment it does all hell breaks loose. People are apparating in and out all over the place, and the tent catches fire as the Death Eaters descend. Harry’s instincts are to grab his wand and fight, but thankfully Remus grabs him, thrusts him at Hermione and Ron, and the trio disapparate, leaving carnage behind them.

Shaftesbury Avenue and the Café: In the book, the trio end up on Tottenham Court Road, and it always seemed an odd choice to me to be honest. It’s a central road in London sure, but I can’t see why it would be the first to come to mind. The filmmakers clearly had the same idea, and have opted to swap TCR for Piccadilly Circus, with the trio apparating in front of a bus in the middle of the packed square. I was lucky enough to see them film these sequences, so to see them on the big screen particularly excited me.

The fight in the café is well shot, and for the first time we see Ron’s dark side come out, as he wants to kill the two fallen Death Eaters, saying: “What if it was one of them who killed Mad Eye, would you want them to live then?” Up until now in the series Ron has really been the comic relief character, and while he has some comedy moments in this one he also grows SO much as a character, and the credit for portraying that so well really does lie with Rupert Grint

Kreacher’s Tale: Having made their way to Grimmauld Place, and found the name Regulus Arcturus Black on a bedroom door, the gang quickly searches out Kreacher regarding the missing locket.

This is the one part of the film I really didn’t like, as I would have loved to have seen the whole of Kreacher’s Tale included, as it is the redemption of the character, and our chance to find out why he is the screwed up way he is. Instead we just jump straight to the fact that: Yes, there was another locket and that Mundungus stole it. End of. I know why it was done that way, (because it would have cost FAR too much to rebuild that Cave for a 2minute scene when there was another way of doing it), but it still bugged me a little bit.

Ministry: Probably the funniest sequence in the film, the trio take the Polyjuice potion and turn into the 3 ministry representatives. I spoke to David O Hara (who plays the body of Runcorn, Harry’s unsuspecting body double), and he was talking about how difficult it was for the adult counterparts to learn the mannerisms of the way Dan, Rupert and Emma carry themselves, and to sync the audio of the young actors voices to the adult’s lip sync, but honestly: it works superbly on screen.

The Hogwarts Express: A little added scene that’s not in the books, (just to remind us that the rest of the young actors still exist), sees a Death Eater stop the Hogwarts Express on the tracks, and march through it, looking for Harry. We get to see the beginnings of Neville’s growth into the young rebel, and although he only gets one line, it’s enough for me to know that Matt Lewis will do just fine when his big turn comes around next time

Camping: This was where DH Part One was going to be won or lost really. The camping sections in the book are so long, and with not an awful lot happening that these scenes could easily have devolved into boredom. Thankfully they’ve been shot in such a way that one minute we’re looking at a beautiful landscape (and every place they stop really is BEAUTIFUL), and the next we’re met with a great radio montage of Ron listening to the radio, day after day, waiting for news. It’s not perfect, but with the small amount of material they had to build upon, they’ve made a sequence which at least works on screen, which is something anyway.

Ron/Harry fight: Another shining scene for Ron’s character comes as he finally locks horns with Harry over the lack of anything resembling a plan. Jealous of Harry’s close friendship with Hermione (and completely missing the fact that she’s madly in love with him, because lets face it: he’s a dumb teenage boy), he storms out of the tent, leaving a silence behind him which says as much as the entire argument does. Rupert proves once again that he is one of the best actors in the series in this scene, and it really is a shame that the scripts up to now haven’t given him the opportunity to flex his skills this much.

The graveyard: Now alone, Harry and Hermione head for Godric’s Hollow, and head first for the graveyard where James and Lily are buried. Dan’s face when he looks down at the grave is enough to break anyone’s heart.

Bathilda’s House: Out of the corner of her eye, Hermione notices a CREEPY looking old lady stood watching them by the grave, beckoning them to follow her. This of course is Bathilda Bagshot, and man oh man did they get this scene right. It’s TERRIFYING as you see Nagini appear from within the body, and chase Harry through the house. This is one of the best scenes in the film, but also one in which I actually take issue with the 12A rating. This scene is GENUINELY scary, and I can only assume this was right on the boundary of pushing it too far and into a higher certificate. And the scares are not over yet.

Silver Doe and the destruction of the Locket: Back at the campsite, Harry sees an ethereal light through the trees and follows it, as it turns into a magnificent Doe Patronus. Racing down the hill behind it, it soon takes him to a frozen lake, with the sword of Gryffindor at the bottom. As he dives in though, the locket almost comes alive, and starts to strangle him, leaving him to drown.

As Ron makes his return, saving Harry’s life, we witness very simply the best scene Rupert has ever filmed for the franchise to date.

He takes up the sword, and Harry opens the locket, causing a huge explosion of a dark phantom like force, showing him his worst fears, one by one, first spiders, and then a Harry and Hermione who love each other. Rupert’s resolve as he finally takes control back, smashing the sword against the horcrux and ending it is wonderful, and his reunion with Hermione moments later is simply beautiful.

Xeno and The Tale of the Three Brothers: Rhys Ifans’ portrayal of Xenophilius Lovegood was always going to be an important one, as he would get to explain once and for all the symbol of the Deathly Hallows. He is an incredible actor, and brings out the on-edge feeling of the man who has lost his daughter very well.

The scene at his house is really dominated by the Tale of the Three Brothers though. An AMAZING animated sequence, with Emma reading the tale in voice-over over the top, the story is brought to life on screen in a way I hadn’t expected, and the sequence really stands out in my mind as one of the best in the film.

Malfoy Manor Again: Captured by Snatcher’s as they flee Xeno’s place, the trio find themselves at Malfoy Manor. Helena Bonham Carter’s Bellatrix eclipses everyone else on screen here, her complete insanity outshining everything. As she tortures Hermione, it feels truly real, both from Emma’s portrayal and her own.

Then of course everyone’s favourite House Elf returns, as Dobby appears to rescue the trio. As he singlehandedly thwarts Bella, Narcissa and Lucius, he gives his empassioned “Dobby has no master. Dobby is a free elf.” speech, and I honestly felt like standing up and applauding/cheering right there in the middle of the screening (I didn’t but I wanted to)

Dobby: Unfortunately, just seconds later elation became tears. I sobbed when Dobby died in the book, and I’ll admit I shed a tear here too. Dan’s reaction as he holds the lifeless elf in his arms pushed me right over the edge, as you can see the anguish and heartbreak in his own eyes, as Dobby tells him that “[He] is glad to have been with [his] best friend Harry Potter” as he died. Fading to black as Harry finishes digging the grave, it looks like we’re done. But no: there is one final scene leading into the split between the movies.

The Split: Voldemort has spent the entire film (in a sequences of glimpses through Harry’s scar-vision which perfectly replicate the equivalent sequences for the book) searching for the Elder Wand, and as the film ends, we see the White Tomb open, and Riddle taking the Wand, firing a beam of light into the air and laughing maniacally. This was the perfect end for part one. The balance of power has shifted. Harry and the others have lost one of their best friends, their resolve is trembling, and Voldemort is suddenly at his most powerful. THAT is how you get an audience back for the conclusion.

And what a conclusion it promises to be. With rumours of a LONGER second half, and pretty much only Gringotts and the Battle to go, the vast majority of the second movie will take place during the battle, which is as it should be. Is it July yet?!?

Saturday, 6 November 2010

Review: Jackass 3D



About 10 years ago, a group of guys, led by Johnny Knoxville, united in the name of pulling pranks and doing dumbass stunts on camera, for the amusement of...well everyone else. In that vein, Jackass was born, spawning a successful MTV show, as well as 2 movies.

Of course, all these years later, and with the addition of an entire extra dimension, the boys (ok: men, Knoxville is 39 now, he's not a boy anymore) are back.

I'm going to be very honest: I went into this movie expecting to hate it. I literally just sat there as the trailers ran thinking "Come on, this was funny 10 years ago, but these guys just need to grow the fuck up..."

Oh how wrong I was. Not only have the Jackasses still got it, but they're better than ever.

Nothing – and I mean nothing – is off limits this time around, and the pure shock value of some of the stunts is crazy. I literally don’t want to mention any of the stunts in detail, because honestly: half the brilliance of this is just the surprise of the lengths they are willing to go to for the ultimate slapstick comedy.

Thankfully, this is also in no way a trailer movie. Most of the stunts which you’ll have seen in the trailer – most notably The High Five - are gotten out of the way relatively early on, and from there on out it’s entirely new content, pushing the barriers of acceptability to their very boundaries.

While it’s fair to say there is a definite warning on this one that it’s not for the faint of heart – or the squeamish – otherwise anybody with even a remote funny bone will laugh at this. Even I, who started out intent on hating it, have to admit: I’ve never laughed so hard, and so consistently at any film in the cinema EVER.




Thursday, 4 November 2010

Review: Chuck Vs The First Fight


This post contains spoilers for the latest episode of Chuck to air stateside (Chuck Vs The First Fight), so look away now if you haven't seen it.

Every once in a while a TV show airs and I feel the need to blog about it once I've watched it. This weeks episode of Chuck definitely was one of those occasions. It was so damn good!!

Opening where last week's shock cliffhanger left off, Chuck visits mummy dearest while she's imprisoned inside Castle. She tells him that she really is undercover, and that there is only one man who can clear her name- her MI6 handler (a bumbling would-be spy superbly portrayed by Timothy Dalton)

As Chuck races against time to prove his mothers innocence - while battling with Volkoff's henchmen (who're also looking for Chuck's Mum). All of this is taking place while Chuck is also fighting (in a much more metaphorical sense) with Sarah, over the fundamental disagreement over Sarah's arresting Frost to begin with.

This episode saw everything which is great about Chuck combine into one.

It had some of the best comedic moments the show has displayed in a long time (from Sarah's annoyance in Chuck having spoken to literally everyone else but her, to Morgan's escalating fight with Casey), as well as some superb action and fighting sequences.

One of the best sequences takes place when Elly and her mother finally sit down to talk. It's such a beautiful moment, and so perfectly balanced - it's clear that neither knows exactly how to react, and yet that they both love eachother more than they can possibly express.

Everything comes to a head though in the final few minutes. As the great reveal takes place, and Dalton shows his true colours as Volkoff himself, a real shiver goes up the back of your spine. I had sort of called it, but that didn't take anything away from it actually happening - indeed it just made me more elated, as it means we'll have to see Dalton at least once more in the show.



All in all, this was just an utterly and completely brilliant episode.

It'll be really interesting to see how the whole thing plays out now that Elly has the intersect - how quickly she will realise to give it to Chuck, and how Chuck will react to his mother's betrayal (she may have saved his life, but she's still clearly working with Volkoff after all, and that's going to be a tough pill to swallow)

Next week cannot come soon enough, but for now I just need to see this one all over again - because it might just be the best episode that this show has ever thrown forward.

Sunday, 10 October 2010

The Social Network

If anything will define the last decade, the explosion of social networking media would be very close to the top of the list. The biggest hitter of them all of course - Harvard undergrad Mark Zuckerberg’s behemoth: Facebook

Set primarily inside two court deposition rooms, “The Social Network” tells in flashback the sequence of events surrounding the inception and foundation of Facebook, as told through the eyes of Zuckerberg himself (in a performance unlike any other which Jesse Eisenberg has ever delivered); Eduardo Saverin (his business partner portrayed by Andrew Garfield); and Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss (two other Harvard students, who sued Zuckerberg for allegedly stealing the idea for Facebook)

Aaron Sorkin’s script is superb, not coming down on any side of the legal wrangling, but instead – having chosen to set the film during the disputes – using the 3 different versions of events to present different scenes to the viewer, and allow them to try and piece together an opinion of their own regarding who’s right and who’s wrong.

There are some great laughs too, clearly poking fun at the mania of the modern system, which has become so dependent on Facebook. When Saverin’s girlfriend berates him about his relationship status remaining as “Single” rather than “in a relationship”, it feels like every single member of the audience knows that this is far more than the triviality which it should be – in this day and age this is a serious issue.

At the centre of it all of course is the Zuckerberg character itself. An insanely bright, witty and yet incredible dark individual, Mark Zuckerberg is a certifiable genius, but at the same time a certifiable jackass to boot. He is not a likeable man, and indeed his (very quickly to become ex) girlfriend at the start of the movie sums him up saying: “You’ll grow old thinking that everyone hates you because you’re a nerd. It’s not that at all Mark, it’s just that you’re an arrogant asshole.” (or words to that effect). How ironic that someone who has such complete trouble with social interaction should ultimately be the one to create the greatest social tool mankind has ever seen.

This is very different to the role you’d traditionally expect to find Jesse Eisenberg in. In the past he’s been described as taking the roles which Michael Cera would pass off, but here he more than out shines that particular shadow, bringing nuance to the genius on screen.

Justin Timberlake also stars, in the role of Sean Parker, founder of Napster, and in many ways the man Mark Zuckerberg wishes he could be. Parker is savvy, cool, and you get the feeling he can (and does) get any girl he wants, whenever he wants her. He almost presents the cautionary tale though, in that you feel like he’s a loose cannon ready to go off at any moment – something which clearly worries the Andrew Garfield character, who is very much the ethical barometer of the film, far more able to read into people than Mark is.

Ulitmately of course there is only one way I can really sum up my opinions on what may as well have been titled “Facebook: The Movie” – James Gordon Likes This.

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

Review: Mockingjay [spoilers]

MAJOR SPOILERS FOR MOCKINGJAY BEGIN PRETTY MUCH IMMEDIATELY AFTER THIS MESSAGE, SO DON'T READ ON IF YOU DON'T WANT TO KNOW.



Mockingjay was a book nothing like I had anticipated. It was much darker, and the war was so much more fully realised than I had expected – showing the true evil that is human nature.


Indeed there are moments in the book where you find yourself hoping Peeta’s prophecy that perhaps the complete annihilation of humanity would be better than allowing any of these people to survive comes true.


As we finally get our first glimpse of the long awaited District 13, in Part One, what we find is not a rag-tag group of rebellious survivors who had made their way to 13 out of defiance – what I had expected - but instead a fully intact District 13, who had betrayed the other districts and done a deal with the Capitol to guarantee their survival.


This put me on a very uneven footing going into the novel, and I really couldn’t get into the book in its 1st third. It didn’t feel like a Hunger Games novel, and lacked the immediacy of its predecessors – far too much time spent strategising and not enough actually doing anything. This of course is the reality of war, and credit to Collins for showing this side of things, but for me, it slowed the book down far too much. After the explosive end to Catching Fire, I wanted to get straight into the action and I couldn’t.

That being said, as the story powered on into Parts 2 and 3, as Katniss became the Mockingjay, and led the battle on the Capitol, the book finally felt like it should.

From the attack on the hospital, to Peeta’s rescue – and indeed his hijacking – the book suddenly had the action element to it, and while the planning and strategy was still going on it suddenly became relegated to the background as we had to watch Katniss struggle with losing Peeta, and acclimatising to life in 13.

The book was at its very best though as the final surge on the Capitol began. The design of the Capitol being like a giant arena gave the story what it had lacked up until this point – the feeling of danger that the Games always inspired up until now.

As Boggs and Finnick and the rest are slowly picked off one by one, you really feel that with so little of the book left, suddenly anyone is open game, and it is even possible she could kill Peeta or Gale as the group make their way towards the Mansion.

And then Prim dies. And there, finally is the ultimate tragedy. The story comes full circle. Katniss entered the arena to save Prim, and by entering the arena inadvertently caused the war which would kill her.

From here on out the story concluded perfectly, both Coin and Snow being killed – if Coin had survived to be president I’d have been angry – Katniss finding herself finally with Peeta (just about the one thing about the book I did predict).

After a very rocky beginning, Mockingjay lived up to its hype in the second and third acts, and concluded a simply amazing trilogy as well as it possibly could do.

Monday, 30 August 2010

BEDA - Aug 30 - Reading Festival 2010

First allow me to apologise for my utter and abject failure to blog since Wednesday. The reason is simply that I have not been within range of a laptop since then. I was at the Reading music festival all weekend for my birthday, and while I expected to be able to blog from my phone, it turns out you can only read posts from Blogger on mobile devices, not post them so that somewhat scuppered the plan!!

I will however make up with it now with a full recap of my weekend.


Thursday


Not a lot to be said to be honest, got to the campsite at Reading on Thursday afternoon, went and got some food and just generally chilled out for the evening. Very much what I have referred to before as the “pre-awesome” day.

Friday

At around 11am, the gates to the main arena opened, and the 1000’s in attendance rushed in.

My brother and I headed first to the Alternative stage, where we were lucky enough to catch some brilliant comedy from the likes of Emo Phillips and Stephen K. Amos before the crowd swelled to fill the tent as YouTube sensations “The Midnight Beast” broke out their own brand of hip hop (including “We are the TMB Party! Who in da house? We in da house! We in da house of parliament)

Next we rushed over to catch the end of Two Door Cinema Club’s set, and then chill out sat watching The Big Pink

We then headed over to the Main stage to be serenaded by scottish rockers Biffy Clyro and Wales’ offering to the festival Lost Prophets. Both were awesome, indeed Biffy remain one of my favourite bands of the moment, and while their new album is perhaps not the strongest material they’ve got, their old stuff doesn’t fail to please.

American rock legends Queens of the Stone Age followed and – hardly surprising having seen them several times before – they kicked some serious ass, and had complete control over the huge crowd gathered to watch their hour long set.

And then the problems began.

9:30PM: headline act Guns N Roses are supposed to be taking to the stage.

9:45: No sign of them

10:00: No sign of them, the crowd is booing by this point

10:15: More and more boos crescendo throughout the crowd, as plenty of people walk off to other stages, convinced they’re simply not going to turn up at all

Finally at gone 10:30, well over an hour late, the band take to the stage, and understandably the completely pissed off crowd boos the hell out of them. There is no apology from Axl, indeed no interaction at all with the crowd for the duration of the set, which basically consisted of them playing a song, then a 5minute guitar solo while Axl went off to change his costume, followed by another song, followed by another costume change. Given how bloody late they were to begin with one would have assumed the idiot would have just kept in what he was wearing and motored through but oh no, he decided he would do things his way, and, yes you guessed it: even more boos, chants of “Fuck You Axl”, and “We Want Slash” coming from all around the field.

The official curfew for the event, as set by noise pollution laws, is 11:30, and the organisers had made clear they were going to stand firm on this. As you can imagine, this particular set was not going to be completable in the single hour they had (entirely because Axl was being a prick). They play ed until 11:45, which they shouldn’t have anyway, at which point the band left, meaning to return for an encore, but the organisers cut the amps, so that when they returned they were effectively unable to complete their set.

The whole thing was a bit of a shambles, but to be fair not one bit of it can be blamed on the organisers: they were sticking to the rules, and they had been lenient as it was. The band were the ones fucking about, not anyone else.

Saturday

Once again with our eyes set firmly on the Alternative stage to start our day, me and my brother were excited to see Kevin Bridges, one of our favourite comedians. Unfortunately when we got their we were informed that Bridges was currently delayed at Edinburgh airport, and would be here as soon as possible, and would be on later in the day if he made it in time.

In the mean time they moved the remainder of the schedule up, which brought an American comedian by the name of Neil Hamburger to the stage. Oh my god. I have never heard such a tirade of just blatant homophobia, racism, and other sick jokes (some aimed towards Michael Jackson, who lets face it, in a crowd made up of music fans, is just off limits). In his 25minutes there simply was not a funny joke. The entire crowd booed him, and before long we were pelting him with bottles and whatever else littered the floor of the tent. Chants rang out of “You’re shit and you know you are, you’re shit and you know you are!” until finally he left the stage.

The host, Andrew O’Neill immediately managing a bigger cheer than Hamburger’s entire set as he walked forward and asked: “You may not have liked that, but did you at least enjoy hating it?” (which yes, I think its fair to say we did).

We stuck around to watch Jason Byrne (who was hilariously funny) and Milton Jones – who was actually funnier than he’s ever managed to be on Mock the Week, which is saying something, before moving on to catch a few songs from Hadouken on the second stage and The Maccabees.

Rapper Dizzie Rascal is decidedly out of place so far up the bill, (or on it at all), but the crowd knows all the words anyway, so we sing along at the top of our voices nonetheless.

As the day went on though there was only one way it was moving, and that was towards the band second on the bill on the main stage. The Libertines. A band who’s set was more anticipated than any other at any festival I’ve ever been to.

For those of you who may not know the long and drawn out history of The Libertines, they are a four piece punk outfit from London, who despite a meteoric rise to fame in the early 2000’s, could not handle the pressure and effectively imploded. Best friends Pete Doherty and Carl Barat, the Paul and John of the band if you will, simply descended into a bitter feud, and the band came to an abrupt finish with Doherty’s arrest and imprisonment.

Pete has been in and out of prison and drug rehabilitation ever since, while Carl has tried to restructure and move on.

Over the last few years both Barat and Doherty have formed their own bands (Dirty Pretty Things, and Babyshambles respectively), but deep down in the hearts of Libertines fans we have always hoped they may one day reconcile. The gigs have been rumoured since almost the day they first split, but finally, after 6 long years, in March of this year it was announced that the reunion was on. Reading 2010 would be the reforming (as it stands for one night only) of The Libertines.

So here we are, August 28th 2010. 8:30pm. The moment music fans the world over have been waiting for. And there they are. Pete, Carl, John and Gary. They play all the old favourites, including the seemingly prophetic “Can’t Stand Me Now” (a song which was on their first album, but basically spoke about two best friends who ended up hating eachother)

Embracing one another like brothers, Pete and Carl look like they’ve never been away. It’s one of those moments which will live in the minds of those who witnessed it forever.


If this was the end, it was a happy one, but I honestly hope this isn’t the end of the Libertines story. Maybe we can finally put the past behind us and let the future shine.

Oh and…headliners Arcade Fire kicked ass. Nuff said.

Sunday

A) Sunday was my birthday, so wooot. Thanks to all of you for the birthday wishes on Facebook/twitter/email/text whatever. All were greatly appreciated!!

B) Ok back to the bands. Sunday started out with my surprise of the festival, a band I’d never heard of, but who I completely and utterly love now (experiences like this are why I love festivals, because you can discover as much as you can enjoy old stuff). Anyway, the band is called Motion City Soundtrack, and the lead singer is a total nerd, and their songs include references to things like falling asleep late at night watching Veronica Mars reruns, and generally the sort of thing I do. I could literally be best friends with the frontman.

We hung around to watch The King Blues, who I only really knew one song from (inevitably the last they played), and have to admit I was sort of disappointed with the rest of their set. Perfectly Ok, but I love the one song I do know (Save the Girl, Save the World), and I guess I wanted to love the rest as much.

Then it REALLY started pouring with rain, so we ducked back into our go-to tent, the Alt-Stage, where Russell Kane (who less than 24hours before hand had won the a comedy award at the Edinburgh Fringe) was performing, and I think it’s fair to say, from what I saw he definitely deserved the award. He was seriously funny.

We sat and ate lunch beside the tent where Metronomy were playing, who were enjoyable enough, before going to see Weezer, who literally exceeded every possible expectation. With perfect renditions of Teenage Dirtbag from Wheatus and mixing the lyrics to Poker Face into one of their own songs, this set was a definite highlight of the festival.

Next up it was the turn of Paramore. Now this is a band I have said some very mean things about before – including calling lead singer Hayley Williams the antichrist. I just don’t like them at all. That being said: on this night, with 10’s of 1000’s of people singing along, Only Exception and Brick by Boring Brick do sound spectacular. Otherwise ‘twas a pretty boring set, but better than I was expecting

Finally it came down to the final band of the festival, as the crowd swelled around the main stage to see Blink 182 play their only UK show this year. Blink are a band to whom I owe most of my childhood. They’ve always been one of my favourite acts, and I had always regretted not seeing them live while I had the chance first time round, so ever since the reunion was announced I’ve been waiting patiently for a UK tour – so the moment this UK date finally came up I was right on it!

“All the Small Things”, “I Miss You”, “First Date”, the hits just keep on coming, and despite the fact front man Tom Delounge is clearly stoned off his face, the gig goes to plan anyway. It’s a real special way to finish a great weekend.

Monday

And we’re back. Today I’m frankly too tired to do anything much at all but lay around now that I’m home.


I leave you all with this video of The Libertines tearing up the Main Stage with "What Became of the Likely Lads"

Wednesday, 25 August 2010

BEDA - Aug25 - Goodbye Esther

I'm sorry, but this blog cannot be about Mockingjay today. It just can't. There are more important battles today than Katniss'. The most important battle one family will ever face was lost today.

This morning, at 3am her time, a girl by the name of Esther Earl passed away. She was just sixteen years old.

I won't claim to have known her that well - we tweeted at each other back and forth a few times, but other than that I won't pretend I was exactly her best friend.

But she touched my heart as she touched so many others.

You see Esther had terminal cancer, but she refused to let that get in the way of life. Instead she took every oppurtunity she had in the time she had left to make her big heart go a long way, and a nicer girl you will literally never find.

Her message of hope, and of love was and is an inspiration to Harry Potter fans and nerdfighters alike, and indeed it was in part because of Esther that the Harry Potter Alliance was able to band together to win the Chase Community Giving Challenge, earning $250,000 for a charity which was so near to her heart.

A wise old wizard once said that to the well organised mind death is but the next great adventure, and I know deep down that that's true. Somewhere, Esther is being her bubbly, happy self, spreading her message of love across the whole universe.

So we say goodbye for now Esther Earl. I hope to see you again, and to adventure with you in eternity. I will not say Rest In Peace, for I do not believe you are resting. I believe you are off somewhere being the little bundle of life and of love that we all knew.

Instead I will sign off as your friend John Green would: DFTBA Esther, and best wishes.

Tuesday, 24 August 2010

BEDA - Aug24 - The "I'm a Bored Internet Nerd" Game. (aka Related Video Game)

I really wanted to spend this blog post telling you how amazing Mockingjay was. But I can't. My book was dispatched yesterday, so I really hoped it was gonna beat the international embargo and arrive today, but obviously that would be too much hassle, and so I guess it'll come tomorrow, and so I'll read it all day tomorrow and let you know what I think tomorrow night instead...

The problem is that now I have nothing to say today...


And when Youtube nerds have nothing to do: we end up playing the related videos game.

So I guess that's what I'll talk about. Now for those of you who don't know, the related videos game is a great way to discover videos on youtube which often you may not see, or may not have even found.

The idea is to go to Youtube, hit the browse button up the top, and then pick a video on the page which loads up. Now that is likely to be a Most-Viewed-Today video, but that also means it is likely to have 100's of related videos attached to it.

So watch the first video, and then click one of the related videos, and watch that, and then click one of it's related videos, and so on. If you get just the right selection of videos you can go through hours of pure gold before you are left with just KeyboardCats and the other useless stuff YouTube also has to offer besides the awesome.

Also remember: if you play this game while LOGGED IN to Youtube, your "Recommended for You" front page box will also inevitably fill up with lots of awesome to return to at later dates (you can also start a Related Video Game here, and have just as much fun).

Give it a go, and just find out who you end up discovering.

Monday, 23 August 2010

BEDA - Aug23 - Countdown to Mockingjay

Those of you who have read this blog since the very beginning (or those of you who click the link to see the previous months posts) will know that the very first item ever posted on this blog was a review of Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins.

That review was from an advanced copy of the book that was sent me for review for Platform's actual printed magazine, and I wanted the person at Scholastic who had been nice enough to send me the book to be able to read the review. So I started this blog, with no intention of using it again, just to post the text here (hense why the blog's url, and former name, was NTU Books). As it happened a few months later I wanted to start blogging and knew this one was kicking around, so just changed the title (couldnt change the url unfortunately) and just started using it as my personal page.


Now, just about one year later, we are mere hours away from the release of the final book in the Hunger Games trilogy: Mockingjay.

The book is released at Midnight tonight in the US, and Midnight on Wednesday in the rest of the world, and it is then that we will finally follow on from the brilliant conclusion to Catching Fire.

I literally pray that it can stand up to the remainder of the trilogy and that it can close it in perfect fashion.

Just figured I would spend the last post pre-it-being-in-the-world to give you some of my theories on where it's going. I should of course mention: I have no spoilers what so ever, and these are purely theories, so you're in no danger of being spoiled.


  • Peeta Vs Gale: I'm team Peeta. It just feels like the books have built up and built up the fact that Katniss is supposed to care about him, and in the end I hope he is the one she chooses. I can see why Gale makes sense too, but I just feel like she's going to go with Peeta
  • I think Haymitch and Cinna will both die before the book is out, but that Katniss/Peeta/Gale will all survive.
  • Peeta will have to save Katniss from President Snow at some point, and this is what will send Katniss to his side.
  • The rebellion will become so big that the Capitol will destroy not just District12 but all the remaining districts as the uprisings get stronger, forcing everyone who is anti-Capitol to converge on D13
  • The final battle will take place in the Capitol, and will involve EVERYONE who remains anti-Capitol on one side, led by Katniss and Peeta, and President Snow on the other side with the few (not many) who remain loyal to him, with the many finally overthrowing the few.

In just a few hours we'll know. In just a few hours, the Mockingjay rises, the revolution begins. The final battle is coming.

Sunday, 22 August 2010

BEDA - Aug22 - OMG Obama isn't a Yankees Fan?!?

Ok, this blog isn't about Mr Obama's baseball team of choice, but it is, if you ask me, about something just as flippant.

There has, for one reason or another, been alot of questioning over President Barack Obama's religion over the past year and a half. Now, personally I don't care whether he's Christian, Muslim, Jewish, atheistic or agnostic, thats totally up to him. But you know, certain news organisations *cough*FOXNEWS*cough* insist on making it an issue.

In this so called modern era we're living in, I don't honestly know how this is an issue. In a country that prides itself in being the free-est nation on earth, the idea that it matters what religion your President is seems almost anti-Everything-America-Apparently-Stands-For, and feels very "All animals are created equal just some more equal than others" if you ask me.


Sure Obama CLAIMS to be Christian not Muslim, but how can we be sure he's telling the truth? (and as previously stated: who cares at any rate?)


So, in a style that only he can pull off, John Green decides its time to wade into the debate and you know, actually look at the evidence. And I figured I'd share it with you.

Saturday, 21 August 2010

BEDA - Aug21 -New Beginnings and The End of everything

As I write this, I have just one week left as a teenager. This time next week it will be the eve of my 20th birthday, and I will no longer be just a kid.

My final week with a 1 in my age is going to be a pretty interesting one - I start my new job tomorrow morning, so thats an interesting beginning to go with my new adult age bracket, but don't worry, there's lots of partying to come too!!

Mockingjay, the final book in the Hunger Games Trilogy hits bookstores on wednesday (or tuesday for all of you lucky people in the states.... [/not bitter at all]) and I cannot wait for it. The first two books are literally amazing, and I trust that the final part of Suzanne Collin's story will be as good if not even better.

And then, next weekend, in what will become the hardest BEDA challenge ever, I am going to the Reading music festival for the weekend for my birthday (I will see Blink182, one of my all time favourite bands, headline, on my birthday itself, which honestly will be worth the admission price on its own, before you add all the other awesome going on - Arcade Fire, Pendulum, Guns and Roses, Klaxons, and sooooo many more.

So yes. This is a week of things ending, and of new beginnings. A new and exciting chapter in my life is just dawning, a chapter which will see me finish uni, and go out into the "real world". It's scary, but I hope each and every one of you is ready for the challenge. Because I want you with me. Every step of the way.

Friday, 20 August 2010

BEDA - Aug20 - Umm... Oops

Totally forgot to blog yesterday, because I fail at life. I was working all day, and then came home for the weekend, so had like a 3hour drive. By the time I got home, I basically collapsed asleep and just woke up now.

Making it through the month with only one day missed isn't bad going at any rate.

Now, as an aspiring broadcast journalist, there is nothing I love more than a funny moment in the world of broadcasting.

Thomas Schafernaker, a BBC weatherman, brought just such a gaffe this week when a producer cut to him at a rather...unappropriate moment, and can be seen again and again for your viewing pleasure below:



Wednesday, 18 August 2010

BEDA - Aug18 - Work Issues

After weeks of uncertainty at work, I finally found out today that my job is unfortunately unsecure. Or you know…effectively just nonexistent. At least in it’s current form.

I got called into the manager’s office earlier, and they basically let me know that the store was making huge losses and that they needed a reshuffle as a company. This would inevitably mean cutbacks – and that mine, and several others, positions were just no longer available.

Thankfully there is another store in town – a store infact where our former store manager recently got transferred himself – which has a few vacancies, where I’m being transferred. It’s further away for me to walk every day (especially seeing as I’m moving into the centre of town in a few weeks, where the current store is), but hey, I still have a job, so it could be substantially worse. I’ll have to see how it goes for a while, and if need be maybe think of moving on, but at least I know I have a steady paycheque in the meantime

I’ll keep you posted on any developments

Tuesday, 17 August 2010

BEDA - Aug17 - The final mention of Scott Pilgrim in this blog

So, after lots and lots of mentions of it here recently, I finally saw Scott Pilgrim Vs The World today. I would love to review it for you properly, but I have to save it for Platform. For now I will just say this: IT WAS EPIC.

Monday, 16 August 2010

BEDA - Aug16 - So many nerds, so little time

It won’t have escaped your notice, but I’m a total nerd. This afternoon I spent 2hours queueing around the block to meet Bryan Lee O’Malley, creator of the Scott Pilgrim graphic novels at the local independent comic store in Notts: Page 45.

I can’t say I realised just how many nerds there were around here, so I didn’t expect a huge line, so turned up like 10minutes before the signing was due to commence. Big mistake. The queue was literally like 100’s of people long already, and that’s why it took me so long to get in.

Bryan was lovely, and seemed genuinely delighted that so many people had turned up. He’d been at Page 45 once before, back in 2006 when almost noone knew of Scott Pilgrim, and the crowd had been exceptionally small, and had returned because he was so impressed with the place (and this time the crowd was deservedly bigger =D) He only had time to sign one item per person by the time it got as far back in the queue as us, but that was fine, it was just nice of him to keep going long beyond his official finish time.

In the line I met a guy with a Jay and Jack tshirt, as well as all sorts of other awesome people, thankfully reminding me that I’m not the only person in the surrounding area who thinks it’s cool to be a nerd.

I must say: I’ll be frequenting Page 45 more often, as the staff there were awesome, and worked so hard to keep the people in line happy as the time passed – kudos to them J

And now, with a signed copy of Scott Pilgrim’s Precious Little Life in my possession, I’m totally ready to see the advanced screening of SPvtW tomorrow night. EXCIIIIITED!!!!


Sunday, 15 August 2010

BEDA - Aug15 - Sons of Admirals/John Green

As promised, something is finally happening in my life, as yesterday saw me once again venture to our nations capital (once again for YouTube stuff in fact, although this time I was off to see YouTube super-group Sons of Admirals).

With a capacity of 420 or so at Ice Father Nation, I get the feeling the boys expected to be playing to a half empty room, but oh no: about 1000 people turned up, utter chaos all but destined to break loose.

With just 10minutes to go until show time, and the crowd upstairs anxiously wondering if they’ll ever get in, John Green appears, announcing that there was no way he wasn’t going to let anyone who’d made the journey down.

He would do his reading upstairs in the lobby for those who couldn’t get in, while the band played the first half of their set downstairs, then he would go do his proper reading during the bands interval, but instead of the band taking a break they would come up and play an acoustic set free of charge for the crowd upstairs before returning downstairs to conclude their set.

Many a band would simply have said “sorry we’re full, nothing we can do about it”, and sent people home, so seriously: fair play to the lads for not doing this. They proved that it was the music, and playing for their fans, that was what mattered to them, not just getting the cash of the people inside, and in this modern age: that’s something to truly be admired.

Now anyway: on to the main gig downstairs, what you all want to hear about.

John joined us on stage for a brief reading from Paper Towns, as well as perhaps the most intellectual discussion ever to grace this indie venue, covering topics as wide as “How much of what we see in other people is a reflection of ourselves”, and whether John knew the last words of his tragic Alaska Young (Last words being the obsession of the love struck character Pudge in Looking For Alaska). Then it was time to rock and roll.

Things start leisurely, with the three boys (Charlie Mcdonell unfortunately unable to make it) playing short solo sets of their own work – getting the crowd going. Chant’s of “D-F-T-B-A say DFTBA!” ring through the packed crowd,

First comes Tom Milsom, “the greatest music producer on all of Youtube” as Edd would later refer to him, and its true. Playing the ukulele, the keyboard, the drums and the guitar in the space of his set, he rocks quickly through singalong track’s Indigo and Porphyrophobia (which I know every word to but still cannot pronounce the title!! Dam it Tom!! =D)

Next up it’s the turn of Alex Day. To be totally honest, of the three boys, I was really here to see Alex. As much as I love Tom’s music – and I do, I think Tom has RIDICULOUS talent, which I can only dream of ever imitating - Alex has written some of the best stuff that’s ever gone out on DFTBA, and he doesn’t disappoint here. He whips the crowd into clapping frenzy with fan favourites “Awful Lot of Running” and “Pokemon What Happened to You”, as well as his less nerdy tracks “Time of Your Life” (which he begins with a beautiful acoustic version of the chorus before Tom joins him to play the main keyboard part on the track) and “Georgia”. The personal highlight of the set for me was 2nd album title track “The World is Mine” which sounded even more melodic here with a choir of hundreds singing it back to him than it does on the album. Alex deserves to go so far in his musical career, and I hope he gets picked up by a major label soon.

Another confession: other than Eddplant’s cover on the Erase This album, I don’t think I’ve ever listened to anything he’s ever done. So when he took to the stage, I didn’t really know what to expect. Opening with an AMAZING acoustic cover of King’s of Leon’s Use Somebody, it’s not long before I realise why they’ve let him play last: he really is the headline act. With a much fuller sound than Tom and Alex, most of his set needs them to play behind him.

“Less than Three”, the story of a guy who can’t say the three words “I love you”, yet needs to say something stands as probably the best songwriting effort of the night, and I’d buy the album just for this one song.

As they ramp it up in the second half of the set, there really is only one song they can close with, as the whole of Ice Father Nation explodes into movement for Ed’s superb ANTHEM “Girl Can’t Dance.” I can tell you this: if anyone else there did not know Ed before last night: they know him now, and I can say he has gained at least one subscriber following the gig.

The crowd shout for an encore, and the boys are more than happy to accept. They won’t play Here Comes My Baby though. “It wouldn’t be right without Charlie”, they say, and to be honest they’re right: the song has four verses, and it’s one each. Sure the crowd would know the words to the missing verse, but it really wouldn’t be the same.

Instead they rock out acapella style, closing with Tom’s “Animals”, the 3 quarters of Sons Of Admirals send the crowd out in style.

“We’ll be back soon, we promise!!” they say. And we can only hope that next time round it’s a full UK tour, with the full band – the crowd tonight surely proving they can fill a venue!

Friday, 13 August 2010

BEDA - Aug14 - The Top Ten Trilogies?

I’ve been thinking a lot since the release of Toy Story 3, which I maintain by the way is the best movie you’ll see this year, about the greatest movie trilogies of all time

The Toy Story trilogy is made up of 3 of my favourite movies, and when I came out after seeing it with my family my dad said that it was probably his favourite ever trilogy. I found myself unable to think of one better there on the spot, and to be honest I’m still struggling. I’ve thought about it and thought about it, and have come up with a list of some of my favourites.

So this is my top 10.

10) The Matrix – a somewhat flawed second act, but overall the story is brilliant, and the first and final movies are awesome.

9) Jurassic Park – Dinosaurs eating people. ‘Nuff said?

8) Austin Powers – That rare thing, a trilogy which got funnier and funnier as it went along. So many in jokes have spawned from this trilogy. Just plain funny as hell.

7) Bourne – Three of the best thrillers ever, Matt Damon kicks ass all three times out. Just don’t ruin it with a fourth film or a prequel…Please?

6) Indiana Jones – Harrison Ford’s first of two entries into the list, and an example of why fourth films can destroy franchises. We purists can just forget Kingdom of the Crystal Skull…there were only 3 Indy movies… #untruefacts

5) The Mighty Ducks – Ok so I know this sticks out like a sore thumb on this list, but seriously, I grew up watching these 3 movies more times than any other movie I can think of. Coach Bombay and little Charlie Conway… Probably THE BEST sports movies ever. There…I said it.

4) Lord of The Rings – Some of the most expensive movies in history, and some of the best, this narrowly misses out on a top 3 placing. It’s sort of…honorary top 3 though!!

3) Back to the Future – I will always remember the first time I ever came across Marty McFly and Doc Brown, my dad had the trilogy on VHS, way back in the day. I found it sat around and put it in, and I literally watched the entire trilogy in one go. It was amazing, and from that point on I was hooked. I got the DVD as soon as such a thing existed, and plan on upgrading to Bluray in a few months when that comes out because even my DVD is looking tattered from over usage.

2) Toy Story – The third film is still in theatres, but I’ve seen it 4 times now, and that’s plenty to judge my reception to it. 3 literally perfect movies, with a message of loyalty, love and friendship. Woody, Buzz, and all the rest will always have a place in my heart, from here to infinity (and beyond)

1) Star Wars (the real trilogy) – There is simply nothing to say regarding Star Wars that hasn’t been said before by much smarter people than I. George Lucas (the real one, not the cyborg who killed him, stole his body, and churned out the new trilogy) is a genius. Fact.




Comment below on your favourite trilogies. Did they make my list? Did I miss something? Let me know what you think.

BEDA - Aug13 - Emmy's Predictions

The Emmy awards are just a couple of weeks away, and that means it's time again for one of my (by now famous) Award Show Prediction blogs.

You know the drill: one column for who I want to win, one for who I think will win. Easy enough. Here we go then.

Oh and: I'm wholeheartedly aware there are other awards not included here, I just have no opinion on them - either because I havent seen enough of the shows to judge, or because I just have no opinion)

Award

Want to Win

Think Will Win

Best Actor in a Comedy

Jim Parsons – Big Bang Theory

Jim Parsons – Big Bang Theory

Best Actress in a Comedy

Lea Michele - Glee

Tina Fey – 30 Rock

Best Actor in a Drama

Hugh Laurie - House

Mathew Fox - Lost

Best Actress in a Drama

Julianna Margulies – The Good Wife

Julianna Margulies – The Good Wife

Best Comedy

Glee

Glee

Best Drama

Lost

Lost

Best Miniseries

The Pacific

The Pacific

Best Reality

The Amazing Race

The Amazing Race

Thursday, 12 August 2010

BEDA - Aug12 - Boooooring

Spoiler alert: This blog is boring. You have been warned.

As previously mentioned, my life right now is exceptionally dull. Absolutely nothing is going on in it. I’ve spent a lot of time watching movies and writing reviews for Platform (look out for reviews for The Sorcerer’s Apprentice and The Last Airbender in the next few hours.)

The only vaguely fun thing that has happened today is that lots of new information about the Deathly Hallows movies has come out. We found out definitively where the split is, and also found out about some changes to the story compared to the books (generally stuff that will just make stuff that already happens just look even cooler on screen).

I won’t spoil anyone who doesn’t want to know, but I will direct anyone who does to Leaky, where you can see the scans of the EW article where the information came from.

And that is LITERALLY the only thing that happened today. Oh and since I last blogged I’ve found a screening for Scott Pilgrim. Woot.

Dear world: please let something happen tomorrow. I don’t like boring my readers!!!